To galloping or ambling measure,
Awake, my lazy-footed Muse,
And once more claim from Fancy’s treasure,
The privilege to pick and choose.
Revive my long-suspended power
With thy illuminating gleams,
Give inspiration to this hour,
With rolling eye and frenzied dreams.
Or should your Museship be dejected,
Which so invoked is no new case,
The smallest boon won’t be rejected,
However trite or common place.
Novel ideas in pretty jingle
At least I claim, for friendship’s sake,
Such themes as make fine ears to tingle
And nervous heads perchance to ache.
Sometimes in scientific rhymes
Art’s mysterious tenets show,
Tell a tale of other times
Or fabricate a scene of woe.
Print modern manners as they pass,
Tell anecdotes both strange and rare,
To Folly’s children hold a glass,
And catch the fool who turns to stare.
Let not the rout’s gay heedless throng
Staring, elbowing, and squeezing,
With skipping dance, and screaming song
Which wear the legs and bring a wheezing.
E’er be forgot — but flow’rets bring,
From Heliconia’s fertile spring,
To aid description’s graphic tongue
And sublimize this theme unsung.
Supposed arrived the hallowed hour
Of midnight, when on Nature’s plan
Somnus alone should show his power,
And wrap in slumbers drowsy man.
To violate such needful rest
The tyrant fashion oft bears sway
And dizened out, or half undressed
Her votaries calls to revelry.
Then o’er the stones the coaches rattle
The flambeaux blaze the streets along
The Gemmens grin, the ladies prattle,
And all is bustle, buzz and throng.
Now jostling thro’ the lighted hall
With powdered lackeys ranged around
Music proclaims the inspiring ball,
And toes fantastic shake the ground.
Then on the mazy winding stairs
Assemble all the motley train,
Who substitute for graces, airs
And prove of shadows they are vain.
Painted belles and smiling beaux
Like Turkey figs are wedged together,
Who to each other paint the woes
Of dirty streets, and foggy weather.
Sometimes in Scandalorum Mag
By way of stimulus to chat
They let their tongues at random wag
Rejoicing that they smell a rat.
Cries one, I hate those would-be girls,
Like Madam there, with that vain fop;
Her teeth that seem like precious pearls,
Are spic-span new from Spence’s shop.
Oh, cries a witling, prithee see,
Yon little clumsy, awkward form,
That smiles with such affected glee,
As conscious all the world to charm.
For laughing I can scarcely speak,
Such frights description’s art defies,
To see the poppies from her cheek
Have mounted to her vacant eyes.
Miss T., they say, is en bon point,
But then so local is her fat,
That all her friends together join,
To say she’s dropsied, and all that.
Yet still they own she’s passing fair,
Although of late so wondrous big
And much would praise such beauties rare,
Did she not paint and wear a wig.
Thus scandal reigns — and oft we find
The daughter apes her prating mother,
To see demerit — all are blind,
And one fool ridicules another.