Posts tagged ‘1789’

Monday, 8 July 2019

The Cynic by St. George Tucker

Whoever to finding fault inclines
Still misconceives the best designs:
Praxiteles in vain might try
To form a statue for his eye;
Appelles too would pain in vain,
And Titian’s colors give him pain,
Palladio’s best designs displease him,
And Handel’s water piece would freeze him,
Not Tully’s eloquence can charm,
Nor e’en old Homer’s fire warm:
On all occasions still a beast
He frowns upon the genial feast,
Swears that Falernian wine was sour,
And rails at champagne for an hour,
Not Heliogabalus’s cook
Could drop a dish at which he’d look.

Anticipating time and fate
He views all things when past their date,
Destruction in his noodle brewing
Turns palaces to instant ruin:
Speak but of Paris or of London
He tells how Babylon was undone:
Ask him, with Thais if he’ll sup,
He cries — ” The worms will eat her up. ”

Once at a merry wedding feast
A cynic chanced to be a guest;
Rich was the father of the bride
And hospitality his pride.
The guests were numerous and the board
With dainties plentifully stored.
There mutton, beef, and vermicelli,
Here venison stewed with currant jelly,
Here turkeys robbed of bones and lungs
Are crammed with oysters and with tongues.
There pickled lobsters, prawn, and salmon
And there a stuffed Virginia gammon.
Here custards, tarts, and apple pies
There syllabubs and jellies rise,
Ice creams, and ripe and candied fruits
With comfits and eryngo roots.
Now entered every hungry guest
And all prepared to taste the feast.
Our cynic cries — ” How damned absurd
To take such pains to make a — ! ”

From: Harmon, William (ed.), The Oxford Book of American Light Verse, 1979, Oxford University Press: New York and Oxford, pp. 9-10.

Date: 1789

By: St. George Tucker (1752-1827)

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Verse Against the New Lights by Jacob Bailey

Behold the gifted teacher rise
And roll to heaven his half-shut eyes;
In every feature of his face
See stiffness sanctity and grace
Like whipping post erect he stands
Then with slow and gentle voice
Begins to make a languid noise
Strives with a thousand airs to move
To melt and thaw your hears to love
But when he fails by soft’ning arts
To mollify your frozen hearts
Observe him spring with eager jump
And on the table fiercely thump
With double fist he beats the air
Pours out his soul in wrathful prayer
Then seized with furious agitation
Screams forth a frightful exhortation
And with a sharp and hideous yell
Sends all your carnal folks to hell
Now to excite your fear and wonder
Tries the big jarring voice of thunder
Like wounded serpent in the vale
He writhes his body and his tail
Strives by each motion to express
The Agonies of deep distress
Then groans and scolds and roars aloud
Till dread and frenzy fire the crowd
The madness spreads with rapid power
Confusion reigns and wild uproar
A concert grand of joyful tones
Mingled with sighs and rueful moans
Some heaven extol with rapturous air
While others rave in black despair
A blended group of different voices
Confound and stun us with their noises
Thus in some far and lonely site
Amidst the deepest glooms of night
Where roll the slow and sullen floods
O’er hung with rocks and dusky woods
I’ve heard the wolves terrific howl
The doleful music of the owl
The frogs in hoarser murmurs croak
While from the top of some tall oak
With notes more piercing soft and shrill
Resounds the spritely whip-poor-will
These give the ears of wonderous greeting
Not much unlike a pious meeting
Here blue-eyed Jenny plays her part
Inured to every saint-like art
She works and heaves from head to heel
With pangs of puritanic zeal
Now in a fit of deep distress
The holy maid turns prophetess
And to her light and knowledge brings
A multitude of secret things
And as Enthusiasm advances
Falls into ecstasies and trances
Her self with decency resigns
To these impulses and inclines
On Jemmy Trim a favourite youth
A chosen vessel of the truth
Who as she sinks into his arms
Feels through his veins her powerful charms
Grown warm with throbs of strong devotion
He finds his blood in high commotion
And fired with love of this dear sister
Is now unable to resist her.

From: Rawlyk, G. A., Ravished by the Spirit: Religious Revivals, Baptists, and Henry Alline, 1988, McGill-Queen’s University Press: Kingston and Montreal, pp. 77-79.

Date: 1789

By: Jacob Bailey (1731-1808)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Night Walk in a Garden by Hannah Parkhouse Cowley

Ye jessamines that beneath the lunar ray
Unfold your virgin robes, your modest grace,
Imparting odours you denied the day
Though day’s own light condensed adorns your race!
Ye stars, that quivering midst yon azure sky,
From forth your circles softened lustre stream,
And raise towards you calm devotion’s eye,
And seed to lonely love a soothing beam,
Why cease you now to charm as erst ye did?
Why free from rapture move I now along?
Ye scents, ye blooms, ye stars, in vain ye bid
Your soft enchantments round my senses throng–
For she is lost who greeted all your powers;
She breathes no more who loved your pensive hours!


Date: 1789

By: Hannah Parkhouse Cowley (1743-1809)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sonnet XIV. To the Spider by Thomas Russell

Ingenious insect, but of ruthless mould,
Whose savage craft (as nature taught) designs
A mazy web of death; the filmy lines
That form thy circling labyrinth enfold
Each thoughtless fly that wanders near the hold,
Sad victim of thy guile; nor aught avail
His silken wings nor coat of glossy mail
Nor varying hues of azure, jet or gold:
Yet, though thus ill the fluttering captive fares,
Whom heedless of the fraud thy toils trepan,
Thy tyrant fang that slays the stranger, spares
The bloody brothers of thy cruel clan;
While man against his fellows spreads his snares–
Then most delighted when his prey is man.


Date: 1789

By: Thomas Russell (1762-1788)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Sonnet XIII by William Lisle Bowles

O Time! who know’st a lenient hand to lay
Softest on sorrow’s wound, and slowly thence,
(Lulling to sad repose the weary sense)
Stealest the long-forgotten pang away;
On Thee I rest my only hope at last,
And think, when thou hast dried the bitter tear
That flows in vain o’er all my soul held dear,
I may look back on many a sorrow past,
And meet life’s peaceful evening with a smile—
As some poor bird, at day’s departing hour,
Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower
Forgetful, tho’ its wings are wet the while:—
Yet ah! how much must that poor heart endure,
Which hopes from thee, and thee alone, a cure!


Date: 1789

By: William Lisle Bowles (1762-1850)