To A Young Lady, With Some Lampreys
With lovers, ’twas of old the fashion
By presents to convey their passion;
No matter what the gift they sent,
The Lady saw that love was meant.
Fair Atalanta, as a favour,
Took the boar’s head her Hero gave her;
Nor could the bristly thing affront her,
’Twas a fit present from a hunter.
When Squires send woodcocks to the dame,
It serves to show their absent flame:
Some by a snip of woven hair,
In posied lockets bribe the fair;
How many mercenary matches
Have sprung from Di’mond-rings and watches!
But hold – a ring, a watch, a locket,
Would drain at once a Poet’s pocket;
He should send songs that cost him nought,
Nor ev’n he prodigal of thought.
Why then send Lampreys? fye, for shame!
’Twill set a virgin’s blood on flame.
This to fifteen a proper gift!
It might lend sixty five a lift.
I know your maiden Aunt will scold,
And think my present somewhat bold.
I see her lift her hands and eyes.
‘What eat it, Niece? eat Spanish flies!
‘Lamprey’s a most immodest diet:
‘You’ll neither wake nor sleep in quiet.
‘Should I to night eat Sago cream,
‘’Twould make me blush to tell my dream;
‘If I eat Lobster, ’tis so warming,
‘That ev’ry man I see looks charming;
‘Wherefore had not the filthy fellow
‘Laid Rochester upon your pillow?
‘I vow and swear, I think the present
‘Had been as modest and as decent.
‘Who has her virtue in her power?
‘Each day has its unguarded hour;
‘Always in danger of undoing,
‘A prawn, a shrimp may prove our ruin!
‘The shepherdess, who lives on salad,
‘To cool her youth, controuls her palate;
‘Should Dian’s maids turn liqu’rish livers,
‘And of huge lampreys rob the rivers,
‘Then all beside each glade and Visto,
‘You’d see Nymphs lying like Calisto.
‘The man who meant to heat your blood,
‘Needs not himself such vicious food –’
In this, I own, your Aunt is clear,
I sent you what I well might spare:
For when I see you, (without joking)
Your eyes, lips, breasts, are so provoking,
They set my heart more cock-a-hoop,
Than could whole seas of craw-fish soupe.
The Fan : A Poem. Book Ii.
Olympus' gates unfold: in heaven's high towers
Appear in council all the immortal powers;
Great Jove above the rest exalted sate,
And in his mind revolv'd succeeding fate,
His awful eye with ray superior shone,
The thunder-grasping eagle guards his throne
On silver clouds the great assembly laid,
The whole creation at one view survey'd.
But see, fair Venus comes in all her state;
The wanton Loves and Graces round her wait;
With her loose robe officious Zephyrs play,
And strow with odoriferous flowers the way.
In her right hand she waves the fluttering fan,
And thus in melting sounds her speech began.
Assembled powers, who fickle mortals guide,
Who o'er the sea, the skies and earth preside,
Ye fountains whence all human blessings flow,
Who pour your bounties on the world below;
Bacchus first rais'd and prun'd the climbing vine,
And taught the grape to stream with generous wine;
Industrious Ceres tam'd the savage ground,
And pregnant fields with golden harvest crown'd;
Flora with bloomy sweets enrich'd the year,
And fruitful autumn in Pomona's care.
I first taught woman to subdue mankind,
And all her native charms with dress refin'd,
Celestian synod, this machine survey,
That shades the face, or bids cool zephyrs play;
If conscious blushes on her cheek arise,
With this she veils them from her lover's eyes;
No levell'd glance betrays her amorous heart,
From the fan's ambush she directs the dart.
The royal sceptre shines in Juno's hand,
And twisted thunder speaks great Jove's command;
On Pallas' arm the Gorgon shield appears,
And Neptune's mighty grasp the trident bears;
Ceres is with the bending suckle seen,
And the strong bow points out the Cynthian queen;
Henceforth the waving fan my hand shall grace,
The waving fan supply the sceptre's place.
Who shall, ye powers, the forming pencil hold?
What story shall the wide machine unfold?
Let Loves and Graces lead the dance around,
With myrtle wreaths and flowery chaplet's crown'd,
Let Cupid's arrows strow the smiling plains
With unresisting nymphs, and amorous swains:
May glowing picture o'er the surface shine,
To melt slow virgins with the warm design.
Diana rose; with silver crescent crown'd,
And fixt her modest eyes upon the ground;
Then with becoming mien she rais'd her head,
And thus with graceful voice the virgin said.
Has woman then forgot all former wiles,
The watchful ogle, and delusive smiles?
Does man against her charms too powerful prove,
Or are the sex grown novices in love?
Why then these arms? or why should artful eyes,
From this slight ambush, conquer by surprise?
No guilty thought the spotless virgin knows,
And o'er her cheek no conscious crimson glows;
Since blushes then from shame alone arise,
Why should we veil them from her lover's eyes?
Let Cupid rather give up his command,
And trust his arrows in a female hand.
Have not the gods already cherish'd pride,
And woman with destructive arms supply'd?
