Archive for ‘18th Century’

Friday, 13 May 2022

Better Brown than Blonde by Elisabeth Koolart-Hoofman

Don’t ever change your colour, fair brunettes,
For lighter hue or blonder tress.
The rose looks pale beside dark violets
And white grapes never equal reds.
How can scent of blooms soon gone
Rival ripe morellos?
Does the proud brown oak not throne
High above white willows?
Unlike others I’ll praise brown
Rather than light yellows;
What Nature aims to clothe in loveliness,
She gives a darker hood or dress.
So never change your colour, fair brunettes,
For lighter hue or blonder tress.

From: van Gemert, Lia; Joldersma, Hermina; van Marion, Olga; van der Poel, Dieuwke; and Schenkeveld-van der Dussen, Riet (eds.), Women’s Writing from the Low Countries 1200-1875: A Bilingual Anthology, 2010, Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam, p. 347.

Date: 1774 (published) (original in Dutch); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Elisabeth Koolart-Hoofman (1664-1736)

Translated by: Myra Heerspink Scholz (1944- )

Sunday, 10 April 2022

[Overflowing with Love] by Shiimoto Saimaro

Overflowing with love
the cat as coquettish
as a courtesan.

From: Addiss, Stephen; Yamamoto, Fumiko; and Yamamoto, Akira (eds. and transls.), Haiku: An Anthology of Japanese Poems, 2009, Shambhala Library: Boston, p. 7.

Date: c1730 (original in Japanese); 2009 (translation in English)

By: Shiimoto Saimaro (1656-1737)

Translated by: Stephen Addiss (1935- ), Fumiko Yamamoto (1934- ) and Akira Yamamoto (19??- )

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Man-Hater, A Song by Henry Carey

What’s Man, but a perfidious Creature,
Of an inconstant, fickle Nature,
Deceitful, and Conceited too,
Boasting of more than he can do?

Beware, ye heedless Nymphs, beware,
For Men will Lye, and Fawn, and Swear;
But, when they once have gain’d the Prize,
Good Heav’ns! How they will Tyranize!


Date: 1713

By: Henry Carey (c1687-1743)

Sunday, 3 June 2012

To Miss Seward’s Cat by Erasmus Darwin

Cats I scorn, who, sleek and fat,
Shiver at a Norway Rat;
Rough and hardy, bold and free,
Be the cat that’s made for me.

He, whose nervous paw can take
My lady’s lap-dog by the neck;
With furious hiss attack the hen,
And snatch a chicken from the pen.

If the treacherous swain should prove
Rebellious to my tender love,
My scorn the vengeful paw shall dart,
Shall tear his fur, and pierce his heart.

From: The Parterre of Poetry and Historical Romance; with Essays, Sketches, And Anecdotes, Volume V, 1836, Effingham Wilson Junior: London, p. 233.

Date: 1780

By: Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Fragment B from “Jubilate Agno” [For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry] by Christopher Smart

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defense is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord’s poor, and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually–Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can sit up with gravity, which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick, which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master’s bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God’s light about him both wax and fire.
For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.


Date: 1759 or 1760

From: Christopher Smart (1722-1771)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Friendship; An Ode by Samuel Johnson

Friendship! peculiar boon of Heaven,
The noble mind’s delight and pride,
To men and angels only given,
To all the lower world denied.

While love, unknown among the bless’d,
Parent of thousand wild desires,
The savage and the human breast
Torments alike with raging fires.

With bright, but oft destructive gleam,
Alike o’er all his lightnings fly,
Thy lambent glories only beam
Around the favourites of the sky.

Thy gentle flows of guiltless joys
On fools and villains ne’er descend;
In vain for thee the tyrant sighs,
And hugs a flatterer for a friend.

Directness of the brave and just,
Oh guide us through life’s darksome way!
And let the tortures of mistrust
On selfish bosoms only prey.

Nor shall thine ardours cease to glow,
When souls to peaceful climes remove.
What raised our virtue here below
Shall aid our happiness above.


Date: 1743

By: Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Ode to Fear by William Collins

Thou, to whom the world unknown
With all its shadowy shapes is shown;
Who see’st appalled the unreal scene,
While Fancy lifts the veil between:
     Ah Fear! Ah frantic Fear!
     I see, I see thee near.
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
Like thee I start, like thee disordered fly.
For lo, what monsters in thy train appear!
Danger, whose limbs of giant mould
What mortal eye can fixed behold?
Who stalks his round, an hideous form,
Howling amidst the midnight storm,
Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Of some loose hanging rock to sleep;
And with him thousand phantoms joined,
Who prompt to deeds accursed the mind;
And those, the fiends who, near allied,
O’er nature’s wounds and wrecks preside;
Whilst Vengeance in the lurid air
Lifts her red arm, exposed and bare,
On whom that ravening brood of fate,
Who lap the blood of sorrow, wait;
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild like thee?


Date: 1746

By: William Collins (1721-1759)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Rule Britannia by James Thomson

When Britain first, at heaven’s command,
    Arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter of the land,
    And guardian angels sung this strain—
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”

The nations, not so blest as thee,
    Must in their turns to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
    The dread and envy of them all.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”

Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
    More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies
    Serves but to root thy native oak.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”

Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame;
    All their attempts to bend thee down,
Will but arouse thy generous flame,
    But work their woe and thy renown.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”

To thee belongs the rural reign;
    Thy cities shall with commerce shine;
All thine shall be the subject main,
    And every shore it circles thine.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”

The Muses, still with freedom found,
    Shall to thy happy coast repair:
Blest isle! with matchless beauty crowned,
    And manly hearts to guard the fair.
       “Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
       Britons never will be slaves.”


Date: 1740

By: James Thomson (1700-1748)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Answer by Anne Finch

To Pope’s Impromptu

Disarmed with so genteel an air,
   The contest I give o’er;
Yet, Alexander, have a care,
   And shock the sex no more.
We rule the world our life’s whole race,
   Men but assume that right;
First slaves to ev’ry tempting face,
   Then martyrs to our spite.
You of one Orpheus sure have read,
   Who would like you have writ
Had he in Londontown been bred,
   And polished too his wit;
But he poor soul thought all was well,
   And great should be his fame,
When he had left his wife in hell,
   And birds and beasts could tame.
Yet venturing then with scoffing rhymes
   The women to incense,
Resenting heroines of those times
   Soon punished his offense.
And as the Hebrus rolled his skull,
   And harp besmeared with blood,
They clashing as the waves grew full,
   Still harmonized the flood.
But you our follies gently treat,
   And spin so fine the thread,
You need not fear his awkward fate,
   The lock won’t cost the head.
Our admiration you command
   For all that’s gone before;
What next we look for at your hand
   Can only raise it more.
Yet sooth the ladies I advise
   (As me too pride has wrought)
We’re born to wit, but to be wise
   By admonitions taught.


Date: 1714

By: Anne Finch (1661-1720)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Impromptu to Lady Winchelsea [Anne Finch] by Alexander Pope

Occasioned by Four Satyrical Verses on Women-Wits,
in the Rape of the Lock

In vain you boast Poetic Names of yore,
And cite those Sapphos we admire no more:
Fate doom’d the Fall of ev’ry Female Wit;
But doom’d it then when first Ardelia writ.
Of all Examples by the World confess’d,
I knew Ardelia could not quote the best;
Who, like her Mistress on Britannia’s Throne;
Fights and subdues in Quarrels not her own.
To write their Praise you but in vain essay;
Ev’n while you write, you take that Praise away:   
Light to the Stars the Sun does thus restore,
But shines himself till they are seen no more.


Date: 1714

By: Alexander Pope (1688-1744)