Selected poetry of Jean de LA Fontaine by ANish Publications

The two friends

AXIOCHUS, a handsome youth of old,

And Alcibiades, (both gay and bold,)

So well agreed, they kept a beauteous belle,

With whom by turns they equally would dwell.
IT happened, one of them so nicely played,

The fav’rite lass produced a little maid,

Which both extolled, and each his own believed,

Though doubtless one or t’other was deceived.
BUT when to riper years the bantling grew,

And sought her mother’s foot-steps to pursue,

Each friend desired to be her chosen swain,

And neither would a parent’s name retain.
SAID one, why brother, she’s your very shade;

The features are the same-:-your looks pervade.

Oh no, the other cried, it cannot be

Her chin, mouth, nose, and eyes, with your’s agree;

But that as ’twill, let me her favours win,

And for the pleasure I will risk the sin.

….. The End …..

The spectacles

I LATELY vowed to leave the nuns alone,

So oft their freaks have in my page been shown.

The subject may at length fatigue the mind;

My Muse the veil howe’er is still inclined,

Conspicuously to hold to publick view,

And, ‘mong the sisters, scene and scene pursue.

Is this too much?–the nicest tricks they play;

Through soft amours oft artfully they stray,

And these in full I’d readily detail,

If I were sure the subject would not fail;

And that’s impossible I must admit,

‘Twould endless be, the tales appear so fit;

There’s not a clerk so expeditious found,

Who could record the stories known around.

The sisters to forget, were I to try,

Suspicions might arise that, by and by,

I should return: some case might tempt my pen;

So oft I’ve overrun the convent-den,

Like one who always makes, from time to time,

The conversation with his feelings chime.

But let us to an end the subject bring,

And after this, of other matters sing.
IN former times was introduced a lad

Among the nuns, and like a maiden clad;

A charming girl by all he was believed;

Fifteen his age; no doubts were then conceived;

Coletta was the name the youth had brought,

And, till he got a beard, was sister thought.
THE period howsoe’er was well employed,

And from it Agnes profit had enjoyed;

What profit?–truly better had I said,

That sister Agnes by him was misled,

And store of ills received; misfortune dire

Obliged the nun more girdle to require,

And ultimately to produce (in spite

Of ev’ry wish to guard the fact from light)

A little creature that our hist’ries say,

Was found Coletta’s features to display.
GREAT scandal quickly through the convent ran:

How could this child arrive?–the sisters ‘gan

To laugh and ask, if in an evil hour,

The mushroom could have fallen with a show’r?

Or self-created was it not supposed?

Much rage the abbess presently disclosed;

To have her holy mansion thus disgraced!

Forthwith the culprit was in prison placed.
THE father to discover next they tried;

How could he enter, pass, escape, or hide;

The walls were high; the grate was double too;

Quite small the turning-box appeared to view,

And she who managed it was very old:–

Perhaps some youthful spark has been so bold,

Cried she who was superior to the rest,

To get admitted, like a maiden dressed,

And ‘mong our flock (if rightly I surmise)

A wicked wolf is lurking in disguise.

Undress, I say, I’ll verify the fact;

No other way remains for me to act.
THE lad disguised was terrified to death;

Each plan was dissipated with a breath;

The more he thought of means from thence to get,

The greater were the obstacles he met.

At length NECESSITY (the parent found

Of stratagems and wiles, so much renowned,)

Induced the youth . . . (I scarcely can proceed)

To tie . . . expression here I clearly need;

What word will decently express the thought?

What book has got it?–where should it be sought?

You’ve heard, in days of yore that human kind,

With windows in their bosoms were designed,

Through which ’twas easy all within to see,

And suited those of medical degree.
BUT if these windows useful were believed;

‘Twas inconvenient in the heart perceived,

And women thoroughly disliked the scheme:–

They could not find the means to hide a dream.

Dame Nature howsoe’er contrived a plan:–

One lace she gave the woman, one the man,

Of equal length, and each enough no doubt,

By proper care to shut the ope throughout.

The woman much too thick her eyelets placed;

And consequently, ne’er was closely laced;

The fault was all her own: herself the cause;

The man as little merited applause,

For coarsely working, soon the hole was shut,

From which the remnant lace was left to jut;

In fact, on either side, whate’er was done,

The laces never equally would run,

And we are told, both sexes acted wrong:

The woman’s was too short; the man’s too long.
FROM this ’tis easy, it should seem to guess:

What by the youth was tied in this distress

The end of lace that by the men was left,

When nature ordered them to close the cleft:

With thread he fastened it so very well,

That all was flat as any nun or belle;

But thread or silk, you cannot find a string

To hold, what soon I fear will give a spring,

And get away, in spite of all you do;

Bring saints or angels such a scene to view,

As twenty nuns in similar array,

Strange creatures I should think them:–merely clay,

If they should at the sight unmoved remain;

I speak of nuns, howe’er, whose charms maintain

Superior rank, and like the Graces seem,

Delightful sisters! ev’ry way supreme.
THE prioress, this secret to disclose,

Appeared with spectacles upon her nose;

And twenty nuns around a dress displayed;

That convent mantua-makers never made,

Imagine to yourself what felt the youth,

‘Mid this examination of the truth.

The nice proportions and the lily charms

Soon raised within his bosom dire alarms;

Like magick operated on the string,

And from it, what was tied, soon gave a spring;

Broke loose at once, just like a mettled steed,

That, having slipt its halter, flies with speed;

Against the abbess’ nose with force it flew,

And spectacles from her proboscis threw.
THOUGH she had nearly fallen on the floor,

In thus attempting secrets to explore,

No jest she thought the accident, ’twas plain,

But would with force the discipline maintain.

A chapter instantly the lady held;

Long time upon the circumstance they dwelled.

The youthful wolf that caused the direful shock;

At length was given to the aged flock,

Who tied his hands and bound him to a tree

Face ‘gainst the wood, that none his front might see;

And while the cruel troop, with rage inflamed,

Considered of rewards that vengeance framed;

While some the besoms from the kitchen brought;

And others, in the convent ars’nal sought

The various instruments the sisters used

To punish when obedience was refused;

Another double-locked, within a room.

The nuns of tender hearts and youthful bloom:–

By chance, a friend to sly gallants appeared,

And soon removed, what most our hero feared:

A miller mounted on his mule came by,

A tight-built active lad with piercing eye;

One much admired by all the girls around;

Played well at kayles:–a good companion found.

Aha! cried he, what’s here?–a nice affair;

Young man, pray tell me who has placed thee there?

The sisters, say’st thou?–hast thou had thy fun,

And pleased thy fancy with a wanton nun?

Art satisfied?–and was she pretty too?

In truth, to judge by what appears to view,

Thou seemest thoroughly a wily wight,

That convent belles would relish morn and night.
ALAS! replied the other with a sigh,

In vain the nuns my virtue sought to try;

‘Twas my misfortune:–patience heav’n bestow;

For worlds such wickedness I would not know.
THE miller laughed at what the other spoke;

Untied his hands, and ev’ry bandage broke.

Said he, thou ninny, scruples can’st thou find

To counteract, and prove to pleasure blind?

The business clearly should to me belong;

Our rector ne’er had thought such conduct wrong,

And never would have played the fool like this;

Fly, haste away, away; I’ll thee dismiss,

First having nicely set me in thy place;

Like me thou wert not formed for soft embrace;

I’m stout and able:–quarter ne’er will ask;

Come ALL, these nuns, I’ll execute the task,

And many pranks they’ll see, unless a freak

Should happen any way the string to break.

The other never asked his wishes twice,

But tied him well, and left him in a trice.
WITH shoulders broad the miller you might see;

In Adam’s birth-attire against the tree,

Await the coming of the aged band,

Who soon appeared, with tapers in the hand,

In solemn guise, and whips and scourges dire:

The virgin troop (as convent laws require)

In full procession moved around the Wight;

Without allowing time to catch his sight,

Or giving notice what they meant to do:

How now! cried he:–why won’t you take a view?

Deceived you are; regard me well I pray;

I’m not the silly fool you had to-day,

Who woman hates, and scruples seeks to raise:

Employ but me, and soon I’ll gain your praise;

I’ll wonders execute; my strength appears;

And; if I fail, at once cut off my ears.

At certain pleasant play I’m clever found;

But as to whips–I never was renowned.
WHAT means the fellow? cried a toothless nun;

What would he tell us? Hast thou nothing done?

How!–Art thou not our brat-begetter?–speak;

So much the worse:–on thee our rage we’ll wreak,

For him that’s gone we’ll make thee suffer now;

Once arms in hand, we never will allow

Such characters full punishment to miss;

The play that we desire is THIS and THIS;

Then whips and scourges round him ‘gan to move,

And not a little troublesome to prove

The miller, writhing with the poignant smart,

Cried loudly:–I’ll exert my utmost art,

Good ladies, to perform what is your due;

The more he bawled, the faster lashes flew.

This work so well the aged troop achieved,

He long remembered what his skin received.
WHILE thus the master chastisement had got;

His mule was feeding on the verdant spot.

But what became of this or that, at last,

I’ve never heard, and care not how it past.

‘Tis quite enough to save the young gallant,

And more particulars we do not want.
My readers, for a time, could they obtain

A dozen nuns like these, where beauties reign,

Would doubtless not be seen without their dress!

We do not always ev’ry wish express.

….. The End …..

The sick Abbess

EXAMPLE often proves of sov’reign use;

At other times it cherishes abuse;

‘Tis not my purpose, howsoe’er, to tell

Which of the two I fancy to excel.

Some will conceive the Abbess acted right,

While others think her conduct very light

Be that as ’twill, her actions right or wrong,

I’ll freely give a license to my tongue,

Or pen, at all events, and clearly show,

By what some nuns were led to undergo,

That flocks are equally of flesh and blood,

And, if one passes, hundreds stem the flood,

To follow up the course the first has run,

And imitate what t’other has begun.

When Agnes passed, another sister came,

And ev’ry nun desired to do the same;

At length the guardian of the flock appeared,

And likewise passed, though much at first she feared.

The tale is this, we purpose to relate;

And full particulars we now will state.
AN Abbess once a certain illness had,

Chlorosis named, which oft proves very bad,

Destroys the rose that decorates the cheek,

And renders females languid, pale, and weak.

Our lady’s face was like a saint’s in Lent:

Quite wan, though otherwise it marked content.

The faculty, consulted on her case,

And who the dire disorder’s source would trace,

At length pronounced slow fever must succeed,

And death inevitably be decreed,

Unless;–but this unless is very strange

Unless indeed she some way could arrange;

To gratify her wish, which seemed to vex,

And converse be allowed with t’other sex:

Hippocrates, howe’er, more plainly speaks,

No circumlocutory phrase he seeks.
O JESUS! quite abashed the Abbess cried;

What is it?–fy!–a man would you provide?

Yes, they rejoined, ’tis clearly what you want,

And you will die without a brisk gallant;

One truly able will alone suffice;

And, if not such, take two we would advise.

This still was worse, though, if we rightly guess,

‘Twas by her wished, durst she the truth confess.

But how the sisterhood would see her take

Such remedies and no objection make?

Shame often causes injury and pain;

And ills concealed bring others in their train.
SAID sister Agnes, Madam, take their word;

A remedy like this would be absurd,

If, like old death, it had a haggard look,

And you designed to get by hook or crook.

A hundred secrets you retain at ease;

Can one so greatly shock and you displease?–

You talk at random, Agnes, she replied;

Now, would you for the remedy decide,

Upon your word, if you were in my place?–

Yes, madam, said the nun, and think it grace;

Still more I’d do, if necessary thought;

Your health, by me, would ev’ry way be sought,

And, if required by you to suffer this,

Not one around would less appear remiss;

Sincere affection for you I have shown,

And my regard I’ll ever proudly own.
A THOUSAND thanks the Abbess gave her friend;

The doctors said:–no use for them to send;

Throughout the convent sad distress appeared;

When Agnes, who to sage advice adhered,

And was not thought the weakest head around,

A kinder soul perhaps could not be found,

Said to the sisterhood,–What now retains

Our worthy Abbess, and her will enchains,

Is nothing but the shame of pow’rs divine,

Or else, to what’s prescribed she would resign.

Through charity will no one take the lead,

And, by example, get her to proceed?
THE counsel was by ev’ry one approved,

And commendation through the circle moved.
IN this design not one, nor grave, nor old,

Nor young, nor prioress, at all seemed cold;

Notes flew around, and friends of worth and taste,

The black, the fair, the brown, appeared in haste;

The number was not small, our records say,

Not (what might be) appearance of delay,

But all most anxious seemed the road to show,

And what the Abbess feared, at once to know;

None more sincerely ‘mong the nuns desired,

That shame should not prevent what was required.

Nor that the Abbess should, within her soul,

Retain what might injuriously control.
NO sooner one among the flock had made

The step, of which the Abbess was afraid,

But other sisters followed in the train:–

Not one behind consented to remain;

Each forward pressed, in dread to be the last;

At length, from prejudice the Abbess passed;

To such examples she at last gave way,

And, to a youth, no longer offered nay.
THE operation o’er, her lily face

Resumed the rose, and ev’ry other grace.

O remedy divine, prescription blessed!

Thy friendly aid to numbers stands confessed;

The friends of thousands, friend of nature too;

The friend of all, except where honour ‘s due.

This point of honour is another ill,

In which the faculty confess no skill.
WHAT ills in life! what mis’ries dire around,

While remedies so easy may be found!

….. The End …..

The River Scamander

I’M now disposed to give a pretty tale;

Love laughs at what I’ve sworn and will prevail;

Men, gods, and all, his mighty influence know,

And full obedience to the urchin show.

In future when I celebrate his flame,

Expressions not so warm will be my aim;

I would not willingly abuses plant,

But rather let my writings spirit want.

If in these verses I around should twirl,

Some wily knave and easy simple girl,

‘Tis with intention in the breast to place;

On such occasions, dread of dire disgrace;

The mind to open, and the sex to set

Upon their guard ‘gainst snares so often met.

Gross ignorance a thousand has misled,

For one that has been hurt by what I’ve said.
I’VE read that once, an orator renowned

In Greece, where arts superior then were found,

By law’s severe decree, compelled to quit

His country, and to banishment submit,

Resolved that he a season would employ,

In visiting the site of ancient Troy.

His comrade, Cymon, with him thither went,

To view those ruins, we so oft lament.

