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STELLA'S BIRTH-DAY, 1720.
LL travellers at first incline
Where'er they see the fairest sign,
And if they find the chambers neat,
And like the liquor and the meat,
Will call again, and recommend
The Angel-Inn to every friend.
What though the painting grows decay'd ?
The house will never lose its trade;
Nay, though the treacherous tapster Thomas
Hangs a new Angel two doors from us,
As fine as dauber's hands can make it,
In hopes that strangers may mistake it,
We think it both a shame and sin
To quit the true old Angel-Inn.
Now this is Stella's case in fact;
An angel's face a little crack'd;
(Could poets, or could painters fix
How angels look at thirty-six :)
This drew us in at first to find
In such a form an angel's mind,
And every virtue now supplies
The fainting rays of Stella's eyes.
See at her levee crowding swains,
Whom Stella freely entertains
With breeding, humour, wit, and sense,
And puts them but to small expence;
Their mind so plentifully fills,
And makes such reasonable bills,
So little gets for what she gives,
We really wonder how she lives!
And, had her stock been less, no doubt
She must have long ago run out.
Then who can think we'll quit the place
When Doll hangs out a newer face,
Or stop and light at Chloe's Head,
With scraps and leavings to be fed?
Then, Chloe, still go on to prate
Of thirty-six and thirty-eight;
Pursue your trade of scandal-picking,
Your hints that Stella is no chicken ;
Your innuendos, when you tell us
That Stella loves to talk with fellows;
And let me warn you to believe
A truth, for which your soul should grieve,
That should you live to see the day
When Stella's locks must all be gray,
When age must print a furrow'd trace
On every feature of her face,
Though you, and all your senseless tribe,
Could Art, or Time, or Nature bribe,
To make you look like Beauty's queen,
And hold for ever at fifteen,
No bloom of youth can ever blind
The cracks and wrinkles of your mind;
All men of sense will pass your door,
And crowd to Stella's at fourscore..
STELLA AT WOOD-PARK, A House of Charles Ford, Esq. Eight Miles from
Dublin. Written in 1723.
Cuicunque nocere volebat
Vestimenta dahat pretiosa.
DON Carlos, in a merry spite,
Did Stella to his house invite;
He entertain'd her half a year
With generous wines and costly cheer.
Don Carlos made her chief director,
That she might o'er the servants hector:
In half a week the dame grew nice,
Got all things at the highest price:
Now at the table-head she sits,
Presented with the nicest bits;
She look'd on partridges with scorn,
Except they tasted of the corn;
A haunch of ven'son made her sweat,
Unless it had the right fumette.
Don Carlos earnestly would beg,
* Dear Madam! try this pigeon's leg ;'
Was happy when he could prevail
To make her only touch a quail.
Through candle-light she view'd the wine,
To see that every glass was fine.
At last grown prouder than the devil,
With feeding high and treatment civil,
Don Carlos now began to find
His malice work as he design'd.
The winter-sky began to frown,
Poor Stella must pack off to town;
From purling streams and fountains bubbling,
To Liffey's stinking tide at Dublin ;
From wholesome exercise and air,
To sossing in an easy chair ;
From stomach sharp and hearty feeding,
To piddle, like a lady breeding ;
From ruling there the household singly,
To be directed here by. Dingley* ;
From every day a lordly banquet,
To half a joint, and God be thanked;
From every meal, Pontack in plenty,
To half a pint one day in twenty;
From Ford attending at her call,
To visits of
From Ford, who thinks of nothing mean,
To the poor doings of the Dean;
From growing richer with good cheer,
To running out by starving here.
But now arrives the dismal day,
She must return to Ormond-quay.
The coachman stopt, she look'd, and swore
The rascal had mistook the door.
At coming in you saw her stoop;
The entry brush'd against her hoop.
Each moment rising in her airs,
She curs'd the narrow winding stairs;
• The constant companion of Stella,
Began a thousand faults to spy ;
The ceiling hardly six feet high;
The smutty wainscot full of cracks,
And half the chairs with broken backs:
Her quarter's out at Lady Day,
She vows she will no longer stay
In lodgings, like a poor grizette,
While there are lodgings to be let.
Howe'er, to keep her spirits up,
She sent for company to sup,
When all the while you might remark
She strove in vain to ape Wood Park.
Two bottles call'd for, (half her store,
The cupboard could contain but four)
A supper worthy of herself,
Five nothings in five plates of delf.
Thus for a week the farce went on,
When, all her country savings gone,
She fell into her former scene,
Small beer, a herring, and the Dean.
Thus far in jest; though now, I feat,
You think my jesting too severe;
But poets, when a hint is new,
Regard not whether false or true :
Yet raillery gives no offence
Where truth has not the least pretence,
Nor can be more securely plac'd,
Than on a nymph of Stella's taste.
I must confess your wine and vittle
I was too hard upon a little ;
Your table neat, your linen fine,
And, though in miniature, you shine;
Yet when you sigh to leave Wood Park,
The scene, the welcome, and the spark,
To languish in this odious town,
And pull your haughty stomach down,
We think you quite mistake the case ;
The virtue lies not in the place;
For though my raillery were true,
A cottage is Wood Park with you.
STELLA's BIRTH-DAY, 1724. AS
S, when a beauteous nymph decays,
We say, she's past her dancing-days,
So poets lose their feet by time,
And can no longer dance in rhyme.
Your annual bard had rather chose
To celebrate your birth in prose;
Yet merry folks, who want by chance
A pair to make a country-dance,
Call the old housekeeper, and get her
To fill a place for want of better.
While Sheridan is off the hooks,
And friend Delany at his books,
That Stella may avoid disgrace,
Once more the Dean supplies their place.
Beauty and wit, too sad a truth!
Have always been confin'd to youth;
The god of Wit and Beauty's queen,
He twenty-one, and she fifteen.
No poet ever sweetly sung
Unless he were, like Phobus, young ;
Nor ever nymph inspir'd to rhyme,
Unless, like Venus, in her prime.
At fifty-six, if this be true,
Am I a poet fit for you?
Or, at the age of forty-three,
Are you a subject fit for me?
Adieu ! bright wit, and radiant eyes;
You must be grave, and I be wise.
Our fate in vain we would oppose;
But I'll be still your friend in prose:
Esteem and friendship to express
Will not require poetic dress,
And if the Muse deny her aid
To have them sung, they may be said.
But Stella, say, what evil tongue
Reports you are no longer young?
That Time sits with his scythe to mow
Where erst sat Cupid with his bow?