[Page 248]

To the Rev. Mr. J. S.


1 PROMISES are different cases
2 At various times, in various places.
3 In crowded street of Arlington,
4 Where slaves of hope to levées run,
5 A promise signifies no more,
6 Than in the chamber of a whore.
7 And when the good deceiv'd Sir Francis
8 With madam up from Yorkshire dances,
9 To claim the great man's promise given
10 Some six years since, or (some say) seven;
11 No one can blame that curious writer,
12 That says, they'll both return the lighter.
13 But can we hence affirm that no miss
14 Of all the sex can keep a promise?
[Page 249]
15 Or say, from what our courtier speaks,
16 That all men's faiths are wafer-cakes?
17 That courts make rogues is my belief,
18 As 'tis the mill that makes the thief.
19 But 'cause one limb is none o' th' best,
20 Shall I for that cut off the rest?
21 Sure it may be with safety said,
22 A parson's promise duely made
23 Beneath a prelate's holy roof,
24 Must stand 'gainst all assaults a proof.
25 Yet he, who thinks the church unshaken,
26 May find himself in time mistaken.
27 I know the man, and grieve to say't,
28 Who so did fail and that was S
29 And can we then no more depend on
30 Our good forgetful friend at Findon,
31 Than on a courtier promiseful,
32 Or a whore's oath to cheat her cull?
33 Can S no better promise keep?
34 If that were true I e'en shou'd weep.
35 In Sarum's town when last we met,
36 I told you 'mongst much other prate,
37 That my design was to withdraw,
38 And leave the craggy paths of law:
39 And as the skilful pilot steers
40 Wide of the dreadful rocks he fears,
41 And in the safer ocean rides,
42 Nor fears his vessel's bulging sides;
[Page 250]
43 So I from Coke's and Croke's reports,
44 And special pleadings of the courts,
45 Had veer'd about to bury dead,
46 And 'gainst a pulpit run my head.
47 Didst thou not promise then and there,
48 (But promises are china-ware)
49 Didst thou not promise, as I spoke,
50 That you'd ere long your Muse invoke,
51 And cloath'd in strong harmonious line,
52 Send counsel to the young divine?
53 Where of thy word then is the troth,
54 Which I thought good as any oath?
55 Or where that strong harmonious line,
56 Bless'd by each sister of the Nine?
57 That whore we speak of i' th' beginning,
58 Hath some excuse to make for sinning:
59 Her tongue and tail are taught deceit
60 From her not knowing where to eat.
61 The courtier too hath some excuse
62 To think word-breaking small abuse:
63 And 'midst the hurry, noise, and bustle,
64 Of crowds, that at his levée jostle,
65 No man can be in such a taking
66 To see a little promise-breaking.
67 But what indulgence, what excuse
68 Can plead for thee, or for thy Muse?
69 For thee, on whom the sisters wait
70 Pleas'd with the task impos'd by S—;
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71 Whom at his christ'ning they did dip
72 O'er head and ears in Aganip;
73 For thee, at mention of whose strain
74 Their winged courser courts the rein,
75 Bounds e'en through Sussex-roads along,
76 Proud of the burthen of thy song?


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To the Rev. Mr. J. S. 1731.
Author: John Hoadly
Themes: manners; virtue; vice
Genres: epistle
References: DMI 27728

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Source edition

Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764. A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. V. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 248-251. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.005) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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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.