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To Phæbus he preferr'd his case,
And begg'd his aid that dreadful day.
The Godhead wou'd have back'd his quarrel;
But with a blush on recollection, Own'd, that his quiver and his laurel
'Gainst four such eyes were no protection.
The Court was sate, the Culprit there,
Forth from their gloomy mansions creeping The Lady Janes and Joans repair,
And from the gallery stand peeping:
Such as in silence of the night
Come (sweep) along some winding entry, (Styack (n) has often seen the sight)
Or at the chapel-door stand centry:
In peaked hoods and mantles tarnish’d,
Sour visages, enough to scare ye, High dames of honour once, that garnish'd The drawing-room of fierce Queen Mary.
(n) The Housekeeper.
The Peeress comes. The audience stare,
And doff their hats with due submission: She curtsies, as she takes her chair,
To all the people of condition..
The Bard, with many an artful fib,
Had in imagination fenc'd him, Disprov'd the arguments of Squib (0),
And all that Groom (p) could urge against him.
But soon his rhetoric forsook him,
When he the solemn hall had seen; A sudden fit of ague shook him,
He stood as mute as poor Macleane (9).
Yet something he was heard to mutter,
“ How in the Park beneath an old tree, “ (Without design to hurt the butter,
“ Or any malice to the poultry)
(0) Groom of the Chamber.
“ He once or twice had penn'd a sonnet;
“ Yet hop'd, that he might save his bacon: “ Numbers would give their oaths upon it,
“ He ne'er was for a conj'rer taken.”
The ghostly prudes with hagged face
Already had condemn’d the sinner. My Lady rose, and with a grace
She smil'd, and bid him come to dinner.
46 Jesu-Maria! Madam Bridget,
“ Why, what can the Viscountess mean? (Cried the square-hoods in woeful fidget)
66 The times are alter'd quite and clean!
“ Decorum's turn'd to mere civility;
“ Her air and all her manners show it. 6 Commend me to her affability'
“ Speak to a Commoner and Poet!"
[Here 500 Stanzas are lost.]
And so God save our noble King,
And guard us from long-winded Lubbers, That to eternity would sing,
And keep my Lady from her Rubbers.
STANZAS TO MR. BENTLEY.
[These were in compliment to Mr. Bentley, who drew a set of Designs
for Mr. Gray's Poems, particularly a Head-piece to The Long Story.]
IN silent gaze the tuneful choir among,
Half pleas’d, half blushing let the muse admire, While Bentley leads her sister art along,
And bids the pencil answer to the lyre. .
See, in their course, each transitory thought
Fix'd by his touch a lasting essence take; . Each dream, in Fancy's airy colouring wrought,
To local symmetry and life awake!
The tardy rhymes that us'd to linger on,
To censure cold, and negligent of fame, In swifter measures animated run,
And catch a lustre from his genuine flame.