By knowing what was right and wrong;
How from my heart to bring supplies
Of lustre to my fading eyes;
How soon a beauteous mind repairs
The loss of changed or falling hairs;
How wit and virtue from within
Send out a smoothness o’er the skin:
Your lectures could my fancy fix,
And I can please at thirty-six.
The sight of Chloe at fifteen,
Coquetting, gives not me the spleen;
The idol now of every fool
Till time shall make their passions cool;
Then tumbling down Time’s steepy hill,
While Stella holds her station still.
O! turn your precepts into laws,
Redeem the women’s ruin’d cause,
Retrieve lost empire to our sex,
That men may bow their rebel necks.
Long be the day that gave you birth
Sacred to friendship, wit, and mirth;
Late dying may you cast a shred
Of your rich mantle o’er my head;
To bear with dignity my sorrow,
One day alone, then die to-morrow.
While, Stella, to your lasting praise
The Muse her annual tribute pays,
While I assign myself a task
Which you expect, but scorn to ask;
If I perform this task with pain,
Let me of partial fate complain;
You every year the debt enlarge,
I grow less equal to the charge:
In you each virtue brighter shines,
But my poetic vein declines;
My harp will soon in vain be strung,
And all your virtues left unsung.
For none among the upstart race
Of poets dare assume my place;
Your worth will be to them unknown,
They must have Stellas of their own;
And thus, my stock of wit decay’d,
I dying leave the debt unpaid,
Unless Delany, as my heir,
Will answer for the whole arrear.
Amphora, quae moestum linquis, laetumque revises
Arentem dominum, sit tibi terra levis.
Tu quoque depositum serves, neve opprime, marmor;
Amphora non meruit tam pretiosa mori.
Hoc tumulata jacet proles Lenaea sepulchro,
Immortale genus, nee peritura jacet;
Quin oritura iterum, matris concreditur alvo:
Bis natum referunt te quoque, Bacche Pater.
Resolv’d my annual verse to pay,
By duty bound, on Stella’s day,
Furnish’d with paper, pens, and ink,
I gravely sat me down to think:
I bit my nails, and scratch’d my head,
But found my wit and fancy fled:
Or if, with more than usual pain,
A thought came slowly from my brain,
It cost me Lord knows how much time
To shape it into sense and rhyme:
And, what was yet a greater curse,