« PreviousContinue »
"From the feet upward to the head→→→→ "Pithy and short," says Dick, "proceed." "Dick, this is not an idle motion: Observe the progress of the motion. First, I demonstratively prove, That feet were only made to move; And legs desire to come and go, For they have nothing else to do.
"Hence, long before the child can crawl,
He learns to kick, and wince, and sprawl:
To binder which, your midwife knows
To bind those parts extremely close;
Jest Alma, newly enter'd in,
And stunn'd at her own christening's din,
Fearful of future grief and pain,
Should silently sneak out again.
Full piteous seems young Alma's case;
As in a hekless gamester's place,
She would not play, yet must not pass.
"Again; as she grows something stronger,
And master's feet are swath'd no longer,
If in the night too oft he kicks,
Or shows his loco-motive tricks ;
These first assaults fat Kate repays him;
When half asleep, she overlays him.
Now mark, dear Richard, from the age
That children tr ad this worldly stage,
Broom-staff or poker they bestride,
And round the parlour love to ride';
Till thoughtful father's pious care
Provides his brood, next Smithfield Fair,
With supplemental hobby-horses :
And happy be their infant courses!
Hence for some years they ne'er stand
Their legs, you see, direct their will;
From opening morn till setting sun,
Around the fields and woods they run;
They frisk, and dance, and leap, and play,
Nor heed what Freind or Snape can say.
"To her next stage as Alina flies,
And likes, as I have said, the thighs,
With sympathetic power she warms
Their good allies and friends, the arms;
While Betty dances on the green,
And Susan is at stoolball seen;
While John for nine-pins does declare,
And Roger loves to pitch the bar :
Both legs and arms spontaneous move;
Which was the thing I meant to prove.
"Another motion now she makes:
O, nced I name the seat she takes?
His thought quite chang`d the stripling finds ;
The sport and race no more he minds;
Neglected Tray and pointer lie,
And covics unmolested fly.
Sudden the jocund plain he leaves,
And for the nymph in secret grieves,
In dying accents he complains
Of cruel fires, and raging pains.
The nymph too longs to be alone,
Leaves all the swains, and sighs for one.
The nymph is warm'd with young desire,
And feels, and dies to quench his fire.
They meet each evening in the grove;
Their parley but augments their love:
So to the priest their case they tell :
He ties the knot; and all goes well.
But, O my Muse, just distance keep ; Thou art a maid, and must not peep.
In nine months time, the boddice loose,
And petticoats too short, disclose
That at this age the active mind
About the waist lies most confin'd;
And that young life and quickening sense
Spring from his influence darted thence.
So from the middle of the world
The Sun's prolific rays are hurl'd:
"Tis from that seat he darts those beams,
Which quicken Earth with genial flames."
Dick, who thus long had passive sat,
Here strok'd his chin, and cock'd his hat;
Then slapp'd his hand upon the board,
And thus the youth put in his word.
"Love's advocates, sweet sir, would find him
A higher place than you assign'd him.”
"Love's advocates! Dick, who are those ?"--
"The poets, you may well suppose.
I'm sorry, sir, you have discarded
The men with whom till now you herded.
Prose-men alone, for private ends,
I thought, forsook their ancient friends.
In cor stillavit, cries Lucretius;
If he may be allow'd to teach us.
The self-same thing soft Ovid says
(A proper judge in such a case).
Horace's phrase is, torret jecur;
And happy was that curious speaker.
Here Virgil too has plac'd this passion.
What significs too long quotation?
In ode and epic, plain the case is,
That Love holds one of these two places."
"Dick, without passion or reflection,
I'll strait demolish this objection.
First, poets, all the world agrees,
Write half to profit, half to please.
Matter and figure they produce;
For garnish this, and that for use;
And, in the structure of their feasts,
They seek to feed and please their guests:
But one may balk this good intent,
And take things otherwise than meant.
