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But ere they come, permit me to disclose
How first, as legends tell, this pastime rose:-
In ancient times (such times are now no more)
When Albion's crown illustrious Arthur wore,
In some fair opening glade, each summer's
Where the pale moon diffus'd her silver light,
On the soft carpet of a grassy field,
The sporting fairies their assemblies held;
Some lightly tripping with their pigny queen,
In circling ringlets mark'd the level green,
Some with soft notes bade mellow pipes
But let not outward charms your judgment
Your reason rather than your eyes obey,
And in the dance, as in the marriage noose,
Rather for merit than for beauty choose:
Be her your choice, who knows with perfect
When she should move, and when she should
Who uninstructed can perform her share,
And kindly half the pleasing burthen bear.
Unhappy is that hopeless wretch's fate
re-Who, fetter'd in the matrimonial state,
With a poor, simple, unexperienced wife,
Is forc'd to lead the tedious dance of life;
And such is his, with such a partner join'd,
A moving puppet, but without a mind:
Still must his hand be pointing out the way,
Yet ne'er can teach so fast as she can stray;
Beneath her follies he must ever groan,
And ever blush for errors not his own.
And music warbled thro' the groves around:
Oft lonely shepherds by the forest side,
Belated peasants oft their revels spy'd,
And home returning, o'er the nut-brown ale,
Their guests diverted with the wond'rous tale.
Instructed hence, throughout the British isle,
And fond to imitate the pleasing toil,
Round where the trembling may-pole's fix'd
And bears its flowery honours to the sky,
The ruddy maids and sun-burnt swains resort,
And practise ev'ry night the lovely sport;
On ev'ry side Æolian artists stand,
Whose active elbows swelling winds command;
The swelling winds harmonious pipes inspire,
And blow in ev'ry breast a generous fire.
Thus taught at first the country-dance began,
And hence to cities and to courts it ran;
Succeeding ages did in time impart
Various improvements to the lovely art:
From fields and groves to palaces remov'd,
Great ones the pleasing exercise approv'd:
Hence the loud fiddle and shrill trumpet's
Are made companions of the dancer's bounds; Hence gems and silks, brocades and ribbons join,
To make the ball with perfect lustre shine.
So rude at first the tragic muse appear'd,
Her voice alone by rustic rabble heard;
Where twisting trees a cooling arbour made,
The pleas'd spectators sat beneath the shade,
The homely stage with rushes green was strew'd,
And in a cart the strolling actors rode:
Till time at length improv'd the great design,
And bade the scenes with painted landskips
Then art did all the bright machines dispose,
And theatres of Parian marble rose;
But now behold united hand in hand, Rang'd on each side the well-pair'd couple star Each youthful bosom beating with delight, Waits the brisk signal for the pleasing fight, While lovely eyes that flash unusual rays, And snowy bosoms seen above the stays, Quick busy hands and bridling heads declare The fond impatience of the starting fair. And see the sprightly dance is now begun! Now here, now there, the giddy maze they ra Now with slow steps they pace the circlingra Now all confus'd too swift for sight they spri So in a wheel with rapid fury toss'd, The undistinguish'd spokes are in the mot
The dancer here no more requires a guid To no strict steps his nimble feet are tyd: The muse's precepts here would useless be Where all is fancied, unconfin'd, and free. Let him but to the music's voice attend, By this instructed he can ne'er offend. If to his share it falls the dance to lead, In well-known paths he may be sure to tre If others lead let him their motions view, And in their steps the winding maze pursue
In every country-dance a serious mind Turn'd for reflection, can a moral find. In Hunt the squirrel, thus the nymph we vie Seeks when we fly, bra flies when we purs Thus in round dances, where our part change,
And unconfiu'd from fair to fair we range, As soon as one from his own consort flies, Another seizes on the lovely prize; Awhile the fav'rite youth enjoys her charms, Till the next comer steals her from his arms New ones succeed, the last is still her care How true an emblem of th' inconstant far!
Then mimic thunder shook the canvass sky,
And gods descended from their towers on high.
