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Of Walking the Streets by Day.
HUS far the Mufe has trac'd in ufeful lays
The proper implements for wintery ways;
Has taught the walker, with judicious eyes,
To read the various warnings of the skies:
Now venture, Mufe, from home to range the town, 5
And for the public safety risque thy own.
For eafe and for difpatch, the morning's beft;
No tides of paffengers the ftreets moleft.
You'll fee a draggled damfel here and there,
From Billingsgate her fishy traffick bear;
On doors the fallow milk-maid chalks her gains:
Ah! how unlike the milk-maid of the plains!
Before proud gates attending affes bray,
Or arrogate with folemn pace the way;
Thefe grave phyficians with their milky chear
The love-fick maid and dwindling beau repair;
Here rows of drummers ftand in martial file,
And with their vellum thunder fhake the pile,
Το greet the new-made bride. Are founds like these
The proper prelude to a ftate of peace?
Now industry awakes her busy fons;
Full-charg'd with news the breathlefs hawker runs :
Shops open, coaches roll, carts shake the ground,
And all the streets with paffing cries refound.
If cloath'd in black you tread the busy town,
Or if diftinguish'd by the reverend gown,
Three trades avoid: oft' in the mingling prefs
The barber's apron foils the fable dress ;
Shun the perfumer's touch with cautious eye,
Nor let the baker's step advance too nigh.
Ye walkers too, that youthful colours wear,
Three fullying trades avoid with equal care :
The little chimney-fweeper fkulks along,
And marks with footy ftains the heedless throng ;
When small-coal murmurs in the hoarfer throat,
From fmutty dangers guard thy threaten'd coat;
The duft-man's cart offends thy cloaths and eyes,
When through the ftreet a cloud of afhes flies;
But, whether black or lighter dyes are worn,
The chandler's basket, on his shoulder borne,
With tallow fpots thy coat; refign the way,
To fhun the furly butcher's greasy tray,
Butchers, whofe hands are dy'd with blood's foul stain,
And always foremost in the hangman's train.
Let due civilities be ftrictly paid :
The wall furrender to the hooded maid;
Nor let thy sturdy elbow's hafty rage
Joftle the feeble fteps of trembling age:
And when the porter bends beneath his load,
And pants for breath, clear thou the crouded road. 50 But, above all, the groping blind direct;
And from the preffing throng the lame prote
You'll fometimes meet a fop, of niceft tread,
Whofe mantling peruke veils his empty head,
At every ftep he dreads the wall to lofe,
And rifques, to fave a coach, his red-heel'd flocs;
Him, like the miller, pafs with caution by,
Left from his fhoulder clouds of powder fly.
But when the bully, with affuming pace,
Cocks his broad hat, edg'd round with tarnish'd lace, 60
Yield not the way, defy his ftrutting pride,
And thrust him to the muddy kennel's fide;
He never turns again, nor dares oppofe,
But mutters coward-curfes as he goes..
If drawn by bufinefs to a fireet unknown,
Let the fworn porter point thee through the town;
Be sure obferve the figns, for figns remain
Like faithful landmarks to the walking train.
Seek not from 'prentices to learn the way,
Thofe fabling boys will turn thy fteps aftray;
Afk the grave tradefman to direct thee right,
He ne'er deceives-but when he profits by 't.
Where fam'd St. Giles's antient limits spread,
An inrail'd column rears its lofty head,
Here to feven freets feven dials count the day,
And from each other catch the circling ray.
Here oft' the peafant, with enquiring face,
Bewilder'd, trudges on from place to place;
He dwells on every fign with ftupid gaze,
Enters the narrow alley's doubtful maze,
Trics every winding court and street in vain,
And doubles o'er his weary fteps again.
Thus hardy Thefeus with intrepid feet •
Traversd' the dangerous labyrinth of Crete;
But ftill the wandering paffes forc'd his stay,
Till Ariadne's clue unwinds the way.
But do not thou, like that bold chief, confide
Thy venturous footsteps to a female guide;
She 'll lead thee with delufive fmiles along,
Dive in thy fob, and drop thee in the throng.
When waggish boys the ftunted beefom ply,
To rid the flabby pavement, pafs not by
Ere thou haft held their hands; fome heedlefs flirt
Will overfpread thy calves with fpattering dirt.
Where porters hogfheads roll from carts aflope,
Or brewers down fteep cellars ftretch the rope,
Where counted billets are by carmen toft,
Stay thy rath step, and walk without the post.
What though the gathering mire thy feet befinear,
The voice of industry is always near.
Hark! the boy calls thee to his destin’d stand,
And the fhoe fhines beneath his oily hand.
Here let the Mufe, fatigued amid the throng,
Adorn her precepts with digreffive fong;
Of shirtless youths the fecret rife to trace,
And fhew the parent of the fable race.
Like mortal man, great Jove (grown fond of change) Of old was wont this nether world to range, To feek amours; the vice the monarch lov'd Soon through the wide etherial court improv'd: And ev'n the proudeft Goddefs now and then Would lodge a night among the fons of men ;
To vulgar deities defcends the fashion,
Each, like her betters, had her earthly paffion.
Then Cloacina (Goddefs of the tide,
Whofe fable streams beneath the city glide)
Indulg'd the modifh flame; the town she rov'd,
A mortal fcavenger the faw, the lov'd;
The muddy fpots that dry'd upon his face,
Like female patches, heighten'd every grace:
She gaz'd; the figh'd; (for love can beauties fpy
In what feem faults to every common eye.)
Now had the watchman walk'd his fecond round; When Cloacina hears the rumbling found Of her brown lover's cart (for well she knows That pleafing thunder): fwift the Goddess rofe, And through the ftrects purfued the diftant noife, Her bofom panting with expected joys. With the night-wandering harlot's airs she past, Brush'd near his fide, and wanton glances caft; In the black form of cinder-wench fhe came, When love, the hour, the place, had banish'd fhame; To the dark alley arm in arm they move : O may no link-boy interrupt their love!
When the pale moon had nine times fill'd her space, The pregnant Goddefs (cautious of difgrace)
Cloacina was a Goddefs, whofe image Tatius (a king of the Sabines) found in the common fhore; and, not knowing what Goddefs it was, he called it Cloacina, from the place in which it was found, and paid to it divine honours. Lactant. i, 20. Minuc. Fel. O&. P. 232.