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Which still their ancient nature keep
By lodging folks dispos'd to sleep.
The cottage by such feats as these
Grown to a church by just degrees,
The hermits then desir'd their host
To ask for what he fancy'd most.
Philemon, having paus'd a while,
Return'd them thanks in homely style:
Then said, My house is grown so fine,
Methinks I still would call it mine;
I'm old, and fain would live at ease;
Make me the parson if you please.
He spoke, and presently he feels
His grazier's coat fall down his heels:
He sees, yet hardly can believe,
About each arm a pudding-sleeve;
His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
And both assum'd a sable hue;
But, being old, continued just
As threadbare, and as full of dust.
His talk was now of tithes and dues:
He smok'd his pipe, and read the news;
Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamp'd in the preface and the text;
At christenings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Wish'd women might have children fast,
And thought whose sow had farrow'd last;
Against dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for right divine;
Found his head fill'd with many a system;
But classic authors,-he ne'er miss'd 'em.
Thus having furbish'd up a parson,
Dame Baucis next they play'd their farce on.
Instead of home-spun coifs, were seen
Good pinners edg'd with colberteen;
Her petticoat, transform'd apace,
Became black satin flounc'd with lace.
Plain goody would no longer down;
"Twas madam in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes,
Amaz'd to see her look so prim;
And she admir'd as much at him.
Thus happy in their change of life
Were several years this man and wife;
When on a day, which prov'd their last,
Discoursing o'er old stories past,
They went by chance, amidst their talk,
To the church-yard to take a walk;
When Baucis hastily cry'd out,
My dear, I see your forehead sprout!
Sprout! quoth the man; what's this you tell us?
I hope you don't believe me jealous!
But yet, methinks, I feel it true;
And really yours is budding too—
Nay, now I cannot stir my foot;
It feels as if 'twere taking root.
Description would but tire my Muse ;
In short they both were turn'd to yews.
Old Goodman Dobson of the green
Remembers he the trees has seen;
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folks to show the sight:
On Sundays, after evening-prayer,
He gathers all the parish there;
Points out the place of either yew;
Here Baucis, there Philemon grew:
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn, cut Baucis down;
At which 'tis hard to be believed
How much the other tree was griev'd,
Grew scrubbed, dy'd a-top, was stunted;
So the next parson stubb'd and burnt it.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE MORNING. 1709.
Now hardly here and there an hackney coach
Appearing, show'd the ruddy morn's approach.
Now Betty from her master's bed had flown,
And softly stole to discompose her own.
The slipshod 'prentice from his master's door
Had par'd the dirt, and sprinkled round the floor.
Now Moll had whirl'd her mop with dext'rous airs,
Prepar'd to scrub the entry and the stairs.
The youth with broomy stumps began to trace
The kennel's edge, where wheels had worn the place.
The small-coal-man was heard with cadence deep,
Till drown'd in shriller notes of chimney-sweep.
Duns at his Lordship's gate began to meet;
And brick-dust Moll had scream'd through half the
The turnkey now his flock returning sees, [street.
Duly let out a-nights to steal for fees:
The watchful bailiffs take their silent stands,
And school-boys lag with satchels in their hands.
A DESCRIPTION OF A CITY SHOWER.
IN IMITATION OF VIRGIL'S GEORGICS. 1710.
Careful observers may foretel the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower.
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o'er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more.
Returning home at night, you'll find the sink
Strike your offending sense with double stink.
If you be wise, then go not far to dine;
You'll spend in coach-hire more than save in wine.
A coming shower your shooting corns presage,
Old aches will throb, your hollow tooth will rage.
Sauntering in coffee-house is Dulman seen ;
He damns the climate, and complains of spleen.
Meanwhile the south, rising with dabbled wings,
A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings,
That swill'd more liquor than it could contain,
And, like a drunkard, gives it up again.
Brisk Susan whips her linen from the rope,
While the first drizzling shower is borne aslope:
Such is that sprinkling which some careless quean
Flirts on you from her mop, but not so clean:
You fly, invoke the gods; then, turning, stop
To rail; she, singing, still whirls on the mop.
