Last Wen'sday, when Jupiter rose to survey
The annual return and procession of May,
Concluding, the lady with Venus and Flora
Would come in full dress in the coach of Aurora,
That a string of attendants as usual would follow,
And the rear of the show be brought up by Apollo;
He look'd and inquir'd, and gave orders in vain,
Time seem'd to stand still, and to wait for the train;
Aurora was sulky and loath to appear,
And the d—l of an hour, flower, or sunshine was there.
May came, it is true, but in strange dishabille
Was wrapp'd up in flannels, and look'd very ill.
The God shook his curls, for he little expected
To see an old fav'rite of his so neglected;
Besides, he was vex'd to find things out of season,
And Mercury straight was dispatch'd for a reason;
From his mother a full information he got,
And importantly though he discover'd a plot.
On Flora he seiz'd, as the cause and contriver,
And up to Jove's throne he determin'd to drive her;
The god who rules all things but hell and his wife,
And was ne'er contradicted elsewhere in his life;
Bounc'd about in a passion as soon as he saw her,
And swore through the kennel his beadles should draw her.
Do you think I'm to wait here for you, Ma'am, all day?
Why are not you ready to set out with May?
You are wanted, you know, as a principal guest;
But you won't go yourself, and you keep back the rest.
Will Spring, do you think (whose chief beauties depend
Upon you,) stir a step, unless you will attend?
I, too, am prepar'd with a genial shower,
And to hold it much longer is not in my power;
In short, Ma'am, be quick, and repair your transgressions,
Or I'll bind you, by Styx, to your next quarter sessions.
Poor Flora wept, sigh'd, and begg'd hard to be heard,
But till he was blown could not get in a word;
When seizing occasion to open her cause,
She spoke much in praise of good order and laws.
She went round the globe, call'd on every nation
Haranguing at large upon civilization.
Her own reputation in Sweden she hit on,
And that brought her home to its state in Great Britain,
Where an ignorant treatment of her and her system
Encouraged her subjects, she said, to resist 'em;
Vegetation, of course, was o'er-run with disorder,
From the wood and the wall to the bank and the border;
Her wisest economy strangely distorted,
And her government could not be longer supported.
Here rank and high titles, said she, have no merit,
And my weeds are brought up in a levelling spirit;
Yon vagabond Fungus, what else could provoke
To tread on the toes of his Highness the oak.
'Yes, yes, discontent is gone suddenly forth,
'And I very much fear they will rise in the North;
'Those horns, bells and trumpets increase my alarms,
'My people are certainly taking to arms;
'To my empire adieu! civil wars overwhelm it,
'And each takes the field with his target and helmet;
'With lance, pike and scymitar, helmet and dagger,
'With banners all flying (my stars!) how they swagger!
'And fright my fine ladies who noddle their plumes,
'And flutter their ribbons and shed their perfumes,
'And endeavour to lay, with lyre, fiddle, and flute,
'The dust that's kick'd up in this cursed dispute;
'But such peaceable catgut the times does not suit.
'Observe, too, what irregularity passes
'From the want of distinction of sexes and classes,
'No wonder we see such a grinning of corols
'Amidst this confusion of manners and morals.
'While Stipule, and Strobule, Culm, Spadix and Umbil,
'(Rare words that it does one's teeth good but to mumble,)
'Cyme, Filament, Ament, Silique and Silicle,
'(Sweet sounds that one's ear so delightfully tickle,)
'With Calyx, Cotyledon, Stigma, and Stamen
'Are cropp'd, undistinguish'd by ladies and laymen;
'Shall a Hammersmith girl or a gardener's boy
'My fairest arrangement at pleasure destroy?
'Shall a bird's nesting brat my Nobility throttle,
'Or a chambermaid stick a great Prince in a bottle?
'By the legs shall a right perfect flower and his bride
'With Mules and Hermaphrodites daily be tied?
'Can marriage made public and marriage clandestine
'The same common bed with strict decency rest in?
'Shall a couple as constant as Darby and Joan,
'In a basket with libertine flaunters be thrown?
