[Page 267]

To a Gentleman with a Manuscript Play.

1 AS some grave Matron bred on rural Downs,
2 Who at the mention of a Top-knot frowns,
3 And the proud Minxes of the Market-Towns;
4 Whose humble Senses are not much refin'd,
5 But us'd to Labour with a chearful Mind;
6 Clad in plain Coifs and Gown of russet Hue,
7 With home-spun Aprons of a decent Blue;
8 From the white Curds extracts the greener Whey,
9 Nor dreams of Fashion, Poetry, or Play;
10 From wicked Verse she turns her cautious Eyes,
11 And wonders People can delight in Lies:
12 At length her Landlord, the right noble Squire,
13 Takes her young Daughter at her own Desire;
14 Prefers the Damsel to attend his Spouse,
15 And she with Joy resigns her brindl'd Cows:
16 For London now prepares the smiling Dame,
17 While her sad Mother trembles at the Name:
[Page 268]
18 But O! what Griefs attend the parting Leave,
19 No Muse can paint 'em, nor no Heart conceive:
20 In vain her Spouse or friendly Neighbour tries,
21 To quell the Sorrows in her streaming Eyes:
22 Rossell she fears will slight her Jersey Gown,
23 And wear white Aprons in the sinful Town;
24 On the pure Ghost of Win'fred then she calls,
25 To guard her Child within its guilty Walls.
26 So this rude Babe I to your Mercy yield,
27 Rough as the Soil of some untillag'd Field:
28 Can Nature please? Not 'till she's well refin'd,
29 Reforming Art shou'd follow close behind;
30 But that proud Dame with me disdains to dwell,
31 And far she flies Ah far from Mira's Cell.
32 What then remains? What Hope for me or mine,
33 But the kind Silence of forgetful Time?
34 To save us from the sly buffooning Leer,
35 The spiteful Grimace, and the scornful Sneer;
36 The threat'ning Critic with his dreadful Rules,
37 The Wit's keen Satire and the Burst of Fools.
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38 The wretched Villain pinion'd up on high,
39 Two Hours pendent 'twixt the Earth and Sky,
40 With Eggs and Turnips whirling round his Pate,
41 Is but an Emblem of an Author's Fate.
42 A dread Example to the rhyming Fry,
43 So Poets tell me, but I hope they lye:
44 The World's good-natur'd, if it is not cross'd,
45 But Wits are often saucy to their Cost.
46 Tho' unassur'd, yet not in deep Despair,
47 I trust this Infant to its Patron's Care:
48 Ah let your Roofs the simple Vagrants shield,
49 I ask no more than Charity may yield,
50 Some little Corner in the friendly Dome,
51 (Lest the loose Varlet be induc'd to roam)
52 Where the cold Storms may hover round in vain,
53 The chilling Snow or penetrating Rain;
54 Where the fierce Rat (all dreadful) never climbs,
55 Nor the sleek Mouse sad Foe to Mira's Rhymes.
56 But I have done for who implores a Friend
57 With long Petitions, justly may offend:
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58 To no strait Bounds Good-nature is confin'd;
59 And who shall dictate to a gen'rous Mind?
60 Which not content in narrow Space to roll,
61 Like the broad Ocean spreads from Pole to Pole:
62 While the glad Nations bless the ample Tide,
63 And wafted Treasures o'er its Surface glide:
64 That still waves on, regardless of their Praise,
65 As you perhaps of Mira's idle Lays.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To a Gentleman with a Manuscript Play.
Author: Mary Leapor
Themes: rural life; poetry; literature; writing; theatre
Genres: heroic couplet

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Source edition

Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor ... London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 267-270. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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