« AnteriorContinuar »
E P I S T L E
TO THE MOST HONOURABLE
THE EARL OF OXFORD,
THE LORD HIGH TREASURER *.
The Epigrammatical Petition of your Lordship’s
most humble Servant,
M no more to converse with the swains,
But go where fine people resort : One can live without money on plains,
But never without it at court.
If when with the swains I did gambol,
I array'd me in silver and blue ;
* See, in Swift's Works, a letter from Mr. Gay, dated June 8, 1714. N.
BIRTH OF THE SQUIRE.
IN IMITATION OF THE POLLIO OF VIRGIL.
E sylvan Muses, loftier strains recite :
Not all in shades and humble cots delight. Hark! the bells ring; along the distant grounds The driving gales convey the swelling sounds ; Th' attentive fwain, forgetful of his work, With gaping wonder, leans upon his fork. What sudden news alarms the waking morn? To the glad Squire a hopeful heir is born. Mourn, mourn, ye stags, and all ye beasts of chace; This hour destruction brings on all your race : See the pleas'd tenants duteous offerings bear, Turkeys and geese and grocers' sweetest ware; With the new health the ponderous tankard lows, And old O&tober reddens cyery nose.
Beagles and spaniels round his cradle stand,
o'erflow, Barley shall in paternal acres grow; The bee shall fip the fragrant dew from flowers, *To give metheglin for his morning-hours ; For him the clutlering hop shall climb the poles, And his own orchard sparkle in his bowls.
His Sire’s exploits he now with wonder hears, The monstrous tales indulge his greedy ears ; How, when youth strung his nerves and warm'd his veins, He rode the mighty Nimrod of the plains. He leads the staring infant through the hall, Points out the horny spoils that grace the wall; Tells, how this stag through three whole counties Aed, What rivers swam, where bay'd, and where he bled. Now he the wonders of the fox repeats, Describes the desperate chace, and all his cheats ; How in one day, beneath his furious speed, He tir'd seven coursers of the fleetest breed; How high the pale he leapt, how wide the ditch, When the hound tore the haunches of the * witch! These stories, which descend from son to son, The forward boy shall one day make his own.
* The most common accident to Sportsmen, to hunt a witch in the thape of a hare.
Ah, too fond mother, think the time draws nigh, That calls the darling from thy tender eye ; How shall his fpirit brook the rigid rules, And the long tyranny of grammar-schools ? Let
younger brothers o'er dull authors plod, Lash'd into Latin by the tingling rod ; No, let him never feel that smart disgrace : Why should he wiser prove than all his race ? When ripening youth with down o'ershades his chin, And every female eye incites to sin; The milk-maid (thoughtless of her future shame) With smacking lip shall raise his guilty flame; The dairy, barn, the hay-loft, and the grove, Shall oft' be conscious of their stolen love. But think, Priscilla, on that dreadful time, When pangs and watery qualms shall own thy crime, How wilt thou tremble when thy nipple 's prest, To see the white drops bathe thy swelling breast ! Nine moons shall publickly divulge thy shame, And the young Squire forestall a father's name.
When twice twelve times the reaper's sweeping hand With level'd harvests has bestrown the land; On fam’d St. Hubert's feast, his winding horn Shall cheer the joyful hound, and wake the morn : This memorable day his eager speed Shall urge with bloody heel the rising steed. O check the foamy bit, nor tempt thy fate, Think on the murders of a five-bar gate ! Yet, prodigal of life, the leap he tries, Low in the dust his groveling honour lies, VOL. I.