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TO MRS. M. B.
ON HER BIRTH-DAY. ·
Oн be thou blest with all that Heaven can send,
Long health, long youth, long pleasure, and a friend:
Not with those toys the female world admire,
Riches that vex, and vanities that tire.
With added years, if life bring nothing new,
But like a sieve let every blessing through,
Some joys still lost, as each vain year runs o'er,
And all we gain, some sad reflection more;
Is that a birth-day? 'tis alas! too clear,
"Tis but the funeral of the former year.
Let joy or ease, let affluence or content,
And the gay conscience of a life well spent,
Calm every thought, inspirit every grace,
Glow in thy heart, and smile upon thy face.
Let day improve on day, and year on year,
Without a pain, a trouble, or a fear;
Till death unfelt that tender frame destroy,
In some soft dream, or ecstacy of joy,
Peaceful sleep out the sabbath of the tomb,
And wake to raptures in a life to come.
TO MR. THOMAS SOUTHERN,
ON HIS BIRTH-DAY, 1742.
RESIGNED to live, prepared to die,
With not one sin, but poetry,
This day Tom's fair account has run
(Without a blot) to eighty-one.
Kind Boyle, before his poet lays
A table, with a cloth of bays;
And Ireland, mother of sweet singers,
Presents her harp still to his fingers.
The feast, his towering genius marks
In yonder wild goose and the larks!
The mushrooms show his wit was sudden!
And for his judgment, lo a pudden!
Roast beef, though old, proclaims him stout,
And grace, although a bard, devout.
May Toм, whom Heaven sent down to raise
The price of prologues and of plays,
Be every birth-day more a winner,
Digest his thirty-thousandth dinner;
Walk to his grave without reproach,
And scorn a rascal in a coach.
ROXANA, OR THE DRAWING-ROOM,
This Eclogue has by some been attributed to Lady Mary
ROXANA from the court returning late,
Sigh'd her soft sorrow at St. James's gate:
Such heavy thoughts lay brooding in her breast;
Not her own chairmen with more weight opprest:
They curse the cruel weight they're doom'd to bear;
She in more gentle sounds express'd her care.
Was it for this, that I these roses wear?
For this, new-set the jewels for my hair?
Ah, princess! with what zeal have I pursued!
Almost forgot the duty of a prude.
This king, I never could attend too soon;
I miss'd my prayers, to get me dress'd by noon.
For thee, ah! what for thee did I resign?
My passions, pleasures, all that e'er was mine:
I've sacrificed both modesty and ease;
Left operas, and went to filthy plays:
Double-entendres shock'd my tender ear;
Yet even this, for thee, I choose to bear:
In glowing youth, when nature bids be gay,
And every joy of life before me lay;
By honour prompted, and by pride restrain'd,
The pleasures of the young my soul disdain'd:
Sermons I sought, and with a mien severe,
Censured my neighbours, and said daily prayer.
Alas, how changed! with this same sermon-mien,
The filthy what-d'ye-call it-I have seen.
Ah, royal princess! for whose sake I lost
The reputation, which so dear had cost;
I, who avoided every public place,
When bloom and beauty bid me show my face,
Now near thee, constant, I each night abide,
With never-failing duty by my side;
Myself and daughters standing in a row,
To all the foreigners a goodly show.
Oft had your drawing-room been sadly thin,
And merchants' wives close by your side had been;
Had I not amply fill'd the empty place,
And saved your highness from the dire disgrace:
Yet Cockatilla's artifice prevails,
When all my duty and my merit fails:
That Cockatilla, whose deluding airs
Corrupts our virgins, and our youth ensnares;
So sunk her character, and lost her fame,
Scarce visited, before your highness came;
Yet for the bed-chamber 'tis she you choose,
Whilst zeal, and fame, and virtue you refuse.
Ah worthy choice; not one of all your train,
Which censures blast not, or dishonours stain.
I know the court, with all its treacherous wiles,
The false caresses, and undoing smiles.
Ah, princess! learn'd in all the courtly arts,
To cheat our hopes, and yet to gain our hearts.
ON THE PICTURE OF LADY MARY W. MONTAGU BY KNELLER.
THE playful smiles around the dimpled mouth,
That happy air of majesty and truth;
So would I draw (but oh! 'tis vain to try,
My narrow genius does the power deny)
The equal lustre of the heavenly mind,
Where every grace with every virtue 's join'd;
Learning not vain, and wisdom not severe,
With greatness easy, and with wit sincere;
With just description show the work divine,
And the whole princess in my work should shine.
TO LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU.
In beauty, or wit,
No mortal as yet
To question your empiré has dared;
But men of discerning
Have thought that in learning,
To yield to a lady was hard.
With musty dull rules,
Have reading to females denied;
So papists refuse
The Bible to use,
Lest flocks should be wise as their guide.
'Twas a woman at first
(Indeed she was curst)
In knowledge that tasted delight,
And sages agree
The laws should decree
To the first possessor the right.
Then bravely, fair dame,
Resume the old claim,
Which to your whole sex does belong;
And let men receive,
From a second bright Eve,
The knowledge of right and of wrong.
But if the first Eve
Hard doom did receive,
When only one apple had she,
What punishment new
Shall be found out for you,
Who tasting, have robb'd the whole tree?
ON MRS. PULTENEY.
WITH Scornful mien, and various toss of air,
Fantastic, vain, and insolently fair,
Grandeur intoxicates her giddy brain,
She looks ambition, and she moves disdain.
Far other carriage graced her virgin life,
But charming Gumley's lost in Pulteney's wife.
Not greater arrogance in him we find,
And this conjunction swells at least her mind:
O could the sire, renowned in glass, produce
One faithful mirror for his daughter's use!
Wherein she might her haughty errors trace,
And by reflection learn to mend her face:
The wonted sweetness to her form restore,
Be what she was, and charm mankind once more!
A FAREWELL TO LONDON.
IN THE YEAR 1715.
DEAR, damn'd, distracting town, farewell!
Thy fools no more I'll tease:
This year in peace, ye critics, dwell,
Ye harlots, sleep at ease!
To drink and droll be Rowe allow'd
Till the third watchman's toll;
Let Jervas gratis paint, and Frowde
Save three-pence and his soul.
Farewell, Arbuthnot's raillery
On every learned sot;
And Garth, the best good Christian he,
Although he knows it not.
Lintot, farewell! thy bard must go;
Farewell, unhappy Tonson!
Heaven gives thee for thy loss of Rowe,
Lean Philips, and fat Johnson,