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The Tales and Novels, Complete
by Jean de La Fontaine
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WITH shoulders broad the miller you might see; In Adam's birth-attire against the tree, Await the coming of the aged band, Who soon appeared, with tapers in the hand, In solemn guise, and whips and scourges dire: The virgin troop (as convent laws require) In full procession moved around the Wight; Without allowing time to catch his sight, Or giving notice what they meant to do: How now! cried he:—why won't you take a view? Deceived you are; regard me well I pray; I'm not the silly fool you had to-day, Who woman hates, and scruples seeks to raise: Employ but me, and soon I'll gain your praise; I'll wonders execute; my strength appears; And; if I fail, at once cut off my ears. At certain pleasant play I'm clever found; But as to whips—I never was renowned.

WHAT means the fellow? cried a toothless nun; What would he tell us? Hast thou nothing done? How!—Art thou not our brat-begetter?—speak; So much the worse:—on thee our rage we'll wreak, For him that's gone we'll make thee suffer now; Once arms in hand, we never will allow Such characters full punishment to miss; The play that we desire is THIS and THIS; Then whips and scourges round him 'gan to move, And not a little troublesome to prove The miller, writhing with the poignant smart, Cried loudly:—I'll exert my utmost art, Good ladies, to perform what is your due; The more he bawled, the faster lashes flew. This work so well the aged troop achieved, He long remembered what his skin received.

WHILE thus the master chastisement had got; His mule was feeding on the verdant spot. But what became of this or that, at last, I've never heard, and care not how it past. 'Tis quite enough to save the young gallant, And more particulars we do not want.

My readers, for a time, could they obtain A dozen nuns like these, where beauties reign, Would doubtless not be seen without their dress! We do not always ev'ry wish express.



THE BUCKING-TUB

IF once in love, you'll soon invention find And not to cunning tricks and freaks be blind; The youngest 'prentice, when he feels the dart, Grows wondrous shrewd, and studies wily art. This passion never, we perceive, remains In want from paucity of scheming brains. The god of hearts so well exerts his force, That he receives his dues as things of course. A bucking-tub, of which a tale is told, Will prove the case, and this I'll now unfold; Particulars I heard some days ago, From one who seemed each circumstance to know.

WITHIN a country town, no matter where, Its appellation nothing would declare, A cooper and his wife, whose name was Nan, Kept house, and through some difficulties ran. Though scanty were their means, LOVE thither flew; And with him brought a friend to take a view; 'Twas Cuckoldom accompanied the boy, Two gods most intimate, who like to toy, And, never ceremonious, seek to please Go where they will, still equally at ease; 'Tis all for them good lodging, fare, or bed; And, hut or palace, pleasantly they tread.

IT happened then, a spark this fair caressed, And, when he hoped most fully to be blessed, When all was ready to complete the scene, And on a point:—if naught should intervene Not NAMED howe'er will quite enough suffice, When suddenly the husband, by surprise, Returned from drinking at an ale-house near, just when, just when:—the rest is pretty clear.

THEY curst his coming; trouble o'er them spread; Naught could be done but hide the lover's head; Beneath a bucking-tub, in utmost haste, Within the court, our gay gallant was placed.

THE husband, as he entered, loudly cried, I've sold our bucking-tub. The wife replied, What price, I pray?—Three crowns rejoined the man; Then thou'rt a silly ass, said mistress Nan; To-day, by my address, I've gained a crown, And sold the same for twenty shillings down: My bargain luckily the first was made; The buyer, (who of flaws is much afraid) Examines now if ev'ry part is tight; He's in the tub to see if all be right. What, blockhead, would'st thou do without thy wife? Thou huntest taverns while she works for life; But necessary 'tis for her to act, When thou art out, or naught would be exact. No pleasure ever yet received have I; But take my word, to get it now I'll try. Gallants are plenty; husbands should have wives; That, like themselves, lead gay or sober lives.

I PRYTHEE softly, wife, the husband said; Come, come, sir, leave the tub, there's naught to dread; When you are out, I'll ev'ry quarter scrape, Then try if water from it can escape; I'll warrant it to be as good as nice, And nothing can be better worth the price.

OUT came the lover; in the husband went; Scraped here and there, and tried if any vent; With candle in his hand looked round and round, Not dreaming once that LOVE without was found. But nothing he could see of what was done; And while the cooper sought to overrun The various parts, and by the tub was hid, The gods already noticed thither slid; A job was by the deities proposed, That highly pleased the couple when disclosed; A very diff'rent work from what within The husband had, who scraped with horrid din, And rubbed, and scrubbed, and beat so very well, Fresh courage took our gay gallant and belle; They now resumed the thread so sadly lost, When, by the cooper's coming, all was crossed.

THE reader won't require to know the rest; What passed perhaps may easily be guessed. 'Tis quite enough, my thesis I have proved; The artful trick our pair with raptures moved. Nor one nor t'other was a 'prentice new; A lover be:—and wiles you'll soon pursue.



THE IMPOSSIBLE THING

A DEMON, blacker in his skin than heart, So great a charm was prompted to impart; To one in love, that he the lady gained, And full possession in the end obtained: The bargain was, the lover should enjoy The belle he wished, and who had proved so coy. Said Satan, soon I'll make her lend an ear, In ev'ry thing more complaisant appear; But then, instead of what thou might'st expect, To be obedient and let me direct, The devil, having thus obliged a friend, He'll thy commands obey, thou may'st depend, The very moment; and within the hour Thy humble servant, who has got such pow'r, Will ask for others, which at once thou'lt find; Make no delay, for if thou art so blind, Thou comprehend'st, thy body and thy soul The lovely fair no longer shall control, But Satan then upon them both shall seize, And with them do-whatever he may please: 'Gainst this the spark had not a word to say; 'Twas pleasing to command, though not obey.

HE sallied forth the beauteous belle to seek, And found her as he wished:—complying-meek; Indulged in blisses, and most happy proved, Save that the devil always round him moved. Whatever rose within the whirl of thought He now commanded:—quickly it was brought; And when he ordered palaces to rise, Or raging tempests to pervade the skies, The devil instantly obeyed his will, And what he asked was done with wondrous skill.

LARGE sums his purse received;—the devil went just where commanded, and to Rome was sent, From whence his highness store of pardons got; No journey long, though distant was the spot, But ev'ry thing with magick ease arose, And all was soon accomplished that he chose. So oft the spark was asked for orders new, Which he was bound to give the fiend at view, That soon his head most thoroughly was drained, And to the fair our lover much complained, Declared the truth, and ev'ry thing detailed, How he was lost, if in commands he failed.

IS'T this, said she, that makes thee so forlorn? Mere nothing!-quickly I'll remove the thorn; When Satan comes, present his highness this, Which I have here, and say:—You will not miss To make it flat, and not its curl retain On which she gave him, what with little pain She drew from covert of the Cyprian grove, The fairy labyrinth where pleasures rove, Which formerly a duke so precious thought; To raise a knightly order thence he sought, Illustrious institution, noble plan, More filled with gods and demi-gods than man.

THE lover to the crafty devil said:— 'Tis crooked this, you see, and I am led To wish it otherwise; go, make it straight; A perfect line: no turn, nor twist, nor plait. Away to work, be quick, fly, hasten, run; The demon fancied it could soon be done; No time he lost, but set it in the press, And tried to manage it with great success; The massy hammer, kept beneath the deep, Made no impression: he as well might sleep; Howe'er he beat: whatever charm he used:— 'Twas still the same; obedience it refused. His time and labour constantly were lost; Vain proved each effort: mystick skill was crossed; The wind, or rain, or fog, or frost, or snow, Had no effect: still circular 'twould go. The more he tried, the ringlet less inclined To drop the curvature so closely twined. How's this? said Satan, never have I seen Such stubborn stuff wherever I have been; The shades below no demon can produce, That could divine what here would prove of use: 'Twould puzzle hell to break the curling spring, And make a line direct of such a thing.

ONE morn the devil to the other went: Said he, to give thee up I'll be content; If solely thou wilt openly declare What 'tis I hold, for truly I despair; I'm victus I confess, and can't succeed: No doubt the thing's impossible decreed.

FRIEND Satan, said the lover, you are wrong; Despondency should not to you belong, At least so soon:—what you desire to know Is not the only one that's found to grow; Still many more companions it has got, And others could be taken from the spot.



THE PICTURE

SOLICITED I've been to give a tale, In which (though true, decorum must prevail), The subject from a picture shall arise, That by a curtain's kept from vulgar eyes. My brain must furnish various features new: What's delicate and smart produce to view; By this expressed, and not by t'other said: And all so clear, most easy to be read, By ev'ry fool, without the aid of notes, That idiot's bad indeed who never quotes.

CATULLUS tells us, ev'ry matron sage Will peep most willingly (whate'er her age), At that gigantick gift, which Juno made, To Venus' fruit, in gardens oft displayed. If any belle recede, and shun the sight, Dissimulation she supposes right.

THIS principle allowed, why scruples make? Why, less than eyes, should ears a license take? But since 'tis so resolved I'll do my best, And naught in open terms shall be expressed: A veil shall over ev'ry charm be cast, Of gauze indeed, and this from first to last, So nicely done, that howsoever tost, To none I trust will any thing be lost. Who nicely thinks, and speaks with graceful ease; Can current make just whatsoe'er he please; For all will pass, as I have often known: The word well chosen, pardon soon is shown, The sex o'erlook the thing no more the same, The thought remains, but 'tis without a name; No blush is raised; no difficulty found; Yet ev'ry body understands around.

