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SPOKEN TO LADY IIENIRIETTA CAVENDISH-HOLLES
HARLEY, COUNTESS OF Oxford.
IN THE LIBRARY OF ST. John's CoLLEGE, CAM BI:IDGE, Now FM BER, 9, 1719.
MADAM, SINCE Anna visited the muses' seat (Around her tomb let weeping angels wait !) Hail thou, the brighest of thy sex, and best, Most gracious neighbour," and most welcome guest. Not Harley's self, to Cam and Isis dear, In virtues and in arts great Oxford's heir; Not he such present honour shall receive, As to his consort we aspire to give.
Writings of men our thoughts to-day neglects, To pay due homage to the softer sex: Plato and Tully we forbear to read, And their great followers whom this house has bred, To study lessons from thy morals given, And shining characters, impress'd by Heaven. Science in books no longer we pursue, Minerva's self in IHarriet's face we view ; For, when with beauty we can virtue join, We paint the semblance of a form divine.
1 The family seat was then at Wimple
Their pious incense let our neighbours bring, To the kind memory of some bounteous king; With grateful hand, due altars let them raise, To some good knight's" or holy prelate’s “praise; We tune our voices to a nobler theme, Your eyes we bless, your praises we proclaim, Saint John's was founded in a woman's name. Enjoin’d by statute, to the fair we bow; In spite of time, we keep our ancient vow; What Margaret Tudor was, is Harriet Harley now,
PROLOGUE 1 TO THE ORPHAN, REPRESENTED BY SOME OF THE WESTMINSTER SCHOLARS, AT HICKFORD’s DANCING ROOM, FEBRUARY 2, 1720.
SPOKEN BY LORD DUPPLIN, who ACTED CORDELIO
WHAT's would my humble comrades have me say,
Gentle spectators, pray excuse the play ?
Such work by hireling actors should be done,
Whom you may clap or hiss for half a crown.
Our generous scenes for friendship we repeat;
And, if we don't delight, at least we treat.
Ours is the damage, if we chance to blunder;
We may be ask'd “whose patent we act under?”
How shall we gain you, a la mode de France?
We hir'd this room; but none of us can dance;
In cutting capers we shall never please:
Our learning does not lie below our knees.
Shall we procure you symphony and sound?
Then you must each subscribe two hundred pound.
There we should fail too, as to point of voice:
Mistake us not; we're no Italian boys:
True Britons born; from Westminster we come;
And only speak the style of ancient Rome.
We would deserve, not poorly beg, applause;
And stand or fall by Friend's and Busby's laws."
For the distress'd, your pity we implore:
If once refus'd, we'll trouble you no more,
But leave our Orphan squalling at your door.
H. OH ! with what woes am I oppress'd
W. Be still, you senseless calf!
What if the gods should make you blest?
• H. Why then I’d sing and laugh:
But if they wont, I’ll wail and cry.
W. You'll hardly laugh before you die.
TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD.
ONCE on a time, in sunshine weather,
Falsehood and Truth walk'd out together,
The neighbouring woods and lawns to view,
As opposites will sometimes do.
Through many a blooming mead they past,
And at a brook arriv'd at last.
The purling stream, the margin green,
With flowers bedeck'd, a vernal scene,
Invited each itinerant maid,
To rest a while beneath the shade.
Under a spreading beach they sat,
And pass'd the time with female chat;
Whilst each her character maintain’d ;
One spoke her thoughts, the other feign'd,
At length, quoth Falsehood, sister Truth,
(For so she call'd her from her youth)
What if, to shun yon sultry beam,
We bathe in this delightful stream;
The bottom smooth, the water clear,
And there's no prying shepherd near?—
With all my heart, the nymph replied,
And threw her snowy robes aside,
Stript herself naked to the skin,
And with a spring leapt headlong in.
Falsehood more leisurely undrest,
And, laying by her tawdry vest,
Trick'd herself out in Truth's array,
And 'cross the meadows tript away.
From this curst hour, the fraudful dame
Of sacred Truth usurps the name,
And, with a vile, perfidious mind,
Roams far and near, to cheat mankind;
False sighs suborns, and artful tears,
And starts with vain pretended fears;
In visits, still appears most wise,
And rolls at church her saint-like eyes;
Talks very much, plays idle tricks,
While rising stock' her conscience pricks;
When being, poor thing, extremely gravell’d,
She secrets op'd, and all unravell’d.
But on she will, and secrets tell
Of John and Joan, and Ned and Nell,
Reviling every one she knows,
As fancy leads, beneath the rose.
Her tongue, so voluble and kind,
It always runs before her mind;
As times do serve, she slily pleads,
And copious tears still show her needs.
With promises as thick as weeds—
Speaks pro and con, is wondrous civil,
To-day a saint, to-morrow devil.
Poor Truth she stript, as has been said,
And naked left the lovely maid,