A hamlet had been raised from Ilion’s wall,

Ennobled by misfortune and its fall;

Where now mere names are Priam and his court;

Of all devouring Time the prey and sport.
O TROY! for me thy very name has got

Superior charms:–in story fruitful spot;

Thy famed remains I ne’er can hope to view,

That gods by labour raised, and gods o’erthrew;

Those fields where daring acts of valour shone;

So many fights were lost:–so many won.
BUT to resume my thread, and not extend

Too much the subjects which our plan suspend;

This Cymon, who’s the hero of our tale,

When walking near the banks that form the dale

Through which Scamander’s waters freely flow,

Observed a youthful charmer thither go,

To breathe the cool refreshing breeze around;

That on its verdant borders oft she’d found.

Her veil was floating, and her artless dress,

A shepherdess seemed clearly to express.

Tall, elegantly formed, with beauteous mien,

And ev’ry feature lovely to be seen,

Young Cymon felt emotion and surprise,

And thought ’twas Venus that had caught his eyes,

Who on the river’s side her charms displayed,

Those wondrous treasures all perfection made.
A GROT was nigh, to which the simple fair,

Not dreaming ills, was anxious to repair;

The heat, some evil spirit, and the place,

Invited her the moment to embrace,

To bathe within the stream that near her ran;

And instantly her project she began.
THE spark concealed himself; each charm admired;

Now this, now that, now t’other feature fired;

A hundred beauties caught his eager sight;

And while his bosom felt supreme delight,

He turned his thoughts advantages to take,

And of the maiden’s error something make;

Assumed the character, and dress; and air;

That should a wat’ry deity declare;

Within the gliding flood his vestments dipt:

A crown of rushes on his head he slipt;

Aquatick herbs and plants around he twined:

Then Mercury intreated to be kind,

And Cupid too, the wily god of hearts;

How could the innocent resist these arts?
AT length a foot so fair the belle exposed,

E’en Galatea never such disclosed;

The stream, that glided by, received the prize;

Her lilies she beheld with downcast eyes,

And, half ashamed, herself surveyed at ease,

While round the zephyrs wantoned in the breeze.
WHEN thus engaged, the lover near her drew;

At whose approach away the damsel flew,

And tried to hide within the rocky cell;

Cried Cymon, I beneath these waters dwell,

And o’er their course a sov’reign right maintain;

Be goddess of the flood, and with me reign;

Few rivers could with you like pow’rs divide;

My crystal’s clear: in me you may confide;

My heart is pure; with flow’rs I’ll deck the stream,

If worthy of yourself the flood you deem;

Too happy should this honour you bestow,

And with me, ‘neath the current, freely go.

Your fair companions, ev’ry one I’ll make

A nymph of fountains, hill, or grove, or lake;

My pow’r is great, extending far around

Where’er the eye can reach, ’tis fully found.
THE eloquence he used, her fears and dread;

Lest she might give offence by what she said,

In spite of bashfulness that bliss alloys,

Soon all concluded with celestial joys.

‘Tis even said that Cupid lent supplies;

From superstition many things arise.
THE spark withdrew, delighted by success;

Return said he:–we’ll mutually caress;

But secret prove: let none our union learn;

Concealment is to me of high concern;

To make it publick would improper be,

Till on Olympus’ mount the gods we see,

In council met, to whom I’ll state the case;

On this the new-made goddess left the place,

In ev’ry thing contented as a dove,

And fully witnessed by the god of love.

Two months had passed, and not a person knew

Their frequent meetings, pleasure to pursue.

O mortals! is it true, as we are told,

That ev’ry bliss at last is rendered cold?

The sly gallant, though not a word he said,

The grot to visit now was rarely led.
AT length a wedding much attention caught;

The lads and lasses of the hamlet sought,

To see the couple pass: the belle perceived

The very man for whom her bosom heaved,

And loudly cried, behold Scamander’s flood!

Which raised surprise; soon numbers round her stood,

Astonishment expressed, but still the fair,

Whate’er was asked, would nothing more declare,

Than, in the spacious, blue, ethereal sky,

Her marriage would be soon, they might rely.

A laugh prevailed; for what was to be done?

The god with hasty steps away had run,

And none with stones pursued his rapid flight:

The deity was quickly ought of sight.
WERE this to happen now, Scamander’s stream

Would not so easily preserve esteem;

But crimes like these (whoever was abused),

In former days, were easily excused.

With time our maxims change, and what was then,

Though wrong at present, may prevail agen.

Scamander’s spouse some raillery received;

But in the end she fully was relieved:

A lover e’en superior thought her charms,

(His taste was such) and took her to his arms.

The gods can nothing spoil! but should they cause

A belle to lose a portion of applause,

A handsome fortune give, and you’ll behold,

That ev’ry thing can be repaired by gold.

The case of conscience

THOSE who in fables deal, bestow at ease

Both names and titles, freely as they please.

It costs them scarcely any thing, we find.

And each is nymph or shepherdess designed;

Some e’en are goddesses, that move below,

From whom celestial bliss of course must flow.
THIS Horace followed, with superior art:–

If, to the trav’ller’s bed, with throbbing heart,

The chambermaid approached, ’twas Ilia found,

Or fair Egeria, or some nymph renowned.
GOD, in his goodness, made, one lovely day,

Apollo, who directs the lyrick lay,

And gave him pow’rs to call and name at will,

Like father Adam, with primordial skill.

Said he, go, names bestow that please the ear;

In ev’ry word let sweetest sound appear.

This ancient law then proves, by right divine,

WE oft are sponsors to the royal line.
WHEN pleasing tales and fables I endite,

I, who in humble verse presume to write,

May surely use this privilege of old,

And, to my fancy, appellations mould.

If I, instead of Anne, should Sylvia say,

And Master Thomas (when the case I weigh)

Should change to Adamas, the druid sage,

Must I a fine or punishment engage?

No, surely not:–at present I shall choose

Anne and the Parson for my tale to use.
WITHIN her village, Anne was thought the belle,

And ev’ry other charmer to excel.

As near a river once she chanced to stray,

She saw a youth in Nature’s pure array,

Who bathed at ease within the gliding stream;

The girl was brisk, and worthy of esteem,

Her eyes were pleased; the object gave delight;

Not one defect could be produced in sight;

Already, by the shepherdess adored,

If with the belle to pleasing flights he’d soared,

The god of love had all they wished concealed

None better know what should not be revealed.

Anne nothing feared: the willows were her shade,

Which, like Venetian blinds, a cov’ring made;

Her eyes, howe’er, across had easy view,

And, o’er the youth, each beauty could pursue.
SHE back four paces drew, at first, through shame;

Then, led by LOVE, eight others forward came;

But scruples still arose that ardour foiled,

And nearly ey’ry thing had truly spoiled.

Anne had a conscience pure as holy fire;

But how could she abstain from soft desire?

If, in the bosom chance a flame should raise,

Is there a pow’r can then subdue the blaze?

At first these inclinations she withstood;

But doubting soon, how those of flesh and blood

Could sins commit by stepping in advance,

She took her seat upon the green expanse,

And there attentively the lad observed,

With eyes that scarcely from him ever swerved.
PERHAPS you’ve seen, from Nature, drawings made?

Some Eve, or Adam, artists then persuade,

In birth-attire to stand within their view,

While they with care and taste each trait pursue;

And, like our shepherdess, their stations take,

A perfect semblance ev’ry way to make.
ANNE in her mem’ry now his image placed;

Each line and feature thoroughly she traced,

And even now the fair would there remain,

If William (so was called this youthful swain)

Had not the water left; when she retired,

Though scarcely twenty steps from him admired,

Who, more alert than usual then appeared,

And, by the belle, in silence was revered.
WHEN such sensations once were in the breast,

Love there we may believe would hardly rest.
THE favours Anne reserved he thought his own,

Though expectations oft away have flown.

The more of this I think, the less I know;

Perhaps one half our bliss to chance we owe!
BE this as ’twill, the conscientious Anne

Would nothing venture to regale her man;

Howe’er, she stated what had raised her fear,

And ev’ry thing that made her persevere.
WHEN Easter came, new difficulties rose

Then, in confession, ALL she should disclose.

Anne, passing peccadillos in review,

This case aside, as an intruder threw;

But parson Thomas made her all relate;

And ev’ry circumstance most clearly state;

That he, by knowing fully each defect,

Might punishment accordingly direct,

In which no father-confessor should err,

Who absolution justly would confer.

The parson much his penitent abused;

Said he, with sensual views to be amused,

Is such a sin, ’tis scarcely worse to steal;

The sight is just the same as if you feel.
HOWE’ER, the punishment that he imposed

Was nothing great:–too slight to be disclosed;

Enough to say, that in the country round,

The father-confessors, who there abound,

As in our own, (perhaps in ev’ry part,)

Have devotees, who, when they ought to smart,

A tribute pay, according to their lot,

And thus indulgences are often got.
THIS tribute to discharge the current year,

Much troubled Anne, and filled her breast with fear,

When William, fishing, chanced a pike to hook,

And gave it to his dear at once to cook,

Who, quite delighted, hastened to the priest,

And begged his rev’rence on the fish to feast.

The parson with the present much was pleased;

A tap upon the shoulder care appeased;

And with a smile he to the bringer said

This fish, with trifles on the table spread,

Will all complete; ’twas holyday we find,

When other clergy with our rector dined.

Will you still more oblige, the parson cried,

And let the fish at home by you be fried?

Then bring it here:–my servant’s very new,

And can’t attempt to cook as well as you.

Anne hastened back; meanwhile the priests arrived,

Much noise, and rout of course, once these were hived;

Wines from the vault were brought without delay;

Each of the quality would something say.
THE dinner served; the dean at table placed;

Their conversation various points embraced;

To state the whole would clearly endless be;

In this no doubt the reader will agree.

They changed and changed, and healths went round and round;

No time for scandal while such cheer was found;

The first and second course away were cleared,

Dessert served up, yet still no pike appeared.

The dinner o’er without th’ expected dish,

Or even a shadow of the promised fish.

When William learned the present Anne had made,

His wish, to have it cancelled, with her weighed.

The rector was surprised, you may suppose,

And, soon as from the table all arose,

He went to Anne, and called her fool and knave,

And, in his wrath, could scarcely secrets wave,

But nearly her reproached the bathing scene;

What, treat, said he, your priest like base and mean?
ANNE archly answered, with expression neat:–

The sight is just the same as if you eat!

….. The End …..

Nicaise

TO serve the shop as ‘prentice was the lot;
Of one who had the name of Nicaise got;

A lad quite ignorant beyond his trade,

And what arithmetick might lend him aid;

A perfect novice in the wily art,

That in amours is used to win the heart.

Good tradesmen formerly were late to learn

The tricks that soon in friars we discern;

They ne’er were known those lessons to begin,

Till more than down appeared upon the chin.

But now-a-days, in practice, ’tis confessed,

These shopkeepers are knowing as the best.
OUR lad of ancient date was less advanced;

At scenes of love his eyes had never glanced;

Be that as ’twill, he now was in the way,

And naught but want of wit produced delay:

A belle indeed had on him set her heart

His master’s daughter felt LOVE’S poignant smart;

A girl of most engaging mind and mien,

And always steady in her conduct seen.

Sincerity of soul or humour free,

Or whether with her taste it might agree,

A fool ’twas clear presided o’er her soul,

And all her thoughts and actions felt control.

Some bold gallant would p’erhaps inform her plain,

She ever kept wild Folly in her train,

And nothing say to me who tales relate;

But oft on reason such proceedings wait.

If you a goddess love, advance she’ll make;

Our belle the same advantages would take.

Her fortune, wit, and charm, attention drew,

And many sparks would anxiously pursue;

How happy he who should her heart obtain,

And Hymen prove he had not sighed in vain!

But she had promised, to the modest youth,

Who first was named, her confidence and truth;

The little god of pleasing soft desire

With full compliance with his whims require.
THe belle was pleased the ‘prentice to prefer:

A handsome lad with truth we may aver,

Quite young, well made, with fascinating eye:

Such charms are ne’er despised we may rely,

But treasures thought, no FAIR will e’er neglect;

Whate’er her senses say, she’ll these respect.

For one that LOVE lays hold of by the soul,

A thousand by the eyes receive control.
THIS sprightly girl with soft endearing ease,

Exerted ev’ry care the lad to please,

To his regards she never shy appeared;

Now pinched his arm, then smiled and often leered;

Her hand across his eyes would sometimes put;

At others try to step upon his foot.

To this he nothing offered in reply,

Though oft his throbbing bosom heaved a sigh.
So many tender scenes, at length we find,

Produced the explanation LOVE designed;

The youthful couple, we may well believe,

Would from each other mutual vows receive;

They neither promises nor kisses spared,

Incalculable were the numbers shared;

If he had tried to keep exact account,

He soon had been bewildered with th’ amount;

To such infinity it clearly ran,

Mistakes would rise if he pursued the plan;

A ceremony solely was required,

Which prudent girls have always much admired,

Yet this to wait gave pain and made her grieve;

From you, said she, the boon I would receive;

Or while I live the rapture never know,

That Hymen at his altar can bestow;

To you I promise, by the pow’rs divine,

My hand and heart I truly will resign.

Howe’er I’ll freely say, should Hymen fail

To make me your’s and wishes not prevail,

You must not fancy I’ll become a nun,

Though much I hope to act as I’ve begun;

To marry you would please me to the soul;

But how can WE the ruling pow’rs control?

Too much I’m confident you love my fame,

To aim at what might bring me soon to shame:

In wedlock I’ve been asked by that and this;

My father thinks these offers not amiss;

But, Nicaise, I’ll allow you still to hope,

That if with others I’m obliged to cope,

No matter whether counsellor or judge.

Since clearly ev’ry thing to such I grudge,

The marriage eve, or morn, or day, or hour,

To you I’ll give–the first enchanting flow’r.
THE lad most gratefully his thanks returned;

His breast with ev’ry soft emotion burned.

Within a week, to this sweet charmer came,

A rich young squire, who soon declared his flame;

On which she said to Nicaise:–he will do;

This spark will easily let matters through;

And as the belle was confident of that,

She gave consent and listened to his chat.

Soon all was settled and arranged the day,

When marriage they no longer would delay,

You’ll fully notice this:–I think I view

The thoughts which move around and you pursue;

‘Twas doubtless clear, whatever bliss in store,

The lady was betrothed, and nothing more.
THOUGH all was fixed a week before the day,

Yet fearing accidents might things delay,

Or even break the treaty ere complete,

She would not our apprentice fully greet,

Till on the very morn she gave her hand,

Lest chance defeated what was nicely planned.
HOWE’ER the belle was to the altar led,

A virgin still, and doomed the squire to wed,

Who, quite impatient, consummation sought,

As soon as he the charmer back had brought;

But she solicited the day apart,

And this obtained, alone by prayers and art.