AT present, much I need this useful art: Why? you will ask; because, when I impart Such wondrous circumstances, ev'ry belle, Without reserve, will con them over well. To this I answer: female ears are chaste, Though roguish are their eyes, as well as taste.

BE that as 'twill, I certainly should like, With freedom to explain, by terms oblique, To belles, how this was broken:—that was down: Assist me pray, ye NINE of high renown; But you are maids, and strangers, we agree, To LOVE'S soft scenes, not knowing A from B. Remain then, Muses, never stir an inch, But beg the god of verse, when at a pinch, To help me out and kind assistance lend, To choose expressions which will not offend, Lest I some silly things should chance to say, That might displeasure raise, and spoil my lay. Enough, howe'er, we've on the subject said: 'Tis time we t'wards the painting should be led, Which an adventure you will find contains, That happened once in Cupid's famed domains.

IN former days, just by Cythera town A monastery was, of some renown, With nuns the queens of beauty filled the place, And gay gallants you easily might trace. The courtier, citizen, and parson too, The doctor and the bachelor you'd view, With eager steps:—all visits thither made; And 'mong the latter, one (a pleasing blade) Had free access: was thought a prudent friend, Who might to sisters many comforts lend; Was always closely shaved and nicely dressed; And ev'ry thing he said was well expressed; The breath of scandal, howsoever pat, Ne'er lighted on his neat cravat nor hat.

TWO nuns alternatively, from the youth; Experienced many services, in truth; The one had recently a novice been; Few months had passed since she complete was seen; The other still the dress of novice wore; The youngest's age was seventeen years, not more Time doubtless very proper (to be plain) Love's wily thesis fully to sustain: The bachelor so well the fair had taught, And they so earnestly the science sought, That by experience both the art had learned, And ev'ry thing most perfectly discerned.

THESE sisters eagerly had made one day An assignation with the lover gay; To have the entertainment quite complete, They'd Bacchus, Ceres too, who Venus greet: With perfect neatness all the meats were served, And naught from grace and elegancy swerved; The wines, the custards, jellies, creams, and ice: The decorations, ev'ry thing was nice; What pleasing objects and delights were viewed! The room with sweetest flow'rs fair Flora strewed; A sort of garden o'er the linen traced Here lakes of love:—there names entwined were placed; Magnificence like this the nuns admired, And such amusements ardently desired. Their beauty too incited to be free; A thousand matters filled their souls with glee; In height the belles were pretty much the same Like alabaster fair; of perfect frame; In num'rous corners Cupid nestling lay: Beneath a stomacher he'd slyly play, A veil or scapulary, this or that, Where least the eye of day perceived he sat, Unless a lover called to mystick bow'rs, Where he might hearts entwine with chains of flow'rs; A thousand times a day the urchin flew, With open arms the sisters to pursue; Their charms were such in ev'ry air and look, Both (one by one) he for his mother took.

WITH anxious looks, the ladies thus prepared, Expected him who all their kindness shared; Now they bestowed abuse; next fondly praised: Then of his conduct dark suspicions raised, Conceived, a new amour him kept away: What can it be, said one, that makes him stay? Of honour an affair.—love—sickness—what? Said t'other whether it be this or that, If here again his face he ever show, A pretty trick in turn we'll let him know.

WHILE thus the couple sought their plot to frame, A convent porter with a burden came, For her who kept the stores of ev'ry kind, Depositary of the whole designed. 'Twas merely a pretence, as I am told: The things were not required for young or old; But she much appetite had got in truth, Which made her have recourse to such a youth, Who was regarded, in repasts like these, A first rate cook that all prepared at ease.

THIS awkward, heavy lout mistook the cell; By chance upon our ladies' room he fell, And knocked with weighty hands: they ope'd the door. And gave abuse, but soon their anger o'er, The nuns conceived a treasure they had found, And, laughing heartily, no longer frowned, But both exclaimed at once: let's take this fool; Of him we easily can make a tool; As well as t'other, don't you think he'll do? The eldest added:—let's our whim pursue; 'Tis well determined;—What were we to get, That here we waited, and are waiting yet? Fine words and phrases; nothing of the kind; This wight 's as good, for what we have a mind, As any bachelor or doctor wise At all events, for present, he'll suffice.

SHE rightly judged; his height, form, simple air, And ev'ry act, so clearly void of care, Raised expectation; this was AEsop's man, He never thought: 'twas all without a plan; Both ate and drank, and, had he been at will, Would matters far have pushed, though void of skill.

FAMILIAR grown, the fellow ready seemed, To execute whate'er was proper deemed; To serve the convent he was porter made, And in their wishes nuns of course obeyed.

'TIS here begins the subject we've in view, The scene that faithfully our painter drew; Apollo, give me aid, assistance lend, Enable me, I pray, to comprehend, Why this mean stupid rustick sat at ease, And left the sisters (Claudia, formed to please, And lovely fair Theresa) all the care? Had he not better done to give a chair?

I THINK I hear the god of verse reply: Not quite so fast my friend, you may rely, These matters never can the probe endure; I understand you; Cupid, to be sure, Is doubtless found a very roguish boy, Who, though he please at times, will oft annoy; I'm wrong a wicked whelp like this to take, And, master of the ceremonies make.

NO sooner in a house the urchin gets, But rules and laws he at defiance sets; The place of reason whim at once assumes, Breaks ev'ry obstacle, frets, rages, fumes. With scenes like these will Cupid oft surprise, And frantick passion sparkle in his eyes.

SOON on the floor was seen this boorish wight; For, whether that the chair was rather slight, Or that the composition of the clown Was not, like that of geese, of softest down, Or that Theresa, by her gay discourse, Had penetrated to the mystick source, The am'rous pulpit suddenly gave way, And on the ground the rustick quickly lay. The first attempt had clearly bad success, And fair Theresa suffered you may guess.

YE censors keep from hence your eyes prophane; See, honest hearts, how Claudia tried amain, To take advantage of the dire mishap, And all she could, with eagerness entrap; For in the fall Theresa lost her hold; The other pushed her:—further off she rolled; And then, what she had quitted Claudia seized; Theresa, like a demon quite displeased, Endeavoured to recover what she'd lost:— Again to take her seat, but she was crossed. The sister in possession ne'er inclined To cede a post so pleasant to her mind; Theresa raised her hand to give a stroke; And what of that?—if any thing provoke When thus engaged, unheeded it remains Small ills are soon forgot where pleasure reigns.

IN spite of rage apparent in the face; Of her who in the scuffle lost her place, The other followed up the road she took; His course the rustick also ne'er forsook. Theresa scolded; anger marked her eyes; In Venus' games contentions oft arise; Their violence no parallel has seen:— In proof, remember Menelaus' queen. Though here to take a part Bellona 's found, Of cuirasses I see but few around; When Venus closes with the god of Thrace, Her armour then appears with ev'ry grace. The FAIR will understand: enough is said; When beauty's goddess is to combat led, Her body-cuirass shows superior charms; The Cyclops rarely forge such pleasing arms. Had Vulcan graven on Achilles' shield The picture we've described, more praise 'twould yield.

THE nun's adventure I in verse have told, But not in colours, like the action, bold; And as the story in the picture fails, The latter seems to lose in my details. The pen and brush express not quite the same; Eyes are not ears, however we may aim.

ENTANGLED in the net, I long have left The fair Theresa, of her throne bereft; Howe'er, this sister had her turn we find, So much to please, the porter was inclined, That both were satisfied, and felt content; Here ends our tale, and truly I lament, That not a word about the feast is said, Though I've no doubt, they freely drank and fed; And this for reasons easily conceived: The interlude gave rest that much relieved. In fine, 'twas well throughout, except, in truth, The hour of meeting settled with the youth, Which much embarrasses I will avow, For if he never came and made his bow, The sisters had the means, when they might please, Completely to console themselves at ease; And if the spark appeared, the belles could hide Both clown and chair, or any thing beside The lover what he wanted soon possessed, And was as usual treated with the best.



THE PACK-SADDLE

A FAMOUS painter, jealous of his wife; Whose charms he valued more than fame or life, When going on a journey used his art, To paint an ASS upon a certain part, (Umbilical, 'tis said) and like a seal: Impressive token, nothing thence to steal.

A BROTHER brush, enamoured of the dame; Now took advantage, and declared his flame: The Ass effaced, but God knows how 'twas done; Another soon howe'er he had begun, And finished well, upon the very spot; In painting, few more praises ever got; But want of recollection made him place A saddle, where before he none could trace.

THE husband, when returned, desired to look At what he drew, when leave he lately took. Yes, see my dear, the wily wife replied, The Ass is witness, faithful I abide. Zounds! said the painter, when he got a sight,— What!—you'd persuade me ev'ry thing is right? I wish the witness you display so well, And him who saddled it, were both in Hell.



THE EAR-MAKER AND THE MOULD-MENDER

WHEN William went from home (a trader styled): Six months his better half he left with child, A simple, comely, modest, youthful dame, Whose name was Alice; from Champaign she came. Her neighbour Andrew visits now would pay; With what intention, needless 'tis to say: A master who but rarely spread his net, But, first or last, with full success he met; And cunning was the bird that 'scaped his snare; Without surrendering a feather there.

