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How the grave brother stood on bank so green-
FABLE. THE FARMER's wife AND THE RAven.
“Why are those tears? why droops your head? Is then your other husband dead? Or does a worse disgrace betide 2 Hath no one since his death apply'd?” “Alas! you know the cause too well; The salt is spilt, to me it fell; Then, to contribute to my loss, My knife and fork were laid across; On Friday too! the day I dread! Would I were safe at home in bed | Last night (I vow to Heaven 'tis true) Bounce from the fire a coffin flew. Next post some fatal news shall tell: God send my Cornish friends be well !” “Unhappy Widow, cease thy tears, Nor feel affliction in thy fears; Let not thy stomach be suspended; Eat now, and weep when dinner's ended; And, when the butler clears the table, For thy desert I’ll read my Fable.” Betwixt her swagging panniers' load A Farmer's Wife to market rode, And, jogging on, with thoughtful care, Summ'd up the profits of her ware;
When, starting from her silver dream,
FABLE. The TURKEY AND THE ANT.
In other men we faults can spy,
A Turkey, tir'd of common food,
An Ant, who climb'd beyond his reach,
Matthew GREEN, a truly original poet, was born, probably at London, in 1696. His parents were respectable Dissenters, who brought him up within the limits of the sect. His learning was confined to a little Latin; but, from the frequency of his classical allusions, it may be concluded that what he read when young, he did not forget. The austerity in which he was educated had the effect of inspiring him with settled disgust; and he fled from the gloom of dissenting worship when he was no longer compelled to attend it. Thus set loose from the opinions of his youth, he speculated very freely on religious topics, and at length adopted the system of outward compliance with established forms and inward laxity of belief. He seems at one time to have been much inclined to the principles of Quakerism; but he found that its practice would not agree with one who lived “by pulling off the hat.” We find that he had obtained a place in the Custom house, the duties of which he is said to have discharged with great diligence and fidelity. It
Tas motley piece to you I send,
* “In this poem,” Mr. Melmoth says, “there are more original thoughts thrown together than he had ever read in the same compass of lines.” FitzosnoRNF's Letters, p. 114. + Gildon's Art of Poetry.
is further attested, that he was a man of great probity and sweetness of disposition, and that his conversation abounded with wit, but of the most inoffensive kind. He seems to have been subject to low-spirits, as a relief from which he composed his principal poem, “The Spleen.” He passed his life in celibacy, and died in 1737, at the early age of forty-one, in lodgings in Gracechurch-street. The poems of Green, which were not made public till after his death, consist of “The Spleen;” “The Grotto;” “Verses on Barclay's Apology;” “The Seeker,” and some smaller pieces, all comprised in a small volume. In manner and subject they are some of the most original in our language. They rank among the easy and familiar, but are replete with uncommon thoughts, new and striking images, and those associations of remote ideas by some unexpected similitudes, in which wit principally consists. Few poems will bear more repeated perusals; and, with those who can fully enter into them, they do not fail to become favourites.
School-helps I want, to climb on high, Where all the ancient treasures lie, And there unseen commit a theft On wealth in Greek exchequers left. Then where? from whom 2 what can I steal, Who only with the moderns deal? This were attempting to put on Raiment from naked bodies won; : They safely sing before a thief, They cannot give who want relief; Some few excepted, names well known, And justly laurel'd with renown, Whose stamp of genius marks their ware, And theft detects: of theft beware; From More $ so lash'd, example fit, Shun petty larceny in wit.
First know, my friend, I do not mean To write a treatise on the spleen;
# A painted vest Prince Vortiger had on, Which from a naked Pict his grandsire won. How ARD's British Princes.
§ James More Smith, esq. See Dunciad, B. ii. 1. 50. and the notes, where the circumstances of the transaction here alluded to are very fully explained.
Nor to prescribe when nerves convulse;
A strict dissenter saying grace,
Or with the merry fellows quaff, And laugh aloud with them that laugh; Or drink a joco-serious cup With souls who've took their freedom up, And let my mind, beguil'd by talk, In Epicurus' garden walk, Who thought it Heav'n to be serene; Pain, Hell, and purgatory, Spleen. Sometimes I dress, with women sit, And chat away the gloomy fit; . Quit the stiff garb of serious sense, And wear a gay impertinence, Northink nor speak with any pains, But lay on fancy's neck the reins; Talk of unusual swell of waist In maid of honour loosely lac'd, And beauty borr'wing Spanish red, And loving pair with sep'rate bed, And jewels pawn'd for loss of game, And then redeem'd by loss of fame; Of Kitty (aunt left in the lurch By grave pretence to go to church) Perceiv'd in hack with lover fine, Like Will and Mary on the coin: And thus in modish manner we, In aid of sugar, sweeten tea. Permit, ye fair, your idol form, Which e'en the coldest heart can warm, May with its beauties grace my line, While I bow down before its shrine, And your throng'd altars with my lays Perfume, and get by giving praise. With speech so sweet, so sweet a mien You excommunicate the Spleen, Which, fiend-like, flies the magic ring You form with sound, when pleas'd to sing; Whate'er you say, howe'er you move, We look, we listen, and approve. Your touch, which gives to feeling bliss, Our nerves officious throng to kiss; By Celia's pat, on their report, The grave-air’d soul, inclin'd to sport, Renounces wisdom's sullen pomp, And loves the floral game, to romp. But who can view the pointed rays, That from black eyes scintillant blaze? Love on his throne of glory seems Encompass'd with satellite beams. But when blue eyes, more softly bright, Diffuse benignly humid light, We gaze, and see the smiling loves, And Cytherea's gentle doves, And raptur'd fix in such a face Love's mercy-seat, and throne of grace. Shine but on age, you melt its snow; Again fires long-extinguish'd glow, And, charm'd by witchery of eyes, Blood long congealed liquefies! True miracle, and fairly done By heads which are ador'd while on. But oh, what pity 'tis to find Such beauties both of form and mind, By modern breeding much debas'd, In half the female world at least ! Hence I with care such lott’ries shun, Where, a prize miss'd, I'm quite undone; And han’t, by vent'ring on a wife, Yet run the greatest risk in life. Mothers, and guardian aunts, forbear Your impious pains to form the fair,