Thus, if you dine with my lord mayor,
Roast-beef and venison is your fare;
Thence you proceed to swan and bustard,
And persevere in tart and custard :
But tulip-leaves and lemon-peel
Help only to adorn the meal,
And painted flags, superb and neat,
Proclaim you welcome to the treat.
The man of sense his meat devours,
But only smells the peel and flowers;
And he must be an idle dreamer,
Who leaves the pie, and gnaws the streamer.
"That Cupid goes with bow and arrows,
And Venus keeps her coach and sparrows,
Is all but emblem, to acquaint one,
The son is sharp, the mother wanton.
Such images have sometimes shown
A mystic sense, but oftener none.
For who conceives, what bards devise,
That Heaven is plac'd in Celia's eyes;
Or where's the sense, direct and moral,
That teeth are pearl, or lips are coral?
"Your Horace owns, he various writ,
As wild or sober maggots bit:
And, where too much the poet ranted,
The sage philosopher recanted.
grave Epistles may disprove The wanton Qdcs he made to love.
"Lucretius keeps a mighty pother With Cupid and his fancy'd mother; Calls her great queen of Earth and Air, Declares that winds and seas obey her; And, while her honour he rehearses, Implores her to inspire his verses.
"Yet, free from this poetic madness,
Next page he says, in sober sadness,
That she and all her fellow-gods
Sit idling in their high abodes,
Regardless of this world below,
Our health or hanging, weal or woe;
Nor once disturb their heavenly spirits
With Scapin's cheats, or Cæsar's merits.
"Nor e'er can Latin pocts prove
Where lies the real seat of Love.
Jecur they burn, and cor they pierce,
As either best supplies their verse;
And, if folks ask the reason for't,
Say, one was long, and t'other short.
Thus, I presume, the British Muse
May take the freedom strangers use.
In prose our property is greater:
Why should it then be less in metre?
If Cupid throws a single dart,
We make him wound the lover's heart:
But, if he takes his bow and quiver}
"Tis sure, he must transfix the liver:
For rhyme with reason may dispense,
And sound has right to govern sense.
"But let your friends in verse suppose,
What ne'er shall be allow'd in prose;
Anatomists can make it clear,
The Liver minds his own affair;
Kindly supplies our public uses,
And parts and strains the vital juices;
Still lays some useful bile aside,
To tinge the chyle's insipid tide:
Else we should want both gibe and satire;
And all be burst with pure good-nature.
Now gall is bitter with a witness,
And love is all delight and sweetness.
My logic then has lost its aim,
If sweet and bitter be the same:
And he, methinks, is no great scholar,
Who can mistake desire for choler.
"The like may of the heart be said;
Courage and terrour there are bred.
All those, whose hearts are loose and low,
Start, if they hear but the tattoo:
And mighty physical their fear is;
For, soon as noise of combat near is,
Their heart, descending to their breeches,
Must give their stomach cruel twitches.
But heroes, who o'ercome or die,
Have their hearts hung extremely high;
The strings of which, in battles heat,
Against their very corslets beat;
Keep time with their own trumpet's measure,
And yield them most excessive pleasure.
"Now, if 'tis chiefly in the heart
That Courage does itself exert,
"Twill be prodigious hard to prove
That this is eke the throne of Love.
Would Nature make one place the seat
Of fond desire, and fell debate?
Must people only take delight in
Those hours, when they are tir'd of fighting?
And has no man, but who has kill'd
A father, right to get a child?
These notions then I think but idle;
And Love shall still possess the middles
"This truth more plainly to discover,
Suppose your hero were a lover.
Though he before had gall and rage,
Which death or conquest must assuage,
He grows dispirited and low;
He hates the fight, and shuns the foe.
"In scornful sloth Achilles slept,
And for his wench, like Tall-boy, wept:
Nor would return to war and slaughter,
Till they brought back the parson's daughter.
"Antonius fled from Actium's coast,
Augustus pressing, Asia lost:
His sails by Cupid's hands unfurl'd,
To keep the fair, he gave the world.