Not yet the dust had shunn'd th' unequal strife,
But, aided by the wind, fought still for life;
And, wafted with its foe by violent gust,
'Twas doubtful which was rain, and which was dust.
Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid,
When dust and rain at once his coat invade?
Sole coat! where dust cemented by the rain
Erects the nap, and leaves a cloudy stain!
Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
Threatening with deluge this devoted town.
To shops in crowds the daggled females fly,
Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy.
The templar spruce, while every spout's abroach,
Stays till 'tis fair, yet seems to call a coach.
The tuck'd-up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
While streams run down her oil'd umbrella's sides.
Here various kinds, by various fortunes led,
Commence acquaintance underneath a shed:
Triumphant Tories and desponding Whigs
Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs.
Box'd in a chair, the beau impatient sits,
While spouts run clattering o'er the roof by fits,
And ever and anon with frightful din
The leather sounds; he trembles from within.
So when Troy chairmen bore the wooden steed,
Pregnant with Greeks impatient to be freed,
(Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do,
Instead of paying chairmen, ran them through)
Laocoon struck the outside with his spear,
And each imprison'd hero quaked for fear.
Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
And bear their trophies with them as they go:
Filths of all hues and odours seem to tell
What street they sail'd from by their sight and smell.
They, as each torrent drives, with rapid force,
From Smithfield or St. 'Pulchre's shape their course,
And in huge confluence join'd at Snowhill ridge,
Fall from the conduit prone to Holborn-bridge.
Sweepings from butchers' stalls, dung, guts, and
Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in
Dead cats, and turnip-tops, come tumbling down
HORACE, BOOK I. EP. VII. ADDRESSED TO THE EARL OF Oxford.
Harley, the nation's great support,
Returning home one day from court,
(His mind with public cares possess'd,
All Europe's business in his breast)
Observ'd a parson near Whitehall
Cheapening old authors on a stall.
The priest was pretty well in case,
And show'd some humour in his face;
Look'd with an easy, careless mien,
A perfect stranger to the spleen;
Of size that might a pulpit fill,
But more inclining to sit still.
My Lord (who if a man may say 't,
Loves mischief better than his meat)
Was now dispos'd to crack a jest,
And bid friend Lewis go in quest,
(This Lewis is a cunning shaver,
And very much in Harley's favour)
In quest who might this parson be,
What was his name, of what degree;
If possible, to learn his story,
And whether he were Whig or Tory.
Lewis his patron's humour knows,
Away upon his errand goes,
And quickly did the matter sift;
Found out that it was Doctor Swift,
A clergyman of special note
For shunning those of his own coat;
Which made his brethren of the gown
Take care betimes to run him down:
No libertine, nor over nice,
Addicted to no sort of vice,
Went where he pleas'd, said what he thought;
Not rich, but ow'd no man a groat:
In state opinions à-la-mode,
He hated Wharton like a toad,
Had given the faction many a wound,
And libel'd all the junto round;
Kept company with men of wit,
Who often father'd what he writ:
His works were hawk'd in every street,
But seldom rose above a sheet:
Of late indeed the paper-stamp
Did very much his genius cramp:
And since he could not spend his fire,
He now intended to retire.
Said Harley," I desire to know From his own mouth if this be so; Step to the Doctor straight, and say, I'd have him dine with me to-day." Swift seem'd to wonder what he meant, Nor would believe my Lord had sent; So never offer'd once to stir;
But coldly said, "Your servant, sir!" "Does he refuse me?" Harley cry'd; "He does, with insolence and pride.”
Some few days after, Harley spies The Doctor fasten'd by the eyes At Charing-cross among the rout, Where painted monsters are hung out; He pull'd the string, and stopt his coach, Beckoning the Doctor to approach.
Swift, who could neither fly nor hide, Came sneaking to the chariot side, And offer'd many a lame excuse: He never meant the least abuse
My Lord-the honour you design'd— Extremely proud-but I had din'dI'm sure I never should neglectNo man alive has more respect-" "Well, I shall think of that no more, If you'll be sure to come at four."
The Doctor now obeys the summons, Likes both his company and commons; Displays his talent, sits till ten; Next day invited comes again;
Soon grows domestic, seldom fails
Either at morning or at meals:
Came early, and departed late;
In short, the gudgeon took the bait.