‘Twas early morn, and ‘stead of bed she dressed,

In ev’ry thing a queen had thought the best;

With diamonds, pearls, and various jewels rare;

Her husband riches had, she was aware,

Which raised her into rank that dress required,

And all her neighbours envied and admired.

Her lover, to secure the promised bliss,

An hour’s indulgence gained to take a kiss.

A bow’r within a garden was the spot,

Which, for their private meeting, they had got.

A confidant had been employed around,

To watch if any one were lurking found.
THE lady was the first who thither came;

To get a nosegay was, she said, her aim;

And Nicaise presently her steps pursued,

Who, when the turf within the bow’r he viewed,

Exclaimed, oh la! how wet it is my dear!

Your handsome clothes will be spoiled I fear!

A carpet let me instantly provide?

Deuce take the clothes! the fair with anger cried;

Ne’er think of that: I’ll say I had a fall;

Such accident a loss I would not call,

When Time so clearly on the wing appears,

‘Tis right to banish scruples, cares, and fears;

Nor think of clothes nor dress, however fine,

But those to dirt or flames at once resign;

Far better this than precious time to waste,

Since frequently in minutes bliss we taste;

A quarter of an hour we now should prize,

The place no doubt will very well suffice;

With you it rests such moments to employ,

And mutually our bosoms fill with joy.

I scarcely ought to say what now I speak,

But anxiously your happiness I seek.
INDEED, the anxious, tender youth replied,

To save such costly clothes we should decide;

I’ll run at once, and presently be here;

Two minutes will suffice I’m very clear.

AWAY the silly lad with ardour flew,

And left no time objections to renew.

His wondrous folly cured the charming dame;

Whose soul so much disdained her recent flame;

That instantly her heart resumed its place,

Which had too long been loaded with disgrace:

Go, prince of fools, she to herself exclaimed,

For ever, of thy conduct, be ashamed;

To lose thee surely I can ne’er regret,

Impossible a worse I could have met.

I’ve now considered, and ’tis very plain,

Thou merit’st not such favours to obtain;

From hence I swear, by ev’ry thing above;

My husband shall alone possess my love;

And least I might be tempted to betray,

To him I’ll instantly the boon convey,

Which Nicaise might have easily received;

Thank Heav’n my breast from folly is relieved.

This said, by disappointment rendered sour,

The beauteous bride in anger left the bow’r.

Soon with the carpet simple Nicaise came,

And found that things no longer were the same.
THE lucky hour, ye suitors learn I pray,

Is not each time the clock strikes through the day,

In Cupid’s alphabet I think I’ve read,

Old Time, by lovers, likes not to be led;

And since so closely he pursues his plan,

‘Tis right to seize him, often as you can.

Delays are dangerous, in love or war,

And Nicaise is a proof they fortune mar.
QUITE out of breath with having quickly run;

Delighted too that he so soon had done,

The youth returned most anxious to employ,

The carpet for his mistress to enjoy,

But she alas! with rage upon her brow,

Had left the spot, he knew not why nor how;

And to her company returned in haste

The flame extinguished that her mind disgraced.

Perhaps she went the jewel to bestow,

Upon her spouse, whose breast with joy would glow:

What jewel pray?–The one that ev’ry maid

Pretends to have, whatever tricks she’s played.

This I believe; but I’ll no dangers run;

To burn my fingers I’ve not yet begun;

Yet I allow, howe’er, in such a case,

The girl, who fibs, therein no sin can trace.
OUR belle who, thanks to Nicaise, yet retained;

In spite of self, the flow’r he might have gained,

Was grumbling still, when he the lady met

Why, how is this, cried he, did you forget,

That for this carpet I had gone away?

When spread, how nicely on it we might play!

You’d soon to woman change the silly maid;

Come, let’s return, and not the bliss evade;

No fear of dirt nor spoiling of your dress;

And then my love I fully will express.
NOT so, replied the disappointed dame,

We’ll put it off:–perhaps ‘twould hurt your frame

Your health I value, and I would advise,

To be at ease, take breath, and prudence prize;

Apprentice in a shop you now are bound

Next ‘prentice go to some gallant around;

You’ll not so soon his pleasing art require,

Nor to your tutorage can I now aspire.

Friend Nicaise take some neighb’ring servant maid,

You’re quite a master in the shopping trade;

Stuffs you can sell, and ask the highest price;

And to advantage turn things in a trice.

But opportunity you can’t discern;

To know its value,–prithee go and learn.

….. The End …..

The truckers

THE change of food enjoyment is to man;

In this, t’include the woman is my plan.

I cannot guess why Rome will not allow

Exchange in wedlock, and its leave avow;

Not ev’ry time such wishes might arise,

But, once in life at least, ’twere not unwise;

Perhaps one day we may the boon obtain;

Amen, I say: my sentiments are plain;

The privilege in France may yet arrive

There trucking pleases, and exchanges thrive;

The people love variety, we find;

And such by heav’n was ere for them designed.
ONCE there dwelled, near Rouen, (sapient clime)

Two villagers, whose wives were in their prime,

And rather pleasing in their shape and mien,

For those in whom refinement ‘s scarcely seen.

Each looker-on conceives, LOVE needs not greet

Such humble wights, as he would prelates treat.
IT happened, howsoe’er, both weary grown,

Of halves that they so long had called their own;

One holyday, with them there chanced to drink

The village lawyer (bred in Satan’s sink);

To him, said one of these, with jeering air,

Good mister Oudinet, a strange affair

Is in my head: you’ve doubtless often made

Variety of contracts; ’tis your trade:

Now, cannot you contrive, by one of these,

That men should barter wives, like goods, at ease?

Our pastor oft his benefice has changed;

Is trucking wives less easily arranged?

It cannot be, for well I recollect,

That Parson Gregory (whom none suspect)

Would always say, or much my mem’ry fails,

My flock ‘s my wife: love equally prevails;

He changed; let us, good neighbour do the same;

With all my heart, said t’other, that’s my aim;

But well thou know’st that mine’s the fairest face,

And, Mister Oudinet, since that’s the case,

Should he not add, at least, his mule to boot?

My mule? rejoined the first, that will not suit;

In this world ev’ry thing has got its price:

Mine I will change for thine and that ‘s concise.

Wives are not viewed so near; naught will I add;

Why, neighbour Stephen, dost thou think me mad,

To give my mule to boot?–of mules the king;

Not e’en an ass I’d to the bargain bring;

Change wife for wife, the barter will be fair;

Then each will act with t’other on the square.
THE village lawyer now the friends addressed:

Said he, Antoinetta is confessed

To have superior charms to those of Jane;

But still, if I may venture to be plain,

Not always is the best what meets the eye,

For many beauties in concealment lie,

Which I prefer; and these are hid with care;

Deceptions, too, are practised by the FAIR;

Howe’er, we wish the whole to be disclosed,

Too much, ’tis said, they must not be exposed.
NOW, neighbours, let us fair arrangement make:

A pig in poke you’d neither give nor take;

Confront these halves in nature’s birth-day suit;

To neither, then, will you deceit impute.

The project was most thoroughly approved;

Like inclination both the husbands moved.
ANTOINETTA, said the second spouse,

Has neither ill nor scratch her fears to rouse.

Jane, cried the first, is ev’ry way complete;

No freckles on the skin: as balm she’s sweet:

Antoinetta is, her spouse replied,

Ambrosia ev’ry way: no fault to hide.
SAID t’other:–Don’t so confident appear;

Thou know’st not Jane: her ways would marble cheer;

And there’s a play:–thou understand’st no doubt?

To this rejoined the second village lout,

One diff’rence only have my wife and I:

Which plays the prettiest wiles is what we try;

Thou’lt very soon of these know how to think;

Here’s to thee, neighbour; Mister Oud’net, drink;

Come, toast Antoinetta; likewise Jane;

The mule was granted, and the bargain plain:

Our village lawyer promised to prepare,

At once, the writings, which would all declare.

This Oudinet a good apostle proved

Well paid for parchment, or he never moved:

By whom was payment made?–by both the dames;

On neither husband showed he any claims.
THE village clowns some little time supposed

That all was secret: not a hint disclosed;

The parson of it, howsoe’er, obtained

Some intimation, and his off’rings gained.

I was not present, fully I admit;

But rarely clergymen their dues will quit.

The very clerk would not remit his fee:–

All those who serve the church in this agree.
THE permutation could not well be made,

But scandal would such practices upbraid;

In country villages each step is seen;

Thus, round the whisper went of what had been,

And placed at length the thorn where all was ease;

The pow’rs divine alone it could displease.

‘Twas pleasant them together to behold;

The wives, in emulation, were not cold;

In easy talk they’d to each other say:

How pleasing to exchange from day to day!

What think you, neighbour, if, to try our luck,

For once we’ve something new, and valets truck?

This last, if made, the secret had respect;

The other had at first a good effect.
FOR one good month the whole proceeded well;

But, at the end, disgust dispersed the spell;

And neighbour Stephen, as we might suppose,

Began dissatisfaction to disclose;

Lamented much Antoinetta’s stop;

No doubt he was a loser by the swop;

Yet neighbour Giles expressed extreme regret,

That t’other from him ought to boot should get:

Howe’er, he would retrucking not consent,

So much he otherwise appeared content.
IT happened on a day, as Stephen strayed

Within a wood, he saw, beneath a shade,

And near the stream, asleep, and quite alone,

Antoinetta, whom he wished his own.

He near her drew, and waked her with surprise;

The change ne’er struck her when she ope’d her eyes;

The gay gallant advantage quickly took,

And, what he wished, soon placed within his hook.

‘Tis said, he found her better than at first;

Why so? you ask: was she then at the worst?

A curious question, truly, you’ve designed;

In Cupid’s am’rous code of laws you’ll find–

Bread got by stealth, and eat where none can spy,

Is better far than what you bake or buy;

For proof of this, ask those most learn’d in love

Truth we prefer, all other things above;

Yet Hymen, and the god of soft desire,

How much soe’er their union we admire,

Are not designed together bread to bake;

In proof, the sleeping scene for instance take.

Good cheer was there: each dish was served with taste;

The god of love, who often cooks in haste,

Most nicely seasoned things to relish well;

In this he’s thought old Hymen to excel.
ANTOINETTA, to his clasp restored,

Our neighbour Stephen, who his wife adored,

Quite raw, howe’er, in this, exclaimed apart

Friend Giles has surely got some secret art,

For now my rib displays superior charms,

To what she had, before she left my arms.

Let’s take her back, and play the Norman trick

Deny the whole, and by our priv’lege stick.
IMMEDIATELY he ev’ry effort tried,

To get the bargain fully set aside.

Giles, much distressed, exerted all his might,

To keep his prize, and prove his conduct right.

The cause was carried to the bishop’s court;

Much noise it made, according to report.

At length the parliament would hear the claim,

And judge a case of such peculiar fame.
THE village lawyer, Oudinet, was brought;

From him, who drew the contract, truth was sought;

There rests the cause, for ’tis of recent date;

While undecided, more we cannot state.
HOW silly neighbour Stephen must appear!

He went against his int’rest now ’tis clear;

For, when superior pleasure he was shown,

The fascinating fair was not his own.

Good sense would whisper then, ’twere full as well,

To let remain with Giles the beauteous belle;

Save now and then, within the leafy shade,

Where oft Antoinetta visits made,

And warbled to the shrubs and trees around;

There he might easily the nymph have found,

But, if with ease it could not be obtained,

Still greater pleasure he would then have gained.
GO preach me this to silly country louts;

These, howsoe’er, had managed well their bouts,

It must not be denied, and all was nice;

To do the like perhaps ’twill some entice.

I much regret my lot was not the same,

Though doubtless many will my wishes blame.

….. The End …..

Poem

SICK, Alice grown, and fearing dire event,

Some friend advised a servant should be sent

Her confessor to bring and ease her mind;–

Yes, she replied, to see him I’m inclined;

Let father Andrew instantly be sought:–

By him salvation usually I’m taught.
A MESSENGER was told, without delay,

To take, with rapid steps, the convent way;

He rang the bell–a monk enquired his name,

And asked for what, or whom, the fellow came.

I father Andrew want, the wight replied,

Who’s oft to Alice confessor and guide:

With Andrew, cried the other, would you speak?

If that’s the case, he’s far enough to seek;

Poor man! he’s left us for the regions blessed,

And has in Paradise ten years confessed.

….. The End …..

The Cobbler

WE’RE told, that once a cobbler, BLASE by name;

A wife had got, whose charms so high in fame;

But as it happened, that their cash was spent,

The honest couple to a neighbour went,

A corn-factor by trade, not overwise

To whom they stated facts without disguise;

And begged, with falt’ring voice denoting care,

That he, of wheat, would half a measure spare,

Upon their note, which readily he gave,

And all advantages desired to wave.
THE time for payment came; the money used;

The cash our factor would not be refused;

Of writs he talked, attorneys, and distress;

The reason:–heav’n can tell, and you may guess;

In short, ’twas clear our gay gallant desired,

To cheer the wife, whose beauty all admired.
SAID he, what anxiously I wish to get,

You’ve plenty stored, and never wanted yet;

You surely know my meaning?–Yes, she cried;

I’ll turn it in my mind, and we’ll decide

How best to act. Away she quickly flew,

And Blase informed, what Ninny had in view.

Zounds! said the cobbler, we must see, my dear,

To hook this little sum:–the way is clear;

No risk I’m confident; for prithee run

And tell him I’ve a journey just begun;

That he may hither come and have his will;

But ‘ere he touch thy lips, demand the bill;

He’ll not refuse the boon I’m very sure;

Meantime, myself I’ll hide and all secure.

The note obtained, cough loudly, strong, and clear;

Twice let it be, that I may plainly hear;

Then forth I’ll sally from my lurking place,

And, spite of folly’s frowns, prevent disgrace.
THE, plot succeeded as the pair desired;

The cobbler laughed, and ALL his scheme admired:
A purse-proud cit thereon observed and swore;

‘Twere better to have coughed when all was o’er;

Then you, all three, would have enjoyed your wish,

And been in future all as mute as fish.
OH! sir, replied the cobbler’s wife at ease,

Do you suppose that use can hope to please,

And like your ladies full of sense appear?

(For two were seated with his wedded dear

Perhaps my lady ‘d act as you describe,

But ev’ry one such prudence don’t imbibe.

….. The End …..