Edward our fourth, rever'd and crown'd,
Vigorous in youth, in arms renown'd,
While England's voice, and Warwick's care,
Design'd him Gallia's beauteous heir,
Chang'd peace and power, for rage and wars,
Only to dry one widow's tears-
"France's fourth Henry we may see
A servant to the fair d'Estree;
When, quitting Coutras' prosperous field,
And Fortune taught at length to yield,
He from his guards and midnight tent
Disguis'd o'er hills and vallies went,
To wanton with the sprightly dame,
And in his pleasure lost his fame.
"Bold is the critic who dares prove
These heroes were no friends to love;
And Lolder he, who dares aver
That they were enemies to war.
Yet, when their thought should, now or never,
Have rais'd their heart, or fir'd their liver,
Fond Alma to those parts was gone,
Which Love more justly calls his own.
"Examples I could cite you more;
But be contented with these four :
For, when one's proofs are aptly chosen,
Four are as valid as four dozen.
One came from Greece, and one from Romes
The other two grew nearer home.
For some in ancient books delight;
Others prefer what moderns write:
Now I should be extremely loth,
Not to be thought expert in both.”
"BUT shall we take the Muse abroad, To drop her illy on the road? And leave our subject in the middle, As Butler did his Bear and Fiddle? Yet he, consummate master, knew When to recede, and where pursue: His noble negligences teach What others toils despair to reach. He, perfect dancer, climbs the rope And balances your fear and hope: If, after some distinguish'd leap, He drops his pole, and seeins to slip, Straight gathering all his active strength, He rises higher half his length. With wonder you approve his slight, And owe your pleasure to your fright But like poor Andrew I advance, Fatse mimi of my master's dances
Around the cord awhile I sprawl,
And thence, though low, in earnest fall.
"My preface tells you, I digress'd:
He's half absolv'd who has confess'd."
"I like," quoth Dick, "your simile,
And, in return, take two from me.
As masters in the clare obscure
With various light your eyes allure,
A flaming yellow here they spread,
Draw off in blue, or charge in red;
Yet, from these colours oddly mix'd,
Your sight upon the whole is fix'd:
Or as, again, your courtly dames
(Whose clothes returning birth-day claims)
By arts improve the stuffs they vary,
And things are best as most contrary;
The gown, with stiff embroidery shining,
Looks charming with a slighter lining;
The out-, if Indian figure stain,
The in-side must be rich and plain.
So you great authors have thought fit
To make digression temper wit:
When arguments too fiercely glare,
You calm them with a milder air:
To break their points, you turn their force,
And furbelow the plain discourse."
"Richard," quoth Mat, "these words of thine
Speak something sly, and something fine:
But I shall e'en resume my theme,
However thou may'st praise or blame.
"As people marry now, and settle,
Fierce Love abates his usual mettle:
Worldly desires, and household cares,
Disturb the godhead's soft affairs:
So now, as health or temper changes,
In larger compass Alma ranges,
This day below, the next above,
As light or solid whimsies move,
So merchant has his house in town,
And country-seat near Bansted-down:
From one he dates his foreign letters,
Sends out his goods, and duns his debtors:
In t'other, at his hours of leisure,
He smokes his pipe, and takes his pleasure.
"And now your matrimonial Cupid,
Lash'd on by Time, grows tir'd and stupid.
For story and experience tell us
That man grows old, and woman jealous,
Both would their little ends secupe;
He sighs for freedom, she for power:
His wishes tend abroad to roam,
And hers to domineer at home.
Thus passion flags by slow degrees,
And, ruffled more, delighted less,
The busy mind does seldom go
To those once-charming seats below;
But, in the breast incamp'd, prepares
For well-bred feints and future wars.
The man suspects his lady's crying
(When he last autumn lay a-dying)
Was but to gain him to appoint her
By codicil a larger jointure.
The woman finds it all a trick,
That he could swoon when she was sick;
And knows, that in that grief he reckon'd
On black-ey'd Susan for his second.
"Thus having strove some tedious years
With feign'd desires, and real fears;
And, tir'd with answers and replies
Of John affirms, and Martha lies,
Leaving this endless altercation,
The Mind affects a higher station.
