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Each lover's ear for music's made,
We soon shall hear a serenade,
Eke too perchance, for 'tis at hand,
They'll treat their Limnacles with a band.
To wond'ring cits, this strange may seem,
Anon they'll find it is no dream.
'Tis twilight gray, and Sol his car
Hath driven to the westward far,
To stony mountains shapes his course,
Whence great Missouri has his source:
Dame Luna fain would take his place,
But clouds of dust besmirch her face.
Nor would thy beauties, queen of night,
Be priz'd although disclos’d to sight,
Where he is thought a silly elf
Who studies nature more than pelf.
Now city lamps in order lit,
Cast a faint glimmer o'er the street;
The watchman's station'd for the night,
To bawl the hour with all his might,
That rogues his place may nicely mark,
And fix their object in the dark.
Now chariots to the playhouse fly,
And amateur's to concerts hie,
Cooper to night will play Macbeth,
So horses may be driv’n to death.
When he's to play, you know, one must
Abide the heat, the crowd, and dust.
Thus in the spring you venture out
With safety to a play or rout;
But if banicula appear,
Or sickly autumn rule the year;
Beware! Mephitis, dank and foul
Will view your pleasures with a scowl,
And fevers waiting at her beck,
Should ev'ry ev’ning frolic check.
Your pastimes freely I permit,
Though mine your fancies may not hit.
Frog concerts* then that would affright
Sleep from your eyes, are my delight.
• Frog concerts. See Miss Edgeworth's popular tale Tomorrow, 2 vol. p. 277. Also Priests Travels.
If amateurs ! you blame in haste,
I'll pray the gods to mend your taste;
And any bet with you I'll hold,
That mine is new and yours is old ;
For bets, you know, if logic fail,
In knotty points will oft prevail.
Come listen, if you'll not believe,
And pleasure by your ears receive.
The leader now, on his bassoon,
At proper pitch has set the tune;
The smaller fry to treble rise,
To counter, tenor, second size;
The third assume a lower note,
Full tenor they have got by rote :
While rana boans, in deep base,
A stranger from the pool might chase.
O city! may the frogs prolong
In all thy pools their pleasing song;
Nor let disturbance e'er be made,
By sound of either hoe or spade ;
Until Mephitis ! at thy nod,
I'm doom'd to lie beneath the sod.
CANTO II.- A city morning.
CONTENTS, A new goddess invoked. City morning scenes. Scavengers. The pool befouled. Grief of the bard. Iris. Aroma. Foul docks. Dialogue with the reader. Sinks and sewers. Yellow fever. Speech of Mephitis.
COME, Oxygen !* around me fling,
Thy breezes pure as breath of Spring;
Perch'd on a zephyr fresh and fleet,
From buds bedew'd my senses greet.
Bring in thy train each vernal flower,
That blooms in garden, or the bower;
Bring roses, honey-suckle bring,
And violets, where'er they spring;
Accession to thy power gain,
From ev'ry tree upon the plain ;
• Oxygen. Pure vital air. That which is at for respiration. On land it is chiefly supplied boy vegetables. Chaptal,
Thy breath benign from these will flow,
Whether on hill, or dale they grow;
Spread pine and poplar in my way,
As onward with the Muse I stray ;
Thy vital fluid round me spread,
Secur'd through damps and murk to tread;
From foul Mephitis me defend,
Lest here my life and song should end.
Now in the morn, the sun has broke
Through all the maze of city smoke;
On steeple tops has cast his eyes,
While scarce a soul has mark'd his rise;
How can the morn afford delight
To those, who only live at night?
Or who the rising sun would view,
When guineas have a milder hue?
Of chimney-sweepers loud's the yell,
Ill natur'd folks wish them at hell,
Which wicked wish, could they obtain,
They might be neighbours there again.
Of social clubs, some members snore,
Till nine they fail to open store ;
But who last ev'ning could refrain
From such madeira and champagne ?