The Cylster

IF truth give pleasure, surely we should try;

To found our tales on what we can rely;

Th’ experiment repeatedly I’ve made,

And seen how much realities persuade:

They draw attention: confidence awake;

Fictitious names however we should take,

And then the rest detail without disguise:

‘Tis thus I mean to manage my supplies.
IT happened then near Mans, a Normand town,

For sapient people always of renown,

A maid not long ago a lover had

Brisk, pleasing, ev’ry way a handsome lad;

The down as yet was scarcely on his chin;

The girl was such as many wished to win:

Had charms and fortune, all that was desired,

And by the Mansian sparks was much admired;

Around they swarmed, but vain was all their art

Too much our youth possessed the damsel’s heart.
THE parents, in their wisdom, meant the fair

Should marry one who was a wealthy heir;

But she contrived to manage matters well;

In spite of ev’ry thing which might repel,

(I know not how) at length he had access;

Though whether through indulgence or address,

It matters not: perhaps his noble blood

Might work a change when fully understood:

The LUCKY, ev’ry thing contrives to please;

The rest can nothing but misfortune seize.
THE lover had success; the parents thought

His merit such as prudence would have sought;

What more to wish?–the miser’s hoarded store:

The golden age’s wealth is now no more,

A silly shadow, phantom of the brain;

O happy time! I see indeed with pain,

Thou wilt return:–in MAINE thou shalt arise;

Thy innocence, we fondly may surmise,

Had seconded our lover’s ardent flame,

And hastened his possession of the dame.
THE slowness usually in parents found,

Induced the girl, whose heart by LOVE was bound;

To celebrate the Hymeneal scene,

As in the statutes of Cythera’s queen.

Our legendary writers this define

A present contract, where they nothing sign;

The thing is common;–marriage made in haste:

LOVE’S perparation: Hymen’s bit for taste.

NOT much examination Cupid made,

As parent, lawyer, priest, he lent his aid,

And soon concluded matters as desired;

The Mansian wisdom no ways was required.
OUR spark was satisfied, and with his belle,

Passed nights so happy, nothing could excel;

‘Twere easy to explain;–the double keys,

And gifts designed the chambermaid to please,

Made all secure, and ev’ry joy abound;

The soft delights with secrecy were crowned.
IT happened that our fair one evening said,

To her who of each infant step had led,

But of the present secret nothing knew:–

I feel unwell; pray tell me what to do.

The other answered, you my dear must take

A remedy that easily I’ll make,

A clyster you shall have to-morrow morn:

By me most willingly it will be borne.
WHEN midnight came the sly gallant appeared,

Unluckily no doubt, but he revered

The moments that so pleasantly were passed,

Which always seemed, he thought, to glide too fast;

Relief he sought, for ev’ry one below

Is destined torments more or less to know.

He not a word was told of things designed,

And just as our gallant to sleep inclined,

As oft’s the case at length with lovers true,

Quite open bright Aurora’s portals flew,

And with a smile the aged dame arrived;

The apparatus properly contrived,

Was in her hand, she hastened to the bed,

And took the side that to the stripling led.
OUR lady fair was instantly confused,

Or she precaution properly had used,

‘Twas easy to have kept a steady face,

And ‘neath the clothes the other’s head to place.

Pass presently beyond the hidden swain,

And t’other side with rapid motion gain,

A thing quite natural, we should suppose;

But fears o’erpow’red; the frightened damsel chose

To hide herself, then whispered her gallant,

What mighty terrors made her bosom pant.

The youth was sage, and coolly undertook

To offer for her:–t’other ‘gan to look,

With spectacles on nose: soon all went right;

Adieu, she cried, and then withdrew from sight.

Heav’n guard her steps, and all conduct away,

Whose presence secret friendships would betray:
SHOULD this be thought a silly, idle tale;

(And that opinion may perhaps prevail)

To censure me, enough will surely try,

For criticks are severe, and these will cry,

Your lady like a simpleton escaped;

Her character you better might have shaped;

Which makes us doubt the truth of what is told:

Naught in your prologue like it we behold.
‘TWERE sueless to reply: ‘twould endless prove:

No arguments such censurers could move;

On men like these, devoid of sense or taste,

In vain might Cicero his rhet’rick waste.

Sufficient ’tis for me, that what is here,

I got from those who ev’ry-where appear

The friends of truth:–let others say the same;

What more would they expect should be my aim?

….. The End ….

The Contract

THE husband’s dire mishap, and silly maid,

In ev’ry age, have proved the fable’ said;

The fertile subject never will be dry:

‘Tis inexhaustible, you may rely.

No man’s exempt from evils such as these:–

Who thinks himself secure, but little sees.

One laughs at sly intrigues who, ere ’tis long,

May, in his turn, be sneered at by the throng:

With such vicissitudes, to be cast down,

Appears rank nonsense worthy Folly’s crown.

He, whose adventures I’m about to write,

In his mischances,–found what gave delight.
A CERTAIN Citizen, with fortune large,

When settled with a handsome wife in charge,

Not long attended for the marriage fruit:

The lady soon put matters ‘yond dispute;

Produced a girl at first, and then a boy,

To fill th’ expecting parent’s breast with joy.
THE son, when grown of size, a tutor had,

No pedant rude, with Greek and Latin mad,

But young and smart, a master too of arts,

Particularly learned in what imparts,

The gentle flame, the pleasing poignant pang,

That Ovid formerly so sweetly sang.

Some knowledge of good company he’d got;

A charming voice and manner were his lot;

And if we may disclose the mystick truth,

‘Twas Cupid who preceptor made the youth.

He with the brother solely took a place,

That better he the sister’s charms might trace;

And under this disguise he fully gained

What he desired, so well his part he feigned:

An able master, or a lover true,

To teach or sigh, whichever was in view,

So thoroughly he could attention get,

Success alike in ev’ry thing he met.
IN little time the boy could construe well

The odes of Horace:–Virgil’s fable tell;

And she whose beauty caught the tutor’s eyes,

A perfect mistress got of heaving sighs.

So oft she practised what the master taught,

Her stomach feeble grew, whate’er was sought;

And strange suspicions of the cause arose,

Which Time at length was driven to disclose.
MOST terribly the father raged and swore;

Our learned master, frightened, left the door,

The lady wished to take the youth for life;

The spark desired to make the girl his wife;

Both had the Hymeneal knot in view,

And mutual soft affection fondly knew.

At present love is little more than name:

In matrimony, gold’s the only aim.

The belle was rich, while he had nothing got;

For him ’twas great:–for her a narrow lot.
O DIRE corruption, age of wretched ways!

What strange caprice such management displays!

Shall we permit this fatal pow’r to reign?

Base int’rest’s impulse: hideous modern stain;

The curse of ev’ry tender soft delight,

That charms the soul and fascinates the sight.
BUT truce to moral; let’s our tale resume;

The daughter scared; the father in a fume;

What could be done the evil to repair,

And hide the sad misfortune of the fair?

What method seek?–They married her in haste;

But not to him who had the belle debased,

For reasons I’ve sufficiently detailed;

To gain her hand a certain wight prevailed,

Who store of riches relished far above

The charms of beauty, warmed with fondest love.

Save this the man might well enough be thought:

In family and wealth just what was sought;

But whether fool or not, I cannot trace,

Since he was unacquainted with the case;

And if he’d known it, was the bargain bad?

Full twenty thousand pounds he with her had

A sprightly youthful wife to ease his care,

And with him ev’ry luxury to share.
HOW many tempted by the golden ore,

Have taken wives whose slips they know before;

And this good man the lady chaste believed,

So truly well she managed and deceived.

But when four months had passed, the fair-one showed.

How very much she to her lessons owed;

A little girl arrived: the husband stared

Cried he, what father of a child declared!

The time’s too short: four months! I’m taken in!

A family should not so soon begin.
AWAY he to the lady’s father flew,

And of his shame a horrid picture drew;

Proposed to be divorced: much rage disclosed;

The parent smiled and said, pray be composed;

Speak not so loud: we may be overheard,

And privacy is much to be preferred.

A son-in-law, like you, I once appeared,

And similar misfortune justly feared;

Complaint I made, and mentioned a divorce;

Of heat and rage the ordinary course.
THE father of my wife, who’s now no more,

(Heav’n guard his soul, the loss I oft deplore,)

A prudent honest man as any round,

To calm my mind, a nice specifick found;

The pill was rather bitter, I admit;

But gilding made it for the stomach fit,

Which he knew how to manage very well:

No doctor in it him could e’er excel;

To satisfy my scruples he displayed

A CONTRACT (duly stamped and ably made),

Four thousand to secure, which he had got,

On similar occasion for a blot;

His lady’s father gave it to efface

Domestick diff’rences and like disgrace:

With this my spouse’s fortune he increased;

And instantly my dire complaining ceased.

From family to family the deed

Should pass, ’twill often prove a useful meed;

I kept it for the purpose:–do the same

Your daughter, married, may have equal blame.

On this the son-in-law the bond received,

And, with a bow, departed much relieved.
MAY Heav’n preserve from trouble those who find,

At cheaper rate, to be consoled inclined.

….. The End …..

The Glutton

A STURGEON, once, a glutton famed was led

To have for supper–all, except the head.

With wond’rous glee he feasted on the fish;

And quickly swallowed down the royal dish.

O’ercharged, howe’er, his stomach soon gave way;

And doctors were required without delay.
THE danger imminent, his friends desired

He’d settle ev’ry thing affairs required.

Said he, in that respect I’m quite prepared;

And, since my time so little is declared,

With diligence, I earnestly request,

The sturgeon’s head you’ll get me nicely dressed.

The Gascon

I AM always inclined to suspect

The best story under the sun

As soon as by chance I detect

That teller and hero are one.
We’re all of us prone to conceit,

And like to proclaim our own glory,

But our purpose we’re apt to defeat

As actors in chief of our story.
To prove the truth of what I state

Let me an anecdote relate:

A Gascon with his comrade sat

At tavern drinking. This and that

He vaunted with assertion pat.

From gasconade to gasconade

Passed to the conquests he had made

In love. A buxom country maid,

Who served the wine, with due attention

Lent patient ear to each invention,

And pressed her hands against her side

Her bursting merriment to hide.

To hear our Gascon talk, no Sue

Nor Poll in town but that he knew;

With each he’d passed a blissful night

More to their own than his delight.

This one he loved for she was fair,

That for her glossy ebon hair.

One miss, to tame his cruel rigour,

Had brought him gifts.–She owned his vigour

In short it wanted but his gaze

To set each trembling heart ablaze.

His strength surpassed his luck,–the test–

In one short night ten times he’d blessed

A dame who gratefully expressed

Her thanks with corresponding zest.

At this the maid burst forth, “What more?

“I never heard such lies before!

“Content were I if at that sport

“I had what that poor dame was short.

….. The End …..

The Falcon

I RECOLLECT, that lately much I blamed,

The sort of lover, avaricious named;

And if in opposites we reason see,

The liberal in paradise should be.

The rule is just and, with the warmest zeal,

To prove the fact I to the CHURCH appeal.
IN Florence once there dwelled a gentle youth,

Who loved a certain beauteous belle with truth;

O’er all his actions she had full control;–

To please he would have sold his very soul.

If she amusements wished, he’d lavish gold,

Convinced in love or war you should be bold;

The cash ne’er spare:–invincible its pow’rs,

O’erturning walls or doors where’er it show’rs.

The precious ore can every thing o’ercome;

‘Twill silence barking curs: make servants dumb;

And these can render eloquent at will:–

Excel e’en Tully in persuasive skill;

In short he’d leave no quarter unsubdued,

Unless therein the fair he could include.
SHE stood th’ attack howe’er, and Frederick failed;

His force was vain whenever he assailed;

Without the least return his wealth he spent:

Lands, houses, manors of immense extent,

Were ev’ry now and then to auction brought;

To gratify his love was all he thought.
THE rank of ‘squire till lately he had claimed;

Now scarcely was he even mister named;

Of wealth by Cupid’s stratagems bereft,

A single farm was all the man had left;

Friends very few, and such as God alone,

Could tell if friendship they might not disown;

The best were led their pity to express;

‘Twas all he got: it could not well be less;

To lend without security was wrong,

And former favours they’d forgotten long;

With all that Frederick could or say or do,

His liberal conduct soon was lost to view.
WITH Clytia he no longer was received,

Than while he was a man of wealth believed;

Balls, concerts, op’ras, tournaments, and plays,

Expensive dresses, all engaging ways,

Were used to captivate this lady fair,

While scarcely one around but in despair,

Wife, widow, maid, his fond affection sought;

To gain him, ev’ry wily art was brought;

But all in vain:–by passion overpow’red,

The belle, whose conduct others would have soured,

To him appeared a goddess full of charms,

Superior e’en to Helen, in his arms;

From whence we may conclude, the beauteous dame

Was always deaf to Fred’rick’s ardent flame.
ENAMOURED of the belle, his lands he sold;

The family estates were turned to gold;

And many who the purchases had made,

With pelf accumulated by their trade,

Assumed the airs of men of noble birth:–

Fair subjects oft for ridicule and mirth!
RICH Clytia was, and her good spouse, ’tis said,

Had lands which far and wide around were spread;

No cash nor presents she would ever take,

Yet suffered Frederick splendid treats to make,

Without designing recompense to grant,

Or being more than merely complaisant.
ALREADY, if my mem’ry do not fail,

I’ve said, the youth’s estates were put to sale,

To pay for feasts the fair to entertain,

And what he’d left was only one domain,

A petty farm to which he now retired;

Ashamed to show where once so much admired,

And wretched too, a prey to lorn despair,

Unable to obtain by splendid care,

A beauty he’d pursued six years and more,

And should for ever fervently adore.

His want of merit was the cause he thought,

That she could never to his wish be brought,

While from him not a syllable was heard,

Against the lovely belle his soul preferred.
‘MID poverty oft Fred’rick sighed and wept;

A toothless hag–his only servant kept;

His kitchen cold; (where commonly he dwelled

A pretty decent horse his stable held;

A falcon too; and round about the grange,

Our quondam ‘squire repeatedly would range,

Where oft, to melancholy, he was led,

To sacrifice the game which near him fed;

By Clytia’s cruelty the gun was seized,

And feathered victims black chagrin appeased.
‘TWAS thus the lover whiled his hours away;

His heart-felt torments nothing could allay;

Blessed if with fortune love he’d also lost,

Which constantly his earthly comforts crossed;

But this lorn passion preyed upon his mind:–

Where’er he rode, BLACK CARE would mount behind.
DEATH took at length the husband of the fair;

An only son appointed was his heir,

A sickly child, whose life, ’twas pretty plain,

Could scarcely last till spring returned again,

Which made the husband, by his will, decree,

His wife the infant’s successor should be,

In case the babe at early years should die,

Who soon grew worse and raised the widow’s sigh.
TOO much affection parents ne’er can show:–

A mother’s feelings none but mothers know.
FAIR Clytia round her child with anxious care,

Watched day and night, and no expense would spare;

Inquired if this or that would please his taste;

What he desired should be procured with haste;

But nothing would he have that she proposed;

An ardent wish howe’er the boy disclosed,

For Fred’rick’s Falcon, and most anxious grew:–

Tear followed tear, and nothing else would do.

