Laura to Celia

Miss Porden

Epistle the Third

Oh Celia! fickle, faithless maid,
Jest you, or have I falsely read — 
And can you thus inconstant prove
Forgetful of your former love.
Yes — howsoe’er by you denied
Once for Albertus Celia sighed,
Once when the gentle youth drew nigh
Beamed brighter light from Celia’s eye
And deepened on her cheek the dye.
No voice so pleasing to her ear
No gift from other hands so dear.
Then what Adonis in your breast
Now claims the share he one possessed?
The Captain, young, and smart, and gay,
Does he entice your heart away?
Alas! too oft these warriors prove
Sad recreant to their vows of love,
Their chain ere Hymen’s hand has seal’d
Mars often calls them to the field
Attracted by some foreign dame
They soon neglect their former flame
Or often widowed Love must mourn
O’er Truth and Valour’s timeless Urn.
Then Oh! my friend your heart recall
Albertus well deserves it all
Firm as the rock, his love reward
Nor for a scarlet coat discard.
 But since you ne’er his presence name
Perchance ’tis absence cools your flame,
Tho’ love should ever be the same,
Or burn in absence still more bright
As stars upon a moonless night.
 But long ere this, perhaps my friend
My wish my lecture at an end,
Tho’ watchful friendship still reproves
With keenest lash, whom most she loves,
 So now a sprightlier note I’ll sound
To sing of fashion’s changeful sound.
 O Novelty! whose ample sway
The sage, the simple, grave, and gay
Poor, wealthy, young, and old obey.
Oh thou whose form is ever-changing
Thro’ science, art, and nature ranging
A poet, chemist, for or cit
Aladdin’s lamp, or Busby’s wit!
A warrior dressed in ancient mail
A Coates, a cossack, or a whale
A charlatan with projects dire
To see the wond’ring Thames on fire
A ghost, an eagle, or a sword,
And still in every form adored.
While daily severed whence they grew
Self-formed, thy hydra heads renew,
How may I paint in feeble strain
The glories of they varied reign
Where in this town, thy fav’rite court
Such myriads at thy call resort.
 And where, my Celia, shall I choose
My subject, that it may be news.
The public prints will best declare
The events of politics and war.
How at the opera, t’other night
Each lady fainted with affright
When the assailants big with rage
In sable phalanx stormed the stage
And the poor ghosts of Frenchmen dead
Before th’ avenging black legs fled.
Some scene where Laura bore a part
Will better please her Celia’s heart.
 Olinda’s fête demands the song
And can I ponder here so long
All was so elegant, so neat
So well arranged, and so complete
Magnificence, yet ruled by taste
Appears in every part confessed.
The spacious hall, tho’ simply grand,
Art decked, but with a sparing hand
That her full banquet of delight
Might burst more splendid on the sight.
There richest odours breathe around
And music lends a soften’d sound
Reflected from the room beyond,
Where the full concert poured along
Or Emma raised her sweetest song.