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Poem by Margaret Chalmers

Verses on the Jubilee Night at Lerwick

WHEN public occasions of general joy
    Give patriots a jovial night;
When loyalty reigns, and "Illumine's" the word,
    And Lerwick, all sparkling, shines bright,
Our good friend and neighbour, old Neptune, keeps watch,
    To see how we mean to behave;
Keeps his mind to himself, never saying a word,
    But peeps out now and then through a wave.
Then pleas'd to see Britons with true British hearts,
    And determin'd he'll not be behind;
For each taper we light, lights a thousand with speed,
    Is not Neptune, our friend, very kind?
But on the late ev'ning devoted to joy,
    Which yet animates every heart;
And to young and to old, to rich and to poor,
    Did true loyal pleasure impart,
He some how or other had pick'd up a hint,
    That Queen Cynthia intended to pay
Congratulings , and in regalia so bright,
    As would teach night to vie with the day.
Neptune said, with the gallantry of a true tar,
    He was glad she intended to grace
The joyous occasion, and with a low bow,
    To the lady politely gave place.
To politeness, frugality quickly succeeds,
    That Virtue he also must show;
"Sure, you good folks of Lerwick can never expect
    "Help both from above and below.
" 'Twere lighting the candle at both ends," he said,
    "And I no such example will give;
"Besides, with the lady who means to display,
    "I no interference will have."
So reserving his tapers till next happy time,
    If Cynthia no help should afford;
Said, on his assistance we then might depend,
    And he'll prove nothing worse than his word.
Then to Sea-Nymphs and Nereids, and that sort of folk,
    He gave orders, that close they should keep
Each billow and wave; nay, that not a stray breeze
    Should ruffle the face of the deep.
For he said, he was eager this mark of respect
    To great George and Britannia to pay;
And hop'd, they'd depend he would favour their right,
    Whenever it fell in his way.
Then said, he'd a mirror to Cynthia present,
    In which she might view her fair face;
For ladies to see themselves love, when they're dress'd
    And adorn'd with every grace.
And, lo! all in silver she made her entrée,
    I own she assisted the show;
Yet something self-confident hung on her mien,
    As she laugh'd at our twinkling below.
Which I thought very hard, we were joyful as she,
    And though not so splendidly drest;
Yet, with tapers and rockets and bonfires around,
    I'm sure we were doing our best.
For Neptune, good fellow, though blust'ring he's kind,
    And at heart he our welfare doth wish;
He favours our vessels, and give him his due,
    No ****rd is he of his fish.
Though, when in bad humour, he gives us a growl,
    We should study his temper to hit;
And being near neighbours, we therefore should stoop,
    The buffet to take with the bit .
I dont much approve of Queen Cynthia's plan,
    At one time she's showing away;
At another, and often when needed the most,
    Quite sullen withdraws ev'ry ray.
If she take it in head, she deserts on a night
    When a bright illumination's decreed;
Then to work goes friend Neptune, quick trimming his lamps,
    And proves himself friend in our need.

Margaret Chalmers

Margaret Chalmers's other poems:
  1. The Author's Address to the Critics
  2. On the Banks of the Esk
  3. The Rose of the Rock
  4. Address to the Evening Star
  5. Lines, on the Drawing Room of an Intimate Friend of the AuthorТs

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