When once a child has got a whim in brain,

No peace, no rest, till he the boon obtain.
WE should observe our belle, near Fred’rick’s cot,

A handsome house and many lands had got;

‘Twas there the lovely babe had lately heard,

Most wondrous stories of the bird averred;

No partridge e’er escaped its rapid wing:–

On every morn down numbers it would bring;

No money for it would its owner take;

Much grieved was Clytia such request to make.

The man, for her, of wealth had been bereft;

How ask the only treasure he had left?

And him if she were led to importune,

Could she expect that he’d accord the boon?

Alas! ungratefully she oft repaid,

His liberal treats, his concerts, serenade,

And haughtily behaved from first to last:

How be so bold, (reflecting on the past,)

To see the man that she so ill had used?

And ask a favour?–could she be excused?

But then her child!–perhaps his life ‘twould save;

Naught would he take; the falcon she must crave.
THAT her sweet babe might be induced to eat,

So meant the bird of Fred’rick to intreat;

Her boy was heard continually to cry,

Unless he had the falcon, he should die.
THESE reasons strongly with the mother weighed;

Her visit to the ‘squire was not delayed;

With fond affection for her darling heir,

One morn, alone she sought the lorn repair.
TO Fred’rick’s eye an angel she appeared;

But shame he felt, that she, his soul revered,

Should find him poor:–no servants to attend,

Nor means to give a dinner to a friend.

The poverty in which he now was viewed,

Distressed his mind and all his griefs renewed.

Why come? said he; what led you thus to trace,

An humble slave of your celestial face?

A villager, a wretched being here;

Too great the honour doubtless must appear;

‘Twas somewhere else you surely meant to go?

The lady in a moment answered no.

Cried he, I’ve neither cook nor kettle left;

Then how can I receive you, thus bereft?

But you have bread, said Clytia:–that will do;–

The lover quickly to the poultry flew,

In search of eggs; some bacon too he found;

But nothing else, except the hawk renowned,

Which caught his eye, and instantly was seized,

Slain, plucked, and made a fricassee that pleased.
MEANWHILE the house-keeper for linen sought;

Knives, forks, plates, spoons, cups, glass and chairs she

brought;

The fricassee was served, the dame partook,

And on the dish with pleasure seemed to look.
THE dinner o’er, the widow then resolved,

To ask the boon which in her mind resolved.

She thus begun:–good sir, you’ll think me mad,

To come and to your breast fresh trouble add;

I’ve much to ask, and you will feel surprise,

That one, for whom your love could ne’er suffice,

Should now request your celebrated bird;

Can I expect the grant?–the thought ‘s absurd

But pardon pray a mother’s anxious fear;

‘Tis for my child:–his life to me is dear.

The falcon solely can the infant save;

Yet since to you I nothing ever gave,

For all your kindness oft on me bestowed;

Your fortune wasted:–e’en your nice abode,

Alas! disposed of, large supplies to raise,

To entertain and please in various ways:

I cannot hope this falcon to obtain;

For sure I am the expectation’s vane;

No, rather perish child and mother too;

Than such uneasiness should you pursue:

Allow howe’er this parent, I beseech,

Who loves her offspring ‘yond the pow’r of speech,

Or language to express, her only boy,

Sole hope, sole comfort, all her earthly joy,

True mother like, to seek her child’s relief,

And in your breast deposit now her grief.

Affection’s pow’r none better know than you,–

How few to love were ever half so true!

From such a bosom I may pardon crave

Soft pity’s ever with the good and brave!
ALAS! the wretched lover straight replied,

The bird was all I could for you provide;

‘Twas served for dinner.–Dead?–exclaimed the dame,

While trembling terror overspread her frame.

No jest, said he, and from the soul I wish,

My heart, instead of that, had been the dish;

But doomed alas! am I by fate, ’tis clear,

To find no grace with her my soul holds dear:

I’d nothing left; and when I saw the bird,

To kill it instantly the thought occurred;

Those naught we grudge nor spare to entertain,

Who o’er our feeling bosoms sov’reign reign:

All I can do is speedily to get,

Another falcon: easily they’re met;

And by to-morrow I’ll the bird procure.

No, Fred’rick, she replied, I now conjure

You’ll think no more about it; what you’ve done

Is all that fondness could have shown a son;

And whether fate has doomed the child to die,

Or with my prayers the pow’rs above comply;

For you my gratitude will never end–

Pray let us hope to see you as a friend.
THEN Clytia took her leave, and gave her hand;

A proof his love no more she would withstand.

He kissed and bathed her fingers with his tears;

The second day grim death confirmed their fears:
THE mourning lasted long and mother’s grief;

But days and months at length bestowed relief;

No wretchedness so great, we may depend,

But what, to time’s all-conqu’ring sithe will bend:
TWO famed physicians managed with such care;

That they recovered her from wild despair,

And tears gave place to cheerfulness and joy:-

The one was TIME the other Venus’ Boy.

Her hand fair Clytia on the youth bestowed,

As much from love as what to him she owed.
LET not this instance howsoe’r mislead;

‘Twere wrong with hope our fond desires to feed,

And waste our substance thus:–not all the FAIR,

Possess of gratitude a decent share.

With this exception they appear divine;

In lovely WOMAN angel-charms combine;

The whole indeed I do not here include;

Alas; too many act the jilt and prude.

When kind, they’re ev’ry blessing found below:

When otherwise a curse we often know.

….. The End …..

The Eel Pie

HOWEVER exquisite we BEAUTY find,

It satiates sense, and palls upon the mind:

Brown bread as well as white must be for me;

My motto ever is–VARIETY.
THAT brisk brunette, with languid, sleepy eye,

Delights my fancy; Can you tell me why?

The reason ‘s plain enough:–she ‘s something new.

The other mistress, long within my view,

Though lily fair, with seraph features blessed,

No more emotion raises in my breast;

Her heart assents, while mine reluctant proves;

Whence this diversity that in us moves?

From hence it rises, to be plain and free,

My motto ever is–VARIETY.
THE same in other words, I’ve often said;

‘Tis right, at times, disguise with care to spread.

The maxim’s good, and with it I agree:

My motto ever is–VARIETY.
A CERTAIN spouse the same devise had got,

Whose wife by all was thought a handsome lot.

His love, howe’er, was over very soon;

It lasted only through the honeymoon;

Possession had his passion quite destroyed;

In Hymen’s bands too oft the lover ‘s cloyed.
ONE, ‘mong his valets, had a pretty wife;

The master was himself quite full of life,

And soon the charmer to his wishes drew,

With which the husband discontented grew,

And having caught them in the very fact,

He rang his mate the changes for the act;

Sad names he called her, howsoever just,

A silly blockhead! thus to raise a dust,

For what, in ev’ry town ‘s so common found;

May we worse fortune never meet around!
HE made the paramour a grave harangue

Don’t others give, said he, the poignant pang;

But ev’ry one allow to keep his own,

As God and reason oft to man have shown,

And recommended fully to observe;

You from it surely have not cause to swerve;

You cannot plead that you for beauty pine

You’ve one at home who far surpasses mine;

No longer give yourself such trouble, pray:

You, to my help-mate, too much honour pay;

Such marked attentions she can ne’er require

Let each of us, alone his own admire.

To others’ WELLs you never ought to go,

While your’s with sweets is found to overflow;

I willingly appeal to connoisseurs;

If heav’n had blessed me with such bliss as your’s,

That when I please, your lady I could take,

I would not for a queen such charms forsake.

But since we can’t prevent what now is known,

I wish, good sir, contented with your own,

(And ’tis, I hope, without offence I speak,)

You’ll favours from my wife no longer seek.
THE master, neither no nor yes replied,

But orders gave, his man they should provide;

For dinner ev’ry day, what pleased his taste,

A pie of eels, which near him should be placed.
HIS appetite at first was wond’rous great;

Again, the second time, as much he ate;

But when the third appeared, he felt disgust,

And not another morsel down could thrust.

The valet fain would try a diff’rent dish;

‘Twas not allowed;–you’ve got, said they, your wish;

‘Tis pie alone; you like it best you know,

And no objection you must dare to show.
I’M surfeited, cried he, ’tis far too much:

Pie ev’ry day! and nothing else to touch!

Not e’en a roasted eel, or stewed, or fried!

Dry bread I’d rather you’d for me provide.

Of your’s allow me some at any rate,

Pies, (devil take them!) thoroughly I hate;

They’ll follow me to Paradise I fear,

Or further yet;–Heav’n keep me from such cheer!
THEIR noisy mirth the master thither drew,

Who much desired the frolick to pursue;

My friend, said he, I greatly feel surprise,

That you so soon are weary grown of pies;

Have I not heard you frequently declare,

Eel-pie ‘s of all, the most delicious fare?

Quite fickle, certainly, must be your taste;

Can any thing in me so strange be traced?

When I exchange a food which you admire;

You blame and say, I never ought to tire;

You do the very same; in truth, my friend,

No mark of folly ’tis, you may depend,

In lord or squire, or citizen or clown,

To change the bread that’s white for bit of brown:

With more experience, you’ll with me agree,–

My motto ever is–VARIETY.
WHEN thus the master had himself expressed,

The valet presently was less distressed;

Some arguments, howe’er, at first he used;

For, after all–are fully we excused,

When we our pleasure solely have in view;

Without regarding what’s to others due?

I relish change; well, take it; but ’tis best,

To gain the belles with love of gold possessed;

And that appears to me the proper plan;

In truth, our lover very soon began

To practise this advice;–his voice and way

Could angel-sweetness instantly convey.
HIS words were always gilt; (impressive tongue!)

To gilded words will sure success belong.

In soft amours they’re ev’ry thing ’tis plain

The maxim ‘s certain, and our aim will gain;

My meaning doubtless easily is seen;

A hundred times repeated this has been

Th’ impression should be made so very deep,

That I thereon can never silence keep;

And this the constant burden of my song-

To gilded words will sure success belong.
THEY easily persuade the beauteous dame;

Her dog, her maid, duenna, all the same;

The husband sometimes too, and him we’ve shown

‘Twas necessary here to gain alone;

By golden eloquence his soul was lulled;

Although from ancient orators not culled:

Their books retained have nothing of the kind;

Our jealous spouse indulgent grew we find.

He followed e’en, ’tis said, the other’s plan–

And, thence his dishes to exchange began.
THE master and his fav’rite’s freaks around;

Continually the table-talk were found;

He always thought the newest face the best:

Where’er he could, each beauty he caressed;

The wife, the widow, daughter, servant-maid,

The nymph of field or town:–with all he played;

And, while he breathed, the same would always be;

His motto ever was–VARIETY.

….. The End …..

The Dresser

A CLOISTERED nun had a lover

Dwelling in the neighb’ring town;

Both racked their brains to discover

How they best their love might crown.

The swain to pass the convent-door!–

No easy matter!–Thus they swore,

And wished it light.–I ne’er knew a nun

In such a pass to be outdone:–

In woman’s clothes the youth must dress,

And gain admission. I confess

The ruse has oft been tried before,

But it succeeded as of yore.

Together in a close barred cell

The lovers were, and sewed all day,

Nor heeded how time flew away.–

“What’s that I hear? Refection bell!

“‘Tis time to part. Adieu!–Farewell!–

“How’s this?” exclaimed the abbess, “why

“The last at table?”–“Madam, I

“Have had my dress-maker.”–“The rent

“On which you’ve both been so intent

“Is hard to stop, for the whole day

“To sew and mend, you made her stay;

“Much work indeed you’ve had to do!

“–Madam, ‘t would last the whole night through,

“When in our task we find enjoyment

“There is no end of the employment.”

The Dog

THE key, which opens the chest of hoarded gold.

Unlocks the heart that favours would withhold.

To this the god of love has oft recourse,

When arrows fail to reach the secret source,

And I’ll maintain he’s right, for, ‘mong mankind,

Nice presents ev’ry where we pleasing find;

Kings, princes, potentates, receive the same,

And when a lady thinks she’s not to blame,

To do what custom tolerates around;

When Venus’ acts are only Themis’ found,

I’ll nothing ‘gainst her say; more faults than one,

Besides the present, have their course begun.
A MANTUAN judge espoused a beauteous fair:

Her name was Argia:–Anselm was her care,

An aged dotard, trembling with alarms,

While she was young, and blessed with seraph charms.

But, not content with such a pleasing prize,

His jealousy appeared without disguise,

Which greater admiration round her drew,

Who doubtless merited, in ev’ry view,

Attention from the first in rank or place

So elegant her form, so fine her face.
‘TWOULD endless prove, and nothing would avail,

Each lover’s pain minutely to detail:

Their arts and wiles; enough ’twill be no doubt,

To say the lady’s heart was found so stout,

She let them sigh their precious hours away,

And scarcely seemed emotion to betray.
WHILE at the judge’s, Cupid was employed,

Some weighty things the Mantuan state annoyed,

Of such importance, that the rulers meant,

An embassy should to the Pope be sent.

As Anselm was a judge of high degree,

No one so well embassador could be.
‘TWAS with reluctance he agreed to go,

And be at Rome their mighty Plenipo’;

The business would be long, and he must dwell

Six months or more abroad, he could not tell.

Though great the honour, he should leave his dove,

Which would be painful to connubial love.

Long embassies and journeys far from home

Oft cuckoldom around induce to roam.
THE husband, full of fears about his wife;

Exclaimed–my ever–darling, precious life,

I must away; adieu, be faithful pray,

To one whose heart from you can never stray

But swear to me, my duck, (for, truth to tell,

I’ve reason to be jealous of my belle,)

Now swear these sparks, whose ardour I perceive,

Have sighed without success, and I’ll believe.

But still your honour better to secure,

From slander’s tongue, and virtue to ensure,

I’d have you to our country-house repair;

The city quit:–these sly gallants beware;

Their presents too, accurst invention found,

With danger fraught, and ever much renowned;

For always in the world, where lovers move,

These gifts the parent of assentment prove.