Nor lay out so much cost and art, But to deflow'r the virgin heart; Of every folly-fost'ring bed By quick'ning heat of custom bred. Rather than by your culture spoil'd, Desist, and give us nature wild, Delighted with a hoyden soul, Which truth and innocence control. Coquets, leave off affected arts, Gay fowlers at a flock of hearts; Woodcocks to shun your snares have skill. You show so plain, you strive to kill. In love the artless catch the game, And they scarce miss who never aim. The world's great Author did create The sex to fit the nuptial state, And meant a blessing in a wife To solace the fatigues of life; And old inspired times display, How wives could love, and yet obey. Then truth, and patience of control, And house-wife arts adorn'd the soul; And charms, the gift of Nature, shone; And jealousy, a thing unknown: Veils were the only masks they wore; Novels (receipts to make a whore) Nor ombre, nor quadrille they knew, Nor Pam's puissance felt at loo. Wise men did not to be thought gay, Then compliment their pow'r away : But lest, by frail desires misled, The girls forbidden paths should tread, Of ign'rance rais'd the safe high wall; We sink haw-haws, that show them all. Thus we at once solicit sense, And charge them not to break the fence. Now, if untir'd, consider friend, What I avoid to gain my end. I never am at meeting seen, Meeting, that region of the Spleen; The broken heart, the busy fiend, The inward call, on Spleen depend. Law, licens'd breaking of the peace, To which vacation is disease : A gypsy diction scarce known well By th’ magi, who law-fortunes tell, I shun ; nor let it breed within Anxiety, and that the Spleen; Law, grown a forest, where perplex The mazes, and the brambles vex; Where its twelve verd'rers every day Are changing still the public way: Yet, if we miss our path and err, We grievous penalties incur; And wand'rers tire, and tear their skin, And then get out where they went in. I never game, and rarely bet, Am loth to lend, or run in debt. No compter-writs me agitate; Who moralising pass the gate, And there mine eyes on spendthrifts turn, Who vainly o'er their bondage mourn. Wisdom, before beneath their care, Pays her upbraiding visits there, And forces folly through the grate, Her panegyric to repeat. This view, profusely when inclin'd, Enters a caveat in the mind: Experience join 'd with common sense, To mortals is a providence.
Passion, as frequently is seen, Subsiding settles into Spleen. Hence, as the plague of happy life, I run away from party-strife. A prince's cause, a church's claim, I've known to raise a mighty flame, And priest, as stoker, very free To throw in peace and charity. That tribe, whose practicals decree Small beer the deadliest heresy; Who, fond of pedigree, derive From the most noted whore alive; Who own wine's old prophetic aid, And love the mitre Bacchus made, Forbid the faithful to depend On half-pint drinkers for a friend, And in whose gay red-letter'd face We read good-living more than grace: Nor they so pure, and so precise, Immac'iate as their white of eyes, Who for the spirit hug the Spleen, Phylacter'd throughout all their mien, Who their ill-tasted home-brew'd pray'r To the state's mellow forms prefer; Who doctrines, as infectious, fear, Which are not steep'd in vinegar, And samples of healt chested grace Expose in show-glass of the face, Did never me as yet provoke Either to honour band and cloke, Or deck my hat with leaves of oak. I rail not with mock-patriot grace At folks, because they are in place; Nor, hir'd to praise with stallion pen, Serve the ear-lechery of men; But to avoid religious jars, The laws are my expositors, Which in my doubting mind create Confortnity to church and state. I go, pursuant to my plan, To Mecca with the caravan. And think it right in common sense Both for diversion and defence. Reforming schemes are none of mine; To mend the world's a vast design: Like theirs, who tug in little boat, To pull to them the ship afloat, While to defeat their labour'd end, At once both wind and stream contend : Success herein is seldom seen, And zeal, when baffled, turns to Spleen. Happy the man, who innocent, Grieves not at ills he can't prevent; His skiss does with the current glide, Not puffing pull'd against the tide. He, paddling by the scuffling crowd, unconcern'd life's wager row'd, And when he can't prevent foul play, Enjoys the folly of the fray. By these reflections I repeal Each hasty promise made in zeal. When gospel propagators say, We're bound our great light to display, And Indian darkness drive away, Yet none but drunken watchmen send, And scoundrel link-boys for that end; When they cry up this holy war, Which every christian should be for. Yet such as owe the law their ears. We find employed as engineers:
This view my forward zeal so shocks,
• The Charitable Corporation, instituted for the relief of the industrious poor, by assisting thern with small sums upon pledges at legal interest. By the villany of those who had the management of this scheme, the proprietors were defrauded of very considerable sums of money. In 1732 the conduct of the directors of this body became the subject of a parliamentary inquiry, and some of them, who were members of the house of commons, were expelled for their concern in this iniquitous transaction.