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Poem by Janet Little
A Poem on Contentment
O JANET, by your kind permission, My muse, in tatter'd low condition, Would fain attempt, if you'll allow, To dedicate a song to you. Posses'd of few attractive pow'rs, Her case does much resemble yours; So lest none else should deign to hear, She humbly supplicates your ear. Imprimis, she should compliment ye; A Venus or Diana paint ye; Count o'er your virtues by the hunder, And own they're more than she can number. This she might do; but then 't would grieve her, To find no mortal did believe her. She calls you patroness and friend, And begs that blessings may attend Upon you in your humble cot, And keep your 'scutcheon free frae blot. May sweet contentment, hard to find, With radient lustre light your mind; While numbers of your sister train Must for the treasure pant in vain. Bright Celia, with her conquering eyes, Attempts to win the doubtful prize: She darts a glance, ah! cruel maid, Philander drops! a strapping blade. The youth as frantic now behaves; Of love and flames, and darts he raves. Not Esculapius' sons can cure, Nor ease the pangs he must endure. At last the charmer gives consent; Then Hymen does them both torment, With nameless ills unknown before, And ev'ry month augments the score. May stars propitious guard your life From all the mis'ries of a wife: Poor Delia's sighs and tears next prove The pains of ill requited love. She danc'd, had wit, was wondrous fair, And seem'd Alonzo's heart to snare. True love and constancy he vow'd; But this by all must be allow'd, That young men's tongues do not impart The real language of their heart. He wed another, sad to tell! And bad the mournful maid farewel. O Janet, may you never know The pangs that lovers undergo. Cordelia too, with look demure, Contentment wishes to ensure. She flattering Cupid wont believe: She knows that Hymen can deceive; But fondly hopes in verse to shine, Assisted by the tuneful Nine; To call their treasures all her own, E'en in despite of fortune's frown. But weak, alas! is her pretence; Her song proves destitute of sense. Each cavilling critic does her vex, And ev'ry censure sore perplex. O may you never feel the pain, We heedless scribbling fools sustain. A thousand more from various views, The gliding meteor swift pursues. The Patriot toils, in pensive mood, For honour and Britannia's good. The Courtier deems his Sov'reign's smile Would all his anxious cares beguile. O Janet, shun the coxing tribe, Who barter virtue for a bribe. The Coxcomb's care we well can guess; He thinks the charm consists in dress, Pomatum, powder, linens white, Wash-balls, perfumes, and mirrors bright. The Miser hopes his joys to hold, Fast lock'd within his bags of gold: Thieves, moth and rust, corrupt his rest; May all his sorrows be your jest. The plodding sage long years has spent In searching for the gem content, Which often does, I know not why, In heaps of rustic rubbish lie. And may my honest friend just now, Without much quest be found by you; May your old shoes, your staff and plaidy, Be always for the journey ready: And blithly may ilk neighbour greet you; May cakes, and scones, and kibbocks meet you; And may they weel ilk pocket cram, And in your bottle slip a dram. May your wee glass, your pipe and specks, Be ay' preserv'd frae doleful wrecks. May your wee house, baith snug and warm, Be safe frae ev'ry rude alarm Of wandering lovers, who'd essay To make soft innocence their prey: Or ruffians cast in rougher mould, Whose sordid bosoms beat for gold. Content grows joy, in meeting there The little, lovely, blooming fair, Who makes thy cot and thee her care; Whose gentle, gen'rous, noble mind, Tho' great and rich, can here prove kind; Whose footsteps mark her path with peace, Whose smile bids ev'ry sorrow cease; For age and want, and wo provides And over misery presides. Her father's worth, and mother's charms Esteem and fond affection warms, While kind D---f---s, with rapture spies, The sighing breast and swimming eyes; Whose rays have found in James and thee, The melting charm of misery. That charm much more the cherub moves, Than did his gift of cooing doves; Whose hearts, less tender than her own, Breathe forth their ever pleasing moan. Sweet innocence, in her we find; Bright truth illuminates her mind: Each action says, for her to give It is more joy than to receive. Let James and you for Loudoun pray, Whose charms have lur'd me from my lay. Janet farewel, you've lint and tow, O keep your rock ay frae the low; Tho' turmoils torture land and sea, Content may smoke a pipe with thee.
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