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(title page) A Collection of Plays and Poems, by the Late Col. Robert Munford, of Mecklenburg County, in the State of Virginia. Now First Published Together.
Col. Robert Munford
xii, 13-168, 187-206 p.
Printed by William Prentis
Call number PS808 .M75 1798 (The Library of Virginia)
LC Subject Headings:
[Title Page Image]
THE following pages are given to the world by a son, whose filial affection may perhaps have induced him to entertain too high an opinion of the merit of his father's productions; but who candidly owns, his motives to the publication were, a conviction that the work is calculated to afford considerable amusement and instruction, and a warm desire to rescue the memory of a father from oblivion.
Though to all they may not appear in the light in which they do to me, as precious memorials of that wit and poetical genius which once animated the breast of him who is now forever laid in the silent tomb, and who once was the delight of his friends and family; yet many, I hope, when they read this work, will remember a departed friend, and mourn the loss of the man while they enjoy the humour of the poet. All I trust will here find abundant subjects of merriment and diversion.
The author appears to have thoroughly understood the true points of ridicule in human characters, and to have drawn them with great accuracy and variety in his comedies. The piece entitled, The Candidates, is intended to laugh to scorn the practice of corruption, and falsehood; of which too many are guilty in electioneering; to teach our countrymen to despise the arts of those who meanly attempt to influence their votes by any thing but merit.--The play of the Patriots is a picture of real and pretended patriots; by which the reader may perceive the difference between them, may learn to honour and reward the true, and to treat the false with infamy and contempt. If any construction should be put upon it as a satire on the conduct of America in the late revolution, the whole tenour of the author's political conduct will exempt him from the imputation of such an intention. He entered warmly into the principles of the friends of America, he boldly fought in her defence, and proved his attachment to her cause not by words only, but by deeds. The play itself also speaks a different language; and evidently proves it was written in ridicule of political hypocrites, and not of the true friends of their country.
With respect to the other poems, I believe the translation of Ovid will be found to be very correct
and highly poetical. The author intended, if he had lived, to translate the whole work, but death put an end to his design. The smaller poems I submit to the reader, without saying any thing of their merit, as I wish not to forestall a pleasure, or to raise too great expectations.
With these short observations, gentle reader, I bid thee adieu; with a sincere wish that the work before thee may afford thee rational amusement.
|Sir John Toddy,||Candidates for the office of delegates to the general assembly.|
|Mr. Julip,||Gentlemen Justices.|
|Mr. Worthy,||formerly a delegate, but now declines.|
|Jack,||a tool to Mr. Strutabout.|
|Ned,||the same to Mr. Smallhopes.|
|Mrs. Guzzle,||Freeholders' wives.|
Freeholders, Country girls, &c.
LADIES and gentlemen, to-night you'll see
A bard delighting in satiric glee;
In merry scenes his biting tale unfold,
And high to Folly's eye the mirror hold:
Here eager candidates shall call for votes,
And bawling voters louder stretch their throats:
Here may you view, in groups diverting, join'd
The poor and wealthy rabble of mankind;
All who deserve the lash, the lash will find.
Here characters, whose names are now unknown,
Shall shine again, as in their spheres they shone;
While some may make malicious explanation,
And know them all still living in the nation.
If any present, say, fie, shameless bard!
Hast thou for decency no more regard
Than at thy betters, thus to make a stand,
And boldly point out meanness, contraband,
Depreciating the wisdom of the land?
Tho' such, the wond'rous sympathy of wits,
That every fool will wear the cap that fits,
I boldly answer, how could he mean you,
Who, when he wrote, about you nothing knew?
The state of things was such, in former times,
'Ere wicked kings were punish'd for their crimes;
Then strove the candidates to gain their seats
Most heartily, with drinking bouts, and treats;
The meanest vices all the people stain'd,
And drunkenness, and monarchy both reign'd,
With such strong cause his anger to engage,
How could our Bard restrain satiric rage?
But, God forbid, its edge shou'd now apply,
Or on our race-field, when you cast an eye
You there a home-election--should espy.
Science and virtue, now are wider spread,
And crown with dignity, fair Freedom's head.
We only pray this satire ne'er be just,
Save when apply'd to other times, and trust
Its keenness only, a rememb'rancer,
And guard from future evils, may appear.
If, after this, objections should remain,
The motive's envy, consciousness disdain,
Or any thing, except the poet's want
Of sense, which no true publisher will grant.
Yet virtue is not in our story lost,
E'en then, Virginians could much virtue boast.
With plaudits, therefore, and free laughter own
Virginia's first and only comic son;
Ah! could the bard, rejoicing, raise his head
To hear his praise!--Alas! the bard is dead.
Mr. Wou'dbe's house.
Enter Wou'dbe with a news-paper in his hand.
I AM very sorry our good old governor Botetourt has left us. He well deserved our friendship, when alive, and that we should for years to come, with gratitude, remember his mild and affable deportment. Well, our little world will soon be up, and very busy towards our next election. Must I again be subject to the humours of a fickle croud? Must I again resign my reason, and be nought but what each voter pleases? Must I cajole, sawn, and wheedle, for a place that brings so little profit?
Sir John Toddy is below, and if your honour is at leisure, would beg to speak to you.
My compliments to Sir John, and tell him, I shall be glad of his company. So--Sir John, some time ago, heard me say I was willing to resign my seat in the house to an abler person, and he comes modestly to accept of it.
Enter Sir John Toddy.
Mr. Wou'dbe, your most obedient servant, sir; I am proud to find you well. I hope you are in good health, sir?
Very well, I am obliged to you, Sir John. Why, Sir John, you surely are practising the grimace and compliments you intend to make use of among the freeholders in the next election, and have introduced yourself to me with the self-same common-place expressions that we candidates adopt when we intend to wheedle a fellow out of his vote--I hope you have no scheme upon me, Sir John?
No, sir, upon my honour, sir, it was punctually to know how your lady and family did, sir, 'pon honour, sir, it was.
You had better be more sparing of your honour at present, Sir John; for, if you are a candidate, whenever you make promises to the people that you can't comply with, you must say upon honour, otherwise they won't believe you.
Upon honour, sir, I have no thought to set up for a candidate, unless you say the word.
Such condescension from you, Sir John, I have no reason to expect: you have my hearty consent to do as you please, and if the people choose you their Representative, I must accept of you as a colleague.
As a colleague, Mr. Wou'dbe! I was thinking you did not intend to stand a poll, and my business, sir, was to get the favour of you to speak a good word for me among the people.
I hope you have no occasion for a trumpeter, Sir John? If you have, I'll speak a good word to you, and advise you to decline.
Why, Mr. Wou'dbe, after you declin'd, I thought I was the next fittenest man in the county,
and Mr. Wou'dbe, if you would be ungenerous, tho' you are a laughing man, you would tell me so.
It would be ungenerous indeed, Sir John, to tell you what the people could never be induced to believe. But I'll be ingenuous enough to tell you, Sir John, if you expect any assistance from me, you'll be disappointed, for I can't think you the fittenest man I know.
Pray, sir, who do you know besides? Perhaps I may be thought as fit as your honour. But, sir, if you are for that, the hardest send off: damn me, if I care a farthing for you; and so, your servant, sir.
[Exit Sir John.
So, I have got the old knight, and his friend Guzzle, I suppose, against me, by speaking so freely; but their interest, I believe, has not weight enough among the people, for me to lose any thing, by making them my enemies. Indeed, the being intimate with such a fool as Sir John, might tend more to my discredit with them, for the people of Virginia have too much sense not to perceive how weak the head must be that is always filled with liquor. Ralpho!--
Sir, what does your honour desire?
I'm going into my library, and if any gentleman calls, you may introduce him to me there.
Yes, sir. But, master, as election-times are coming, I wish you would remember a poor servant, a little.
What do you want?
Why, the last suit of clothes your honour gave me is quite worn out. Look here,
his elbows)the insigns, (as I have heard your honour say, in one of your fine speeches) the insigns of faithful service. Now, methinks, as they that set up for burgesses, cut a dash, and have rare sport, why might not their servants have a little decreation?
I understand you, Ralpho, you wish to amuse yourself, and make a figure among the girls this Election, and since such a desire is natural to the young, and innocent if not carried to excess, I am willing to satisfy you; you may therefore, have the suit I pulled off yesterday, and accept this present as an evidence that I am pleased with your diligence and fidelity, and am ever ready to reward it.
God bless your honour! what a good master! who would not do every thing to give such a one pleasure? But, e'gad, it's time to think of my new clothes: I'll go and try them on. Gadso! this figure of mine is not reconsiderable in its delurements, and when I'm dressed out like a gentleman, the girls, I'm a thinking, will find me desistible.
A porch of a tavern: a Court-house on
one side, and an high road behind.
Captain Paunch, Ned, and several freeholders discovered.
Well, gentlemen, I suppose we are all going to the barbecue together.
Indeed, sir, I can assure you, I have no such intention.
Not go to your friend Wou'dbe's treat! He's such a pretty fellow, and you like him so well, I wonder you won't go to drink his liquor.
Aye, aye, very strange: but your friends Strutabout and Smallhopes, I like so little as never
to take a glass from them, because I shall never pay the price which is always expected for it, by voting against my conscience: I therefore don't go, to avoid being asked for what I won't give.
A very distress motive, truly, but for the matter of that, you've not so much to boast of your friend Wou'dbe, if what I have been told of him is true; for I have heard say, he and the fine beast of a gentleman, Sir John Toddy, have joined interess. Mr. Wou'dbe, I was creditly 'formed, was known for to say, he wouldn't serve for a burgess, unless Sir John was elected with him.
What's that you say, neighbour? has Mr. Wou'dbe and Sir John joined interest?
Yes, they have; and ant there a clever fellow for ye? a rare burgess you will have, when a fellow gets in, who will go drunk, and be a sleeping in the house! I wish people wouldn't pretend for to hold up their heads so high, who have such friends and associates. There's poor Mr. Smallhopes, who isn't as much attended to, is a very proper gentleman, and is no drunkard, and has no drunken companions.
I don't believe it. Mr. Wou'dbe's a cleverer man than that, and people ought to be ashamed to vent such slanders.
So I say: and as we are of one mind, let's go strait, and let Mr. Wou'dbe know it.
Exeunt two Freeholders.
If Mr. Wou'dbe did say it, I won't vote for him, that's sartain.
Are you sure of it, neighbour?
Yes, I am sure of it: d'ye think I'd speak such a thing without having good authority?
I'm sorry for't; come neighbour,
(to the 3d Freeholder)this is the worst news that I've heard for a long time.
(Exeunt 3d & 4th Freeholder.
I'm glad to hear it. Sir John Toddy is a clever open-hearted gentleman as I ever knew, one that wont turn his back upon a poor man, but will take a chearful cup with one as well as another, and it does honour to Mr. Wou'dbe to prefer such a one, to any of your whifflers who han't the heart to be generous, and yet despise poor folks. Huzza! for Mr. Wou'dbe and for Sir John Toddy.
I think so too, neighbour. Mr. Wou'dbe, I always thought, was a man of sense, and had larning, as they call it, but he did not love diversion enough, I like him the better for't. Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe and Sir John Toddy.
Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe and Sir John Toddy. Wou'dbe and Toddy, for ever, boys!
The man that heard it is mistaken, for Mr. Wou'dbe never said it.
I'll lay you a bowl he did.
Done, sir, Oh! Jack Sly, Jack Sly.
Enter Jack, saying, who call'd me? what's your business?
(winking to Jack).
I have laid a bowl with the Captain here, that Mr. Wou'dbe did say, that he would not serve as a burgess, unless Sir John Toddy was elected with him.
I have heard as much, and more that's little to his credit. He has hurt us more than he'll do us good for one while. It's his doings our levies are so high.
Out upon you, if that's your proof, fetch the bowl. Why, gentlemen, if I had a mind, I could fay as much and more of the other candidates. But, gentlemen, 'tis not fair play: don't abuse our friend, and we'll let your's alone. Mr. Wou'dbe is a clever gentleman, and perhaps so are the rest: let every man vote as he pleases, and let's raise no stories to the prejudice of either.
Damn me, if I don't speak my mind. Wou'dbe shan't go if I can help it, by God, for I boldly say, Mr. Wou'dbe has done us more harm, than he will ever do us good,
(raising his voice very high).
[Exeunt into the house,
So say I.
[Exit after him.
Go along: bawl your hearts out: nobody will mind you, I hope. Well, I rejoice that Mr. Wou'dbe is determined still to serve us. If he does us no good, he will do us no harm. Mr. Strut-about would do very well if he was not such a coxcomb. As for Smallhopes, I'd as soon send to New-Market, for a burgess, as send him, and old Sir John loves tipple too well: egad, I'll give Wou'dbe my vote, and throw away the other.
Enter Wou'dbe, looking at a letter.
This note gives me information, that the people are much displeased with me for declaring in
favour of Sir John Toddy. Who could propagate this report, I know not, but was not this abroad, something else would be reported, as prejudicial to my interest; I must take an opportunity of justifying myself in public.
Mr. Strutabout waits upon your honour.
Desire him to walk in.
Enter Mr. Strutabout.
Mr. Wou'dbe, your servant. Considering the business now in hand, I think you confine yourself too much at home. There are several little reports circulating to your disadvantage, and as a friend, I would advise you to shew yourself to the people, and endeavour to confute them.
I believe, sir, I am indebted to my brother candidates, for most of the reports that are propagated to my disadvantage, but I hope, Mr. Strut-about is a man of too much honour, to say any thing in my absence, that he cannot make appear.
That you may depend on, sir. But there are some who are so intent upon taking your place, that they will stick at nothing to obtain their ends.
Are you in the secret, sir?
So far, sir, that I have had overtures from Mr. Smallhopes and his friends, to join my interest with their's, against you. This, I rejected with disdain, being conscious that you were the properest person to serve the county; but when Smallhopes told me, he intended to prejudice your interest by scattering a few stories among the people, to your disadvantage,
it raised my blood to such a pitch, that had he not promised me to be silent, I believe I should have chastised him for you myself.
If, sir, you were so far my friend, I am obliged to you: though whatever report he is the author of, will, I am certain, gain little credit with the people.
I believe so; and therefore, if you are willing, we'll join our interests together, and soon convince the fellow, that by attacking you he has injured himself.
So far from joining with you, or any body else, or endeavouring to procure a vote for you, I am determined never to ask a vote for myself, or receive one that is unduly obtained.
Master, rare news, here's our neighbour Guzzle, as drunk as ever Chief Justice Cornelius was upon the bench.
That's no news, Ralpho: but do you call it rare news, that a creature in the shape of man, and endued with the faculties of reason, should so far debase the workmanship of heaven, by making his carcase a receptacle for such pollution?
Master, you are hard upon neighbour Guzzle: our Justices gets drunk, and why not poor Guzzle? But, sir, he wants to see you.
Tell him to come in.
(exit Ralpho).All must be made welcome now.
Re-enter Ralpho and Guzzle, with an empty bottle.
Ha! Mr. Wou'dbe, how is it?
I'm something more in my senses than you, John, tho' not so sensible as you would have me, I suppose.
If I can make you sensible how much I want my bottle filled, and how much I shall love the contents, it's all the senses I desire you to have.
If I may be allowed to speak, neighbour Guzzle, you are wrong; his honour sits up for a burgess, and should have five senses at least.
Five senses! how, what five?
Why, neighbour, you know, eating, drinking, and sleeping are three; t'other two are best known to myself.
I'm sorry Mr. Guzzle, you are so ignorant of the necessary qualifications of a member of the house of burgesses.
Why, you old dog, I knew before Ralpho told me. To convince you, eating, drinking and sleeping, are three; sighting and lying are t'others.
Why sighting and lying?
Why, because you are not sit for a burgess, unless you'll fight; suppose a man that values himself upon boxing, should stand in the lobby, ready cock'd and prim'd, and knock you down, and bung up both your eyes for a fortnight, you'd be ashamed to shew your face in the house, and be living at our expence all the time.
Because, when you have been at Williamsburg, for six or seven weeks, under pretence of serving your county, and come back, says I to you, what news? none at all, says you; what have you
been about? says I,--says you--and so you must tell some damned lie, sooner than say you have been doing nothing.
No, Guzzle, I'll make it a point of duty to dispatch the business, and my study to promote the good of my county.
Yes, damn it, you all promise mighty fair, but the devil a bit do you perform; there's Strutabout, now, he'll promise to move mountains. He'll make the rivers navigable, and bring the tide over the tops of the hills, for a vote.
You may depend, Mr. Guzzle, I'll perform whatever I promise.
I don't believe it, damn me if I like you.
Don't be angry, John, let our actions hereafter be the test of our inclinations to serve you.
Agreed, Mr. Wou'dbe, but that fellow that slunk off just now, I've no opinion of.
what, is Mr. Strutabout gone? why, surely, Guzzle, you did not put him to flight?
I suppose I did, but no matter,
(holding up his bottle, and looking at it,)my bottle never was so long a filling in this house, before; surely, there's a leak in the bottom, (looks at it again).
What have you got in your bottle, John, a lizard?
Yes, a very uncommon one, and I want a little rum put to it, to preserve it.
Hav'n't you one in your belly, John?
A dozen, I believe, by their twisting, when I mentioned the rum.
Would you have rum to preserve them, too?
Yes, yes, Mr. Wou'dbe, by all means; but, why so much talk about it, if you intend to do it, do it at once, man, for I am in a damnable hurry.
Do what? who are to be burgesses, John?
Who are to be what?
Burgesses, who are you for?
For the first man that fills my bottle: so Mr. Wou'dbe, your servant.
Ralpho, go after him, and fill his bottle.
Master, we ought to be careful of the rum, else 'twill not hold out,
(aside)it's always a feast or a famine with us; master has just got a little Jamaica for his own use, and now he must spill it, and spare it till there's not a drop left.
(pulling out his watch.)
'Tis now the time a friend of mine has appointed for me to meet the freeholders at a barbecue; well, I find, in order to secure a seat in our august senate, 'tis necessary a man should either be a slave or a fool; a slave to the people, for the privilege of serving them, and a fool himself, for thus begging a troublesome and expensive employment.
To sigh, while toddy-toping sots rejoice,
To see you paying for their empty voice,
From morn to night your humble head decline,
To gain an honour that is justly thine,
Intreat a fool, who's your's at this day's treat,
And next another's, if another's meat,
Is all the bliss a candidate acquires,
In all his wishes, or his vain desires.
END OF THE FIRST ACT.
A race-field, a bullock, and several hogs barbecued. Twist, Stern, Prize, Lucy, Catharine, and Sarah, sitting on four fence rails.
Well, gentlemen, what do you think of Mr. Strutabout, and Mr. Smallhopes? it seems one of the old ones declines, and t'other, I believe, might as well, if what neighbour Sly says, is true.
Pray, gentlemen, what plausible objection have you against Mr. Wou'dbe? he's a clever civil gentleman as any, and as far as my poor weak capacity can go, he's a man of as good learning, and knows the punctilios of behaving himself, with the best of them.
Wou'dbe, for sartin, is a civil gentleman, but he can't speak his mind so boldly as Mr. Strutabout, and commend me to a man that will speak his mind freely;--I say.
Well, commend me to Mr. Wou'dbe, I say,--I nately like the man; he's mighty good to all his poor neighbours, and when he comes into a poor body's house, he's so free and so funny, is'nt he, old man?
(speaking to Twist).
A little too free sometimes, faith; he was funny when he wanted to see the colour of your garters; wa'nt he?
Oh! for shame, husband. Mr. Wou'dbe has no more harm about him, than a sucking babe; at least, if he has, I never saw it.
Nor felt it, I hope; but wife, you and I, you know, could never agree about burgesses.
If the wives were to vote, I believe they would make a better choice than their husbands.
You'd be for the funnyest--wou'dn't you?
Yes, faith; and the wittiest, and prettiest, and the wisest, and the best too; you are all for ugly except when you chose me.
Well done, Lucy, you are right, girl. If we were all to speak to our old men as freely as you do, there would be better doings.
Perhaps not, Kate.
I am sure there would; for if a clever gentleman, now-a-days, only gives a body a ginger-cake in a civil way, you are sullen for a week about it. Remember when Mr. Wou'dbe promised Molly a riband, and pair of buckles, you would not let the poor girl have 'em: but you take toddy from him;--yes, and you'll drink a little too much, you know, Richard.
Well, it's none of our costs, if I do.
Husband, you know Mr. Wou'dbe is a clever gentleman; he has been a good friend to us.
I agree to it, and can vote for him without your clash.
I'll be bound when it comes to the pinch, they'll all vote for him: won't you old man? he stood for our George, when our neighbour refused us.
Mr. Wou'dbe's a man well enough in his neighbourhood, and he may have learning, as they say he has, but he don't shew it like Mr. Strutabout.
Enter Guzzle, and several freeholders.
Your servant, gentlemen,
(shakes hands all round)we have got fine weather, thank God: how are crops with you? we are very dry in our parts.
We are very dry here; Mr. Guzzle, where's your friend Sir John, and Mr. Wou'dbe? they are to treat to-day, I hear.
I wish I could see it, but there are more treats besides their's; where's your friend Mr. Strutabout? I heard we were to have a treat from Small-hopes and him to-day.
Fine times, boys. Some of them had better keep their money; I'll vote for no man but to my liking.
If I may be so bold, pray, which way is your liking?
Not as your's is, I believe; but nobody shall know my mind till the day.
Very good, Mr. Twist; nobody, I hope, will put themselves to the trouble to ask.
You have taken the trouble already.
No harm, I hope, sir.
None at all, sir: Yonder comes Sir John, and quite sober, as I live.
Enter Sir John Toddy.
Gentlemen and ladies, your servant, hah! my old friend Prize, how goes it? how does your wife and children do?
At your service, sir.
(making a low courtsey.)
How the devil come he to know me so well, and never spoke to me before in his life?
(whispering Sir John)
Hah! Mr. Stern, I'm proud to see you; I hope your family are well; how many children? does the good woman keep to the old stroke?
Yes, an't please your honour, I hope my lady's well, with your honour.
At your service, madam.
(whispering Sir John)
Hah! Mr. Roger Twist! your servant, sir. I hope your wife and children are well.
There's my wife. I have no children, at your service.
A pretty girl: why, Roger, if you don't do better, you must call an old fellow to your assistance.
I have enough to assist me, without applying to you, sir.
No offence, I hope, sir; excuse my freedom.
None at all, sir; Mr. Wou'dbe is ready to befriend me in that way at any time.
Not in earnest, I hope, sir; tho' he's a damn'd fellow, I believe.
Why, Roger, if you talk at this rate, people will think you are jealous; for shame of yourself.
For shame of yourself, you mean.
A truce, a truce--here comes Mr. Wou'dbe.
Enter Mr. Wou'dbe.
Gentlemen, your servant. Why, Sir John, you have entered the list, it seems; and are determined to whip over the ground, if you are treated with a distance.
I'm not to be distanc'd by you, or a dozen such.
There's nothing like courage upon these occasions; but you were out when you chose me to ride for you, Sir John.
Let's have no more of your algebra, nor proverbs, here.
Come, gentlemen, you are both friends, I hope.
While Sir John confined himself to his bottle and dogs, and moved only in his little circle of pot-companions, I could be with him; but since his folly has induced him to offer himself a candidate for a place, for which he is not fit, I must say, I despise him. The people are of opinion, that I favour, this undertaking of his; but I now declare, he is not the man I wish the people to elect.
Pray, sir, who gave you a right to choose for us?
I have no right to choose for you; but I have a right to give my opinion: especially when I am the supposed author of Sir John's folly.
Perhaps he's no greater fool than some others.
It would be ungrateful in you, Mr. Guzzle, not to speak in favour of Sir John; for you
have stored away many gallons of his liquor in that belly of your's.
And he's the cleverer gentleman for it; is not he, neighbours?
For sartin; it's no disparagement to drink with a poor fellow.
No more it is, tho' some of the quality are mighty proud that way.
Mr. Wou'dbe shou'd'n't speak so freely against that.
We have heard a sartin report, that you and Sir John have joined interest.
Well; do you believe it?
Why, it don't look much like it now, Mr. Wou'dbe; but, mayhap, it's only a copy of your countenance.
You may put what construction you please upon my behaviour, gentlemen; but I assure you, it never was my intention to join with Sir John, or any one else.
Moreover, I've heard a 'sponsible man say, he could prove you were the cause of these new taxes.
Do you believe that too? or can you believe that it's in the power of any individual member to make a law himself? If a law is enacted that is displeasing to the people, it has the concurrence of the whole legislative body, and my vote for, or against it, is of little consequence.
And what the devil good do you do then?
As much as I have abilities to do.
Suppose, Mr. Wou'dbe, we were to want you to get the price of rum lower'd--wou'd you do it?
I cou'd not.
Huzza for Sir John! he has promised to do it, huzza for Sir John!
Suppose, Mr. Wou'dbe, we should want this tax taken off--cou'd you do it?
I could not.
Huzza for Mr. Strutabout! he's damn'd, if he don't. Huzza for Mr. Strutabout!
Suppose, Mr. Wou'dbe, we that live over the river, should want to come to church on this side, is it not very hard we should pay ferryage; when we pay as much to the church as you do?
Suppose we were to petition the assembly could you get us clear of that expence?
I believe it to be just; and make no doubt but it would pass into a law.
Will you do it?
I will endeavour to do it.
Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe! Wou'dbe forever!
Why don't you burgesses, do something with the damn'd pickers? If we have a hogshead of tobacco refused, away it goes to them; and after they have twisted up the best of it for their own use, and taken as much as will pay them for their trouble, the poor planter has little for his share.
There are great complaints against them; and I believe the assembly will take them under consideration.
Will you vote against them?
I will, if they deserve it.
Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe! you shall go, old fellow; don't be afraid; I'll warrant it.
[Exeunt severally; some huzzaing for Mr. Wou'dbe--some for Sir John--some for Mr. Strutabout.
Another part of the field.
Mr. Strutabout, Mr. Smallhopes, and a number of freeholders round them.
Huzza for Mr. Strutabout!
Huzza for Mr. Smallhopes!
Hazza for Mr. Smallhopes and Mr. Strutabout!
Huzza for Mr. Strutabout and Mr. Smallhopes! [
Enter Guzzle, drunk.
Huzza for Sir John Toddy, the cleverest gentleman--the finest gentleman that ever was
Enter Mrs. Guzzle, drunk.
Where's my drunken beast of a husband?
(hickups)Oh John Guzzle, Oh John Guzzle.
What the devil do you want?
Why don't you go home, you drunken beast? Lord bless me, how the gingerbread has given me the hickup.
Why, Joan, you have made too--free with the bottle--I believe.
I make free with [torn page] drunken sot!--Well, well, the gingrebre [torn page] me quite giddy.
Hold up, Joan, don't fall--
(Mrs. [torn page] falls.)The devil, you will? Joan! why woman, what's the matter? are you drunk?
Drunk! you beast! No, quite sober; but very sick with eating ginger-bread.
For shame, Joan; get up--
(offers to help her up, and falls upon her.)
Oh Lord! John! you've almost killed me.
Not I--I'll get clear of you as fast as I can.
Oh John, I shall die, I shall die.
Very well, you'll die a pleasant death, then.
Oh Lord! how sick! how sick!
Oh Joan Guzzle! Oh Joan Guz-zle!--Why don't you go home, you drunken beast. Lord bless me, how the gingerbread has given me the hickup.
Pray, my dear John, help me up.
Pray, my dear Joan, get sober first.
Pray John, help me up.
Pray, Joan, go to sleep; and when I am as drunk as you, I'll come and take your place. Fare-well, Joan. Huzza for Sir John Toddy!
Scene changes to another part of the field. Strutabout, Small-hopes, and freeholders.
Gentlemen--I'm much obliged to you
[torn page] tentions; I make no doubt but (with [torn page] of my friend Mr. Smallhopes) I shall be [torn page] every thing you have requested. Your [torn page] ces shall be redress'd; and all your petitions [torn page] rd.
Huzza for Mr. Strutabout and Mr. Smallhopes!
Enter Mr. Wou'dbe.
Gentlemen, your servant; you seem happy in a circle of your friends, I hope my company is not disagreeable.
It can't be very agreeable to those you have treated so ill.
You have used me ill, and all this company, by God--
If I have, Gentlemen, I am sorry for it; but it never was my intention to treat any person ungenteelly.
You be damn'd; you're a turn-coat, by God.
Your abuse will never have any weight with me: neither do I regard your oaths or imprecations. In order to support a weak cause, you swear to what requires better proof than your assertions.
Where's your friend, Sir John Toddy? he's a pretty fellow, an't he, and be damn'd to you; you recommend him to the people, don't you?
No, sir; I should be as blamable to recommend Sir John, as you, and your friend there
(pointing to Strutabout)in recommending one another.
Sir, I am as capable of serving the people
as yourself; and let me tell you, sir, my sole intention in offering myself is, that I may redress the many and heavy grievances you have imposed upon this poor county.
Poor, indeed, when you are believed, or when coxcombs and jockies can impose themselves upon it for men of learning.
Well, its no use; Mr. Wou'dbe is too hard for them both.
I think so too: why Strutabout! speak up, old fellow, or you'll lose ground.
I'll lay you fifty pounds I'm elected before you.
Betting will not determine it; and therefore I shall not lay.
I can lick you, Wou'dbe,
(beginning to strip.)
You need not strip to do it; for you intend to do it with your tongue, I suppose.
(clapping Strutabout upon the back)Well done Strutabout,--you can do it, by God. Don't be afraid, you shan't be hurt; damn me if you shall,
What! Gentlemen, do they who aspire to the first posts in our county, and who have ambition to become legislators, and to take upon themselves part of the guidance of the state, submit their naked bodies to public view, as if they were malefactors; or, for some crimes, condemned to the whipping-post?
Come on, damn ye; and don't preach your damn'd proverbs here.
Are the candidates to fight for their seats in the house of burgesses. If so, perhaps I may stand as good a chance to succeed, as you.
I can lick you, by God. Come on, if you dare--
Up to him--I'll stand by you.
They are not worth your notice, Mr. Wou'dbe; but if you have a mind to try yourself, I'll see fair play.
When I think they have sufficiently exposed themselves, I'll explain the opinion I have of them, with the end of my cane.
Up to him, damn ye,
You need not push me, I can fight without being pushed to it; fight yourself, if you are so fond of it.
(putting on his cloaths.)
Nay, if you are for that, and determined to be a coward, Mr. Strutabout, I can't help it; but damn me if I ever hack.
(putting on his cloaths.)
So you are both scared, gentlemen, without a blow, or an angry look! ha, ha, ha! Well, gentlemen, you have escaped a good caning, and though you are not fit for burgesses, you'll make good soldiers; for you are excellent at a retreat.
Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe!
Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe!
Huzza for Sir John Toddy! Toddy
Enter Sir John, drunk.
Here he comes--as fine gentleman, tho' I say it, as the best of them.
So I am, John, as clever a fellow
(hickups)as the famous Mr. Wou'dbe, tho' I
There's a pretty fellow to be a burgess, gentleman: lord, what a drunken beast it is.
What beast, pray? am I a beast?
Yes, Sir John, you are a beast, and you may take the name of what beast you please; so your servant, my dear.
[Exeunt Strutabout and Smallhopes.
Except an ass, Sir John, for that he's entitled to.
Thank you, sir.
A friend in need, Sir John, as the proverb says, is a friend indeed.
I thank you, I know you are my friend
(hickups)Mr. Wou'dbe, if you'd speak your mind--I know you are.
How do you know it, Sir John?
Did not you take my part just now, Mr. Wou'dbe?
(hickups)I know it.
I shall always take your part, Sir John, when you are imposed upon by a greater scoundrel than yourself, and when you pretend to what you are not fit for, I shall always oppose you.
Well, Mr. Wou'dbe, an't I as fitten a
(hickups)man as either of those?
More so, Sir John, for they are knaves, and you, Sir John, are an honest blockhead.
Is that in my favour, or not, John?
In your favour, by all means; for
(hickups)he says you are honest. Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe and the honest
(hickups)Sir John Blockhead.
Enter Ralpho--gives a letter to Wou'dbe.
--this is good news indeed.
Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe!
Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe!
Huzza for the honest Sir John Block-
Silence, gentlemen, and I'll read a letter to you, that (I don't doubt) will give you great pleasure.
(he reads)Sir, I have been informed that the scoundrels who opposed us last election (not content with my resignation) are endeavouring to undermine you in the good opinion of the people: It has warmed my blood, and again call'd my thoughts from retirement; speak this to the people, and let them know I intend to stand a poll, &c. Your's affectionately.
Huzza for Mr. Wou'dbe and Mr. Worthy!
Huzza for Mr. Worthy and Mr. Wou'dbe!
(hickups)I'm not so fitten as they, and therefore gentlemen I recline.
(staggering about)I will; for I am not
(hickups)so fitten as they.
Huzza for the drunken Sir John Toddy!
Help me up John--do, John, help.
No, Sir John, stay, and I'll fetch my wife, Joan, and lay--her along side of you.
Take care of Sir John, least any accident should befall him.
[Exeunt Wou'dbe and freeholders, huzzaing for Wou'dbe and Worthy.
Enter Guzzle, with his wife in his arms.
Here, Sir John, here's my wife fast asleep, to keep you company, and as drunk as a sow.
(throws her upon Sir John, and returns to one side.)
Oh Lord! you've broke my bones.
(punching Sir John)get up;
(looking round, sees Sir John)what have we here? Lord, what would our John give to know this? He would have reason to be jealous of me, then!
Well, Joan, are you sober?
How came that man to be lying with me? it's some of your doings, I'm sure; that you may have an excuse to be jealous of me.
I want no excuse for that, child.
What brought him there?
The same that brought you, child; rum, sugar, and water.
Well, well, as I live, I thought it was you, and that we were in our own clean sweet bed. Lord! how I tremble for fear he should have done what you do, sometimes, John.
I never do any thing when I am drunk. Sir John and you have done more than that, I believe.
Don't be jealous, John; it will ruin us both.
I am very jealous of that.
If you are, I'll beat the cruel beast that is the cause of it, 'till he satisfies you I am innocent.
Don't, Joan, it will make me more jealous.
I will, I tell you I will.
(beats Sir John, who all the time cries murder, help, help!)
Stop, madam, this gentleman is in my care; and you must not abuse him.
I will, and you too, you rascal.
(beats him first, and then Sir John.)
Peace, stop, madam, peace, peace.
Oh lord! help, John, for God's sake, help.
Do as you please, madam, do as you please.
(beating Sir John)I'll learn you to cuckold a man without letting his wife know it.
Help, murder! help.
(taking hold of Joan)Stop, Joan, I'm satisfied--quite satisfied.
What fellow is it?
Sir John Toddy, our good friend; Oh, Joan, you should not have beat poor Sir John, he is as drunk as you and I were, Joan. Oh! poor Sir John.
Good lack, why did'nt you tell me? I would have struck you as soon as him John. Don't be angry, good Sir John, I did not know you.
It's well enough: help me out of the mire, neighbours, and I'll forget and forgive.
Yes, Sir John, and so we will.
(they help him up.)Come, Sir John, let's go home, this is no
place for us: come Joan.
[Exeunt Guzzle and Joan, supporting Sir John.]
Another part of the field. Enter Wou'dbe and Ralpho. Wou'dbe. Where's Sir John? Ralpho. In the hands of a woman, sir, and as I left him in such good hands, I thought there was no farther occasion for my attendance. Wou'dbe. Are you sure he'll be taken care of? Ralpho. Yes, the lady, an't please your honour, seemed devilish kind to him. Wou'dbe. See that you have all ready; its high time we thought of going home, if we intend there to-night. Ralpho. All shall be ready, sir. [Exit Ralpho.
Another part of the field.
Enter Wou'dbe and Ralpho.
Where's Sir John?
In the hands of a woman, sir, and as I left him in such good hands, I thought there was no farther occasion for my attendance.
Are you sure he'll be taken care of?
Yes, the lady, an't please your honour, seemed devilish kind to him.
See that you have all ready; its high time we thought of going home, if we intend there to-night.
All shall be ready, sir.
Well, I've felt the pulse of all the leading men, and find they beat still for Worthy, and myself. Strutabout and Smallhopes fawn and cringe in so abject a manner, for the few votes they get, that I'm in hopes they'll be soon heartily despised.
The prudent candidate who hopes to rise,
Ne'er deigns to hide it, in a mean disguise.
Will, to his place, with moderation slide,
And win his way, or not resist the tide.
The fool, aspiring to bright honour's post,
In noise, in shouts, and tumults oft, is lost.
END OF THE SECOND ACT.
Enter Wou'dbe and Worthy.
Nothing could have afforded me more pleasure than your letter; I read it to the people, and can with pleasure assure you, it gave them infinite satisfaction.
My sole motive in declaring myself was to serve you, and if I am the means of your gaining your election with honour, I shall be satisfied.
You have always been extremely kind, sir, but I could not enjoy the success I promised myself, without your participation.
I have little inclination to the service; you know my aversion to a public life, Wou'dbe, and how little I have ever courted the people for the troublesome office they have hitherto imposed upon me.
I believe you enjoy as much domestic happiness as any person, and that your aversion to a public life proceeds from the pleasure you find at home. But, sir, it surely is the duty of every man who has abilities to serve his country, to take up the burden, and bear it with patience.
I know it is needless to argue with you upon this head: you are determined I shall serve with you, I find.
I am; and therefore let's take the properest methods to insure success.
What would you propose?
Nothing more than for you to shew yourself to the people.
I'll attend you where ever you please.
To-morrow being the day of election, I have invited most of the principal freeholders to breakfast with me, in their way to the court-house, I hope you'll favour us with your company.
I will; till then, adieu.
I shall expect you. It would give me great pleasure if Worthy would be more anxious than he appears to be upon this occasion; conscious of his abilities and worth, he scorns to ask a vote for any person but me; well, I must turn the tables on him, and solicit as strongly in his favour.
'Tis said self-interest is the secret aim,
Of those uniting under Friendship's name.
How true this maxim is, let others prove--
Myself I'd punish for the man I love.
Mr. Julip's house.
Enter Captain Paunch and Mr. Julip.
Well, neighbour, I have come to see you on purpose to know how votes went at the treat yesterday.
I was not there; but I've seen neighbour Guzzle this morning, and he says, Sir John gives the matter up to Mr. Worthy and Mr. Wou'dbe
Mr. Worthy! does he declare, huzza, my boys! well, I'm proud our county may choose two without being obliged to have one of those jackanapes at the head of it, faith: Who are you for now, neighbour?
I believe I shall vote for the two old ones, and tho' I said I was for Sir John, it was because I
lik'd neither of the others; but since Mr. Worthy will serve us, why, to be sartin its our duty to send Wou'dbe and him.
Hah, faith, now you speak like a man; you are a man after my own heart: give me your hand.
Here it is, Wou'dbe and Worthy, I say.
Done, but who comes yonder? surely, it's not Mr. Worthy! 'Tis, I declare.
Enter Mr. Worthy.
Gentlemen, your servant, I hope your families are well.
At your service, sir.
I need not, I suppose, gentlemen, inform you that I have entered the list with my old competitors, and have determined to stand a poll at the next election. If you were in the croud yesterday, my friend Wou'dbe, I doubt not, made a declaration of my intentions to the people.
We know it, thank heaven, Mr. Worthy, tho' neither of us were there: as I did not like some of the candidates I did not choose to be persecuted for a vote that I was resolved never to bestow upon them.
My rule is never to taste of a man's liquor unless I'm his friend, and therefore, I stay'd at home.
Well, my honest friend, I am proud to find that you still preserve your usual independence. Is it possible Captain, that the people can be so misled, as to reject Wou'dbe, and elect Strutabout in his room?
You know, Mr. Worthy, how it is, as long as the liquor is running, so long they'll be Mr. Strutabout's
friends, but when the day comes, I'm thinking it will be another case.
I'm sorry, my countymen, for the sake of a little toddy, can be induced to behave in a manner so contradictory to the candour and integrity which always should prevail among mankind.
It's so, sir, you may depend upon it.
I'm a thinking it is.
Well, gentlemen, will you give me leave to ask you, how far you think my declaring will be of service to Mr. Wou'dbe?
Your declaring has already silenced Sir John Toddy; and I doubt not, but Strutabout and Small-hopes will lose many votes by it.
Has Sir John declined? poor Sir John is a weak man, but he has more virtues to recommend him than either of the others.
So I think, Mr. Worthy, and I'll be so bold as to tell you that, had you not set up, Mr. Wou'dbe and Sir John should have had my vote.
Was I a constituent, instead of a candidate, I should do the same.
Well, captain, you see I was not so much to blame.
Sir John may be honest, but he is no fitter for that place than myself.
Suppose he was not, if he was the best that offered to serve us, should not we choose him.
Yes, surely: Well, my friends, I'm now on my way, to breakfast at Mr. Wou'dbe's, but I hope to meet you at the court-house to day.
Aye, aye, depend upon us.
Well, neighbour, I hope things now go on better; I like the present appearance.
So do I.
Do all you can, old fellow.
I hope you will, neighbour. I wish you well.
You the same.
[shake hands, and exeunt.
Woud'be's house, a long breakfast table Wou'dbe, Worthy, Capt. Paunch, Mr. Julip, Twist, Stern, Prize, and other freeholders; several negroes go backwards and forwards, bringing in the breakfast. 1st Freeholder. Give us your hand, neighbour Worthy, I'm extremely glad to see thee with all my heart: So my heart of oak, you are willing to give your time and trouble once more to the service of your country. Worthy. Your kindness does me honour, and if my labours be productive of good to my country, I shall deem myself fortunate. 2d Freeholder. Still the same sensible man I always thought him. Damn it, now if every county cou'd but send such a burgess, what a noble house we should have? 3d Freeholder. We shall have no polling now, but all will be for the same, I believe. Here's neighbour Twist, who was resolute for Strutabout, I don't doubt, will vote for Mr. Worthy and Mr. Wou'dbe. Twist. Yes, that I will: what could I do better? All. Aye, so will we all. Wou'dbe. Gentlemen, for your forwardness in favour of my good friend Worthy, my sincere thanks are but a poor expression in the pleasure I feel. For my part, your esteem I shall always attribute more to his than my own desert. But come, let us sit down to breakfast, all is ready, I believe; and you're heartily welcome to batchelors quarters. (they all sit down to the table, he asks each of the company which they prefer, coffee, tea, or chocolate, and each chooses to his liking; he pours out, and the servants carry it around.)
Woud'be's house, a long breakfast table
Wou'dbe, Worthy, Capt. Paunch, Mr. Julip, Twist, Stern, Prize, and other freeholders; several negroes go backwards and forwards, bringing in the breakfast.
Give us your hand, neighbour Worthy, I'm extremely glad to see thee with all my heart: So my heart of oak, you are willing to give your time and trouble once more to the service of your country.
Your kindness does me honour, and if my labours be productive of good to my country, I shall deem myself fortunate.
Still the same sensible man I always thought him. Damn it, now if every county cou'd but send such a burgess, what a noble house we should have?
We shall have no polling now, but all will be for the same, I believe. Here's neighbour Twist, who was resolute for Strutabout, I don't doubt, will vote for Mr. Worthy and Mr. Wou'dbe.
Yes, that I will: what could I do better?
Aye, so will we all.
Gentlemen, for your forwardness in favour of my good friend Worthy, my sincere thanks are but a poor expression in the pleasure I feel. For my part, your esteem I shall always attribute more to his than my own desert. But come, let us sit down to breakfast, all is ready, I believe; and you're heartily welcome to batchelors quarters.
(they all sit down to the table, he asks each of the company which they prefer, coffee, tea, or chocolate, and each chooses to his liking; he pours out, and the servants carry it around.)
Gentlemen, will any of you have a part of this fine salt shad?
(they answer, yes, if you please; and he helps them.)
This warm toast and butter is very fine, and the shad gives it an excellent flavour.
Boy, give me the spirit. This chocolate, me thinks, wants a little lacing to make it admirable.
(the servants bring it.)
Mr. Wou'dbe, do your fishing places succeed well this year?
Better than they've been known for some seasons.
I'm very glad of it: for then I can get my supply from you.
Neighbour Stalk, how do crops stand with you?
Indifferently well, I thank you; how are you?
Oh, very well! we crop it gloriously.
You have not breakfasted yet, neighbour, give me leave to help you to another dish.
2d Freeholder. Thank ye, sir, but enough's as good as a feast.
(looking at his watch.)
I'm afraid we shall be late, they ought to have begun before now.
Our horses are at the gate, and we have not far to go.
Very well, we've all breakfasted.
(they rise from table, and the servants take away.)
Come along, my friends, I long to see your triumph. Huzza for Wou'dbe and Worthy!
The court-house yard. The door open, and a number of freeholders seen crouding within. 1st Freeholder. (to a freeholder coming out of the house)
The court-house yard.
The door open, and a number of freeholders seen crouding within.
(to a freeholder coming out of the house)How do votes go, neighbour? for Wou'dbe and Worthy?
2d Freeholder. Aye, aye, they're just come, and sit upon the bench, and yet all the votes are for them. 'Tis quite a hollow thing. The poll will be soon over. The People croud so much, and vote so fast, you can hardly turn round.
How do Strutabout and Smallhopes look? very doleful, I reckon.
Like a thief under the gallows.
There you must be mistaken, neighbour; for two can't be like one.
1st & 2d Freeholders.
Ha, ha, ha,--a good joke, a good joke.
Not so good neither, when the subject made it so easy.
1st & 2d Freeholders.
Better and better, ha, ha, ha. Huzza for Worthy and Wou'dbe! and confusion to Strutabout and Smallhopes.
Huzza for Wou'dbe and Worthy! and huzza for Sir John Toddy! tho' he reclines.
So Guzzle, your good friend Sir John reclines, does he? I think he does right.
You think he does right! pray sir, what right have you to think about it? nobody but a fool would kick a fallen man lower.
Sir, I won't be called a fool by any man, I'll have you to know, sir.
Then you ought'nt to be one; but here's at ye, adrat ye, if ye're for a quarrel. Sir John Toddy would have stood a good chance, and I'll maintain it, come on, damn ye.
Oh! as for fighting, there I'm your servant; a drunkard is as bad to fight as a madman.
Houroa, houroa, you see no body so good at a battle as a staunch toper. The milksops are afraid of them to a man.
You knew he was a coward before you thought proper to attack him; if you think yourself so brave, try your hand upon me, and you'll find you're mistaken.
For the matter of that, I'm the best judge myself; good day, my dear, good day. Huzza, for Sir John Toddy.
How weak must Sir John be to be governed by such a wretch as Guzzle!
The Sheriff comes to the door, and says,
Gentlemen freeholders, come into court, and give your votes, or the poll will be closed.
We've all voted.
The poll's closed. Mr. Wou'dbe and Mr. Worthy are elected.
Freeholders without and within.
Huzza--huzza! Wou'dbe and Worthy for ever, boys, bring 'em on, bring 'em on, Wou'dbe and Worthy for ever! Enter Wou'dbe and Worthy, in two chairs, raised aloft by the freeholders.
--Huzza, for Wou'be and Worthy--Huzza for Wou'dbe and Worthy--huzza, for Wou'dbe and Worthy!--
(they traverse the stage, and then set them down.)
Gentlemen, I'm much obliged to you for the signal proof you have given me to-day of your regard. You may depend upon it, that I shall endeavour faithfully to discharge the trust you have reposed in me.
I have not only, gentlemen, to return you my hearty thanks for the favours you have conferred upon me, but I beg leave also to thank you for shewing such regard to the merit of my friend. You have in that, shewn your judgment, and a spirit of independence becoming Virginians.
So we have Mr. Wou'dbe, we have done as we ought, we have elected the ablest, according to the writ.
Henceforth, let those who pray for wholesome laws,
And all well-wishers to their country's cause,
Like us refuse a coxcomb--choose a man--
Then let our senate blunder if it can.
END OF THE CANDIDATES.
|Meanwell,||Two gentlemen of fortune accused of toryism.|
|1. Thunderbolt,||Members of the committee.|
|3. Col. Strut,|
|4. Mr. Summons,|
Meanwell and Trueman, meeting.
MR. Trueman, I am happy to see you. In times like these, of war and danger, almost every man is suspicious even of his friend; but with you I may converse with the utmost confidence.
My dear Meanwell, I know your heart, and am sorry that any man can suspect its purity; but our case is much the same.
What? are you too accused of toryism?
I am indeed. Unfortunately, I have some enemies who have raised the cry against me. And what is worse, I fear the consequences will be serious, and a little uncommon.
They will be bad indeed if they cause the loss of the girl I love. To your friendly bosom I may trust the secrets of my heart. The lovely Mira, daughter of our old neighbour Brazen has won my affections. You know her beauteous form; but that is but an image of her soul, its more charming inhabitant. I had seen and loved her: her father declared his approbation of my passion, and encouraged me to proceed. Heaven seemed to promise me success, and the idol of my soul had with blushing tenderness consented
to be my bride. But all our hopes may probably be blasted by this unfortunate circumstance.
It cannot be doubted. Her father is a violent patriot without knowing the meaning of the word. He understands little or nothing beyond a dice-box and race-field, but thinks he knows every thing; and woe be to him that contradicts him! His political notions are a system of perfect anarchy, but he reigns in his own family with perfect despotism. He is fully resolved that nobody shall tyrannize over him, but very content to tyrannize over others. I happened in conversation to oppose some of his doctines of a state of nature and liberty without restraint, and he blazed out immediately like a flash of gunpowder. I endeavored to moderate his anger; but as reason and he can never be reconciled, I am afraid my sins will never be forgiven; besides, I have a bitter enemy and rival in Captain Flash.
Ay, that is the drawcansir of modern times; a fellow who pretends to eat the smoke of a cannon fresh from the mouth, and to kill all the enemies of his country, as Caligula would the Roman people, at one blow. But I believe he's a coward at bottom.
So do I. But Old Brazen is persuaded that not even Washington is his parallel. As I pretend not to extravagant valour, the captain thinks me a puny milksop, and judges it very great presumption in me to pretend to the lady he adores. I expect he has assisted the old man's prepossession against me; and, by his assertions, convinced him I am a tory:-- But this is certain, the old gentleman declared that I
should never enter his doors with his consent again, and moreover has commanded his daughter to think no more of having me for her husband.
What a pity it is that all heads are not capable of receiving the benign influence of the principles of liberty--some are too weak to bear it, and become thoroughly intoxicated. The cause of my country appears as dear to me as to those who most passionately declaim on the subject. The rays of the sun of freedom, which is now rising, have warmed my heart; but I hope my zeal against tyranny will not be shewn by bawling against it, but by serving my country against her enemies; and never may I signalize my attachment to liberty by persecuting innocent men, only because they differ in opinion with me.
It seems for this very reason you are not accounted a patriot; but truth will at last prevail, the faithful heart be applauded, and the noisy hypocrite stripped of the mask of patriotism.
I hope so; and therefore truth, plain truth, shall be the only shield I will use against my foes. Men who aim at power without merit, must conceal the meanness of their souls by noisy and passionate speeches in favour of every thing which is the current opinion of the day; but real patriots are mild, and secretly anxious for their country, but modest in expressions of zeal. They are industrious in the public service, but claim no glory to themselves.
May the armies of America be always led by such as these! Thus will the power of Britain be
overthrown, and peace with liberty return--May men like these conduct our government, and happiness, in the train of independence, will bless the smiling land! But before this can be accomplished many temporary evils must be supported with patience.
Yes, and this under which we now labour among the rest. But what do you propose to do in the case of your lovely Mira? you won't give up the pursuit?
Give up the pursuit? When I do, may I be hanged as a traitor to love! But it seems a little difficult at present. I have taken the liberty to use your servant already in the business. As he very lately came into this part of the country, and possesses a very genteel air, I thought he might easily pass for a gentleman with old Brazen. I equip'd him therefore as an officer, and sent him to the house of the old gentleman; and ordered him to pass himself for a travelling captain, and to wait for an opportunity of delivering a letter to Mira. He executed the commission with fidelity, and brought me an answer from her, in which she communicates to me all that I have told you.
And what do you intend to do?
With your permission I'll make use of your servant upon a second embassy.
By all means; but what do you propose?
In the pursuit of honorable love few things are reprehensible. I shall intreat her to elope with me into a neighbouring government, where Hymen shall make us one.
All fair, in my opinion; as you had her father's licence to win her affections, you have an undoubted right to her person.
I am happy you do not condemn my plan.
I will be of your party, your aid-de-camp in this affair. Your ambassador shall wait on you immediately. In love and war no time should be lost.