My Lord would carry on the jest,
And down to Windsor takes his guest.
Swift much admires the place and air,
And longs to be a canon there;
In summer, round the park to ride;
In winter, never to reside.
A canon! that's a place too mean;
No Doctor, you shall be a Dean;
Two dozen canons round your stall,
And you the tyrant o'er them all:
You need but cross the Irish seas,
To live in plenty, power, and ease.
Poor Swift departs; and, what is worse,
With borrow'd money in his purse,
Travels at least an hundred leagues,
And suffers numberless fatigues.
Suppose him now a Dean complete,
Demurely lolling in his seat;
The silver verge, with decent pride,
Stuck underneath his cushion side:
Suppose him gone through all vexations,
Patents, instalments, abjurations,
First-fruits and tenths, and chapter-treats;
Dues, payments, fees, demands, and cheats-
(The wicked laity's contriving
To hinder clergymen from thriving).
Now all the Doctor's money's spent,
His tenants wrong him in his rent;
The farmers, spitefully combin'd,
Force him to take his tithes in kind:
And Parvisol discounts arrears
By bills for taxes and repairs.
Poor Swift, with all his losses vex'd,
Not knowing where to turn him next,
Above a thousand pounds in debt,
Takes horse, and in a mighty fret
Rides day and night at such a rate,
He soon arrives at Harley's gate;
But was so dirty, pale, and thin,
Old Read would hardly let him in.
Said Harley," Welcome, Reverend Dean! What makes your worship look so lean? Why, sure you won't appear in town
In that old wig and rusty gown?
I doubt your heart is set on pelf
So much, that you neglect yourself.
What! I suppose, now stocks are high
You've some good purchase in your eye?
Or is your money out at use?"—
"Truce, good my Lord, I beg a truce,"
(The Doctor in a passion cry'd)
"Your raillery is misapply'd ;
Experience I have dearly bought;
You know I am not worth a groat:
But you resolv'd to have your jest;
And 'twas a folly to contest;
Then, since you have now done your worst, Pray leave me where you found me first."
HORACE, BOOK II. SAT. VI.
I've often wish'd that I had clear,
For life, six hundred pounds a-year,
A handsome house to lodge a friend,
A river at my garden's end,
A terrace walk, and half a rood
Of land set out to plant a wood.
Well, now I have all this and more,
I ask not to increase my store;
"But here a grievance seems to lie,
All this is mine but till I die;
I can't but think 'twould sound more clever,
To me and to my heirs for ever.
If I ne'er got or lost a groat,
By any trick, or any fault;
And if I pray by reason's rules,
And not like forty other fools:
As thus," Vouchsafe, oh gracious Maker!
To grant me this and t'other acre;
Or, if it be thy will and pleasure,
Direct my plough to find a treasure!"
But only what my station fits,
And to be kept in my right wits,
Preserve, Almighty Providence!
Just what you gave me, competence:
And let me in these shades compose
Something in verse as true as prose;
Remov'd from all th' ambitious scene,
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen."
In short, I'm perfectly content,
Let me but live on this side Trent;
Nor cross the Channel twice a year,
To spend six months with statesmen here.
I must by all means come to town,
'Tis for the service of the Crown.
"Lewis, the Dean will be of use;
Send for him up, take no excuse.'
The toil, the danger of the seas,
Great ministers ne'er think of these;
Or let it cost five hundred pound,
No matter where the money's found,
It is but so much more in debt,
And that they ne'er consider'd yet.
"Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown, Let my Lord know you're come to town." I hurry me in haste away,
Not thinking it is levee-day;
Aud find his honour in a pound,
Hemm'd by a triple circle round,
Chequer'd with ribbons blue and green:
How should I thrust myself between?
Some wag observes me thus perplex'd,
And, smiling, whispers to the next,
I thought the Dean had been too proud, To justle here among the crowd!"
Another, in a surly fit,
Tells me I have more zeal than wit,
"So eager to express your love,
You ne'er consider whom you shove,
But rudely press before a duke."