"Poltis, that generous king of Thrace,
I think, was in this very case.
All Asia now was by the ears,
And gods beat up for volunteers
To Greece and Troy; while Poltis sat
In quiet governing his state,
And whence,' said the pacific king,
Does all this noise and discord spring?'
Why, Paris took Atrides' wife,
With ease I could compose this strife:
The injur'd hero should not lose,
Nor the young lover want a spouse.
But Helen chang'd her first condition,
Without her husband's just permission,
What from the dame can Paris hope?
She may as well from him elope.
Again, how can her old good man,
With honqur, take her back again?
From hence I logically gather,
The woman cannot live with either.
Now, I have two right honest wives,
For whose possession no man strives:
One to Atrides I will send,
And t'other to my Trojan friend.
Each prince shall thus with honour have
What both so warmly seem to crave:
The wrath of gods and man shall cease,
And Poltis live and die in peace,'
"Dick, if this story pleaseth thee,
Pray thank Dan Pope, who told it me.
"Howe'er swift Alma's flight may vary,
(Takes this by way of corollary)
Some limbs she finds the very same,
In place, in dignity, in name:
These dwell at such convenient distance,
That each may give his friend assistance.
Thus he who runs or dances begs
The equal vigour of two legs;
So much to both does Alma trust,
She ne'er regards which goes the first.
Teague could make neither of them stay,
When with himself he ran away.
The man who struggles in the fight,
Fatigues left arm as well as right;
For, whilst one hand exalts the blow,
And on the earth extends the foe,
T'other would take it wondrous ill,
If in your pocket it lay still.
And, when you shoot, and shut one eye,
You cannot think he would deny
To lend the other friendly aid,
Or wink as coward, and afraid. -
No, sir; whilst he withdraws his flame,
His comrade takes the surer aim:
One moment if his beams recede,
As soon as e'er the bird is dead,
Opening again, he lays his claim
To half the profit, half the fame,
And helps to pocket up the game,
"Tis thus one tradesman slips away,
To give his partner fairer play.
"Some limbs again, in bulk or stature
Unlike, and not a-kin by nature,
In concert act, like modern friends,
Because one serves the other's ends.
The arm thus waits upon the heart,
So quick to take the bully's part,
That one, though warm, decides more slow
Than t'other executes the blow.
A stander by may chance to have it,
Ere Hack himself perceives he gave it.
"The amorous eyes thus always go
A-strolling for their friends below;
For, long before the squire and dame
Have tête à tête reliev'd their flame,
Ere visits yet are brought about,
The eye by sympathy looks out,
Knows Florimel, and longs to meet her,
And, if he sees, is sure to greet her,
Though at sash-window, on the stairs,
At court, nay (authors say) at prayers
"The funeral of some valiant knight
May give this thing its proper light.
View his two gauntlets; these declare
That both his hands were us'd to war.
And from his two gilt spurs 'tis learn'd
His feet were equally concern'd.
But have you not, with thought, beheld
The sword hang dangling o'er the shield?
Which shows the breast, that plate was us'd to,
Had an ally right arm to trust to:
And, by the peep-holes in his crest,
Is it not virtually confest,
That there his eyes took distant aim,
And glanc'd respect to that bright dame,
In whose delight his hope was center'd,
And for whose glove his life he ventur'd?
"Objections to my general system
May rise, perhaps ; and I have mist them:
But I can call to my assistance
Proximity (mark that!) and distance;
Can prove, that all things, on occasion,
Love union, and desire adhesion;
That Alina merely is a scale,
And motives, like the weights, prevail.
If neither side turn down nor up,
With loss or gain, with fear or hope,
The balance always would hang even,
Like Mah'net's tomb, 'twixt Earth and Heaven.
