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His bushy beard, and shoe-strings green,
His high-crown'd hat, and satin doublet, Moved the stout heart of England's queen,
Though Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it.
What, in the very first beginning !
Shame of the versifying tribe !
Can you do nothing but describe ?
A house there is (and that's enough)
From whence one fatal morning issues A brace of warriors, not in buff,
But rustling in their silks and tissues.
The first came cap-d-pie from France,
Her conqu’ring destiny fulfilling, Whom meaner beauties eye askance,
And vainly ape her art of killing.
The other Amazon kind heav'n
Had arm'd with spirit, wit, and satire ; But Cobham had the polish giv'n,
And tipp'd her arrows with good-nature.
To celebrate her eyes, her air
Coarse panegyrics would but tease her;
Melissa is her “ nom de guerre,”
Alas, who would not wish to please her !
With bonnet blue and capuchine,
And aprons long, they hid their armour ; And veil'd their weapons, bright and keen,
In pity to the country farmer.
Fame, in the shape of Mr. P-t,
(By this time all the parish know it,) Had told that thereabouts there lurk'd
A wicked imp they call a poet :
Who prowld the country far and near,
Bewitch'd the children of the peasants, Dried up the cows, and lamed the deer,
And suck'd the eggs, and kill'd the pheasants.
My lady heard their joint petition,
Swore by her coronet and ermine, She'd issue out her high commission
To rid the manor of such vermin.
The heroines undertook the task,
Thro' lanes unknown, o'er stiles they ventured, Rapp'd at the door, nor stay'd to ask,
But bounce into the parlour enter'd.
The trembling family they daunt,
They flirt, they sing, they laugh, they tattle, Rummage his mother, pinch his aunt,
And up-stairs in a whirlwind rattle:
Each hole and cupboard they explore,
Each creek and cranny of his chamber, Run hurry-scurry round the floor,
And o'er the bed and tester clamber;
Into the drawers and china pry,
Papers and books, a huge imbroglio ! Under a tea-cup he might lie,
Or creased, like dogs'-ears, in a folio.
On the first marching of the troops,
The Muses, hopeless of his pardon, Convey'd him underneath their hoops
To a small closet in the garden.
So Rumour says : (who will, believe,)
But that they left the door ajar, Where, safe and laughing in his sleeve,
He heard the distant din of war.
Short was his joy. He little knew
The pow'r of magic was no fable ;
Out of the window, wisk, they flew,
But left a spell upon the table.
The words too eager to unriddle,
The poet felt a strange disorder ; Transparent bird-lime form’d the middle,
And chains invisible the border.
So cunning was the apparatus,
The powerful pot-hooks did so move him, That, will he, nill he, to the great house
He went, as if the devil drove him.
Yet on his way (no sign of grace,
or folks in fear are apt to pray) To Phoebus he preferr'd his case,
And begg’d his aid that dreadful day.
The godhead would have back'd his quarrel ;
But with a blush, on recollection, Own'd that his quiver and his laurel
'Gainst four such eyes were no protection.
The court was sate, the culprit there,
Forth from their gloomy mansions creeping, The lady Janes and Joans repair,
And from the gallery stand peeping: