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If breaking windows be the sport,
Who bravely breaks the most.
But oh! for him my fancy culls
The choicest flowers she bears,
Your house about your ears.
Such civil broils are my delight,
Though some folks can't endure them,
And that a rope must cure them.
A rope! I wish we patriots had
Such strings for all who need 'em -
Then farewell British freedom.
ON OBSERVING SOME
NAMES OF LITTLE NOTE
RECORDED IN THE BIOGRAPHIA BRITANNICA.
[Cowper had borrowed the Biographia Britannica from Mr Unwin, to whom, in consequence, these admirably sarcastic lines were sent in September, 1780.]
Oh, fond attempt to give a deathless lot
So wher, a child, as playful children use,
OF AN ADJUDGED CASE, NOT TO BE FOUND IN
ANY OF THE BOOKS.
[This piece, which a critic has pronounced, “ in gravity of ridi. cule unexcelled," appears to have been a favourite with the author ; for in his letters it is more than once transcribed. The first copy was sent to Mr Hill, December, 1780.
BETWEEN Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose,
The spectacles set them unhappily wrong;
To which the said spectacles ought to belong.
So Tongue was the lawyer, and argued the cause
With a great deal of skill, and a wig full of learning ; While chief baron Ear sat to balance the laws,
So famed for his talent in nicely discerning.
6 In behalf of the Nose, it will quickly appear,
And your lordship,” he said, “ will undoubtedly find, That the Nose has had spectacles always in wear,
Which amounts to possession, time out of mind.”
Then holding the spectacles up to the court “ Your lordship observes they are made with
straddle, As wide as the ridge of the nose is ; in short
Design'd to sit close to it, just like a saddle.
Again, would your lordship a moment suppose
('Tis a case that has happen'd, and may be again) That the visage or countenance had not a nose,
Pray who would, or who could, wear spectacles then ?
“ On the whole it appears, and my argument shows,
With a reasoning the court will never condemn, That the spectacles plainly were made for the Nose,
And the Nose was as plainly intended for them.”
Then shifting his side, (as a lawyer knows how,)
He pleaded again in behalf of the Eyes :
For the court did not think they were equally wise.
So his Lordship decreed, with a grave solemn tone,
Decisive and clear, without one if or but — That, whenever the Nose put his spectacles on,
By daylight or candlelight - Eyes should be shut ! *
ON THE BURNING OF
LORD MANSFIELD'S LIBRARY,
TOGETHER WITH HIS MSS,
BY THE MOB, IN THE MONTH OF JUNE, 1780.
[Written on the morning of the 22d June, 1780. Lord Mansfield's house was burnt on the night of the 8-9th, as we learn from the journal of Crabbe, the poet, then a nameless, almost houseless, wanderer in the streets of the metropolis, yet destined to divide with Cowper the honour of being England's domestic bard."]
So, then, the Vandals of our isle,
Sworn foes to sense and law,
Than ever Roman saw !
And MURRAY sighs o'er Pope and Swift,
And many a treasure more,
That graced his letter'd store.
Their pages mangled, burnt and torn,
The loss was his alone ;
The burning of his own.
* There is “ sly reserve” in this decision without the implication of absurdity, as most readers understand it: we instinctively close the eye on the approach of any object, and on putting on spectacles, people invariably look very grave, and shut both eyes. This the poet seems to have had in view, and has expressed with that admirable quaintness, which constitụtes tủe essence of humour.
ON THE SAME.
When wit and genius meet their doom
In all devouring flame,
And bid us fear the same.
O’er MURRAY's loss the muses wept
They felt the rude alarm,
His sacred head from harm.
There memory, like the bee, that's fed
From Flora's balmy store,
Had treasured up before.
The lawless herd, with fury blind,
Have done him cruel wrong ;
The honey on his tongue.
LOVE OF THE WORLD REPROVED;
OR, HYPOCRISY DETECTED.*
[The original order is retained in placing this poem, the date of which is not exactly fixed.]
Thus says the prophet of the Turk,
And thus he left the point at large. * It may be proper to inform the reader, that this piece has already appeared in print, having found its way, though with some unnecessary additions by an unknown band, into the Leeds Joure nal, without the author's privity. — Author's note.
Had he the sinful part express'd,
You laugh - 'tis well — the tale applied
THE LILY AND THE ROSE. [The order adopted by Cowper has been retained here : the poem was first transcribed in a letter to Unwin, but without date, in which the author says, “ No man, I believe, has less to do with ladies' cheeks than I have : my mind was never in a more trifling butterfly humour than when I composed these verses."]
The nymph must lose her female friend,
If more admired than she-
If flowers can disagree ?