The Muses Vagaries
“News Ladies news!” how lucky I have caught it,
’Tis from Parnassus and Mercurius brought it,
But first it’s needful, I should tell you why,
The trusty messenger had left the sky.
Some days ago he made a morning call,
On great Apollo in his Delphic Hall,
He found him sitting in his morning gown,
In doleful dumps, the Muses were in town;
But courteously he begg’d him to be seated,
Claim’d his attention, and his aid entreated.
Those girls said he have made a longer day,
Than I intended for their holiday,
And I could wish, if you’ve a little leisure
That you should tell them, ’tis my will and pleasure
Each truant Muse shou’d pack up gowns and laces,
And quit, for Helicon all public places.
Mercurius bow’d, and said, “with Jove’s permission”
He would set out, on this his honour’s mission.
Perhaps he added, it would not be wrong,
As roads are dirty and the way is long,
To saddle Peg, as hack so often made is,
He’ll go with pleasure, to bring back the ladies:
You’re right says Pol, and to save time and trouble,
Bring two at once, the beast can carry double,
But for the ninth, as three we cannot pack,
Ne’er mind says Herm’s I’ll bring her pickaback,
’Tis easy done, besides tis nothing new,
’Twas so Pandora rode, ere her debut.
The wily god his wing’d caduceus took
His eloquence to try, with smile and look
So sweet, and soft, no maid not e’en a Muse,
Could such a messenger, his boon refuse.
To town he came, in safety, quite alert,
But ne’er was Pegassus so smear’d with dirt,
And Mercury had some trouble with his horse,
For passing near Newmarket’s famous course,
He met some jockeys, who view’d the steed,
And swore, they ne’er had heard of such a breed;
And farther on, a showman, cross’d his way,
To purchase Peg, a handsome price would pay,
T’would make his fortune, if ’mong other things
He had to shew, there was a horse with wings.
Ere at the inn our trav’ller could alight,
Both horse, and rider, were in piteous plight,
For ev’ry ragged wretch, a son of song,
Pluck’d at poor Peg as quick he pass’d along,
Tho each poor devil only caught a hair,
So num’rous were they that the tail was bare!
Like Burns fam’d Meg assaulted by the witches
Just so poor Peg had lost his tail by twitches!
Now at the White House Cellar seem him stop
And comfortably, seated, eat his chop,
When rested and refresh’d, with ale and wine,
’Gan make enquiry for the Beauteous Nine,
The Muses, they are call’d, all clever girls,
All fair, and lovely, like a string of pearls.
The Muses sir! the waiter cried and smil’d
I’ve heard the ladies talk’d of, when a child
I liv’d at Lackingtons, in Chiswell Street,
Where Master said, those ladies oft did meet,
Not that I ever saw ’em in the shop,
Though crowds of ladies at the Temple stop.
But Master knew’em, sure he’s too much nouce,
To build for strangers, such a handsome house!
But soon they left it, though so smart, and pretty,
And said, ’twas quite a bore that stupid city,
And that was hurtful to the constitution,”
So they came up here to Institution.
And here they lived some time was much admired,
But somehow of their learning folks grew tired,
And tho so clever, Sir, and cute, and witty,
They’re all gone back again into the City,
And folks do say, not that the truth I’m deep in,
The Court of Aldermen have them in keeping!
Oh fie! cried Hermes blushing to the ears,
’Tis scandal sure, upon the pretty dears,
Those citizen, won’t dare to ape their betters,
And thus forestall, all science, arts, and letters,
Besides, they know that I’m their ancient friend,
So if I threaten, they’ll no more offend,
And now I’ll go to bed, so fetch a taper,
To morrow morn, I’ll put it on the paper,
For days, and weeks, I might run up and down,
And never find them, in this crowded town,
I vow at thought, of such fatigue I’m pale,
Do waiter bring another jug of ale.
Sorrow is thirsty, so to drown cares,
He drank, till quite unfit to walk up stairs,
So up they carried him, but what surprise,
Was theirs, when his wing’d buskins met their eyes.
The man is mad, they cry with voices hoarse,
Or else he’s some relation to his horse,
La! says the chambermaid you all are stupid
I knows him well enough, ’tis master Cupid!
You’re out I’m sure, says one, for by his heels,
He’s some fine messenger from the Brazils.
As you may guess our trav’ller rested well,
And not till ten, next morning rang his bell,
He drank his coffee, ate his butter’d toast,
And penn’d an advertisement for the Post.
Stray’d lately from Pierean Shades,
Nine fair accomplished beautious maids,
Some play, some sing, and some cut nimble capers,
And some write verses, for the morning papers,
Who’er can information give,
Where these fair damsels meet, or live,
Inspir’d shall be, by great Apollo,
Enough, the rhyming trade to follow,
If they, to making books incline.
Shall sure receive large volumes nine.
Of anecdotes, conundrums, and what not.
May help a ready wit, to boil the pot.
Apply to Mercury in Piccadilly,
Who lodges at the sign of the White Filly.
To be continued