[Page 111]


Occasion'd by a Present of CROW-PENS.

1 TO you, Dear Madam, I complain,
2 Where Wretches never sigh in vain;
3 But always find, if not Relief,
4 At least Compassion for their Grief.
5 But I shou'd make my Woes appear,
6 Before I claim a gentle Tear;
7 My Tale is something odd, 'tis true;
8 Yet sure 'twill Credit find with you.
[Page 112]
9 The sage Pythagoras, you know,
10 Asserted many Years ago,
11 That when or Man or Woman dies,
12 The Soul to some new Mansion flies?
13 If so, Belinda, now so fair
14 May range the Woods a sullen Bear:
15 Likewise the courtly Bellamour,
16 The Lady's Darling to be sure:
17 Tho' he in sparkling Laces glow,
18 The Pattern of a perfect Beau;
19 When he puts off the human Shape,
20 May strut a Monkey or an Ape.
21 For me who now to you indite,
22 Whose Talent chiefly is to write;
23 What Form it was, I do not know,
24 I wore two thousand Years ago:
25 The Being that I first remember,
26 Was on a Morning of December;
27 But not December last (I ween)
28 No many Years have past between;
[Page 113]
29 I found myself a wealthy Squire,
30 And seated by a Parlour-Fire,
31 A fine Estate of mellow Ground,
32 In Cash full Thirty thousand Pound,
33 Two hundred Oxen in a Stall,
34 And ten lean Servants at my Call,
35 An ancient House well built but low,
36 Behind of Oaks an ample Row,
37 A Court before without much State,
38 And three Gaunt Mastiffs at the Gate;
39 All these had I a happy Knave
40 As you may think but with your Leave
41 A wretched Usurer was I,
42 With hagard Jaws and eager Eye,
43 That starv'd amidst unwieldy Store,
44 And lost my Life in search of more,
45 This Pluto saw, and bid me go
46 Into the Carcase of a Beau,
47 To taste of Pleasure and of Pains,
48 With slender Purse and shallow Brains,
[Page 114]
49 My Wig behind was smartly ty'd,
50 My silver Box with Snuff supply'd:
51 On Books I seldom lov'd to pore,
52 But sung and danc'd, and aptly swore;
53 Where-e'er I came the Ladies smil'd;
54 This call'd me Pug and t'other Child:
55 To please and to address the Fair,
56 Was all my Business and my Care;
57 But now my Gold began to fly,
58 And sure Destruction hover'd nigh:
59 At last to Limbo was I led,
60 From whence the struggling Spirit fled.
61 Almeria's Lap-dog next I grew,
62 And wore a Coat of glossy Hue,
63 Caress'd and courted ev'ry Day,
64 At Ev'ning by her Side I lay:
65 Her Smiles were always bent on me
66 (The happiest Days that e'er I see)
67 But, Oh, as by a River-side,
68 I walk'd along with short-liv'd Pride,
[Page 115]
69 A cruel Foot-boy threw me in,
70 And laugh'd as tho' it was no Sin.
71 Once more to gain a human Face,
72 I step'd into a Lawyer's Case:
73 This Station pleas'd me wond'rous well,
74 And in a trice I learn'd to spell,
75 Cou'd read old Coke with prying Eyes,
76 Explain, distinguish, and advise,
77 Talk Latin to a good degree;
78 As Admittendo Custode,
79 Eject, Extendi: and my Fee:
80 'Tis true I scorn'd to rob or kill,
81 But not to cheat or forge a Will:
82 In Jointures I cou'd split a Hair,
83 And make it turn against the Heir:
84 I spar'd no Widow for her Tears,
85 No Orphan for his tender Years:
86 My Maxim was 'Get Money, Man,
87 Get Money, where and how you can:
88 Thus through the Stage of Life I run,
89 (For, Ah! my Race was quickly done)
[Page 116]
90 And still preserv'd my Ears and Nose,
91 In spite of venial Sins like those.
92 My next Disguise too well you know,
93 Degraded to a simple Crow;
94 Both Cold and Hunger doom'd to bear,
95 And hover in the limpid Air,
96 Till on a day a spiteful Hind,
97 With dreadful Arms and bloody Mind,
98 Vow'd quick Destruction to my Head:
99 And in a Moment shot me dead:
100 Then set my ghastly Corse on high
101 To fright my Fellows from his Rye.
102 I now grew out of Pluto's Favour,
103 Who grumbl'd at my late Behaviour;
104 And vow'd (when thus his Sentence ran)
105 I shou'd no more appear as Man;
106 But that he wou'd confine me still
107 Within the compass of a Quill.
[Page 117]
108 My Fate is hard, as you may guess,
109 Yet I cou'd bear it ne'er-the-less,
110 Wou'd you or Fortune be so kind
111 To comfort an afflicted Mind,
112 And take me from the hated Cell,
113 Where Yesterday you bid me dwell:
114 For Oh, I guess nay more I know it,
115 That my new Mistress is a Poet;
116 Then how shall I who still inherit,
117 A Tincture of the Lawyer's Spirit;
118 How shall I bear from time to time
119 To scrawl unprofitable Rhyme?
120 To live for Years and ne'er behold
121 The Presence of enchanting Gold,
122 Yet scribble on Besides, alack,
123 I fear she'll quickly break my Back.
124 Then since my Pedigree you know:
125 (Dear Madam,) Ah some Pity show,
126 And recommend me to a Place;
127 For sure there's Mercy in your Face,
[Page 118]
128 To some Attorney let me go,
129 For there my Talents suit (you know)
130 Heroicks I shall write but ill;
131 But I'm a Doctor at a Bill,
132 At Flights of Fancy very dull;
133 But I can form Receipts at full.
134 The Favour that I ask of you,
135 (Have pity when the Wretched sue)
136 Is your good Word or what is better,
137 A Recommandatory Letter?
138 And if I'm happy in your Grace,
139 I think I need not doubt a Place.


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Title (in Source Edition): The INSPIR'D QUILL. Occasion'd by a Present of CROW-PENS.
Author: Mary Leapor
Themes: manners; supernatural
Genres: epistle; satire
References: DMI 23745

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Source edition

Leapor, Mrs. (Mary), 1722-1746. Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor of Brackley in Northamptonshire. London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 111-118. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413; OTA K101776.000) (Page images digitized from a copy at University of California Libraries.)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Mary Leapor