Since then in vain we strive to guaid

Our frailty from the foe,
Lord, let me hve not unprepared

To meet the fatal blow!


'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—
A thought—I have it—let me see—
'Tis gone agam—plague on't! I thought
I had it—but I have it not.
Dame Gurton thus and Hodge her son

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,
Ambitious to deserve your praise.
But should my Delia take offence,
And frown on her impertinence,
In silence, sorrowing and forlorn,
Would the despairing trifler mourn,
Curse her ill-tuned, unpleasing lute,
Then sigh and sit for ever mute.
In secret therefore let her play,
Squandering her idle notes away
In secret as she chants along,
Cheerful and careless in her song;
Nor heeds she whether harsh or clear,
Free from each terror, every fear,
From that, of all most dreaded, free,
The terror of offending thee.

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,
I sought it merely to defraud

Thy spoiler of his prey.

Yet when its sister locks shall fade,

As quickly fade they must,
When all their beauties are decayed,

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,
As when it left thy snowy neck,—

That Eden where it grew,—

Then shall my Delia's self declare

That I professed the truth,
And have preserved my little share

In everlasting youth.

At the same place.

This evening, Delia, you and I
Have managed most delightfully,

For with a frown we parted;
Having contrived some triHe that
We both may be much troubled at,

And sadly disconcerted.

Yet well as each performed their part,
We might perceive it was but art;

And that we both intended
To sacrifice a little ease;
For all such petty flaws as these

Are made but to be mended.

You knew, dissembler! all the while,
How sweet it was to reconcile

After this heavy pelt;
That we should gain by this allay
When next we met, and laugh away

The care we never felt.

Happy! when we but seek to endure
A little pain, then find a cure

By double joy requited;
For friendship, like a severed bone,
Improves and joins a stronger tone

When amply reunited.



Think, Delia, with what cruel haste
Our fleeting pleasures move,

Nor heedless thus in sorrow waste
The moments due to love;

Be wise, my fair, and gently treat
These few that are our friends;

Think thus abused, what sad reg'el
Their speedy flight attends!

Sure in those eyes I loved so well,
And wished so long to see,

Anger I thought could never dwell,
Or anger aimed at me.

No bold offence of mine I knew
Should e'er provoke your hate;

And, early taught to think you true,
Still hoped a gentler fate.

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