The Muses Vagaries Continued

Next day this notice met the curious eye,
Of certain knight, not fam’d for chivalry
But for his pocket book, and pleasant journey,
Which late was notic’d by a great attorney.
Faith, cries the knight, I’ve seen these ladies nine
They meet on Tuesdays, at a friends of mine,
To the reward I may with pleasure look,
From such materials, I may spin a book;
Besides, as Mercury is a trav’ler too,
In conversation, may drop something new,
’Twill be a lucky hit, as I’m a sinner,
He can’t do less, than ask me to a dinner,
He spoke, and smiling, turn’d towards a glass,
I think this dress will do, I think ’twill pass,
Then on he tripp’d, just like to one inspir’d,
So much had the reward, his fancy fir’d.

Then soon our knight arriving at the inn
Cries “Waiter say, — is Mercury within?
The foreign gemman Sir perhaps you mean?
With boots, and hat, the oddest e’er was seen?
Yes, he’s above, Sire, but all friends refuses
Unless they bring him tidings of the Muses.”
“That’s just the bus’ness, and good fellow say,
That I to Mercury my respects would pay.”
He sent his name, was presently admitted,
Then thus, with simp’ring grace, himself acquitted.
“I vow Sir, that I feel, with some confusion,
This early visit may be deem’d intrusion.
But hope, my motive may plead some excuse.
My ardent wish, Sir, is to be of use.
Part of your cares Sir, now may soon be over,
The ladies you have lost, you may discover.
 For you must know Sir, that in Berners Street,
There is a house, where all these ladies meet.
That I’ve not met them there, must be confest
The nights that they attend the Attic Chest,
On Tuesday next, they meet I’m pretty certain,
For though not there I peep behind the curtain.”
“I’m much indebted Sir,” Mercurius cries
“Oh dear Sir not at all,” the knight replies
“The books are yours, Sir, see, they’re bound in calf;”
“Oh my good Sir, you are too kind, by half,”
And now their bows and compliments are o’er
Mercurius sees him to the outward door.
But much the knight was vext and sorely griev’d
That he no invitation had receiv’d.
But some excuse there was for this omission,
Hermes would think of nought, but his commission.
Exit the knight, and now for meditation,
“Unknown I cannot hope an invitation.
Yet, at this house my name has sure been heard,
I’ll boldly call there, just to leave my card,
They may be flatter’d, as my fame is known,
And wish to see me, while I stay in town.
But hold! I will perform the part of spy,
And all the girls’ vagaries I’ll descry.
Yes, yes, invisible I’ll go, or borrow
The form of one, who should be there tomorrow.”
His godship went, but whose the form he wore
What habit dress’d in, or what name he bore
Remains a secret, but to me reveal’d,
And honour says it must be still conceal’d.
Surpris’d to find the ladies he expected
Are not amongst the company selected,
The disappointment vex’d him to the soul,
Scarce could good breeding his chagrin control.
But lo! the mist dispers’d, with glad surprise
He sees what is conceal’d from mortal eyes!
Forth from the chest, nine bright celestial forms
Rise unperceiv’d, yet ev’ry bosom warms.
Their pow’rful influence now is felt by all
And genius brightens at the magic call,
At wit’s gay flights each countenance relaxes,
And to oblivion goes all care, and taxes!
Ah! could I now account the brilliant things,
The repartee’s without, and those with stings,
The smile, that dimples at good humour’s call,
And hospitality, the life of all!
These, to describe would be a pleasing task,
And to be qualified, is what I ask.
The Muses soon, thro’ all his vain disguise,
Discover’d Hermes, and with some surprise!
But soon they guess’d he from Apollo came
With some sharp message, to each vagrant dame.
The reading o’er, the Muses took their flight,
And held a council I am told, that night,
They wish’d to know why them he had been dodging
And fix’d to go next morning, to his lodging.
“I’ll bet,” Thalia cries, “my last new feather,
In spite of fashion, dirty roads, or weather,
That Pol and Hermes are such stupid asses,
They think to get us back to dull Parnassus!”
“I’ll give them leave to think so,” says Melpomene
“But they’re mistaken, I’ll not go by Gemini!”
Pleas’d they all vow’d, by that same constellation,
They’d not leave town ’twas their determination.
But, of their duty not to seem neglectful
They’d write to Pol, in terms the most respectful;
Early next morning all were stirring,
By noon, with Hermes were conferring,
But needless here, to be related,
What at this meeting was debated.
The pro’s and con’s, the why’s, and wherefores;
With all the strings of then’s and therefores;
Imagine now that every lady,
(And ladies still have answers ready,)
Sits down to write an explanation
Why they refuse Pol’s invitation.

F. P.

To be continued.