I own, I'm pleas'd with this rebuke,
And take it kindly meant, to show
What I desire the world should know.
I get a whisper, and withdraw;
When twenty fools I never saw
Come with petitions fairly penn'd,
Desiring I would stand their friend.
This humbly offers me his case-
That begs my interest for a place-
A hundred other men's affairs,
Like bees, are humming in my ears.
"To-morrow my appeal comes on;
Without your help the cause is gone-
The duke expects my lord and you,
About some great affair, at two-"
"Put my Lord Bolingbroke in mind,
To get my warrant quickly sign'd:
Consider, 'tis my first request."-
Be satisfy'd I'll do my best.
Then presently he falls to teaze,
"You may for certain, if you please:
I doubt not, if his lordship knew-
And, Mr. Dean, one word from you-"
"Tis (let me see) three years and more,
(October next it will be four)
Since Harley bid me first attend,
And chose me for an humble friend;
Would take me in his coach to chat,
And question me of this and that;
As, "What's o'clock?" And, "How's the wind?" "Whose chariot's that we left behind?"
Or gravely try to read the lines
Writ underneath the country signs;
Or," Have you nothing new to-day
From Pope, from Parnell, or from Gay?"
Such tattle often entertains
My Lord and me as far as Staines,
As once a week we travel down
To Windsor, and again to town,
Where all that passes inter nos
Might be proclaim'd at Charing-cross.
Yet some I know with envy swell,
Because they see me us'd so well:
"How think you of our friend the Dean?
I wonder what some people mean.
My Lord and he are grown so great,
Always together, tête-à-tête ;
What! they admire him for his jokes!—
See but the fortune of some folks!"
There flies about a strange report
Of some express arriv'd at court:
I'm stopp'd by all the fools I meet,
And catechis'd in every street.
"You, Mr. Dean, frequent the great;
Inform us, will the Emperor treat?
Or do the prints and papers lie?"
Faith, sir, you know as much as I.
"Ah, Doctor, how you love to jest!
'Tis now no secret"-I protest
"Tis one to me-" Then tell us. pray,
When are the troops to have their pay?"
And, though I solemnly declare
I know no more than my lord mayor,
They stand amaz'd, and think me grown The closest mortal ever known.
Thus in a sea of folly tost, My choicest hours of life are lost Yet always wishing to retreat, Oh, could I see my country seat! There leaning near a gentle brook, Sleep, or peruse some ancient book; And there in sweet oblivion drown Those cares that haunt the court and town.
A True and Faithful INVENTORY of the GooDs belonging to DR. SWIFT, Vicar of Laracor;
UPON LENDING HIS HOUSE TO THE BISHOP OF MEATH, TILL HIS PALACE WAS RE-BUILT.
An oaken, broken elbow-chair;
A cawdle-cup, without an ear;
A batter'd, shatter'd ash bedstead;
A box of deal, without a lid;
A pair of tongs, but out of joint;
A backsword-poker without point;
A pot that's crack'd across, around
With an old knotted garter bound;
An iron lock, without a key;
A wig, with hanging quite grown gray;
A curtain, worn to half a stripe:
A pair of bellows, without pipe ;
A dish, which might good meat afford once;
An Ovid, and an old Concordance;
A bottle bottom, wooden platter,
One is for meal, and one for water:
There likewise is a copper skillet,
Which runs as fast out as you fill it;
A candlestick, snuff-dish, and save-all:
And thus his household goods you have all.
These to your Lordship as a friend,
Till you have built, I freely lend:
They'll serve your Lordship for a shift;
Why not, as well as Doctor Swift?
WRITTEN AT WINDSOR, 1713.
The shepherds and the nymphs were seen
Pleading before the Cyprian Queen.
The counsel for the fair began,
Accusing the false creature man.
The brief with weighty crimes was charg'd,
On which the pleader much enlarg'd;
That Cupid now has lost his art,
Or blunts the point of every dart ;—
His altar now no longer smokes,
His mother's aid no youth invokes;
This tempts freethinkers to refine,
And bring in doubt their powers divine;
Now love is dwindled to intrigue,
And marriage grown a money league.