This, Richard, is a curious case:
Suppose your eyes sent equal rays
Upon two distant pots of ale,
Not knowing which was mild or stale:
In this sad state your doubtful choice
Would never have the casting voice;
Which best or worst you could not think,
And die you must for want of drink;
Unless some chance inclines your sight,
Setting one pot in fairer light;
Then you prefer or A, or B,
As lines and angles best agree:
Your sense resolv'd impels your will:
She guides your hand-so drink your fill.
"Have you not seen a baker's maid
Between two equal banniers sway'd?
Her tallies useless lie, and idle,
If plac'd exactly in the middle:
But, forc'd from this unactive state
By virtue of some casual weight,
On either side you hear them clatter,
And judge of right and left hand matter.
"Now, Richard, this coercive force,
Without your choice, must take its course;
Great kings to wars are pointed forth,
Like loaded needles to the north.
And thou and I, by power unseen,
Are barely passive, and suck'd-in
To Henault's vaults, or Celia's chamber,
As straw and paper are by amber.
If we sit down to play or set,
(Suppose at ombre or basset)
Let people call us cheats or fools,
Our cards and we are equal tools.
We sure in vain the cards condemn:
Ourselves both cut and shuffled them.
In vain on Fortune's aid rely:
She only is a stander by.
Poor men! poor papers! we and they
Do some impulsive force obey:
And are but play'd with-do not play.
But space and matter we should blame;
They palm'd the trick that lost the game.
Thus, to save further contradiction
Against what you may think but fiction,
I for attraction, Dick, declare:
Deny it those bold men that dare.
As well your motion, as your thought,
Is all by hidden impulse wrought:
Ev'n saying that you think or walk,
How like a country squire you talk!
"Mark then ;-Where fancy, or desire,
Collects the beams of vital fire;
Into that limb fair Alma slides,
And there, pro tempore, resides.
She dwells in Nicolini's tongue,
When Pyrrhus chants the heavenly song.
When Pedro does the lute command,
She guides the cunning artist's hand.
Through Macer's gullet she runs down,
When the vile glutton dines alone.
And, void of modesty and thought,
She follows Bibo's endless draught.
Through the soft sex again she ranges,
As youth, caprice, or fashion, changes.
Fair Alma, careless and serene,
In Fanny's sprightly eyes is seen;
While they diffuse their infant beams,
Themselves not conscious of their flan.cs.
Again fair Alima sits confest
On Florimel's experter breast;
When she the rising sigh constrains,
And, by concealing, speaks her pains.
In Cynthia's neck fair Alina glows,
When the vain thing her jewels shows:
When Jenny's stays are newly lac'd,
Fair Alma plays about her waist;
And when the swelling hoop sustains
The rich brocade, fair Alma deigus
Into that lower space to enter,
Of the large round herself the centre.
"Again: that single limb or feature,
(Such is the cogent force of Nature)!
Which most did Alma's passion move
In the first object of her love,
For ever will be found confest,
And printed on the amorous breast.
"O Abelard! ill-fated youth,
Thy tale will justify this truth:
But well I weet, thy cruel wrong
Adorns a nobler poet's song.
Dan Pope, for thy misfortune griev'd,
With kind concern and skill has weav'd
A silken web; and ne'er shall fade
Its colours; gently has he laid
The mantle o'er thy sad distress,
And Venus shall the texture bless,
He o'er the weeping nun has drawn
Such artful folds of sacred lawn,
That Love, with equal grief and pride,
Shall see the crime he strives to hide,
And, softly drawing back the veil,
The god shall to his votaries tell
Each conscious tear, each blushing grace,
That deck'd dear Eloisa's face.
Happy the poet, blest the lays,
Which Buckingham has deign'd to praise !
"Next, Dick, as youth and habit sways,
A hundred gambols Alma plays.
If, whilst a boy, Jack ran from school,
Fond of his hunting-horn and pole;
Though gout and age his speed detain,
Old John halloos his hounds again;
By his fireside he starts the hare,
And turns her in his wicker-chair;
His feet, however lame, you find,
Have got the better of his Mind.
"If, while the Mind was in her leg,
The dance affected nimble Peg;
Old Madge, bewitch'd at sixty-one,
Calls for Green Sleeves, and Jumping Joan.
