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Till at the last their latest groan
Thus HARRIET, rising on the stage,
On sunday, see the haughty maid
in Far other work, than pious hearing; They've beaux to conquer, bells to rival; To make them serious were uncivil. For, like the preacher, they each Sunday Must do their whole week's work in one
day. As though they meant to take by blows Th' opposing galleries of beaux. 1
1 Young people of different sexes used then to sit in the opposite galleries.
To church the female squadron move,
So once, in fear of Indian beating, Our grandsires bore their guns to meet
ing, Each man equipp'd on Sunday morn, With psalm-book, shot and powder-horn; And look'd in form, as all must grant, Like th' ancient, true church militant; Or fierce, like modern deep divines, Who fight with quills, like porcupines.
Or let us turn the style and see Our belles assembled o'er their tea; Where folly sweetens ev'ry theme, And scandal serves for sugar'd cream. 280
“And did you hear the news? (they cry)
Hail British lands! to whom belongs
And specks in rival toasts can mind,
So priests1 drive poets to the lurch
And now the conversation sporting From scandal turns to trying fortune. Their future luck the fair foresee In dreams, in cards, but most in tea. Each finds of love some future trophy In settlings left of tea, or coffee; 340 There fate displays its book, she believes, And lovers swim in form of tea-leaves; Where oblong stalks she takes for beaux, And squares of leaves for billet-doux; Gay balls in parboil'd fragments rise, And specks for kisses greet her eyes.
So Roman augurs wont to pry In victim's hearts for prophecy, Sought from the future world advices, By lights and lungs of sacrifices, 350 And read with eyes more sharp than wiz
ards' The book of fate in pigeon's gizzards; Could tell what chief would be survivor, From aspects of an ox's liver, And cast what luck would fall in fights, By trine and quartile of its lights.
Yet that we fairly may proceed, We own that ladies sometimes read, And grieve, that reading is confin'd To books that poison all the mind; 360 Novels and plays, (where shines display'd A world that nature never made.) Which swell their hopes with airy fancies, And amorous follies of romances; Inspire with dreams the witless maiden On flowery vales and fields Arcadian, And constant hearts no chance can sever, And mortal loves, that last for ever. For while she reads romance, the fair
one 1 On the appearance of the first part of this poem, some of the clergy, who supposed themselves the objects of the satire, raised a clamor against the author, as the calumniator of the sacred order, and undertook, from certain pas. sages in it, to prove that he was an infidel, or what they viewed as equally heretical, an Ar. minian. (Author's note, 1820 Edition.)
Fails not to think herself the heroine; 370
With vast confusion swells the sound, When all the coxcombs flutter round. What undulation wide of bows! What gentle oaths and am'rous vows ! What double entendres all so smart! What sighs hot-piping from the heart! What jealous leers! what angry brawls To gain the lady's hand at balls! What billet-doux, brimful of flame! Acrostics lined with HARRIET's name! What compliments, o'er-strain'd with tell
ing Sad lies of Venus and of Helen! What wits half-crack'd with common
places On angels, goddesses and graces! On fires of love what witty puns! What similes of stars and suns! What cringing, dancing, ogling, sighing, What languishing for love, and dying ! 410
For lovers of all things that breathe Are most exposed to sudden death, And many a swain much famed in rhymes Hath died some hundred thousand times : Yet though love oft their breath may
stifle, 'Tis sung it hurts them but a trifle; The swain revives by equal wonder, As snakes will join when cut asunder,
2 Richardson's novels were then in high request. Young misses were enraptured with the love-scenes, and beaux admired the character of Lovelace.
3 Certain small critics had triumphed on discovering that the writer had several times drawn his similes from the phænomena of electricity, (Author's notes, 1820 Edition.)
And often murder'd still survives;
So doctors live but by the dead, And pray for plagues, as daily bread; Thank providence for colds and fevers, And hold consumptions special favors; And think diseases kindly made, As blest materials of their trade.
'Twould weary all the pow'rs of verse Their amorous speeches to rehearse, Their compliments, whose vain parade Turns Venus to a kitchen-maid; With high pretence of love and honor, They vent their folly all upon her, (Ev'n as the scripture precept saith, More shall be given to him that hath ;) Tell her how wond'rous fair they deem
her, How handsome all the world esteem her; And while they flatter and adore, She contradicts to call for more. 460
“And did they say I was so handsome? My looks—I'm sure no one can fancy 'em. 'Tis true we're all as we were framed, And none have right to be ashamed; But as for beauty-all can tell I never fancied I look'd well; I were a fright, had I a grain less You're only joking, Mr. Brainless."
Yet beauty still maintain'd her sway, And bade the proudest hearts obey; Ev'n sense her glances could beguile, And vanquish'd wisdom with a smile; While merit bow'd and found no arms, To oppose the conquests of her charms, Caught all those bashful fears, that place
The mask of folly on the face,
her, And sad, of tender-hearted make, Grieved they were ruined for her sake. 'Twas true, she own'd on recollection, She'd shown them proofs of kind affec
tion: But they mistook her whole intent, For friendship was the thing she meant. She wonder'd how their hearts could
move 'em So strangely as to think she'd love 'em; She thought her purity above The low and sensual flames of love; 500 And yet they made such sad ado, She wish'd she could have loved them too. She pitied them, and as a friend She prized them more than all mankind, And begg'd them not their hearts to vex, Or hang themselves, or break their necks, Told them 'twould make her life uneasy, If they should run forlorn, or crazy; Objects of love she could not deem 'em; But did most marv’lously esteem 'em. 510
For 'tis esteem, coquettes dispense Tow'rd learning, genius, worth and sense, Sincere affection, truth refined, And all the merit of the mind.