QUITE raw was Alice; for his purpose fit; Not overburdened with a store of wit; Of this indeed she could not be accused, And Cupid's wiles by her were never used; Poor lady, all with her was honest part, And naught she knew of stratagem or art.

HER husband then away, and she alone, This neighbour came, and in a whining tone, To her observed, when compliments were o'er:— I'm all astonishment, and you deplore, To find that neighbour William's gone from hence, And left your child's completing in suspense, Which now you bear within, and much I fear, That when 'tis born you'll find it wants an ear. Your looks sufficiently the fact proclaim, For many instances I've known the same. Good heav'ns! replied the lady in a fright; What say you, pray?—the infant won't be right! Shall I be mother to a one-eared child? And know you no relief that's certain styled? Oh yes, there is, rejoined the crafty knave, From such mishap I can the baby save; Yet solemnly I vow, for none but you I'd undertake the toilsome job to do. The ills of others, if I may be plain, Except your husband's, never give me pain; But him I'd serve for ever, while I've breath; To do him good I'd e'en encounter death. Now let us see, without more talk or fears, If I know how to forge the bantling ears. Remember, cried the wife, to make them like. Leave that to me, said he, I'll justly strike. Then he prepared for work; the dame gave way; Not difficult she proved:—well pleased she lay; Philosophy was never less required, And Andrew's process much the fair admired, Who, to his work extreme attention paid; 'Twas now a tendon; then a fold he made, Or cartilage, of which he formed enough, And all without complaining of the stuff. To-morrow we will polish it, said he: Then in perfection soon the whole will be; And from repeating this so oft, you'll get As perfect issue as was ever met. I'm much obliged to you, the wife replied, A friend is good in whom we may confide.

NEXT day, when tardy Time had marked the hour; That Andrew hoped again to use his pow'r, He was not plunged in sleep, but briskly flew, His purpose with the charmer to pursue. Said he, all other things aside I've laid, This ear to finish, and to lend you aid. And I, the dame replied, was on the eve, To send and beg you not the job to leave; Above stairs let us go:—away they ran, And quickly recommenced as they began. The work so oft was smoothed, that Alice showed Some scruples lest the ear he had bestowed Should do too much, and to the wily wight, She said, so little you the labour slight, 'Twere well if ears no more than two appear; Of that, rejoined the other, never fear; I've guarded thoroughly against defects, Mistake like that shall ne'er your senses vex.

THE ear howe'er was still in hand the same, When from his journey home the husband came. Saluted Alice, who with anxious look, Exclaimed,—your work how finely you forsook, And, but for neighbour Andrew's kindness here, Our child would incomplete have been—an ear, I could not let a thing remain like this, And Andrew would not be to friends remiss, But, worthy man, he left his thriving trade, And for the babe a proper ear has made.

THE husband, not conceiving how his wife, Could be so weak and ignorant of life, The circumstances made her fully tell, Repeat them o'er and on each action dwell. Enraged at length, a pistol by the bed He seized and swore at once he'd shoot her dead. The belle with tears replied, howe'er she'd swerved, Such cruel treatment never she deserved. Her innocence, and simple, gentle way, At length appeared his frantick rage to lay. What injury, continued she, is done? The strictest scrutiny I would not shun; Your goods and money, ev'ry thing is right; And Andrew told me, nothing he would slight; That you would find much more than you could want; And this I hope to me you'll freely grant; If falsehood I advance, my life I'll lose; Your equity, I trust, will me excuse.

A LITTLE cooled, then William thus replied, We'll say no more; you have been drawn aside; What passed you fancied acting for the best, And I'll consent to put the thing at rest; To nothing good such altercations tend; I've but a word: to that attention lend; Contrive to-morrow that I here entrap This fellow who has caused your sad mishap; You'll utter not a word of what I've said; Be secret or at once I'll strike you dead. Adroitly you must act: for instance say; I'm on a second journey gone away; A message or a letter to him send, Soliciting that he'll on you attend, That something you have got to let him know;— To come, no doubt, the rascal won't be slow; Amuse him then with converse most absurd, But of the EAR remember,—not a word; That's finished now, and nothing can require; You'll carefully perform what I desire. Poor innocent! the point she nicely hit; Fear oft gives simpletons a sort of wit.

THE arch gallant arrived; the husband came Ascended to the room where sat his dame; Much noise he made, his coming to announce; The lover, terrified, began to bounce; Now here, now there, no shelter could he meet; Between the bed and wall he put his feet, And lay concealed, while William loudly knocked; Fair Alice readily the door unlocked, And, pointing with her hand, informed the spouse, Where he might easily his rival rouse.

THE husband ev'ry way was armed so well, He four such men as Andrew could repel; In quest of succour howsoe'er he went: To kill him surely William never meant, But only take an ear, or what the Turks, Those savage beasts, cut off from Nature's works; Which doubtless must be infinitely worse Infernal practice and continual curse. 'Twas this he whispered should be Andrew's doom, When with his easy wife he left the room; She nothing durst reply: the door he shut, And our gallant 'gan presently to strut, Around and round, believing all was right, And William unacquainted with his plight.

THE latter having well the project weighed, Now changed his plan, and other schemes surveyed; Proposed within himself revenge to take, With less parade:—less noise it then would make, And better fruit the action would produce, Than if he were apparently profuse. Said he to Alice, go and seek his wife; To her relate the whole that caused our strife; Minutely all from first to last detail; And then the better on her to prevail, To hasten here, you'll hint that you have fears, That Andrew risks the loss of—more than ears, For I have punishment severe in view, Which greatly she must wish I should not do; But if an ear-maker, like this, is caught, The worst of chastisement is always sought; Such horrid things as scarcely can be said: They make the hair to stand upon the head; That he's upon the point of suff'ring straight, And only for her presence things await; That though she cannot all proceedings stay, Perhaps she may some portion take away. Go, bring her instantly, haste quickly, run; And, if she comes, I'll pardon what's been done.

WITH joy to Andrew's house fair Alice went; The wife to follow her appeared content; Quite out of breath, alone she ran up stairs, And, not perceiving him who shared her cares; Believed he was imprisoned in a room; And while with fear she trembled for his doom; The master (having laid aside his arms) Now came to compliment the lady's charms; He gave the belle a chair, who looked most nice:— Said he, ingratitude's the worst of vice; To me your husband has been wondrous kind; So many services has done I find, That, ere you leave this house, I'd wish to make A little return, and this you will partake. When I was absent from my loving dear, Obligingly he made her babe an ear. The compliment of course I must admire; Retaliation is what I desire, And I've a thought:—your children all have got The nose a little short, which is a blot; A fault within the mould no doubt's the cause, Which I can mend, and any other flaws. The business now let's execute I pray, On which the dame he took without delay, And placed her near where Andrew hid his head, Then 'gan to operate as he was led.

THE lady patiently his process bore, And blessed her stars that Andrew's risk was o'er That she had thus the dire return received, And saved the man for whom her bosom grieved. So much emotion William seemed to feel, No grace he gave, but all performed with zeal; Retaliated ev'ry way so well, He measure gave for measure:—ell for ell. How true the adage, that revenge is sweet! The plan he followed clearly was discrete; For since he wished his honour to repair:— Of any better way I'm not aware.

THE whole without a murmur Andrew viewed, And thanked kind Heav'n that nothing worse ensued; One ear most readily he would have lost, Could he be certain that would pay the cost. He thought 'twould lucky be, could he get out, For all considered, better 'twere no doubt, Howe'er ridiculous the thing appears, To have a pair of horns than lose his ears.



THE RIVER SCAMANDER

I'M now disposed to give a pretty tale; Love laughs at what I've sworn and will prevail; Men, gods, and all, his mighty influence know, And full obedience to the urchin show. In future when I celebrate his flame, Expressions not so warm will be my aim; I would not willingly abuses plant, But rather let my writings spirit want. If in these verses I around should twirl, Some wily knave and easy simple girl, 'Tis with intention in the breast to place; On such occasions, dread of dire disgrace; The mind to open, and the sex to set Upon their guard 'gainst snares so often met. Gross ignorance a thousand has misled, For one that has been hurt by what I've said.

I'VE read that once, an orator renowned In Greece, where arts superior then were found, By law's severe decree, compelled to quit His country, and to banishment submit, Resolved that he a season would employ, In visiting the site of ancient Troy. His comrade, Cymon, with him thither went, To view those ruins, we so oft lament. A hamlet had been raised from Ilion's wall, Ennobled by misfortune and its fall; Where now mere names are Priam and his court; Of all devouring Time the prey and sport.

O TROY! for me thy very name has got Superior charms:—in story fruitful spot; Thy famed remains I ne'er can hope to view, That gods by labour raised, and gods o'erthrew; Those fields where daring acts of valour shone; So many fights were lost:—so many won.

BUT to resume my thread, and not extend Too much the subjects which our plan suspend; This Cymon, who's the hero of our tale, When walking near the banks that form the dale Through which Scamander's waters freely flow, Observed a youthful charmer thither go, To breathe the cool refreshing breeze around; That on its verdant borders oft she'd found. Her veil was floating, and her artless dress, A shepherdess seemed clearly to express. Tall, elegantly formed, with beauteous mien, And ev'ry feature lovely to be seen, Young Cymon felt emotion and surprise, And thought 'twas Venus that had caught his eyes, Who on the river's side her charms displayed, Those wondrous treasures all perfection made.