In public mask, or private ball,
From Lincoln's-inn to Goldsmiths-hall,
All Christmas long away she trudges,
Trips it with prentices and judges:
In vain her children urge her stay,
And age or paisy bar the way.
But, if those images prevail
Which whilom did affect the tail,
She still renews the ancient scene,
Forgets the forty years between:
Aukwardly gay, and oddly merry,
Her scarf pale pink, her head-knot cherry ; O'er-heated with ideal rage,
She cheats her son, to wed her page.
"If Alma, whilst the man was young,
Slipp'd up too soon into his tongue,
Pleas'd with his own fantastic skill,
He lets that weapon ne'er lie still.
On any point if you dispute,
Depend upon it, he'll confute:
Change sides, and you increase your pain,
For he'll confute you back again.
For one may speak with Tully's tongue,
Yet all the while be in the wrong.
And 'tis remarkable, that they
Talk most, who have the least to say.
Your dainty speakers have the curse,
To plead bad causes down to worse:
As dames, who native beauty want,
Still uglier look, the more they paint.
"Again: if in the female sex
Alma should on this member fix,
(A cruel and a desperate case,
From which Heaven shield my lovely lass!)
For ever more all care is vain,
That would bring Alma down again.
As, in habitual gout or stone,
The only thing that can be done,
Is to correct your drink and diet,
And keep the inward foe in quiet;
So, if for any sins of ours,
Or our forefathers' higher powers,
Severe, though just, afflict our life
With that prime ill, a t lking wife;
Till Death shall bring the kind relief
We must be patient, or be deaf
"You know a certain lady, Dick, Who saw me when I last was sick : She kindly talk'd, at least three hours, Of plastic forms, and mental powers; Describ'd our pre-existing station Before this vile terrene creation; And, lest I should be weary'd, madam, To cut things short, came down to Adam; From whence, as fast as she was able, She drowns the world, and builds up Babel Through Syria, Persia, Greece, she goes, And takes the Romans in the close.
"But we'll descant on general nature< This is a system, not a satire.
"Turn we this globe, and let us see
How different nations disagree
In what we wear, or eat and drink;
Nay, Dick, perhaps in what we think.
In water as you smell and taste
The soils through which it rose and past;
In Alma's manners you may read
The place where she was born and bred.
"One people from their swaddling bands
Releas'd their infants' feet and hands:
Here Alma to these limbs was brought,
And Sparta's offspring kick'd and fought,
"Another taught their babes to talk,
Ere they could yet in go-carts walk :
There Alma settled in the tongue,
And orators from Athens sprung.
"Observe but in these neighbouring lands
The different use of mouths and hands;
As men repos'd their various hopes,
In battles these, and those in tropes.
"In Britain's isles, as Heylin notes,
The ladies trip in petticoats;
Which, for the honour of their nation,
They quit but on some great occasion.
Men there in brecches clad you view:
They claim that garment as their due.
In Turkey the reverse appears;
Long coats the haughty husband wears,
And greets his wife with angry speeches,
If she be seen without her breeches.
"In our fantastic climes the fair
With cleanly powder dry their hair:
And round their lovely breast and head
Fresh flowers their mingled odours shed
Your nicer Hottentots think meet
With guts and tripe to deck their feet:
With down-cast looks on Totta's legs
The ogling youth most humbly begs
She would not from his hopes removə
At once his breakfast and his love:
And, if the skittish nymph should fly,
He in a double sense must die.
We simple toasters take delight
To see our women's teeth look white,
And every saucy ill-bred fellow
Sneers at a mouth profoundly yellow,
In China none hold women sweeż,
Except their snags are black as jett.
King Chihu put nine queens to death,
Convict on statute, Ivory Teeth.
"At Tonquin, if a prince should die, (As Jesuits write, who never lie) The wife, and counsellor, and priest, Who serv'd him most, and lov'd him best, Prepare and light his funeral fire, And cheerful on the pile expire