‘Gainst those declare at once; nor lend an ear

To flattery, their cunning sister-peer.

If they approach, shut straight both ears and eyes;

For nothing you shall want that wealth supplies;

My store you may command; the key behold,

Where I’ve deposited my notes and gold.

Receive my rents; expend whate’er you please;

I’ll look for no accounts; live quite at ease;

I shall be satisfied with what you do,

If naught therein to raise a blush I view;

You’ve full permission to amuse your mind;

Your love, howe’er, for me alone’s designed;

That, recollect, must be for my return,

For which our bosoms will with ardour burn.
THE good man’s bounty seemingly was sweet;

All pleasures, one excepted, she might greet;

But that, alas! by bosoms unpossessed,

No happiness arises from the rest:

His lady promised ev’ry thing required:–

Deaf, blind, and cruel,–whosoe’er admired;

And not a present would her hand receive

At his return, he fully might believe,

She would be found the same as when he went,

Without gallant, or aught to discontent.
HER husband gone, she presently retired

Where Anselm had so earnestly desired;

The lovers came, but they were soon dismissed,

And told, from visits they must all desist;

Their assiduities were irksome grown,

And she was weary of their lovesick tone.

Save one, they all were odious to the fair;

A handsome youth, with smart engaging air;

But whose attentions to the belle were vain;

In spite of arts, his aim he could not gain;

His name was Atis, known to love and arms,

Who grudged no pains, could he possess her charms.

Each wile he tried, and if he’d kept to sighs,

No doubt the source is one that never dries;

But often diff’rent with expense ’tis found;

His wealth was wasted rapidly around

He wretched grew; at length for debt he fled,

And sought a desert to conceal his head.

As on the road he moved, a clown he met,

Who with his stick an adder tried to get,

From out a thicket, where it hissing lay,

And hoped to drive the countryman away:

Our knight his object asked; the clown replied,

To slay the reptile anxiously I tried;

Wherever met, an adder I would kill:

The race should be extinct if I’d my will.
WHY would’st thou, friend, said Atis, these destroy?

God meant that all should freely life enjoy.

The youthful knight for reptiles had, we find,

Less dread than what prevails with human kind;

He bore them in his arms:–they marked his birth;

From noble Cadmus sprung, who, when on earth,

At last, to serpent was in age transformed;

The adder’s bush the clown no longer stormed;

No more the spotted reptile sought to stay,

But seized the time, and quickly crept away.
AT length our lover to a wood retired;

To live concealed was what the youth desired;

Lorn silence reigned, except from birds that sang,

And dells that oft with sweetest echo rang.

There HAPPINESS and frightful MIS’RY lay,

Quite undistinguished: classed with beasts of prey;

That growling prowled in search of food around:

There Atis consolation never found.

LOVE thither followed, and, however viewed,

‘Twas vain to hope his passion to elude;

Retirement fed the tender, ardent flame,

And irksome ev’ry minute soon became.

Let us return, cried he, since such our fate:

‘Tis better, Atis, bear her frowns and hate,

Than of her beauteous features lose the view;

Ye nightingales and streams, ye woods adieu!

When far from her I neither see nor hear:

‘Tis she alone my senses still revere;

A slave I am, who fled her dire disdain;

Yet seek once more to wear the cruel chain.
AS near some noble walls our knight arrived,

Which fairy-hands to raise had once contrived,

His eyes beheld, at peep of early morn,

When bright Aurora’s beams the earth adorn,

A beauteous nymph in royal robes attired,

Of noble mien, and formed to be admired,

Who t’ward him drew, with pleasing, gracious air,

While he was wrapped in thought, a prey to care.
SAID she, I’d have you, Atis, happy be;

‘Tis in my pow’r, and this I hope to see;

A fairy greet me, Manto is my name:–

Your friend, and one you’ve served unknown:–the same

My fame you’ve heard, no doubt; from me proceeds

The Mantuan town, renowned for ancient deeds;

In days of yore I these foundations laid,

Which in duration, equal I have made,

To those of Memphis, where the Nile’s proud course

Majestically flows from hidden source.

The cruel Parcae are to us unknown;

We wond’rous magick pow’rs have often shown;

But wretched, spite of this, appears our lot

Death never comes, though various ills we’ve got,

For we to human maladies are prone,

And suffer greatly oft, I freely own.
ONCE, in each week to serpents we are changed;

Do you remember how you here arranged,

To save an adder from a clown’s attack?

‘Twas I, the furious rustick wished to hack,

When you assisted me to get away;

For recompense, my friend, without delay,

I’ll you procure the kindness of the fair,

Who makes you love and drives you to despair:

We’ll go and see her:–be assured from me,

Before two days are passed, as I foresee,

You’ll gain, by presents, Argia and the rest,

Who round her watch, and are the suitor’s pest.

Grudge no expense, be gen’rous, and be bold,

Your handfuls scatter, lavish be of gold.

Assured you shall not want the precious ore;

For I command the whole of Plutus’ store,

Preserved, to please me, in the shades below;

This charmer soon our magick pow’r shall know.
THE better to approach the cruel belle,

And to your suit her prompt consent compel,

Myself transformed you’ll presently perceive;

And, as a little dog, I’ll much achieve,

Around and round I’ll gambol o’er the lawn,

And ev’ry way attempt to please and fawn,

While you, a pilgrim, shall the bag-pipe play;

Come, bring me to the dame without delay.
NO sooner said, the lover quickly changed,

Together with the fairy, as arranged;

A pilgrim he, like Orpheus, piped and sang;

While Manto, as a dog, skipt, jumped, and sprang.
THEY thus proceeded to the beauteous dame;

Soon valets, maids, and others round them came;

The dog and pilgrim gave extreme delight

And all were quite diverted at the sight.
THE lady heard the noise, and sent her maid,

To learn the reason why they romped and played:

She soon returned and told the lovely belle,

A spaniel danced, and even spoke so well,

it ev’ry thing could fully understand,

And showed obedience to the least command.

‘Twere better come herself and take a view:

The things were wond’rous that the dog could do.
THE dame at any price the dog would buy,

In case the master should the boon deny.

To give the dog our pilgrim was desired;

But though he would not grant the thing required;

He whispered to the maid the price he’d take,

And some proposals was induced to make.

Said he, ’tis true, the creature ‘s not for sale;

Nor would I give it: prayers will ne’er prevail;

Whate’er I chance to want from day to day,

It furnishes without the least delay.

To have my wish, three words alone I use,

Its paw I squeeze, and whatsoe’er I choose,

Of gold, or jewels, fall upon the ground;

Search all the world, there’s nothing like it found.

Your lady’s rich, and money does not want;

Howe’er, my little dog to her I’ll grant

If she’ll a night permit me in her bed,

The treasure shall at once to her be led.
THE maid at this proposal felt surprise;

Her mistress truly! less might well suffice;

A paltry knave! cried she, it makes me laugh;

What! take within her bed a pilgrim’s staff!

Were such a circumstance abroad to get,

My lady would with ridicule be met;

The dog and master, probably, were last

Beneath a hedge, or on a dunghill cast;

A house like this they’ll never see agen;–

But then the master is the pride of men,

And that in love is ev’ry thing we find

Much wealth and beauty please all womankind!
HIS features and his mien the knight had changed;

Each air and look for conquest were arranged.

The maid exclaimed: when such a lover sues,

How can a woman any thing refuse?

Besides the pilgrim has a dog, ’tis plain,

Not all the wealth of China could obtain.

Yet to possess my lady for a night,

Would to the master be supreme delight:
I SHOULD have mentioned, that our cunning spark;

The dog would whisper (feigning some remark,)

On which ten ducats tumbled at his feet;

These Atis gave the maid, (O deed discreet

Then fell a diamond: this our wily wight

Took up, and smiling at the precious sight,

Said he, what now I hold I beg you’ll bear,

To her you serve, so worthy of your care;

Present my compliments, and to her say,

I’m her devoted servant from to-day.
THU female quickly to her mistress went;

Our charming little dog to represent:

The various pow’rs displayed, and wonders done;

Yet scarcely had she on the knight begun,

And mentioned what he wished her to unfold,

But Argia could her rage no longer hold;

A fellow! to presume, cried she, to speak

Of me with freedom!–I am not so weak,

To listen to such infamy, not I

A pilgrim too!–no, you may well rely,

E’en were he Atis, it would be the same,

To whom I now my cruel conduct blame:

Such things he never would to me propose;

Not e’en a monarch would the like disclose;

I’m ‘bove temptation, presents would not do:–

Not Plutus’ stores, if offered to my view;

A paltry pilgrim to presume indeed,

To think that I would such a blackguard heed,

Ambassadress my rank! and to admit

A fellow, only for the gallows fit!
THIS pilgrim, cried the maid, has got the means

Not only belles to get, but even queens;

Or beauteous goddesses he could obtain:–

He’s worth a thousand Atis’s ’tis plain.

Bur, said the wife, my husband made me vow.

What? cried the maid, you’d not bedeck his brow!

A pretty promise truly:–can you think,

You less from this, than from the first, should shrink?

Who’ll know the fact, or publish it around?

Consider well, how many might be found,

Who, were they marked with spot upon the nose,

When things had taken place that we suppose,

Would not their heads so very lofty place,

I’m well assured, but feel their own disgrace.

For such a thing, are we the worse a hair?

No, no, good lady, who presumes to swear,

He can discern the lips which have been pressed,

By those that never have the fact confessed,

Must be possessed of penetrating eyes,

Which pierce the sable veil of dark disguise.

This favour, whether you accord or not,

‘Twill not a whit be less nor more a blot.

For whom, I pray, LOVE’S treasures would you hoard?

For one, who never will a treat afford,

Or what is much the same, has not the pow’r?

All he may want you’ll give him in an hour,

At his return; he’s very weak and old,

And, doubtless, ev’ry way is icy cold!
THE cunning girl such rhetorick displayed,

That all she said, her mistress, having weighed,

Began to doubt alone, and not deny

The spaniel’s art, and pilgrim’s piercing eye:

To her the master and his dog were led,

To satisfy her mind while still in bed;

For bright Aurora, from the wat’ry deep,

Not more reluctantly arose from sleep.
OUR spark approached the dame with easy air,

Which seemed the man of fashion to declare;

His compliments were made with ev’ry grace,

That minds most difficult could wish to trace.
THE fair was charmed, and with him quite content;

You do not look, said she, like one who meant

Saint James of Compostella soon to see,

Though, doubtless, oft to saints you bend the knee.
TO entertain the smiling beauteous dame,

The dog, by various tricks, confirmed his flame,

To please the maid and mistress he’d in view:

Too much for these of course he could not do;

Though, for the husband, he would never move,

The little fav’rite sought again to prove

His wond’rous worth, and scattered o’er the ground,

With sudden shake, among the servants round,

Nice pearls, which they on strings arranged with care;

And these the pilgrim offered to the fair:

Gallantly fastened them around her arms,

Admired their whiteness and extolled her charms:

So well he managed, ’twas at length agreed,

In what his heart desired he should succeed;

The dog was bought: the belle bestowed a kiss,

As earnest of the promised future bliss.
THE night arrived, when Atis fondly pressed,

Within his arms, the lady thus caressed;

Himself he suddenly became again,

On which she scarcely could her joy contain:–

Th’ ambassador she more respect should show,

Than favours on a pilgrim to bestow.
THE fair and spark so much admired the night;

That others followed equal in delight;

Each felt the same, for where’s the perfect shade;

That can conceal when joys like these pervade?

Expression strongly marks the youthful face,

And all that are not blind the truth can trace.

Some months had passed, when Anselm was dismissed;

Of gifts and pardons, long appeared his list;

A load of honours from the Pope he got:–

The CHURCH will these most lib’rally allot.
FROM his vicegerent quickly he received

A good account, and friends his fears relieved;

The servants never dropt a single word

Of what had passed, but all to please concurred.
THE judge, both maid and servants, questioned much;

But not a hint he got, their care was such.

Yet, as it often happens ‘mong the FAIR,

The devil entered on a sudden there;

Such quarrels ‘tween the maid and mistress rose,

The former vowed she would the tale disclose.

Revenge induced her ev’ry thing to tell,

Though she were implicated with the belle.
SO great the husband’s rage, no words can speak:

His fury somewhere he of course would wreak;

But, since to paint it clearly would be vain–

You’ll by the sequel judge his poignant pain.
A SERVANT Anselm ordered to convey

His wife a note, who was, without delay,

To come to town her honoured spouse to see;

Extremely ill (for such he feigned to be.)

As yet the lady in the country stayed;

Her husband to and fro’ his visits paid.
SAID he, remember, when upon the road,

Conducting Argia from her lone abode,

You must contrive her men to get away,

And with her none but you presume to stay.–

A jade! she horns has planted on my brow:

Her death shall be the consequence I vow.
WITH force a poinard in her bosom thrust;

Watch well th’ occasion:–die, I say, she must,

The deed performed, escape; here’s for you aid;

The money take:–pursuit you can evade;

As I request, proceed; then trust to me:–

You naught shall want wherever you may be.
TO seek fair Argia instantly he went;

She, by her dog, was warned of his intent.

How these can warn? if asked, I shall reply,

They grumble, bark, complain, or fawn, or sigh;

Pull petticoat or gown, and snarl at all,

Who happen in their way just then to fall;

But few so dull as not to comprehend;

Howe’er, this fav’rite whispered to his friend,

The dangers that awaited her around;

But go, said he, protection you have found;

Confide in me:–I’ll ev’ry ill prevent,

For which the rascal hither has been sent.

As on they moved, a wood was in the way,

Where robbers often waited for their prey;

The villain whom the husband had employed,

Sent forward those whose company annoyed,

And would prevent his execrable plan;

The last of horrid crimes.–disgrace to man!

No sooner had the wretch his orders told,

But Argia vanished–none could her behold;

The beauteous belle was quickly lost to view:

A cloud, the fairy Manto o’er her threw.
THIS circumstance astonished much the wretch,

Who ran to give our doating spouse a sketch

Of what had passed so strange upon the way;

Old Anselm thither went without delay,

When, marvellous to think! with great surprise,

He saw a palace of extensive size,

Erected where, an hour or two before,

A hovel was not seen, nor e’en a door.
THE husband stood aghast!–admired the place,

Not built for man, e’en gods ‘twould not disgrace.

The rooms were gilt; the decorations fine;

The gardens and the pleasure-grounds divine;

Such rich magnificence was never seen;

Superb the whole, a charming blessed demesne.

