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Of manners gentle, of affections mild;
In wit, a man, simplicity, a child. Gay was buried in Westminster Abbey, where a handsome monument was erected to his memory by the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry. The works of this easy and genial son of the Muses have lost much of their popularity. He has the licentiousness, without the elegance of Prior. His Fables' are still, however, the best we possess; and if they have not the nationality or rich humour and archness of La Fontaine's, they are light and pleasing, and the versification always smooth and correct. The Hare with Many Friends' is doubtless drawn from Gay's own experience. In the Court of Death, he aims at a higher order of poetry, and marshals his ‘diseases dire' with a strong and gloomy power. His song of Blackeyed Susan,' and the ballad beginning "'Twas when the seas were roaring,' are full of characteristic tenderness and lyrical melody. The latter is said by Cowper to have been the joint production of Arbuthnot, Swift, and Gay, but the tradition is not supported by evidence. The Country Ballad-singer.- From The Shepherd's Week.'
Sublimer strains, O rustic Muse! prepare ;
Forget awhile the barn and dairy's care;
Thy homely voice to loftier numbers raise,
The drunkard's flights require sonorous lays;
With Bowzybeus' songs exalt thy verse,
While rocks and woods the various notes rehearse.
'Twas in the season when the reapers' toil
Of the ripe harvest 'gan to rid the soil;
Wide through the field was seen a goodly rout,
Clean damsels bound the gathered sheaves about;
The lads with sharpened hook and sweating brow
Cut down the labours of the winter plough. ...
When fast asleep they Bowzybeus spied,
His hat and oaken staff lay close beside:
That Bowzy beus who could sweetly sing,
Or with the rosined bow torment the stiing;
That Bowzy beus who, with fingers' speed,
Could call soft warblings from the breathing
That Bowzy beus who, with jocund tongue,
Ballads, and roundelays, and catches sung:
They loudly laugh to see the damsels' fright,
And in disport surround the drunken wight.
Ah, Bowzybee, why didst thou stay so long?
The mugs were large, the drink was wondrous strong!
Thou shouldst have left the fair before 'twas night,
But thou sat'st toping till the morning light. ...
No sooner 'gan he raise his tuneful song,
But lads and lasses round about him throng.
Not ballad-singer placed above the crowd
Sings with a note so shrilling sweet and loud;
Nor parish-clerk, who calls the psalm so clear,
Like Bowzybeus soothes the attentive ear.
Of Nature's laws his carols first begun-
Why the grave owl can never face the sun.
For owls, as swains observe, detest the light,
And only sing and seek their prey by night.
How turnips hide their swelling heads below,
And how the closing coleworts upwards grow;
How Will-a-wisp misleads night-faring clowns
O'er hills, and sinking bogs, and pathless downs.
Of stars he told that shoot with shining trail,
And of the glowworm's light that gilds his tail.
He sung where woodcocks in the summer feed,
And in what climates they renew their breed-
Some think to northern coasts their flight they tend,
Or to the moon in midnight hours ascend-
Where swallows in the winter's season keep,
And how the drowsy bat and dormouse sleep;
How Nature does the puppy's eyelids close
Till the bright sun has nine times set and rose :
(For huntsmen by their long experience find,
That puppies still nine rolling suns are blind).
Now he goes on, and sings of fairs and shows,
For still new fairs, before his eyes arose.
How pedlers' stalls with glittering toys are laid,
The various fairings of the country maid.
Long silken laces hang upon the twine,
And rows of pins and amber bracelets shine.
How the tight lass knives, combs, and scissor
And looks on thimbles with desiring eyes.
Of lotteries next with tuneful note he told,
Where silver spoons are won, and rings of gold.
The lads and lasses trudge the street along,
And all the fair is crowded in his song.
The mountebank now treads the stage, and sells
His pills, his balsams, and his ague-spells;
Now o'er and o'er the nimble tumbler springs,
And on the rope the venturous maiden swings;
Jack Pudding, in his party-coloured jacket,
Tosses the glove, and jokes at every packet.
Of raree-shows he sung, and Punch's feats,
Of pockets picked in crowds, and various cheats. Walking the Streets of London.-- From "Trivia.'