Neptune on her bestows his choicest stores,
For her the chambers of the deep explores:
The gaping shell its pearly charge resigns,
And round her neck the lucid bracelet twines:
Plutus for her bids earth its wealth unfold,
Where the warm oar is ripen'd into gold:
Or where the ruby reddens in the soil,
Where the green emerald pays the searcher's toil.
Does not the diamond sparkle in her ear,
Glow on her hand, and tremble in her hair?
From the gay nymph the glancing lustre flies,
And imitates the lightning of her eyes.
But yet it Venus' wishes must succeed,
And this fantastic engine be decreed,
May some chaste story from the pencil flow,
To speak the virgin's joy, and Hymen's wo.
Here let the wretched Ariadne stand,
Seduc'd by Theseus to some desert land.
Her locks dishevell'd waving in the wind,
The crystal tears confess her tortur'd mind;
The perjur'd youth unfurls his treacherous sails,
And their white bosoms catch the swelling gales.
Be still, ye winds, she cries, stay, Theseus, stay:
But faithless Theseus hears no more than they.
All desperate, to some craggy cliff she flies,
And spreads a well-known signal in the skies;
His less'ning vessel ploughs the foamy main,
She sighs, she calls, she waves the sign in vain.
Paint Dido there amidst her last distress,
Pale cheeks and blood-shot eyes her grief express;
Deep in her breast the reeking sword is drown'd,
And gushing blood streams purple from the wound;
Her sister Anna hovering o'er her stands,
Accuses heaven with lifted eyes and hands,
Upbraids the Trojan with repeated cries,
And mixes curses with her broken sighs.
View this, ye maids; and then each swain believe;
They're Trojans all, and vow but to deceive.
Here draw Oenone in the lonely grove,
Where Paris first betrayed her into love;
Let wither'd garlands hand on every bough,
Which the false youth wove for Oenone's brow,
The garlands lose their sweets, their pride is shed,
And like their odours all his vows are fled;
On her fair arm her pensive head she lays,
And Xanthus' waves with mournful look surveys;
That flood which witness'd his inconstant flame,
When thus he swore, and won the yielding dame:
'These streams shall sooner to their fountain move,
Than I forget my dear Oenone's love.'
Roll back, ye streams, back to your fountain run,
Paris is false, Oenone is undone.
Ah wretched maid! think how the moments flew,
Ere you the pangs of this curs'd passion knew,
When groves could please, and when you lov'd the plain,
Without the presence of your perjur'd swain.
Thus may the nymph, whene'er she spreads the fan,
In his true colours view perfidious man,
Pleas'd with her virgin state in forests rove,
And never trust the dangerous hopes of love.
The goddess ended. Merry Momus rose,
With smiles and grins he waggish glances throws,
Then with a noisy laugh forestalls his joke,
Mirth flashes from his eyes while thus he spoke.
Rather let heavenly deeds be painted there,
And by your own examples teach the fair.
Let chaste Diana on the piece be seen,
And the bright crescent own the Cythian queen:
On Latmos' top see young Endymion lies,
Feign'd sleep hath clos'd the bloomy lover's eyes,
See, to his soft embraces how she steals,
And on his lips her warm caresses seals:
No more her hand the glittering javelin holds,
But round his neck her eager arms she folds.
Why are our secrets by our blushes shown?
Virgins are virgins still - while 'tis unknown.
Here let her on some flowery bank be laid,
Where meeting beeches weave a grateful shade,
Her naked bosom wanton tresses grace,
And glowing expectation paints her face.
O'er her fair limbs a thin loose veil is spread,
Stand off, ye shepherds; fear Actaeon's head:
Let vigorous Pan the unguarded minute seize,
And in a shaggy goat the virgin please.
Why are our secrets by our blushes shown?
Virgins are virgins still - while 'tis unknown.
There with just warmth Aurora's passion trace,
Let spreading crimson stain her virgin face:
See Cephalus her wanton airs despise,
While she provokes him with desiring eyes:
To raise his passion she displays her charms,
His modest hand upon her bosom warms:
Nor looks, nor prayers, nor force his heart persuade,
But with disdain he quits the rosy maid.
Here let dissolving Leda grace the toy,
Warm her cheeks and heaving breasts reveal her joy;
Beneath the pressing swan she pants for air,
While with his fluttering wings he fans the fair.
There let all-conquering gold exert its power,
And soften Danae in a glittering shower.
Would you warn beauty not to cherish pride,
Nor vainly in the treacherous bloom confide,
On the machine the sage Minerva place,
With lineaments of wisdom mark her face;
See, where she lies near some transparent flood,
And with her pipe cheers the resounding wood:
Her image in the floating glass she spies,
Her bloated cheeks, worn lips, and shrivell'd eyes;
She breaks the guiltless pipe, and with disdain
Its shatter'd ruins flings upon the plain.
With the loud reed no more her cheek shall swell,
What, spoil her face! no: warbling strains, farewell.
Shall arts, shall sciences employ the fair?
Those trifles are beneath Minerva's care.
From Venus let her learn the married life,
And all the virtuous duties of a wife.
Here on a couch extend the Cyprian dame,
Let her eye sparkle with the growing flame
The god of war within her clinging arms,
Sinks on her lips, and kindles all her charms.
Paint limping Vulcan with a husband's care,
And let his brow the cuckold's honours wear;
Beneath the net the captive lovers place,
Their limbs entangled in a close embrace.