Which crimes aforesaid (with her leave)
Were (as he humbly did conceive)
Against our sovereign lady's peace,
Against the statute in that case,
Against her dignity and crown:
Then pray'd an answer, and sat down.
The nymphs with scorn beheld their foes:
When the defendant's counsel rose,
And, what no lawyer ever lack'd,
With impudence own'd all the fact;
But, what the gentlest heart would vex,
Laid all the fault on t'other sex.
That modern love is no such thing
As what those ancient poets sing;
A fire celestial, chaste, refin'd,
Conceiv'd and kindled in the mind;
Which, having found an equal flame,
Unites, and both become the same,
In different breasts together burn,
Together both to ashes turn.
But women now feel no such fire,
And only know the gross desire.
Their passions move in lower spheres,
Where'er caprice or folly steers,
A dog, a parrot, or an ape,
Or some worse brute in human shape,
Ingross the fancies of the fair,
The few soft moments they can spare
From visits to receive and pay,
From scandal, politics, and play,
From fans, and flounces, and brocades,
From equipage and park-parades,
From all the thousand female toys,
From every trifle that employs
The out or inside of their heads,
Between their toilets and their beds.
In a dull stream, which moving slow,
You hardly see the current flow;
If a small breeze obstruct the course,
It whirls about, for want of force,
And in its narrow circle gathers
Nothing but chaff, and straws and feathers.
The current of a female mind
Stops thus, and turns with every wind;
Thus whirling round together draws
Fools, fops, and rakes, for chaff and straws.
Hence we conclude, no women's hearts
Are won by virtue, wit, and parts:
Nor are the men of sense to blame,
For breasts incapable of flame;
The fault must on the nymphs be plac'd,
Grown so corrupted in their taste.
The pleader, having spoke his best,
Had witness ready to attest,
Who fairly could on oath depose,
When questions on the fact arose,
That every article was true;
Nor further these deponents knew:
Therefore he humbly would insist,
The bill might be with costs dismiss'd.
The cause appear'd of so much weight,
That Venus, from her judgment-seat,
Desir'd them not to talk so loud,
Else she must interpose a cloud:
For if the heavenly folk should know
These pleadings in the courts below,
That mortals here disdain to love,
She ne'er could show her face above;
For gods, their betters, are too wise
To value that which men despise.
And then, said she, my son and I
Must stroll in air, 'twixt land and sky;
Or else, shut out from heaven and earth,
Fly to the sea, my place of birth;
There live, with daggled mermaids pent,
And keep on fish perpetual Lent.
But, since the case appear'd so nice,
She thought it best to take advice.
The Muses, by their king's permission,
Though foes to love, attend the session,
And on their right hand took their places
In order; on the left, the Graces:
To whom she might her doubts propose
On all emergencies that rose.
The Muses oft were seen to frown;
The Graces half-asham'd look down;
And 'twas observ'd, there were but few
Of either sex among the crew,
Whom she or her assessors knew.
The goddess soon began to see,
Things were not ripe for a decree ;
And said she must consult her books,
The lovers' Fletas, Bractons, Cokes.
First to a dapper clerk she beckon'd,
To turn to Ovid, book the second;
She then referr'd them to a place
In Virgil (vide Dido's case):
As for Tibullus's reports,
They never pass'd for law in courts:
For Cowley's briefs, and pleas of Waller,
Still their authority was smaller.
There was on both sides much to say:
She'd hear the cause another day.
And so she did; and then a third
She heard it-there she kept her word:
But, with rejoinders or replies,
Long bills, and answers stuff'd with lies,
Demur, imparlance, and essoign,
The parties ne'er could issue join:
For sixteen years the cause was spun,
And then stood where it first begun.
Now, gentle Clio, sing or say,
What Venus meant by this delay.
The goddess, much perplex'd in mind
To see her empire thus declin'd,
When first this grand debate arose,
Above her wisdom to compose,
Conceiv'd a project in her head
To work her ends; which, if it sped,
Would show the merits of the cause
Far better than consulting laws.
In a glad hour Lucina's aid
Produc'd on earth a wondrous maid,
On whom the Queen of Love was bent
To try a new experiment.