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Thy wretched fingers now no more shall deck,
And tie the favourite riband round his neck;
No more thy hand shall smooth his glossy hair,
And comb the wavings of his pendant ear.
Yet cease thy flowing grief, forsaken maid,
All mortal pleasures in a moment fade :
Our surest hope is in an hour destroy'd,
And love, best gift of Heaven, not long enjoy'd.
Methinks I see her frantic with despair,
Her streaming eyes, wrung hands, and flowing hair;
Her Mechlin pinners, rent, the floor bestrow,
And her torn fan gives real signs of woe.
Hence, superstition! that tormenting guest,
That haunts with fancy'd fears the coward breast;
No dread events upon this fall attend,

Stream, eyes, no more, no more thy tresses rend.
Though certain omens oft forewarn a state,
And dying lions show the monarch's fate,
Why should such fears bid Cælia's sorrow rise?
For, when a lap-dog falls, no lover dies.

Cease, Cælia, cease! restrain thy flowing tears,
Some warmer passion will dispel thy cares.
In man you'll find a more substantial bliss,
More grateful toying, and a sweeter kiss.
He's dead. O, lay him gently in the ground!
And may his tomb be by this verse renown'd:
Here Shock, the pride of all his kind, is laid,
Who fawn'd like man, but ne'er like man betray'd.'

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Gay gracefully quizzes a notorious folly of his time in his lines To a Lady on her Passion for old China.' This, also, is too lengthy to reprint in full, but a few lines here and there may be acceptable:

China's the passion of her soul :

A cup, a plate, a dish, a bowl,

Can kindle wishes in her breast,
Inflame with joy, or break her rest.

Some gems collect; some medals prize,

And view the rust with lover's eyes;

Some court the stars at midnight hours;
Some doat on Nature's charms in flowers;
But every beauty I can trace

In Laura's mind, in Laura's face;
My stars are in this brighter sphere,
My lily and my rose is here.

When I some antique jar behold,
Or white, or blue, or speck'd with gold;
Vessels so pure, and so refin'd,
Appear the types of woman-kind;
Are they not valued for their beauty,
Too fair, too fine, for household duty?
With flowers and gold and azure dy'd,
Of every house the grace and pride?
How white, how polish'd is their skin,
And valued most when only seen! . . .
Husbands, more covetous than sage,
Condemn this china-buying rage;

They count that woman's prudence little
Who sets her heart on things so brittle.
But are those wise men's inclinations
Fix'd on more strong, more sure foundations?
If all that's frail we must despise,

No human view or scheme is wise.

Are not ambition's hopes as weak?

They swell like bubbles, shine, and break.

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Here the moralist threatens almost to obscure the satirist; and we turn, for contrast, to a performance in which Gay shows his humorous powers to somewhat more obvious advantage. In the Song of Similes,' for instance, we seem to be reading the production of a Thomas Hood of the eighteenth century. There is certainly much fancy in the lines:

My passion is as mustard strong;

I sit all sober sad;

Dumb as a piper all day long,

Or like a March-hare mad. . .

Pert as a pear-monger I'd be,
If Molly were but kind;
Cool as a cucumber, could see

The rest of woman-kind.

Like a stuck-pig, I gaping stare,
And eye her o'er and o'er;
Lean as a rake, with sighs and care,-
Sleek as a mouse before.

Plump as a partridge was I known,
And soft as silk my skin;
My cheeks as fat as butter grown,
But as a goat, how thin.

I, melancholy as a cat,

Am kept awake to weep;
But she, insensible of that,
Sound as a top can sleep.

Hard is her heart as flint or stone,
She laughs to see me pale;
And merry as a grig is grown,
And brisk as bottled ale.

Ah me! as thick as hops or hail
The fine men crowd about her;
But soon as dead as a door-nail

Shall I be if without her. ..

You'll know me truer when I die,

And wish me better speed,

Flat as a flounder when I lie,

And as a herring dead.

From Gay we pass to Prior, whose witty and humorous work consists almost entirely of miscellaneous pieces of the stamp affected by Dean Swift. He wrote nothing so important as the Opera or the Fables that Gay wrote, but he surpassed the latter writer altogether in the vivacity and point of his short efforts. We all know how Thackeray has praised him. It must be confessed that he has considerably more ease and grace than any of his contem

poraries, except, perhaps, Congreve. He occasionally writes an over-pointed story; but he is rarely so thoroughly objectionable as Swift is. He may be occasionally dull, but his style has generally an airiness to which neither Pope nor Gay could pretend. He is, on the whole, not unworthy of the title sometimes accorded to him of the English Horace, though he has not the sense of form or the felicity of epithet of his Latin prototype. His favourite subject was like that of the men already mentioned-the peculiar peccadilloes of the female sex, to whom, indeed, he showed no mercy. He would write of a middle-aged belle: How old may Phillis be, you ask,

Whose beauty thus all hearts engages?

To answer is no easy task:

For she has really two ages.

Stiff in brocade, and pinch'd in stays,
Her patches, paint, and jewels on;

All day let envy view her face,
And Phillis is but twenty-one.

Paint, patches, jewels laid aside,
At night astronomers agree
The evening has the day belied;
And Phillis is some forty-three.

Sometimes he would discharge his arrows against matrimony, as, for example:

On his death-bed poor Lubin lies:

His spouse is in despair;

With frequent sighs, and mutual cries,
They both express their care.

A different cause,' says Parson Sly,
The same effect may give:

Poor Lubin fears that he may die;
His wife, that he may live.'

At others he attacks a familiar type of bore, as in these lines On a Gluttonous Parasite :'

Frank carves very ill, yet will palm all the meats;
He eats more than six, and drinks more than he eats;
Four pipes after dinner he constantly smokes,
And seasons his whiffs with impertinent jokes.
Yet sighing he says we must certainly break;
And my cruel unkindness compels him to speak;
For of late I invite him but-four times a week!

Or these, 'On a Miserly Landlord :'

Thy nags (the leanest things alive),


very hard thou lov'st to drive,

I heard thy anxious coachman say

It costs thee more in whips than hay.

Again, these On a Pedant:"

Lysander talks extremely well;

On any subject let him dwell,

His tropes and figures will content ye;

He should possess, to all degrees,

The art of talk: he practises

Full fourteen hours in four-and-twenty.

Lastly, take the famous epitaph which he wrote for him


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Nobles and heralds, by your leave,

Here lies what once was Matthew Prior,

The son of Adam and of Eve ;—

Can Bourbon or Nassau claim higher?

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Of Prior's longer pieces we cannot stop to give examples, and we can only refer to the Female Phaeton,' the Secretary,' To a Child of Quality,' and other lyrics, as displaying his peculiar manner at its best. These lyrics have not, of course, quite the point of epigram, but they are emphatically witty in their essence, and stand out prominently from the general poetic work of the Augustan age.

Congreve, perhaps, comes nearest to Prior, of all hist contemporaries, for ease and grace. Primarily a dramatist, he wrote a fair amount of verse, and always skilfully. His manner, critically examined, may be described as a combi

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