With caution now let ev'ry youth prepare
To choose a partner from the mingled fair:
Vain would be here th' instructing muse's voice,
If she retended to direct his choice:
Beauty alone by fancy is express'd, [breast:
And charms in dif'rent forms each diffrent
A snowy skin this am'rous youth admires,
Whilst not-brown cheeks another's bosom fires. Where worlds unnumbered o'er the ather
Sinall waists and slender limbs some hearts in-In a bright regular confusion stray;
While others love the more substantial fair.
Where can philosophers and sages wise, Who read the curious volumes of the skies, A model more exact than dancing name, Of the creation's universal frame?
Now here, now there, they whirl along the Now near approach, and now far distant fiv: Now
ow meet in the same order they begun, d then the great celestial dance is done. Where can the moralist find a juster plan, the vain labours of the life of man?
while thro' justling crowds we toil and sweat, nd eagerly pursue we know not what; en when our trifling short-liv'd race is run, ite tir'd sit down just where we begun. Tho' to your arms kind fate's indulgent care as giv'n a partner exquisitely fair,
et not her charms so much engage your heart, hat you neglect the skilful dancer's part; not, when you the tuneful notes should ill whispering idle prattle in her ear; [hear, hen you should be employ'd be not at play, or for your joys all others' steps delay : at when the finish'd dance you once have done,
d with applause thro' every couple run, nere rest awhile: there snatch the fleeting bliss,
he tender whisper, and the balmy kiss; ich secret wish, each softer hope confess, nd her moist palm with eager fingers press: ith smiles the fair shall hear your warm desires,
hen music melts her soul, and dancing fires. hus mix'd with love, the pleasing toil pursue, th' unwelcome morn appears in view; den when approaching day its beams displays, d the dull candle shines with fainter rays, hen when the sun just rises o'er the deep, d each bright eye is almost set in sleep, ith ready hands, obsequious youths, pre
fe to her coach to lead each chosen fair;
nd guard her from the morn's inclement
ta warm hood enwrap her lovely head,
nd o'er her neck a handkerchief be spread;
round her shoulders let this arm be cast,
hist that from cold defends her slender
ith kisses warm her balmy lips shall glow,
nchill'd by nightly damps or wint'ry snow,
hile gen'rous white wine mull'd with ginger
Delightful dreams their pleasing sports restore, And e'en in sleep they seem to dance once
And now the work completely finish'd lies, Which the devouring teeth of time defies. While birds in air, or fish in streams we find, Or damsels fret with aged partners join'd, As long as nymphs shall with attentive ear A fiddle rather than a sermon hear, So long the brightest eyes shall oft peruse The useful lines of my instructive muse, Each belle shall wear them wrote upon her fan, And each bright beau shall read them-if he can.
$ 205. Whitsuntide. Written at Winchester College, on the immediate Approach of the Holidays. HE ENCE, thou fur-clad Winter, fly;
Sire of shivering poverty!
Who, as thou creep'st with chilblains lame
To the crowded charcoal flame,
With chattering teeth and ague cold,
Scarce thy shaking sides canst hold
Whilst thou draw'st the deep cough out:
God of foot-ball's noisy rout,
Tumult loud and boisterous play,
The dang'rous slide, the snow-ball fray.
But come, thou genial son of Spring,
Whitsuntide, and with thee bring
Cricket, nimble boy aud light,
In slippers red and drawers white;
Who o'er the nicely measur'd land
Ranges around his comely band,
Alert to intercept each blow,
Each motion of the wary foe.
Or patient take thy quiet stand,
The angle trembling in thy hand,
And mark, with penetrative eye,
Kissing the wave, the frequent fly;
Where the trout with eager spring
Forms the many-circled ring,
And, leaping from the silver tide,
Turns to the sun his speckled side.
Or lead where Health, a Naiad fair,
With rosy cheek and dropping hair,
From the sultry noon-tide beam,
Dives in Itchin's crystal stream.
Thy votries, rang'd in order due,
To-morrow's wish'd-for dawn shall view,
Greeting the radiant star of light
With matin hymn and early kite:
tely protects her inward frame from harm.
But ever let my lovely pupils fear [beer;
o chill their mautling blood with cold small-
b, thoughtless fair! the tempting draught Een now, these hallow'd haunts among,
[muse: To thee we raise the choral song;
Then thus forewarn'd by my experienc'd And swell with echoing minstrelsy
et the sad consequence your thoughts employ,
or hazard future pains, for future joy;
struction lurks within the pois'nous dose,
fatal fever, or a pimpled nose.
