Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

POEMS

OF

ROBERT DODSLEY.

THE FOOTMAN,

AN EPISTLE TO MY FRIEND MR. WRIGHT.

DEAR FRIEND,

SINCE I am now at leisure,
And in the country taking pleasure,
If it be worth your while to hear
A silly footman's business there,
I'll try to tell in easy rhyme,
How I in London spent my time.
And first,

As soon as laziness will let me,
I rise from bed, and down I sit me
To cleaning glasses, knives, and plate,
And such-like dirty work as that,
Which (by the by) is what I hate.
This done; with expeditious care,
To dress myself I straight prepare;
1 clean my buckles, black my shoes,
Powder my wig, and brush my clothes,
Take off my beard, and wash my face,
And then I'm ready for the chase.

Down comes my lady's woman straight;
"Where's Robin?" here, 66
pray take your hat,
And go-and go- and go-and go—
And this-and that desire to know."
The charge receiv'd, away run I,
And here, and there, and yonder fly,
With services, and how-d-'ye-dos,
Then home return full fraught with news.
Here some short time does interpose,
Till warm effluvias greet my nose,
Which from the spits and kettles fly,
Declaring dinner-time is nigh.
To lay the cloth I now prepare,
With uniformity and care;
In order knives and forks are laid,
With folded napkins, salt, and bread:
The side-boards glittering too appear,
With plate and glass, and china-ware.
The ale, and beer, and wine decanted,
And all things ready which are wanted,

The smoking dishes enter in,
To stomachs sharp a grateful scene:
Which on the table being plac'd,
And some few ceremonies past,
They all sit down, and fall to eating,
Whilst I behind stand silent waiting.
This is the only pleasant hour
Which I have in the twenty-four;
For whilst I unregarded stand,
With ready salver in my hand,
And seem to understand no more
Than just what's call'd for out to pour:
I hear and mark the courtly phrases,
And all the elegance that passes;
Disputes maintain'd without digression,
With ready wit, and fine expression:
The laws of true politeness stated,
And what good-breeding is, debated:
Where all unanimously exclude
The vain coquet, the formal prude,
The ceremonious and the rude;
The flatt'ring, fawning, praising train;
The fluttering, empty, noisy, vain;
Detraction, smut, and what 's profane.

This happy hour elaps'd and gone,
The time of drinking tea comes on.
The kettle fill'd, the water boil'd,
The cream provided, biscuits pil'd,
And lamp prepar'd: I straight engage
The Lilliputian equipage

Of dishes, saucers, spoons and tongs,
And all th' et cetera which thereto belongs.
Which, rang'd in order and decorum,

I carry in, and set before 'em :
Then pour or green or bohea out,
And, as commanded, hand about.
This business over, presently
The hour of visiting draws nigh:
The chairmen straight prepare the chair,
A lighted flambeau I prepare;
And orders given where to go,
We march along, and bustle thro'
The parting crowds, who all stand off
To give us room. O how you'd laugh!

[blocks in formation]

And rat-ta-ta-tat the knockers cry,

[ocr errors]

Pray is your lady, sir, within?"

If not, go on; if yes, we enter in.
Then to the hall I guide my steps,
Amongst a crowd of brother skips,
Drinking small-beer and talking smut,

And this fool's nonsense putting that fool's out;
Whilst oaths and peals of laughter meet,
And he who 's loudest is the greatest wit.
Tut here amongst us the chief trade is
To rail against our lords and ladies:
To aggravate their smallest failings,
T'expose their faults with saucy railings.
For

my part, as I hate the practice,

And see in them how base and black 'tis,
In some bye place I therefore creep,
And sit me down, and feign to sleep:
And could I with old Morpheus bargain,

'Twould save my ears much noise and jargon. But down my lady comes again,

And I'm released from my pain.

To some new place our steps we bend,
The tedious evening out to spend :
Sometimes, perhaps, to see the play,
Assembly, or the Opera;

Then home and sup, and thus we end the day.

TO THE HONOURABLE LADY HOWE, UPON THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND, SIR RICHARD HOWE, BART. WHO DIED JULY 2, 1730, AFTER THEY HAD LIVED TOGETHER UPWARDS OF FIFTY YEARS.

HE's gone! the great good man is gone!

No power on Earth could save; The will of Heav'n at last is done;

This night conveys him to the grave.

