English Poets of the Eighteenth Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 311 pages of information about English Poets of the Eighteenth Century.

  Since mirth is good in this behalf,
  At some particulars let us laugh: 
  Witlings, brisk fools, cursed with half-sense,
  That stimulates their impotence;
  Who buzz in rhyme, and, like blind flies,
  Err with their wings for want of eyes;
  Poor authors worshipping a calf,
  Deep tragedies that make us laugh,
  A strict dissenter saying grace,
  A lecturer preaching for a place,
  Folks, things prophetic to dispense,
  Making the past the future tense,
  The popish dubbing of a priest,
  Fine epitaphs on knaves deceased.

* * * * *

  Forced by soft violence of prayer,
  The blithesome goddess soothes my care,
  I feel the deity inspire,
  And thus she models my desire. 
  Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid,
  Annuity securely made,
  A farm some twenty miles from town,
  Small, tight, salubrious, and my own;
  Two maids, that never saw the town,
  A serving-man not quite a clown,
  A boy to help to tread the mow,
  And drive, while t’other holds the plough;
  A chief, of temper formed to please,
  Fit to converse, and keep the keys;
  And better to preserve the peace,
  Commissioned by the name of niece;
  With understandings of a size
  To think their master very wise.

WILLIAM SHENSTONE

  FROM THE SCHOOLMISTRESS

  Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,
  Emblem right meet of decency does yield: 
  Her apron dyed in grain, as blue, I trow,
  As is the harebell that adorns the field;

  And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield
  Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwined,
  With dark distrust, and sad repentance filled;
  And steadfast hate, and sharp affliction joined,
  And fury uncontrolled, and chastisement unkind.

* * * * *

  A russet stole was o’er her shoulders thrown;
  A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air;
  ’Twas simple russet, but it was her own;
  ’Twas her own country bred the flock so fair! 
  ’Twas her own labour did the fleece prepare;
  And, sooth to say, her pupils ranged around,
  Through pious awe, did term it passing rare;
  For they in gaping wonderment abound,
  And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on ground.

* * * * *

  Lo, now with state she utters the command! 
  Eftsoons the urchins to their tasks repair;
  Their books of stature small they take in hand,
  Which with pellucid horn secured are;
  To save from finger wet the letters fair: 
  The work so gay, that on their back is seen,
  St. George’s high achievements does declare;
  On which thilk wight that has y-gazing been
  Kens the forth-coming rod, unpleasing sight, I ween!

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English Poets of the Eighteenth Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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