Thus thro' cach precept of the dancing art,
The muse has play'd the kind instructor's part,
ro' ev'ry maze her pupil she has led,
el pointed out the surest paths to tread:
more remains; no more the goddess sings,
It drops her pinions and unfurls her wings.
The strain of joy and liberty.
If pleasures such as these await
Thy genial reign, with heart elate
For thee I throw my gown aside,
And hail thy coming, Whitsuntide.
$206. Christmas. HENCE, Summer, indolently laid On downy beds the weary dancers lie, [eve; Panting quick with sultry heat, To sleep beneath the cooling shade! And sleep's silk cords tie down each drowsy Thirst and faint fatigue, retreat!
Come, Christmas, father thou of mirth,
Patron of the festive hearth,
Around whose social evening flame
The jovial song, the winter game,
The chase renew'd in merry tale,
The season's carols never fail :
Who, tho' the winter chill the skies,
Canst catch the glow of exercise,
Following swift the foot-ball's course;
Or with unresisted force,
Where frost arrests the harden'd tide,
Shooting 'cross the rapid slide;
Who, ere the misty morn is grey,
To some high covert hark'st away,
While Sport, on lofty courser borne,
In concert winds his echoing horn
With the deeply thand'ring hounds,
Whose clangour wild, and joyful sounds,
While echo swell's the doubling cry,
Shake the woods with harmony.
How does my eager bosom glow
To give the well-known tally-ho!
Or shew, with cap inverted, where
Stole away the cautious hare.
Or, if the blast of winter keen
Spangles o'er the silvery green,
Booted high thou lov'st to tread,
Marking, thro' the sedgy mead,
Where the creeping moor-hen lics,
Or snipes with sudden twittering rise;
Orjoy'st the early walk to take
Where thro' the pheasant-haunted brake,
Oft as the well-aim'd gun resounds,
The cager-dashing spaniel bounds.
For thee of buck my breeches tight,
Clanging whip, and rowels bright,
The hunter's cap my brows to guard,
And suit of sportive greens prepar'd;
For since these delights are thine,
Christmas, with thy bands I join.
§ 207. An Elegy.on the Death of a mad Dog. GOLDSMITH.
Good people all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song,
And if you find it wond'rous short,
It cannot hold you long.
In Islington there was a man,
Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran,
Whene'er he went to pray.
A kind and gentle heart he had,
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,
When he put on his clothes.
And in that town a dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
And curs of low degree.
This dog and man at first were friends;
But, when a pique began,
The dog to gain his private ends
Went mad and bit the man.
Of the blue devils and book-learning born, In dusty schools forlorn;
Amongst black-gowns, square caps, and books unjolly,
Hunt out some college cell,
Where muzzing quizzes mutter monk
And the old proctor dreams;
There, in thy smutty walls o'errun with dock
As ragged as thy smock,
With rusty, fusty fellows ever dwell.
But come, thou baggage, fat and free,
By gentles call'd Festivity,
And by us rolling kiddies, Fux,
Whoin mother Shipton, one by one,
With two Wapping wenches more,
To skipping Harlequino bore:
Or whether, as some deeper say,
Jack Pudding on a holiday
Along with Jenny Diver romping,
As he met her once a pumping,
There on heaps of dirt and mortar,
And cinders wash'd in cabbage-water,
Fill'd her with thee a strapping Jassie,
So spunky, brazen, bold, and saucy.
Hip! here, jade, and bring with thee
Jokes and suggering jollity,
Christmas ganbols, waggish tricks,
Winks, wry faces, licks and kicks,
Such as fall from Moggy's knuckles,
And love to live about her buckles;
Spunk, that hobbling watchmen boxes,
And Horse-laugh hugging both his doxin;
Come, and kick it as you go,
On the stumping hornpipe-toe;
And in thy right-hand haul with thee,
The Mountain brim French liberty.
