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Since then in vain we strive to guaid
Our frailty from the foe,
To meet the fatal blow!
AN EPISTLE TO ROBERT LLOYD, ESQ.
'Tis not that I design to rob
Thee of thy birthright, gentle Bob,—
For thou art born sole heir and smgle
Of dear Mat P.ior's easy jingle;
Nor that I mean, while thus I knit
My threadbare sentiments together,
To show my genius or my wit,
When God and you know I have neither;
Or such, as might be better shown
By letting poetry alone.
'Tis not with either of these views,
That I presume to address the Muse:
But to divert a fierce banditti,
(Sworn foes to everything that's witty),
That, with a black infernal train,
Make cruel inroads in my brain,
And daily threaten to drive thence
My little garrison of sense:
The fierce banditti which I mean,
Are gloomy thoughts led on by spleen.
Then there's another reason yet,
Which is, that I may fairly quit
The debt which justly became due
The moment when I heard from you:
And you might grumble, crony mine,
If paid in any other coin;
Since twenty sheets of lead, God knows,
(I would say twenty sheets of prose),
Can ne'er be deemed worth half so much
As one of gold, and yours was such.
Thus the preliminaries settled,
I fairly find myselfpitih-ketlled;i
And cannot see, though few see better,
How I shall hammer out a letter.
First, for a thought—since all agree—
1 Pitch kettled, a favourite phrase at the time when this Epistle was written, expressive of being puzzled, or what in the Spectators time would have been called bamboozled.- Hayiey.
That useful thing, her needle, gone,
Rake well the cinders, sweep the floor,
And sift the dust behind the door;
While eager Hodge beholds the prize
In old grimalkin's glarmg eyes;
And Gammar finds it on her knees
In every shinmg straw she sees.
This simile were apt enough,
But I've another, critic-proof.
The virtuoso thus at noon,
Broiling beneath a July sun,
The gilded butterfly pursues
O'er hedge and ditch, through gaps anc mews,
And after many a vain essay
To captivate the tempting prey,
Gives him at length the lucky pat,
And has him safe beneath his hat:
Then lifts it gently from the ground;
But ah ! 'tis lost as soon as found;
Culprit his liberty regains;
Flits out of sight and mocks his pains
The sense was dark, 'twas therefore m.
With simile to illustrate it;
But as too much obscures the sight.
As often as too little light, *
We have our similes cut short,
For matters of more grave import.
That Matthew's numbers run with ease
Each man of common sense agrees;
All men of common sense allow,
That Robert's lines are easy too;
Where then the preference shall we place.
Or how do justice in this case?
Matthew (says Fame) with endless pains
Smoothed and refined the meanest strains,
Nor suffered one ill-chosen rhyme
To escape him at the idlest time;
And thus o'er all a lustre cast,
That while the language lives shall last
An't please your ladyship, (quoth I,
For 'tis my business to reply);
Sure so much labour, so much toil,
Bespeak at least a stubborn soil.
Theirs be the laurel-wreath decreed,
Who both write well and write full speed;
Who throw their Helicon about
As freely as a conduit spout.
Friend Robert, thus like chien scavari,
Lets fall a poem en passant,
Nor needs his genuine ore refine;
'Tis ready polished from the mine.
She would not thus conceal her lays,
At the same flace. Delia, the unkindest girl on earth,
When I besought the fair, That favour of intrinsic worth,
A ringlet of her hair,—
Refused that instant to comply
With my absurd request, For reasons she could specify,
Some twenty score at least.
Trust me, my dear, however odd
It may appear to say,
Thy spoiler of his prey.
Yet when its sister locks shall fade,
As quickly fade they must,
Their gloss, their colour, lost—
Ah then ! if haply to my share
Some slender pittance fall, If I but gain one single hair,
Nor age usurp them all;—
When you behold it still as sleek,
As lovely to the view,
That Eden where it grew,—
Then shall my Delia's self declare
That I professed the truth,
In everlasting youth.
At the same place.
This evening, Delia, you and I
For with a frown we parted;
And sadly disconcerted.
Yet well as each performed their part,
And that we both intended
Are made but to be mended.
You knew, dissembler! all the while,
After this heavy pelt;
The care we never felt.
Happy! when we but seek to endure
By double joy requited;
When amply reunited.
WRITTEN IN A QUARREL.
fTHE DELIVERY OF IT PREVENTED BY A RECONCILIATION'
Think, Delia, with what cruel haste
Nor heedless thus in sorrow waste
Be wise, my fair, and gently treat
Think thus abused, what sad reg'el
Sure in those eyes I loved so well,
Anger I thought could never dwell,
No bold offence of mine I knew
And, early taught to think you true,