A GROT was nigh, to which the simple fair, Not dreaming ills, was anxious to repair; The heat, some evil spirit, and the place, Invited her the moment to embrace, To bathe within the stream that near her ran; And instantly her project she began.

THE spark concealed himself; each charm admired; Now this, now that, now t'other feature fired; A hundred beauties caught his eager sight; And while his bosom felt supreme delight, He turned his thoughts advantages to take, And of the maiden's error something make; Assumed the character, and dress; and air; That should a wat'ry deity declare; Within the gliding flood his vestments dipt: A crown of rushes on his head he slipt; Aquatick herbs and plants around he twined: Then Mercury intreated to be kind, And Cupid too, the wily god of hearts; How could the innocent resist these arts?

AT length a foot so fair the belle exposed, E'en Galatea never such disclosed; The stream, that glided by, received the prize; Her lilies she beheld with downcast eyes, And, half ashamed, herself surveyed at ease, While round the zephyrs wantoned in the breeze.

WHEN thus engaged, the lover near her drew; At whose approach away the damsel flew, And tried to hide within the rocky cell; Cried Cymon, I beneath these waters dwell, And o'er their course a sov'reign right maintain; Be goddess of the flood, and with me reign; Few rivers could with you like pow'rs divide; My crystal's clear: in me you may confide; My heart is pure; with flow'rs I'll deck the stream, If worthy of yourself the flood you deem; Too happy should this honour you bestow, And with me, 'neath the current, freely go. Your fair companions, ev'ry one I'll make A nymph of fountains, hill, or grove, or lake; My pow'r is great, extending far around Where'er the eye can reach, 'tis fully found.

THE eloquence he used, her fears and dread; Lest she might give offence by what she said, In spite of bashfulness that bliss alloys, Soon all concluded with celestial joys. 'Tis even said that Cupid lent supplies; From superstition many things arise.

THE spark withdrew, delighted by success; Return said he:—we'll mutually caress; But secret prove: let none our union learn; Concealment is to me of high concern; To make it publick would improper be, Till on Olympus' mount the gods we see, In council met, to whom I'll state the case; On this the new-made goddess left the place, In ev'ry thing contented as a dove, And fully witnessed by the god of love. Two months had passed, and not a person knew Their frequent meetings, pleasure to pursue. O mortals! is it true, as we are told, That ev'ry bliss at last is rendered cold? The sly gallant, though not a word he said, The grot to visit now was rarely led.

AT length a wedding much attention caught; The lads and lasses of the hamlet sought, To see the couple pass: the belle perceived The very man for whom her bosom heaved, And loudly cried, behold Scamander's flood! Which raised surprise; soon numbers round her stood, Astonishment expressed, but still the fair, Whate'er was asked, would nothing more declare, Than, in the spacious, blue, ethereal sky, Her marriage would be soon, they might rely. A laugh prevailed; for what was to be done? The god with hasty steps away had run, And none with stones pursued his rapid flight: The deity was quickly ought of sight.

WERE this to happen now, Scamander's stream Would not so easily preserve esteem; But crimes like these (whoever was abused), In former days, were easily excused. With time our maxims change, and what was then, Though wrong at present, may prevail agen. Scamander's spouse some raillery received; But in the end she fully was relieved: A lover e'en superior thought her charms, (His taste was such) and took her to his arms. The gods can nothing spoil! but should they cause A belle to lose a portion of applause, A handsome fortune give, and you'll behold, That ev'ry thing can be repaired by gold.



A CONFIDANT WITHOUT KNOWING IT; OR THE STRATAGEM

NO master sage, nor orator I know, Who can success, like gentle Cupid show; His ways and arguments are pleasing smiles, Engaging looks, soft tears, and winning wiles. Wars in his empire will at times arise, And, in the field, his standard meet the eyes; Now stealing secretly, with skilful lure. He penetrates to hearts supposed secure, O'erleaps the ramparts that protect around, And citadels reduces, most renowned.

I DARE engage, two fortresses besiege Leave one to Mars, and t'other to this liege. And though the god of war should numbers bring, With all the arms that can his thunders fling, Before the fort he'll vainly waste his time, While Cupid, unattended, in shall climb, Obtain possession perfectly at ease, And grant conditions just as he shall please.

I NOW propose to give a fav'rite tale:— The god of Love was never known to fail, In finding stratagems, as I have read, And many have I seen most nicely spread.

THE young Aminta was Gerontes' wife, With whom she lived, it seems, a wretched life. Far better she deserved than what she had, For he was jealous, and his temper bad: An aged hunks, while she was in the hour When hearts, that never felt LOVE'S mighty pow'r, Are presently by tender objects caught, Which ne'er before had entered in the thought.

WHEN first Aminta saw young Cleon's face, A lad possessing all engaging grace, Much prudence then she ev'ry way displayed, E'en more perhaps than necessary made. For though we may suppose the lovely fair, Would ev'ry effort use to 'scape the snare, Yet when the god of soft persuasion takes The fatal moment, havock soon he makes, In vain his duty, any thing opposed, If once the tender sentiment's disclosed. Aminta consolation had in view 'Twas that alone the passion from her drew, A meeting innocent, to vent her tears, And, to a feeling friend, express her fears. 'Tis represented thus I cannot doubt; But sight of meat brings appetite about; And if you would avoid the tempting bit, 'Tis better far at table not to sit.

AMINTA hoped to render Cleon kind; Poor innocent! as yet to dangers blind, These conversations she was led to deem, Mere friendly ways that raised sincere esteem; And this alone she ardently desired, Without supposing more would be required, Or any thing improper be the case: She'd rather die than suffer such disgrace. 'Twas difficult the business to commence; A letter 's often lost, or gives offence, And many serious accidents arrive: To have a confidant 'twere better strive; But where could such a female friend be found? Gerontes dreaded was by all around. I've said already, Cupid will obtain, One way or t'other, what he wants to gain; And this will show the observation just The maxim's such as you may always trust.

A FEMALE relative young Cleon had, A peevish prude, who looked upon the lad, As one she had a right to rule and scold; Her name was Mistress Alice: sour and old.

ONE summer's day, Aminta to her said: I cannot think how 'tis, your cousin's led, (Though quite indifferent he is to me, And doubtless such will ever prove to be) With various fond attentions, to pretend, He loves me—much beyond a common friend. My window oft he passes day and night; I cannot move a step, but he's in sight, And in a moment at my heels appears; Notes, letters full of soft expressions, dears, To me are sent by one I will not name, For known to you, she would be thought to blame: Pray put an end to such a wild pursuit It nothing can produce but wretched fruit; My husband may take fire at things like these; And as to Cleon.—me he'll never please; I'll thank you to inform him what I say; Such steps are useless: folly they betray.

MUCH praise Aminta from the dame received; Who promised that the conduct, which aggrieved; To Cleon she would mention, as desired, And reprimand him, as the fault required: So well would scold him, that she might be sure, From him in future she would be secure.

THE foll'wing day our youth to Alice came; To pay a visit solely was his aim; She told him what Aminta had declared, And, in her lecture, words by no means spared. The lad, surprised, on oath the whole denied, And vowed to gain her love, he never tried. Old Alice called her cousin, imp of Hell; Said she, in all that's wicked, you excel; You will not all your base designs confess; The oaths are false on which you lay such stress, And punishment most richly you deserve; But false or true, from this I will not swerve, That you should recollect, Aminta 's chaste, And never will submit to be disgraced; Renounce her from this hour; no more pursue:— That easily, said Cleon, I can do; Away he went: the case considered o'er; But still the myst'ry he could not explore.

THREE days had scarcely passed: Aminta came, To pay a visit to our ancient dame; Cried she I fear, you have not seen as yet, This youth, who worse and worse appears to get. Rage, Mistress Alice, instantly o'erspread, And ev'ry thing that's vile she of him said.

NO sooner had Aminta gone away, But she for Cleon sent without delay. He presently appeared; yet to detail How Alice stormed, I certainly should fail; Unless an iron tongue I could obtain: All Hell was ransacked epithets to gain; And Lucifer and Beelzebub were used: No mortal ever was so much abused.

QUITE terrified, poor lad, he scarcely knew; Her fury was so great, what best to do; If he allowed that he had acted wrong, 'Twould wound his conscience and defile his tongue. He home repaired, and turning in his mind What he had heard, at length his thoughts inclined, To fancy that Aminta was disposed, To play some cunning trick, which, not disclosed, Would operate to bring her wish about; I see, said he, the scheme I should not doubt; It surely is my duty kind to be: Methinks I hear her freely say to me, O Cleon! show affection, I am yours; I love her too, for beauty that secures; And while her seraph charms my bosom fire; I equally the stratagem admire. Most freely howsoe'er I will confess, At first I was so dull, I could not guess At what she aimed, but now the object's plain: Aminta o'er my heart desires to reign.

THIS minute, if I durst, I'd thither go, And, full of confidence, declare my woe, The subtle flame that burns without controul; What hurt to paint feelings of my soul? From balance of accounts 'twill both exempt: 'Tis better far to love than show contempt. But should the husband find me in the house?— Ne'er think of that, and try the hunks to chouse.

THEIR course had hardly run three other days, When fair Aminta, studious still of ways To have her wish, again to Alice came, To give dear Cleon notice of her flame. My home, cried she, 'tis requisite I leave: To ruin me, your cousin, I perceive, Is still resolved, for presents now he sends; But he mistakes, and blindly wealth expends; I'm clearly not the woman he suspects: See here, what jewels rare to please the sex! Nice rubies, diamonds too, but what is more, My portrait I have found among the store, Which must have been from memory designed, Since only with my husband that you'll find.

WHEN I arose, this person known to you, Whose name I must conceal (to honour true), Arrived and brought me what I just have shown; The whole should at your cousin's head be thrown; And were he present:—but I'll curb my rage; Allow me to proceed, and you engage To hear the rest:—he word has also sent, That as to-day he knew my husband went On business to his cottage in the wood, Where he would sleep the night, he understood, No sooner should the servants be in bed, And Morpheus' robe be o'er their senses spread, But to my dressing room he would repair:— What can he hope, such project to declare? A meeting place indeed!—he must be mad; Were I not fearful 'twould affliction add To my old husband, I would set a watch, Who, at the entrance, should the villain catch; Or put him instantly to shame and flight; This said, she presently was out of sight.

AN hour had passed when Cleon came anew; The jewels at him in a moment flew; And scarcely Mistress Alice could refrain, From wreaking further vengeance on the swain. Is this your plan? cried she; but what is worse, I find you still desire a greater curse; And then she told him all Aminta said, When last to visit her the fair was led.

HIMSELF most fully warned the youth now thought; I loved, cried he, 'tis true; but that is naught, Since nothing from the belle I must expect: In future her completely I'll neglect. That is the line, said Alice, you should take; The lad howe'er was fully now awake, And thoroughly resolved to seek the dame, Whose cunning wiles had set him in a flame.

THE midnight hour the clock no sooner told; Than Cleon ran the myst'ry to unfold, And to the spot repaired, which he supposed, Aminta meant, from what had been disclosed; The place was well described, and there he found; Awaiting at the door, this belle renowned, Without attendants: sleep their eyes o'erspread: Behind thick clouds the very stars had fled: As all had been expected, in he went, Most thoroughly they both appeared content; Few words were used: in haste the pair withdrew, Where ev'ry wish at ease they might pursue. The smart gallant at once her beauty praised; His admiration presently was raised; Sweet kindness followed; charms were oft admired; And all was managed as their hearts desired.

SAID youthful Cleon, now you'll tell me why This stratagem you were induced to try? For such before in love was never seen; 'Tis excellent, and worthy Beauty's queen. A lovely blush o'erspread Aminta's face, And gave her lily-cheeks superior grace. He praised her person, artifice, and wit, And did whate'er the moments would admit.



THE CLYSTER

IF truth give pleasure, surely we should try; To found our tales on what we can rely; Th' experiment repeatedly I've made, And seen how much realities persuade: They draw attention: confidence awake; Fictitious names however we should take, And then the rest detail without disguise: 'Tis thus I mean to manage my supplies.

IT happened then near Mans, a Normand town, For sapient people always of renown, A maid not long ago a lover had Brisk, pleasing, ev'ry way a handsome lad; The down as yet was scarcely on his chin; The girl was such as many wished to win: Had charms and fortune, all that was desired, And by the Mansian sparks was much admired; Around they swarmed, but vain was all their art Too much our youth possessed the damsel's heart.

THE parents, in their wisdom, meant the fair Should marry one who was a wealthy heir; But she contrived to manage matters well; In spite of ev'ry thing which might repel, (I know not how) at length he had access; Though whether through indulgence or address, It matters not: perhaps his noble blood Might work a change when fully understood: The LUCKY, ev'ry thing contrives to please; The rest can nothing but misfortune seize.

THE lover had success; the parents thought His merit such as prudence would have sought; What more to wish?—the miser's hoarded store: The golden age's wealth is now no more, A silly shadow, phantom of the brain; O happy time! I see indeed with pain, Thou wilt return:—in MAINE thou shalt arise; Thy innocence, we fondly may surmise, Had seconded our lover's ardent flame, And hastened his possession of the dame.

THE slowness usually in parents found, Induced the girl, whose heart by LOVE was bound; To celebrate the Hymeneal scene, As in the statutes of Cythera's queen. Our legendary writers this define A present contract, where they nothing sign; The thing is common;—marriage made in haste: LOVE'S perparation: Hymen's bit for taste.

NOT much examination Cupid made, As parent, lawyer, priest, he lent his aid, And soon concluded matters as desired; The Mansian wisdom no ways was required.

OUR spark was satisfied, and with his belle, Passed nights so happy, nothing could excel; 'Twere easy to explain;—the double keys, And gifts designed the chambermaid to please, Made all secure, and ev'ry joy abound; The soft delights with secrecy were crowned.

IT happened that our fair one evening said, To her who of each infant step had led, But of the present secret nothing knew:— I feel unwell; pray tell me what to do. The other answered, you my dear must take A remedy that easily I'll make, A clyster you shall have to-morrow morn: By me most willingly it will be borne.

WHEN midnight came the sly gallant appeared, Unluckily no doubt, but he revered The moments that so pleasantly were passed, Which always seemed, he thought, to glide too fast; Relief he sought, for ev'ry one below Is destined torments more or less to know. He not a word was told of things designed, And just as our gallant to sleep inclined, As oft's the case at length with lovers true, Quite open bright Aurora's portals flew, And with a smile the aged dame arrived; The apparatus properly contrived, Was in her hand, she hastened to the bed, And took the side that to the stripling led.

OUR lady fair was instantly confused, Or she precaution properly had used, 'Twas easy to have kept a steady face, And 'neath the clothes the other's head to place. Pass presently beyond the hidden swain, And t'other side with rapid motion gain, A thing quite natural, we should suppose; But fears o'erpow'red; the frightened damsel chose To hide herself, then whispered her gallant, What mighty terrors made her bosom pant. The youth was sage, and coolly undertook To offer for her:—t'other 'gan to look, With spectacles on nose: soon all went right; Adieu, she cried, and then withdrew from sight. Heav'n guard her steps, and all conduct away, Whose presence secret friendships would betray:

SHOULD this be thought a silly, idle tale; (And that opinion may perhaps prevail) To censure me, enough will surely try, For criticks are severe, and these will cry, Your lady like a simpleton escaped; Her character you better might have shaped; Which makes us doubt the truth of what is told: Naught in your prologue like it we behold.

'TWERE sueless to reply: 'twould endless prove: No arguments such censurers could move; On men like these, devoid of sense or taste, In vain might Cicero his rhet'rick waste. Sufficient 'tis for me, that what is here, I got from those who ev'ry-where appear The friends of truth:—let others say the same; What more would they expect should be my aim?



THE INDISCREET CONFESSIONS

FAMED Paris ne'er within its walls had got, Such magick charms as were Aminta's lot, Youth, beauty, temper, fortune, she possessed, And all that should a husband render blessed, The mother still retained her 'neath the wing; Her father's riches well might lovers bring; Whate'er his daughter wished, he would provide, Amusements, jewels, dress, and much beside.

BLITHE Damon for her having felt the dart, The belle received the offer of his heart; So well he managed and expressed his flame. That soon her lord and master he became, By Hymen's right divine, you may conceive, And nothing short of it you should believe.

A YEAR had passed, and still our charming pair, Were always pleased, and blisses seemed to share; (The honeymoon appeared but just began) And hopes were entertained to have a son, When Damon on the subject chanced to touch: In truth, said he, my soul is troubled much; There is a fact, my dear, to you I'll tell: I wish sincerely (since I love so well) That for another, I had never known Such fond affection as to you I've shown; And none but you had entered in my breast, So worthy ev'ry way to be caressed. I have howe'er experienced other flame; The fault's acknowledged: I confess my shame. 'Twas in a wood; the nymph was young and nice, And Cupid only near to give advice; So well he managed:—or so ill, you'll say; A little girl I've living at this day.

WHAT, cried Aminta, now to you I'll state; What happened once to be your spouse's fate; I was at home alone, to say the truth, When thither came by chance a sprightly youth. The lad was handsome, with engaging mien; I felt his worth:—my nature is serene; In short so many things were our employ, I've still upon my hands a little boy.

THESE words no sooner had escaped the belle, Than Damon into jealous torments fell; With rage he left the room; and on his way, A large pack-saddle near his footsteps lay, Which on his back he put, then cried aloud, I'm saddled! see; round quickly came a crowd; The father, mother, all the servants ran; The neighbours too; the husband then began To state the circumstance that gave him pain; And fully all the folly to explain.

THE reader must not fail to keep in mind; Aminta's parents were both rich and kind, And having only her to be their heir, The aged couple let the youthful pair, With all their train, within the house reside, And tranquilly the moments seemed to glide.

THU mother fondly to her daughter flew; The father followed, keeping her in view; The dame went in, but he remained without: To listen he designed beyond a doubt; The door was on the jar; the sage drew near; In short, to all they said, he lent an ear; The lady thus he heard reproach her child: You're clearly wrong; most silly may be styled; I've many simpletons and ninnies seen; But such as you before there ne'er has been: Who'd have believed you indiscreet like this? Who forced you to reveal what was amiss? What obligation to divulge the fact? More girls than one have failed to be exact; The Devil's crafty; folks are wicked too; But that is no excuse, however true; In convents all of us should be immured, Till perfectly by Hymen's bands secured.