The entrance ev’ry way was open found;

But not a person could be viewed around,

Except a negro, hideous to behold,

Who much resembled AEsop, famed of old.
OUR judge the negro for a porter took,

Who was the house to clean and overlook;

And taking him for such, the black addressed,

With full belief the title was the best,

And that he greatly honoured him, ’twas plain

(Of ev’ry colour men are proud and vain

Said he, my friend, what god this palace owns?

Too much it seems for those of earthly thrones;

No king, of consequence enough could be;

The palace, cried the black, belongs to me.
THE judge was instantly upon his knees,

The negro’s pardon asked, and sought to please;

I trust, said he, my lord, you’ll overlook

The fault I made: my ignorance mistook.

The universe has not so nice a spot;

The world so beautiful a palace got!
DOST wish me, said the black, the house to give,

For thee and thine therein at ease to live?

On one condition thou shalt have the place

For thee I seriously intend the grace,

If thou ‘lt on me a day or two attend,

As page of honour:–dost thou comprehend?

The custom know’st thou–better I’ll expound;

A cup-bearer with Jupiter is found,

Thou’st heard no doubt.
ANSELM
What, Ganymede?
NEGRO
The same;

And I’m that Jupiter of mighty fame;

The chief supreme who rules above the skies;

Be thou the lad with fascinating eyes,

Though not so handsome, nor in truth so young.
ANSELM
You jest, my lord; to youth I don’t belong;

‘Tis very clear;–my judge’s dress–my age!
NEGRO
I jest? thou dream’st.
ANSELM
My lord?
NEGRO
You won’t engage?

Just as you will:–’tis all the same you’ll find.
ANSELM
My lord!. . . . The learned judge himself resigned,

The black’s mysterious wishes to obey;–

Alas! curst presents, how they always weigh!
A PAGE the magistrate was quickly seen,

In dress, in look, in age, in air, in mien;

His hat became a cap; his beard alone

Remained unchanged; the rest had wholly flown.
THUS metamorphosed to a pretty boy,

The judge proceeded in the black’s employ.

Within a corner hidden, Argia lay,

And heard what Anselm had been led to say.

The Moor howe’er was Manto, most renowned,

Transformed, as oft the fairy we have found;

She built the charming palace by her art,–

Now youthful features would to age impart.
AT length, as Anselm through a passage came,

He suddenly beheld his beauteous dame.

What! learned Anselm do I see, said she,

In this disguise?–It surely cannot be;

My eyes deceive me:–Anselm, grave and wise;

Give such a lesson? I am all surprise.
‘TIS doubtless he: oh, oh! our bald-pate sire;

Ambassador and judge, we must admire,

To see your honour thus in masquerade:–

At your age, truly, suffer to be made

A–modesty denies my tongue its powr’s

What!–you condemn to death for freaks like ours?

You, whom I’ve found * you understand–for shame

Your crimes are such as all must blush to name.

Though I may have a negro for gallant,

And erred when Atis for me seemed to pant,

His merit and the black’s superior rank,

Must lessen, if not quite excuse my prank.

Howe’er, old boy, you presently shall see,

If any belle solicited should be,

To grant indulgencies, with presents sweet,

She will not straight capitulation beat;

At least, if they be such as I have viewed:–

Moor, change to dog; immediately ensued

The metamorphose that the fair required,

The black’moor was again a dog admired.

Dance, fav’rite; instantly he skipped and played;

And to the judge his pretty paw conveyed.

Spaniel, scatter gold; presently there fell

Large sums of money, as the sound could tell.

Such strong temptation who can e’er evade?

The dog a present to your wife was made.

Then show me, if you can, upon the earth,

A queen, a princess, of the highest birth,

Who would not virtue presently concede,

If such excuses for it she could plead;

Particularly if the giver proved

A handsome lad that elegantly moved.
I, TRULY, for the spaniel was exchanged;

What you’d too much of, freely I arranged,

To grant away, this jewel to obtain

My value ‘s nothing great, you think, ’tis plain;

And, surely, you’d have thought me very wrong,

When such a prize I met, to haggle long.

‘Twas he this palace raised; but I have done;

Remember, since you’ve yet a course to run,

Take care again how you command my death;

In spite of your designs I draw my breath.

Though none but Atis with me had success,

I now desire, he may Lucretia bless,

And wish her to surrender up her charms,

(Just like myself) to his extended arms.

If you approve, our peace at once is made:

If not–while I’ve this dog I’m not afraid,

But you defy: I dread not swords nor bowl;

The little dog can warn me of the whole;

The jealous he confounds; be that no more;

Such folly hence determine to give o’er.

If you, to put restraints on women choose,

You’ll sooner far their fond affections lose.
THE whole our judge conceded;–could he less?

The secret of his recent change of dress

Was promised to be kept: and that unknown,

E’en cuckoldom again might there have flown.
OUR couple mutual compensation made,

Then bade adieu to hill, and dale, and glade.
SOME critick asks the handsome palace’ fate;

I answer:–that, my friend, I shan’t relate;

It disappeared, no matter how nor when.

Why put such questions?–strict is not my pen.

The little dog, pray what of that became?

To serve the lover was his constant aim.
AND how was that?–You’re troublesome my friend:

The dog perhaps would more assistance lend;

On new intrigues his master might be bent;

With single conquest who was e’er content?
THE fav’rite spaniel oft was missing found;

But when the little rogue had gone his round,

He’d then return, as if from work relieved,

To her who first his services received.

His fondness into fervent friendship grew;

As such gay Atis visited anew;

He often came, but Argia was sincere,

And firmly to her vow would now adhere:

Old Anselm too, had sworn, by heav’n above;

No more to be suspicious of his love;

And, if he ever page became again,

To suffer punishment’s severest pain.

….. The End …..

The Cradle

NEAR Rome, of yore, close to the Florence road,

Was seen a humble innkeeper’s abode;

Small sums were charged; few guests the night would stay;

And these could seldom much afford to pay.

A pleasing active partner had the host

Her age not much ‘bove thirty at the most;

Two children she her loving husband bore;

The boy was one year old: the daughter more;

Just fifteen summers o’er her form had smiled;

In person charming, and in temper mild.
IT happened that Pinucio, young and gay,

A youth of family, oft passed the way,

Admired the girl, and thought she might be gained,

Attentions showed, and like return obtained;

The mistress was not deaf, nor lover mute;

Pinucio seemed the lady’s taste to suit,

Of pleasing person and engaging air;

And ‘mong the equals of our youthful fair,

As yet, not one a pref’rence had received;

Nor had she e’er in golden dreams believed;

But, spite of tender years, her mind was high,

And village lads she would not let come nigh.
COLUTTA, (such her name,) though much admired;

And many in the place her hand desired,

Rejected some, and others would not take,

And this most clearly for Pinucio’s sake.

Long conversations she could rarely get,

And various obstacles the lovers met;

No interviews where they might be at ease,

But ev’ry thing conspired to fret and teaze.

O parents, husbands! be advised by me;

Constraint with wives or children won’t agree;

‘Tis then the god of love exerts his art,

To find admittance to the throbbing heart.
PINUCIO and a friend, one stormy night,

The landlord’s reached and would in haste alight;

They asked for beds, but were too late they found:

You know, sir, cried the host, we don’t abound;

And now the very garrets we have let:

You’d better elsewhere try your wish to get,

And spite of weather, further on pursue

At best, our lodging is unfit for you.
HAVE you no truckle bed? the lover cried;

No corner left?–we fain would here abide:

Why, truly, said the host, we always keep

Two beds within the chamber where we sleep;

My wife and I, of course, take one of these;

Together lie in t’other if you please.

The spark replied, this we will gladly do;

Come, supper get; that o’er, the friends withdrew:

Pinucio, by Coletta’s sage advice,

In looking o’er the room was very nice;

With eagle-eyes particulars he traced,

Then ‘tween the clothes himself and friend he placed.

A camp-bed for the girl was on the floor;

The landlord’s, ‘gainst the wall and next the door;

Another opposite the last was set,

And this, to guests, at certain times was let;

And ‘tween the two, but near the parents’ best,

A cradle for the child to rest its head,

From which a pleasant accident arrived,

That our gallant’s young friend of rest deprived.
WHEN midnight came, and this gay spark supposed

The host and hostess’ eyes in sleep were closed,

Convinced the time appointed was at hand,

To put in execution what was planned,

He to the camp-bed silently repaired,

And found the belle by Morpheus not insnared;

Coletta taught a play that mortals find

Fatigues the body more than plagues the mind:

A truce succeeded, but ’twas quickly o’er:

Those rest not long who pilfer Cupid’s store.
AGAIN, when to the room the hostess came,

And found the cradle rested not the same,

Good heav’ns! cried she, it joins my husband’s head:

And, but for that, I truly had been led

To lay myself unthinkingly beside

The strangers whom with lodging we provide;

But, God be praised, this cradle shows the place

Where my good husband’s pillow I must trace.

This said, she with the friend was quickly laid,

Without suspecting what mistake she’d made.
BETWEEN the lovers all was blithe and gay,

When suddenly the friend, though far from day,

Was forced to rise (’twas plain a pressing case,)

And move the infant’s cradle from its place,

To ope the door, and lest he noise might make,

Or any way by chance the child should wake,

He set it carefully beside his bed,

And (softly treading) to the garden sped.
ON his return he passed the cradle by;

To place it as before he would not try,

But went to sleep; when presently a sound,

From something that had tumbled, rang around,

Awoke his wife, who ran below,

That what had happened she might clearly know.

No fool in such adventures was our Wight:

The opportunity he would not slight,

But played the husband well: no, no, I’m wrong;

He played it ill:–too oft, too much, too long;

For whosoe’er would wish to do it well,

Should softly go:–the gentle most excel.
IN truth, the wife was quite surprised to find

Her spouse so much to frolicking inclined;

Said she, what ails the man, he’s grown so gay?

A lad of twenty’s not more fond of play.

Well! let’s enjoy the moments while we can;

God’s will be done, since life is but a span!
THE words were scarcely said, when our gallant

Renewed his fun, and nothing seemed to want;

Indeed, the hostess still her charms possessed,

And, on occasion, well might be caressed.
MEANWHILE Coletta, dreading a surprise,

Prevailed upon her paramour to rise;

‘Twas nearly break of day when he withdrew,

But, groping to his place the way anew,

Pinucio, by the cradle too, was led

To miss his friend’s and take the landlord’s bed.

No sooner in than with an under voice,

(Intriguers oft too eagerly rejoice,)

Said he, my friend, I wish I could relate

The pleasure I’ve received; my bliss is great;

To you, I’m sorry, Fortune proves so cold;

Like happiness I’d fain in you behold;

Coletta is a morsel for a king;

Inestimable girl!–to me she’ll cling.

I’ve many seen, but such a charming fair,

There’s not another like her any where.
WITH softest skin, delightful form and mien;

Her ev’ry act resembles BEAUTY’s queen;

In short, before we’d ended with our fun,

Six posts (without a fiction) we had run.

The host was struck with what the spark averred,

And muttered something indistinctly heard.
THE hostess whispered HIM she thought her spouse:–

Again, my dear, such sparks let’s never house;

Pray don’t you hear how they together chat?–

Just then the husband raised himself and sat;

Is this your plan? said he with mighty rage;

Was it for THIS you would my house engage?

You understand me, but I’ll seek redress;

Think you so very cheap to have success?

What, would you ruin families at will,

And with our daughters take at ease your fill?

Away, I say! my house this moment quit;

And as for You, abominable chit,

I’ll have your life: this hour you breathe your last;

Such creatures only can with beasts be classed.
PINUCIO heard the lecture with dismay,

At once was mute, and grew as cold as clay;

A moment’s silence through the room prevailed;

Coletta trembled, and her lot bewailed.

The hostess now, on ev’ry side perceived

Her peril great, and for the error grieved.

The friend, howe’er, the cradle called to mind,

Which caused the many ills we’ve seen combined,

And instantly he cried:–Pinucio! strange

You thus allow yourself about to range;

Did I not tell you when the wine you took,

‘Twould make many sad misfortunes hook?

Whene’er you freely drink, ’tis known fall well,

Your sleep’s disturbed, you walk, and nonsense tell.

Come, come to bed: the morning soon will peep;

Pinucio took the hint, pretended sleep,

And carried on so artfully the wile,

The husband no suspicion had of guile.

The stratagem our hostess likewise tried,

And to her daughter’s bed in silence hied,

Where she conceived her fortress was so strong,

She presently began to use her tongue,

And cried aloud:–Impossible the fact;

Such things he could not with Coletta act;

I’ve with her been in bed throughout the night,

And she, no more than I, has swerved from right;

‘Twere mighty pretty, truly, here to come;

At this the host a little while was dumb;

But in a lower tone at length replied

I nought with your account I’m satisfied.
THE party rose; the titter circled round;

And each sufficient reason for it found;

The whole was secret, and whoe’er had gained,

With care upon the subject mute remained.

….. The End …..

The Country Justice

TWO lawyers to their cause so well adhered,

A country justice quite confused appeared,

By them the facts were rendered so obscure

With which the truth remained he was not sure.

At length, completely tired, two straws he sought

Of diff’rent lengths, and to the parties brought.

These in his hand he held:–the plaintiff drew

(So fate decreed) the shortest of the two.

On this the other homeward took his way,

To boast how nicely he had gained the day.
THE bench complained: the magistrate replied

Don’t blame I pray–’tis nothing new I’ve tried;

Courts often judge at hazard in the law,

Without deciding by the longest straw.

….. The End …..

The Hermit

WHEN Venus and Hypocrisy combine,

Oft pranks are played that show a deep design;

Men are but men, and friars full as weak:

I’m not by Envy moved these truths to speak.

Have you a sister, daughter, pretty wife?

Beware the monks as you would guard your life;

If in their snares a simple belle be caught:

The trap succeeds: to ruin she is brought.

To show that monks are knaves in Virtue’s mask;

Pray read my tale:–no other proof I ask.

A HERMIT, full of youth, was thought around,

A saint, and worthy of the legend found.

The holy man a knotted cincture wore;

But, ‘neath his garb:–heart-rotten to the core.

A chaplet from his twisted girdle hung,

Of size extreme, and regularly strung,

On t’other side was worn a little bell;

The hypocrite in ALL, he acted well;

And if a female near his cell appeared,

He’d keep within as if the sex he feared,

With downcast eyes and looks of woe complete,

You’d ne’er suppose that butter he could eat.
NOT far from where the hermit’s cell was placed,

Within a village dwelled a widow chaste;

Her residence was at the further end

And all her store–a daughter as a friend,

Who candour, youth, and charms supreme possessed;

And still a virgin lived, howe’er distressed.