A drawing-room. Mira alone--Mira sings. Oh, Trueman! nothing but the fear of losing you, gives me pain. Possessed of thee, I could join the lark to welcome in the rosy morn, and sing with Philomel the moon to rest. Enter Isabella. Isa. How d'ye do Mira? Mercy child, how grave you look? Come, I'll sing you a catch of the new song, that will inspire you, I'm sure. What a noble thought is this, my dear Mira! I am determined never to marry any man that has not fought a battle. Mira. Your swain then must have a hard courtship. But suppose he should happen to be killed? Isa. Why then, I should never marry him, you know. But I am resolved not to love a man who knows nothing of war and Washington. War and Washington! don't you think those words have a noble sound? Mira. They have indeed; and I acknowledge the smiles of beauty should reward the man who bravely asserts his country's rights, and meets her enemies in the bloody field; but do you love war for its own sake? Isa. Lord, no, but then there's something so clever in fighting and dying for one's country; and the officers look so clever and smart; I declare I never saw an ugly officer in my life. Mira. Your fancy must be a great beautifier, as
many of them are not much indebted to nature for personal charms. Isa. Ay, that's because you are not in love with an officer. When you are, you'll think as I do. Mira. Are you in love with one? Isa. Ah! now that's an ill-natured question, I tell you, child, I am in love with nothing but my country. If, indeed, a man should approach me, who would lay his laurels at my feet, who could count his glorious scars gained in the front of victory, I might look upon him. Mira. I suppose, then, if he wanted an arm, a leg or an eye, it would be all the better; or a great cut over his eye-brow, would be a beauty spot. Isa. Certainly. Nothing can be more elegant. It appears so martial--so--so--quite the thing. Mira. Well! I'm afraid my taste will never be quite so grand as your's, tho' I hope I love my country as well as you. Isa. You love your country! your sentiments are not refined enough: they are not exalted to the level of patriotism; for my part, I scorn to think of any thing else. Mira. Well, but my dear, don't you think the politicians are capable of settling these matters better than you or me? Isa. The politicians! and who are such politicians as the women? We fairly beat the men, it is universally acknowledged. And why may not I have talents that way? who knows but I may be a general's lady, or wife to a member of Congress, some of these days? Mira. I heartily wish you may; but would it not be better not to lose time in thinking about things so remote, and attend more to those of the present moment? Isa. Remote, indeed! not so very remote, I hope! The times are very busy, and great men very plentiful, and no body can tell what will happen. But, my dear, I can't stay any longer. I sent my servant for the news-papers, and expect he is come by this time. So, child, I wish you a good day, and a good husband soon, tho' you don't aspire to marry a general! (Exit. Mira alone. Mira. That poor girl's head is turned topsy turvy by the little insignificant animal that dangles about her: she has conversed with him, till she has not only adopted his opinions, but caught his ideas. Oh! Trueman, what a difference! Mira and Brazen. Brazen. What damn'd business employs your thoughts, Mira? you are always in a study. Mira. My principal study, sir, is to please my father. Bra. That's clever, my girl. I'll tell you, Mira, I intend to marry you to my friend the captain. Mira. What captain, sir? There are so many captains now-a-days, that I might guess a fortnight before I hit upon the man, perhaps. Bra. Captain Flash, is the man. He's the man, Mira, a fellow of mettle, spirited to the back-bone. He'll fight for his country: those are the men, girl. Mira. Has he ever been in a battle, sir? Bra. He's in the army, child, that's enough. Mira. Shou'd I not see him, sir, before I promise to accept him? Bra. See him! yes, and feel him too, for what I care; he's a damn'd fine fellow, a fellow of spirit. If you like him, take him; if not, let him alone. I don't care who you take, so he's no tory, d--m all tory's, say I. (Exit. Mira alone. That was aim'd at Trueman; who will ever be suspected, as long as false patriots and pretenders to heroism have my father's ear. Well, as an obedient daughter, I will endure one tete-a-tete with this fine fellow he recommends. Mercy on me, here he comes! To her, Flash singing. Noble, by God! d--m me! here's the stuff, (drawing his sword) Mira. For shame, sir, what! desert the service of your country, when she most stands in need of your assistance? Flash. Why really, madam, I should be damnably miss'd. Upon my soul I don't know what they wou'd do without me. Mira. Then by no means quit the service, captain. Flash. By God, I think I have served long enough. Others should try their luck as well as I: for a whole year have I been fighting, thro' heat and cold, wet and dry, hunger and thirst; poor Flash! were you not a heart of oak, a compound of steel and gun-flints, you cou'd not stand it, by heavens! here's he that fears nothing. (sings.) Mira. Bravo, captain! Flash. Mars, I adore thee; Mars, was a fellow of spirit, I'm told, the Flash of his day, I warrant it. By God, I wish the lad was here now, that he and I might have a game at tilts together: (draws his sword and pushes at the wall.) Mira. Pray, captain, put up your sword, I declare you frighten me. Flash. Frighen you! 'Sblood, madam, the ladies now-a-days should be all amazons, nothing shou'd please them more than a naked sword: however, to please you, up love (puts up his sword.)
The constant dove on yonder spray,
Cooing, tunes a moving lay;
She warbles out a tender note,
And fills with love her little throat.
No anxious doubts annoy her breast:
Her mate, the guardian of her nest,
Her pretty young attends with care,
And frees her mind from ev'ry fear.
So the maid, that's join'd to thee,
My lovely Trueman, blest would be.
Thy virtues would attune her breast.
To constant ease, to perfect rest.
As Colinet and Phoebe sat,
Beneath a poplar grove;
With fondest truth the gentle youth,
Was telling tales of love.
There's a song for you.--
But ah! is this a time for bliss,
Or themes so soft as these?
While all around, we hear no sound
But war's terrific strain,
The drum commands our arming bands,
And chides each tardy swain.
My love shall crown the youth alone,
Who saves himself and me----
List up your heads, ye heroes,
And swear with proud disdain
The wretch that wou'd enslave us,
Shall spread his snares in vain.
We'll blast the venal sycophants,
Who dare our rights betray.
Huzza! Huzza! Huzza! Huzza!
My brave America.
Shou'd Europe empty all her force,
We'll meet her in array,
And shout and fight, and shout and fight,
My brave America.
Mira alone--Mira sings.
Oh, Trueman! nothing but the fear of losing you, gives me pain. Possessed of thee, I could join the lark to welcome in the rosy morn, and sing with Philomel the moon to rest.
How d'ye do Mira? Mercy child, how grave you look? Come, I'll sing you a catch of the new song, that will inspire you, I'm sure.
What a noble thought is this, my dear Mira! I am determined never to marry any man that has not fought a battle.
Your swain then must have a hard courtship. But suppose he should happen to be killed?
Why then, I should never marry him, you know. But I am resolved not to love a man who knows nothing of war and Washington. War and Washington! don't you think those words have a noble sound?
They have indeed; and I acknowledge the smiles of beauty should reward the man who bravely asserts his country's rights, and meets her enemies in the bloody field; but do you love war for its own sake?
Lord, no, but then there's something so clever in fighting and dying for one's country; and the officers look so clever and smart; I declare I never saw an ugly officer in my life.
Your fancy must be a great beautifier, as
many of them are not much indebted to nature for personal charms.
Ay, that's because you are not in love with an officer. When you are, you'll think as I do.
Are you in love with one?
Ah! now that's an ill-natured question, I tell you, child, I am in love with nothing but my country. If, indeed, a man should approach me, who would lay his laurels at my feet, who could count his glorious scars gained in the front of victory, I might look upon him.
I suppose, then, if he wanted an arm, a leg or an eye, it would be all the better; or a great cut over his eye-brow, would be a beauty spot.
Certainly. Nothing can be more elegant. It appears so martial--so--so--quite the thing.
Well! I'm afraid my taste will never be quite so grand as your's, tho' I hope I love my country as well as you.
You love your country! your sentiments are not refined enough: they are not exalted to the level of patriotism; for my part, I scorn to think of any thing else.
Well, but my dear, don't you think the politicians are capable of settling these matters better than you or me?
The politicians! and who are such politicians as the women? We fairly beat the men, it is universally acknowledged. And why may not I have talents that way? who knows but I may be a general's lady, or wife to a member of Congress, some of these days?
I heartily wish you may; but would it not be better not to lose time in thinking about things so remote, and attend more to those of the present moment?
Remote, indeed! not so very remote, I hope! The times are very busy, and great men very plentiful, and no body can tell what will happen. But, my dear, I can't stay any longer. I sent my servant for the news-papers, and expect he is come by this time. So, child, I wish you a good day, and a good husband soon, tho' you don't aspire to marry a general!
That poor girl's head is turned topsy turvy by the little insignificant animal that dangles about her: she has conversed with him, till she has not only adopted his opinions, but caught his ideas. Oh! Trueman, what a difference!
Mira and Brazen.
What damn'd business employs your thoughts, Mira? you are always in a study.
My principal study, sir, is to please my father.
That's clever, my girl. I'll tell you, Mira, I intend to marry you to my friend the captain.
What captain, sir? There are so many captains now-a-days, that I might guess a fortnight before I hit upon the man, perhaps.
Captain Flash, is the man. He's the man, Mira, a fellow of mettle, spirited to the back-bone. He'll fight for his country: those are the men, girl.
Has he ever been in a battle, sir?
He's in the army, child, that's enough.
Shou'd I not see him, sir, before I promise to accept him?
See him! yes, and feel him too, for what I care; he's a damn'd fine fellow, a fellow of spirit. If you like him, take him; if not, let him alone. I don't care who you take, so he's no tory, d--m all tory's, say I.
That was aim'd at Trueman; who will ever be suspected, as long as false patriots and pretenders to heroism have my father's ear. Well, as an obedient daughter, I will endure one tete-a-tete with this fine fellow he recommends. Mercy on me, here he comes!
To her, Flash singing.
Noble, by God! d--m me! here's the stuff,
(drawing his sword)shall make the cowardly dogs skip, we'll let the scoundrels see what Americans can do; ha! Miss, your most humble--do you know that I have a vast propensity to quit the army for your sake?
For shame, sir, what! desert the service of your country, when she most stands in need of your assistance?
Why really, madam, I should be damnably miss'd. Upon my soul I don't know what they wou'd do without me.
Then by no means quit the service, captain.
By God, I think I have served long enough. Others should try their luck as well as I: for a whole year have I been fighting, thro' heat and cold, wet and dry, hunger and thirst; poor Flash! were you not a heart of oak, a compound of steel and gun-flints, you cou'd not stand it, by heavens! here's he that fears nothing.
Mars, I adore thee; Mars, was a fellow of spirit, I'm told, the Flash of his day, I warrant it. By God, I wish the lad was here now, that he and I might have a game at tilts together:
(draws his sword and pushes at the wall.)Ha, ha; there I had him! I'god, now I cou'd gizzard these English dogs, if I had 'em here.
Pray, captain, put up your sword, I declare you frighten me.
Frighen you! 'Sblood, madam, the ladies now-a-days should be all amazons, nothing shou'd please them more than a naked sword: however, to please you, up love
(puts up his sword.)entre nous, d'ye see, Miss, I do think you are a devilish fine girl. Your father, ma'am, has given me leave.----
By my soul, he has.
For shame, sir, a soldier talk at this rate! fighting shou'd be your theme, captain.
Fighting! 'tis victuals and drink to me. I could breakfast upon fighting, dine and sup upon fighting; but after supper, a fine girl, you know--
War and love can never go hand in hand. Love enervates the soul, and wou'd make the bravest man upon earth a coward.
(draws his sword)Coward! damn the word, how it makes my blood boil.
(Mira shrieks, and runs out.)
Coward! ha! If you had not been a woman, well,
(puts up his sword.)'Tis no matter, but I'll be damn'd, if ever I speak to you again.
Melinda, and Pickle dressed like an officer, crossing the stage, meeting each other.
Here am I forced to walk three miles to warp a piece of cloth. Mammy says I was born for a fine lady, but I am sure this does not look like it.
(seeing her)Ha, a beautiful creature, by my soul! artless and innocent no doubt. (I'll try my luck with her by God) let me see
(musing)I'll take her in the old way, I believe; address her in heroics, talk of my honourable intentions, and promise marriage. Come to my assistance, dear cunning, and sweet dissimulation; ye true harbingers of lust and love.--Sweet Miss, your most humble.
Miss! Lord, how charming that is.
Charming girl! By God, I'm at a loss how to begin.
(looking at his hat.)
what a pretty feather! are you in the wars, sir?
I have served several campaigns, Miss, (under the banners of Venus)
(aside.)I have been in many engagements.
I hope you never got hurt, sir.
A trifling scratch or two is all the injury I ever received.
Do you intend to continue a soldier?
Nothing but a wife shall ever induce me to quit the service.
Do you intend to marry, sir?
As soon as I can get any one in the humour to have me.
Any one would not do, I guess: you'll choose some rich lady, no doubt.
No, Miss, riches are not my object; I have a sufficient fortune of my own, thank God; I would marry a woman without a shilling, if she hit my taste, such a sweet angel as yourself.
Thank you, sir, for your fleers.
As I hope for salvation, I would rather have you (for a time,
aside) than any woman I ever saw.
'Tis not worth your while to make your fun of a poor girl.
Fun! upon my soul I'm in earnest.
A gentleman like you wou'd never marry a poor girl, I'm sure.
There, Miss, you are mistaken: I had rather marry a poor girl than a rich one. My reasons are the best in the world: a poor girl wou'd think herself obliged to me, wou'd love me from gratitude, and make me an industrious, frugal, good wise; a rich one would think she obliged me, and would want a thousand things, a fine house, fine servants, fine clothes, a fine equipage, all her requests to be granted, and never to be contradicted in any thing: If I marry a poor girl, I get a wife; if a rich one, I get a mistress.
You don't mean what you say.
I do upon my soul, my intentions are honourable; your name, my dear.
Melinda Heartfree, sir.
Well, my dear, it shall be Mrs. Meanwell, if you please.
Is your name Meanwell, sir?
It is, madam. No doubt you have often heard of me, perhaps seen me before: my name and character will remove any suspicion you may entertain of my integrity and honour, I hope.
I have often heard daddy talk of you, sir.
What is your father's opinion of me, Miss?
He likes you mightily, and so does mammy too; you stood for sister Bibby, when you set up for burgess.
True, my dear, I well remember it: and are you the daughter of my old friend Heartfree? Come to my arms,
(embraces her)my dear girl, I shall
be proud to be son-in-law to a man of his worth and goodness.
You surely are not in earnest, sir!
I am, and to convince you of my sincerity, I would immediately wait upon you home, and communicate my intentions to your friends; but I have some business to-day that prevents me: however, I shall be this way to-morrow; will my dear girl be so kind as to meet me?
There is no harm in coming here, sir: I can do it to oblige you; but you will forget me, and every thing you have said to me, before to-morrow.
Impossible that I can ever forget that sweet face!
(he kisses her, she seems coy)will you meet me here about twelve o'clock, to-morrow? Don't be cruel, my sweet girl; you know I love you: my words, my looks, my actions must discover it.
Well, sir, I'll be a fool for once, I'll come.
Charming creature, one kiss my love
(kisses her)'tis ecstacy by heavens!
(Exit Melinda)Well! these ignorant girls are the finest game in the world: heave a sigh, look languishingly, and swear a little, the poor things drop their heads into your bosom, and die away as quick as a sensitive plant. Well, Trueman, having plann'd a scheme of amusement for myself, I'll now proceed to the execution of your commands.
END OF THE FIRST ACT.
Trueman and Meanwell.
What, is the committee to meet to-day, Meanwell? I hate these little democracies.
Take care, sir, both property and characters lie at the mercy of those tribunals.
What weighty business calls their high mightinesses together?
Most of the Caledonians are suspected of disaffection to the American cause, and either from friendship or attachment to their own country, disapprove the public measures: from this cause, our holy inquisition are for the very moderate correction the Jews received in Spain.
Banishment, or a renunciation of their error, I suppose.
This may be the cause; at present an oath is to be applied as a mirror to their breasts, which reflecting their private opinions and sentiments, must lay them open to the public eye. This is to be offered as a touch-stone of public virtue, as a trial of faith; and woe be unto those who are found faithless.
The ungracious treatment that some Scotchmen have met with, the illiberal reflections cast out against them all, give little hope of their attachment to a country, or to a people, where and with whom they have already tasted the bitter herb of persecution: some there are, who have behaved well, conform'd to the public will, nor given any cause of offence; yet even those have not met with the common offices of civility among us.
Of this character are those who are cited before the committee to-day.
Hush, sir, here come two of the guardians of our state.
Enter Col. Strut and Mr. Summons.
We delegates, Mr. Summons, have a very hard time of it.
Men of abilities must give themselves up to the service of their country.
True, sir, the people will exact the services of those they can depend upon.
Your wise men, as they call them, cut but a poor figure in these times.
They are dangerous men: they are always starting doubts and creating divisions; divisions are dangerous. United we stand, divided we fall, is the American motto, you know.
Very true Colonel, very true. When I became a delegate, I was told it was the ready way to some profitable post. I long to serve my country.
Enter into the army, sir; that is the way to preferment.
I am a cripple, and can't be a soldier.
Be a colonel of militia then, 'tis a fine post for cripples, for they never march, but they have no pay, Mr. Summons: you want a post that will bring you something.
I love my country and wish to serve her, and I wish some folks were as true to their country as they ought to be.
And as disinterested too, and then men of
real merit, would be in her service, in lieu of them who get into office, to catch a few sixpences from her treasury.
Enter Brazen, Thunderbolt, Squib and Skip.
How goes it? How goes it? Well, what business do we meet upon to-day?
The Scabbies are to be tried according to the ordinance.
Let's duck the scoundrels.
Duck 'em! let's burn the scoundrels.
Let's hang them.
Ay, ay, hang them, that is the best way.
Enter Colonel Simple.
Gentlemen, your servant.
How goes it, old cock?
Why, praise be to God, thro' mercy, I'm reasonably well, I thank you.
I understand those gentlemen take part with the Scotch
(pointing to Trueman and Meanwell.)
It is a common talk.
The people don't like it.
Some talk very hard of it, I assure you.
If to treat the unhappy with kindness be an oftence, I shall always be an offending sinner; meanness dwells with oppression, and cowardice with insult.
Justice is the birthright of all, and public virtue is displayed by an impartial distribution of it.
Wou'd you protect our enemies, gentlemen? would you ruin your country for the sake of Scotchmen?
Prove them to be enemies, shew that they plot the downfall of my country, and courtesy itself shall revolt against them.
There is sufficient proof that nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand of them are our enemies.
Some may be enemies, others guiltless. 'Tis ungenerous to arraign this man for the offence of his neighbour; illiberal to traduce all for the transgressions of a few.
Justice would blush at such proceedings: Pity, drop a tear at the outrage.
Here comes the Scotchmen.
Enter M'Flint, M'Squeeze, and M'Gripe.
Gentlemen of the committee, pray take your seats
(they sit round a table.)I was requested by colonel Strut, to summon these men here
(coughs)I have a bad cold, tell me, if you please colonel, what it is about.
These men, gentlemen, are cited before this committee, agreeable to an ordinance of convention.
What is our offence, pray?
The nature of their offence, gentlemen, is, that they are Scotchmen; every Scotchman being an enemy, and these men being Scotchmen, they come under the ordinance which directs an oath to be tendered to all those against whom there is just cause to suspect they are enemies.
As these men are Scotchmen, I think there is just cause to suspect that they are our enemies. Let it be put to the committee, Mr. president, whether all Scotchmen are not enemies.
A good notion, Mr. Brazen, I second it with all my heart.
We have some Scotchmen in our army; they are our friends, I hope.
To be sartin they must be our friends.
Yes, yes, they are our friends, no doubt.
They are excepted of course.
I wish the country very well, I never did it harm, gentlemen.
I've gi'en nae cause to suspect that I am an enemy. The ordinance says, ye must hae just cause. Bring your proof, gentlemen.
Proof, sir! we have proof enough. We suspect any Scotchman: suspicion is proof, sir. I move for the question, Mr. President.
In the catalogue of sins, I never found it one before to be born on the north of the Tweed.
(aside to Mean.)
In nature's lowest works, I never saw before such base stupidity.
(aside to True.)
The question, Mr. President.
The question, the question.
Is all Scotchmen enemies, gentlemen?
Before you determine so precipitately, gentlemen, I should have been glad to say somewhat in my own defence.
What is it, my dear sir?
I was bred in Scotland, but not born there.
What, Sandy, do you deny your country mon, tak shame to yoursel, Sandy.
It is time to deny man, when they make it a crime to be born there.
I'll lose my life for dear old Scotland, before ever I'll blush for it.
As Mr. M'Flint says he's no Scotchman, we have noright to suspect him more than any other man.
As he's no Scotchman, he may be a very good man; I move that he be discharged.
I rise to move, sir,
(coughs)I say, sir, I move that the oath be tender'd to these men, according to the ordinance.
The test oath, sir; you must swear to be true and faithful to this country.
I'll take nae oath, the like o' that.
I'll no swear allegiance to any man but my king.
There, gentleman, you see what they are, they are all so to a man.
I move that they be disarmed, as the ordidinance directs.
Well, gentlemen, the business is done; I suppose we may rise.
Ay, ay. [
Enter Mr. Tackabout.
Is the committee up? I'm sorry I was not here a little sooner. I had an information or two to lay before the committee.
We can sit again, sir; order the committee to sit again, Mr. President.
Upon second thoughts, we'll decline it for the present: I have not all the proofs about me; besides a witness I expected, is not here, I find.
I'll lay he has found out some tory.
He has got some tory in the wind, depend upon it.
I declare he is the prettiest spokenest man I ever saw.
Yes, between you and me, he ought to have been our delegate.
Well, gentlemen, you have trounced those Scotch gentlemen, I hope.
So, colonel, you have resigned your commission, I'm told.
(to col. Simple.)
Yes, my friend; I grow old and infirm: I thought it best to decline in time.
There's some prudence in retreating from danger: the times are perilous, colonel.
Young men, like you, Mr. Tackabout, are the properest persons for commissions: such old folks as I, are better out of the way.
Out of harm's way, you mean, colonel.
I think such men as you ought to step forth: I have often heard you boast of your courage, Mr. Tackabout; now's the time, sir--now or never.
Why sir, I have some expectations in England; the reversion of a considerable estate, or----
Poh! damn the estate; let it go.
My ancestors lost an estate by their loyalty; I should not choose to lose mine by my disloyalty.
'Tis a sin to lose an estate any how; that's certain.
A man's patrimony, in my opinion, is a sacred depositum, especially when an expected title gives lustre to the possession.
Damn the title--take a commission: that's better than all the titles in the world.
Take my commission, Mr. Tackabout: it is expected you should do something, indeed it is.
I have done enough already, sir.
But I observe, you keep out of harm's way, Mr. Tackabout.
Where is the man that has done more than I have? I have damn'd the ministry, abus'd the king, vilified the parliament, and curs'd the Scotch. I have raised the people's suspicions against all moderate men; advised them to spurn at all government: I have cried down tories, cried up whigs, extolled Washington as a god, and call'd Howe a very devil. I have exclaimed against all taxes, advised the people to pay no debts; I have promised them success in war, a free trade, and independent dominion. In short, I have inspired them with the true patriotic fire, the spirit of opposition; and yet you say it is expected I should do something.
There are many to be found, who do all this.
And few who do any thing else.
Can this be the person we were in company with the other day, Trueman?
The very same, only Proteus like, he can change from a man to a brute, from a brute to a serpent, or to any thing he pleases.
Trueman, your servant; Meanwell, your's. I beg pardon, I really did not observe you were present.
We should not have been offended if you had overlooked us altogether, sir.
Poh. Never mind what I say to these fellows, you know my private sentiments.
As well as they do, I suppose, Mr. Tack-about; but, sir, the man who privately condemns, and publicly approves either men or measures, shews himself a knave, and proves himself a coward.
(aside to Tackabout.)
Come, sir, no more, sir, I beg of you; I talk to these fellows always in their own style, to avoid suspicion; nothing else, upon honour, sir,
(aside to Trueman.)
So, sir, you inculcate principles subversive of every public and private virtue, you encourage oppression and spread sedition, merely for your own security.
Prudence requires something of this kind.
What you call prudence, I call baseness, Mr. Tackabout: however, I leave you to the pleasures of your prudent duplicity--Meanwell, I wait upon you.
I'll attend you, sir.
[Exit Mean. and True.
You and the tories were at cross-questions, I believe, Mr. Tackabout.
It is always the case, sir: I wish to reclaim the fellows, and cannot but repeat a little of my political catechism to them whenever we meet.
'Tis a pity such clever men should be enemies to their country.
They are dangerous men; shew me a clever man, and I'll shew you an enemy; let me advise you to keep a strict eye upon those men. Mr. President.
D--mn all tories, say I. Come, let us go into the muster-ground.
a muster-field (in the court-yard.) Flash, Thunderbolt, Soldiers, Mob, &c. Flash. (holding a news-paper in his hand) ha! damn me, I thought so; yes, yes, honies, you have got it, nine hundred at a clip. Well done, Washington, by God! We'll trim the rascals, d----me. Thun. What's that, captain? Flash. Great, very great; we have done it at last. Squib. What have we done, captain? Flash. Every thing, by God; a noble stroke, old fellow; we have killed and taken nine hundred of the damned infidels. Thun. Read it, captain, read it. Flash. Poh! damn it, you know I hate reading; can't you believe me? there it is, in black and white. Thun. (reads) "A copy of his excellency general Washington's letter to congress, dated, Trenton." Flash. That's it; d--n my buttons, if I would not give a million that I had been there. Thun. This is great news, really, captain. Flash. It will do; but it might have been better, and more complete. Some got off, you see; if I had been there, I'll be damn'd if a single scoundrel should
have escaped; and here am I doing nothing, but encouraging a set of poltroons to enter into the service; ever perplexed, vexed, and disappointed--not a breath of applause; not a sprig of laurel for poor Flash, while others are reaping it by handfuls. Thun. Never mind, captain, it will be your time, soon. Flash. Soon! The enemy will be driven to the devil, before I shall arrive at the scene of action. Enter Trim. Trim. Noble captain, your servant--we shall soon get our complement of men; there are several fine fellows that intend to list. Flash. Noble fellows: have you any thing for them to drink. Trim. I have the recruiting jugs full to the brim. Flash. Of what? Trim. Peach brandy, the best liquor in the world. Flash. Produce it, d----me, and give the lads a drink. Trim. Never mind me; never mind me, captain, I'll do it. (sings.)
a muster-field (in the court-yard.)
Flash, Thunderbolt, Soldiers, Mob, &c.
(holding a news-paper in his hand)
ha! damn me, I thought so; yes, yes, honies, you have got it, nine hundred at a clip. Well done, Washington, by God! We'll trim the rascals, d----me.
What's that, captain?
Great, very great; we have done it at last.
What have we done, captain?
Every thing, by God; a noble stroke, old fellow; we have killed and taken nine hundred of the damned infidels.
Read it, captain, read it.
Poh! damn it, you know I hate reading; can't you believe me? there it is, in black and white.
"A copy of his excellency general Washington's letter to congress, dated, Trenton."
That's it; d--n my buttons, if I would not give a million that I had been there.
This is great news, really, captain.
It will do; but it might have been better, and more complete. Some got off, you see; if I had been there, I'll be damn'd if a single scoundrel should
have escaped; and here am I doing nothing, but encouraging a set of poltroons to enter into the service; ever perplexed, vexed, and disappointed--not a breath of applause; not a sprig of laurel for poor Flash, while others are reaping it by handfuls.
Never mind, captain, it will be your time, soon.
Soon! The enemy will be driven to the devil, before I shall arrive at the scene of action.
Noble captain, your servant--we shall soon get our complement of men; there are several fine fellows that intend to list.
Noble fellows: have you any thing for them to drink.
I have the recruiting jugs full to the brim.
Peach brandy, the best liquor in the world.
Produce it, d----me, and give the lads a drink.
Never mind me; never mind me, captain, I'll do it.
Come on my brave fellows, a fig for our lives,
We'll fight for our country, our children and wives;
Determin'd we are to live happy and free,
Then join honest fellows, in chorus with me.