E'EN I who speak, alas! have troubles met; Within my bosom oft I feel regret; Three children ere my marriage I had got; Have I your father told this secret blot? Have we together been less happy found? The list'ner had no sooner heard the sound, But like a man distracted off he flew; The saddle's girth, which hazard near him threw; He took and fastened tightly 'bout his waist, Then bawled around and round with anxious haste; I'm girth'd! d'ye see, completely taken in; The people stared, an 'gan to laugh and grin. Though each was conscious, if the truth were known; The ridicule in turn might be his own.

BOTH husbands madly ran from cross to square, And with their foolish clamours rent the air; I'm saddled, hooted one; I'm girth'd, said this; The latter some perhaps will doubt, and hiss; Such things however should not be disbelieved For instance, recollect (what's well received), When Roland learned the pleasures and the charms; His rival, in the grot, had in his arms, With fist he gave his horse so hard a blow, It sunk at once to realms of poignant woe. Might he not, training, round the hapless beast, From weight of saddle have its back released, And putting it upon his own, have cried, I'm saddled, I'm girth'd, and much beside; (No matter this or that, since each is good,) Which Echo would repeat from hill to wood? You see that truth may be discovered here; That's not enough; its object should appear; And that I'll show as further we proceed; Your full attention I of course shall need.

THE happy Damon clearly seems to me, As poor a thing as any we shall see; His confidence would soon have spoiled the whole, To leave a belle like this without control! Her simplicity I much admire:— Confess herself to spouse, as if a friar! What silliness! imprudence is a word, Which here to use would truly be absurd. To my discourse two heads alone remain; The marriage vow you always should maintain; Its faith the pair should ever keep in view: The path of honour steadily pursue. If some mishap howe'er should chance to glide; And make you limp on one or t'other side, Endeavour, of the fault, to make the best, And keep the secret locked within your breast; Your own consideration never lose; Untruth 'tis pardonable then to use.

No doubt my pages nice advice supply; Is't what I've followed?—No, you may rely!



THE CONTRACT

THE husband's dire mishap, and silly maid, In ev'ry age, have proved the fable's aid; The fertile subject never will be dry: 'Tis inexhaustible, you may rely. No man's exempt from evils such as these:— Who thinks himself secure, but little sees. One laughs at sly intrigues who, ere 'tis long, May, in his turn, be sneered at by the throng: With such vicissitudes, to be cast down, Appears rank nonsense worthy Folly's crown. He, whose adventures I'm about to write, In his mischances,—found what gave delight.

A CERTAIN Citizen, with fortune large, When settled with a handsome wife in charge, Not long attended for the marriage fruit: The lady soon put matters 'yond dispute; Produced a girl at first, and then a boy, To fill th' expecting parent's breast with joy.

THE son, when grown of size, a tutor had, No pedant rude, with Greek and Latin mad, But young and smart, a master too of arts, Particularly learned in what imparts, The gentle flame, the pleasing poignant pang, That Ovid formerly so sweetly sang. Some knowledge of good company he'd got; A charming voice and manner were his lot; And if we may disclose the mystick truth, 'Twas Cupid who preceptor made the youth. He with the brother solely took a place, That better he the sister's charms might trace; And under this disguise he fully gained What he desired, so well his part he feigned: An able master, or a lover true, To teach or sigh, whichever was in view, So thoroughly he could attention get, Success alike in ev'ry thing he met.

IN little time the boy could construe well The odes of Horace:—Virgil's fable tell; And she whose beauty caught the tutor's eyes, A perfect mistress got of heaving sighs. So oft she practised what the master taught, Her stomach feeble grew, whate'er was sought; And strange suspicions of the cause arose, Which Time at length was driven to disclose.

MOST terribly the father raged and swore; Our learned master, frightened, left the door, The lady wished to take the youth for life; The spark desired to make the girl his wife; Both had the Hymeneal knot in view, And mutual soft affection fondly knew. At present love is little more than name: In matrimony, gold's the only aim. The belle was rich, while he had nothing got; For him 'twas great:—for her a narrow lot.

O DIRE corruption, age of wretched ways! What strange caprice such management displays! Shall we permit this fatal pow'r to reign? Base int'rest's impulse: hideous modern stain; The curse of ev'ry tender soft delight, That charms the soul and fascinates the sight.

BUT truce to moral; let's our tale resume; The daughter scared; the father in a fume; What could be done the evil to repair, And hide the sad misfortune of the fair? What method seek?—They married her in haste; But not to him who had the belle debased, For reasons I've sufficiently detailed; To gain her hand a certain wight prevailed, Who store of riches relished far above The charms of beauty, warmed with fondest love. Save this the man might well enough be thought: In family and wealth just what was sought; But whether fool or not, I cannot trace, Since he was unacquainted with the case; And if he'd known it, was the bargain bad? Full twenty thousand pounds he with her had A sprightly youthful wife to ease his care, And with him ev'ry luxury to share.

HOW many tempted by the golden ore, Have taken wives whose slips they know before; And this good man the lady chaste believed, So truly well she managed and deceived. But when four months had passed, the fair-one showed. How very much she to her lessons owed; A little girl arrived: the husband stared Cried he, what father of a child declared! The time's too short: four months! I'm taken in! A family should not so soon begin.

AWAY he to the lady's father flew, And of his shame a horrid picture drew; Proposed to be divorced: much rage disclosed; The parent smiled and said, pray be composed; Speak not so loud: we may be overheard, And privacy is much to be preferred. A son-in-law, like you, I once appeared, And similar misfortune justly feared; Complaint I made, and mentioned a divorce; Of heat and rage the ordinary course.

THE father of my wife, who's now no more, (Heav'n guard his soul, the loss I oft deplore,) A prudent honest man as any round, To calm my mind, a nice specifick found; The pill was rather bitter, I admit; But gilding made it for the stomach fit, Which he knew how to manage very well: No doctor in it him could e'er excel; To satisfy my scruples he displayed A CONTRACT (duly stamped and ably made), Four thousand to secure, which he had got, On similar occasion for a blot; His lady's father gave it to efface Domestick diff'rences and like disgrace: With this my spouse's fortune he increased; And instantly my dire complaining ceased. From family to family the deed Should pass, 'twill often prove a useful meed; I kept it for the purpose:—do the same Your daughter, married, may have equal blame. On this the son-in-law the bond received, And, with a bow, departed much relieved.

MAY Heav'n preserve from trouble those who find, At cheaper rate, to be consoled inclined.



THE QUID PRO QUO; OR THE MISTAKES

DAME FORTUNE often loves a laugh to raise, And, playing off her tricks and roguish ways, Instead of giving us what we desire, Mere quid pro quo permits us to acquire. I've found her gambols such from first to last, And judge the future by experience past. Fair Cloris and myself felt mutual flame; And, when a year had run, the sprightly dame Prepared to grant me, if I may be plain, Some slight concessions that would ease my pain. This was her aim; but whatsoe'er in view, 'Tis opportunity we should pursue; The lover, who's discreet, will moments seize; And ev'ry effort then will tend to please.

ONE eve I went this charming fair to see; The husband happened (luckily for me) To be abroad; but just as it was night The master came, not doubting all was right; No Cloris howsoe'er was in the way; A servant girl, of disposition gay, Well known to me, with pretty smiling face, 'Tis said, was led to take her lady's place. The mistress' loss for once was thus repaid; The barter mutual:—wife against the maid.

WITH many tales like this the books abound; But able hands are necessary found, To place the incidents, arrange the whole, That nothing may be forced nor feel control. The urchin blind, who sees enough to lay His num'rous snares, such tricks will often play. The CRADLE in Boccace excels the most, As to myself I do not mean to boast, But fear, a thousand places, spite of toil, By him made excellent, my labours spoil. 'Tis time howe'er with preface to have done, And show, by some new turn, or piece of fun, (While easy numbers from my pencil flow,) Of Fortune and of Love the quid pro quo. In proof, we'll state what happened at Marseilles: The story is so true, no doubt prevails.

THERE Clidamant, whose proper name my verse, Prom high respect, refuses to rehearse, Lived much at ease: not one a wife had got, Throughout the realm, who was so nice a lot, Her virtues, temper, and seraphick charms, Should have secured the husband to her arms; But he was not to constancy inclined; The devil's crafty; snares has often twined Around and round, with ev'ry subtle art, When love of novelty he would impart.

THE lady had a maid, whose form and size, Height, easy manners, action, lips, and eyes, Were thought to be so very like her own, That one from t'other scarcely could be known; The mistress was the prettiest of the two; But, in a mask where much escapes the view, 'Twas very difficult a choice to make, And feel no doubts which better 'twere to take.

THE Marseillesian husband, rather gay, With mistress Alice was disposed to play; (For such was called the maid we just have named;) To show coquettish airs the latter aimed, And met his wishes with reproof severe; But to his plan the lover would adhere, And promised her at length a pretty sum: A hundred crowns, if to his room she'd come. To pay the girl with kindness such as this, In my opinion, was not much amiss. At that rate what should be the mistress' price? Perhaps still less: she might not be so nice. But I mistake; the lady was so coy, No spark, whatever art he could employ, How cleverly soe'er he laid the snare, Would have succeeded, spite of ev'ry care. Nor presents nor attentions would have swayed; Should I have mentioned presents as an aid? Alas! no longer these are days of old! By Love both nymph and shepherdess are sold; He sets the price of many beauties rare; This was a god;—now nothing but a mayor.

