A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800

By Ronald S. Crane | Go to book overview

But her round swelling thighs can scarce be embrac'd: 10
Her belly is soft, not a word of the rest;
But I know what I think, when I drink to the best.

The plowman and 'squire, the arranter clown,
At home she subdu'd in her paragon-gown;

But now she adorns both the boxes and pit, 15
And the proudest town-gallants are forc'd to submit;
All hearts fall a leaping wherever she comes,
And beat day and night, like my lord Craven's Drums.

I dare not permit her to come to Whitehall,

For she'd out-shine the ladies, paint, jewels, and all: 20
If a lord shou'd but whisper his love in a crowd,
She'd sell him a bargain, and laugh out aloud:
Then the queen over-hearing what Betty did say,
Would send Mr. Roper to take her away.

But to those that have had my dear Bess in their arms, 25
She's gentle, and knows how to soften her charms;
And to every beauty can add a new grace,
Having learn'd how to lisp, and to trip in her pace;
And with head on one side, and a languishing eye,
To kill us by looking as if she would die. 30


JOHN WILMOT, EARL OF ROCHESTER
(1647-1672-1680)

A Satyr against Mankind1

WERE I, who to my cost already am,
One of those strange, prodigious Creatures Man,

A Spirit free, to chuse for my own share,
What sort of Flesh and Blood I pleas'd to wear,
I'd be a Dog, a Monkey or a Bear,
5

Or any thing, but that vain Animal,
Who is so proud of being rational.
The Senses are too gross; and he'll contrive
A sixth, to contradict the other five:

And before certain Instinct, will preferr 10
Reason, which fifty times for one does err--

____________________
1
Published in 1675. Text of Poems, ed. Rymer, 1691.

-185-

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