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TO MR. ROWE'S JANE SHORE.
DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD.
PRODIGIOUS this! the frail-one of our play
From her own sex should mercy find to-day!
You might have held the pretty head aside,
Peep'd in your fans, been serious, thus, and cried,
The play may pass....but that strange creature, Shore,
I can't....indeed now....I so hate a whore....
Just as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless scull,
And thanks his stars he was not born a fool;
So from a sister sinner you shall hear,
"How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!" 10 But let me die, all raillery apart,
Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
And, did not wicked custom so contrive,
We'd be the best good-natur'd things alive.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale,
That virtuous ladies envy while they rail;
Such rage without betrays the fire within;
In some close corner of the soul they sin;
Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice,
Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice.
The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns,
Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams.
Would you enjoy soft nights, and solid dinners?
Faith, gallants, board with saints, and bed with sinners.
Well, if our author in the wife offends,
He has a husband that will make amends:
He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving;
And sure such kind good creatures may be living.
In days of old, they pardon'd breach of vows ;
Stern Cato's self was no relentless spouse:
Plu....Plutarch, what's his name, that writes his life?
Tells us, that Cato dearly lov'd his wife:
Yet if a friend, a night or so, should need her,
He'd recommend her as a special breeder.
To lend a wife, few here would scruple make;
But, pray, which of you all would take her back?
Tho' with the stoic chief our stage may ring,
The stoic husband was the glorious thing.
The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true,
And lov'd his country....but what's that to you?
Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye,
But the kind cuckold might instruct the City :
There many an honest man may copy Cato,
Who ne'er saw naked sword, or look'd in Plato.
If, after all, you think it a disgrace, That Edward's miss thus perks it in your face; To see a piece of failing flesh and blood, In all the rest so impudently good; Faith, let the modest matrons of the town Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down. 50
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1711.
The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own: yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowledgment. The reader who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the two first books that answer to their title. [P.]
IN that soft season when descending show'rs
Call forth the greens, and wake the rising flow'rs;
When op'ning buds salute the welcome day,
And earth relenting feels the genial ray;
As balmy sleep had charm'd my cares to rest,
And love itself was banish'd from my breast,
(What time the morn mysterious visions brings,
While purer slumbers spread their golden wings,)
A train of phantoms in wild order rose,
And, join'd, this intellectual sense compose.
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies,
The whole creation open to my eyes:
In air self-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rise and circling oceans flow;
Here naked rocks and empty wastes were seen,
There tow'ry cities, and the forests green :
Here sailing ships delight the wand'ring eyes;
There trees and intermingled temples rise :
Now a clear sun the shining scene displays,
The transient landscape now in clouds decays.
O'er the wide prospect as I gaz'd around,
Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound,
Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
Or billows murmʼring on the hollow shore:
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
Whose tow'ring summit ambient clouds conceal'd.
High on a rock of ice the structure lay,
Steep its ascent, and slipp'ry was the way:
The wond'rous rock like Parian marble shone,
And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone:
Inscriptions here of various names I view'd,
The greater part by hostile Time subdu'd;
Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past,
And poets once had promis'd they should last.