O ALTERED times! O customs how depraved! At first fair Alice frowardly behaved; But in the sequel 'gan to change her way, And said, her mistress, as the foll'wing day, A certain remedy to take designed; That, in the morning then, if so inclined, They could at leisure in the cavern meet;— The plan was pleasing: all appeared discreet.

THE servant, having to her mistress said, What projects were in view: what nets were spread; The females, 'tween themselves, a plot contrived, Of Quid pro quo, against the hour arrived. The husband of the trick was ne'er aware, So much the mistress had her servant's air; But if he had, what then? no harm of course; She might have lectured him with double force.

NEXT day but one, gay Clidamant, whose joy Appeared so great, 'twas free from all alloy, By hazard met a friend, to whom he told (Most indiscreetly) what to him was sold; How Cupid favoured what he most required, And freely granted all he had desired. Though large the blessing, yet he grudged the cost; The sum gave pain: a hundred crowns were lost! The friend proposed they should at once decide, The charge and pleasure 'tween them to divide. Our husband thought his purse not over strong, That saving fifty crowns would not be wrong. But then, on t'other hand, to lend the fair, In ev'ry view had got an awkward air; Would she, as was proposed, consent to two? To keep things secret would their lips be true? Or was it fair to sacrifice her charms, And lay her open thus to dire alarms?

THE friend this difficulty soon removed, And represented that the cavern proved So very dark, the girl would be deceived; With one more shrewd the trick might be achieved. Sufficient howsoever it would be, If they by turns, and silent, could agree To meet the belle, and leave to Love the rest, From whom they hoped assistance if distressed. Such silence to observe no hurt could do, And Alice would suppose, a prudent view Retained the tongue, since walls have often ears, And, being mum, expressive was of fears.

WHEN thus the two gallants their plan had laid, And ev'ry promised pleasure fully weighed, They to the husband's mansion made their way, Where yet the wife between the bed-clothes lay. The servant girl was near her mistress found; Her dress was plain: no finery around; In short, 'twas such that, when the moment came; To fail the meeting could not be her aim.

THE friends disputed which the lead should take, And strong pretentions both appeared to make; The husband, honours home would not allow: Such compliments were out of fashion now. To settle this, at length three dice they took; The friend was highest placed in Fortune's book. The both together to the cavern flew, And for the servant soon impatient grew; But Alice never came, and in her room The mistress, softly treading 'mid the gloom, The necessary signal gently gave, On which she entered presently the cave, And this so suddenly, no time was found To make remarks on change or errors round, Or any diff'rence 'tween the friend and spouse; In short, before suspicions 'gan to rouse, Or alteration lent the senses aid:— To LOVE, a sacrifice was fully made. The lucky wight more pleasure would have felt, If sensible he'd been with whom he dealt: The mistress rather more of beauty had, And QUALITY of course must something add.

THIS scene just ended, t'other actor came, Whose prompt arrival much surprised the dame, For, as a husband, Clidamant had ne'er Such ardour shown, he seemed beyond his sphere. The lady to the girl imputed this, And thought, to hint it, would not be amiss.

THE entertainment o'er, away they went To quit the dark abode they were intent. The partner in amour repaired above; But when the husband saw his wedded love Ascend the stairs, and she the friend perceived, We well may judge how bosoms beat and heaved.

THE master of the house conceived it best To keep the whole a secret in his breast. But to discover ALL, his lovely rib Appeared disposed, though wives can often fib; The silliest of the throng (or high or low), Most perfectly the science seem to know.

SOME will pretend that Alice, in her heart Was sorry she had acted such a part, And not a better method sought to gain The money which had caused her master's pain; Lamented much the case, and tried to please By ev'ry means that might his trouble ease. But this is merely with design to make The tale a more impressive feature take.

TWO questions may agitate around; The one, if 'mong the brotherhood renowned, The husband, who thus felt disgraced, Should (with the usual ornaments) be placed? But I no grounds for such conclusion see: Both friend and wife were from suspicion free; Of one another they had never thought, Though in the mystick scene together brought. The other is:—Should she, who was misused, Have sought revenge for being so abused? Though this sufficiently I have maintained, The lady inconsolable remained.

HEAV'N guard the FAIR, who meet with ills like these, And nothing can their wounded minds appease: I many know howe'er, who would but laugh, And treat such accidents as light as chaff. But I have done: no more of that or this; May ev'ry belle receive her lot of bliss!



THE DRESS-MAKER

A CLOISTERED nun had a lover Dwelling in the neighb'ring town; Both racked their brains to discover How they best their love might crown. The swain to pass the convent-door!— No easy matter!—Thus they swore, And wished it light.—I ne'er knew a nun In such a pass to be outdone:— In woman's clothes the youth must dress, And gain admission. I confess The ruse has oft been tried before, But it succeeded as of yore. Together in a close barred cell The lovers were, and sewed all day, Nor heeded how time flew away.— "What's that I hear? Refection bell! "'Tis time to part. Adieu!—Farewell!— "How's this?" exclaimed the abbess, "why "The last at table?"—"Madam, I "Have had my dress-maker."—"The rent "On which you've both been so intent "Is hard to stop, for the whole day "To sew and mend, you made her stay; "Much work indeed you've had to do! "—Madam, 't would last the whole night through, "When in our task we find enjoyment "There is no end of the employment."



THE GASCON

I AM always inclined to suspect The best story under the sun As soon as by chance I detect That teller and hero are one.

We're all of us prone to conceit, And like to proclaim our own glory, But our purpose we're apt to defeat As actors in chief of our story.

To prove the truth of what I state Let me an anecdote relate: A Gascon with his comrade sat At tavern drinking. This and that He vaunted with assertion pat. From gasconade to gasconade Passed to the conquests he had made In love. A buxom country maid, Who served the wine, with due attention Lent patient ear to each invention, And pressed her hands against her side Her bursting merriment to hide. To hear our Gascon talk, no Sue Nor Poll in town but that he knew; With each he'd passed a blissful night More to their own than his delight. This one he loved for she was fair, That for her glossy ebon hair. One miss, to tame his cruel rigour, Had brought him gifts.—She owned his vigour In short it wanted but his gaze To set each trembling heart ablaze. His strength surpassed his luck,—the test— In one short night ten times he'd blessed A dame who gratefully expressed Her thanks with corresponding zest. At this the maid burst forth, "What more? "I never heard such lies before! "Content were I if at that sport "I had what that poor dame was short."



THE PITCHER

THE simple Jane was sent to bring Fresh water from the neighb'ring spring; The matter pressed, no time to waste, Jane took her jug, and ran in haste The well to reach, but in her flurry (The more the speed the worse the hurry), Tripped on a rolling stone, and broke Her precious pitcher,—ah! no joke! Nay, grave mishap! 'twere better far To break her neck than such a jar! Her dame would beat and soundly rate her, No way could Jane propitiate her. Without a sou new jug to buy! 'Twere better far for her to die! O'erwhelmed by grief and cruel fears Unhappy Jane burst into tears "I can't go home without the delf," Sobbed Jane, "I'd rather kill myself; "So here am I resolved to die." A friendly neighbour passing by O'erheard our damsel's lamentation; And kindly offered consolation: "If death, sweet maiden, be thy bent, "I'll aid thee in thy sad intent." Throwing her down, he drew his dirk, And plunged it in the maid,—a work You'll say was cruel,—not so Jane, Who even seemed to like the pain, And hoped to be thus stabbed again. Amid the weary world's alarms, For some e'en death will have its charms; "If this, my friend, is how you kill, "Of breaking jugs I'll have my fill!"



TO PROMISE IS ONE THING TO KEEP IT, ANOTHER

JOHN courts Perrette; but all in vain; Love's sweetest oaths, and tears, and sighs All potent spells her heart to gain The ardent lover vainly tries: Fruitless his arts to make her waver, She will not grant the smallest favour: A ruse our youth resolved to try The cruel air to mollify:— Holding his fingers ten outspread To Perrette's gaze, and with no dread "So often," said he, "can I prove, "My sweet Perrette, how warm my love." When lover's last avowals fail To melt the maiden's coy suspicions A lover's sign will oft prevail To win the way to soft concessions: Half won she takes the tempting bait; Smiles on him, draws her lover nearer, With heart no longer obdurate She teaches him no more to fear her— A pinch,—a kiss,—a kindling eye,— Her melting glances,—nothing said.— John ceases not his suit to ply Till his first finger's debt is paid. A second, third and fourth he gains, Takes breath, and e'en a fifth maintains. But who could long such contest wage? Not I, although of fitting age, Nor John himself, for here he stopped, And further effort sudden dropped. Perrette, whose appetite increased just as her lover's vigour ceased, In her fond reckoning defeated, Considered she was greatly cheated— If duty, well discharged, such blame Deserve; for many a highborn dame Would be content with such deceit. But Perrette, as already told, Out of her count, began to scold And call poor John an arrant cheat For promising and not performing. John calmly listened to her storming, And well content with work well done, Thinking his laurels fairly won, Cooly replied, on taking leave: "No cause I see to fume and grieve; "Or for such trifle to dispute; "To promise and to execute "Are not the same, be it confessed, "Suffice it to have done one's best; "With time I'll yet discharge what's due; "Meanwhile, my sweet Perrette, adieu!"