Through winter streets to steer your course aright,
How to walk clean by day, and safe by night;
How jostling crowds with prudence to decline,
When to assert the wall, and when resign,
I sing ; thou, Trivia, goddess, aid my song,
Through spacious streets conduct thy bard along;
By thee transported, I securely stray
Where winding alleys lead the doubtful way;
The silent court and opening square explore,
And long perplexing lanes untrod before.
To pave thy realm, and smooth the broken ways,
Earth from her womb a flinty tribute pays :
For thee the sturdy pavior thumps the ground,
Whilst every stroke his labouring lungs resound;
For thee the scavenger bids kennels glide
Witbin their bounds, and heaps of dirt subside.
My youthful bosom burns with thirst of fame,
From the great theme to build a glorious name;
To tread in paths to ancient bards unknown,
And bind my temples with a civic crown:
But more my country's love demands my lays;
My country's be the profit, mine the praise !
When the black youth at chosen stands rejoice,
And Clean your shoes' resounds from every voice
When late their miry sides stage-coaches shew,
And their stiff horses through the town move slow:
When all the Mall in leafy ruin lies,
And damsels first renew their oyster-cries ;
Then let the prudent walker shoes provide,
Not of the Spanish or Morocco hide:
The wooden heel may raise the dancer's bound,
And with the scalloped top his step be crowned :
Let firm, well-hammered soles protect thy feet
Through freezing snows, and rains, and soaking sleet.
Should the big last extend the shoe too wide,
Each stone will wrench the unwary step aside;
The sudden turn may stretch the swelling vein,
Thy cracking joint unhinge, or ankle sprain;
And when too short the modish shoes are worn,
You'll judge the seasons by your shooting corn.
Nor should it prove thy less important care
To choose a proper coat for winter's wear.
Now in thy trunk thy D'Oily habit fold,
The silken drugget ill can fence the cold ;
The frieze's spongy nap is soaked with rain
And showers soon drench the camblet's cockled in ;
True Witney (1) broadcloth, with its shag unshorn,
Unpierced is in the lasting tempest worn :
Be this the horseman's fence, for who would wear
Amid the town the spoils of Russia's bear?
Within the roquelaure's clasp thy hands are pent,
Hands, that, stretched forth, invading harms prevent.
Let the looped bavaroy the fop embrace,
Or his deep cloak bespattered o'er with lace.
That garment best the winter's rage defends.
Whose ample form without one plait depends;
By various names in various counties known,
Yet held in all the true surtout alone;
Be thine of kersey firm, though small the cost.
Then brave unwet the rain, unchilled the frost.
. If thy strong cane support thy walking hand,
Chairmen no longer shall the wall command ;
Even sturdy carmen shall thy nod obey,
And rattling coaches stop to make thee way:
This shall direct thy cautious tread aright,
Though not one glaring lamp enliven night.
Let beaux their canes, with amber tipt, produce;
Be theirs for empty show, but thine for use.
In gilded chariots while they loll at ease,
And lazily insure a life's disease ;
While softer chairs the tawdry load convey
To Court, to White's, (2) assemblies, or the pla
Rosy-complexioned Health thy steps attends,
And exercise thy lasting youth defends.
Sweet woman is like the fair flower in its lustre.
Which in the garden enamels the ground;
Near it the bees, in play, flutter and cluster,
And gaudy butterflies frolic around.
But when once plucked, 'tis no longer alluring,
To Covent Garden 'tis sent (as yet sweet),
There fades, and shrinks, and grows past all enduring,
Rots, stinks, and dies, and is trod under feet.(3) 1 A town in Oxfordshire. 2 A chocolate-house in St. James's Street. 3 'I thought o' the bonny bit thorn that our father rooted out o' the yard last May,
The Court of Death. Death, on a solemn night of state,
Stone urged his overgrowing force ; In all his pomp of terror sate : .
And, next, Consumption's meayre corse, The attendants of his gloomy reign, With feeble voice that scarce was heard, Diseases dire, a ghastly train !
Broke with short coughs, his suit preCrowd the vast court. With hollow tone,
ferred : A voice thus thundered from the throne : Let none object 1 • This night our minister we name; I gain, like Fabius, by delay; Let every servant speak his claim;
Fatigue and weaken every foe Merit shall bear this ebon wand.'
By long attack, secure, though slow.' All, at the word, stretched forth their Plague represents his rapid power, hand.