We'll drink our own liquor--our brandy from peaches;
A fig for the English--they may buss all our breeches.
Those bloodsucking, beer-drinking puppies retreat,
But our peach-brandy fellows can never be beat.
Where's the spring?
We'll shew it you.
Come on, my brave fellows.
Huzza! for the noble serjeant.
My serjeant has enlisted several fine fellows for me; but persecuted with the wheedling of wives, or the entreaties of parents, I am obliged to discharge the cowards as fast as I get them.
You should not let your good-nature prejudice the service, captain.
Prejudice the service! D--me, sir, I don't know what you mean.
I beg pardon--I only meant to say, you ought not to be too good-natured.
D--n good nature, sir, I scorn it. If I let a man off, 'tis for his money; he pays for his peeping, honey.
That's right; it makes the more bounty-money for others.
No, no, thank you, none of that, my dear; where are my expences to come from, do you think?
I thought the public allowed for these.
The public allowance is nothing, if it was not for a little smart-money, and now and then a run of luck, I should absolutely perish.
Do you ever play at cards?
A pretty question, d--me! Why gaming and whoring are the two first qualifications of a soldier.
What say you to a crack at all-fours, now?
Let us go into yonder house, and set to it like brave fellows: my lieutenant shall play with you for what you please.
Here's he that never flinches.
Well, Trim, what luck?
Why, sir, I got ten clever fellows to promise me to enlist
(hickups)do you see me, just as the brandy gave out, they kept punctually calling for more grog, I told them, says I,
(hickups)I am very sorry, says I, the brandy is out. e'god, sir, the words were no sooner out of my mouth,
(hickups)than away they went, every soul of them.
I am glad of it, for I may perhaps find another use for the bounty-money. Trim meet me at old Brazen's to-night. Come, gentlemen.
Brazen's house. Isabella and Mira. Is. Prithee, Mira, lay aside those demure looks; when every creature is running mad for joy at the glorious news from the northward, here are you like an Egyptian mummy--without sense or motion. Mira. I have a fit of the horrors, Miss, whenever I hear of a battle. Isa. So have I, if it goes against us. Mira. Victory is attended with the widows lamentations, and the orphan's tears; I cannot rejoice at any thing, that sounds with funeral dirges, or makes joy smile in the face of affliction. Isa. Were I a lump of clay, or an image of wax, the word victory would make me spring into life, and sing Te deum. Mira. The untimely death of a parent, husband, or child, might prevent your vivacity, Miss. Is. Was I to be made a widow by every victory, I verily think I should rejoice. Mira. Parental and filial tenderness are too nearly allied to our natures, connubial bliss too valuable, the sweet affections of sympathy and compassion, are too much the ornaments of the human hear, to be cast away for the foolish exultations that flow from the vain triumphs of ambition. Isa. Ha, ha, ha! Do you imagine that I am such a blockhead as to believe the widow's lamentations, the orphan's tears have any effect upon your spirits, Mira? No, no, I know better. Mira. What do you know, madam? Isa. I know that a poor creature of the masculine gender, has as high notions of connubial bliss as your ladyship; that he thinks of the great duties of parental and filial tenderness as you do, and that he esteems all victories horrid, unless they are graced with hymenial triumphs. Mira. You are extremely pleasant, madam. Isa. Positively, Mira, I am surprised at you. Mira. Surprised at me! for what, pray? Isa. Why, child, that you should ever think of being in love with one of those horrid creatures, called tories; Trueman is a shocking fellow. Mira. Really, Miss, I am as much surprised at you. Isa. Why, child? Mira. That you should ever be simple enough to esteem a filly coxcomb in politics, who puts on the name of patriot, as all coxcombs do their clothes, to be distinguished, and to be laughed at. Isa. What do you mean, madam? Mira. My meaning requires no interpretation, ma'am. Isa. If you imagine your satyrical scoffs have any effect upon me, madam, you are much mistaken. The shafts of envy fall short of their mark, when aimed at the well guarded, public protected principles of an honest whig. Mira. Irony, is a harmless weapon, when pointed either at folly or meanness. Isa. You are in your own house, madam. Mira. Where I shall always be glad to entertain you, when you are disposed to treat me with decency. Isa. How have I transgressed? Mira. Trueman's merits are above the scandal of the times: yet, Miss, it gives me pain to hear his name mentioned in terms of reproach. Isa. I hate tories so abominably, that I cannot, for my soul, think of them with patience: As long, madam, as you persist in your fondness for such animals, I shall refrain my visits, I assure you. Mira. Do as you please, Miss. Isa. Madam, your servant; mercy, that any creature can love a tory! [Exit Isa.
Isabella and Mira.
Prithee, Mira, lay aside those demure looks; when every creature is running mad for joy at the glorious news from the northward, here are you like an Egyptian mummy--without sense or motion.
I have a fit of the horrors, Miss, whenever I hear of a battle.
So have I, if it goes against us.
Victory is attended with the widows lamentations, and the orphan's tears; I cannot rejoice at any thing, that sounds with funeral dirges, or makes joy smile in the face of affliction.
Were I a lump of clay, or an image of wax, the word victory would make me spring into life, and sing Te deum.
The untimely death of a parent, husband, or child, might prevent your vivacity, Miss.
Was I to be made a widow by every victory, I verily think I should rejoice.
Parental and filial tenderness are too nearly allied to our natures, connubial bliss too valuable, the sweet affections of sympathy and compassion, are too much the ornaments of the human hear, to be cast away for the foolish exultations that flow from the vain triumphs of ambition.
Ha, ha, ha! Do you imagine that I am such a blockhead as to believe the widow's lamentations, the orphan's tears have any effect upon your spirits, Mira? No, no, I know better.
What do you know, madam?
I know that a poor creature of the masculine gender, has as high notions of connubial bliss as your ladyship; that he thinks of the great duties of parental and filial tenderness as you do, and that he esteems all victories horrid, unless they are graced with hymenial triumphs.
You are extremely pleasant, madam.
Positively, Mira, I am surprised at you.
Surprised at me! for what, pray?
Why, child, that you should ever think of being in love with one of those horrid creatures, called tories; Trueman is a shocking fellow.
Really, Miss, I am as much surprised at you.
That you should ever be simple enough to esteem a filly coxcomb in politics, who puts on the name of patriot, as all coxcombs do their clothes, to be distinguished, and to be laughed at.
What do you mean, madam?
My meaning requires no interpretation, ma'am.
If you imagine your satyrical scoffs have any effect upon me, madam, you are much mistaken. The shafts of envy fall short of their mark, when aimed at the well guarded, public protected principles of an honest whig.
Irony, is a harmless weapon, when pointed either at folly or meanness.
You are in your own house, madam.
Where I shall always be glad to entertain you, when you are disposed to treat me with decency.
How have I transgressed?
Trueman's merits are above the scandal of the times: yet, Miss, it gives me pain to hear his name mentioned in terms of reproach.
I hate tories so abominably, that I cannot, for my soul, think of them with patience: As long, madam, as you persist in your fondness for such animals, I shall refrain my visits, I assure you.
Do as you please, Miss.
Madam, your servant; mercy, that any creature can love a tory!
So, I have lost one patriotic acquaintance--here comes a male bird of the same species, to torment me; but I'll avoid it.
D--mn me, if I am not the most unlucky dog that ever cut the cards.
(seeing Mira.)so, honey, are you there? Push off, for I'll be damn'd if I'll have any thing to say to you.
How goes it, captain?
It goes damn'd hard with me, old fellow; I'm sick.
Beat to death, trimmed most damnably; 2 round hundred--nothing less.
Lashes! d--me, what a thought! no, no, here's the stuff,
(laying his hand upon his sword)here's the stuff.
How beat, then?
A round hundred, good continental, lost with a militia fellow, a d--mn'd milksop lieutenant.
I'll give you satisfaction.
Yes, sir; the satisfaction that all gamesters require, a chance to win your money back.
You meant to use me ill, sir.
No, upon my honour, nothing but a joke.
If that's all, here's my hand, I'm at you, for twenty dollars a game, if you dare?
A match, come on.
A dressing-room. Enter Isabella, and sings. Well, what would I give to hear of another victory! I had a horrid dream last night: I dream't that I saw the congress running out of Philadelphia, frighted to death; some barefooted, others bareheaded, that they run into a great croud, where I soon saw, as I thought, my dear little colonel, bold as a lion, calling out, to arms, arms! but I was surprised to see the men have clubs and sticks, instead of guns; and my dear little colonel with a corn stalk to his side, instead of a sword. It was a horrid dream. Enter Strut. Strut. Your servant, madam. Isa. Colonel, I am glad to see you.--Do you ever mind dreams, colonel? Strut. Pleasant dreams are not amiss, madam. Isa. Well, but bad dreams, I mean. I dreamt of you last night. Strut. Was that a bad dream, madam? Isa. Very bad, I thought the congress were running away, and that you, without a sword, was at the head of a number of men without arms. Strut. Dreams are illusions; but we have had another battle with the enemy, madam. Isa. When, where! how, tell me, dear colonel? Strut. We attacked them at Prince-Town, and have killed, and taken prisoners, a prodigious number. Isa. Thank God: but is it true? Strut. As true as the gospel, ma'am: 'tis in the papers. Isa. At Prince-town, did you say? where's that? Strut. Prince-Town, is a town, somewhere about----where general Howe is encamped. Isa. Don't you long to be there, colonel? Lord! If I was a man, how fond I should be of it! Strut. If my affairs---- Isa. Affairs: prithee no more of that: when do you think you will set off? Strut. It is impossible for me, madam----I have some affairs---- Isa. Affairs, again! every thing should give way to the service of your country. Strut. If I had the constitution of some men-- Isa. Constitution! why are you sick? positively, colonel, if you persist in making such foolish excuses, I shall hate you. Strut. Upon my honour, madam. Isa. That's in my custody, sir: you pawned it to me long ago, as a pledge for the patriotism and courage I have given you credit for. Strut. I hope you don't suspect me of wanting either. Isa. Why really, I never did, but I most certainly shall, unless you go into the army. Strut. 'Tis not necessary that all patriots should be soldiers. Isa. 'Tis necessary that you should be a soldier, tho': for, to be plain with you, colonel, I am determined to be a general's lady, or never to marry. Strut. Positively, madam, the service will kill me. Isa. You'll be killed in the service, you mean: That's what you apprehend. Strut. I could die on the field of battle with pleasure, madam, but, ---- Isa. No but's, colonel, you must be a soldier, indeed you must. Strut. Well, madam, if it is your desire--but I've one favour to request of you, first. Isa. Any thing: what is it? Strut. Will you condescend to marry me, before I go? Isa. No faith, won't I: the conditions upon which I engaged myself to you were as follows: First, you were to be a delegate, next a colonel, then a general. The material condition remains yet to be complied with, on your part; that performed, perhaps I may have no objection to give you my hand. Strut. Suppose I should be killed? Isa. I should cry a little, I suppose. Strut. My dear madam, there are soldiers enough without me. Isa. You must be a general, or quit your pretensions to me. Strut. I can apply in a neighbouring state, and be made a brigadier-general, without being a soldier. Isa. No, no, you shall fight for your commission: I'll have none of your chimney-corner generals, I assure you. Strut. Will no excuse do? Isa. None, sir. I bid you adieu for the present; unless you set off for the army immediately, it shall be for ever. [Exit.
ACT III. SCENE I.
No founds but drums shall please my ear,
Farewel, soft folly; love, adieu:
No grief's but heroe's griefs I'll share
Nor sigh, but Washington, for you.
Enter Isabella, and sings.
Well, what would I give to hear of another victory! I had a horrid dream last night: I dream't that I saw the congress running out of Philadelphia, frighted to death; some barefooted, others bareheaded, that they run into a great croud, where I soon saw, as I thought, my dear little colonel, bold as a lion, calling out, to arms, arms! but I was surprised to see the men have clubs and sticks, instead of guns; and my dear little colonel with a corn stalk to his side, instead of a sword. It was a horrid dream.
Your servant, madam.
Colonel, I am glad to see you.--Do you ever mind dreams, colonel?
Pleasant dreams are not amiss, madam.
Well, but bad dreams, I mean. I dreamt of you last night.
Was that a bad dream, madam?
Very bad, I thought the congress were running away, and that you, without a sword, was at the head of a number of men without arms.
Dreams are illusions; but we have had another battle with the enemy, madam.
When, where! how, tell me, dear colonel?
We attacked them at Prince-Town, and have killed, and taken prisoners, a prodigious number.
Thank God: but is it true?
As true as the gospel, ma'am: 'tis in the papers.
At Prince-town, did you say? where's that?
Prince-Town, is a town, somewhere about----where general Howe is encamped.
Don't you long to be there, colonel? Lord! If I was a man, how fond I should be of it!
If my affairs----
Affairs: prithee no more of that: when do you think you will set off?
It is impossible for me, madam----I have some affairs----
Affairs, again! every thing should give way to the service of your country.
If I had the constitution of some men--
Constitution! why are you sick? positively, colonel, if you persist in making such foolish excuses, I shall hate you.
Upon my honour, madam.
That's in my custody, sir: you pawned it to me long ago, as a pledge for the patriotism and courage I have given you credit for.
I hope you don't suspect me of wanting either.
Why really, I never did, but I most certainly shall, unless you go into the army.
'Tis not necessary that all patriots should be soldiers.
'Tis necessary that you should be a soldier, tho': for, to be plain with you, colonel, I am determined to be a general's lady, or never to marry.
Positively, madam, the service will kill me.
You'll be killed in the service, you mean: That's what you apprehend.
I could die on the field of battle with pleasure, madam, but, ----
No but's, colonel, you must be a soldier, indeed you must.
Well, madam, if it is your desire--but I've one favour to request of you, first.
Any thing: what is it?
Will you condescend to marry me, before I go?
No faith, won't I: the conditions upon which I engaged myself to you were as follows: First, you were to be a delegate, next a colonel, then a general. The material condition remains yet to be complied with, on your part; that performed, perhaps I may have no objection to give you my hand.
Suppose I should be killed?
I should cry a little, I suppose.
My dear madam, there are soldiers enough without me.
You must be a general, or quit your pretensions to me.
I can apply in a neighbouring state, and be made a brigadier-general, without being a soldier.
No, no, you shall fight for your commission: I'll have none of your chimney-corner generals, I assure you.
Will no excuse do?
None, sir. I bid you adieu for the present; unless you set off for the army immediately, it shall be for ever.
The devil take this: I have vapour'd away to a pretty purpose, faith! By pretensions to patriotism,
I became a delegate; and putting on the appearance of a man of courage, I became a colonel; all to tickle the vanity of this girl--and now, truly, I must expose my life that she may be a general's lady! I can't do it: I never thought of fighting in my life. What! stand and be shot at! Indeed, Miss, if these are the terms you are to surrender upon, you may keep your citadel forever, for me: I'm for a whole skin, if I do pennance in it, as an old bachelor, all my days.
a field. Enter Pickle. Simple creature! how soon she blushed her consent to every thing I proposed? here she comes, fair as Venus, and as Dian chaste. Enter Melinda. My dearest girl. (kisses her.)
Simple creature! how soon she blushed her consent to every thing I proposed? here she comes, fair as Venus, and as Dian chaste.
My dearest girl.
I have turned fool, you see, sir, and done as you desired. If you were in earnest in what you said yesterday, I shall always be ready to oblige you in any thing.
A pretty forward hint, by God.
(aside)Why, do you see,
(scratching his head)as to that, my dear, we'll talk it over another time. I have a few preliminary articles to propose to you, which if you agree to, you may name the happy day.
I don't understand you, sir.
Why, my dear, I have some preparatory measures to take, respecting my friends, and a previous agreement to make with you and them.
Speak plain, if you please. I don't understand these fine words.
I should be much to blame, you know, to marry any woman without knowing whether she would suit my purpose.
As to that matter, you can best judge: you cannot look for much breeding from a poor girl like me, without any bringing up.
My dear, that is not my objection. I only wish to examine my commodity before I purchase.
(taking her hand)I wish to know more of you, my dear.
(pushing him off)
You know as much as you shall know, 'till you have a better right than you have at present.
My dearest girl, as we are man and wife in the face of heaven, do you see, you should not be so vere scrupulous with me.
It will be time enough to take such freedoms, sir, when I am your wife.
Wife! mercy on us!
(aside)The liberties I wish to take, my dear, are licensed freedoms. Love requires something of this kind to keep itself alive. 'Tis as necessary to love as fuel is to fire. If you don't let me toy and play with you a little, by my soul, my love will go out.
I can't help it; but you shall take no immodest freedoms with me.
Poh! a little harmless play, my dear, is mere pastime, don't be afraid.
(attempts to be rude)
You don't behave like a gentleman, sir. I assure you, tho' I might, perhaps, consent to be your wife, I never will agree to be any thing else.
Who the devil would have thought it?
My dear, I humbly beg your pardon. The violence of my passion is the cause of these transports. Alas! with what delight would I take you for my bride--but the objections of my friends----
I have some particular friends from whom I have great expectations; and your fortune and family would be with them insuperable objections.
As to my fortune, and family, it is out of my power to make either of them better than they are: you had better then give over all thoughts of the match.
No: it is impossible. My friends shall not controul me. I am resolved upon it, and you shall be mine.
But your great expectations, sir.
Oh! as to that: I hope, in time they may be reconciled, when they find the marriage is over, and cannot be prevented. For this reason, I think it would be best not to have a public marriage. I will beg you therefore, to keep the marriage a secret for some time, 'till I can reconcile them to it.
When I am your wife, you shall direct me in all things.
Well, my dear, my servant will wait upon you at this place, about six in the evening, and will conduct you to a friend's house. I'll be there with a clergyman, and proper witnesses.
Well, sir, if you do marry me, I will study night and day to please you, and to make you happy. In the evening, you say?
Yes, my love.
'Till then, I wish you well.
Exit Melinda.Little did I expect this resistance in so artless a creature. I made as sure of my game, as if I had caught it. However, I'll entangle my pretty linnet yet, in a net often set by us true sportsmen, for these shy birds. Our butler shall be the parson, the cook and scullion the witnesses. The butler has a most demure sanctified face, and will make a tolerable good priest. E'gad, the idea of what is to follow, gives me a palpitation at the heart already. Well, Trueman, your business: then my own.
Brazen's house. Flash and Brazen at a gaming table. Flash. (rising in a passion) Damnation seize me, if you did not pack the cards. Bra. It is a damn'd lie, sir. Flash. Dare you give a soldier the lie, sir? Bra. Yes, I dare, when he tells one. Flash. Come, old fellow, I don't mean to quarrel with you. (offers his hand.)
Flash and Brazen at a gaming table.
(rising in a passion)
Damnation seize me, if you did not pack the cards.
It is a damn'd lie, sir.
Dare you give a soldier the lie, sir?
Yes, I dare, when he tells one.
Come, old fellow, I don't mean to quarrel with you.
(offers his hand.)
Pay the money you have lost.
Don't be hard, old fellow; I've no money but the public's, not a shilling.
Public or private, pay, I say.
Consider, sir, the service must be injured, if I apply the public money to any purposes, but those for which I received it.
Damn the service: what's the service to me? pay sir.
I'll give you my note on demand.
Your note! damn your note, I'll have the money.
Lord! how I tremble with rage,
(sees Pickle coming).A brother officer, by God! a reinforcement
(aside)my note, sir, is as good as any man's note. Damn you, sir, you have raised my blood. I demand satisfaction.
(draws his sword.)
Lay down your stickfrog, and I'll give you satisfaction.
(puts himself in the attitude of boxing.)
What! you are for fifty cuffs? Oh! no, no, honey, I am no black-guard. Come on, my dear. Here's the stuff, honey.
Gentlemen, your servant.
Your servant, my dear,
(stands in the attitude of fencing.)
What! at points, gentlemen!
Draw, my dear, for the honour of the profession, draw.--Sir, 'tis a disgrace upon a soldier to have a fist cock'd in his company.
Your antagonist has no other weapon. Here's my sword, sir,
(offering his sword to Brazen.)
Sir, I thank you. Now, come on, you scoundrel.
What! Aid the enemy! Hark'ye, my dear, your name!
That's captain Feather, of the flying camp. Come on, sir, I say.
I have nothing to say to you, sir,
(to Brazen.)Captain, I should be glad to speak with you. Walk out, if you please, sir.
The sword, if you please,
(Brazen gives the sword)Come, sir, I'll attend you.
But upon second thoughts, my dear, I can say, what I have to say, here. You seem from the northward, from your uniform.
Perhaps not, sir.
You are a scoundrel. sir,
Do you hear that, captain?
Washington has done wonders to the northward, sir,
You are a damn'd coward, I say.
Are you from the northward, captain?
I am, sir.
In what corps? in the service of what state, sir?
Damn your impertinence; what right have you to catechise any gentleman in my house?
(kicks Flash out.)
I'll be reveng'd, damn'me, I'll make you pay for this, honey.
Can that fellow be an officer?
Yes; and, I once thought, a fellow of spirit. But he is too mean to talk about. I thought captain, you had taken your departure for the southward, yesterday.
It was my intention when I left this place, Sir. But hearing of Washington's fresh success, I am now hastening to the scene of action, hoping that I may partake of the glory acquired by our noble commander in the frequent rencountres with the enemy.
Noble, captain! give me your hand. You are for the place of danger, I find.
Danger and honour are two associates that go hand in hand. We must encounter the one to obtain the other. Honour is the idol I worship; to that I would sacrifice my life and limbs.
What can British mongrels do with such men as these. Thirty thousand of them will be but a breakfast for us.
Rather hard of digestion
(aside.)I should be glad to pay my respects to the ladies, sir, if you please.
By all means. They are all from home except Mira. I'll send her to you. She'll be glad to see you, I'm sure.
I make no doubt of it. Now, hat under arm, a low bow, and a most obsequious face.
So, Mr. Slyboots, are you here again?
At your service, madam, and upon an errand of a similar nature to the last.
You have a letter for me, then.
Yes, madam, upon my knees I present it; and in token of the great respect I have for the writer, I must kiss the hand that receives it.
"On Edgehill--at six in the evening--Meanwell and his trusty squire--your affectionate Trueman." You are the trusty squire, I suppose, and can inform me more fully, perhaps, of Mr. Trueman's intentions, than he has ventured to communicate in his letter.
Yes, madam, I can tell you Mr. Trueman's intentions, I believe.
His intentions are to run away.
Yes, madam, with a beautiful angel like your ladyship, and to marry her as soon as he can get a person legally authorised to perform the ceremony.
So the plot is out. Well, Trueman, love sweetly supplicates for worth like thine; I surrender.
What a charming creature!
Here, sir, deliver this ring to Mr. Trueman; tell him, what he gave me as a token of his love, I now send as a token of my fidelity to him.
What a pretty way these fine women have of winding themselves round a man's heart!
Inform him, I will play the obedient mistress that I may sooner learn to act the dutiful wife.
Upon my soul, you say so many fine things I shall forget: Do write.
Time will not permit, adieu.
Well, captain, did Mira know you again?
Perfectly, sir. Miss and I had some conversation yesterday; she recognized me at once.
I did not observe you had a word to say to any body but my old woman.
A little acquaintance gives the tongue a privilege with people of my profession.
Soldiers are seldom at a loss for talk, they say.
Very seldom. I'm at a damnable loss tho' to contrive an excuse for getting away decently.
Come, captain, lay by your sword. You'll stay with me to-night.
Excuse me, good sir, when duty commands, the inclination must obey. I should be happy to stay with you many days, but the honour of a soldier compels me to repair to the scene of action.
The honour of a soldier! That's true: Well, noble captain, success attend you
I thank you, sir, for your civilities, and am your most obedient servant.
A decent, well-bred lad, and a fellow of spirit, I warrant. Well, I'll go in pursuit of that cowardly scoundrel, and cudgel the rascal, or make him pay me my money.
SCENE a Court-house. Enter Col. Simple and Mr. Tackabout. Simple. (with a newspaper in his hand.) This is great news, glory to the Lord for it. The Lord is on our side, I am taught to believe, for we have great success, Mr. Tackabout. Mr. Tack. Nothing but the tories can hurt us; nothing else, sir. Sim. Praise be to God they are vastly scattered. Tack. There are many in this county. I am surprized the committee don't handle the fellows. I am determined, unless something is done with them, to head a mob myself, and burn down their houses. Sim. With the Lord's will, something ought to be done. Indeed, there should. Tack. You, as president of the committee, should cite the scoundrels. Let them be stigmatized; mark them out, and it's an easy matter to set a mob upon their backs that shall drive them to the devil. Sim. Why, sir, we have had several before the committee, already, but it has pleased goodness that nothing could be made appear against them. Tack. You have tories in the committee, sir. Sim. God forbid. Tack. Two of the members dined with a Scotchmen the other day. Sim. Dine with a Scotchman! that was dreadful. Tack. Dreadful, sir, why, they deserve to be hang'd. I was told they were in a private room, shut up. The person who told me, says he, peeped thro' the key-hole, and saw them wink to each other, and then drink; that they would every now and then, break out into a horse laugh. He heard them drink damnation to all scoundrels--very plain. Simple. That was meant for somebody, I reckon. Tack. It was intended for the committee, sir. Simple. Well, sir, the committee is to meet to-day, you know, at your request. You'll inform them of all such things, I hope. Tack. I'll do my duty, depend upon it. Enter Brazen, Strut, Thunderbolt, Squib and Skip. Thun. Not pay! I thought the captain was flush of money. Brazen. He's a damn'd scoundrel. Enter Flash. Flash. Mighty well! very fine! excellent terms, indeed, if the guardians of their country are to be abused by every fellow! Sim. What is the matter, my dear, sir? Flash. You know I dare not accept or give a challenge: It's contrary to ordinance. My hands are
tied up you fee; yet truly, I am to be kicked, cuffed, and trod upon. I'll be damn'd if I would not give a million that I durst cut that fellows head off. (pointing to Brazen.)
SCENE a Court-house.
Enter Col. Simple and Mr. Tackabout.
(with a newspaper in his hand.)
This is great news, glory to the Lord for it. The Lord is on our side, I am taught to believe, for we have great success, Mr. Tackabout.
Nothing but the tories can hurt us; nothing else, sir.
Praise be to God they are vastly scattered.
There are many in this county. I am surprized the committee don't handle the fellows. I am determined, unless something is done with them, to head a mob myself, and burn down their houses.
With the Lord's will, something ought to be done. Indeed, there should.
You, as president of the committee, should cite the scoundrels. Let them be stigmatized; mark them out, and it's an easy matter to set a mob upon their backs that shall drive them to the devil.
Why, sir, we have had several before the committee, already, but it has pleased goodness that nothing could be made appear against them.
You have tories in the committee, sir.
Two of the members dined with a Scotchmen the other day.
Dine with a Scotchman! that was dreadful.
Dreadful, sir, why, they deserve to be hang'd. I was told they were in a private room, shut up. The person who told me, says he, peeped thro' the key-hole, and saw them wink to each other, and then drink; that they would every now and then, break out into a horse laugh. He heard them drink damnation to all scoundrels--very plain.