Though if the real truth perhaps we name,

‘Twas more simplicity than virtuous aim;

Not much of industry, but honest heart;

No wealth, nor lovers, who might hope impart.

In Adam’s days, when all with clothes were born,

She doubtless might like finery have worn;

A house was furnished then without expense;

For sheets or mattresses you’d no pretence;

Not e’en a bed was necessary thought

No blankets, pillowbiers, nor quilts were bought.

Those times are o’er; then Hymen came alone;

But now a lawyer in his train is shown.
OUR anchorite, in begging through the place;

This girl beheld,–but not with eyes of grace.

Said he, she’ll do, and, if thou manag’st right,

Lucius, at times, with her to pass the night.

No time he lost, his wishes to secure:

The means, we may suppose, not over pure.
QUITE near the open fields they lived, I’ve said;

An humble, boarded cottage o’er their head.

One charming night–no, I mistake ’tis plain,

Our hermit, favoured much by wind and rain,

Pierced in the boarding, where by time ’twas worn;

A hole through which he introduced a horn;

And loudly bawled:–attend to what I say,

Ye women, my commands at once obey.

This voice spread terror through the little cot;

Both hid their heads and trembled for their lot;

But still our monk his horn would sound aloud

Awake! cried he; your favour God has vowed;

My faithful servant, Lucius, haste to seek;

At early dawn go find this hermit meek

To no one say a word: ’tis Heav’n ordains;

Fear nothing, Lucius ever blessed remains;

I’ll show the way myself: your daughter place,

Good widow, with this holy man of grace;

And from their intercourse a pope shall spring,

Who back to virtue christendom will bring.
HE spoke to them so very loud and clear,

They heard, though ‘neath the clothes half dead with fear.

Some time howe’er the females lay in dread;

At length the daughter ventured out her head,

And, pulling hastily her parent’s arm,

Said she, dear mother, (not suspecting harm)

Good Heav’ns! must I obey and thither go?

What would the holy man on me bestow?

I know not what to say nor how to act;

Now cousin Anne would with him be exact,

And better recollect his sage advice:–

Fool! said the mother, never be so nice;

Go, nothing fear, and do whate’er’s desired;

Much understanding will not be required;

The first or second time thou’lt get thy cue,

And cousin Anne will less know what to do.

Indeed? the girl replied; well, let’s away,

And we’ll return to bed without delay.

But softly, cried the mother with a smile;

Not quite so fast, for Satan may beguile;

And if ’twere so, hast taken proper care?

I think he spoke like one who would ensnare.

To be precipitate, in such a case,

Perhaps might lead at once to dire disgrace.

If thou wert terrified and did’st not hear,

Myself I’m sure was quite o’ercome with fear.

No, no, rejoined the daughter, I am right:

I clearly heard, dear mother, spite of fright.

Well then, replied the widow, let us pray,

That we by Satan be not led astray.
AT length they both arose when morning came,

And through the day the converse was the same.

At night howe’er the horn was heard once more,

And terrified the females as before.

Thou unbelieving woman, cried the voice,

For certain purposes of God the choice;

No more delay, but to the hermit fly,

Or ’tis decreed that thou shalt quickly die.

Now, mother, said the girl, I told you well;

Come, let us hasten to the hermit’s cell;

So much I dread your death, I’ll nothing shun;

And if ’tis requisite, I’ll even run.

Away then, cried the mother, let us go;

Some pains to dress, the daughter would bestow,

Without reflecting what might be her fare:–

To PLEASE is ev’ry blooming lass’s care.
OUR monk was on the watch you may suppose;

A hole he made that would a glimpse disclose;

By which, when near his cell the females drew,

They might, with whip in hand the hermit view,

Who, like a culprit punished for his crimes,

Received the lash, and that so many times,

It sounded like the discipline of schools,

And made more noise than flogging fifty fools.
WHEN first our pilgrims knocked, he would not hear;

And, for the moment, whipping would appear;

The holy lash severely he applied,

Which, through the hole, with pain our females spied;

At length the door he ope’d, but from his eyes

No satisfaction beamed: he showed surprise.

With trembling knees and blushes o’er the face,

The widow now explained the mystick case.

Six steps behind, the beauteous daughter stood,

And waited the decree she thought so good.

The hypocrite howe’er the hermit played,

And sent these humble pilgrims back dismayed.

Said he, the evil spirit much I dread;

No female to my cell should e’er be led;

Excuse me then: such acts would sorrow bring;

From me the HOLY FATHER ne’er spring.

What ne’er from you? the widow straight replied:

And why should not the blessing, pray, be tried?

No other answer howsoe’er she got;

So back they trudged once more to gain their cot.

Ah! mother, said the girl, ’tis my belief,

Our many heavy sins have caused thus grief.
WHEN night arrived and they in sleep were lost,

Again the hermit’s horn the woodwork crossed;

Return, return, cried he with horrid tone;

To-morrow you’ll have due attention shown;

I’ve changed the hermit’s cold fastidious mind,

And when you come, he’ll act as I’ve designed.
THE couple left their bed at break of day,

And to the cell repaired without delay

Our tale to shorten, Lucius kind appeared

To rigid rules no longer he adhered.

The mother with him let her girl remain,

And hastened to her humble roof again.

The belle complying looked:–he took her arm,

And soon familiar grew with ev’ry charm.
O HYPOCRITES! how oft your wily art

Deceives the world and causes poignant smart.
AT matins they so very often met,

Some awkward indications caused regret.

The fair at length her apron-string perceived

Grew daily shorter, which her bosom grieved;

But nothing to the hermit she’d unfold,

Nor e’en those feelings to her mother told;

She dreaded lest she should be sent away,

And be deprived at once of Cupid’s play.

You’ll tell me whence so much discernment came?

From this same play:–the tree of art by name.

For sev’n long months the nymph her visits paid;

Her inexperience doubtless wanted aid.
BUT when the mother saw her daughter’s case,

She made her thank the monk, and leave the place.

The hermit blessed the Lord for what was done;

A pleasant course his humble slave had run.

He told the mother and her daughter fair,

The child, by God’s permission, gifts would share.

Howe’er, be careful, said the wily wight,

That with your infant ev’ry thing goes right;

To you, from thence, great happiness will spring:

You’ll reign the parent of what’s more than king;

Your relatives to noble rank will rise:

Some will be princes; others lords comprise;

Your nephews cardinals; your cousins too

Will dukes become, if they the truth pursue;

And places, castles, palaces, there’ll be,

For you and them of every high degree;

You’ll nothing want: eternal is the source,

Like waters flowing in the river’s course.

This long prediction o’er: with features grave,

His benediction to them both he gave.
WHEN home returned, the girl, each day and night,

Amused her mind with prospects of delight;

By fancy’s aid she saw the future pope,

And all prepared to greet her fondest hope;

But what arrived the whole at once o’erthrew

Hats, dukedoms, castles, vanished from the view:

The promised elevation of the NAME

Dissolved to air:-a little female came!

….. The End …..

The Husband Confessor

WHEN Francis (named the first) o’er Frenchmen reign’d,

In Italy young Arthur laurels gained,

And oft such daring valour showed in fight,

With ev’ry honour he was made a knight;

The monarch placed the spur upon his heel,

That all around his proper worth might feel.

Then household deities at home he sought,

Where–not at prayers his beauteous dame he caught:

He’d left her, truly, quite dissolv’d in tears;

But now the belle had bid adieu to fears;

And oft was dancing joyously around,

With all the company that could be found.
GALLANTS in crowds Sir Arthur soon perceived;

At sight of these the knight was sorely grieved;

And, turning in his mind how best to act;

Cried he, Can this be truly held a fact,

That I’ve been worthy while I’d fame in view,

Of cuckoldom at home, and knighthood too?

It ought to be but half:–the truth let’s know;

From constancy the purest blessings flow.

Then like a father-confessor he dressed,

And took his seat where priests their flock confessed.

His lady absolution sought that day,

And on her knees before him ‘gan to pray;

The minor sins were told with downcast eyes,

And then for hearing those of larger size,

The husband-confessor prepared his ears:–

Said she, Good father, (‘mid a flood of tears),

My bed receives, (the fault I fear’s not slight,)

A gentleman, a parson, and a knight.

Still more had followed, but, by rage o’ercome,

Sir Arthur cut the thread, and she was mum;

Though, doubtless, had the fair been let proceed,

Quite long her Litany had been decreed.
THe husband, in a rage, exclaimed, thou jade,

A parson, say’st thou? t’whom dost think thou’st made

This curst confession?–To my spouse, cried she,

I saw you enter here, and came with glee,

Supposing you’d a trick to raise surprise;

Howe’er ’tis strange that one so very wise,

The riddle should not fully comprehend:–

A KNIGHT, the king created you, my friend;

A GENTLEMAN, your rank was long ago;

A PARSON, you have made yourself you know.

Good heav’ns! exclaimed the knight, ’tis very clear,

And I a blockhead surely must appear.

….. The End ….

The Impossible thing

A DEMON, blacker in his skin than heart,

So great a charm was prompted to impart;

To one in love, that he the lady gained,

And full possession in the end obtained:

The bargain was, the lover should enjoy

The belle he wished, and who had proved so coy.

Said Satan, soon I’ll make her lend an ear,

In ev’ry thing more complaisant appear;

But then, instead of what thou might’st expect,

To be obedient and let me direct,

The devil, having thus obliged a friend,

He’ll thy commands obey, thou may’st depend,

The very moment; and within the hour

Thy humble servant, who has got such pow’r,

Will ask for others, which at once thou’lt find;

Make no delay, for if thou art so blind,

Thou comprehend’st, thy body and thy soul

The lovely fair no longer shall control,

But Satan then upon them both shall seize,

And with them do-whatever he may please:

‘Gainst this the spark had not a word to say;

‘Twas pleasing to command, though not obey.
HE sallied forth the beauteous belle to seek,

And found her as he wished:–complying-meek;

Indulged in blisses, and most happy proved,

Save that the devil always round him moved.

Whatever rose within the whirl of thought

He now commanded:–quickly it was brought;

And when he ordered palaces to rise,

Or raging tempests to pervade the skies,

The devil instantly obeyed his will,

And what he asked was done with wondrous skill.
LARGE sums his purse received;–the devil went

just where commanded, and to Rome was sent,

From whence his highness store of pardons got;

No journey long, though distant was the spot,

But ev’ry thing with magick ease arose,

And all was soon accomplished that he chose.

So oft the spark was asked for orders new,

Which he was bound to give the fiend at view,

That soon his head most thoroughly was drained,

And to the fair our lover much complained,

Declared the truth, and ev’ry thing detailed,

How he was lost, if in commands he failed.
IS’T this, said she, that makes thee so forlorn?

Mere nothing!-quickly I’ll remove the thorn;

When Satan comes, present his highness this,

Which I have here, and say:–You will not miss

To make it flat, and not its curl retain

On which she gave him, what with little pain

She drew from covert of the Cyprian grove,

The fairy labyrinth where pleasures rove,

Which formerly a duke so precious thought;

To raise a knightly order thence he sought,

Illustrious institution, noble plan,

More filled with gods and demi-gods than man.
THE lover to the crafty devil said:-

‘Tis crooked this, you see, and I am led

To wish it otherwise; go, make it straight;

A perfect line: no turn, nor twist, nor plait.

Away to work, be quick, fly, hasten, run;

The demon fancied it could soon be done;

No time he lost, but set it in the press,

And tried to manage it with great success;

The massy hammer, kept beneath the deep,

Made no impression: he as well might sleep;

Howe’er he beat: whatever charm he used:–

‘Twas still the same; obedience it refused.

His time and labour constantly were lost;

Vain proved each effort: mystick skill was crossed;

The wind, or rain, or fog, or frost, or snow,

Had no effect: still circular ‘twould go.

The more he tried, the ringlet less inclined

To drop the curvature so closely twined.

How’s this? said Satan, never have I seen

Such stubborn stuff wherever I have been;

The shades below no demon can produce,

That could divine what here would prove of use:

‘Twould puzzle hell to break the curling spring,

And make a line direct of such a thing.
ONE morn the devil to the other went:

Said he, to give thee up I’ll be content;

If solely thou wilt openly declare

What ’tis I hold, for truly I despair;

I’m victus I confess, and can’t succeed:

No doubt the thing’s impossible decreed.

FRIEND Satan, said the lover, you are wrong;

Despondency should not to you belong,

At least so soon:–what you desire to know

Is not the only one that’s found to grow;

Still many more companions it has got,

And others could be taken from the spot.

….. The End …..

The Jealous husband

A CERTAIN husband who, from jealous fear,

With one eye slept while t’other watched his dear,

Deprived his wife of every social joy,

(Friends oft the jealous character annoy,)

And made a fine collection in a book,

Of tricks with which the sex their wishes hook.

Strange fool! as if their wiles, to speak the truth,

Were not a hydra, both in age and youth.
HIS wife howe’er engaged his constant cares;

He counted e’en the number of her hairs;

And kept a hag who followed every hour,

Where’er she went, each motion to devour;

Duenna like, true semblance of a shade,

That never quits, yet moves as if afraid.
THIS arch collection, like a prayer-book bound;

Was in the blockhead’s pocket always found,

The form religious of the work, he thought,

Would prove a charm ‘gainst vice whenever sought!
ONE holy day, it happened that our dame,

As from the neighb’ring church she homeward came;

And passed a house, some wight, concealed from view;

A basket full of filth upon her threw.
WITH anxious care apologies were made;

The lady, frightened by the frolick played,

Quite unsuspicious to the mansion went;

Her aged friend for other clothes she sent,

Who hurried home, and ent’ring out of breath;

Informed old hunks–what pained him more than death
ZOUNDS! cried the latter, vainly I may look

To find a case like this within my book;

A dupe I’m made, and nothing can be worse:–

Hell seize the work–’tis thoroughly a curse!
NOT wrong he proved, for, truly to confess;

This throwing dirt upon the lady’s dress

Was done to get the hag, with Argus’ eyes

Removed a certain distance from the prize.

The gay gallant, who watched the lucky hour,

Felt doubly blessed to have her in his power.
HOW vain our schemes to guard the wily sex!

Oft plots we find, that ev’ry sense perplex.

Go, jealous husbands, books of cases burn;

Caresses lavish, and you’ll find return.

….. The End …..