Posts tagged ‘matthew gregory lewis’

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Lines 248-293 [Description of London] from “The Love of Gain: A Poem. Imitated from the Thirteenth Satire of Juvenal” by Matthew Gregory Lewis

Ye giddy, gay, and proud,
Who swell great London’s ever-bustling crowd,
London, where all extremes together meet,
Folly’s chief throne, and Wisdom’s gravest seat;
Where disagreements in agreement lie,
Our close-knit mass of contrariety;
Where throng the rich and poor, the fool and knave,
Where statesmen juggle, and where patriots rave;
Where balls for advocates prepare their work,
And embryo law-suits in a whisper lurk;
Where Cupid pays in specie for his wiles,
And judges frown whene’er a lady smiles;
Where equal farce continual sport affords
At Covent-Garden, or the House of Lords;
Where beggars with feigned tears and ready smiles,
Cringe to St. James, or blubber to St. Giles;
Ye who confusedly sail in motley trim
Down this full flood of pleasure, business, whim,
Whether you frame smooth, glib, and specious lies
To cheat a tradesman, or to raise supplies,
With private or with public misery sport,
Cheats upon ‘Change, or Parasites at Court,
Now pause awhile!—For one reflecting hour
Forego your hopes of gain, your dreams of power,
And hark, while tells the Muse what monstrous crimes,
What new-found sins reserv’d for our strange times,
Their hideous forms to Addington betray,
From morn’s first languish to the death of day.
Here mark the thankless child, the unnatural sire,
The Pandar slave who lets his spouse for hire,
The adulterous friend, the trusted wanton wife,
The brother aiming at the brother’s life,
The rake who cools in beauty’s arms his heat,
Then lets her starve, or ply for bread the street,
And that dark train of foes to moral rules,
Thieves, Bawds, Assassins, Gamblers, Knaves, and Fools,
Fools, who would fain be knaves …… No more I’ll write,
Hence, odious forms, nor longer shock my sight!
Else by disgust and scorn to madness driven,
Bursting those chains which bind my soul to Heaven,
I shall disdain to breathe such tainted air,
Shall blush an human form like these to wear,
For present ease shall barter future bliss,
And sure no world can be more black than this,
Deep in my swelling heart shall plunge the knife,
And cry, while flies my soul from mortal strife,
“Heaven bless my father, though he gave me life!”

From: Lewis, M. G., The Love of Gain: A Poem. Imitated from the Thirteenth Satire of Juvenal, 1799, J. Bell: London, pp. 27-33.

Date: 1799

By: Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818)