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Imitations of Englis




W OMEN ben full of ragerie,

W Yet swinken nat sans secresie. Thilke moral shall ye understond, From schoole-boy's tale of fayre Irelond; Which to the fennes hath him betake, To filche the grey ducke fro the lake. Right then there passen by the way His aunt, and eke her daughters tway. Ducke in his trowses hath he hent, Not to be spied of ladies gent, “But ho! our nephew," crieth one; “ Ho!” quoth another, “ Cozen John ;" And stoppen, and lough, and callen outThis sely clerke full low doth lout: They asken that, and talken this. “Lo, here is coz, and here is miss." But, as he glozeth with speeches soote, The ducke sore tickleth his erse roote : Fore-piece and buttons all to-brest Forth thrust a white neck and red crest. “ Te-hee !” cried ladies : clerk nought spake : Miss stard, and grey ducke crieth “quaake.”

“O moder, moder!" quoth the daughter,
“ Be thilke same thing maids longen a'ter ?
Bette is to pine on coals and chalke,
Then trust on mon whose yerde can talke.”


[The above, when first published in the Miscellanies, was entitled “A Tale of Chaucer lately found in an old manuscript." ]

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IN every town where Thamis rolls his tyde,

A narrow pass there is, with houses low.
Where ever and anon the stream is ey'd,
And many a boat soft sliding to and fro:
There oft are heard the notes of infant woe,
The short thick sob, loud scream, and shriller squall :
How can ye, mothers, vex your children so ?

Some play, some eat, some cack against the wall,
And as they crouchen low for bread and butter call.


And on the broken pavement, here and there,

Doth many a stinking sprat and herring lie ;
A brandy and tobacco shop is near,
And hens, and dogs, and hogs, are feeding by ;
And here a sailor's jacket hangs to dry.
At every door are sunburnt matrons seen

15 Mending old nets to catch the scaly fry;

Now singing shrill, and scolding eft between ; Scolds answer foul-mouth'd scolds ; bad neighbourhood I ween.


The snappish cur (the passenger's annoy)
Close at my heel with yelping treble flies ;
The whimpering girl, and hoarser screaming boy,
Join to the yelping treble shrilling cries ;
The scolding quean to louder notes doth rise,

And her full pipes those shrilling cries confound :
To her full pipes the grunting hog replies :

25 The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round, And curs, girls, boys, and scolds, in the deep base are drown'd.

Hard by a sty, beneath a roof of thatch,
Dwelt Obloquy, who in her early days
Baskets of fish at Billingsgate did watch,

Cod, whiting, oyster, mackrel, sprat, or plaice :
There learn'd she speech from tongues that never cease.
Slander beside her like a magpie chatters,
With Envy (spitting cat), dread foe to peace ;

Like a curs'd cur, Malice before her clatters, And, vexing every wight, tears clothes and all to tatters.



Her dugs were mark’d by every collier's hand ;
Her mouth was black as bull-dogs at the stall :
She scratched, bit, and spar'd ne lace ne band,
And bitch and rogue her answer was to all ;
Nay, ev'n the parts of shame by name would call :
Yea, when she passed by or lane or nook,
Would greet the man who turn’d him to the wall,

And by his hand obscene the porter took,
Nor ever did askance like modest virgin look.


Such place hath Deptford, navy-building town,
Woolwich and Wapping, smelling strong of pitch ;
Such Lambeth, envy of each band and gown,
And Twickenham such, which fairer scenes enrich,

1 [This stanza is evidently a parody of the fine descriptive one, so often quoted, in the Fairy Queen :

“The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade,

Their notes unto the voice attemper'd sweet;
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made
To th' instruments divine respondence meet;
The silver-sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmur of the water's fall;
The water's fall, with difference discreet,

Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call;
The gently warbling wind low answered to all.” ]

Grots, statues, urns, and Jo-n’sdog and bitch, 50
Ne village is without, on either side,
All up the silver Thames, or all adown;

Ne Richmond's self, from whose tall front are ey'd
Vales, spires, meandering streams, and Windsor's towery pride.






charmer ! cease; nor make your voice's prize

A heart resign'd the conquest of your eyes :
Well might, alas! that threaten'd vessel fail,
Which winds and lightning both at once assail.
We were too bless’d with these enchanting lays,
Which must be heavenly when an angel plays :
But killing charms your lover's death contrive,
Lest heavenly music should be heard alive.
Orpheus could charm the trees; but thus a tree,
Taught by your hand, can charm no less than he.
A poet made the silent wood pursue ;
This vocal wood had drawn the poet too.


In which was painted the story of Cephalus and Procris, with the motto,

Aura veni.
* COME, gentle air,” th’ Æolian shepherd said,

While Procris panted in the secret shade,
“Come, gentle air !” the fairer Delia cries,
While at her feet her swain expiring lies.
Lo! the glad gales o'er all her beauties stray,
Breathe on her lips, and in her bosom play!


2 [Old Mr. Johnston, the retired Scotch Secretary of State, who lived at Twickenham.]

3 [This was probably the earliest of these juvenile imitations. At least Pope, in a letter to Henry Cromwell, mentions some verses of his youth, or rather childhood, which he wrote in imitation of Waller's manner.]

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