Let these amours adorn the new machine,
And female nature on the piece be seen;
So shall the fair, as long as fans shall last,
Learn from your bright examples to be chaste.
Trivia; Or The Art Of Walking The Streets Of London: Book I.
Of the Implements for Walking the Streets,
and Signs of the Weather.
Through winter streets to steer your courses aright,
How to walk clean by day, and safe by night,
How jostling crowds, with prudence to decline,
When to assert the wall, and when resign,
I sing: thou, Trivia, goddess, aid my song,
Through spacious streets conduct thy bard along;
By thee transported, I securely stray
Where winding alleys lead the doubtful way,
The silent court, and opening square explore,
And long perplexing lanes untrod before.
To pave thy realm, and smooth the broken ways,
Earth from her womb a flinty tribute pays;
For thee, the sturdy paver thumps the ground,
Whilst every stroke his labouring lungs resound;
For thee the scavenger bids kennels glide
Within their bounds, and heaps of dirt subside,
My youthful bosom burns with thirst of fame.
From the great theme to build a glorious name,
And bind my temples with a civic crown:
But more, my country's love demands the lays,
My country's be the profit, mine the praise.
When the black youth at chosen stands rejoice,
And 'clean your shoes' resounds from every voice;
When late their miry sides stage-coaches show,
And their stiff horses through the town move slow;
When all the Mall in leafy ruin lies,
And damsels first renew their oyster-cries:
Then let the prudent walker shoes provide,
Not of the Spanish or Morocco hide;
The wooden heel may raise the dancer's bound,
And with the scallop'd top his step be crown'd:
Let firm, well-hammer'd soles protect thy feet
Through freezing snows, and rains, and soaking sleet.
Should the big last extend the shoe too wide,
Each stone will wrench the unwary step aside:
The sudden turn may stretch the swelling vein,
Thy cracking joint unhinge, or ankle sprain;
And then too short the modish shoes are worn,
You'll judge the seasons by your shooting corn.
Nor should it prove thy less important care,
To choose a proper coat for winter's wear.
Now in thy trunk thy D'oily habit fold,
The silken drugget ill can fence the cold;
The frieze's spongy nap is soak'd with rain,
And showers soon drench the camlet's cockled grain,
True Witney broad-cloth with its shag unshorn,
Unpierc'd is in the lasting tempest worn;
Be this the horseman's fence; for who would wear
Amid the town the spoils of Russia's bear!
Within the Roquelaure's clasp thy hands are pent,
Hands, that stretch'd forth invading harms prevent.
Let the loop'd Bavaroy the fop embrace,
Or his deep cloak be spatter'd o'er with lace,
That garment best the winter's rage defends,
Whose ample form without one plait depends;
By various names in various counties known,
Yet held in all the true surtout alone:
Be thine of Kersey firm, though small the cost,
Then brave unwet the rain, unchill'd the frost.
If the strong cane support thy walking hand,
Chairmen no longer shall the wall command;
Even sturdy car-men shall thy nod obey,
And rattling coaches stop to make the way;
This shall direct thy cautious tread aright,
Though not one glaring lamp enliven night.
Let beaux their canes with amber tipt produce,
Be theirs for empty show but thine for use.
In gilded chariots while they loll at east,
And lazily ensure a life's disease;
While softer chairs the tawdry load convey
To court, to White's, assemblies, or the play;
Rosy-complexion'd health thy steps attends,
And exercise thy lasting youth defends.
Imprudent men heaven's choicest gifts profane,
Thus some beneath their arm support the cane;
The dirty point oft checks the careless pace,
And miry spots the clean cravat disgrace:
O! may I never such misfortune meet,
May no such vicious walkers crowd the street,
May Providence o'ershade me with her wings,
While the bold muse experienc'd dangers sings.
Not that I wander from my native home,
And (tempting perils) foreign cities roam.
Let Paris be the theme of Gallia's muse,
Where slavery treads the street in wooden shoes
Nor do I rove in Belgia's frozen clime,
And teach the clumsy boor to skate in rhyme,
Where, if the warmer clouds in rain descend,
No wiry ways industrious steps offend,
The rushing flood from sloping pavements pours,
And blackens the canals with dirty showers.
Let others Naples' smoother streets rehearse,
And with proud Roman structures grace their verse,
Where frequent murders wake the night with groans,
And blood in purple torrents dies the stones;
Nor shall the muse through narrow Venice stray,
Where gondolas their painted oars display.
O happy streets, to rumbling wheels unknown,
No carts, no coaches shake the floating town!
Thus was of old Britannia's city bless'd,
Ere pride and luxury her sons possess'd:
Coaches and chariots yet unfashion'd lay,
Nor late-invented chairs perplex'd the way:
Then the proud lady tipp'd along the town,
And tuck'd up petticoats secur'd her gown,
Her rosy cheek with distant visits glow'd,
And exercise unartful charms bestow'd;
But since in braded gold her foot is bound,
And a long-trailing manteau sweeps the ground,
Her shoe disdains the street; the lazy fair
With narrow step affects a limping air.
Now gaudy pride corrupts the lavish age,
And the streets flame with glaring equipage;
The tricking gamester insolently rides,
With Loves and Graces on his chariot sides;
In saucy state the griping broker sits,
And laughs at honesty, and trudging wits:
For you, O honest men, these useful lays
The muse prepares; I seek no other praise.
When sleep is first disturb'd by morning cries;
From sure prognostics learn to know the skies,
Lest you of rheums and coughs at night complain;
Surpris'd in dreary fogs, or driving rain.
When suffocating mists obscure the morn,
Let thy worst wig long us'd to storms, be worn;
This knows the powder'd footman, and with care,
Beneath his flapping hat secures his hair,
Be thou, for every season, justly drest,
Nor brave the piercing frost with open breast;
And when the bursting clouds a deluge pour,
Let thy surtout defend the drenching shower.
The changing weather certain signs reveal,
Ere winter sheds her snow, or frosts congeal,
You'll see the coals in bright flame aspire,
And sulpher tinge with blue the rising fire:
Your tender shins the scorching heat decline,
And at the dearth of coals the poor repine;
Before her kitchen hearth, the nodding dame
In flannel mantle wrapt, enjoys the flame
Hovering; upon her feeble knees she bends,
And all around the grateful warmth ascends.
Nor do less certain signs the town advise,
Of milder weather, and serener skies.
The ladies gaily dress'd, the Mall adorn
With various dyes, and paint the sunny morn;
The wanton fawns with frisking pleasure range,
And chirping sparrows greet the welcome change:
Not that their minds with greater skill are fraught,
Endu'd by instinct, or by reason taught,
The seasons operate on every breast,
'Tis hence that fawns are brisk, and ladies drest.
When on his box the nodding coachman snores,
And dreams of fancy'd fares; when tavern doors
The chairman idly crowd; then ne'er refuse
To trust thy busy steps in thinner shoes.
But when the swinging signs your ears offend
With creaking noise, then rainy floods impend;
Soon shall the kennels swell with rapid streams,
And rush in muddy torrents to the Thames.
The bookseller, whose shop's an open square,
Foresees the tempest, and with early care
Of learning strips the rail; the rowing crew
To tempt a fare, clothe all their tilts in blue:
On hosier's poles depending stockings ty'd,
Flag with the slacken'd gale, from side to side:
Church-monuments foretell the changing air,
Then Niobe dissolves into a tear,
And sweats with secret grief; you'll hear the sounds,
Of whistling winds, ere kennels break their bounds;
Ungrateful odours common-shores diffuse,
And dropping vaults distil unwholesome dews,
Ere the tiles rattle with the smoking shower,
And spouts on heedless men their torrents pour.
All superstition from thy breast repel.
Let credulous boys, and prattling nurses tell,
How if the festival of Paul be clear,
Plenty from liberal horn shall strow the year;
When the dark skies dissolve in snow or rain,
The labouring hind shall yoke the steer in vain;
But if threat'ning winds in tempests roar,
Then war shall bathe her wasteful sword in gore.
How, if on Swithin's feast the welkin lowers,
And every penthouse streams with hasty showers,
Twice twenty days shall clouds their fleeces drain,
And wash the pavements with incessant rain;
Let not such vulgar tales debase thy mind;
Nor Paul nor Swithin rule the clouds and wind.
If you the precepts of the muse despise,
And slight the faithful warning of the skies,
Others you'll see, when all the town's afloat,
Wrapt in the embraces of a Kersey coat,
Or double-button'd frieze: their guarded feet
Defy the muddy dangers of the street,
While you with hat unloop'd, the fury dread
Of spouts high streaming, and with cautious tread
Shun every dashing pool; or idly stop,
To seek the kind protection of a shop.
But business summons; now with hasty scud
You jostle for the wall: the spatter'd mud
Hides all thy hose behind; in vain you scour,
The wig, alas! uncurl'd, admits the shower.
So fierce, Alecto's snaky tresses fell,
When Orpheus charm'd the rigorous powers of hell,
Or thus hung Glaucus' beard, with briny dew
Clotted and straight, when first his amorous view
Surpris'd the bathing fair; the frighted maid
Now stands a rock, transform'd by Circe's aid.
Good housewives all the winter's rage despise,
Defended by the riding-hood's disguise:
Or underneath the umbrella's oily shade,
Safe thro' the wet on clinking pattens tread.
Let Persian dames the umbrella's ribs display,
To guard their beauties from the sunny ray;
Or sweating slaves support the shady load,
When eastern monarchs show their state abroad
Britain in winter only knows its aid,
To guard from chilly showers the walking maid.
But O! forget not, muse, the patten's praise,
That female implement shall grace thy lays;
Say from what art divine the invention came,
And from its origin deduc'd its name,
Where Lincoln wide extends her fenny soil,
A goodly yeoman liv'd, grown white with toil:
One only daughter bless'd his nuptial bed,
Who from her infant hand the poultry fed:
Martha (her careful mother's name) she bore,
But now her careful mother was no more.
Whilst on her father's knee the damsel play'd,
Patty he fondly call'd the smiling maid;
As years increas'd, her ruddy beauty grew,
And Patty's fame o'er all the village flew.