But let this thought alleviate

The sorrows of your mind: He's gone but he is gone so late You can't be long behind.

Heav'n saw your love; was very loath

To part so blest a pair

'Till it was time to take you both, That each might equal share

As well in Heaven, as on Earth

The joys which each possess'd;

Knowing that either, whilst alone,

Would even in Heaven but half be bless'd.

TO MY FRIEND MR. WRIGHT,

UPON HIS COMMENDING SOMETHING I HAD

WROTE.

SAY, was the real merit of my lays
The happy motive of your gen'rous praise?
Or did your partial friendship in each line

Too much indulge the Muse because 'twas mine?
Yes, yes, 'twas so; the first can ne'er be true;
Tis hard to please a judge and critic too.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

So calm content as oft is found complete In the low cot as in the lofty seat.

LET begging no more then be taunted,
If honest and free from offence;
Were each man to beg what he wanted,

How many would beggars commence! Grave church-men might beg for more grace, Young soldiers for courage might call; And many that beg for a pension or place, Might beg for some merit withall.

Tho' darkness still attends me,

It aids internal sight;

And from such scenes defends me,
As blush to see the light.
No villain's smile deceives me,
No gilded fop offends,
No weeping object grieves me,
Kind darkness me befriends.
Henceforth no useless wailings,
I find no reason why;
Mankind to their own failings

Are all as blind as I.
Who painted vice desires,

Is blind, whate'er he thinks; Who virtue not admires,

Is either blind, or winks.

To keep my gentle Eessy,

What labour would seem hard? Each toilsome task how easy! Her love the sweet reward. The bee thus uncomplaining, Esteems no toil severe, The sweet reward obtaining, Of honey all the year.

THE boy thus of a bird possest,

At first how great his joys!

He strokes it soft, and in his breast
The little fav'rite lies:

But soon as grown to riper age,
The passion quits his mind,
He hangs it up in some cold cage,
Neglected and confin'd.

As death alone the marriage knot unties,

So vows that lovers make

Last until sleep, death's image, close their eyes,

Dissolve when they awake;

And that fond love which was to day their theme, Is thought to morrow but an idle dream.

BEHOLD me on my bended knee,
Think on my father's cries!
O think the gushing tears you see
Drop from his closed eyes!

Let this sad sight your soul possess,
Let kind regret take place;
And save my father from distress,
His daughter from disgrace.

DUE T HE.

THE man who in a dungeon lies for debt, Esteems not light and liberty so dear.

SHE.

The frighted bird just 'scap'd the fowler's net, Its heart not flutters more 'twixt joy and fear.

HE.

Come to my arms,

And on my breast From all alarms Securely rest.

SIE.

In this kind heaven let me lie, In mutual pleasure live and die.

BOTH.

In mutual pleasure live and die.

SONG.

FROM THE MILLER OF MANSFIELD.

How happy a state does the miller possess!
Who wou'd be no greater, nor fears to be less;
On his mill and himself he depends for support,
Which is better than servilely cringing at court.

What tho' he all dusty and whiten'd does go,
The more he 's be-powder'd, the more like a beau;
A clown in this dress may be honester far,
Than a courtier who struts in his garter and star.

Tho' his hands are so daub'd they 're not fit to be
The hands of his betters are not very clean; [seen,
A pa'm more polite may as dirtily dea!;
Gold in handling will stick to the fingers like meal,

What if, when a pudding for dinner he lacks,
He cribs without scruple, from other mens sacks;
In this of right noble examples he brags,
Who borrow as freely from other mens bags.

Or should he endeavour to heap an estate,
In this he would mimic the tools of the state;
Whose aim is alone their own coffers to fill,
As all his concern's to bring grist to his mill.

He eats when he's hungry, he drinks when he 's dry,
And down when he's weary contented does lie;
Then rises up cheerful to work and to sing:
If so happy a miller, then who'd be a king?

SONG.

IN THE TRIUMPH OF PEACE.
BANISH'D to some less happy shore,
The drum's harsh sound, the cannon's roar,
Shall thunder far from home:
The soldier, freed from war's alarms,
Shall rest his consecrated arms

In Honour's sacred dome.
The Arts and Muses now shall smile,
And in fair Freedom's fav'rite isle

Shall fix their envy'd seat:
The stone shall breathe, the canvas glow,
And public works arise to show

That Britain still is great.