And if I give thee puffing due,
Fun, admit me of thy crew,
To pig with her, and pig with thee,
In everlasting frolicks free;
To hear the sweep begin his beat,
And squalling startle the dull street,
From his watch-box in the alley
Till the watch at six doth sally;
Then to go, in spite of sleep,
And at the window cry, "Sweep! sweep
Through the street-door, or the area,
'Or, in the country, through the dairy i
While the dustman, with his din,
awis and rings to be let in,
nd at the fore, or the back-door,
owly plods his jades before.
f hearing the sow-gelder's horn
arshly rouse the snoring morn,
-om the side of a large square,
hrough the long street grunting far.
ometimes walking I'll be seen
Tower hill, or Moorfields green,
ght against Old Bedlam-gate,
There the mock king begins his state,
own'd with straw and rob'd with rags,
over'd o'er with jags and tags,
hile the keeper near at hand
lies those who leave their stand;
Then crop-sick down the stairs he flings
Before his master's bell yet rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By hoofs and wheels soon lull'd to sleep.
But the city takes me then,
And the hums of busy inen,
Where throngs of train-band captains bold
In time of peace fierce meetings hold,
With stores of stock-jobbers, whose lies
Work change of stocks and bankruptcies;
Where bulls and bears alike contend
To get the cash they dare not spend.
Then let aldermen appear,
In scarlet robes, with chandelier,
And city feasts and gluttony,
With balls upon the lord-mayor's day
d milk-maids' screams go through your ears, Sights that young 'prentices remember,
d grinders sharpen rusty sheers,
d every cryer squalls his
der each window he goes by.
traight inine eye bath caught new gambols,
ile round and round this town it rambles;
opy streets and foggy day,
were the blundering folks do stray;
ements, on whose slippery flags
caring coachmen drive their nags;
bers jostled "gainst your side,
trow streets, and gutters wide.
b-street garrets now it sees,
the muse open and the breeze,
ere, perhaps, some scribbler hungers,
hack of neighbouring newsmongers.
1 by, a tinkers' furnace smokes,
a betwixt two pastry-cooks,
re Dingy Dick and Peggy, met,
at their scurvy dinner set,
ow-heel, and such cellar messes,
ch the splay-foot Rachael dresses;
then in haste the shop she leaves,
with the boy the bellows heaves;
'tis late, and shop is shut,
Sleeping or waking, all November.
Then to the play-houses anon,
If Quick or Bannister be one;
Or drollest Parsons, child of Drury,
Balls ont his damns with comic fury.
And ever, against hum-drum cares,
Sing me some of Dibdin's airs,
Married to his own queer wit,
Such as my shaking sides may split,
In notes, with many a jolly bout,
Near Beaufort Buildings oft roar'd out,
With wagging curls and smirk so cunning
His rig on many a booby running,
Exposing all the ways and phizzes
Of" wags, and oddities and quizzes ;"
That Shuter's self might heave his head
From drunken snoozes, on a bed
Of pot-house benches sprawl'd, and hear
Such laughing songs as won the ear
Of all the town, his slip to cover,
Whene'er he met 'em half-seas over.
Freaks like these if thou canst give,
Fun, with thee I wish to live.
5 at the pump her face from smut.
metimes, all for sights agog,
other end of the town I jog,
n St. James's bells ring round,
the royal fiddles sound,
n every lord's and lady's bum
it in the drawing-room;
young and old dance down the tuwe,
nour of the fourth of June;
andles fail and eyes are sore,
home we hie to talk it o'er,
stories told of many a treat,
Lady Swab the sweetmeats eat;
as pinch'd and something worse,
he was fobb'd and lost her
low the drudging Weltjee sweat,
ke his custards duly set,
a in one night, ere clock went seven,
Prentice-lad had robb'd the oven
ore than twenty hands put in;
lies him down, a little glutton,
h'd lumbering 'fore the fire, they tell ye, After remonstrance made in vain,
akes the custards in his belly;'
I'll, says the painter, once again
§ 209. The Picture.
A PORTRAIT, at my lord's command
Completed by a curious hand-
For dabblers in the nice vertú
His lordship set the piece to view,
Bidding their connoisseurships tell
Whether this werk was finish'd well:
Why-says the loudest, on my word,
'Tis not a likeness, good my lord ;
Nor, to be plain, for speak I must,
Can I pronounce one feature just.
Another effort straight was made.
Another portraiture essay'd:
The judges were again besought
Each to deliver what he thought.