Soon as the gray-ey'd morning streaks the skies,
And in the doubtful day the woodcock flies,
Her cleanly pail the pretty housewife bears,
And singing to the distant field repairs:
And when the plains with evening dews are spread
The milky burden smokes upon her head,
Deep, thro' a miry lane she picked her way,
Above her ancle rose the chalky clay.
Vulcan by chance the gloomy maiden spies,
With innocence and beauty in her eyes,
He saw, he lov'd; for yet he ne'er had known
Sweet innocence and beauty meet in one.
Ah Mulciber, recal thy nuptial vows,
Think on the graces of thy Paphian spouse,
Think how her eyes dart inexhausted charms,
And canst thou leave her bed for Patty's arms?
The Lemnian power forsakes the realms above,
His bosom glowing with terrestial love:
Far in the lane a lonely hut he found,
No tenant ventur'd on the unwholesome ground.
Here smokes his forge, he bares his sinewy arm,
And early strokes the sounding anvil warm;
Around his shop the steely sparkles flew,
As for the steed he shap'd the bending shoe.
When blue ey'd Patty near his window came,
His anvil rests, his forge forgets to flame.
To hear his soothing tales she feigns delays;
What woman can resist the force of praise?
At first she coyly every kiss withstood,
And all her cheek was flush'd with modest blood:
With headless nails he now surrounds her shoes,
To save her steps from rains and piercing dews;
She lik'd his soothing tales, his presents wore,
And granted kisses, but would grant no more.
Yet winter chill'd her feet, with cold she pines,
And on her cheek the fading rose declines;
No more her humid eyes their lustre boast,
And in hoarse sounds her melting voice is lost.
This Vulcan saw, and in his heavenly thought,
A new machine mechanic fancy wrought,
Above the mire her shelter'd steps to raise,
And bare her safely through the wintry ways;
Straight the new engine on the anvil glows,
And the pale virgin on the patten rose.
No more her lungs are shook with drooping rheums,
And on her cheek reviving beauty blooms.
The god obtain'd his suit; though flattery fail,
Presents with female virtue must prevail.
The patten now supports each frugal dame,
Which from the blue-eyed Patty takes the name.
Trivia ; Or, The Art Of Walking The Streets Of London : Book Iii
Of Walking the Streets by Night.
O Trivia, goddess, leave these low abodes,
And traverse o'er the wide ethereal roads,
Celestial queen, put on thy robes of light,
Now Cynthia nam'd, fair regent of the night.
At sight of thee the villain sheaths his sword,
Nor scales the wall, to steal the wealthy hoard.
O may thy silver lamp from heaven's high bower
Direct my footsteps in the midnight hour!
When night first bids the twinkling stars appear,
Or with her cloudy vest enwraps the air,
Then swarms the busy street; with caution tread
Where the shop-windows falling threat thy head;
Now labourers home return, and join their strength
To bear the tottering plank, or ladder's length;
Still fix thy eyes intent upon the throng,
And as the passes open, wind along.
Where the fair columns of St. Clement stand,
Whose straighten'd bounds encroach upon the Strand
Where the low pent-house bows the walker's head,
And the rough pavement wounds the yielding tread;
Where not a post protects the narrow space,
And strung in twines, combs dangle in thy face;
Summon at once thy courage, rouse thy care,
Stand firm, look back, be resolute, beware,
Forth issuing from steep lanes, the collier's steeds
Drag the black load; another cart succeeds,
Team follows team, crowds heap'd on crowds appear,
And wait impatient, 'till the road grow clear.
Now all the pavement sounds with trampling feet,
And the mixt hurry barricades the street;
Entangled here, the waggon's lengthen'd team
Cracks the tough harness; here a ponderous beam
Lies overturn'd athwart; for slaughter fed
Here lowing bullocks raise their horned head.
Now oaths grow loud, with coaches coaches jar,
And the smart blow provokes the sturdy war;
From the high box they whirl the thong around,
And with the twining lash their shins resound;
Their rage ferments, more dangerous wounds they try,
And the blood gushes down their painful eye,
And now on foot the frowning warriors light,
And with their ponderous fists renew the fight;
Blow after blow, the cheeks are smear'd with blood,
Till down they fall, and grappling roll in mud.
So when two boars, in wild Ytene bred,
Or on Westphalia's fattening chestnuts fed,
Gnash their sharp tusks, and rous'd with equal fire,
Dispute the reign of some luxurious mire;
In the black flood they wallow o'er and o'er,
'Till their arm'd jaws distil with foam and gore.
Where the mob gathers, swiftly shoot along,
Nor idly mingle in the noisy throng.
Lur'd by the silver hilt, amid the swarm,
The subtile artist will thy side disarm.
Nor is the flaxen wig with safety worn:
High on the shoulder, in a basket borne,
Lurks the sly boy; whose hand, to rapine bred,
Plucks off the curling honours of thy head.
Here dives the skulking thief, with practis'd slight,
And unfelt fingers make thy pocket light.
Where's now thy watch, with all its trinkets, flown;
And thy late snuff-box is no more thy own.
But lo! his bolder thefts some tradesman spies,
Swift from his prey the scudding lurcher flies;
Dextrous he 'scapes the coach with nimble bounds,
Whilst every honest tongue 'stop thief' resounds.