But love's the passion they experience For gold, and dress, and gay appearance.
For ah! what magic charms and graces Are found in golden suits of laces ! What going forth of hearts and souls Tow'rd glare of gilded button-holes! 520 What lady's heart can stand its ground 'Gainst hats with glittering edging bound? While vests and shoes and hose conspire, And gloves and ruffles fan the fire, And broadcloths, cut by tailor's arts, Spread fatal nets for female hearts.
And oh, what charms more potent shine, Drawn from the dark Peruvian mine! What spells and talismans of Venus Are found in dollars, crowns and
In purse of gold, a single stiver
But now the time was come, our fair
with;' The fisher, ev'ry gudgeon hooking, May chance himself to catch a ducking; The child that plays with fire, in pain Will burn its fingers now and then; And from the dutchess to the laundress, Coquettes are seldom salamanders.
For lo! Dick Hairbrain heaves in sight, From foreign climes returning bright; He danced, he sung to admiration, He swore to gen'ral acceptation, In airs and dress so great his merit, He shone-no lady's eyes could bear it. 560 Poor Harriet saw; her heart was stouter; She gather'd all her smiles about her; Hoped by her eyes to gain the laurels, And charm him down, as snakes do squir
rels. So prized his love and wish'd to win it, That all her hopes were center'd in it; And took such pains his heart to move, Herself fell desp'rately in love; Though great her skill in am'rous tricks, She could not hope to equal Dick's; Her fate she ventured on his trial, And lost her birthright of denial.
And here her brightest hopes miscarry;
As shadows vary o'er a glass,
Poor Harriet now hath had her day;
cels From standing lists of toasts and angels; And slighted where she shone before, A grace and goddess now no more, Despised by all, and doom'd to meet Her lovers at her rival's feet, She flies assemblies, shuns the ball, And cries out, vanity, on all; Affects to scorn the tinsel-shows Of glittering belles and gaudy beaux ; Nor longer hopes to hide by dress The tracks of age upon her face.
610 Now careless grown of airs polite, Her noonday nightcap meets the sight; Her hair uncomb'd collects together, With ornaments of many a feather; Her stays for easiness thrown by, Her rumpled handkerchief awry, A careless figure half undress'd, (The reader's wits may guess the rest;) All points of dress and neatness carried, As though she'd been a twelvemonth
married; She spends her breath, as years prevail, At this sad wicked world to rail, To slander all her sex impromptu, And wonder what the times will come to. Tom Brainless, at the close o.
last year, Had been six years a rev'rend Pastor, And now resolved, to smooth his life, To seek the blessing of a wife. His brethren saw his amorous temper, And recommended fair Miss Simper, 630 Who fond, they heard, of sacred truth, Had left her levities of youth, Grown fit for ministerial union, And grave, as Christian's wife in Bun
yan. On this he rigg'd him in his best, And got his old grey wig new dress'd, Fix'd on his suit of sable stuffs, And brush'd the powder from the cuffs, With black silk stockings, yet in being, The same he took his first degree in; 640 Procured a horse of breed from Europe, And learn'd to mount him by the stirrup,
And set forth fierce to court the maid;
660 In short, the bargain finish'd soon, A reverend Doctor made them one.
And now the joyful people rouze all To celebrate their priest's espousal; And first, by kind agreement set, In case their priest a wife could get, The parish vote him five pounds clear, T' increase his salary every year. Then swift the tag-rag gentry come To welcome Madam Brainless home; 670 Wish their good Parson joy; with pride In order round salute the bride; At home, at visits and at meetings, To Madam all allow precedence; Greet her at church with rey'rence due, And next the pulpit fix her pew.
July, 1773. LINES
And opening prospects charm the wan
d'ring eyes, While the gay dawn, propitious on your
way, Crimsons the east and lights the orient
day. Yet vain the hope, that waits the prom
ised bays, Though conscious merit claim the debt of
praise; Still sneering Folly wars with every art, Still ambush'd Envy aims the secret dart, Through hosts of foes the course of
glory lies, Toil wins the field and hazard gains the
prize. For dangers wait, and fears of un
known name, The long, the dreary pilgrimage of fame; Each bard invades, each judging dunce
reviews, And every critic wars with every Muse. As horror gloom'd along the dark’ning
path, When famed Ulysses2 trod the vales of
death; Terrific voices rose, and all around Dire forms sprang flaming from the rock
ing ground; Fierce Cerberus lour'd, and yawning o'er Hell flash'd the terrors of infernal day; The scornful fiends'opposed his bold
career, And sung in shrieks the prelude of his
fear. Thus at each trembling step, the Poet
hears Dread groans and hisses murmur in his
ears; In every breeze a shaft malignant flies, Cerberean forms in every rival rise; 30 There yawning wide before his path ex
tends Th' infernal gulph, where Critics are the
fiends; From gloomy Styx pale conflagrations
gleam, And dread oblivion rolls in Lethe's
3 Great Britain.-See the British Reviewers, for the fulfilment of this prediction.
The English scribblers began their abuse, by asserting that all the Americans were cowards. Subsequent events have taught them a reverent silence on that topic. They now labour, with equal wit and eloquence, to prove our univer.
MESSRS. DWIGHT AND BARLOW On the projected publication of their
Poems in London 1
December, 1775 Pleased with the vision of a deathless
name, You seek perhaps a flowery road to fame; Where distant far from ocean's stormy
roar, Wind the pure vales and smiles the tran
quil shore, Where hills sublime in vernal sweetness
rise, 1 Dwight's Conquest of Canaan, and Barlow's Vision of Columbus, afterwards enlarged and entitled, The Columbiad. This designed publication was prevented by the Revolutionary war. (This and the other notes to the poem supplied by the author in the edition of 1820.)