I can't but let my readers see my vanity, in inserting the following poems, written to me since I came to Dublin, and do assure them, I have as many packets of a day, as a Minister of State; some praising, and some abusing me; the best of which in my praise, I have chosen out for their perusal.
To Mrs. Pilkington.
Monday, April 4, 1748.
IF you can find a Place for the following verses in your second volume, I shall think myself highly honoured, who am with all Sincerity,
WHEN Time's grown hoary, with a thousand Years,
Tho' now she seems to triumph in thy tears,
And almost glories in her Shame.
Could Gaul, or Albion, boast a Right in thee,
Who now must envy what we hate;
Theyed prize that noble Worth, we seem to flee,
And glory in so blessed a Fate.
Ye Sons, that put her Honour to the Test,
Assert the glories of her name,
And let her stand to distant times redressed,
In Virtue spotless as in Fame.
To Mrs. Lætitia Pilkington.
Clangill, July 16. 1748.
WHEN I read the First Volume of your Works, I was touched with a feeling Sense of your uncommon Misfortunes, and am convinced, the Villainy of a Pr—st, and envy [of] some of your own sex, gave birth to all your afflictions; and I'll venture to say that the Doctor can't but secretly acknowledge,
That Pallas sowed, within your mind,
Seeds long unknown to woman-kind,
For manly bosoms chiefly sit,
The Seeds of Knowledge, Judgment, Wit.
Now, Madam, in return for the satisfaction your book gave me, I send you the following Essay, and if you like it,
I disregard the critic's frown,
And all the Quack-Bards of the Town,
I am your Friend,
HAIL, charming Fair, with low but friendly lays,
I'll tune my Pipe, and vie to sing thy Praise.
Ambitious always to defend thy Fame,
And sing thy spotless, but much injured Name.
Thy Story oft with pitying Soul I read,
And judge thy hapless fate was hard indeed;
Ungrateful man! could neither wit nor art
Raise thy compassion, or secure thy heart,
When all the joys, that please in human life,
Shone bright in her, and formed a perfect wife;
Respected and revered, where'er she went,
Discreetly gay, yet strictly innocent;
To Mrs. PILKINGTON on Reading her MEMOIRS.
WHEN beauty suffers, in fair virtue's cause,
And men refuse, to innocence, applause!
'Tis then the muse, in all her charms should rise,
And bear that merit, to its native skies.
Such 'twas of old, inspired the Grecian song,
And bore her heroes, and her nymphs along;
From her proud Rome possessed the sacred flame,
And from the urn, preserved Lucretia's name.
BRITONS, whene'er the dismal tale, you hear,
Oh! pay to Pilkington, the pious Tear :
A second Lucrece, now in her behold!
By Friends forsook, and by her Husband sold
Sold, curst, ensnared to Infamy and Shame,
O base betrayer of a woman's fame!
Touched with Remorse, let thy own Bosom say,
What worms, what snakes, within that bosom prey :
What pang thou feel'st for Guilt unheard, unknown;
And may that pang, forever be thy own!
Oh! can'st thou yet forbid thy eyes to flow?
And render tear for tear, and woe for woe;
Say, can'st thou see thy once-loved partner roam,
Exiled by thee, from children, and from home :
Exposed to want, to grief, to lust, to Care:
And thou, the Author, smile at her despair?
Alas! Ye Gods, to him was never giv'n
The meanest spark of gratitude from Heav'n;
Else would his breast with kind compassion bleed;
Else would his soul detest the impious deed.
Else would his heart the long lost passion prove,
And rouse his Honour, to redeem his Love.
Ah! injured Fair, no more his honour mourn!
His Honour's fled, ah! never to return,
Let him, secure, of every joy possessed,
Be lulled to peace and visionary rest;
Thus when his soul from every care is free;
No sense of heav'n, nor yet a thought of thee.
Then all-inflam'd shall vengeance wing its way,
Steal on his sight, and snatch him from the day.
Amazed! each one, shall own the sentence just,
And send his bones with curses to the dust.
But thou, superior to the worst of days,
Shalt rise in health, in virtue, and in praise.
Envy shall cease, and malice be no more,
Each woman love thee, and each man adore.
With Themes Celestial, shall thy spirit glow,
And, in full rapture, live another Rowe,
N.B. This last poetical address to Mrs. Pilkington, is not in the Irish Edition, being sent to the Publisher in