Posts tagged ‘1768’

Friday, 15 May 2020

The Crow and Other Birds by William Wilkie


In ancient times, tradition says,
When birds like men would strive for praise;
The bullfinch, nightingale, and thrush,
With all that chant from tree or bush,
Would often meet, in song to vie;
The kinds that sing not, sitting by.
A knavish crow, it seems, had got
The knack to criticise by rote:
He understood each learned phrase,
As well as critics nowadays:
Some say, he learn’d them from an owl,
By listening where he taught a school.
‘Tis strange to tell, this subtle creature,
Though nothing musical by nature,
Had learn’d so well to play his part,
With nonsense couch’d in terms of art,
As to be own’d by all at last
Director of the public taste.
Then, puff’d with insolence and pride,
And sure of numbers on his side,
Each song he freely criticised;
What he approved not was despised:
But one false step in evil hour
For ever stripp’d him of his power.
Once when the birds assembled sat,
All listening to his formal chat;
By instinct nice he chanced to find
A cloud approaching in the wind,
And ravens hardly can refrain
From croaking, when they think of rain:
His wonted song he sung: the blunder
Amazed and scared them, worse than thunder;
For no one thought so harsh a note
Could ever sound from any throat:
They all at first with mute surprise
Each on his neighbour turn’d his eyes:
But scorn succeeding soon took place,
And might be read in every face,
All this the raven saw with pain,
And strove his credit to regain.
Quoth he: ‘The solo which ye heard
In public should not have appear’d:
The trifle of an idle hour,
To please my mistress once when sour:
My voice, that’s somewhat rough and strong,
Might chance the melody to wrong,
But, tried by rules, you’ll find the grounds
Most perfect and harmonious sounds,’
He reason’d thus; but, to his trouble,
At every word the laugh grew double:
At last, o’ercome with shame and spite,
He flew away quite out of sight.

From: Jenyns, Soame; Graeme, James; and Wilkie, William, The Poems of Jenyns, Wilkie, and Graeme, 1822, C. Whittingham: Chiswick, pp. 199-201.

Date: 1768

By: William Wilkie (1721-1772)

Friday, 24 August 2018

Wooed and Married and A’ by Alexander Ross

The bride cam’ out o’ the byre,
And O, as she dighted1 her cheeks,
‘Sirs, I’m to be married the-night,
And ha’e neither blankets nor sheets–
Ha’e neither blankets nor sheets,
Nor scarce a coverlet too;
The bride that has a’ thing to borrow,
Has e’en right meikle2 ado!’

Wooed and married and a’!
Married and wooed and a’!
And was she na very weel aff
That was wooed and married and a’?

Out spake the bride’s father
As he cam’ in frae the pleugh,
‘O haud your tongue, my dochter,
And ye’se3 get gear4 eneugh.
The stirk5 stands i’ the tether,
And our braw bawsint yade6
Will carry hame your corn:—
What wad ye be at, ye jade?’

Out spake the bride’s mither:
‘What, deil, needs a’ this pride?
I hadna a plack7 in my pouch
That night I was a bride.
My gown was linsey-wolsey,
And ne’er a sark8 ava;
And ye ha’e ribbons and buskin’s9
  Mae10 than ane or twa.’

Out spake the bride’s brither
As he cam’ in wi’ the kye:11
‘Puir Willie wad ne’er ha’e ta’en ye
Had he kent ye as weel as I.
For ye’re baith proud and saucy,
And no for a puir man’s wife;
Gin12 I canna get a better
I’se ne’er tak’ ane i’ my life!’

Out spake the bride’s sister
As she cam’ in frae the byre;
‘Oh, gin I were but married,
It’s a’ that I desire!
But we puir folk maun live,
And do the best we can;
I dinna ken what I should want
If I could get but a man!’

1. Wiped.
2. Much.
3. You shall.
4. Property.
5. Steer.
6. Fine white-faced mare.
7. Four-pence Scots.
8. Chemise.
9. Ornaments.
10. More.
11. Cows.
12. If.