That was meant for somebody, I reckon.
It was intended for the committee, sir.
Well, sir, the committee is to meet to-day, you know, at your request. You'll inform them of all such things, I hope.
I'll do my duty, depend upon it.
Enter Brazen, Strut, Thunderbolt, Squib and Skip.
Not pay! I thought the captain was flush of money.
He's a damn'd scoundrel.
Mighty well! very fine! excellent terms, indeed, if the guardians of their country are to be abused by every fellow!
What is the matter, my dear, sir?
You know I dare not accept or give a challenge: It's contrary to ordinance. My hands are
tied up you fee; yet truly, I am to be kicked, cuffed, and trod upon. I'll be damn'd if I would not give a million that I durst cut that fellows head off.
(pointing to Brazen.)
Surely, my friends, you have not used the captain ill?
Use a soldier ill! They are our dependance--our support--our every thing.
Yes, yes, and we should keep them from all harm.
No soldier ought to be hurt.
Gentlemen, I lodge my complaint with you. If soldiers are to be abused, d'ye see me, because they dare not give a challenge, and by a man too, d--n my soul if ever I pull trigger again.
Gentlemen, we really ought to sit upon this matter.
(They all huddle round a table.)
That is not a business that comes before the committee, sir.
The committee; sir, begging your pardon, have a right to take up what business they please; and and to give any opinion.
So I always thought.
Except against one of their own body. They have no right to try one another. A lawyer told me it would be imperium sub imperio.
Why, as you say, my friend, I don't think that would be right, nor safe neither, indeed.
As Mr. Brazen is a member, we have no business with any matter that touches him.
No, no, by no means.
Well, gentlemen, as that is your opinion,
Mr. Brazen, do take a seat; I say, gentlemen, as that is your opinion, captain, we can't do any thing in it, you see.
Mighty well! very fine! so I am to be abused, and to have no satisfaction. D----nation seize me if I don't.
What will you do?
'Tis no matter, sit still, if you please, I'm done with you, sir. But I'll be d--m'd if I don't--
(Brazen goes towards him.)I swear the peace, gentlemen, I swear the peace.
You are an infamous coward, sir.
Very pretty! noble doings! If I fight, I am to be broke; if not, to be abused; eh!
Walk out, if you please.
(turns him out.)
Yes, yes, I'll go, sir, but d--mme if I don't----
Upon my soul, Mr. Brazen, I am surprized at you.
For what, sir?
That gentleman is an officer in the service of the country.
Suppose he is.
Our leading men treat our officers and soldiers with the greatest respect, sir. Whatever they do or say, is overlooked for the good of the service.--They would not have one of them offended for the world, sir: they would not, you may depend upon it.
He is a scoundrel; as such I have treated him: if you have a mind----take up the quarrel.
I take up the quarrel! D----n the fellow, I don't care a farthing about him. No, no, old friend,
here's my hand; I would not quarrel with you for a dozen such fellows. Well, Mr. President, are the culprits cited, agreeable to the list I gave you?
This fellow has more smoke than fire in him, I find. (aside)
I told the doorkeeper to summon them.
Mr. Stitch, have you summoned them men as I told you of?
I have summoned four; Mr. Trueman, Mr. Meanwell, the reverend Mr. Preachwell, and a Scotch pedlar, an't please your honour.
What are they charg'd with?
Why, Mr. Tackabout there, gave me a paper, with all their crimes set down in it, but
(searching his pockets)I've lost it, I believe, some how or other. Howsomever, I can remember as how that Mr. Meanwell and Mr. Trueman are to be tried for dining with a Scotchman, Mr. Preachwell for eating upon a fast day, and the Scotch pedlar for drinking the king's health.
Well, where are they?
Mr. Meanwell, and Mr. Trueman, promised to come. The parson snuff'd up his nose as bad as if he smell'd a stink. I'm sartin, says I, it's not me that has let a ----, mentioning the thing itself, an't like your honour. The words were hardly out of my mouth, before spang he took me with his foot.
The parson strike!
Yes; look, your honour, just here an't please your honour.
(shewing his b--k si--e.)
Praise be to God, our holy teachers detest fighting.
I said so, an't please your honour. You a parson, says I! By jing, he ran at me as vigue-rous as a lion, with a monstratious stick; but durn the heels, thinks I, that lets the body suffer; so off I ran.
Did he say nothing?
He call'd me a dirty fellow, an't like your honour.
Where is the pedlar?
He got the wind of me, and has made his escape out of the precincts, I believe.
You say, Trueman and Meanwell promised to attend?
Yes, an't please your honour.
Suppose we adjourn, Mr. President, for half an hour, 'till the tories come?
(The committee rises) [Exeunt.
the Court-house yard. Enter Trueman and Meanwell, meeting Tackabout. True. Let us secure our pockets Meanwell. Tack. Fie! my dear Sir, that is too severe. True. The viper that gives a wound, then licks it with an envenomed tongue, is not more noxious, more offensive, than the base reptile thou art. Tack. 'Pon honour, gentlemen, I have the greatest veneration for you both. Mean. So talk'd the artful serpent, when with shew of zeal, and love, he seduced our first parents. True. It is at your instance, Mr. Tackabout, we are called here: What is our offence? Tack. At my instance! you astonish me: at my instance! I scorn it. True. If your baseness was not perfectly plebeian, Mr. Tackabout, the exteriors of the gentleman might perhaps keep you concealed, but-- Mean. Nature is too true to her bias not to make Mr. Tackabout always appear the complete villain she intended him for. Brazen, Thunderbolt and Simple crossing the stage. Braz. Mr. Tackabout is giving the tories a little more of his political catechism, I expect. Thund. Come, Mr. Tackabout, no favour to tories: let's have no pleading off; bring them before the committee. Sim. Yes, yes, let's have them before us. Tack. I have nothing to say against the gentlemen. I have no charge against them. Sim. Why, dear me! did not you have them cited. Did not you give me a paper? Tack. That's lost, thank heaven. (aside) Sim. Did not you give me a paper with their names? Tack. I give you a paper! I might give you a paper and their names might be wrote upon it, but not by me, I assure you. You should never betray your informers, sir. It will stop all your proceedings. It's a breach of faith and confidence that I little expected, sir, (aside to Simple.)
the Court-house yard.
Enter Trueman and Meanwell, meeting Tackabout.
Let us secure our pockets Meanwell.
Fie! my dear Sir, that is too severe.
The viper that gives a wound, then licks it with an envenomed tongue, is not more noxious, more offensive, than the base reptile thou art.
'Pon honour, gentlemen, I have the greatest veneration for you both.
So talk'd the artful serpent, when with shew of zeal, and love, he seduced our first parents.
It is at your instance, Mr. Tackabout, we are called here: What is our offence?
At my instance! you astonish me: at my instance! I scorn it.
If your baseness was not perfectly plebeian, Mr. Tackabout, the exteriors of the gentleman might perhaps keep you concealed, but--
Nature is too true to her bias not to make Mr. Tackabout always appear the complete villain she intended him for.
Brazen, Thunderbolt and Simple crossing the stage.
Mr. Tackabout is giving the tories a little more of his political catechism, I expect.
Come, Mr. Tackabout, no favour to tories: let's have no pleading off; bring them before the committee.
Yes, yes, let's have them before us.
I have nothing to say against the gentlemen. I have no charge against them.
Why, dear me! did not you have them cited. Did not you give me a paper?
That's lost, thank heaven. (aside)
Did not you give me a paper with their names?
I give you a paper! I might give you a paper and their names might be wrote upon it, but not by me, I assure you. You should never betray your informers, sir. It will stop all your proceedings. It's a breach of faith and confidence that I little expected, sir,
(aside to Simple.)
Oh! dear me! Mr. Stitch, Mr. Stitch.
Where's the paper I gave you with the names of the men you were to summon.
An't please your honour, happening to meet with Mr. Pettifogger, the attorney, I shewed it to him. He told me it was a precept, and that I must leave a copy of it at every place I went to, but being a poor hand at writing, thof I have pretty good larning too, I bethought me as how it would do as well to leave the thing itself, so I gave the paper to that gentleman. (pointing to Trueman)
Blown, by heavens!
The paper Mr. Tackabout gave me, I lost.
Here is the paper he gave me, and in my house this was found.
(aside to Tackabout.)Do you know this hand-writing?
Hide it, for God's sake, my dear sir.
(aside)Come this way, and let me talk with you: Gentlemen, I wish to have a little conversation with Mr. Trueman. Will you give me leave?
Ay, ay, try what you can do with him.
(the committee retire)
Do, my dear sir, be advised. You know I'm a tory; if these fellows find me out, I shall be tore to pieces.
To this gentleman
(pointing to Meanwell)and myself, you profess yourself a tory; with these people you have the merit of being a whig. It's high time, Mr. Tackabout, for you to be shewn in your proper colours; for, under your present disguise, you are a nuisance to all parties.
Enter Thunderbolt, Squib, and Skip, listening.
I am a tory, sir, 'pon honour, sir, I am.
Then you are the base villain I always found you to be.
Enter Simple, Brazen, Strut and Summons.
Come, Mr. Tackabout, these gentlemen were cited at your request. Let's have 'em before us.
I have no charge against them, gentlemen. I have talk'd the matter over with them, and am proud to find they are innocent.
Well, well, what a pity! is there nobody here that can make any thing appear against them? We shall be laugh'd at if they get off so; indeed we shall, my friends.
You appear anxious, sir, to have us arraign'd: By interrogating us, you may be furnished with answers respecting any thing you wish to be inform'd of.
As that is the case, I shall come to the point at once. Are you tories, gentlemen?
Explain what you mean by the word tory, gentlemen.
Tory! why surely every body knows what a tory is--a tory is--pray, gentlemen, explain to him what a tory is.
A tory, sir, is any one who disapproves of men and measures.
All suspected persons are call'd tories.
If suspicion makes a tory, I may be one; if a disapprobation of men and measures constitutes a tory, I am one; but if a real attachment to the true interests of my country stamps me her friend, then I detest the opprobrious epithet of tory, as much as I do the inflammatory distinction of whig.
How is that? this gentleman is neither whig nor tory.
Neither, sir!--Yes, neither. Whenever the conduct and principles of neither are justifiable, I am neither; as far as the conduct and principles of either correspond with the duties of a good citizen, I am both.
Well, really, I don't understand him. Do any of you, gentlemen?
I understand as how he says he is a tory, or no tory, a whig or no whig, just as the maggot bites.
How is that?
Why, mayhap, at this present time of asking, he may be a whig, as we pretend to be. By and by he may be a tory, as occasion offers.
I detest the mean subterfuge: this low cunning I leave to your sycophant, Mr. Tackabout.
Mr. Tackabout is no tory, I'm sure.
Ask him, sir.
Well, for the joke's sake. Mr. Tackabout, the tories have a mind to turn the tables upon you. They seem to signify as how you are a tory.
You are better acquainted with me, sir, than to suspect any thing of that, I hope.
Why, to be sure I am.
Mr. Tackabout and the tories seemed very thick, a little while ago, while he was talking.
Let me tell, Mr. Thunderbolt.--While he was talking with the tories just now, Mr. Squib, and I bethought us of listening a bit.
Yes, and he purtested it was not owing to him these gentlemen were summoned. He signified he was a tory himself.
So he did.
Fair play, is fair play, that gentleman call'd him a villain for it.
(pointing to Trueman.)
The truth is the truth. That gentleman is lesser a tory than Mr. Tackabout.
So he is.
Give me your hand, you are an honest fellow: every tory is a villain. Hence-forth, all malice apart.
It seems as how the gentlemen are whigs and Mr. Tackabout the tory.
They are honest fellows, I find. There's my hand
(to Meanwell)gentlemen, I move that they be discharged.
What must be done to Mr. Tackabout?
Tar and feather him.
He should be duck'd, as an incendiary, tarr'd as a nuisance, feather'd as a foul traitor, hang'd----
And advertis'd as a coward.
(kicks him.)I beg pardon, gentlemen, but Mr. Tackabout's errors are so fundamental, that I can't help applying a certain specific.
(kicks him out.)
Well, really, he is rightly serv'd.
Let us adjourn, and drive the fellow out of the yard.
[Exeunt all but Trueman and Brazen.
(taking Trueman by the hand.)
You are an honest fellow, a fellow of spirit.
I once esteemed you as a friend, respected you as a father, Mr. Brazen.
Well, well, all malice apart, it shall be so.
What, good sir?
You shall have her to-night, if you please.
I am at a loss for words.
Poh! poh! keep your words to yourself; you are welcome to her, that's enough; as I find you are no tory, that's enough; I say. Come, let's mob that rascal of a fellow. [Exit.
So in spite of all the malice and censure of the times, I am at last dubb'd a whig. I am not wiser or better than before. My political opinions are still the same, my patriotic principles unaltered: but I have kick'd a tory, it seems: there is a merit it this, which, like charity, hides a multitude of sins. Well, Mira, I have once more obtained your father's consent to our union, and lest some suspicion or other should again tickle his brain with the patriotic itch, I am determin'd to be thine this night.
Enter Pickle, not observing Trueman; sings:
The flocks, the herds, the pretty birds
Nature alone, obey;
Like them I'll range, like them I'll change,
As free, as blest as they.
What he gave as a token of love, I now send as a token of my fidelity to him. So much for my lesson.
(looking at the ring)Alack! alack! how many poor creatures do these little magic circles make miserable!
What sine soliloquy are you meditating, most noble captain?
Taken up with your business altogether, I assure you.
It becomes intricate, I fear, if it puzzles a man of your adroitness.
I was studying how to convey to you, in the best manner, the sweetest message that ever came from a fond mistress.
A lady's message can lose nothing of it's merit, when conveyed by so great an adept as you, sir, but I expected a letter----
A letter! Lord, sir, never ask a letter from your mistress. 'Tis the worst way of procuring a tender of the affections in the world. A woman, when she commits her sentiments to paper, is so very cautious, so nicely circumspect, lest the warmth that animates the expressions of love, should carry her beyond the usual prudence of her sex, that the glowing ardor of the passions, gives way to a cold prudish reserve, which I call the grave of love; tho' some are pleased to call it the nursery of virtue. However, sir, your mistress assents to all your proposals, and here are my credentials.
(presents the ring.)
I know the token too well, to doubt the faith of my dear girl, or the fidelity with which you have transacted the business entrusted to you. Take this as a small acknowledgment.
(offers a purse,)
I never receive wages for conducting a love-intrigue. These little offices of friendship circulate the affections so sweetly, that I always find a reward in my own feelings without any adventitious one.
The youngster's expressions and sentiments savour little of the footman, methinks.
Have you any farther commands, sir.
Well, Trueman, you have got your plenipotentiary with you, I find. The preliminaries are all settled, I suppose; and you have nothing to do but enter the fortress.
I have always had a friend in the citadel, the little traitor, love: but I have obtained by treaty, what I lately thought was only to be atchieved by stratagem.
What? is the old governor in your interest again?
Yes, he assents to the surrender, and the terms of capitulation are all my own.
I congratulate you with all my soul: when is to be the happy day?
This. I am determined to take the old fellow while he's in the humour. At six in the evening, I expect our plighted troth will be mutually exchanged. Even that happy hour will have a shade upon it unless dispelled by your presence: the old gentleman has been rude to you; can you forgive it?
The interest you have in his affection leaves no room for my resentment. You may expect me: 'till then, adieu.
[Exeunt Meanwell and Trueman severally.
Well, since this affair of Mr. Trueman's is to be settled in the old hum drum style; I have nothing to do but to bring my amour to as speedy a conclusion as possible. You to your Mira, Trueman, and I to my dear Melinda.
a field. Enter Flash. Flash. Poor Flash! to be broke if you fight, to be kick'd if you don't! (pull's off his coat.) (draws his sword) (pushing at the ground)
Poor Flash! to be broke if you fight, to be kick'd if you don't!
(pull's off his coat.)Lie there, commission and cowardice, together.
(draws his sword)now, d----me, come on, ha, hah!
(pushing at the ground)how I could fight, if I durst.
Enter Strut, escorting Isabella.
Well, ma'am, I have taken a commission, purely to oblige you.
Your courage must be tried, indeed it must, colonel, before I can consent. Stop,
(seeing Flash.)A man fighting his own shadow. See, my dear colonel; now is the time to attack him: do fight him colonel; I long of all things in the world, to see a duel.
Hah! there I had him. Hah! again, by God! through and through d--me!
(Isabella pushes Strut up to him.)Mercy on me!
(starts back and drops his sword.)
Speak to him, colonel.
(putting his foot on the sword.)Who are you, sir?
But stay, colonel, let the man have his sword.
(takes up the sword and gives it to Flash.)
May I take the liberty to enquire your name, sir?
My name! d----me, sir, what right have you to my name?
He curses you, colonel; pick a quarrel with him; do, dear colonel.
What! quarrel with a madman? The man is deranged in his mind. Are you not frantic, sir?
Frantic, my name Frantic! D--mn you, sir, I'll not be nick-named by any scoundrel living.
Scoundrel! now we shall have it, draw, colonel.
(She takes Strut's hand, and puts it upon the hilt of his sword.)
He did not call me scoundrel, madam. He only said he would not be nick-named by any scoundrel living. I have not nick-named him, madam.
It is a lie, sir.
What say you to that, colonel?
The man is mad, absolutely mad, madam.
Blood and fire.
(Draws Struts sword and puts it in his hand.)Now, colonel.
A pretty blade, let's see it my dear.
Let him feel it, colonel. Up to him.
(pushes up Strut.)
(puts up his own sword, and advances to look at that of Strut.)With your leave, my dear, from France, no doubt. I have heard they are all the best polishers in the world.
Stand off, sir; what did you mean by calling me a scoundrel?
I call you a scoundrel! Upon my soul, my dear, you are disordered in your mind.
This lady says you did, sir.
D--mn all ladies, say I; they are always making mischief, by setting honest fellows by the ears.
I told you, madam, he did not call me a scoundrel.
I heard him give you the lie in plain terms.
Don't believe her, my dear. You and I won't quarrel about what a woman says: they will tell fibbs, d--n'd fibbs, sometimes.
You hear, madam; he did not give me the lie.
Was there ever such a paltry coward! to put up with such an affront, and then stand parleying with a fellow who only apologizes for it, by abusing his mistress? give me the sword.
(Takes the sword and runs at Flash.)
A man in petticoats, by God! oh, ho! my dear, I smell a rat. Yes, yes, honey, catch Flash if you can. Two to one! Oh! no, no, my dear; I'll not be assassinated by God.
That last reproach of your's, my dear madam, raised my blood to such a pitch--if he had not gone off--D--n the fellow, I must have kill'd him.
Colonel Strut, your most obedient. Henceforth, I disclaim all connexions with you. Never dare to speak to me, nor hope ever hereafter, to see my face again. This I will take as the trophy of my victory.
[Exit with Flash's coat.
Well, I don't know whether I am not better without her. She has such a cursed stomach for fighting, she would certainly have brought me into some scrape or other, in spite of my teeth.
Honour's a bubble, same a sound
Not worth a man's pursuing;
Women at best, are evil's sound,
And oft bring men to ruin.
END OF THE FOURTH ACT.
My master's servants are a set of honest fellows. The butler made a few scruples at first, but upon his trying on the canonical habit, and my telling him he would make a charming methodist preacher, by God, the old fellow kick'd conscience out of doors, and immediately became a new creature----
Enter the butler, in a clergyman's gown.
Sage father, your most humble. A little more gravity, and you'll top the hypocrite so perfectly, that tho' true sanctity may blush at thee, yet iniquity will own thee her's for ever.
I don't much like the business you have set me upon, Mr. Pickle.
Poh! you shall have a buss of the bride, a reward that would make lechery kick up the beam, tho' weigh'd against the charity of a bishop. Besides, as my tenure will be of short duration, I expect you may like her in reversion; a gratuity that a lecher of the Romish church would lick his chops at, with avidity.
It goes against my conscience, Mr. Pickle.
Conscience! ha, ha, ha, as long as you are in that habit, you may defy the devil, and all his imps. Conscience only serves as a bugbear to the laity, the clergy are above it's trifling fears. For shame, don't disgrace the cloth, old fellow.--Go take the cook and scullion with you. You know our master is to be at Mr. Trueman's wedding to night, we shall not be miss'd.
It is a sin to deceive a poor innocent girl, Mr. Pickle.
Poh! poh! curse your canting, come along.
All the sin must lie upon your head.
Well, I don't care, so I have the pleasure somewhere else.
You must bear me harmless.
Well, I must go then, I suppose.
[Exit with the butler.
Enter Meanwell, with a letter in his hand.
My old friend, Mr. Worthy, writes me that his nephew, George, had arrived from England, about the beginning of our public disturbances; that being too free in discovering his political opinions, he was cited before one of their courts. To avoid the treatment he expected to receive from these guardians of the rights and liberties of their fellow-citizens, he absconded without informing his friends of his route or designs. I am requested to make enquiry after him. We have no asylum with us to which persecuted integrity would fly for shelter. No, no, he is not with us.
Mr. Trueman presents his compliments to your honour: says he is gone off to Mr. Brazen's, and desires you will follow him as soon as possible.
(looking at his watch.)
Six is the hour. Tell your master, I'll be with him at the time appointed.
[Exit Groom.My butler just informed me that an old tenant of mine, formerly one of my best and most faithful domestics,
has sent to me very pressingly to call on him in my way to the wedding. He has urgent business with me. I must comply with his request, and not to be too late, I'll prepare immediately for my journey. Who's there?
Enter a servant.
An't please your honour, I don't know. But since he turned captain, I suppose as how he's after some of his wild vagaries. I saw him go out not long ago, with somebody wrap'd up in a gown.
You did! Farther enquiry should be made into this. Do you think any of the servants can tell whither he is gone?
They say it is a profound secret, but I thinks your honour, it can't be after any good.
Don't be too suspicious of a fellow-servant, but which of them told you it was a secret?
The cook, your honour: says he to me, Mr. Pickle is a fly cock, says he, and knows what to do, says he, but I hope your honour won't tell as how I told you.
Get ye gone, and tell the cook to come hither.
(Exit servant.)That young man is out of the way at a very improper time, and may probably have some trick in view. He appears to be a faithful and honest, and at the same time the most ingenious and genteel servant, I ever saw; but nevertheless, it is not impossible but he may have a mixture of the rake in his disposition. Let me see, what girl is there hereabouts whom he can have in view? It is not my wish to pry into all the actions of my servants, but no improper conduct must be permitted.
Well, sir, can you give me any account of Mr. Pickle?
Your honour won't be offended, I hope. I don't wish to raise mischief against a brother servant.
You know my authority when I choose to exert it on a proper occasion, must not be disputed. I understand that Pickle has gone out with some person mussled up in a cloke, and as secrecy is generally the veil of iniquity, I am confident he has some evil design. If you know any thing of his schemes, I insist upon your faithfully disclosing them to me.
Why, indeed, your honour, he never told me any thing about it; but I have good reason to believe, and I'll tell your honour all I know about it; for tho' I am a poor sarvant, I hope I may be an honest man. Don't your honour think a sarvant has a soul to be sav'd as well as great folks?
They have indeed, and for that reason should be attentive to their duty. But my time is short, be quick in giving your information.
Well, your honour must know the butler is gone with Mr. Pickle, and he wants me and John the scullion, to go too. The butler told me Mr. Pickle was going to be married, and we were to be the witnesses.
But if that was all, where was the necessity of secrecy.
Ah! your honour ha'n't heard all yet! This marriage, the butler said, is to be all a trick. He is to marry her with your name, and the butler is to be the parson, so that Mr. Pickle will gain his ends
without any wedding in reality; the butler said as how he did not approve such doings, and he would endeavour to let you know in time to prevent it.-- Howsomdever, as he is gone too, without telling your honour any thing about it, I suppose Mr. Pickle may have overpersuaded him.
Bless me! what a scheme of iniquity! But what girl is this he intends to deceive?
Melinda Heartfree, sir, the daughter of your honour's old servant John. Ah! he is a good old soul, and dame Heartfree too: they are so kind and good, every body loves them; and the young girl, too, is as good a creature, and as pretty as ever a man might wish to see. Indeed, your honour, I think it would be a pity to do her any harm.
I applaud your sentiments, and wish that many in higher stations, who delight in betraying innocence and beauty, could think as justly. To prevent the intended villany no time must be lost. Pickle and the butler may expect you now. You shall go with me. I'll not stay to dress for the wedding; when suffering virtue is to be relieved, or innocence protected, the moments are too precious to be dedicated to ceremony.
Enter John and Margaret Heartfree. John. Well, my dear, are you ready to take a walk over to neighbour Homespun's? Mar. Yes: I believe there's nothing more to be done about the house, and I'll go as I am, plain and simple. You know neighbour Homespun don't stand upon finery. John. No, and God forbid he should; for neither he nor I have much of that to brag of. But where's Milly? Mar. Milly had rather stay at home, she says. John. Well, let her stay; we can go without her. Come, child. [Exeunt.
SCENE John Heartfree's house.
Enter John and Margaret Heartfree.
Well, my dear, are you ready to take a walk over to neighbour Homespun's?
Yes: I believe there's nothing more to be done about the house, and I'll go as I am, plain and simple. You know neighbour Homespun don't stand upon finery.
No, and God forbid he should; for neither he nor I have much of that to brag of. But where's Milly?
Milly had rather stay at home, she says.
Well, let her stay; we can go without her. Come, child.
Enter Pickle and Butler.
Come, I have enquired, and find the old folks are from home. Melinda is within, and will make her appearance immediately.
What am I to do?
Be all gravity, sir, and with a demure face and most audible voice, read the ceremony.
The ceremony! where must I find it?
(opens the book)you are to begin here.
Yes, yes, how much is there of it?
Why it would take me a month to read all that----
Zounds! man, can't you read?
Great D-e-a-r, dear, l-y-ly, darly, b-e, be, l-o, lo, belo, v-e-d, ved, beloved, darly beloved.
Pish! try here.
Great W-i-l-t, wilt, t-h-o-u, tho', h-a----
Hush you clodheaded fool; here comes Melinda.
My dearest girl. (kisses her)
Lord bless me, how my heart aches!
What's the matter, my love?
I'm so scar'd; you'll pardon my folly, I hope, sir.
Yes, my dear, and reward your love; this worthy clergyman--
Is that the parson? how my heart aches!
He is a learned and sage divine, a true Orthodox minister of the church, a man of letters, and hard reading (literally true!
aside) He has an impediment in his speech.
Enter Meanwell, Cook and Scullion, on one side a little behind.
There is the poor girl, as I was telling your honour he intends to trick.
Is that the butler in the parson's gown?
Yes, sir, but he said he would keep them apart 'til your honour came.
(clapping Pickle on the shoulder.)
So, sir, you have dar'd to make use of my name, in order to deceive an innocent girl.
Blown, by heavens.