'Ye wives with ten husbands, say, will they content ye,
'Whilst a neighbour lies by you with no less than twenty?
'Ye husbands in wives though not stinted to few,
'Don't you envy the flower that has concubines too?
'Ye ladies with eunuchs, now is it not hard
'That your virtue should seem to require such a guard,
'While yon gay painted gossip may gad where she will,
'Yet her husband, (good creature,) suspecteth no ill.
'Patricians, stand forth, and say, what pretty bosom
'Makes amends for your joining a Plebeian blossom.
'And will you, though in a lac'd button-hole, stoop
'Any longer with soldiers and servants to group?
'No, no, my gay empire will sooner dissever,
'And my Colonists claim independence for ever.
'But, Sir, I have lately adopted a measure,
'The prospect of which gives me infinite pleasure;
'Some scholars of Lichfield who came recommended
'By the Muses who there on their Seward attended.
'Indeed, they are men of no small reputation,
'Now constitute wholly my administration,
'And they are compiling my classification.
'The people who hear and the people who read
'Henceforward in vain ignoramus will plead.
'No tongue can excusably drop a rude word,
'Before flowers that are parted from bed and from board,
'Or put to distress those unfortunate spouses,
'Who live from their husbands in separate houses;
'These great legislators will shortly prescribe
'The laws, rules and habits of every Tribe.
'Thus their manners no longer each other will shock,
'What is wrong in a Rose may be right in a Dock.
'Rejoice, then, my children! the hour is at hand,
'When Botanical knowledge shall govern the land;
'Shall spend all their time in examining grasses;
'When every school-boy that pulls up a kex,
'With plyers and needles shall search for its sex.
'When gardeners girls their bouquets shall compose,
'Corresponding in rank with a customer's nose.
'When buds of distinction shall ride in their coaches,
'When family weight shall their blossoms promote,
'And titles advance them to noses of note.
'My commoners, too, whom less honours attend,
'From highest to lowest shall each have a friend.
'This the Captain's high nostrils shall please with its prickles,
'Whilst that with soft wings a fat Alderman tickles.
'These velvet ones give to a counsellor smooth,
'Or take them to sessions their worships to sooth,
'Gather Heart's-ease for Damon, that lover so blest;
'Let Sweet Williams cling to fond Phillida's breast;
'And the pale pining swain who despairs of succeeding,
'My indulge his soft sorrows with Love-lies-a-bleeding.
'But who is that lady who turns up her eyes,
'And the ways of the country affects to despise?
''Tis Miss Haberdasher, brought up in Cheapside,
'And she'll surfeit us all with her dear London Pride.
'With a sprig of Parnassus the Poet elate
'Will conceive he has much of the fruit in his pate,
'And mad with the charms of its honey caps, quarrel
'With all the world round till you give him the laurel.
'Old Chalkstone some Twingewort will feelingly choose,
'May Noli me tangere save him a bruise!
'Ye Flowers of good name and good habits I warn ye,
'To keep clear of the gripe of a low-liv'd Attorney.
'Let Dodder and Mud-weed decipher his heart,
'And Rope-grass and Devil's-bit mark his desert!
'Yon thick cluster'd stems any tradesman may crop
'To make a huge besom of sweets for his shop.
'Those strong-scented plants in the corner may serve
'To cherish a chandler's olfactory nerve.
'Bid the field-preacher squeeze up that rank Herb of grace,
'To embitter his long hypocritical face.
'Let Goose-tongue the Clerk of the Parish be sent to,
'And the Watchman from Wake-Robin take a memento.
'A tailor the fumes of his cabbage and hell,
'May with Rag-wort and Flea-wort and Louse-wort expel;
'And the Tinker so drunk after mending a kettle
'May keep up the fire in his nose with a nettle;
'My subjects will thus be employ'd with decorum,
'And till this is done, Sir, I'll not march before 'em.'
Jove was glad when she finish'd, accepted her reasons,
So call'd for the J——n, and put back the Seasons.

More verses by Francis Noel Clarke Mundy

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