Posts tagged ‘1759’

Monday, 25 June 2018

A Riddle by Nathaniel Evans

Written 1759.

Barricado’d with white bone,
Lab’ring under many a groan,
Curtain’d in my room with red,
And smoothly laid in crimson bed;
‘Tis I dissolve the stony heart,
And comfort’s balmy joys impart;
‘Tis I can rule the wav’ring croud,
Or tame the haughty and the proud;
‘Tis I o’er beauty oft prevail,
That queen of life’s capricious vale;
‘Tis I can fire the warrior’s soul,
Or passion’s giddy voice control;
Senates have felt my lordly sway,
And kings my magic pow’r obey;
‘Tis I, so garrulously gay,
That rouze the dames whose heads are grey;
Gilded o’er with truth and lies,
Under many a mixt disguise,
I dress to cheat unpractis’d youth,
With falsehood’s garb for honest truth;
XANTHIPPE bold, in dead of night,
Taught SOCRATES to own my might!

Strange enchantress, motely creature,
Oddest prodigy of nature!
As raging billows, now I’m wild,
And now as warbling fountains mild;
Now religion’s laws proclaiming,
And now the good and just defaming;
Now cementing patriotism,
And now in church provoking schism.
Enough, O muse!– kind reason cries,
The man who has this monster dies!
Expound my riddle, if you’re able,
For ‘twas this confounded BABEL!

From: Evans, Nathaniel, Poems on Several Occasions, with Some Other Compositions, 1772, John Dunlap: Philadelphia, pp. 19-20.

Date: 1759

By: Nathaniel Evans (1741-1767)

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

An Observation by Mary Latter

When Coxcombs out of vain Pretence,
Pretend to talk like Men of Sense,
‘Tis sometimes prudent, not to show
How much you’re Learn’d, and what you Know,
Deep Thoughts and Wise, if you have any,
Be sure you don’t expose too many:
“But, take it for a constant Rule,”
The better you can act the FOOL,
The sooner you may bring them over,
Their Want of Wisdom to discover.

From: Latter, Mary, The miscellaneous works, in prose and verse, of Mrs. Mary Latter, of Reading, Berks. In three parts, 1759, C. Pocock: Reading, p. 122.

Date: 1759

By: Mary Latter (1725-1777)

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Oak and the Shrubs. A Fable by James Fortescue

There liv’d, beneath an aged oak,
A shrub or two, who thus bespoke
Their guardian Tree, “How fine you spread,
And lift into the heavens your head,
With glossy leaves, and branching arms,
Extending to the sun your charms:
Whilst we stand here in piteous plight,
Deny’d the very air, and light;
Most humbly bend, — scarce see the sun,—
What, for such usage, have we done?
What a mean figure we have made,
Out of Court-sunshine, in your shade;
Tho’ swoln to an enormous size,
Remember whom we aggrandize;
Yet nothing have, but leaves, or loppings,
Besides some filthy rain, or droppings;
Which only tend to make us sower,
Else fair, and sweet as any flower,
We might, as well as others, rise,
And shoot our heads into the skies.
But now, you only stand aloof,
Catch, and turn all to your behoof:
While we, below, you scorn and scoff,
Seem only made, to set you off.
Tho’ the same wood, the self-same earth,
Gave us all, nutriment and birth,
We dare not raise aloft our head,
Tho’ full as nobly born and bred.

The heart of oak with high disdain,
Reply’d — “I’ve heard you fools complain;
But know this clamour’s out of season,
Against my eminence ’tis treason:
Such scrubs have been too long protected;
By every one, but me, rejected.
Had you not murmur’d you might lie,
All safe, thro’ your obscurity;
But now, since you’re so saucy grown,
Of driving winds and rain the scorn,
I’ll leave you. — Then his arms withdrew,
And left them all exposed to view.

The bleak winds came, the driving rains,
Descending, swept part off the plains;
A part was trod into the mire;
The rest, made fuel, food for fire:
The farmer came, in bundles bound
The residue, and clear’d the ground.


Date: 1759

By: James Fortescue (1716-1777)

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

On an Amorous Old Man by David Mallet (Malloch)

Still hovering round the Fair at sixty-four,
Unfit to love, unable to give o’er;
A flesh-fly, that just flutters on the wing,
Awake to buz, but not alive to sting;
Brisk where he cannot, backward where he can;
The teizing ghost of the departed man.

From: Mallet, David, The Works of David Mallet, Esq; in Three Volumes. A New Edition Corrected. Volume I, 1759, A. Millar and P. Vaillant: London, p. 48.

