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To write such scurvy stuff!
Fine ladies never do't;
I know you well enough,
And eke your cloven foot.
Fine ladies, when they write,
Nos scold, nor keep a splutter :
Their verses give delight,
As soft and sweet as butter.
But Satan never saw
Such haggard lines as these :
They stick athwart my maw,
As bad as Suffolk cheese.
THE JOURNAL OF A MODERN LADY.
IN A LETTER TO A PERSON OF QUALITY. 1728
Sır, 'twas a most unfriendly part
In you, who ought to know my heart,
Are well acquainted with my zeal
For all the female commonweal-
How could it come into your mind
To pitch on me, of all mankind,
Against the sex to write a satire,
And brand me for a womanhater?
On me, who think them all so fair,
They rival Venus to a hair;
Their virtues never ceas'd to sing,
Since first I learn’d to tune a string ?
Methinks I hear the ladies cry,
Will he his character belie?
Must never our misfortunes end?
And have we lost our only friend?
Ah, lovely nymphs! remove your fears,
No more let fall those precious tears.
Sooner shall, &c.
[Here several verses are omitted.]
The bound be hunted by the hare,
Than I turn rebel to the fair.
'Twas you engag'd me first to write,
Then gave the subject out of spite:
The journal of a modern dame,
Is, by my promise, what you claim.
My word is past, I must submit;
And yet perhaps you may be bit.
I but transcribe; for not a line
Of all the satire shall be mine.
Compellid by you to tag in rhymes
The common slanders of the times,
Of modern times, the guilt is yours,
And me my innocence secures.
Unwilling Muse, begin thy lay,
The annals of a female day.
By nature turn'd to play the rake well,
(As we shall show you in the sequel)
The modern danne is wak'd by noon,
(Some authors say not quite so soon)
Because, though sore against her will,
She sat all night up at quadrille.
She stretches, gapes, unglues her eyes,
And asks, if it be time to rise;
Of headach and the spleen complains;
And then, to cool her heated brains,
Her nightgown and her slippers brought her,
Takes a large dram of citron water.
Then to her glass; and, " Betty, pray
Don't I look frightfully to-day?
But was it not confounded hard ?
Well, if I ever touch a 'card !
Four matadores, and lose codille!
Depend upon't, I never will.
But run to Tom, and bid him fix
The ladies here to night by six "
Madam, the goldsmith waits below;
He says, bis business is to know
If you'll redeem the silver cup
He keeps in pawn?"-"First, show him up."
“ Your dressing-plate he'll be content
To take, for interest cent per cent.
And, madam, there's my lady Spade
Has sent this letter by her maid :
Well, I remember what she won;
And has she sent so soon to dun?
Here, carry down these ten pistoles
My husband left to pay for coals:
I thank my stars, they all are light;
And I may have revenge to-night."
Now, loitering o'er her tea and cream,
She enters on her usual theme;
Her last night's ill success repeats,
Calls lady Spade a hundred cheats :
“She slipt spadillo in her breast,
Then thought to turn it to a jest:
There's Mrs. Cut and she combine,
And to each other give the sign.”
Through every game pursues her tale,
Like hunters o'er their evening ale.
Now to another scene give place:
Enter the folks with silks and lace:
Fresh matter for a world of chat,
Right Indian this, right Mechlin that:
“ Observe this pattern; there's a stuff;
I can have customers enough.
Dear madam, you are grown so hard
This lace is worth twelve pounds a yard :
Madam, if there be truth in man,
I never sold so cheap a fan.”
This business of importance o'er,
And madam almost dress'd by four;
The footman, in his usual phrase,
Comes up with, “ Madam, dinner stays."
She answers, in her usual style,
“ The cook must keep it back a while:
I never can have time to dress,
No woman breathing takes up less;
I'm hurried so, it makes me sick;
I wish the dinner at Old Nick."
At table now she acts her part,
Has all the dinner cant by heart :
“ I thought we were to dine alone,
My dear; for sure, if I had known
This company would come to-day-
But really 'tis my spouse's way!
He's so unkind, he never sends
To tell when he invites his friends:
I wish ye may but have enough!"
And while with all this paltry stuff
She sits tormenting every guest,
Nor gives her tongue one moment's rest,
In phrases batter'd, stale, and trite,
Which modern ladies call politej
You see the booby husband sit
In admiration at her wit!
But let ine now a while survey Our madam o'er her evening tea; Surrounded with her noisy clans Of prudes, coquets, and harridans; When, frighted at the clamorous crew, Away the God of Silence fiew, And fair Discretion left the place, And Modesty with blushing face ; Now enters overweening Pride, And Scandal ever gaping wide,
Hypocrisy with frown severe,
Scurrility with gibing air ;
Rude laughter seeming like to burst,
And Malice always judging worst;
And Vanity with pocket glass,
And Impudence with front of brass;
And studied Affectation came,
Each limb and feature out of frame;
While Ignorance, with brain of lead,
Flew hovering o'er each female head.
Why should I ask of thee, my Muse,
A hundred tongues, as poets use,
When, to give every dame her due,
A hundred thousand were tog few ?
Or how should I, alas! relate
The sum of all their senseless prate,
Their inuendoes, hints, and slanders,
Their meaning lewd, and double entendres?
Now comes the general scandal charge;
What some invent, the rest enlarge ;
And, “ Madam, if it be a lie,
You have the tale as cheap as I;
I must conceal my author's name:
But now 'tis known to common fame."
Say, foolish females, bold and blind,
Say, by what fatal turn of mind,
Are you on vices most severe,
Wherein yourselves have greatest share?
fool herself deludes;
The prudes condemn the absent prudes :
Mopsa, who stinks her spouse to death,
Accuses Chloe's tainted breath;
Hircina, rank with sweat, presumes
To censuře Phyllis for perfumes ;
While crooked Cynthia, sneering, says,
That Florimel wears iron stays:
Chloe, of every coxcomb jealous,
Admires how girls can talk with fellows;