PROLOGUE

TO SIR JOHN COCKLE AT COURT.

As some poor orphan, at the friendly gate
Where once reliev'd, azain presumes to wait;
So mov'd by former kindness to him shown,
Our honest miller ventures up to town.
He greets you all. His hearty thanks I bear
To each kind friend. He hopes you 're all so here.
Hopes the same favour you 'I continue still
At court, which late you show'd him at the mill.
Why should you not? If plain untutor'd sense
Should speak blant truths, who here will take of-
fence?

For common right he pleads, no party's slave;
A foe, on either side, to fool and knave.
Free, as at Mansfield, he at court appears,
Still uncorrupted by mean hopes and fears.
Plainly his mind does to his prince impart,
Alonc embolden'd by an honest heart.
These are his merits-on this plea I sue-
But humbly he refers his cause to you. [cuse,
"Small faults, we hope, with candour you 'll ex-
Nor harshly treat a self-convicted muse."
If, after trial, he should mercy find,
He'll own that mercy with a grateful mind;
Or, by strict justice, if he's doom'd to death,
Will then, without appeal, resign his breath.

EPILOGUE

TO SIR JOHN COCKLE AT COURT.

LORD! what a stupid race these poets are!
This tim'rous fool has made me mad, I swear:
Here have I teas'd him every day this week
To get an epilogue-'tis still to seck.
"No, no," he cried: "I fear 'twill meet sad fate;

[ocr errors]

And can one thank an audience after that?" "Well, Mr. What-l-'ye-cail 't," said, "suppose A merry epilogue might do it good." [it shou'd; Yes, madam," said he, and smile" If I cou'd With humour, fit for you to speak, it might."[write 'Twas very civil of the man, indeed- [ heed." "Come, come," said I, write something, never "Well-if it please," said he,-"on that condition, Pray make my compliments with due submission, The matter and the words I leave to you—”

[ocr errors]

I thank'd him; and I'll try what I can do. [him,
Our author thanks you for this favour shown
The man is modest; that I must say on him.
He says, 'tis your indulgence, not his merit-
But, were I he, faith I'd pluck up a spirit;
I think 'tis meanly giving up his cause,
To claim no merit, when he 'as your applause,
Were I to compliment you as I wou'd,

I'd say, you lik'd the thing, because 'twas good.
But he must have his way-and so to you
His grateful thanks I give, as justly due.

EPILOGUE

TO THE TOY-SHOP.

WELL, Heav'n be prais'd, this dull, grave sermon's done;

(For faith our author might have call'd it onç.)

These two lin s were added after the first night's performance, occasioned by some things which the audience very justly found fault with; and which, the second time, were left out, or altered as much as possible.

I wonder who the devil he thought to please!
Is this a time o' day for things like these?
Good sense and honest satire now offend;
We're grown too wise to learn, too proud to mend;
And so divinely wrapt in songs and tunes,
The next wise age will all be-fidlers' sons.
And did he think plain truth wou'd favour find?
Ah! 'tis a sign he little knows mankind!
To please, he ought to have a song or dance.
The tune from Italy, the caper France: [sense!
These, these might charm-But hope to do 't with
Alas! alas! how vain is the pretence!
But, tho' we told him,-“Faith, 'twill never do-"
"Pho! never fear," he cried, "tho' grave, 'tis new:
The whim perhaps may please, if not the wit,
And, tho' they don't approve, they may permait.
If neither this nor that will intercede,
Submissive bend, and thus for pardon plead.

"Ye gen'rous few, to you our author sues, His first essay with candour to excuse.

"T has faults, he owns, but if they are but small, He hopes your kind applause will hide them all."

[blocks in formation]

employed in dressing up the figure of Imposture. After a while they seem by their whispering, nodding, winking and sneering amongst themselves, to have adjusted matters very much to their own satisfaction. A large cloak is thrown over the shoulders of the figure, to hide its deformities; a mask of a fine composed grace air is clapt upon its ugly visage; and several others, curiously delineated for all occasions, are cunningly disposed of beneath the cloak: which done, the priests withdraw.

