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STELLA'S BIRTH-DAY. 1724-5.
As, when a beauteous nymph decays,
We say, she's past her dancing days;
So poets lose their feet by time,
And can no longer dance in rhyme.
Your annual bard had rather chose
To celebrate your birth in prose :
Yet merry folks, who want by chance
A pair to make a country dance,
Call the old housekeeper, and get her
To fill a place, for want of better :
While Sheridan is off the hooks,
And friend Delany at his books,
That Stella may avoid disgrace,
Once more the Dean supplies their place.
Beauty and wit, too sad a truth!
Have always been confin'd to youth;
The god of wit and beauty's queen,
He twenty-one, and she fifteen.
No poet ever sweetly sung,
Unless he were, like Phæbus, young;
Nor ever nymph inspir'd to rhyme,
Unless, like Venus, in her prime.
At fifty-six, if this be true,
Am I a poet fit for you?
Or, at the age of forty-three,
Are you a subject fit for me;
Adieu ! bright wit, and radiant eyes!
You must be grave, and I be wise.
Our fate in vain we would oppose:
But I'll be still your
friend in prose: Esteem and friendship to express, Will not require poetick dress;
And, if the Muse deny her aid
To have them sung, they may be said,
But, Stella, say, what evil tongue
Reports you are no longer young;
That Time sits, with his sithe to mow
Where erst sat Cupid with his bow;
That half your locks are turn'd to gray?
I'll ne'er believe a word they say..
'Tis true, but let it not be known,
My eyes are somewhat dimmish grown:
For nature, always in the right,
To your decays adapts my sight;
And wrinkles undistinguish'd pass,
For I'm asham'd to use a glass;
And till I see them with these eyes,
Whoever says you have them, lyes.
No length of time can make
Honour and virtue, sepse and wit:
Thus you may still be young to me,
While I can better hear than see.
O, ne'er may Fortune show her spight,
To make me deaf, and mend my sight!
EPIGRAM ON WOOD'S BRASS MONEY.
CARTERET was welcom'd to the shore
First with the brazen cannons roar;
To meet him next the soldier comes,
With brazen trumps and brazen drums;
Approaching near the town, he hears
The brazen bells salute his ears :
But, when Wood's brass began to sound,
Guns, trumpets, drums, and bells, were drown'd,
A SIMILE, ON OUR WANT OF SILVER,
AND THE ONLY WAY TO REMEDY IT. 1725.
As when of old some sorceress threw
O'er the moon's face a sable hue,
To drive unseen her magick chair,
At midnight through the darken'd air;
Wise people, who believ'd with reason
That this eclipse was out of season,
Affirm'd the moon was sick, and fell
To cure her by a counter spell,
Ten thousand cymbals now begin
To rend the skies with brazen din;
The cymbals' rattling sounds dispel
The cloud, and drive the hag to hell.
The moon, deliver'd from her pain,
Displays her silver face again.
Note here, that in the chemick style,
The moon is silver all this while.
So (if my simile you minded,
Which I confess is too longwinded)
When late a feminine magician *.
Toin'd with a brazen politician,
Expos'd to blind the nation's eyes,
A parchment of prodigious size;
Conceal'd behind that ample screen,
There was no silver to be seen.
But to this parchment let the Drapier
Oppose his countercharm of paper,
And ring Wood's copper in our ears
So loud till all the nation hears;
* A great lady was said to have been bribed by Wood. N. of The patent for coining halfpence. N.
That sound will make the parchment shrivel,
And drive the conjurers to the Devil:
And when the sky is grown serene,
Our silver will appear again.
By long observation I have understood,
That two little vermin are kin to Will Wood.
The first is an insect they call a wood-louse,
itself in itself for a house,
As round as a ball, without head, without tail,
Inclos'd cap à pié, in a strong coat of mail.
And thus William Wood to my fancy appears
In fillets of brass roll's up to his ears :
And over these fillets he wisely has thrown,
To keep out of danger, a doublet of stone *.
The louse of the wood for a medicine is us'd,
Or swallow'd alive, or skilfully bruis'd.
And, let but our mother Hibernia contriye
To swallow Will Wood either bruis'd or alive,
She need be no more with the jaundice possest,
Or sick of obstructions, and pains in her chest.
The next is an insect we call a wood-worm,
That lies in old wood like a hare in her form;
With teeth or with claws it will bite or will scratch,
And chambermaids christen this worm a deathwatch;
Because like a watch it always cries click;
Then woe be to those in the house who are sick:
For, as sure as a gun, they will give up the ghost,
If the maggot cries click when it scratches the post,
# He was in gaol for debt. F,
But a kettle of scalding hot water injected
Infallibly cures the timber affected :
The omen is broken, the danger is over ;
The maggot will die, and the sick will recover.
Such a worm was Will Wood, when he scratch'd at
Of a governing statesman or favourite whore:
The death of our nation he seem'd to foretell,
And the sound of his brass we took for our knell.
But now, since the Drapier has heartily maul'd him,
I think the best thing we can do is to scald him.
For which operation there's nothing more proper
Than the liquor he deals in, his own melted copper ;
Unless, like the Dutch, you rather would boil
This coiner of raps * ip a cauldron of oil.
Then choose which you please, and let each bring a
faggot, For our fear's at an end with the death of the maggot.
PROMETHEUS, ON WOOD | THE PATENTEE'S IRISH HALFPENCE.
As when the squire and tinker Wood,
Gravely consulting Ireland's good,
Together mingled in a mass
Smith's dust, and copper, lead, and brass ;
The mixture thus by chymick art
United close in ev'ry part, • Counterfeit halfpence. F. † See an account of Wood's project in the Drapier's Letters. N,