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There Hebes, turn'd of fifty, try once more
To raise a flame in Cupids of threescore:
These in their turn, with appetites as keen,
Deserting fifty, fasten on fifteen.
Miss, not yet full fifteen, with fire uncommon,
Flings down her sampler, and takes up the woman;
The little urchin smiles, and spreads her lure,
And tries to kill, ere she's got power to cure:
Thus 'tis with all-their chief and constant care
Is to seem every thing—but what they are.
Yon broad, bold, angry spark, I fix my eye on,
Who seems t' have robb’d his vizor from the lion;
Who frowns, and talks, and swears, with round parade,
Looking, as who should say, dam'me! who's afraid ?
Strip but this vizor off, and sure I am
You'll find his lionship a very lamb.
Yon politician, famous in debate,
Perhaps, to vulgar eyes, bestrides the state;
Yet, when he deigns his real shape t'assume,
He turns old woman, and bestrides a broom.
Yon patriot, too, who presses on your sight,
And seems, to every gazer, all in white,
If with a bribe his candor you attack,
He bows, turns round, and whip—the man in black !
Yon critic, too—but whither do I run ?
If I proceed, our bard will be undone !
Well then, a truce, since she requests it too:
Do you spare her, and I'll for once spare you.
AN INVITATION TO DINNER AT SIR GEORGE BAKER'S."
“ This is a poem! This is a copy of verses !
Your mandate I got,
You may all go to pot;
Had your senses been right,
You'd have sent before night;
As I hope to be saved,
I put off being shaved ;
For I could not make bold,
While the matter was cold,
To meddle in suds,
Or to put on my duds;
So tell Horneck and Nesbitt,
And Baker and his bit,
And Kauffman beside,
And the Jessamy bride,t
With the rest of the crew,
The Reynoldses two,
Little Comedy'sf face,
And the Captain in lace.
* For the above verses, now first published, the reader is indebted to Major General Sir Henry Bunbury, Bart. They were written about the year 1769, in reply to an invitation to dinner at Sir George Baker's, to meet the Misses Homeck, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Miss Reynolds, Angelica Kauffman, and others.— See Life, ch. xvii.] † (Mary Horneck (Mrs. Gwyn).]
(Catherine Horneck, afterwards Mrs. Bunbury.] $ (Ensign (afterwards General) Horneck.]
(By the bye you may tell him,
I have something to sell him;
Of use I insist,
When he comes to enlist.
Your worships must know
That a few days ago,
An order went out,
For the foot guards so stout
To wear tails in high taste,
Twelve inches at least;
Now I've got him a scale
To measure each tail,
To lengthen a short tail,
And a long one to curtail.) -
Yet how can I when vext,
Thus stray from my text?
Tell each other to rue
Your Devonshire crew,
For sending so late
To one of my state.
But 'tis Reynolds's way
From wisdom to stray,
And Angelica's whim
To be frolick like him,
But, alas ! your good worships, how could they be wiser,
When both have been spoild in to-day's Advertiser ?*
* [The following is the compliment alluded to:
“While fair Angelica, with matchless grace,
Paints Conway's lovely form and Stanhope's face;
Our hearts to beauty willing homage pay,
We praise, admire, and gaze our souls away.
But when the likeness she hath done for thee,
O Reynolds ! with astonishment we see,
This tomb, inscrib’d to gentle Parnell's name,
May speak our gratitude but not his fame.
What heart but feels his sweetly moral lay,
That leads to truth through pleasure's flowery way!
Celestial themes confess'd his tuneful aid;
And Heaven, that lent him genius, was repaid.
Needless to him the tribute we bestow,
The transitory breath of fame below :
More lasting rapture from his works shall rise,
While converts thank their poet in the skies.
As puffing quacks some caitiff wretch procure
To swear the pill, or drop, has wrought a cure;
Forced to submit, with all our pride we own,
Such strength, such harmony excell'd by none,
And thou art rivall'd by thyself alone.”] * (First printed by T. Davies, in Miscellanies by the Author of the Rambler," and written about the year 1770.]
+ The author, in expectation of an Epilogue from a friend at Oxford, deferred writing one himself till the very last hour. What is here offered, owes all its success to the graceful manner of the actress who spoke it.
Thus, on the stage, our play-rights still depend,
For epilogues and prologues on some friend,
Who knows each art of coaxing up the town,
And make full many a bitter pill go down.
Conscious of this, our bard has gone about,
And teaz'd each rhyming friend to help him out.
An epilogue, things can't go on without it;
It could not fail, would you but set about it.
Young man, cries one (a bard laid up in clover),
Alas ! young man, my writing days are over;
Let boys play tricks, and kick the straw, not I;
Your brother doctor there, perhaps, may try.
What, I ! dear Sir, the doctor interposes;
What, plant my thistle, Sir, among his roses !
No, no, I've other contests to maintain ;
To-night I head our troops at Warwick-lane.
Go ask your manager-Who, me! Your pardon;
Those things are not our forte at Covent Garden.
Our author's friends, thus plac'd at happy distance,
Give him good words indeed, but no assistance.
As some unhappy wight at some new play,
At the pit door stands elbowing away ;
While oft, with many a smile, and many a shrug,
the centre, where his friends sit snug ;
His simpering friends, with pleasure in their eyes,
Sink as he sinks, and as he rises rise ;
He nods, they nod; he cringes, they grimace;
But not a soul will budge to give him place.
Since then, unhelp’d, our bard must now conform
"To 'bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,"
Blame where you must, be candid where you can,
And be eacb critic the Good-natur'd Man.