When virtue stands upon her guard against the protestations of lust and treachery, the professed libertine flies to a new object. 'Tis only the sly hypocrite and accomplish'd villain, who under the mask of honour, makes war upon simplicity and innocence, by prostituting the sanctity of marriage, to the base purposes of seduction.
I am asham'd to look him in the face. (
Young man--I could have pawn'd my life upon your principles: I have found in you fidelity, sincerity, and truth, an understanding and disposition far above your rank in life. In your breast I once thought virtue might have liv'd in concord with the graces. Sorry I am to see a mind such as your's polluted
and abased by the low cunning, of intrigue, and the base arts of sensuality.
How much like a scoundrel must I appear!
It is happy for you, miss, that my other servants are men of better principles than your fond lover, here.
Bless me! what do I hear? pray, sir, what is the matter?
My name is Meanwell, child.
What is your's, then?
Yes, and a most woeful pickle I am in. (
What a fool have I been?
Pardon me, good sir; and you, my dear girl, forgive me. Tho' your virtue deserves a greater reward, yet, if you will condescend to marry me, it shall be the future study of my life, to atone for my base designs upon your unsuspecting love, by making you a kind and most affectionate husband.
Your friends will object to your marriage, unless you get a woman of family and fortune, perhaps.
My principal friend is here present: If he consents, and you are willing, there can be no other objection to our union.
The generous tender you make of your hand and affections, to this poor injur'd innocent, gives me hopes that you have not travelled far in the road of vice. Her example will, I hope, recal you to the paths of virtue. If she is willing, I not only consent to your union, but will present you with a sufficient sum to begin the world with.
(aside)Well, my dear Melinda, you hear this, can you forgive me?
It was your person I lov'd, not your fortune: Your person is still the same, I must still love.
Here's my hand.
With mine take my heart.
Well, as all matters are settled, I may read the ceremony, I suppose. I can read much better now, Mr. Pickle.
Come, sir, be merciful, when virtue rides triumphant on the smooth surface of our affections, you should never ruffle the fair prospect by stirring the passions.
Instead of a fine lady, I must be poor Melinda, still, and instead of the master I've got the man.
(taking Pickle by the hand, sings)
But come, my Pickle, to my arms,
With all thy love attracting charms,
And free my mind from all alarms.
No fordid views, in thirst of gain,
No hopes of riches giving pain,
Shall e'er disturb my simple brain.
My loom shall tell, my wheel declare
That no domestic feuds, or war,
Shall drive my Pickle from my care.
I'll spin his coat, I'll knit his hose,
With white the legs, with blue the toes,
And keep him neat where'er he goes.
My dear Melinda, it is with pleasure I shall now discover to you my real name and character.--After the proofs I've had of your virtue and disinterested love, I can no longer hesitate in making you
mistress of a fortune equal to that I falsely pretended to be master of.
What is this I hear?
More wonders still!
(pointing to Meanwell)will be able to inform you that there are few families in this western hemisphere superior to mine, either in estate or other circumstances. By the death of a tender and careful father, I am possessed of an ample fortune.
My suspicions increase every moment.
The phrenzy of the times, and an unhappy attachment to sentiments and opinions inculcated into me from my early youth, reduced me to the necessity of abandoning both friends and fortune for a time, and to seek an asylum under the roof of a man held high in the esteem of my poor deceased father, and revered by all his dependants.
(shewing a letter)
Do you know this hand writing?
It is my good uncle's, or I'm much deceiv'd.
Come to my arms, my dear George; son to the companion of my youth, the fond associate of my riper years. He will always live in my remembrance, and to thee I will pay the debt of love I owed him.
Add no more to what I have received, left you oppress me with accumulated kindness.
My dear George why did you come to me in the character of a footman? you know the interest you had in my affections which entitled you to a
station far above the lowly homage paid to a master, or that pliant duty service too often requires.
Hearing that you were a suspected person as well as myself, and apprehending I might be held out to public odium, as the phrase is, I fear'd if I announc'd myself to you, you might be induced to do something in my behalf, which would render you still more obnoxious than you are at present.
Is it not sufficient that public virtue sometimes yields to the torrent of political enthusiasm, but are the social virtues to be confined within the narrow circle of self-preservation, or hid under the disguise of time-serving civility?
Enter John and Margaret Heartfree.
My old friend, I am glad to see you.
(shaking John by the hand)Madam, your servant.
I am proud to see your honour. Heaven's bounty be prais'd, your honour bears a good face yet.
And a good heart too, I hope.
Thank you, my good old lady; you wish me a boon far above the treasures of the world.
Well, but, Milly, how comes it that the gentlemen are all standing, child? Come, sir, take a seat; nobody welcomer, your honour knows.
I thank you John, I had rather stand.
(pulling out his watch)I have no time upon my hands, I find. Well, what business have you with me, John?
Business! bless your honour, I am proud to see you: it always does me good, whenever your honour comes a near me.
It was a seign'd story of mine to bring you here, sir.
Is that it? I'll say no more about it, then. So, John, you were near having a wedding in your house to-day.
I don't know how that could be, unless Milly would have wedded one of the bed-posts. There has not been a soul here, that I remember, off and on these two months and better.
Except the mad captain; he was here anon.
What do you think of this gentleman?
I don't recollect that ever I saw him before.
This is a young gentleman of fortune, the son of an old friend of mine. His name is Worthy, and would be happy to marry your daughter, if you will grant your consent.
Your honour must be joking now.
Indeed I am not; certain circumstances compelled him, for a while, to pass himself on the world for my servant, by the name of Pickle; but his passion for Melinda has induced him to discover his real name and family.
I cannot doubt your honour's word: But how came he acquainted with Milly?
Love, tho' blind, by instinct finds his way. I confess, with shame, that when I first saw this beauteous maid, I was tempted to entertain dishonourable designs upon her, but I found her pure as spotless snows, and firm as adamant against all improper proposals, tho' soft as wax to the impressions of tenderness. I have always wished to find a maiden who could love me for myself alone; in this artless fair I
have found one, who when my base attempt to impose upon her by a pretended marriage, was discover'd, mov'd by affection, forgave it all, and deign'd to receive the repentant sinner, tho' seemingly poor and humble. To her then, I bow, and she, if you object not, shall be the partner of my future life.
All this is new to me; but the gentleman is welcome to Milly, with all my heart. However, as it is come to this, another secret must be explained, for that girl is no more my daughter than I am a governor.
No, your honour, she is of a much better family than I shall ever boast: she is nearly related to your honour.
Yes, your honour; but a short story will make all clear. You remember you had a sister once who is now dead?
Yes, one whom I have always remembered with lively regret. She marri'd unhappily.
There, your honour, was the beginning of all the mischief. You know Mr. Spendall, her husband was a very extravagant man. He liv'd at a great rate, and gam'd and horse-raced it very much, so that he soon brought himself to ruin. But that was not all, for, besides all this, he treated the lady, his wife, very ill, indeed. She had brought him a fine fortune, and he had spent it: so he thought her heart always up-braided him for it, and that made him worse, but Lord help the poor lady, she was so sweet and kind hearted, she bore no malice to any body.
Your tale touches me too tenderly.
No wonder it should, your honour, but as I was about to say, the poor lady you know had a child, which was generally supposed to have died when it was two months old. Her husband was at that time gone upon a long journey which he took indeed to keep out of the way of his creditors, and the report was spread to deceive him, and a pretended funeral was had.
I remember it, and I attended on the occasion, but I did not examine the coffin.
Neither did any body else: but the poor lady had brought the child to me. I shall never forget her looks. It was not long before she died. John, says she, I know I shall shortly die, my heart is broken, and I am going to a better world than this. My only tie to earth is this tender infant: may she never feel her mother's sorrow! This infant I cannot leave in the house of a man who has forgotten all the feelings of a husband, who would educate her in vice, and perhaps leave her to beggary. I can preserve her from the pollution of bad example only by removing her from him. With you she will be plain and virtuous. When I am dead, and my husband is no more, who I know when alive, will never permit her to reside with him, convey her to my brother if he shall then be living. I know his generous soul: he will be indeed a father to her: as a proof of her birth, present him with this picture of his wretched sister, which he gave her himself. Here it is, an't please your honour.
(shews a miniature picture.)
It is indeed, the same.
Tell him, she said, that is the picture of his once dear Caroline, tell him it is the only valuable pledge of affection I had to leave him. She went away weeping so bitterly, that every time I think on't.--
(wiping his eyes.)
(Taking Melinda in his arms.)
My dearest girl--say, John, is this my poor sister's child?
I'll be sworn.
How can I doubt it? These eyes tempered with sweetness, these looks of mildness declare the fountain from whence they take their origin.
Blessings upon her, she is as good a child, thof I say it, and had the bringing of her up, as ever suck'd it's mother's milk.
Come hither, George; the generous tender you have made of your person and fortune to this girl, shall be amply rewarded. Take her, not as poor Melinda, but as my niece, and with her a fortune equal to your wishes.
Her merit is a sufficient dowry; her beauty would tempt the miser to forget his gold, and even think of happiness.
(runs to John and Margaret embracing them alternately.)
My dear father, my dear mother, how comes it that I am not your daughter? I am, I must be, indeed I must.
Their kindness, my dear, well deserves a filial attachment. It shall be my part to acquit you, in some measure, of the obligations you are under to them, by something more substantial than words.
Come, Milly, place your mind upon your uncle; he is worth a dozen such fathers as I am, child.
My uncle, I shall respect, no doubt, shall love; but must I forget my poor good old father and mother, who have fed me, rais'd me, cherish'd and loved me so long? I could as soon forget my victuals, and drink, as forget those to whose kindness I have so long been indebted for both.
When gratitude displays itself, it is with a meridian brightness, that almost casts a shade over the sister virtues.--But, John, why did you keep this matter a secret from me?
Your honour married, you know, soon after my young mistress went away. Ever since your poor lady died childless, I have been thinking of telling your honour, but some how or other, my heart has always misgiven me 'till now.
Well, my dear niece, I must redeem the time you have been lost to my affections, by redoubled tenderness for the time to come. Your old friend, Mr. Trueman, is to be married this evening, John; will you and the old lady go with us to the wedding?
I am always ready to obey your honour's commands. Milly, you must go behind your spouse, I suppose. The old woman and I can walk.
By no means, take my servant's horses. They can wait here 'till our return.
Well, well, your honour's will is my pleasure.
Come, let's away.
Brazen's house. Enter Mira. Mira. I wish love and duty could always go hand in hand, but the little tyrant will be obey'd, even when all the virtues oppose him. What can poor Duty do when sole competitor against so formidable a rival. She must submit, I suppose. (sings.)
I wish love and duty could always go hand in hand, but the little tyrant will be obey'd, even when all the virtues oppose him. What can poor Duty do when sole competitor against so formidable a rival. She must submit, I suppose.
Hail, Cupid, god of love, to thee
Henceforth I'll bend the suppliant knee;
Hymen, to thee my bliss I'll owe,
And fearless to thine altar go.
I have long given up to filial piety, all the little gratifications and amusements so ardently pursued by the gay and giddy of my years, but I can never resign to an arbitrary injunction, proceeding from mere caprice, the fair prospect I have of a happy establishment thro' life.
My dear Trueman, how came you here? surely, my eyes deceive me; it can't be you.
My love, my life, my every hope!
For God's sake, my dear sir--I expect my father, every moment.
Let him come.
(kissing her)This prattling talk of love, would make the angry tenants of the forest club their songs, and all the winged race chirp to the melody.--
If he should come, and find you here!
Lay aside your fears; your father has again consented to our union. What his inducements are,
'tis needless to relate at present. Let it suffice, that here I am by his permission.
Is it possible?
True as my love, doubtless as your fidelity.
So, so, give these young dogs a scent of the scut, and away they fly, regardless of whip or horn. Well, I am glad to see you, sir; Mira, how goes it, child?
(taking Mira by the hand)You see before you, two persons, long united by the ties of love, now waiting only for the solemn, sacred, service the rites of honour call for.
I hate your high flown speeches, Mr. Trueman.
My dear father, at your request, I was induced to accept a tender of this gentleman's affections.
You begin upon your high ropes. Hush, take him, that's enough,
(joining their hands)here, now, you are both satisfied, I hope.
Accept my thanks.
Kneel to your maker, child, not to me, get up. You may have him, I say, that's enough.
Enter Meanwell, Pickle, Melinda, John, and Margaret Heartfree.
My dear Meanwell,
(presenting him to Brazen)Mr. Meanwell, sir.
Poh! I know him well enough. I have eyed him many a time, damn'd sharp, too, you may depend. However, as he is no tory, I have nothing
more to say. Here's my hand. I'm glad to see you, sir. Who have you with you?
Mr. Worthy, sir.
Worthy! no tricks upon travellers. I am glad to see you, captain.
Milly Heartfree, as I live! You have a mind to be funny, sir, but you can't cheat me in my neighbour's children, neither.
(to John and Margaret.)How goes it, neighbours? I am glad to see you. Come, take seats. I'll go, and have a rouzing fire in the great room.
(sees Trueman kissing Mira.)How they bill like two pigeons! The parson will be here presently. He'll set you to kissing, with a vengeance.
(to Meanwell.)You were quite funny with the old gentleman.
I never was more serious in my life. This, sir, is George Worthy, of Maryland, nephew to our good friend and acquaintance, Charles Worthy, Esq; and this, can you believe it? is my niece, my dear sister's daughter.
I am astonished.
I never was more so in my life.
Let it suffice for the present to inform you they are affianced to each other. The circumstances which have led to a discovery of their rank in life, and the generous proofs each has received from the other, of a disinterested affection, I will give you in full at a more convenient season. Their wedding is to follow your's. Will my Trueman and his lovely bride, favour us with their company?
With pleasure, sir.
Come, adjourn into the next room, if you please. Old Thump-the-cushion is arrived already.
END OF THE PATRIOTS.
MY mind impells me first of forms to tell,
Which being chang'd, to diff'rent bodies fell.
Ye Gods, (for you this wond'rous change effect,)
Inspire my lays, my arduous task direct.
From works primæval teach the song to flow
In strains continued to the times we know.
I. Before th' extensive sea and earth were made,
And heav'n o'er all its azure mantle spread,
Thro'out, the face of nature was the same,
Rude and confus'd, and Chaos was its name.
A sluggish weight, a rough unfinish'd world,
And jarring atoms into contact hurl'd.
No sun as yet had spread abroad the day,
Or chear'd the world with his enliv'ning ray;
No moon as yet her monthly round begun,
Her horns increasing as her course she run;
No earth suspended in the ambient air,
Self-pois'd, as yet had fix'd her station there:
Nor had the sea her circling arms stretch'd forth
Along the margin of her sister earth.--
Where'er was land, the sea and air appear,
Restless the earth and sea, quite dark the air.
Its proper form with nothing yet remain'd,
This was by that, and that by this restrain'd.
For deeds discordant in one body blend,
The cold with hot, and wet with dry contend,
The soft with hard, the heavy with the light:
A God and kinder nature stop'd their fight:
Earth from the skies, from water earth he clears,
And heav'n refin'd from dusky air, appears:
Which when he'd sever'd from the dark abyss,
He plac'd at distance, and he bound in peace.
The fiery meteors of the convex heav'n,
To which no heavy particles were giv'n,
Sprung upwards, chose of all the top extreme,
And shone aloft in eminence supreme.
The air, in lightness next, is next in place;
The earth more heavy, drags around its face
The larger elements, and forc'd by fate,
Is press'd together by its mighty weight.
The water chose the lowest place of all,
And flow'd circumfluent 'round the solid ball.
II. When he, (whoever of the Gods he was,)
Had cut, and thus dispos'd the mighty mass;
First, that the parts might be alike in all,
He roll'd the earth into a perfect ball.
He bade the sea to spread, with winds to roar,
And 'round the border'd earth imprint a shore.
He added springs, and pools immense, and lakes;
With winding banks the rapid river breaks;
While part subsides into the earth, its source,
Part to the sea pursues its various course,
Mix'd with the world of waters, beats the shore,
And in its narrow limits runs no more.
The plains he levels, low the valley lies,
The forests foliate, rocky mountains rise.
And as two zones the northern sky contains,
And two the south, a fifth more hot remains:
God thus in number all his work divides,
O'er its own region ev'ry clime presides:
The middle, scorch'd with never-ceasing heat,
A dreary land unknown to human feet:
Deep snow o'er two its chilly reign extends;
In other two, so well the Godhead blends
The heat with cold, that neither can exceed
The temp'rate bounds his wisdom has decreed.
On all these zones reclines the lofty air,
Which in its weight surpasses fire, as far
As earth the water: he, whose will is fate,
Commands that there the clouds and fogs should wait
The dreadful thunders, and the cooling wind,
Nor wou'd the God permit that unconfin'd
The winds should wander thro' the spacious air;
E'en now so great their rage they soon wou'd tear
The world apart, without the marker's care.
When each, by providence, assign'd his place,
Commands his whirlwinds in a different space,
To bright Aurora, Eurus wings his way,
And takes his station with the dawn of day,
To Nabathæan realms, and Persian hills,
Whose summit first the beams of morning feels.
The regions warm'd by Sol's declining ray,
To pleasing Zephyrus the nearest lay.
Dread Boreas, seiz'd on Scythia's frozen plains,
And o'er the gloomy north in horror reigns.
The lands oppos'd to his domain we find
Are wet with constant clouds and rainy southern wind.
O'er these he plac'd the æther clear, serene,
Devoid of weight, or speck, of dross terrene.
Soon as these sev'ral things their places found,
And God had giv'n to each its proper bound,
The stars which long beneath the mass did lie,
Sprung forth, and glitter'd, thro' the spangled sky.
And that no region might hereafter be
Of animals depriv'd, above we see
The stars, and persons of the gods, alone,
Celestial forms possess the heav'nly throne.
For cleanly fish, the waters he design'd;
To beasts the earth: to birds the air assign'd.
A better animal must yet be found,
Of soul capacious, and of sense profound;
Ordain'd o'er all to hold the sov'reign sway,
A man is made; and man the rest obey.
Whether the pow'r whom we Creator call
Of this fair world, grand architect of all,
From seeds divine, produc'd the human frame,
Or new made earth which from the other came,
Connected lately with the starry reign,
Might yet the seeds of kindred heav'n retain,
To which Japetus' son, with water mix'd,
The image of the ruling gods affix'd.
While other animals their heads decline
To earth; to man he gave a face divine:
Bade him sublimely tow'rds the sky to raise
His looks erect, and on the stars to gaze.
Thus earth, which late a shapeless image bore,
Transform'd, of men, the unknown figure bore.
III. The golden age is planted first, and then
Spontaneous, all the happy race of men
Their faith preserv'd, and what was right they saw,
Without avengers, or the force of law.
No punishment was then, nor pallid dread,
No threat'ning words in brazen tables read:
No suppliant crouds approach'd with timid pace
The judge's seat, or fear'd his angry face;
Safe, without punishment, they all remain.
No pines as yet descended to the main,
Cut from their hills, to visit lands unknown;
And mortals knew no shores besides their own.
Steep ditches then did not the towns surround,
No trumpets then of straight, nor horns were found
Of crooked, brass; nor helmet, nor the sword
Was stain'd with blood by it's offended Lord.
But all secure, a soft repose enjoy'd,
Nor soldiers then their pleasing peace annoy'd.
From culture free the earth it's harvest yields,
No rakes, or ploughs, had broke the fruitful fields.
Content with food by no compulsion made,
They pick'd with ease the fruits from ev'ry glade:
The mountain strawberries and cherries cull'd,
And pleas'd, the blackberry from brambles pull'd;
The acorns fallen from the spreading tree,
Nature's plain feast, to them, were luxury.
'Twas constant spring, and seedless flow'rs inhale
The temp'rate breezes of the western gale.
Harvests unbought with toil the earth adorn,
And fields unfallow'd, sing with ears of corn;
Gush streams of milk, and flow nectarious rills,
And honey from the verdant oak distills.
IV. When, in the gloom of Tartarus confin'd,
Saturn the world to thund'ring Jove resign'd,
The silver age prevails far worse than gold,
Tho' better than the race of brazen mould.
Jove now to shorten ancient spring, decreeds;
Four seasons in the varied year succeed,
The winter, summer, and unsteady fall,
And spring so short it scarce exists at all.
Then first the air excessive fervour found,
And ice first hung by winds inclement bound.
Men enter'd houses, caves their houses made,
Thick shrubs and twigs with bark together laid.
Then Ceres' seed was first in furrows sown;
With yoke oppress'd the lab'ring oxen groan.
To these the third, a golden race appear,
More prone to war, in temper more severe,
Not yet completely wicked. Soon the last
Of iron came, which all in vice surpast.
This race deprav'd all crimes, all horrors stain'd;
Nor faith, nor truth, nor modesty remain'd;
But frauds, deceits, and cruel plots prevail'd,
And force and avarice the world assail'd.
To winds untried the seamen spreads his sails,
And keels which long had stood the stormy gales
On lofty mountains, now triumphant glide
O'er waves unknown, and waves unknown deride.
The ground, before as free as light or air,
The weary measurer marks out with care.
The needful food which earth on man bestows,
Suffices not; he to her bowels goes,
And riches which were hidden by her care
Remote in caves, the shades of Stygia near,
To vice, the dire incentives, now appear.
The murd'ring steel, and gold, more noxious yet,
She then produc'd; they quickly war beget,
Who fights with both, and spreading dread alarms,
Shakes with his bloody hand his rattling arms.
Men live by spoil; e'en from his host the guest,
And from his son-in-law, the fire unblest,
Is never safe: fraternal love is rare.
Husbands, for wives, contrive the deathful snare,
And wives, for husbands: stepdames dire prepare
The dismal aconite: the son desires
His father's death, and of his years enquires.
Dejected piety quite vanquished lies:
Astræa, struck with horror, sought the skies
Last of the gods: she long maintain'd her seat;
Then left the earth with human slaughter wet.
V. Least heav'n itself in safety shou'd remain,
The giants strove the heav'nly realm to gain,
And pil'd high mountains to the starry reign.
The fire Almighty then with lightning broke
The huge Olympus thro', and with the stroke
From Pelion's top the lofty Ossa shook.
Crush'd with their mass their dreadful bodies lay:
Spread with their plenteous blood the parent clay,
'Tis said, grew warm: a wond'rous life began;
The heated gore assum'd the form of man;
Sad monument of those detested foes,
A race of men contemning heav'n arose;
On violence and murder most intent,
Whose deeds evinc'd from blood their dire descent.
VI. The heav'nly father from his lofty throne
Beheld these evils with a sorrowing groan.
These to his mind a recent fact restor'd,
The horrid feast of dread Lycaon's board,
Not yet declar'd: then fierce his anger blaz'd
To fury worthy of the Godhead rais'd.
A council strait he calls: without delay,
The Gods the summons of their king obey.
In heav'ns vast concave is a lofty way,
The milky nam'd, which, in a sky serene,
Is clearly by its dazzling whiteness seen.
On both sides here the greater gods reside.
Their crowded gates are ever open wide.
Inferior gods are scatter'd o'er the skies:
But here in front the stately domes arise
Of deities supreme in pow'r and fame.
This place, if man such liberty may claim,
I dare the palace of vast heav'n to name.
Now in the marble hall each fill'd his throne.
He in the highest seat superior shone;
Reclining on his iv'ry sceptre, shakes
His awful head: then earth, then ocean quakes;
High heav'n and all her stars with terror shook:
And thus the sire of gods indignant spoke.
Not more concern'd was I for my domain
Of earth of old, when first the hellish train
Of snake-feet monsters dar'd attempt to lay
Their hundred arms upon the realms of day.
Tho' fierce and dreadful were those haughty foes,
The fatal combat from one band arose;
But now where Nereus roars, thro'out the world,
On all mankind our vengeance shall be hurl'd.
I swear by all th' infernal streams, which move
Beneath the earth within the Stygian grove.
All other remedies have first been tried:
Since these are vain, the sword must be applied
To cut the wound incurable, and clear
The sounder members from infection near.
The Semigods, and Nymphs, those rustic pow'rs,
Fauns, Satyrs, Sylvans, who possess the bow'rs
Of shady mountains, all by right are our's;
Who, not admitted to the heav'nly reign,
The earth we gave them should at least retain.
And, Oh! ye gods, can they in safety be,
When fierce Lycaon laid a snare for me,
For me whose hand the awful thunder guides,
Whose sov'reign pow'r o'er all the gods presides.
He said: they murm'ring all with zeal demand
The wretch who dar'd the will of Jove withstand.
Thus, when an impious band were in a flame
In Cæsar's blood to sink the Roman name,
The human race, astonish'd, felt the stroke,
The world, aghast, thro' all its members shook;
Nor did the faith of friends, Augustus, prove
To thee, more grateful than was this to Jove;
Who then with hand and voice the murmur stay'd;
They, all in silence, strict attention paid.
When rev'rence due their clamours had suppress'd,
Again the sire supreme the gods address'd.
Dismiss your cares: the wretch has met his fate.
I will the crime and punishment relate.
The growth of vice on earth had reach'd my ears,
Which wishing false, I leave the heav'nly spheres,
And tho' a god in human shape I go,
And thus disguis'd survey the world below.
The tale tedious all the crimes to tell,
Which then within my observation fell,
The infamy beneath the truth I found.
Now had I pass'd the wild Moenalian ground,
Where secret dens of savage beasts abound,
Cyllenius, cold Lycæus' piny wood,
And reach'd th' Arcadian tyrant's dire abode,
When twilight late drew on the nightly gloom,
I gave a signal that a god was come.
At this the vulgar, struck with awe, began
Submissive prayers: not so the impious man:
Their holy vows he ridicul'd, and cried,
Soon shall this seeming deity be tried,
And whether God or mortal shall be plain
By open proof, nor shall a doubt remain.
He then prepares by night, when all was still,
Me, suddenly, oppress'd with sleep, to kill.
Pleas'd with this proof, but not with that content,
He slew a hostage from Molossia sent.
Part of the half dead limbs in water boils,
And part with burning coals beneath them broils
Which soon as he had plac'd upon his board,
The household gods, who suited such a lord,
I with his house consum'd in vengeful fire;
He flies affrighted to escape mine ire,
And seeks the lone recesses of the plain,
There howls aloud, and strives to speak in vain:
His mouth enrag'd upon t [illegible] cattle lights,
His thirst the same, in blood he still delights.
His garments now are chang'd and pass to hair,
And legs and claws in place of arms appear.
Thus made a wolf, the likeness he retains
Of his old shape: his hoary hair remains;
The same expression of a savage soul,
And still his eyes with sparkling fury roll.
One house thus fell, but not one house alone
Deserves to perish, and for all atone;
For wheresoe'er the earth extends her plains,
The dreadful fury wild Erinnys reigns.
You'd think that all to villainy were sworn;
Immediate therefore let the pains be borne,
Which all deserve, and thus, if you agree,
Stands firm the sentence and the high decree.
The gods consented: part by words approve,
And strengthen with their own the will of Jove;
Others with ready votes applause exprest;
Tho' sorrow still had touch'd each heav'nly breast
For loss of man: they ask what form will wear
The lonely earth, no mortals being there?
