Epistle the Fourth
To Laura in Town
Your letter dear Laura, enchanted us all,
We Ruralists fancied ourselves at the Ball,
Your description at once was so lively and true,
Each object presented itself to the view,
So tastefully gay you had painted your bowers,
We thought they were almost as lovely as ours;
Tho’ Nature is rustic and Art is polite
They are beautiful both, when we view them aright;
And when the originals cannot be had
Of exquisite copies we ought to be glad.
’Twas needless to tell me that Elegance shown
In a house I must always consider her own
For in saying Olinda was Queen of the Night
You proved that it must be a scene of delight!
You mention the concert and singing you heard
A pleasure indeed I should like to have shared;
But tho’ I love music, I need not repine
For the concerts we have I think equally fine.
You may think that I boast, but it’s not without reason
Imprimis, our singers engage for the Season,
Never give themselves airs or demur about price
Or think it a hardship to sing a song twice!
Fame with blowing her trumpet may puff out each cheek,
They care not a whit, for no puffing they seek.
The soaring sky-lark is our Catalani,
And the soft nightingale our Tramezzani!
The thrush and linnet sing in Siciliano
While the sweet goldfinch is Mezzo Soprano.
The farm-yard choruses I own are harsh,
So are the croaking songsters of the marsh
But there’s variety beyond description,
And by the bye, my dear, there’s no subscription!
P.S. If Laura were with me she’d see her mistake,
Nor think that in angling much pleasure I take;
But as some of my friends of the pastime are fond
I sometimes am seen by the side of the pond;
And tho’ I’m a woman, am mute as a fish,
Building castles in air that appear at a wish,
With gardens, and fountains, with groves and sweet flowers
And the friends of my heart to inhabit my bowers,
With Fancy’s gay tints all the scenery glows
And her magical touch animation bestows.
Oh then it is pleasant to sit by the stream
And whilst others angle delightfully dream.
But you jest my dear girl about fishing and baits,
As if ladies and gentlemen angled for mates;
My heart is disposed of, but if it were free
No swordfish should e’er be a dangler for me.
Remember me kindly to Corydon, pray
I’ll enlarge on the subject on some future day.