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Fearful of future grief and pain, - 280
Should silently sneak out again.
Full piteous seems young Alma's case;
As in a luckless gamester's place,
She would not play, yet must not pass.
Again, as she grows something stronger,
And master's feet are swathed no longer,
If in the night too oft he kicks,
Or shows his locomotive tricks;
These first assaults fat Kate repays him;
When half-asleep, she overlays him. 290
Now mark, dear Richard, from the age
That children tread this worldly stage,
Broom-staff or poker they bestride,
And round the parlour love to ride;
Till thoughtful father's pious care
Provides his brood, next Smithfield fair,
With supplemental hobby-horses;
And happy be their infant courses!
Hence for some years they ne'er stand
Their legs, you see, direct their will; 300
From opening morn till setting sun,
Around the fields and woods they run;
They frisk, and dance, and leap, and play,
Nor heed what Friend or Snape can say.
To her next stage as Alma flies,
And likes, as I have said, the thighs,
With sympathetic power she warms
Their good allies and friends, the arms.
While Betty dances on the green;
And Susan is at stool-ball seen; 310
While John for nine-pins does declare;
And Roger loves to pitch the bar;
Both legs and arms spontaneous move; 313
Which was the thing I meant to prove.
Another motion now she makes:
O need I name the seat she takes!
His thought quite changed the stripling finds;
The sport and race no more he minds;
Neglected Tray and Pointer lie;
And covies unmolested fly.
Sudden the jocund plain he leaves,
And for the nymph in secret grieves.
In dying accents he complains
Of cruel fires, and raging pains.
The nymph too longs to be alone,
Leaves all the Swains, and sighs for one.
The nymph is warmed with young desire,
And feels, and dies to quench his fire.
They meet each evening in the grove;
Their parley but augments their love: 330
So to the priest their case they tell,
He ties the knot, and all goes well.
But, O my Muse, just distance keep;
Thou art a maid, and must not peep.
In nine months time, the boddice loose,
And petticoats too short, disclose
That at this age the active mind
About the waist lies most confined;
And that young life and quickening sense
Spring from his influence darted thence. 340
So from the middle of the world
The sun's prolific rays are hurled:
'Tis from that seat he darts those beams,
Which quicken earth with genial flames.
Dick, who thus long had passive sat,
Here stroked his chin, and cocked his hat;
Then slapped his hand upon the board; 347
And thus the youth put in his word.
Love's advocates, sweet sir, would find him
A higher place than you assign'd him.
Love's advocates! Dick, who are those?—
The poets, you may well suppose.
I'm sorry, sir, you have discarded
The men with whom till now you herded.
Prose-men alone for private ends,
I thought, forsook their ancient friends.
In cor stillavit, cries Lucretius;
If he may be allowed to teach us.
The selfsame thing soft Ovid says,
A proper judge in such a case. 360
Horace's phrase is, torretjecur;
And happy was that curious speaker.
Here Virgil too has placed this passion.
What signifies too long quotation?
In ode and epic, plain the case is,
That love holds one of these two places.
Dick, without passion or reflection,
I'll straight demolish this objection.
First, Poets, all the world agrees,
Write half to profit, half to please; 370
Matter and figure they produce,
For garnish this, and that for use;
And, in the structure of their feasts,
They seek to feed and please their guests.
But one may balk this good intent,
And take things otherwise than meant:
Thus, if you dine with my lord mayor,
Roast-beef and venison is your fare;
Thence you proceed to swan and bustard,
And persevere in tart and custard: 380
But tulip-leaves and lemon-peel 88.1
Help only to adorn the meal;
And painted flags, superb and neat,
Proclaim you welcome to the treat.
The man of sense his meat devours,
But only smells the peel and flowers;
And he must be an idle dreamer,
Who leaves the pie, and gnaws the streamer.
That Cupid goes with bow and arrows,
And Venus keeps her coach and sparrows, 390
Is all but emblem, to acquaint one,
The son is sharp, the mother wanton.
Such images have sometimes shown
A mystic sense, but oftener none.
For who conceives, what bards devise,
That Heaven is placed in Celia's eyes;
Or where's the sense, direct and moral,
That teeth are pearl, or lips are coral?
Your Horace owns, he various writ,
As wild or sober maggots bit: 400
And where too much the poet ranted,
The sage philosopher recanted.
His grave epistles may disprove
The wanton odes he made to love.
Lucretius keeps a mighty pother
With Cupid and his fancied mother;
Calls her great queen of earth and air,
Declares that winds and seas obey her;
And, while her honour he rehearses,
Implores her to inspire his verses. 410
Yet, free from this poetic madness,
Next page he says, in sober sadness,
That she and all her fellow-gods
Sit idling in their high abodes,
Regardless of this world below, 415
Our health or hanging, weal or woe:
Nor once disturb their heavenly spirits
With Scapin's cheats, or Caesar's merits.
Nor e'er can Latin poets prove
Where lies the real seat of love. 420
Jecur they burn, and cor they pierce,
As either best supplies their verse;
And, if folks ask the reason for’t,
Say, one was long, and t'other short.
Thus, I presume, the British muse
May take the freedom strangers use.
In prose our property is greater,
Why should it then be less in metre?
If Cupid throws a single dart,
We make him wound the lover's heart; 430
But if he takes his bow and quiver,
'Tis sure, he must transfix the liver:
For rhyme with reason may dispense;
And sound has right to govern sense.
But let your friends in verse suppose,
What ne'er shall be allowed in prose;
Anatomists can make it clear,
The liver minds his own affair;
Kindly supplies our public uses,
And parts and strains the vital juices; 440
Still lays some useful bile aside,
To tinge the chyle's insipid tide;
Else we should want both gibe and satire;
And all be burst with pure good-nature.
Now gall is bitter with a witness,
And love is all delight and sweetness.
My logic then has lost its aim,
If sweet and bitter be the same: