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Then flourishes thrice his sword in the air, As a compliment due to a lady so fair ; (How I tremble to think of the blood it hath spilt ;) Then he lowers down the point, and kisses the hilt. Your ladyship smiles, and thus you begin : • Pray, captain, be pleas'd to alight and walk in.' The captain salutes you with congee profound, And your ladyship curtsies half way to the ground. • Kit, run to your master, and bid him come to us; I'm sure he 'll be proud of the honour you do us. And, captain, you 'll do us the favour to stay, And take a short dinner here with us to-day : You 're heartily welcome ; but as for good cheer, You come in the very worst time of the year : If I had expected so worthy a guest. • Lord ! madam! your ladyship sure is in jest : You banter me, madam ; the kingdom must grant• You officers, captain, are so complaisant !'
“ Hist, hussy, I think I hear somebody coming—" “ No, madam ; 'tis only Sir Arthur a-humming. To shorten my tale (for I hate a long story), The captain at dinner appears in his glory; The Dean and the doctor * have humbled their pride, For the captain 's entreated to sit by your side ; And, because he's their betters, you carve for him
The parsons for envy are ready to burst.
The servants amaz'd are scarce ever able
To keep off their eyes, as they wait at the table;
And Molly and I have thrust in our nose
To peep at the captain all in his fine clo’es.
• Dr. Jinny, a clergyman in the neighbourhood. F.
Dear madam, be sure he's a fine-spoken man,
Do but hear on the clergy how glib his tongue fan ;
• And, madam,' says he, if such dinners you give,
You 'll ne'er want for parsons as long as you live.
I ne'er knew a parson without a good nose ;
But the Devil 's as welcome wherever he goes :
G-d-n me! they bid us reform and repent,
But, 2-s! by their looks they never keep Lent.
Mister curate, for all your grave looks, I'm afraid
You cast a sheep's eye on her ladyship's maid :
I wish she would lend you her pretty white hand
In mending your cassoc, and smoothing your band.
(For the Dean was so shabby, and look'd like a ninny,
That the captain suppos’d he was curate to Jinny.)
Whenever you see a cassoc and gown,
A hundred to one but it covers a clown.
Observe how a parson comes into a room ;
G-d-n me! he hobbles as bad as my groom ;
A scholard, when just from his college broke loose,
Can hardly tell how to cry bo to a goose;
Your Noveds, and Bluturcks, and Omurs *, and stuff,
By G-, they don't signify this pinch of snuff.
To give a young gentleman right education,
The army 's the only good school in the nation : ,
My schoolmaster call’d me a dunce and a fool,
But at cuffs I was always the cock of the school;
I never could take to my book for the blood o' me,
And the puppy confess'd he expected no good o'me.
He caught me one morning coquetting his wife ;
But he mauld me, I ne'er was so maul'd in my life:
So I took to the road, and what 's very odd,
The first man I robb’d was a parson, by G-
Now, madam, you ’ll think it a strange thing to say,
But the sight of a book makes me sick to this day.'
“ Never since I was born did I hear so much wit,
And, madam, I laugh'd till I thought I should split.
So then you look'd scornful, and snift at the Dean,
As who should say, Now, am I skinny and lean ?*
But he durst not so much as once open his lips,
And the doctor was plaguily down in the hips.”
Thus merciless Hannah ran on in her talk,
Till she heard the Dean call, “ Will your ladyship
walk?" Her ladyship answers, “ I'm just coming down :" Then, turning to Hannah, and forc a frown, Although it was plain in her heart she was glad, Cry’d, “ Hussy, why sure the wench is gone mad! How could these chimeras get into your brains ? – Come hither, and take this old gown for your pains. But the Dean, if this secret should come to his ears, Will never have done with his gibes and his jeers : For your life, not a word of the matter, I charge ye: Give me but a barrack, a fig for the clergy."
ON POETRY: A RHAPSODY. 1733.
All human race would fain be wits,
And millions miss for one that hits.
Young's universal passion, pride,
Was never known to spread so wide.
Say, Britain, could you ever boast,
Three poets in an age at most?
Our chilling climate hardly bears
A sprig of bays in fifty years ;
While every fool his claim alleges,
As if it grew in common hedges.
What reason can there be assign'd
For this perverseness in the mind ?
Brutes find out where their talents lie :
A bear will not attempt to fly;
A founder'd horse will oft debate,
Before he tries a five-barr’d gate ;
A dog by instinct turns aside,
Who sees the ditch too deep and wide.
But man we find the only creature
Who, led by folly, combats nature;
Who, when she loudly cries, forbear,
With obstinacy fixes there;
And, where his genius least inclines,
Absurdly bends his whole designs.
Not empire to the rising Sun
By valour, conduct, fortune won;
Not highest wisdom in debates
For framing laws to govern states;
Not skill in sciences profound,
So large to grasp the circle round;
Such heavenly influence require,
As how to strike the Muse's lyre.
Not beggar's brat on bulk begot ;
Not bastard of a pedlar Scot;
Not boy brought up to cleaning shoes,
The spawn of Bridewell or the stews ;
Not infants dropt, the spurious pledges
Of gypsies littering under hedges;
Are so disqualified by fate
To rise in church, or law, or state,
As he whom Phoebus in his ire
Hath blasted with poetic fire.
What hope of custom in the fair,
While not a soul demands your ware?
Where you have nothing to produce
For private life, or public use?
Court, city, country, want you not ;
You cannot bribe, betray, or plot.
For poets, law makes no provision;
The wealthy have you in derision :
Of state affairs you cannot smatter;
Are awkward when you try to flatter :
Your portion, taking Britain round,
Was just one annual hundred pound;
Now not so much as in remainder,
Since Cibber brought in an attainder ;
For ever fix'd by right divine
(A monarch's right) on Grub-street line.
Poor starveling bard, how small thy gains !
How unproportioned to thy pains !
And here a simile comes pat in:
Though chickens take a month to fatten,
The guests in less than half an hour
Will more than half a score devour.
So, after toiling twenty days
To earn a stock of ponce and praise,
Thy labours, grown the critic s prey,
Are swallow'd o'er a dish of tea;