The Constellation 4

Miss Porden

With himself the next morning, Mercurius debated
And till near twelve o’clock at the tavern he waited;
But then as he found that it did not appear
He was likely any news of his courser to hear,
He exclaimed, “to the King of Conjurors I’ll go,
He something, perchance may of Pegasus know;
And tho’ of all conjurors throughout the nation,
The Emperor, Ingleby, has most reputation,
Yet I, know full well, that he is an upstart.
Nor has learnt by my rules, what he knows of the art.”
You may wonder perhaps that a god who did know,
Who invented the art, to another should go,
But no one alas! of himself aught, can tell,
E’en if he know the magical art e’er so well.
Hermes ordered a jarvey, and full speed he drives,
To the place where the King of the Conjurors lives;
Who his magical instruments quickly brings forth,
And tells him his steed is not now upon earth.

Uninformed how Roberto flew up with the horse
“It is fled to the moon, then,” he cried out, “of course,
I must seek it at once, or the Muses will chide
And say, I’d no right on their pony to ride,”
Thus saying, from Earth swift Mercurius took flight
And instantly did in the valley alight;
Which put honest Bob in a terrible fright.
And Hermes himself was in no less surprise,
That a man, not a courser, appeared to his eyes.
At length he advanced, with an affable air,
And his wonder expressed, that a mortal was there,
Then politely he asked, if he lately had seen
Or knew aught of his horse — “If you Pegasus mean,
I perhaps am the only one throughout creation
Of the courser immortal can give information.”
He his history related, and when he had done
To make his apologies, thus he begun,
“For taking your steed, Sir, my only excuse is
I wished on the saddle to court the gay Muses,
In truth of your anger I’m somewhat afraid,
But hope that my fall for my trespass has paid.”

While Mercurius still pondered what answer to give
In the valley they saw fair Urania arrive,
But ere I proceed it is meet I should tell,
What before to the Muses in London befell.
 On St. Valentines morning the virgins rose late,
Pollyhymnia last night had been at the debate;
And till near four o’clock for those who were smitten
By the arrows of Cupid, Erato had written:
Calliope too, the far famed epic Muse,
Had been loth, her loved poets request to refuse.
Euterpe, Terpsichore, had concerts attended
And ’twas late in the morning before they were ended.
Thalia, Melpomene, had been at the play,
And Clio, Urania, were as busy as they.
In the morn, with a smile, gay Thalia thus said
“I’ve a plan my dear sisters I want you to aid
I hope you will like it, and not think it strange,
’Tis to have on Mercurius a noble revenge.
If Apollo e’en wished us,” she said, “to leave town
What right had Mercurius to carry us down
Into our retreats too, like a poacher he pries,
And thinks he’s concealed in a mortal’s disguise.
But I think I can plague him, if you’ll but befriend
On Urania & Erato my plan will depend.”
They replied, “whate’er you can find that will will teaze him
To us, dearest sister, can’t fail to be pleasing.”
Then Thalia resumed, “Let the morning be fair,
That Urania, you know will depend on your care.
And it being so, I have not much doubt
Mercurius will like on his steed to ride out.
When far from his lodging, Erato shall fire him
And to write me Valentine, strongly inspire him;
And while he is thinking, quite out of the way,
Lead Pegasus far thro’ the city astray.
And then at a tavern incite him to stop,
He’ll order directly, some ale and a chop!
Meanwhile let some favourite of ours steal the horse,
And up to the moon swiftly pursue his course
When Hermes has dined, ’till eve take up his time
And often perplex him for want of a rhyme.
Let it rain, and no coach to begot, — make him stay
At the tavern ’till late in the morning next day.
There’s no time to be lost, if my plan you approve,
Set about it directly, like grasshopper’s move.”

About the conclusion oh be not distrest,
There will be time in the evening to settle the rest.”
 This scheme of Thalia’s, put all in a flurry,
But Erato found she had most need to hurry;
To the filly she flew and with eagerness did
Whatever her sister Thalia, had bid.
 In the evening they met, for her sisterly aid,
Her thanks to Erato, Thalia then paid.
Their plottings and plannings it long were to tell.
But they guided whate’er to the travellers befell.
’Twas Urania directed the flight of the horse,
And thro’ pathless aether determined his course;
’Twas Urania who guided Roberto’s descent,
For to kill him, or hurt him, was not their intent.
But when the Nine Damsels discovered Mercurius,
(For still o’er his actions they kept an eye curious)
Had been to the conjuror, such a laugh they all had
You’d have thought that the Muses were really gone mad.
But Urania, who feared that Roberto might pay,
For the fun they had had, upon Valentines Day,
When she found that Mercurius had fled to the skies,
Pursuing his track she began to arise
And Thalia, tho’ scarcely recovered her laughter
Yet followed her sister some few moments after.

To be continued.


When Mercurius the Ladies perceived, he agree
They should judge in this case, since their own was the steed
And his story began, when Thalia thus spoke, You need not Cyllenius, myself planned the joke
And as in this case you say I must decide
I, Roberto acquit of all blame in the ride;
Since ourselves we incited him upwards to fly,
And directed his course thro’ th’ expanse of the sky
Since we guided whate’er he has said or has done,
T’would be hard that a mortal should pay for our fun.
And now on his sentence since we are agreed
Suppose that we try to discover the steed
She spoke, and Roberto who lost in amaze,
On her beauty celestial had ne’er ceased to gaze;
Fell down at her feet, and exclaimed Nymph divine!
Oh lovely Thalia, what favours are mine,
Since your form undisguised, cast in heaven’s purest mold
Though a mortal, my eyes are allowed to behold.
And since for a journey like this, by your choice,
I selected have been, how ought I to rejoice:
For your Verdict I thank you, how happy am I,
To be blest in the favour of Nymphs of the sky:
Oh! e’er to your suppliant your favour extend,
Let your votary hope, that each Muse is his friend.
She replied with smile, for the rest of the Nine,
With myself to protect to you, I know they incline
In future be ever assured of my aid,
And that of my Sisters, soft poetry’s maid.1
Then to Hermes she turned, in his mansion above,
I now seek with Urania, the ignipotent Iove;
If with us you will go, by the road we’ll explain
The boon which we long have desired to obtain
In here, our return shall Roberto attend,
When with him to the Earth we will once more descend.
As upwards they mounted, Cyllenius afar,
Discovered poor Peg laid on many a star,
Who hungry and tired, long before had attacked.
The tongue and the beef that together were packed,
The steed as at distance they viewed him seemed well
But a Comet had burnt his hind legs and his tail.
Meanwhile rising, the seats of th’ immortals they gained,
And Jove’s brazen dome in an instant attained;
Where he on his throne of pure diamond sate,
Exploring with care the dark records of fate,
To him at that instant that book did disclose
That with Hermes to see him his grandaughters rose
And ere with a smile he their entrance could greet,
The trio approached, and sat down at his feet.
Her left hand on his knee fair Thalia then placed
Her right on his chin, and these accents addressed,
Oh Chronides immortal, Chronides, divine!
Attend the request of your dutiful Nine,
Let it by the nod, mighty King! be decreed,
‘Mongst the stars where at present he lies, that our Steed,
May for ever remain; that those in his station,
Which support him, may form Sire! a new Constellation;
Which soon known by the learned and called by his name,
To ages unnumbered his flight shall proclaim;
You more we request, that whenever our Sire,
Or ourselves great Olympius the courser require
At a beck, or a word, he may swift take his flight
And wherever we stand may appear to our sight;
For while the poor horse had his dwelling on earth,
Tho’ his fortune I own caused as infinite mirth,
The Steed was so teazed, and plucked at by each mortal,
That he found no advantage in being immortal,
For this our petition we now urge, that he,
From their clutches hereafter, may ever be free.
 He spoke, and thus unanswered the thundering God.
Receive fair Thalia, receive this my nod;
Your petition I grant, and each morning the steed
With Ambrosia and Nectar fair Hebe shall feed;
He spoke, and he nodded: the Powers at the sight,
To the vale in the moon, swift directed their flight.
When Hermes not knowing how better to pack
Flew down to the Earth with the youth on his back.
The Muses returned to their lodgings with speed,
Much rejoiced that their plan so well should succeed.
Now poor Peg upon Earth far more rarely appears,
And his head, neck and chest are all studded with stars.
But poets no longer he deigns to befriend,
Nor can to the call of a mortal attend.


  1. Erato