So speeds the wily fox, alarm'd by fear,
Who lately filch'd the turkey's callow care;
Hounds following hounds, grow louder as he flies,
And injur'd tenants join the hunter's cries.
Breathless he stumbling falls: ill-fated boy!
Why did not honest work thy youth employ?
Seiz'd by rough hands, he's dragg'd amid the rout,
And stretch'd beneath the pump's incessant spout:
Or plung'd in miry ponds, he gasping lies,
Mud choaks his mouth, and plasters o'er his eyes.
Let not the ballad-singer's shrilling strain
Amid the swarm thy listening ear detain:
Guard well thy pocket; for these Sirens stand,
To aid the labours of the diving hand;
Confederate in the cheat, they draw the throng,
And cambric handkerchiefs reward the song.
But soon as coach or cart drives rattling on,
The rabble part, in shoals they backward run.
So Jove's loud bolts the mingled war divide,
And Greece and Troy retreat on either side.
If the rude throng pour on with furious pace,
And hap to break thee from a friend's embrace,
Stop short; nor struggle through the crowd in vain,
But watch with careful eye the passing train.
Yet I (perhaps too fond) if chance the tide
Tumultuous, bear my partner from my side,
Impatient venture back; despising harm,
I force my passage where the thickest swarm.
Thus his lost bride the Trojan sought in vain
Thro' night, and arms, and flames, and hills of slain
Thus Nisus wandere'd o'er the pathless grove,
To find the brave companion of his love,
The pathless grove in vain he wanders o'er:
Euryalus, alas! is now no more.
That walker who, regardless of his pace,
Turns oft to pore upon the damsel's face,
From side to side by rustling elbows tost,
Shall strike his aching breast against the post;
Or water dash'd from fishy stalls shall stain
His hapless coat with spirits of scaly rain.
But if unwarily he chance to stray,
Where twirling turnstiles intercept the way,
The thwarting passenger shall force them round,
And beat the wretch half breathless to the ground.
Let constant vigilance thy footsteps guide,
And wary circumspection guard thy side;
Then shalt thou walk unharm'd the dangerous night,
Nor need the officious link-boy's smoky light.
Thou never wilt attempt to cross the road,
Where ale-house benches rest the porter's load,
Grievous to heedless shins; no barrow's wheel,
That bruises oft the truant school-boy's heel,
Behind thee rolling, with insidious pace,
Shall mark thy stocking with a miry trace.
Let not thy vent'rous steps approach too nigh,
Where gaping wide, low steepy cellars lie;
Should thy shoe wrench aside, down, down you fall,
And overturn the scolding huckster's stall,
The scolding huckster shall not o'er thee moan,
But pence exact for nuts and pears o'erthrown.
Though you through cleanlier alleys wind by day,
To shun the hurries of the public way,
Yet ne'er to those dark paths by night retire;
Mind only safety and contemn the mire.
Then no impervious courts thy haste detain,
Nor sneering ale-wives bid thee turn again,
Where Lincoln's-Inn, wide space, is rail'd around,
Cross not with vent'rous steps, there oft is found
The lurking thief, who while the day-light shone,
Made the walls echo with his begging tone:
That crutch which late compassion mov'd shall wound
Thy bleeding head, and fell thee to the ground.
Though thou art tempted by the link-man's call,
Yet trust him not along the lonely wall;
In the midway he'll quench the flaming brand,
And share the booty with the pilfering band.
Still keep the public streets, where oily rays
Shot from the crystal lamp, o'erspread the ways.
Happy Augusta! law-defended town!
Here no dark lanthorns shade the villain's frown;
No Spanish jealousies thy lanes infest,
Nor Roman vengeance stabs the unwary breast;
Here tyranny ne'er lifts her purple hand,
But liberty and justice guard the land;
No bravos here profess the bloody trade,
Nor is the church the murderer's refuge made.
Let not the chairman with assuming stride
Press near the wall, and rudely thrust thy side;
The laws have set him bounds; his service feet
Should ne'er encroach where posts defend the street.
Yet who the footman's arrogance can quell
Whose flambeau gilds the sashes of Pell-mell,
When in long rank a train of torches flame,
To light the midnight visits of the dame?
Others, perhaps, by happier guidance led,
May where the chairmen rests with safety tread;
Whene'er I pass, their poles unseen below,
Make my knee tremble with the jarring blow.
If wheels bar up the road where streets are crost,
With gentle words the coachman's ear accost;
He ne'er the threat, or harsh command obeys,
But with contempt the spatter'd shoe surveys.
Now man with utmost fortitude thy soul,
To cross the way where carts and coaches roll;
Yet do not in thy hardy skill confide,
Nor rashly risk the kennel's spacious stride;
Stay till afar the distant wheel you hear,
Like dying thunder in the breaking air;
Thy foot will slide upon the miry stone,
And passing coaches crush thy tortur'd bone,
Or wheels enclose the road; on either hand
Pent round with perils, in the midst you stand,
And call for aid in vain; the coachman swears,
And car-men drive, unmindful of thy prayers.
Where wilt thou turn? ah! whither wilt thou fly?
On every side the pressing spokes are nigh.
So sailors, while Charybdis' gulph they shun,
Amaz'd, on Scylla's craggy dangers run.