Date: 1768

By: Alexander Ross (1699-1784)

Friday, 6 May 2016

The Female Patriots, Address’d to the Daughters of Liberty in America, 1768 by Hannah Griffitts

Since the Men from a Party, on fear of a Frown,
Are kept by a Sugar-Plumb, quietly down.
Supinely asleep, & deprived of their Sight
Are stripped of their Freedom, and robbed of their Right.
If the Sons (so degenerate) the Blessing despise,
Let the Daughters of Liberty, nobly arise,
And tho’ we’ve no Voice, but a negative here.
The use of the Taxables, let us forebear,
(Then Merchants import till yr. Stores are all full
May the Buyers be few & yr. Traffic be dull.)
Stand firmly resolved & bid Grenville [English Minister George] to see
That rather than Freedom, we’ll part with our Tea.
And well as we love the dear Draught when a dry,
As American Patriots, our Taste we deny,
Sylvania’s, gay Meadows, can richly afford,
To pamper our Fancy, or furnish our Board,
And Paper sufficient (at home) still we have,
To assure the Wise-acre, we will not sign Slave.
When this Homespun shall fail, to remonstrate our Grief
We can speak with the Tongue or scratch on a Leaf.
Refuse all their Colors, the richest of Dye,
The juice of a Berry – our Paint can supply,
To humour our Fancy – and as for our Houses,
They’ll do without painting as well as our Spouses,
While to keep out the Cold of a keen winter Morn
We can screen the Northwest, with a well polished Horn,
And trust me a Woman by honest Invention
Might give this State Doctor a Dose of Prevention.
Join mutual in this, & but small as it seems
We may Jostle a Grenville & puzzle his Schemes
But a motive more worthy our patriot Pen,
Thus acting – we point out their Duty to Men,
And should the bound Pensioners, tell us to hush
We can throw back the Satire by biding them blush.


Date: 1768

By: Hannah Griffitts (1727-1817)

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Occlusion by Robert Bolling

To please Mankind enough I’ve writ
But never have succeeded yet
I therefore bid a Dieu to Verse
For who wou’d toil and rack his Brain
For pleasing Rhymes and but to gain
From every one who reads a Curse!
The Man who does sure
Is mad beyond Sequeira’s Art to cure.

A pert a lively Brat at Schole
Old Clarke woud cry This Boy’s no Fool
And in our annual Lays to Bess
(Such Lays I ween were never known
But in her royal Praise alone)
Because my Lines had equal Pace
My Rhymes were aptly paird
Th’ old Man wou’d say — the Whelp was born a Bard
Thence thence the tuneful Rage began
What warmd the Scholeboy warms the Man
Roxana Celia Delia heard
How horribly the Chimes I rung
How heartily their Charms I sung
In Troth the Maids plain Prose preferr’d
And what was meant as Praise
They swore was Slander in such wretched Lays.

I tho’t my Verses very good
And wondered Maids cou’d be rude
So vain fantastical precise
To Satire then I gave my Song
The Devil to pay there was ere long
My dear Self-love began to rise
But what nigh run me made
Th’ Illnature pleased my Verse they swore was bad.

God’s curse, as Miller says, I said,
I wish I ne’er had writ or read.
Such Miracles, such Beauties lost!
God’s curse again! — but tis Man’s Way
To shade th’ enlivening solar Ray
From rising Flowers; — but not the Frost.
Again my skill Ill try;
And then I warbled forth in Elegy.
A Maid, expiring in her Bloom,
A worth unequalled in the Tomb.
Torn from the tenderest Lover’s Breast,
I thought, e’en Hearts of Ice or Snow
Had warmed, to sympathetic glow;
But they, O Heaven! were London’s Jest!
I then began, with shame,
Then first, to fear the Bard might be to blame.

In that for full Eclaircissement
On Blood and Wounds to work I went.
A War an Indian War God knows
Is no such easy Thing to write
But (Food by Day Repose by Night
Neglected) it received a Close.
But the first Friend I met
Condemn’d it kindly to the Cabinet:

From Rhyme twas always vastly hard
By counsil to reclaim a Bard.
Th’ atrocious Theme (said Pride) tho new,
Revolts the Soul … those spouting veins,
Those roasted Reeds and scattered Brains
(Not the Bards Dulness) make Men spew.
I next gave a Repast,
Which none digested, very few woud taste
Ye Gods, ye Gods, what Fate is mine!
Why Burke gains Glory from the nine
And must I judge in the same Class
With Paisly, Davis, Randolph, Grymes,
And Exposed to Laughter for my Rhymes,
And, tho no Knave, confirmed an Ass!
Thanks to my worthy Friend;
Here ends my Poem, here my Follies end.


Date: 1768

By: Robert Bolling (1738-1775)