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The Poetical Works of the late Christopher Anstey

With Some Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, By his son, John Anstey

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LETTER I. Miss Jenny W---d---r, to Lady Eliz. M---d---ss, at --- Castle, North.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
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LETTER I. Miss Jenny W---d---r, to Lady Eliz. M---d---ss, at --- Castle, North.

A View from the Parades at Bath, with some Account of the Dramatis Personæ.

Sweet are yon' hills that crown this fertile vale!
Ye genial springs! Pierian waters, hail!
Hail, woods and lawns! Yes—oft I'll tread
Yon' pine-clad mountain's side,
Oft trace the gay enamell'd mead,
Where Avon rolls his pride.

2

Sure, next to fair Castalia's streams,
And Pindus' flow'ry path,
Apollo most the springs esteems,
And verdant meads of Bath.
The Muses haunt these hallow'd groves,
And here their vigils keep,
Here teach fond swains their hapless loves
In gentle strains to weep.
From water sprung, like flow'rs from dew,
What troops of bards appear!
The god of verse and physic too,
Inspires them twice a year.
Take then, my friend, the sprightly rhyme,
While you inglorious waste your prime,
At home in cruel durance pent,
On dull domestic cares intent,
Forbid, by parent's harsh decree,
To share the joys of Bath with me.

3

Ill-judging parent! blind to merit,
Thus to confine a nymph of spirit!
With all thy talents doom'd to fade
And wither in th' unconscious shade!
I vow, my dear, it moves my spleen,
Such frequent instances I've seen
Of fathers, cruel and unkind,
To all paternal duty blind.
What wretches do we meet with often,
Whose hearts no tenderness can soften!
Sure all good authors should expose
Such parents, both in verse and prose,
And nymphs inspire with resolution
Ne'er to submit to persecution.
This wholesome satire much enhances
The merit of our best romances.
And modern plays that I could mention,
With judgment fraught, and rare invention,
Are written with the same intention.
But, thank my stars! that worthy pair,
Who undertook a guardian's care,

4

My spirit never have confin'd!
(An instance of their gen'rous mind)
For Lady B---n---r---d, my aunt,
Herself propos'd this charming jaunt,
All from redundancy of care
For Sim, her fav'rite son and heir;
To him the joyous hours I owe
That Bath's enchanting scenes bestow;
Thanks to her book of choice receipts,
That pamper'd him with sav'ry meats;
Nor less that day deserves a blessing
She cramm'd his sister to excess in:
For now she sends both son and daughter
For crudities to drink the water.
And here they are, all bile and spleen,
The strangest fish that e'er were seen;
With Tabby Runt, their maid, poor creature,
The queerest animal in nature.
I'm certain none of Hogarth's sketches
E'er form'd a set of stranger wretches.
I own, my dear, it hurts my pride,
To see them blundering by my side;

5

My spirits flag, my life and fire
Is mortify'd au desespoir,
When Sim, unfashionable ninny,
In public calls me cousin Jenny;
And yet, to give the wight his due,
He has some share of humour too,
A comic vein of pedant learning
His conversation you'll discern in,
The oddest compound you can see
Of shrewdness and simplicity,
With natural strokes of aukward wit,
That oft, like Parthian arrows, hit;
For when he seems to dread the foe,
He always strikes the hardest blow;
And when you'd think he means to flatter,
His panegyrics turn to satire;
But then no creature you can find
Knows half so little of mankind,
Seems always blundering in the dark,
And always making some remark;
Remarks that so provoke one's laughter,
One can't imagine what he's after:

6

And sure you'll thank me for exciting
In Sim a wonderous itch for writing:
With all his serious grimace
To give descriptions of the place.
No doubt his mother will produce
His poetry for general use,
And if his bluntness does not fright you,
His observations must delight you;
For truly the good creature's mind
Is honest, generous, and kind:
If unprovok'd, will ne'er displease ye,
Or ever make one soul uneasy.—
I'll try to make his sister Prue
Take a small trip to Pindus too.
And Me the Nine shall all inspire
To tune for thee the warbling lyre:
For thee the Muse shall every day
Speed, by the post, her rapid way.
For thee, my friend, I'll oft explore
Deep treasures of romantic lore:

7

No wonder if I gods create,
As all good bards have done of late;
'Twill make my verse run smooth and even,
To call new deities from heaven:
Come then, thou goddess I adore!
But soft—my chairman's at the door,
The ball's begun—my friend, no more.
J--- W---d---r.
Bath, 1766.