THE NIGHTINGALE

NO easy matter 'tis to hold, Against its owner's will, the fleece Who troubled by the itching smart Of Cupid's irritating dart, Eager awaits some Jason bold To grant release. E'en dragon huge, or flaming steer, When Jason's loved will cause no fear.

Duennas, grating, bolt and lock, All obstacles can naught avail; Constraint is but a stumbling block; For youthful ardour must prevail. Girls are precocious nowadays, Look at the men with ardent gaze, And longings' an infinity; Trim misses but just in their teens By day and night devise the means To dull with subtlety to sleep The Argus vainly set to keep In safety their virginity. Sighs, smiles, false tears, they'll fain employ An artless lover to decoy. I'll say no more, but leave to you, Friend reader, to pronounce if true What I've asserted when you have heard How artful Kitty, caged her bird.

IN a small town in Italy, The name of which I do not know, Young Kitty dwelt, gay, pretty, free, Varambon's child.—Boccacio Omits her mother's name, which not To you or me imports a jot. At fourteen years our Kitty's charms Were all that could be wished—plump arms, A swelling bosom; on her cheeks Roses' and lilies' mingled streaks, A sparkling eye—all these, you know, Speak well for what is found below. With such advantages as these No virgin sure could fail to please, Or lack a lover; nor did Kate; But little time she had to wait; One soon appeared to seal her fate. Young Richard saw her, loved her, wooed her— What swain I ask could have withstood her? Soft words, caresses, tender glances, The battery of love's advances, Soon lit up in the maiden's breast The flame which his own heart possessed, Soon growing to a burning fire Of love and mutual desire. Desire for what? My reader knows, Or if he does not may suppose, And not be very wond'rous wise. When youthful lovers mingle sighs, Believe me, friend, I am not wrong, For one thing only do they long. One check deferred our lover's bliss, A thing quite natural, 'twas this: The mother loved so well her child That, fearful she might be beguiled, She would not let her out of sight, A single minute, day or night. At mother's apron string all day Kate whiled the weary hours away, And shared her bed all night. Such love In parents we must all approve, Though Catherine, I must confess, In place of so much tenderness More liberty would have preferred. To little girls maternal care In such excess is right and fair, But for a lass of fourteen years, For whom one need have no such fears, Solicitude is quite absurd, And only bores her. Kitty could No moment steal, do what she would, To see her Richard. Sorely vexed She was, and he still more perplexed. In spite of all he might devise A squeeze, a kiss, quick talk of eyes Was all he could obtain, no more. Bread butterless, a sanded floor, It seemed no better. Joy like this Could not suffice, more sterling bliss Our lovers wished, nor would stop short Till they'd obtained the thing they sought. And thus it came about. One day By chance they met, alone, away From jealous parents. "What's the use;" Said Richard, "of all our affection? "Of love it is a rank abuse, "And yields me nothing but dejection "I see you without seeing you, "Must always look another way, "And if we meet I dare not stay, "Must ev'ry inclination smother. "I can't believe your love is true; "I'll never own you really kind "Unless some certain means you find "For us to meet without your mother." Kate answered: "Were it not too plain "How warm my love, another strain "I would employ. In converse vain "Let us not waste our moments few; "But think what it were best to do." "If you will please me," Robert said, "You must contrive to change your bed, "And have it placed—well, let me see— "Moved to the outer gallery, "Where you will be alone and free. "We there can meet and chat at leisure "While others sleep, nor need we fear, "Of merry tales I have a treasure "To tell, but cannot tell them here." Kate smiled at this for she knew well What sort of tales he had to tell; But promised she would do her best And soon accomplish his request. It was not easy, you'll admit, But love lends foolish maidens wit; And this is how she managed it. The whole night long she kept awake, Snored, sighed and kicked, as one possessed, That parents both could get not rest, So much she made the settle shake. This is not strange. A longing girl, With thoughts of sweetheart in her head, In bed all night will sleepless twirl. A flea is in her ear, 'tis said. The morning broke. Of fleas and heat Kitty complained. "Let me entreat, "O mother, I may put my bed "Out in the gallery," she said, "'Tis cooler there, and Philomel "Who warbles in the neigh'bring dell "Will solace me." Ready consent The simple mother gave, and went To seek her spouse. "Our Kate, my dear, "Will change her bed that she may hear "The nightingale, and sleep more cool." "Wife," said the good man, "You're a fool, "And Kate too with her nightingale; "Don't tell me such a foolish tale. "She must remain. No doubt to-night "Will fresher be. I sleep all right "In spite of heat, and so can she. "Is she more delicate than me?" Incensed was Kate by this denial After so promising a trial, Nor would be beat, but firmly swore To give more trouble than before. That night again no wink she slept But groaned and fretted, sighed and wept, Upon her couch so tossed and turned, The anxious mother quite concerned Again her husband sought. "Our Kate "To me seems greatly changed of late. "You are unkind," she said to him, "To thwart her simple, girlish whim. "Why may she not her bed exchange, "In naught will it the house derange? "Placed in the passage she's as near "To us as were she lying here. "You do not love your child, and will "With your unkindness make her ill." "Pray cease," the husband cried, "to scold "And take your whim. I ne'er could hold "My own against a screaming wife; "You'll drive me mad, upon my life. "Her belly-full our Kate may get "Of nightingale or of linnet." The thing was settled. Kate obeyed, And in a trice her bed was made, And lover signalled. Who shall say How long to both appeared that day, That tedious day! But night arrived And Richard too; he had contrived By ladder, and a servant's aid, To reach the chamber of the maid. To tell how often they embraced, How changed in form their tenderness, Would lead to nothing but a waste Of time, my readers will confess. The longest, most abstruse discourse Would lack precision, want the force Their youthful ardour to portray. To understand there's but one way— Experience. The nightingale Sang all night long his pleasing tale, And though he made but little noise, The lass was satisfied. Her joys So exquisite that she averred The other nightingale, the bird Who warbles to the woods his bliss, Was but an ass compared with this. But nature could not long maintain Of efforts such as these the strain; Their forces spent, the lovers twain In fond embrace fell fast asleep Just as the dawn began to peep: The father as he left his bed By curiosity was led To learn if Kitty soundly slept, And softly to the passage crept. "I'll see the influence," he said, "Of nightingale and change of bed." With bated breath, upon tip toes, Close to the couch he cautious goes Where Kitty lay in calm repose. Excessive heat had made all clothes Unbearable. The sleeping pair Had cast them off, and lay as bare As our first happy parents were In Paradise. But in the place Of apple, in her willing hand Kate firmly grasp the magic wand Which served to found the human race, The which to name were a disgrace, Though dames the most refined employ it; Desire it, and much enjoy it, If good Catullus tells us true. The father scarce believed his view, But keeping in his bosom pent His anger, to his wife he went, And said, "Get up, and come with me. "At present I can plainly see "Why Kate had such anxiety "To hear the nightingale, for she "To catch the bird so well has planned "That now she holds him in her hand." The mother almost wept for glee. "A nightingale, oh! let me see. "How large is he, and can he sing, "And will he breed, the pretty thing? "How did she catch him, clever child?" Despite his grief the good man smiled. "Much more than you expect you'll see. "But hold your tongue, and come with me; "For if your chattering is heard, "Away will fly the timid bird; "And you will spoil our daughter's game." Who was surprised? It was the dame. Her anger burst into a flame As she the nightingale espied Which Kitty held; she could have cried, And scolded, called her nasty slut, And brazen hussey, bitch, and—but Her husband stopped her. "What's the use "Of all your scolding and abuse? "The mischief's done, in vain may you "From now till doomsday fret and stew, "Misfortune done you can't undo, "But something may be done to mend: "For notary this instant send, "Bid holy priest and mayor attend. "For their good offices I wait "To set this nasty matter straight." As he discoursed, Richard awoke, And seeing that the sun had broke, These troubled words to Kitty spoke "Alas, my love, 'tis broad day light, "How can I now effect my flight?" "All will go well," rejoined the sire, "I will not grumble, my just ire "Were useless here; you have committed "A wrong of which to be acquitted, "Richard, there is one only way, "My child you wed without delay. "She's well brought up, young, full of health "If fortune has not granted wealth, "Her beauty you do not deny, "So wed her, or prepare to die." To hesitate in such a case Would surely have been out of place The girl he loved to take to wife, Or in his prime to lose his life, The point in truth needs no debate, Nor did our Richard hesitate. Besides, the most supreme delight Of life he'd tasted one short night, But one, in lovely Kitty's arms; Could he so soon resign her charms! While Richard, pleased with his escape From what he feared an awkward scrape, Was dreaming of his happy choice, Our Kitty, by her father's voice Awakened, from her hand let go The cause of all her joy and woe, And round her naked beauties wound The sheet picked up from off the ground: Meanwhile the notary appears To put an end to all their fears. They wrote, they signed, the sealed—and thus The wedding ended free from fuss. They left the happy couple there. His satisfaction to declare, Thus spoke their father to the pair: "Take courage, children, have no care; "The nightingale in cage is pent, "May sing now to his heart's content."

THE END

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