Worse than the first the critics baw!;
Oh what a mouth! how monstrous sma!!!
Look at the cheeks-how lank and trin!
See, what a most preposterous chin!
(If my good lord vouchsafes to sit)
Try for a more successful hit:
If you'll to-morrow deign to call,
We'll have a piece to please you all.
To-morrow comes-a picture's plac'd
Before those spurious sons of taste-
In their opinions all agree,
This is the vilest of all three.
"Know-to confute your envious pride
(His lordship from the canvass cried),
"Know-that it is my real face,
"Where you could no resemblance trace:
"I've tried you by a lucky trick,
"And prov'd your genius to the quick :
"Void of all judgment, goodness, sense,
Out-ye pretending varlets,-hence !"
The connoisseurs depart in haste,
Despisid, neglected, and disgrac'd.
Now in cropt greasy hair, and leather breeches,
He loudly bellows out his patriot speeches;
Kings, lords, and commons ventures to abuse,
Yet dares to shew those ears he ought to lose.
From hence to White's our virtuous Cato)
There sits with countenance erect and wise,
And talks of games of whist, and pig-tail pies:-
Plays all the night, nor doubts each law to
Himself unknowingly has help'd to make;
Trembling and anxious, stakes his utmost grat,
Peeps o'er his cards, and looks as if he thought
Next morn disowns the losses of the night.
Because the fool would fain be thought a bite
Devoted thus to politics and cards,
Nor mirth, nor wine, nor women he regards;
So far is ev'ry virtue from his heart,
That not a gen'rous vice can claim a part;
Nay, lest one human passion e'er should met
His soul to friendship, tenderness, or love,
To Figg and Broughton † he commits
To steel it to the fashionable test.
Thus poor in wealth, he labours to no c... Wretched alone, in crowds without a friend. Insensible to all that's good or kind, Deaf to all merit, to all beauty blind;
A harden'd, sober, proud, luxurious knate:
By little actions striving to be great,
And proud to be, and to be thought a che
UST broke from school, pert, impudent, and For love too busy, and for wit too grave,
Expert in Latin, more expert in taw,
His honour posts o'er Italy and France,
Measures St. Peter's dome, and learns to dance.
Thence, having quick through various coun-
Glean'd all their follies and expos'd his own,
He back returns, a thing so strange all o'er,
As never ages past produc'd before;
A monster of such complicated worth,
As no one single clime could e'er bring forth;
Half atheist, papist, gamester, bubble, rook,
Half fidler, coachman, dancer, groom, and
And yet in this so bad is his success,
That, as his fame improves, his rents grow!
On parchment wings his acres take their f
And his unpeopled groves admit the light
With his estate his int'rest too is done,
His honest borough seeks a warmer sun:
For him, now cash and liquor flows no po
His independent voters cease to roar;
And Britain soon must want the great de
Of all his honesty and eloquence,
But that the gen'rous youth, more anxies)
For public liberty than for his own,
Marries some jointur'd antiquated crone;
And boldly when his country is at stake,
Braves the deep yawning gulph, like Cur
Next, because business is now all the vogue, And who'd be quite polite must be a rogue, In parliament he purchases a seat, To make th' accomplish'd gentleman complete. There safe in self-sufficient impudence, Without experience, honesty, or sense, Unknowing in her in rest, trade, or laws, He vainly undertakes his country's cause; Forth from his lips, prepar'd at all to rail, Torrents of nonsense burst like bottled ale," *Tho' shallow, muddy, brisk, tho' mighty dall; Fierce without strength; o'erflowing, tho' not The minister, well pleas'd at small expens Now quite a Frenchman in his garb and air, To silence so much rude impertinence, Iis neck yok'd down with bag and solitaire, With squeeze and whisper yields to his The berties of Britain he supports,
Andstorms at placemen, ministers, and courts;
Quickly again distress'd for want of con He digs no longer in th' exhausted mine, But seeks preferment, as the last resort, Cringes each morn at levees, bows at court. And, from the hand he hates, implores sup port.
And on the venal list enroll'd he stands,
* Parody on these lines of Sir John Denham:
Tho' deep yet clear, tho' gentle yet not dull,
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
One, a celebrated prize-fighter; the other, a no less famous boxer.