Then enters a band of ancient philosophers, properly habited; who examining the figure of imposture with great care, seem to debate amongst themselves with calmness and moderation; and at length, having pulled off its cloak and mask, and discovered and exposed its strange features and monstrous deformities, they are just upon the point of demolishing the figure, when the priests re-enter, leading in Tyranny, with all the ensigns and officers of civil power attending him; by the assistance of whom, the philosophers are driven off the stage, and Imposture is again invested with its cloak and mask. The priests making obeisance to the civil power, seem to beg the continuance of his protection, and the chief of them addresses himself to Tyranny, in the following manner.

RECITATIVE.

THOU, regal power! vicegerent of the skies!
Supreme on Earth, and substitute of Heav'n!
O stretch thy powerful arm, protect and save
Its sacred ministers! nor let bold man,
With his presumptuous reason, dare to mock
Our holy myst'ries, or dispute our rights.

AIR.

Kings the rights of priests defending, More securely hold their own; Priests to kings assistance lending,

Merit succour from the throne: Then give us supreme dominion

Over conscience and the soul! You shall rule (by our opinion)

Lives and goods without controul.

RECITATIVE.

TYRANNY.

Most reverend fathers! delegates to men
From Heaven's high king! ambassadors divine!
Be it as you have said. Teach you mankind
That power unlimited belongs to kings,
That subjects have no rights but to obey;
Then shall the arm of civil power protect

Your highest claims of reverence; and enforce
Assent to every tenet you shali judge
Conducive to establish priestly rule
O'er mind and conscience.

AIR.

Thus in fetters deubly binding,
Souls enslaving, bodies grinding,

We the stupid herd shall sway; And, supreme in wealth and grandeur, Silence every bold withstander

That shall dare to disobey.

PRIEST.

But in this grand affair, this high attempt,
To blind, enslave, and fleece a bubbled world;
What instruments, what tools shall we employ?

TYRANNY.

Ambition and Corruption be my tools

PRIEST.

Be mine blind Zeal and furious Persecution. Enter to the Priests, at one door, Zeal and Persecu tion; and to the Civil Power, at the other, Ambition and Corruption, properly distinguished.

TYRANNY.

Go forth, ye instruments of our high aims,
And in our cause possess the sons of men.
Cramp and intimidate th' inquiring mind;
With base affections taint the human heart:
And tame the generous spirit that breathes in man,
And prompts him to resist and brave oppression:
So shall that head-strong beast, the multitude,
Yield to the bit, and crouch beneath its burthen.
Zeal, leading Persecution, goes out one way; and Cor-
ruption, leading Ambition, the other.

Then enter

the Muses and the liberal Arts, with proper habits and ensigns, who seem to beg protection of the Priests and the Civil Power; but being commanded to fall down and worship the figure of Imposture, they refuse; upon which they are immediately chained and fettered, and cast down bound before it.

And now the Civil and Ecclesiastical Powers seem perfectly secure; they shake hands, they embrace, and after a formal solemn dance, in which they alternately bow and reverence each other, they are walking off the stage, when they meet with the goddess of Liberty, who leads in the Philosophers, walks boldly up to the figure of Imposture, and striking it with her wand, speaks as follows:

Hence, Delusion, hence, away;

Nor in Britain dare to stay:

To some foreign land retire,

Where dull Ign'rance may admire:
Here, amongst the brave and free,
Truth shall rise, and dwell with me.

Then waving her wand, Imposture immediately sinks; and the goddess of Truth, arrayed in robes of white, yet drest with the greatest plainness and simplicity, arises in its room, whom Liberty addresses in the fol lowing

AIR:

Fairest daughter of the skies,
Hither turn thy radiant eyes;
Thou hast lovers here shall trace,
Every charm and every grace:
Sons of wisdom, who admire,
Sons of freedom, all on fire;
Hither, goddess, hither turn;
Britons for thy beauties burn.

And now the Arts and Muses seem rejoiced, they risa
gradually upon their feet, their chains are taken off by
Liberty, who leads up a dance, in which the Philoso-
phers join with the Muses, all of them in the dance mak-
ing frequent obeisance to the goddess of Truth.
During all this, the powers of Tyranny and Priestcraft
are in grea' dread and confusion. Tyranny threatens
with his sword, and the Priest wields a thunder-bolt;
but ineffectual and in vain; for at the end of the dance,
Truth and Liberty advancing fearless to their oppo-
sites, they drop their weapons and submit.
which, Liberty, addressing herself to them, speaks as:
follows:

After

« PoprzedniaDalej »