Be sure observe where brown Ostrea stands,
Who boasts her shelly ware from Walfleet sands;
There mayst thou pass, with safe unmiry feet,
Where the rail'd pavement leads athwart the street
If where Fleet-ditch with muddy current flows,
You chance to roam; where oyster tubs in rows
Are rang'd beside the posts; here stay thy haste
And with the savoury fish indulge thy taste:
The damsel's knife the gaping shell commands,
While the salt liquor streams between her hands.
The man had sure a palate cover'd o'er
With brass or steel, that on the rocky shore
First broke the oozy oyster's pearly coat,
And risk'd the living morsel down his throat.
What will not luxury taste? earth, sea, and air
Blood stuff'd in skins in British Christians food,
And France robs marshes of the croaking brood;
Spongy morells in strong ragousts are found,
And in the soup the slimy snail is drown'd.
When from high spouts the dashing torrents fall,
Ever be watchful to maintain the wall;
For should'st thou quit thy ground, the rushing throng
Will with impetuous fury drive along;
All press to gain those honours thou hast lost,
And rudely shove thee far without the post.
Then to retrieve the shed you strive in vain,
Draggled all o'er, and soak'd in floods of rain.
Yet rather bear the shower, and toils of mud,
Than in the doubtful quarrel risk thy blood.
O think on OEdipus' detested state,
And by his woes be warn'd to shun his fate.
Where three roads join'd he met his sire unknown;
(Unhappy sire, but more unhappy son!)
Each claim'd the way, their swords the strife decide,
The hoary monarch fell, he groan'd, and died!
Hence sprung the fatal plague that thinn'd thy reign,
Thy cursed incest! and thy children slain!
Hence wert thou doom'd in endless night to stray,
Thro' Theban streets, and cheerless grope thy way.
Contemplate, mortal, on thy fleeting years;
See, with black train the funeral pomp appears!
Whether some heir attends in sable state,
And mourns with outward grief a parent's fate;
Or the fair virgin, nipt in beauty's bloom,
A crowd of lovers follow to her tomb.
Why is the hearse with scutcheon blazon'd round,
And with the nodding plume of ostrich crown'd?
No! the dead know it not, nor profit gain;
It only serves to prove the living vain.
How short is life! how frail is human trust!
Is all this pomp for laying dust to dust!
Where the nail'd hoop defends the painted stall,
Brush not thy sweeping skirt too near the wall;
Thy heedless sleeve will drink the colour'd oil,
And spot indelible thy pocket soil.
Has not wise nature strung the legs and feet
With firmest nerves, design'd to walk the street?
Has she not given us hands to grope aright,
Amidst the frequent dangers of the night?
And think'st thou not the double nostril meant,
To warn from oily woes by previous scent?
Who can the various city-frauds recite,
With all the petty rapines of the night?
Who now the guinea-dropper's bait regards,
Trick'd by the sharper's dice, or juggler's cards!
Why should I warn thee ne'er to join the fray,
Where the sham quarrel interrupts the way?
Lives there in these our days so soft a clown,
Brav'd by the bully's oaths or threatening frown;
I need not strict enjoin the pocket's care,
When from the crowded pay thou lead'st the fair?
Who has not here, or watch, or snuff-box lost,
Or handkerchiefs that India's shuttle boast?
O! may thy virtue guard thee through the roads
Of Drury's mazy courts, and dark abodes.
The harlots' guileful paths, who nightly stand,
Where Katharine-street descends into the Strand.
Say, vagrant muse, their wiles and subtile arts,
To lure the strangers' unsuspecting hearts:
So shall our youth on healthful sinews tread,
And city cheeks grow warm with rural red.
'Tis she who nightly strolls with sauntering pace,
No stubborn stays her yielding shape embrace;
Beneath the lamp her tawdry ribbons glare,
The new-scour'd manteau, and the slattern air;
High-draggled petticoats her travels show,
And hollow cheeks with artful blushes glow;
With flattering sounds she sooths the credulous ear
My noble captain! charmer! love! my dear!
In riding-hood near tavern-doors she plies,
Or muffled pinners hide her livid eyes.
With empty bandbox she delights to range,
And feigns a distant errand from the 'Chance;
Nay, she will oft the Quaker's hood profane,
And trudge demure the rounds of Drury-land.
She darts from sarsnet ambush wily leers,
Twitches thy sleeve, or with familiar airs
Her fan will pat thy cheek; these snares disdain,
Nor gaze behind thee when she turns again.
I knew a yeoman, who for thirst or gain,
To the great city drove from Devon's plain
His numerous lowing herd; his hers he sold,
And his deep leathern pocket bagg'd with gold;
Drawn by a fraudful nymph, he gazed, and sigh'd;
Unmindful of his home, and distant bride,
She leads the willing victim to his doom,
Through winding alleys to her cobweb room,
Thence thro' the street he reels, from post to post,
Valiant with wine, nor knows his treasures lost.
The vagrant wretch the assembled watchmen spies,
He waves his hanger, and their poles defies;
Deep in the round-house pent all night he snores,
And the next morning vain his fate deplores.
Ah hapless swain, unus'd to pains and ills!
Canst thou forego roast-beef for nauseous pills?