Champagne's the nectar god's did sip,
What mortal shoves it from his lip.
Some hungry to the market fly,
While scavengers their carts supply ;
Of these, the int'rest is allied,
As learned counsel will decide,
On use will settle in the first,
Remainder to the last in trust:
The office can be no disgrace,
Epaminondas fill'd the place;
But nuisances from cities mov’d,
In suburbs pests have often prov'd.
Their load remov’d, 'gainst city rule,
Is carted straightway to the pool;
Half there immerg'd, I'll not rehearse,
The Muse would blush to own my verse.
Alas, frog concerts! late my gust,
And must I bid you now adieu ?
Must treble, counter, tenor, base,
To silence dismal now give place?
Ah pool! how chang'd is now thy face,
Can'st thou survive this foul disgrace?
See how ! upon thy speckled flood,
Urg'd by the winds, a lifeless brood
Of kids and kittens drift along,
Whose lives fond dams could not prolong.
But since most ills bring something good;
Around the margin of the flood,
Nourish'd by soil and air impure,
Fair flowers my optics still allure.
Sweet Iris blue! it was thy fate
'Mong scents intense to have thy seat,
In fragrance though thou might'st have vied
With pink, or rosc, the garden's pride ;
Yet mix'd with such a crowd of scents,
Thy fragrant sweets are lost to sense ;
While carrion stirr'd, by carrion crows,
Stops ev'ry av’nue to the nose,
And thus becomes a vast depot,
Whence deadly Aroma* doth flow.
So, if two bullets in their course
Each other strike with equal force,
Momentum, neither having most,
Together both will take their post;
But add to one more speed and weight,
Suppose, e. g. as ten to eight,
The weighty forward moves a length
Proportion's to its compound strength;
And as it onward runs its race,
The light at angles will displace.
Just so, the great all lesser smells,
By aromatic force repels.
Strange Aroma! you quickly ape
Proteus like, each form and shape;
So varied, that you can with ease
Send fragrance, or a dire disease ;
From the parterre you can assume
Of mingled flowers the rich perfume,
Or from a vault, or vapour kill,
Despite of Rush and human skill.
• Aroma. A subtle principle, in which the smell of all odoriferous bodies is supposed to reside. Rees's Cyc. title Aroma. “ The aroma appears to be of the nature of gas, and to vary prodigiously. Some have a poisonous effect. Chaptal.
Some citizens, 'tis said, have noses,
To which foul docks are sweet as roses,
Who through the day still range in sight,
To snuff their essence with delight;
While others distant and content,
To cleanse them would not pay a cent;
Nor would they stir a leg to drain
One pool that ornaments the plain.
If, reader! you're a stranger here,
You then have reason much to fear;
The very breath you here inhale,
To cause disease can scarcely fail ;
'Tis better now this scene to leave,
Lest friends and kindred for you grieve.
You linger still! it is not meet,
Your spirit soon, you thus may greet.
“ Pleasing soul! no more at rest,
Long of this frame the friend and guest;
That late in mirth had’st such delight,
Now whither would'st thou take thy flight?
What region gloomy, scorch’d, or bleak,
Far distant hence, would'st thou go seek."*
But to return ! 'tis poets' right,
From theme to ramble out of sight.
Accumulated air mephitic,
Will plague produce, if I'm prophetic;
'Tis all exotic doctor's state,
While cities think they wisely prate;
Yet ever from foul docks expect,
As from foul ships the like effect;
Neglected sewers will aid the work,
Contagions dire within them lurk ;
But to foul sinks that cities stifle,
Pandora's box is but a trifle.
Hail Yellow Fever! here 'tis meet,
On murky wing, come take thy seat;
Through darkness float on air azotic,
Here is thy throne! come, rule despotic.
In midst of all those birds of prey,
Thou'lt come and make a three months' stay,
• See Adrian's address to his departing soul.