Who thinned a nation in an hour. Fever, with burning heat possessed, All spoke their claim, and hoped the Advanced, and for the wand addressed : wand. 'I to the weekly bills appeal;
Now expectation hushed the band, Let those express my fervant zeal; When thus the monarch from the throne : On every slight occasion near,
Merit was ever modest known. With violence I persevere.
What! no physician speak his right? Next Gout appears with limping pace, None here! but fees their toils requite. Pleads how he shifts from place to place; Let, then, Intemperance take the wand, From head to foot how swift he flies, Who fills with gold their zealous hand. And every joint and sinew plies ;
You, Fever, Gout, and all the rest-
Still working when he seems supprest, Whom wary men as foes detest-
A most tenacious stubborn guest.
Forego your claim. No more pretend A haggard spectre from the crew
Intemperance is esteemed a friend; Crawls forth, and thus asserts his due: He shares their mirth, their social joys, “'Tis I who taint the sweetest joy,
And as a courted guest destroys. And in the shape of love destroy
The charge on him must justly fall, My shanks, sunk eyes, and noseless face, Who finds employment for you all, Prove my pretension to the place.'
The Hare with Many Friends. Friendship, like love, is but a name, • Let me,' says she, your back ascend, Unless to one you stint the flame.
And owe my safety to a friend, The child whom many fathers share, You know my feet betray my flight; Hath seldom known a father's care. To friendship every burden's light. "Tis thus in friendship; who depend The Horse replied: Poor Honest Puss, On many, rarely find a friend.
It grieves my heart to see thee thus ; A Hare, who, in a civil way,
Be comforted; relief is near, Complied with everything, like GAY, For all your friends are in the rear.' Was known by all the bestial train
She next the stately Bull implored, Who haunt the wood, or graze the plain. And thus replied the mighty lord : Her care was never to offend,
Since every beast alive can tell And every creature was her friend,
That I sincerely wish you well, As forth she went at early dawn,
I may, without offence, pretend To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,
To take the freedom of a friend. Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
Love calls me hence; a favourite cow And from the deep-mouthed thunder flies: Expects me near yon barley-mow; She starts, she stops, she pants for breath; And when a lady's in the case, She hears the near advance of death ; You know, all other things give place. She doubles, to mislead the hound,
To leave you thus might seem unkind; And measures back her mazy round; But see, the Goat is just behind.' Till, fainting in the public way,
The Goat remarked her pulse was high, Half-dead with fear she gasping lay ;
Her languid head, her heavy eye; What transport in her bosom grew
My back,' says he, 'may do you harm; When first the Horse appeared in view! The Sheep's at hand, and wool is warm.'
The Sheep was feeble, and complained
His sides a load of wool sustained :
Said he was slow, confessed his fears,
For hounds eat sheep as well as hares.
She now the trotting Calf addressed,
To save from death a friend distressed.
* Shall I,' says he, of tender age,
In this important care engage?
Older and abler passed you by;
How strong are those, how weak am I!
Should I presume to bear you hence,
Those friends of mine may take offence.
Excuse me, then. You know my heart;
But dearest friends, alas! must part.
How shall we all lament! Adieu !
For, see, the hounds are just in view!
All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When Black-eyed Susan came aboard,
· Oh! where shall I my true love find ?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew ?!
Wiliam, who high upon the yard
Rocked with the billow to and fro,
Soon as her well-known voice he heard,
He sighed, and cast his eyes below:
The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands,
And, quick as lightning, on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high poised in air,
Shuts close his pinions to his breast-
If chance his mate's shrill call he hear-
And drops at once into her nest.
The noblest captain in the British fleet
Might envy William's lips those kisses sweet.
• Susan, Susan, lovely dear,
My vows shall ever true remain ;
Let me kiss off that falling tear ;
We only part to meet again.
Change as ye list, ye winds ! my heart shall be
The faithful compass that still points to thee.
• Believe not what the landmen say,
Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind;
They 'll tell thee, sailors, when away,
In every port a mistress find :
Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so,
For thou art present wheresoe'er I go.
* If to fair India's coast we sail,
Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright, i
Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale,
Thy skin is ivory so white.
Thus every beauteous object that I view,
Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
• Though battle call me from thy arms,
Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Though cannons roar, yet, safe from harms,
William shall to his dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye.'
The boatswain gave the dreadful word ;
The sails their swelling bosom spread;
No longer must she stay aboard :
They kissed-she sighed-he hung his head.
Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land,
• Adieu !' she cries, and waved her lily hand. :