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Fair Amoret is gone astray;
Pursue and seek her every lover;
Coquet and coy at once her air,
Both studied, though both seem neglected; Careless she is with artful care,
Affecting to seem unaffected.
With skill her eyes dart every glance,
Yet change so soon you'd ne'er suspect 'em; For she'd persuade they wound by chance, Though certain aim and art direct 'em.
She likes herself, yet others hates
For that which in herself she prizes; And, while she laughs at them, forgets She is the thing that she despises.
False though she be to me and love,
In hours of bliss we oft have met,
SIR SAMUEL GARTH.
[SAMUEL GARTH was born at Bolam in Durham about the year 1660. He was knighted at the accession of George I, and died on Jan. 18, 1718. The Dispensary appeared in 1699, and quickly ran through numerous editions. The short poem on Claremont came out in 1715, and in 1717 Garth edited a translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, in which Dryden's versions were completed by a great number of hands, he himself contributing the fourteenth book and parts of others.]
Garth is mainly interesting at the present day because he was the first writer who took the couplet, as Dryden had fashioned it, from Dryden's hands, and displayed it in the form it maintained throughout the eighteenth century. In some respects it may be said that no advance in this peculiar model was ever made on The Dispensary. Its best lines are equal to any of Pope's in mere fashion, and in it appear clearly enough the inherent defects of the form when once Dryden's energy divine' and his cunning admixture of what looked like roughness had been lost or rejected. The monotony, the mannerism, and the other defects, emerge side by side with the polish and smoothness which are its great merits. Except for its versification, which not only long preceded Pope, but also anticipated Addison's happiest effort by some years, The Dispensary is not now an interesting poem. The dispute on which it is based is long forgotten, its mock heroic plan looks threadbare to our eyes, and the machinery and imagery have lost all the charm that they may at one time have had. But as a versifier Garth must always deserve a place in the story of English literature. Claremont and his other minor works display the same faculty, but at their date it was already common enough. We therefore here give extracts from The Dispensary only, reminding the reader that the poem gives a burlesque account of the opposition made by physicians and apothecaries to the plan of giving gratuitous advice and medicine to the poor. We may add that our selections form part of the 'descriptions and episodes' added by the author
in the edition of 1703.
[Dr. Horoscope flies to consult Fortune at Teneriffe.]
The wondering sage pursues his airy flight,
To settle seasons here, and fates above;
Heaven's glittering mansions now than Hell's before;
And each fair Churchill of the galaxy.
Aurora, on Etesian breezes borne,
With blushing lips breathes out the sprightly morn:
And bend beneath the burden of the skies;
The vine undressed her swelling clusters bears,
On high, where no hoarse winds nor clouds resort,
Gives and resumes, and smiles and frowns by fits.
Spells, philters, globes, and schemes of palmistry:
In th' other a prophetic sieve and sheers.
"Tis I that give, so mighty is my power,
Spadillio, that at table serv'd of late,
Drinks rich tokay himself and eats in plate; Has levees, villas, mistresses in store,
And owns the racers which he rubb'd before. Souls heavenly born my faithless boons defy; The brave is to himself a deity;
Though blest Astrea's gone, some soil remains Where Fortune is the slave, and Merit reigns. The Tiber boasts his Julian progeny,
Thames his Nassau, the Nile his Ptolemy.