The Constellation 1

Miss Porden

’Twas about Twelve o’clock on Saint Valentines Day,
Hermes thought that like others, he’d make holiday;
So while Peg is saddling, he brushes his wings
And light on his seat in a twinkling he springs.
He said, “That till night he would ride up and down
And view all that was worthy of sight in the town,
And as people at that end, I’ve heard are all witty,
I’ll just see what fun may be found in the city.”
[ . . . ] his brisk steed on a trot,
And who laughed at his wings, he ne’er minded a jot;
But remembering what formerly Peg had endured,
His tail in a neat leather bag he’d secured.
’Tis needless to tell in what stile he did dash on,
Through Bond Street, whose loungers admired the new fashion;
And each knight of the whip gave his orders for wings,
And thought, spite of shew, they’d be nice useful things;
But they all were unlucky, each shopman declared,
Of such things till then, he, alas had ne’er heard.
Young and old all round Hermes were laden with letters
And each heart that he saw was fast bound in love’s fetters
Some by his darts were so pierced, that they bled
Till they spotted the papers, they carried, with red!
Poor Mercury cried, as he heaved a deep sigh
“I’ve no Valentine now, that I’m not in the sky;
How will dear Hebe forgive the omission
But she must when she know ’twas thro’ Phoebus’ commission
But I think, and I vow that the thought me amuses
I’ll send a love letter to one of the Muses.
But whose name shall it be in, dear me, I’m quite stupid
[ . . . ]
It shall be from their old friend and servant
And now I think on’t, it shall be to Thalia
She sent me in my name, to a maid called Maria”
When Hermes had thus on the business agreed
He began just to think about stopping his steed
But he found that poor Peg had gone so much astray
That back to his lodgings he knew not the way
So at the tavern he comes to he stops
And ordered directly some nice mutton chops
As I’m hungry, said he, to eat first will be better
I shall write more at ease and at leisure my letter
His dinner he ate, and then called for a taper
With some sealing wax good, some ink, pen, and paper.
In writing his verses our friend took some time
And was often, I’m told, sore perplexed for a rhyme
For fate o’er his mind her black venom distilled
And his head with most doleful presages she filled
But at last he concluded, his letter he sealed
(The contents, tho’ a poet, to me unrevealed)
He called for a porter, and I heard him say
Ask plenty for porterage, ’tis Valentines day. —
And seeing the day was now near its decline
He put his hat on, when he’d drank off his wine
But with sorrow and wonder, his horse he perceived
Was flown, to the moon, as the waiters believed
The rain was in torrents beginning to pour
And the sad chance perplexed our gay traveller sore;
Conjectures by dozens arose in his mind,
But not one that was plausible even could find
So repenting too late his unfortunate road
He began to devise by what means to get home;
He sent for a jarvey, but none could be got,
And to stay there till morn, he perceived was his lot.
He thought that the Parcae the chance had designed
And to their will his actions reluctant resigned
So at tea we will leave him, and briefly will tell
The hard chance which to Pegasus meanwhile befell.

To be concluded