By whom would incense be on altars plac'd?
Did he, by beasts, to lay the nations waste,
And yield the world to them alone, design?
The king of gods commands them to decline
Questions like these, and void of idle fear,
Confide, in all things, in his guardian care;
And then he promisses, by wond'rous fate
A race unlike the former to create.
Now was the god prepar'd his bolts to spread
O'er all the earth, and strike the nations dead,
But fear'd so great a flame by chance might burn
The sacred skies which round their axis turn:
For well he knew a fated time would come
When raging fires wou'd sea and earth consume;
When wrap'd in flames, high heav'n's imperial throne,
And all the world's unwieldy mass wou'd groan.
The bolts by Cyclops fram'd aside he throws,
And now a diff'rent punishment he chose;
His show'rs from heav'n to pour in torrents down,
And in the waters all mankind to drown.
That moment in the dark æolian hall
The blasts of Boreas he inclos'd, and all
The winds which drive the clouds away confin'd;
Then order'd forth the rainy southern wind.
The South-wind flies with heavy wings and wet,
His dreadful face in pitchy darkness set.
His beard of falling rains a burden bears,
And water flows from all his hoary hairs.
Upon his brow the mists and fogs low low'r,
His wings and sides distil a dripping show'r;
And as with spreading hand the clouds on high
He press'd, a rumbling noise is made thereby,
And heavy show'rs come pouring from the sky.
The maid of Juno, various Iris, flies
And draws up water, and the clouds supplies;
The grain lies flat, the clown's full hopes o'erthrown,
The fruitless labours of the year are gone.
Nor was the wrath of Jove with heav'n content;
His azure brother waves assistant lent.
He calls the rivers: they the summons hear,
And in the palace of their prince appear.
In haste he cried, not many words to use
The time allows; but now your strength diffuse.
Your sluices open, over all the lands
Unbounded pour your streams--so Jove demands.
Swift at the word, they to their sources go,
Let loose the mouths of all their springs below,
And rapid torrents to the ocean flow.
His trident on the earth inflicts a stroke;
It quak'd, and waters from its bosom broke.
The rivers rushing o'er the open plain,
Bear on the flood the shrubs and standing grain,
And cattle, houses, men, and temples sweep,
With all their sacred things towards the deep.
If any house remain'd, that cou'd oppose
Unmov'd the shock, the water o'er it flows.
And e'en the lofty tow'rs which waves conceal
Tremble o'erwhelm'd, and from their bases reel,
The sea and land were sep'rate now no more,
But all was sea, and sea without a shore.
This climbs a hill, and this is seen to move
In crooked boat where late his plough he drove:
This plies his vessel o'er the standing corn,
And o'er his country-house immers'd is borne:
This takes a fish within an elm made fast:
In meads (if chance so hap) an anchor's cast.
The crooked keels now rub the vines beneath,
And where the slender goats late cropp'd the heath,
Sea calves deform'd, their slimy bodies lay,
The Nereids' wond'ring, groves and towns survey,
Beneath the sea: thro' woods the dolphins go,
And beat the branches shaken to and fro.
The wolf swims harmless with the swimming sheep,
And yellow lions float upon the deep:
The tygers too, upon the waters sail,
Nor strength the boar, nor speed the stag, avail.
The wand'ring birds, for wander now they might,
In search of land, whereon to rest their flight,
With weary wings at length in ocean light.
The sea licentious now the hills o'erthrew,
And now new waves o'er mountain summits flew.
The greater part the water bears away,
And those it spares thro' want of food decay.
Between th' Athenian and Aonian fields,
The soil of Phocis plenteous harvests yields,
A fruitful land while land it did remain,
But then a sea, of sudden waves a plain,
And there a mountain to the starry reign,
Parnassus nam'd, its lofty summit rears,
And o'er the clouds with double top appears.
Here when, for all the world besides were drown'd,
Deucalion with his wife a landing found,
(This man a little vessel thither bore)
They prostrate fall, the mountain's Gods adore,
The nymphs Corcydian, vows to Themis pay,
Who then was priestess to the God of day.
No better man, more fond of right than he,
No woman fearing more the Gods than she.
As soon as Jupiter beholds the ball
In water buried, and but one of all
The many thousand men so late alive,
And thousand women now but one survive,
Sees both religious, both without a stain,
He stops the clouds, restrains the rushing rain,
The show'rs before the northern winds are driven;
He shews the heaven to earth, the earth to heaven.
Nor longer does the sea its wrath retain,
Neptune, the mighty ruler of the main,
Calms the rough deep, his trident laid aside,
He stands aloft upon the azure tide.
Shell-fish the shoulders of the God surround:
He bids the triton loud the conch to sound
Replete with air, the signal giv'n to all,
And all the waves, and all the floods recall.
The hollow trump, a wreathed shell he takes,
Which grows in breadth, where last a twirl it makes.
When this receives in middle sea the sound,
The shores which lay to either sun resound.
When then towards his mouth the God had rear'd,
(His mouth now dripping with his wat'ry beard,)
The shell which sounds the bid retreat, 'tis heard
By all the waters of the sea and land,
And all at once obey the great command.
And now the sea obtains its former shore,
Now run the rivers where they ran before;
The streams retire, the waters falling 'round,
The hills arise, and gradual grows the ground.
The woods at length with naked tops remain,
The mud still sticking to their leaves retain.
The world's restor'd; which when an empty space
Deucalion sees, and o'er its dreary face
Deep silence reign, he Pyrrha thus address'd,
Nor, as he spoke, the gushing tears suppress'd:
Oh! sister, wife, oh last of woman kind,
Whom kindred first, and next the bed has join'd
To me, and now these dangers nearer bind;
Thro'out the lands which with declining rays
Or with his rising light the sun surveys,
Of all the nations we the stock remain:
The rest are buried in the gulphy main.
Nor e'en have we of life assurance yet:
For still the clouds my mind with fears beset.
And what, unhappy, would have been thy thought,
If fortune hither thee alone had brought?
How without me would'st thou these terrors bear,
And how these griefs, with none those griefs to share.
For I, believe me, if the sea had ta'en
My wife (for who behind thee cou'd remain?)
Wou'd thee have follow'd; yes, my love, I wou'd
With thee have floated on the restless flood.
O that I now cou'd by my father's skill,
Restore mankind; to fashion'd earth instill
The souls of men; but such the heav'nly will,
The human race appear in us alone,
We mournful samples, all the rest are gone.--
He spoke; they wept, and next inclin'd to pray,
And ask assistance of the God of day.
Without delay to Cephisus they go,
Whose waves, tho' muddy, in their channel flow.
There first, with due libation, they adore,
And with the sacred waters sprinkle o'er
Their heads and garments: next they bend their way,
To where the temple of a goddess lay.
With filthy moss was over-run the spire,
The altar stood without a spark of fire.
When far as to the lowest steps they'd gone,
Each prostrate fell, and trembling, kiss'd the stone.
And thus they said, if angry Gods relent,
If Gods by pray'r intreated, e'er repent,
Most gracious Themis, now the art declare
The loss of all our species to repair,
And to our sad condition give relief:
The Goddess mov'd with pity at their grief,
The solemn answer of the fates reveal'd.
Depart the temple; be your heads conceal'd,
And let your garments loose around you flow;
The mighty mother's bones behind you throw.
Long did they stand amaz'd, nor either spoke.
First with her voice the silence Pyrrha broke;
Refus'd the sacred order to fulfill;
And pray'd with trembling lips to shun the ill.
By throwing thus her mother's bones she said,
She fear'd to violate her awful shade
The words they study o'er, perplex'd in thought,
And long the sense ambiguous vainly sought.
Comfort at length Prometheus' son affords
To Epimetheus' daughter, with these words.
The pious oracles no crime advise,
Or far beyond my reach their meaning lies.
Our mighty mother is the earth; her bones
I judge the Goddess darkly nam'd the stones,
Which in the bowels of the earth are hid,
And these to throw behind us we are bid.
Altho' Titania by this guess is mov'd,
Still mix'd with doubt her hope uncertain prov'd:
So much they both the heav'nly word distrust.
To try what harm? for trials make we must.
Then down they go: their heads with care they hide,
Observant next their garments they untied,
And then the stones behind their footsteps throw,
(Who cou'd believe this wonder, but we know
That sage antiquity the tale declar'd?)
The stones begin to yield: no longer hard,
They change their shape, and as they larger grow,
A better face, a milder nature shew,
Features resembling human now appear,
Tho' faint at first, without a likeness clear.
But as of marble statues just begun
Are not exact, or likeness yet have none,
Or images a rude appearance wear,
So these to them a great resemblance bear.
Whatever part was moist, with any juice
Or earthly, soften'd to the body's use.
The solid harder parts were chang'd to bones,
And that which lately was a vein in stones,
The same within the human frame remains,
And still a vein its former name retains;
And soon the stones which thus by man were thrown,
By aid divine, to manly shape had grown:
The female race created also stands,
Of those which issued from the woman's hands.
From hence a hardy race, to toil enur'd,
We prove the means which first our life procur'd.
VIII. Productive earth, as ancient wisdom thought,
All other animals spontaneous brought.
While the old moisture on her surface lay,
And felt the influence of the solar ray:
The mud and oozy fens to work begun,
Became prolific by th' enliv'ning sun:
The seeds of all things hast'ning to the birth,
Their quick'ning nourishment from fruitful earth,
As in a mother's womb abundant drew,
And soon to life and certain figures grew.
Thus when, within its usual bounds decreas'd,
The sevenfold Nile to overflow has ceas'd,
While the fresh mud the beams ætherial warm,
O'erturning clods, the plowman finds a swarm
Of insects, scarcely some to birth arriv'd;
Unfinish'd some, of members some depriv'd:
Often in one, a part with life endued,
The other part is earth unform'd and rude.
Because, when heat with moisture temper'd lies,
They strait conceive, and all things thence arise;
Tho' fire and water oft repugnant meet,
Yet life and being sprung from humid heat,
And jarring concords nurse the tender birth:
When from the recent deluge, then the earth
Quite muddy with th' ætherial sunshine glows,
The race of creatures numberless arose.
In part to some their former shapes she gives,
And partly unknown monsters now conceives.
Oh monstrous Python, tho' unwilling she,
Yet she conceiv'd and brought forth also thee;
An unknown serpent thou, a terror then
To all the late created race of men;
So vast the space, the bulk, immense possess'd,
Which far and wide the lofty hills oppress'd.
This monster then the God who bears the bow
Ne'er us'd 'till then, except against the roe,
Or tim'rous goats, with thousand arrows flew,
Which from his almost empty quiver flew;
And as the monster wreath'd upon the ground,
The poison flow'd thro' ev'ry livid wound.
Least length of days should e'er obliterate
The reputation of so bold a feat,
He sacred games appoints, for contests fam'd,
And Pythia from the conquer'd serpent nam'd.
In these, whatever youths the rest excell
In boxing, running or in driving well,
Receive the honours of the beechen crown,
No laurel yet, the laurel was unknown.
And Phoebus then with any sprigs there were
Adorn'd their temples deck'd with flowing hair.
IX. Phoebus for Daphne first a passion feels;
His heav'nly breast to Peneus' daughter yields.
Nor did blind chance the painful flame inspire;
The cause is trac'd to Cupid's cruel ire.
The Delian god exulting that his bow
Had lately laid the monstrous Python low,
Beheld this little mischief-making thing
Attempt his bow, and playful draw the string.
Oh wanton boy, the god triumphant cried,
Shall gallant arms like these by you be tried.
Our shoulders only should those darts array,
Which by our skill can certain wounds convey
To hostile men or dreadful beasts of prey.
We who the swelling Python overthrew,
With countless shafts the bloated monster flew,
Who many acres of the soil depress'd
Beneath the burden of his pois'nous chest.
Be thou content to irritate the blaze;
And with thy torch some kind of love to raise,
Nor claim our praise; with us the merit lies.
To him the son of Venus thus replies,
Thy bow may all things shoot: but now attend,
'Gainst thee shall mine the shaft unerring send.
As far as others yield in pow'r to thee,
So far in glory art thou less than me.
He said: with flutt'ring wings he takes his flight,
Alighting on Parnassus' shady height.
Then from his quiver stor'd with arrows, two
Of diff'rent workmanship, he instant drew.
This love repels, and keeps the soul at rest;
That love creates, and stimulates the breast.
The love-inspiring darts of sharpen'd gold,
Blunt lead around the other's head is roll'd.
With this the nymph Peneian Cupid struck,
That in the marrow of Apollo stuck,
Quite thro' his bones: he instant loves: she flies
The name of lover, to the thicket hies;
In groves, and skins of captive beasts elate,
Unmarried Phoebe seems to emulate.
Her hair uncomb'd, not now in order plac'd,
A fillet bound, a hair-string only grac'd.
Many, the nymph with ardent passion woo:
She hates the suitors, and the passion too:
Averse to man, a stranger to his ways,
She lonely woods and silent groves surveys,
And ne'er regards what Hymen can bestow,
What joy from love and rights connubial flow.
Oft did her father say, my child, you owe
A son-in-law to me: and oft from you,
My child, he said, to me are grandsons due.
She, hating as a crime, the marriage bed,
Her beauteous face, with bashful blushes spread,
With fawning arms her father's neck caress'd,
And then in soothing sounds these words address'd:
"My dearest fire, let me this boon obtain,
Oh grant, that I a virgin may remain:"
Diana once the same request had tried,
Her tender father with her wish complied.
Indeed he now complies, but still that air,
That beauty, and thy form, oh lovely fair!
Oppose thy wishes, and forbid thy pray'r.
Now Phoebus sees, and loves, and pants to gain
The joys of marriage, but he pants in vain.
Transporting passion prompts him to believe,
While his own oracles the God deceive.
As stubble burns from whence the ear is cut,
As hedges blaze, if chance the trav'ller put
A torch too nigh, or near the dawn of day,
Has left a torch upon the hedge set way.
With flames incessant thus the god decays,
Thus thro' his bosom runs the rapid blaze.
He tries his fruitless love with hopes to raise.
He sees her locks all unadorn'd, which play'd
Around her neck: if comb'd, what hair he said!
He sees her sparkling eyes appear as bright
As twinkling stars, like stars emitting light.
Her pretty little mouth he also sees,
Nor is the fight alone enough to please.
Her fingers, hands, and arms, he praises o'er,
Her arms half naked he extols the more.
If aught was hid, the scene his fancy drew
More lovely than the parts expos'd to view.
She swifter than the wind affrighted flies,
Nor can his words avail, while thus he cries.
Oh nymph Peneian stay, I beg you do.
No foe am I, nor as a foe, pursue.
Stay nymph: from wolves the lambs thus swiftly go,
Thus from the lion bounds the timid doe.
From eagles thus retreat the trembling doves,
And thus each creature from its foe removes.
'Tis love impells me; love alone for you,
Is all the cause, why I, oh nymph, pursue,
Oh wretched me, least you should prostrate fall,
Least thorns or brambles now those legs shou'd gall.
Those legs too lovely to be hurt, woe's me,
If I shou'd prove the cause of grief to thee.
The ways are rugged which you wish to gain:
More mod'rate run, your rapid flight restrain.
I'll slowly follow and more mod'rate move,
Least any evil shou'd befall my love.
Enquire of all, of all you please to try,
No mountain swain, nor shepherd mean, am I.
Nor do I horrid dirty garments wear,
Or watch the herds and flocks, which ramble here.
Rash nymph! you little know of whom you're shy:
You know me not, and therefore thus you fly.
To me the Delphic lands devoutly pray,
And Claros, Tenedos obedience pay:
Patara's palace trembles at my nod,
My father Jove, the thunder-bearing God.
By me enquiring mortals know their doom,
Whate'er is past, and present, and to come.
From me the pleasing voice of music springs,
And songs concord with sweetly sounding strings.
Our arrow to the mark unerring flies;
Yet one more sure within my bosom lies.
Physic from me its first invention claim'd:
The helper, I, thro'out the world am nam'd.
With me of herbs specific rests the pow'r,
Woe's me that love no herbs specific cure,
Nor do those arts which help to all afford
Suffice to lend assistance to their Lord.
More had he utter'd: but to fear resign'd
The virgin fled, and left the words behind
With him unfinish'd; comely still she goes,
The winds her body and her limbs, disclose;
Against her flutt'ring clothes the blasts now bear,
And gentle gales drive back her uncomb'd hair.
Thus with her flight her beauty is increas'd,
But now the youthful God his soothing ceas'd,
Nor longer bears such melting words to waste,
But as his love directs, pursues with haste.
So when a hare in plains the greyhound spies,
He tries to catch, and she for safety flies.
The one near taking hopes now, now to close,
And strains her heels with his extended nose.
The other doubts if yet the tooth she feels,
And from the bite and mouth adherent reels.
Thus do the God and beauteous maid appear,
He swift with eager hope and she with fear.
Yet he far swifter with the pinions flies
Which love affords and time for rest denies.
Now on her flying back he seems to bear,
Now scatters with his breath her waving hair
Spread on her neck: now with the rapid chace
Her strength is spent with toil, and from her face
The colour flies: as Peneas' waves she views,
O father help if e'er you rivers use
The pow'r divine, nor now your aid refuse.
Oh earth in which I've ta'en too much delight
Open, and take me in, or alter quite
The form which thus the source of mischief proves,
The form he follows 'tis the form he loves.
The pray'r scarce made; her limbs a numbness bound,
Her breast with tender bark was compass'd 'round:
Her lovely hair to leaves abundant grew,
Her arms to boughs, her feet which lately flew
Now stick fast bound by the dull roots restrain'd,
Her face a top, her beauty sole remain'd.
Phoebus, this form, this beauteous tree, approves,
And still this remnant of his Daphne loves;
(His right hand touch'd the stock: her fear was such,
The breast still throbs, still trembles at the touch.)
The boughs as members with his arms entwines,
The wood he kiss'd, his kiss the wood declines.
To whom the god; since now you cannot be
My wife, yet you shall be my fav'rite tree.
Thy leaves, my laurel, on our hair we'll place,
Our hair and quiver hence shall laurel grace.
The Latian chiefs thy honour'd boughs shall wear,
When joyous shouts the triumph shall declare,
When to the capitol in pomp repair
The trains victorious: thou shalt also wait
A faithful guardian at Augustus gate
Before the door, on either side, display'd,
Thy friendly leaves the tree of Jove shall shade.
And as my head is young with unshorn hair,
So shall thy limbs a constant foliage bear.
He cea'd, assent the laurel nods, and now,
As once the head, the top appears to bow.
X. A grove sequester'd æmonia lies,
Around high clifts with forest crown'd arise:
There thro' the vale of Tempe Peneus flows,
Whose stream it's source to lofty Pindus owes.
With foaming waves this river roars aloud,
And raises by it's fall a misty cloud:
The highest woods are in it's vapour drown'd,
And distant regions echo to the found.
This is the house, and this the lone abode,
The sacred palace of the river--God.
Residing here within his rocky cave,
To waters and their nymphs he mandates gave.
The neighb'ring rivers thither first repair
In doubt, his sorrow, or his joy, to share.
The poplar-bearing Sperchius first appears,
Then rough Enipeus, and tho' grown in years
Apidanus, Amphrysos' gentle tide
And Œas next, then other streams beside,
Whose impulse leads thro' diff'rent realms to go,
And tir'd with wand'ring, to the ocean flow.
All came but Inachus, whom grief restrain'd;
He in his gloomy cavern sad remain'd,
With falling tears for wretched Io lost,
Increas'd his waves, in doubts perplexing tost
If yet she lives, or in the Stygian shade
Glides a pale ghost companion of the dead,
But her to him forever lost, he thought,
Whom over all the earth in vain he sought,
And fears the worst. The king of gods had view'd
Io returning from her father's flood.
Oh spotless maid, and worthy Jove, he said,
And ripe to bless some happy shepherd's bed.
The shade of lofty groves now seek, my maid,
(He shew'd her too of groves the thickest shade;)
While thus the Sun with hot meredian ray,
Now glows upon us in the midst of day,
But if alone the dens of beasts you dread,
Safe with a guardian god the secret forests tread,
No pow'r inferior but the God who holds
Heav'n's awful throne, whose thunder shakes the poles.
Oh fly me not: she fled to fear resign'd,
And now the fields of Lema left behind,
Lyrcæa's woody plains as quickly past,
When Jove the earth with darkness overcast,
Restrain'd her flight, and gain'd his wish at last.
Meanwhile imperial Juno bent her eyes
Full on the fields, and saw the clouds arise.
Great is her wonder in a day so bright,
To view th' appearance of the darkest night:
She knows no river sends the vapours forth,
Nor do they issue from the humid earth,
With jealous care, around, her spouse she sought,
Her spouse, in am'rous thefts, so often caught:
Whom when she found not in the skies, she said,
This moment, if I err not I'm betray'd.
Then gliding down from heav'n's ætherial height,
On earth she stop'd, and put the clouds to flight:
The watchful god his wife's approach foreknew
And o'er th' Inachian maid the figure threw
Of a young heifer, lovely to the view.
Against her will, the queen its' form admir'd,
And then, (as knowing not the truth,) enquir'd
From whom, and whence that beauteous heifer came,
And what the herd: to hide her author's name,
He said, from earth she sprung: then Juno ask'd
The heifer as a gift; and Jove aghast
Was sore perplext: what can he do? to use
His mistress thus was cruel: to refuse
Wou'd raise suspicions: shame inclines to yield,
Yet love dissuades; and love had won the field.
But shou'd so small a present be denied
To her, his sister, and imperial bride,
Well might the heifer something more appear.
The mistress giv'n: not yet the anxious fear,
Of Jove's deceits aside the goddess laid,
'Till she, to Argus' care consign'd the maid.
'Round Argus' head a hundred eyeballs burn,
And two of these are laid at rest in turn,
The rest keep guard, and in their station stay:
Whate'er his posture, Io these survey.
Tho' tow'rds her turn'd his back, before his eyes
Is Io plac'd, and he her actions spies.
By day to feed he cautious turns her forth,
And when the Sun is hid beneath the earth
He shuts her up, and with a cord wou'd bind
Her neck too beauteous so to be confin'd.
With leaves of trees and bitter herbs she's sed,
Instead of sleeping on an easy bed
She hapless now on earth the nights must pass,
The earth not always cloth'd with verdant grass.
Of stagnant pools or slimy water drinks,
And, when a suppliant now her arms she thinks
T' extend to Argus, arms alas! has none
To stretch tow'rds Argus, for her arms are gone.
She tries to cry but makes a lowing noise,
And dreads the sound, affrighted at her voice.
Now to the banks of Inachus she came,
Those banks the scene of many a youthful game;
There in the stream her new made horns survey'd;
And fled with horror, of herself afraid.
The water nymphs the unknown heifer view,
Nor Inachus his wretched daughter knew:
But she her father follows, follows too
Her sister nymphs: she offers to their hands
Her form, and while they stroke her, gentle stands.
Old Inachus the gather'd grass, stretch'd out,
His hands and palms she kiss'd and lick'd about;
Nor tears restrains: if words cou'd flow as well,
She'd beg his help, her name and sorrows tell.
Her foot the letters scrapes, in lieu of words,
A sad discov'ry of her change affords.
Woe's me, her father Inachus exclaims,
And on her horns and snow-white neck remains.
Woe's me repeats. Art thou my daughter, tell,
Whom I thro' all the world have sought so well?
Unfound occasion of less grief thou wert,
Than now of sorrow, when thus found thou art,
In silence lost, you yield us no replies,
Your bosom deep is torn with constant sighs.
A dismal low in answer to my words,
Is all that now thy wretched change affords.
Yet I for thee, to fate all-ruling blind,
The bridal torch and nuptial bed design'd.
First to a son-in-law my hopes inclin'd,
And then with youthful grand-sons cheer'd my mind;
But now for thee a husband I must find,
And young ones from the herd: for me, to grief
Forever doom'd, not death can give relief.
Condemn'd to be a God, I mourn my state,
Forbid to enter death's more peaceful gate,
To endless sorrows tied by cruel fate.
While thus he mourn'd, the star-eyed Argus leads
His daughter off, and brings to other meads:
Afar the summit of a mountain found.
And as he fits, on all sides looks around.
XI. The ruler of the Gods can bear no more
To see Phoroneus' grandchild thus endure
Such heavy ills: his son he orders forth,
Who from the lucid Pleias drew his birth;
To him the mandate gives, her foe to slay,
The cruel Argus: he, without delay,
Wings to his feet and in his potent hand
His winged hat assumes, and sleepy wand.
The progeny of Jove prepar'd to fly
Down from the lofty palace of the sky,
Leap'd to the earth, and there his hat laid down,
Put off his wings, and kept his staff alone.
With this he drives, in likeness of a swain,
A flock of goats across the devious plain,
Which here and there he gather'd in his way,
And plays on oat-straw join'd, a pleasing lay.
The guard of Juno taken with the sound
Of this new pipe, which sweetly echo'd 'round,
Whoe'er thou art, sit here with me he cries:
Luxuriant pasture here the earth supplies;
Nor can your cattle find more plenteous fields,
And here the cooling shade refreshment yields.
Hermes obedient sits: the day detains
With pleasant converse, and with soothing strains,
Which sweetly from his artful pipe arose,
Attempts in sleep his watchful eyes to close.
The drowsy Argus tries to vanquish sleep,
While half his eye-lids soothing slumbers steep,
The others still their vigilance retain:
He then, for late invented was the strain,
Inquir'd who first with straws together tied
Contriv'd the pipe: and thus the God replied.
XII. Within the mountains of Arcadia cold,
In Nonacrine, a Naiad liv'd of old;
Of all the woodland nymphs, the first in fame
For heav'nly charms, and Syrinx was her name.
The satyrs and the Gods, she oft eludes,
Who range the fruitful fields and shady woods.
She to Ortygia's goddess pays her court,
And joys to imitate her modest port.
Like Dian cloath'd the likeness wou'd deceive,
Her as the same you might with ease believe,
Save that one circumstance, the diff'rence told
Her bow of wood, Diana's fram'd of gold.
Yet thus she oft deceiv'd: this lovely maid
The god whose head with leaves of pine's array'd,
Pan saw and lov'd, and thus his love declares.
More had he said, how she despis'd his pray'rs,
And fled affrighted thro' the desert ways
To where the sandy Ladon's water strays
With gentle stream: there by the current staid
To change her form the liquid sisters pray'd;
How, when the God to catch his Syrinx thought,
For her a bunch of marshy reeds he caught,
And while he sighs the reeds with wind resound,
Like one complaining, make a tender sound.
Pleas'd with the hollow reed's uncommon noise,
How Pan delighted in the soothing voice,
And said, oh lovely maid, to talk with thee
This mode remains: my comfort this shall be.
Thus with a bond of wax unequal reads
United, from the nymph, their name proceeds.