How wilt thou lift to heaven thy eyes and hands,
When the long scroll the surgeon's fees demands!
Or else (ye gods avert that worst disgrace)
Thy ruin'd nose falls level with thy face,
Then shall thy wife thy loathsome kiss disdain,
And wholesome neighbours from thy mug refrain.
Yet there are watchmen who with friendly light
Will teach thy reeling steps to tread aright;
For sixpence will support thy helpless arm,
And home conduct thee, safe from nightly harm;
But if they shake their lanthorns from afar
To call their brethren confederate war,
When rakes resist their power; if hapless you
Should chance to wander with the scow'ring crew;
Though fortune lead thee captive, ne'er despair,
But seek the constable's considerate ear;
He will reverse the watchman's harsh decree,
Mov'd by the rhetoric of a silver fee.
Thus would you gain some favourite courtier's word:
Fee not the petty clerks, but bribe my lord.
Now is the time that rakes their revels keep:
Kindlers of riot, enemies of sleep.
His scatter'd pence the flying Nicker flings,
And with the copper shower the casement rings.
Who has not heard the Scowrer's midnight fame?
Who has not trembled at the Mohock's name?
Was there a watchman took his hourly rounds,
Safe from their blows, or new-invented wounds?
I pass their desperate deeds, and mischiefs done
Where from Snow-hill black and steepy torrents run;
How matrons hoop'd within the hogshead's womb,
Were tumbled furious thence, the rolling tomb
O'er the stones thunders, bounds from side to side,
So Regulus to save his country died.
Where a dim gleam the paly lanthorn throws
O'er the mid pavement, heapy rubbish grows;
Or arching vaults their gaping jaws extend,
Or the dark caves to common-shores descend.
Oft by the winds extinct the signal lies,
Or smother'd in the glimmering socket dies,
Ere night has half-roll'd round her ebon throne;
In the wide gulph the shatter'd coach o'erthrown
Sinks with the snorting steeds: the reins are broke,
And from the crackling axle flies the spoke.
So when fan'd Eddystone's far-shooting ray,
That led the sailor thro' the stormy way,
Was from its rocky roots by billows torn,
And the high turret in the whirlwind borne,
Fleets bulg'd their sides against the craggy land,
And pitchy ruins blacken'd all the strand.
Who then thro' night would hire the harness'd steed,
And who would choose the rattling wheel for speed?
But hark! distress with screaming voice draws nigher,
And wakes the slumbering street with cries of fire.
At first a glowing red enwraps the skies,
And borne by winds the scattering sparks arise;
From beam to beam the fierce contagion spreads;
The spiry flames now lift aloft their heads,
Through the burst sash a blazing deluge pours,
And splitting tiles descend in rattling showers.
Now with thick crowds the enlighten'd pavement swarms,
The fire-man sweats beneath his crooked arms,
A leathern cask his vent'rous head defends,
Boldly he climbs where thickest smoke ascends;
Mov'd by the mother's streaming eyes and prayers,
The helpless infant through the flame he bears,
With no less virtue, than thro' hostile fire
The Dardan hero bore his aged sire.
See forceful engines spout their levell'd streams,
To quench the blaze that runs along the beams;
The grappling hook plucks rafters from the walls,
And heaps on heaps the smocky ruin falls.
Blown by strong winds the fiery tempest roars,
Bears down new walls, and pours along the floors;
The heavens are all a-blaze, the face of night
Is cover'd with a sanguine dreadful light:
'Twas such a light involv'd thy tower, O Rome,
The dire presage of mighty Caesar's doom,
When the sun veil'd in rust his mourning head,
And frightful prodigies the skies o'erspread.
Hark! the drum thunders! far, ye crowds, retire
Behold! the ready match is tipt with fire,
The nitrous store is laid, the smutty train
With running blaze awakes the barrel'd grain;
Flames sudden wrap the walls; with sullen sound
The shatter'd pile sinks on the smoky ground.
So when the year shall have revolv'd the date,
The inevitable hour of Naples' fate,
Her sapp'd foundations shall with thunder shake,
And heave and toss upon the sulphurous lake
Earth's womb at once the fiery flood shall rend,
And in the abyss her plunging towers descend.
Consider reader, what fatigues I've known,
The toils, the perils of the wintry town;
What riots seen, what bustling crowds I bor'd,
How oft I cross'd where carts and coaches roar'd;
Yet shall I bless my labours, if mankind
Their future safety from my dangers find.
Thus the bold traveller, (inur'd to toil,
Whose steps have printed Asia's desert soil,
The barbarous Arabs haunt; or shivering crost
Dark Greenland's mountains of eternal frost;
Whom Providence in length of years restores
To the wish'd harbour of his native shores);
Sets forth his journals to the public view,
To caution, by his woes, the wandering crew.
And now complete my generous labours lie,
Finish'd, and ripe for Immortality.
Death shall entomb in dust this mouldering frame,
But never reach the eternal part, my fame.
, mighty names, are dead;
Or but at Chelsea under custards read:
When critics crazy bandboxes repair,
And tragedies, turn'd rockets, bounce in air:
High rais'd on Fleet-street posts, consign'd to fame,
This work shall shine, and walkers bless my name.