Date: 1759

By: David Mallet (Malloch) (c1705-1765)

Friday, 9 January 2015

Excerpt from “Death: A Poetical Essay” by Beilby Porteus

Friend to the wretch, whom every friend forsakes,
I woo thee, Death! In Fancy’s fairy paths
Let the gay Songster rove, and gently trill
The strain of empty joy. Life and its joys
I leave to those that prize them. At this hour,
This solemn hour, when Silence rules the world,
And wearied Nature makes a gen’ral pause;
Wrapt in Night’s sable robe, through cloysters drear
And charnels pale, tenanted by a throng
Of meagre phantoms shooting cross my path
With silent glance, I seek the shadowy vale
Of Death. Deep in a murky cave’s recess
Lav’d by Oblivion’s listless stream, and fenc’d
By Shelving rocks and intermingled horrors
Of yew’ and cypress’ shade from all intrusion
Of busy noontide beam, the Monarch sits
In unsubstantial Majesty enthron’d.
At his right hand, nearest himself in place
And frightfulness of form, his Parent Sin
With fatal industry and cruel care
Busies herself in pointing all his stings,
And tipping every shaft with venom drawn
From her infernal store; around him rang’d
In terrible array and mixture strange
Of uncouth shapes, stand his dread Ministers.
Foremost Old Age, his natural ally
And firmest friend: next him diseases thick,
A motly ran; Fever with cheek of fire;
Consumption wan; Palsy; half warm with life,
And half a clay-cold lump; joint-tort ‘ring Gout,
And ever-gnawing Rheum; Convulsion wild;
Swol’n Dropsy; panting Asthma; Apoplex
Full-gorg’d. There too the Pestilence that walks
In darkness, and the Sickness that destroys
At broad noon-day. These and a thousand more,
Horrid to tell, attentive wait; and, when
By Heaven’s command Death waves his ebon wand,
Sudden rush forth to execute his purpose
And scatter desolation o’er the Earth.

From: Porteus, Beilby, Death: A Poetical Essay (5th Edition), 1772, H. Hughs: London, pp. 5-7.

Date: 1759

By: Beilby Porteus (1731-1809)

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)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A Prayer for Indifference by Frances Greville

Oft I’ve implor’d the gods in vain, 
            And pray’d till I’ve been weary; 
For once I’ll seek my wish to gain 
            Of Oberon, the Fairy.

Sweet airy being, wanton sprite, 
            Who lurk’st in woods unseen, 
And oft by Cynthia’s silver light, 
            Trip’st gaily o’er the green:

If e’er thy pitying heart was mov’d, 
            As ancient stories tell, 
And for the Athenian maid who lov’d, 
            Thou sought’st a wondrous spell;

O deign once more t’exert thy power! 
            Haply some herb or tree,
Sovereign as juice of western flower, 
            Conceals a balm for me.

I ask no kind return of love, 
            No tempting charm to please;
Far from the heart those gifts remove, 
            That sighs for peace and ease:

Nor peace, nor ease, the heart can know, 
            That, like the needle true, 
Turns at the touch of joy or woe,  
            But, turning, trembles too.

Far as distress the soul can wound, 
            ‘Tis pain in each degree; 
‘Tis bliss but to a certain bound, 
            Beyond, is agony.

Then take this treacherous sense of mine, 
            Which dooms me still to smart;
Which pleasure can to pain refine, 
            To pain new pangs depart.

O haste to shed the sovereign balm, 
            My shatter’d nerves new string; 
And for my guest, serenely calm, 
            The nymph Indifference bring!

At her approach, see Hope, see Fear, 
            See Expectation fly! 
And Disappointment in the rear, 
            That blasts the promis’d joy!

The tear which Pity taught to flow 
            The eye shall then disown; 
The heart that melts for others’ woe 
            Shall then scarce feel its own.

The wounds which now each moment bleed, 
            Each moment then shall close; 
And tranquil days shall still succeed
            To nights of calm repose.

O Fairy Elf! but grant me this, 
            This one kind comfort send, 
And so may never-fading bliss 
            Thy flowery paths attend!

So may the glow-worm’s glimmering light 
            Thy tiny footsteps lead 
To some new region of delight, 
            Unknown to mortal tread!

And be thy acorn goblet filled
            With heaven’s ambrosial dew, 
From sweetest, freshest flowers distilled, 
            That shed fresh sweets for you!

And what of  life remains for me 
            I’ll pass in sober ease; 
Half pleased, contented will I be,
            Content but half to please.


Date: 1759

By: Frances Greville (c1724-1789)