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THE JOURNAL OF A MODERN LADY.
IN A LETTER TO A PERSON OF QUALITY. 1728.
It was a most unfriendly part
In you, who ought to know my heart,
Are well acquainted with my zea)
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 woman-hater?
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 are several verses omitted.]
The hound 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.
Compell’d 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 dame is wak'd by noon,
(Some authors say, not quite so soon)
Because, though sore against her will,
She sate all night up at quadrille.
She stretches, gapes, unglues her eyes,
And asks, if it be time to rise :
Of head-ache and the spleen complains ;
And then, to cool her heated brains,
Her night-gown 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 mattadores, 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, “ His 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,
Hath sent this letter by her maid.”
“ Well, I remember what she won ;
And hath she sent so soon to dun?
Here, carry down those 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 awhile :
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 polite;
You see the booby husband sit
In admiration at her wit.
But let me now awhile survey
Our madam o'er her evening-tea;
Surrounded with her noisy clans
Of prudes, coquettes, and harridans ;
When, frighted at the clamorous crew,
Away the god of Silence few,
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 study'd 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,
An hundred tongues, as poets use,
When, to give every dame her due,
An hundred thousand were too few ?
Or how shall I, alas ! relate
The sum of all their senseless prate,
Their innuendos, hints, and slanders,
Their meanings 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?