XIII. Thus had he spoke; but now he fees that sleep
Weighs down the keeper's eyes, and slumber deep
O'er all is spread: at once his voice he ceas'd,
And by his art the growing sleep increas'd;
Soothing with magic wand his languid eyes,
Without delay as thus he nodding lies.
His crooked faulchion gives a deadly wound
Where to the neck the hanging head is bound.
He throws him bloody on the rock, and o'er
The rugged mountain sheds his purple gore.
There liest thou, Argus, and the light you bore
In all those hundred eye-balls shines no more----
These eyes Saturnian Juno pluck'd with haste,
Among the feathers of her bird now plac'd;
With gems like stars the peacock's tail she grac'd.
XIV. She instant burn'd with anger, nor delay'd
Her fierce revenge: before the Grecian maid
To fill her eyes and mind with dire dismay,
The dread Erinnys she commands to stay.
And secret stings within her bosom plac'd;
And thro' the world th' affrighted wanderer chac'd.
With thee, oh Nile, her tedious labour ends:
Which, when she reach'd, upon the bank she bends
Prone on her knees, with neck aloof she rears
Her lonely face to heav'n; with groans and tears,
And mournful lowings, of her Jove complains,
And seems t' implore an end of all her pains.
The pity'ng God embrac'd his spouse, and pray'd
That now her woes might cease: resign, he said
Thy anxious fears: that hapless maid no more
Shall cause thee grief: by Stygia's lakes he swore,
And call'd their waves to hear: the Goddess yields:
Io her former shape returning feels.
The hairs obedient from her body fly;
Her horns decrease, and less is made her eye.
Her jaws contract, her arms and hands renew,
Off drops the hoof, five nails she takes in lieu.
Now nothing of the brutal form remains.
It's snow-white hue alone her skin retains.
Now with two feet content the nymph can go
Erect, yet dreads, in speaking, still to low;
And fearfully the words untried so long
Assays to utter: but the num'rous throng
Of Ægypt's race, whom linen robes array,
To her, a Goddess, solemn worship pay:--
XV. At length to mighty Jove a son she bore,
Whom with his mother all their towns adore.
She call'd him Epaphus: to him in years
And spirit equal, Phaeton appears
From Phoebus sprung: whom yielding not in worth
But proudly boasting of his heav'nly birth,
The youth whose race from Inachus descends
In wrath address'd. Poor fool, thy faith depends
On all thy mother says, and idly vain
Of a false father, swells with vaunting strain.
At this, his face with blushes cover'd o'er,
Shame stopp'd the wrath of Phaeton: he bore
The vile reproach, and to his mother told.
More be your grief, he cried, that I the bold,
The fierce, was silent: this completes my shame,
That scandal's such as this shou'd stain thy name
Nor able I to vindicate thy fame.
But if descended of a race divine,
Some token give me of so great a line.
Assert my right to heav'n; as thus he said,
Around his mother's neck his arms he laid.
By her's by Merops' head he fondly pray'd
And by his sister's wedings, to receive
A certain proof his father to believe.
Doubtful if more by his intreaties sway'd,
Than wrath at such an imputation laid.
To heav'n then Clymene her arms displays,
And looking at the sun's refulgent rays,
She said, by that bright beam who shines on high,
Who hears me speak, and with his piercing eye
All nature views; by him my son, I swear,
That he whom now you see, whose guardian care
Preserves the world, the sacred source of day,
He is thy sire; if I a falshood say,
May he the prospect of himself deny,
And may this light the last salute mine eye.
Nor hard the toil, if so thy mind impells
Thyself to know where thy great father dwells.
Contiguous to our earth the palace lies.
Whence in the ruddy morn he takes his rise,
Go, if you wish, and of himself enquire.
These words with joy immense the youth inspire.
Elate he hastens forth: his eager mind
Is full of heav'n; and soon he leaves behind
His Æthiopians, and the Indians plac'd
Beneath the burning sun with equal haste;
With undiminish'd ardor speed his way
To where his radiant fire begins the day.
Written about the time when the Ladies wore remarkably high head-dresses.
BUTLER! thou dear facetious wight,
Who know'st so well to paint a fight,
Whose Muse cou'd flow when battles rage,
Where bears, dogs, men, and all engage,
Who mad'st advance, or mad'st retreat
With ease the beating and the beat,
With equal caution, equal skill,
That none were killed, or could kill;
Oh lend thy pen, thou name divine,
To paint a battle fierce as thine:
A battle which the Grecian bard,
To celebrate would find too hard;
Altho' his mighty genius taught,
How gods with men together fought;
How frogs and mice engage in fray,
For honour they, as men for pay.
Ye tuneful Nine---- but hush the pray'r,
The nymphs must not attend us here;
For in this battle, such our fate,
As truth demands, we must relate,
How ladies fight, how fierce they are,
When battling for a suit of hair.
The tale begins: but first, I trow,
Time, place, and all, you want to know:
But ladies' names, I hold it certain,
Are best conceal'd behind the curtain;
Except when fortune smiles, and then
I'll blab 'em forth as soon as men.
Two ladies at their toilet sat,
One talk'd of this, the other that--
But stop; the one I'll nickname Molly,
And for the rhyme, the other Dolly.
Molly. Oh me! 'tis horrid, quite too low
(Her cheeks with rage began to glow.)
'Tis frightful, wants a pound of wool,
The maker surely was a fool.
Then Dolly look'd, and peevish said,
My pack's too low by half a head;
My hair's so thin, deuce take the pin,
I scarce with squeezing get it in.
'Twill never do: pray now look here.
Molly. 'Tis horrid shocking, child, I swear,
Dolly. What's to be done? Molly. I do not know,
But thus to church I'll never go.
Dolly. Nor I. In pet she instant laid
Low down the honours of her head,
In other words, the pins, the curls,
The plaits, the woolpack, she unfurls.
Then Dolly springing from her chair,
(I dread to tell as you to hear)
Oh fatal, fatal, fatal Ire!
The pack was instant in the fire.
Molly. Dear Dolly, child, for shame, for shame,
Impatient folks are much to blame;
The pack would yet have done, had you
But done as I intend to do.
I'll get some wool, and cram and stuff
My pack until it's full enough.
Let's go my girl; we'll shear a sheep,
Please God, I will, before I sleep.
Dolly. I'll go, dear Molly, and assist,
I'll have a pack two foot at least.
Their hats and mantles on they drew,
And instant to the meadow flew.
A vicious ram was there confin'd,
And kept apart from all his kind;
The ewes, and lambs, and other sheep,
Were brouzing on a mountain steep.
The hoary chief our heroines saw;
He gaz'd, he paus'd, was struck with awe.
When Molly spoke: What horns? what horns?
Dolly. What charming wool his back adorns?
His horns you see are twisted 'round,
And quite unfit to give a wound.
I'll pen him up in yonder corner.
Molly. I wish the creature may not horn her.
But I will join the grand design,
And half the glory shall be mine.
She nearer drew, as thus she said;
The ram, surpriz'd, turn'd tail, and fled;
And seem'd quite passive, 'til he found,
By thus retreating, he lost ground,
That still the foe came pressing on,
As cowards do when battle's won.
He fac'd about; the ladies flew,
As sometimes men of mettle do.
The ram to feeding went, and then
The rallied foe came on again.
Molly, the boldest of the two,
Would try what stratagem could do.
Let's drive him slowly: I'll get near,
And sudden charge him in the rear;
I'll seize behind, you charge before,
Grapple his horns, and then we're sure.
Heroes may boast of battles won,
Of feats by mighty warriors done,
Of marches, counter-marches too,
And arts of war they never knew;
Of defiles, ambuscades, and stuff,
And skill not worth a pinch of snuff;
View Molly's generalship and plan,
Then beat it, heroes, if you can.
Molly, I say, mov'd slowly on,
To where the first attack begun.
The ram majestic march'd along,
As some proud puppy thro' a throng,
But soon the crafty foes he feels,
Attacking both at head and heels.
One seiz'd his horn, and one his wool;
Now, now, she cried, my pack is full.
Ah! bootless boast, ah! prospect vain!
What toils? What mischiefs yet remain?
Thus, while the shouts of conquest rise,
By random shot, the victor dies.
For soon the ram submission scorns,
With desp'rate jerks he loos'd his horns;
And turning 'round, disdaining fear,
Charg'd home the plund'rer of his rear.
Just then, poor Molly, at a pull,
Had strove to fill her hands with wool.
The thickest fleece in vain she wrench'd,
Tho' to the root, her fingers clench'd.
The ram began to kick and jump,
Miss Molly holding still his rump;
Her hands in wool entangled fast;
But from her gripe he broke at last,
Then fir'd with rage for injur'd honour,
He swore to wreak revenge upon her;
And rush'd to butt with desp'rate head:
Then Molly from his wrath had fled;
But 'ere she cou'd begin the race,
He fiercely struck her, in that place
Where scoundrels take their due desert,
And none but cowards will be hurt:
'Twas there he struck: Oh, fatal case!
Prone fell poor Molly on her face.
What beauties then the maid reveal'd?
What charms which envious dress conceal'd?
But not for me a heaven to paint;
My pencil's dull, my colouring faint.
Now, luckless chance! as thus she lay,
And call'd for help, in dire dismay,
The ram, his victory pursuing,
As if he meant to work her ruin,
With angry front her head attacks:
Off fell the heaps of wool and flax:
The powder flew, false hair and curls,
Demolish'd all, around he whirls.
But in the pack his horns were caught;
He toss'd, he rag'd, to clear them, thought
In vain: with hair he blinds his eyes,
And clouds of powder 'round him rise;
Such clouds as oft on festal night,
Clothe empty heads in radiant white.
Amaz'd, confus'd, perplex'd and vex'd,
Like preacher who forgets his text,
Now did he rub his head, now fling,
Mad as a bear around a ring.
But nought would do: around his horns
Safe lodg'd the pack, his fury scorns.
He thought the devil his foes had join'd,
The hopes of farther fame resign'd,
And waiting not to hear the drum beat,
In haste retreated from the combat.
Dolly, who all the time, amaz'd,
Upon the dreadful battle gaz'd,
When now she saw the conqu'ror yield,
Bearing the trophies of the field,
To Molly ran, in haste; she cries,
The foe is gone, dear sister rise.
Then help me up, she groaning said,
May I be doom'd to die a maid
If 'ere I fight with rams again;
My curls are scatter'd o'er the plain,
Quite dirty all, my pack he bears,
And on his head triumphant wears.
The pack that's gone was quite too small;
How then will look, no pack at all?
Fashion in every thing prevails,
We all are lost, if fashion fails.
While others go with packs so large,
They seem their heads to overcharge;
And ladies' lofty tops aspire
As high as grenadiers or high'r;
Shall I, a little humble chit,
Appear no taller than five feet?
While others, powder'd, curl'd, and friz'd,
Their locks do furbelow and twist,
'Till like a quick-set hedge they shew,
Or bunch of briars cloth'd in snow;
Shall I be seen with plain comb'd hair?
A shame like that I must not bear.
Oh woeful chance! the church to enter
In such a garb, I cannot venture.
If people only went to pray'r,
Indeed, for dress I should not care.
But belles you know, there are, and beaux,
Who place their glory in their clothes,
Who go to church to shew their beauty;
Not humbly to perform their duty.
How should I in their eyes appear?
The end of this I ne'er should hear.
Then Dolly said, your grief restrain,
My dear, since now it is in vain,
And let us try to make the best on't;
Else they, indeed, may make a jest on't.
Shall yonder ram?--as thus she spoke,
The ram, at length, the pack had broke;
Before his horns the texture yields,
Pins, wool, and hair embrown the fields.
At once the conversation ceas'd,
Poor Dolly's courage quite decreas'd,
And Molly quak'd, who saw the foe
Prepar'd again for deadly blow.
They view his threat'ning horns with fear,
Nor did they dare to venture near.
'Till he in pity to their case,
Retir'd contemptuous from the place.
He left, with scorn, the tatter'd pack
Which he cou'd not, but they might lack.
For beasts the gewgaws vile disdain,
The want of which to man gives pain.
The scatter'd relics then they gather,
Here lay a curl, and there a feather,
And here the pack to pieces torn --
They pick them up, and o'er them mourn.
With heavy hearts they haste away;
Compell'd, that day, at home to stay.
There sad they sit, and mope, and pine;
Each thinks, what conquests had been mine
Of lover's hearts, at church to-day,
Could I have gone in fair array;
In fashion's airy pride adorn'd;
But now by all I shall be scorn'd.
Forgotten, is my fav'rite boast
To reign, an undisputed toast.
The joke will spread, full well I know.
That many a titt'ring belle and beau
Will laugh to hear our sad disaster.
Says Molly, had I but run faster,
The ram had never knock'd me down,
Nor had I spoil'd my Sunday gown.
Thus ends our laughable narration,
Nor wants a moral application.
Ye fair ones, let your heads be full
Of sense, but load them not with wool.
Fight not with rams to gain their fleece;
Trust me, such aids can ne'er increase
Your native charms: it is not art,
But nature, which attracts the heart.
Your flowing locks which nature gave
O'er ivory necks in beauty wave:
These nets of love, our souls ensnare,
All unadorn'd with art or care;
While pride, and pomp's fastidious train,
Are parents of disgust and pain.
The following letters from the Devil to his son, the reader is requested to consider as not addressed to any particular person. The author appears to have indulged his imagination in describing a completely wicked character; but such a one, as I believe, and hope, can not, with strict propriety, be applied to any human being, either living or dead. As no name is mentioned, I trust no application will be made, except by the consciences of those whose vices resemble those here described, and for whose benefit, by endeavouring to induce them to amend their lives, and for no other purpose, the present publication is intended.
MY ever dear and fav'rite son,
I've heard of late the deeds you've done.
Go on, my boy, keep true to me,
And I'll keep faith, depend, with thee.
For sure, I never yet did know,
In air above, or earth below,
A son so wedded to my will,
So lost to virtue, prone to ill;
So ev'ry way my son and heir,
Or fitter for promotion here.
Know then, that I, of special grace,
Willing to give my boy a place,
Late summon'd up my swarthy crew,
To know what seat best suited you.
All prick'd their ears, except a black,
Who ears had not; he shewed his back.
"No make him overseer," says he,
"For dat man, he been killey me;"
His back, his head, his meagre face,
Drew pity from the hellish race;
A murmur ran from shore to shore,
And hell was instant in a roar.
The clamour stay'd, a boy then cried,
"By him begot, by him I died."
An aged matron crept along,
And feebly thus address'd the throng;
"A child I bore, a child I cherish'd,
"And by that child at last I perish'd."
Such acts, my son, such deeds as these,
Methought th'infernal crew would please.
But all cried out, "'tis strange to tell,
"There's no place fit for him in hell,
"His acts so far surpass your own,
"They'd give him title to the throne."
The truth is this, my son, they fear
Lest you should take the Imperial chair.
Should that, say they, be e'er the case,
Hell would be soon an empty space.
The croud dismiss'd, a wily peer,
With wicked grin, malicious leer,
Advised to build another hell,
That you alone therein might dwell.
Now, if my son has no objection,
It shall be built by his direction;
Nay more, to give you due content,
I'll send you negroes to torment;
An overseer, or two, besides,
To help you cut and slash their hides,
And if I did not know you well,
(Tho' seldom any come to hell)
Some women I might send; but then,
I'm sure you'd whip them back again.
Should an engrosser come this way,
Send me your answer, aye, or nay.--
Your loving Father,
I WROTE, my son, to let you know
The seat prepared for you below.
I write again, my child, to tell
The news that's passing now in hell.
A fellow's here, who sets about
A piece of news that makes a rout:
He says, that when he came away,
My dearest boy was heard to say
He would repent.--Of what, my son?
Of all the good you've ever done?
For, sure I am, you'll ne'er relent,
Nor of one wicked deed repent.
I therefore laugh'd to hear the tale,
Tho' much it did with some prevail;
Nay more, and that is quite uncivil,
He says, you preach against the devil;
And talk of kindness, doing good,
And giving, to the hungry, food;
However, to remove all doubt,
I gave a little hand-bill out--
That all you did, or said, or thought,
By me was prompted, by me taught.
Take care when here, or you'll be baited,
For hypocrites in hell are hated.
Tho' us'd by us as dearest friends,
In t'other world to serve our ends.
MY much rever'd and honour'd sire,
Your letters came to hand,
I'm proud to do as you desire--
To act as you command.
I wonder much, dear sir, that you
Who know mankind so well,
Should be surpriz'd at what I do,
At aught I write or tell.
You know my skill has always laid
In hypocritic face,
And what I've ever done, or said,
Was nothing but grimace.
Don't mind, I pray, what blockheads say
About my turning good:
'Tis true I gave some wheat away,
But 'twas not fit for food.
I sold some pork, but then I knew
'Twould poison those who ate;
I meant it for the rebel crew;
Your foes I meant to cheat.
I preach'd, but you'd have laugh'd, I swear,
To hear me rear and rant,
With all my father's look and leer,
And hypocritic cant.
I look'd so good, so very mild,
So cunning, and so civil,
E'en you'd have thought your darling child
Did preach against the devil.
Thus did I damn your name to gain
More honour to myself;
And thus in private to obtain
Rich stores of worldly pelf.
Of all the fiends who serve thy laws,
With all their art and pains,
Not one advances so thy cause,
As he who virtue feigns.
Then blame me not; to wear disguise
Your son you tutor'd well:
Tho' men my sanctity may prize,
I'll join you all in hell.
I fell upon a scheme of late,
In which I top'd my part;
Cried I, this poor afflicted state,
My friends, affects my heart.
Your present leaders are all fools;
Your burgess is a dunce;
You are all slaves, you are but tools;
I'll set you right at once.
I then propos'd, to stop all trade,
I'd public agent be,
Advis'd what bargains might be made,
If they would trust to me.
I wanted much to cheat the state,
So swore, I would be true:
I've dropp'd all trade myself of late
And now I'll cheat for you.
These little arts but trifles are,
To those I'll practise soon;
So, dear Papa, you'll please prepare
The kingdom for your Son.
DEAR * * * when last you wrote, remember well,
The charms of winter, you presum'd to tell;
I felt such shame (kind heaven the shame repay,)
As sense must feel at such a senseless lay;
Take no offence, for ev'ry foolish clown,
Since * * *'s muse has come thus hobbling down,
May mount his Pegasus, and laugh at those
Who spur at rhymes, and stumble into prose.
Now, you will say, that view the scholars 'round,
Such wild eccentric wit may oft be found,
Wherefore the poets should receive the bays,
Who sometimes sing for laughter--not for praise,
Thus, while poor Pegasus is flogg'd along,
This hums in prose a dismal dirty song;
That poet's fancies claim a slacken'd rein,
And oft run rapid o'er the flow'ry plain,
Yet, as I may, permit me to make bold,
And ask thee, if thy muse or theme be cold?
I say that folly, spite of reason's voice,
Is now elected, and alas! thy choice;
And when poor reason, by some peasant thrown,
Shall lie neglected where he tumbled down;
No friend this sacred gift of heav'n to take,
Since e'en the learn'd, the pilgrim now forsake;
I here protest, whoe'er against declare
He should to * * * and its lord repair,
That seat 'round which the muses oft have cried,
In doleful strains with reason on their side;
O gracious Pallas, goddess of delight,
Vouchsafe for once at * * * to alight;
The air is temperate, serene, refin'd,
Not for a dirty, slattern muse designd;
Banish to Hottentot, the drunken whore,
And let her shackle prose with rhymes no more;
For nothing better from this muse we've had
Than dirty simile, and prose run mad.
The subject puts us in a gape, and sleep,
In spite of snuff, will o'er the senses creep;
From line to line the self-same dulness flows,
With not one sketch of wit to yield repose,
A perfect nuisance, which t' endure aright,
Another Argus only has the sleight.
In vain we hope this muse will cease her song
Till wisdom claps a padlock on her tongue;
Goddess of music; our petition hear,
And lend to * * * a poetic ear.
Dear * * *, reflect, whene'er the maggot bites,
And spite of fate the muse of * * * writes,
Myriads of critics do upon her fall,
In vain for measure, or for rhyme they call;
Since common sense by her neglected lies,
While virtue slumbers, and religion dies.
Reflect on this, and own the consequence,
Thus to persist must argue want of sense.
Oh, what repasts the stirling wits prepare?
We read with pleasure or with rapture hear;
Parnassian laurels deck the poets' brow,
And sages to the magic numbers bow.
But verse like thine the modest face inflames,
And yet it tickles not the lovely dames;
The lovely fair, endearing sex, bestow'd
On man, to mitigate of life the load.
Who gainsay this, are frantic, I maintain,
Nor merit Hymen nor the silken chain,
And when indecent and immodest, sure
Deserve a gibbet, or a lock secure.--
See the fair charmers blushing as they read,
See virtue start, and decency recede,
Then own your heart of unrelenting stuff;
Or, say you've read too little,--wrote enough.
Oh sex, held sacred by the good and brave,
Which to the world the promis'd saviour gave!
Let love await thee, and let virtue prove
How much you merit, and how much we love;
Let saints salute thee with a song divine,
Fruition meet for souls attun'd as thine;
But why this flight?--kind heav'n avert the stroke,
Nor let religion droop at * * *'s joke,
Tho' back'd by heathen Gods, or hell, he dare
To treat Redemption as a strange affair.--
Burke, Hewitt, Henley, Gwatkin, I esteem,
Their virtues, * * *, are far above thy theme.
Should Cam, with spreading laurels on his head,
Like thee e'er write, or thee attempt to read,
To Tartarus the rev'rend chief should go,
Drink deep of Lethe, and forget below,
Of Helicon the sweet inspiring taste,
Which oft has charm'd us in his verses past;
He then might mount thy courser's back, and drop
A sprig of birch, triumphant, on the top
Of some rich dunghill, where thy muse oft strays
To cull a simile, or gather bays.--
Cervantes little thought his heroe's horse,
Would be the subject of a limping verse;
Nor could the Don, whose honest nature knew
To virtue's laws the sacred rev'rence due,
Whose friendly bosom beat the pulse of love
To all who in this giddy circle move,
E'er dream, tho' mad with tales of chivalry,
That Rozinante would a pack-horse be
To such a dirty bastard muse; but hold
This faithful quadruped, tho' blind and old,
By instinct knew an ethic from a whore,
And threw her sprawling, where she'll rise no more.
But stop, my muse, in travestying we're crost,
For here the sense, in Labyrinth, is lost,
The gaudy fly, that now sweet nectar sips,
From Nancy's cheek, or slumb'ring Chloe's lips,
Now flirts, in ecstacy, the candle round;
Now drops in toddy, and is quickly drown'd,
Pardon the simile, (I hate abuse,)
Is but an emblem of thy flirting muse.
Thy lift of worthies, worthy we admit,
And wish them social, as we grant them wit.--
The hapless slave who toils, from day to day,
And heedless slumbers half his time away,
Is not an object to deserve a hiss----
But he who strives to write, and writes amiss.--
Thy lift of heroes (save the infernal chief
Whose curse eternal, staggers thy belief)
Wise heroes all, but * * *, I think 'twas wrong
T' insert their names in such a silly song,--
But honest nature (conscious as I am
There's none so blind, in reason none so lame,
But that he must the sting of satire feel,
Tho' arm'd his head with lead, his breast with steel)
Impels me in the loudest notes to raise,
Oh birch-deserving * * * thy song of praise.
The poem to which the above was written, as an answer, has, I believe, been long since forgotten; and as the author was acknowledged to be a very worthy and respectable man, though a very bad poet, his shame should be forgotten also. The satire is therefore published without the name of the author, and thus it is hoped, some instruction to other writers, and some diversion to the reader my be gathered from it, without injuring the feelings of any person whatever. Those who have read the work alluded to, (which the reader will observe, was printed many years ago with no name annexed,) will judge for themselves, whether its sentence here pronounced, was just or not; and those who never have, and probably never will, may consider the answer as a description of bad poetry in general, in which light it is now given to the world, and may be serviceable in restraining those who scribble prophanely or indecently, without the skill to compose verse, or sense to entertain their readers.
WHERE slumb'ring streams in liquid silence flow,
And fragrant beauties on their borders grow;
Where smiling nature greets th' approach of spring,
And warbling songsters soothing sonnets sing;
Where gentle gales their fanning wings display,
And whisper pleasures as they steal away;--
There Colin wand'ring, lost in dreams of love,
Saw Celia's form in clouded beauty move;
He heard her words in trembling accents break,
Then step'd aside, to listen, as she spake.
He vow'd to love, with sweet submission swore,
But hapless Celia ne'er may view him o'er.
Her moving words the balmy breezes bear,
And gently wast them to the shepherd's ear.
Each soothing sound his deep attention caught,
But Celia's name enraptur'd ev'ry thought--
When smoothly gliding thro' the silent grove,
She saw her Colin melting into love,
"His soul thus utt'rance gave." MILTON.]
Why dubious, Celia, of thy Colin's love,
And why lamenting to the silent grove?
In early youth your pleasing chains I bore,
And captive still, my lovely maid, adore.
Should Venus, circled in an orb of charms,
With sweet submission court me to her arms,
Her all-divine would ineffectual prove,
Nor cou'd her beauty make me change my love.
"She blush'd and smil'd." MILTON.
Then Colin's eyes with sparkling pleasure roll,
A torrent rapture rushing to his soul.
He smiling springs, in transport, views her charms,
And clasps her gently yielding in his arms.
I FOUND my eye-lids sliding close,
They softly touching lay,
When smoothly came the pleasing dose,
And stole my sight away.
Then fancy plays in scenes of bliss,
Elysium's airy queen;
She wings the soul to taste and kiss
Of pleasures oft unseen.
Methought I heard the cooing dove,
In languid notes complain;
Methought I saw an angel move
Soft sliding o'er the plain.
Before mine eyes dissolving flew
A gently weeping cloud;
It's pensive bosom pond'rous grew
With wat'ry tempest proud.
Methought I walk'd in Eden's grove,
The air was soft and mild,
That all was beauty, all was love,
So sweetly nature smil'd.
The cooing dove was Celia's voice,
The angel Celia prov'd;
Her plaints that mask the pleasing noise,
Her form angelic mov'd.
The weeping cloud with tempest full,
Distilling drops of rain,
Was Celia's face, her eyes grown dull
With inward pensive pain.
But when she found her slumb'ring swain,
Her looks as Eden seem,
With eager joy, I clasp'd my love;
'Twas Celia, not a dream.
COME on, my brave fellows, a fig for our lives
We'll fight for our country, our children and wives.
Determin'd we are to live happy and free;
Then join honest fellows in chorus with me.
Derry down, down, &c.
We'll drink our own liquor, our brandy from peaches,
A fig for the English, they may kiss all our breeches.
Those blood-sucking, beer-drinking puppies retreat;
But our peach-brandy fellows can never be beat.
Derry down, down, &c.
A fig for the English, and Hessians to boot,
Who are sick half their time with eating of crout,
But bacon and greens, and Indian corn-bread,
Make a buck-skin jump up, tho' he seem to be dead.
Derry down, down, &c.
Come on, my brave fellows, &c.
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