A Letter to a Friend in the Country.
1 Tho' Rhyme serves the Thoughts of great Poets to fetter,
2 It sets off the Sense of small Poets the better.
3 When I've written in Prose, I often have found,
4 That my Sense, in a Jumble of Words, was quite drown'd.
5 In Verse, as in Armies, that march o'er the Plain,
6 The least Man among them is seen without Pain.
7 This they owe to good Order, it must be allow'd;
8 Else Men that are little, are lost in a Croud.
9 So much for Simile: Now, to be brief,
10 The following Lines come to tell you my Grief.
11 'Tis well I can write; for I scarcely can speak,
12 I'm so plagu'd with my Teeth, which eternally ake.[Page 23]
13 When the Wind's in the Point which opposes the South,
14 For Fear of the Cold, I can't open my Mouth:
15 And you know, to the Sex it must be a Heart-breaking,
16 To have any Distemper, that keeps them from speaking.
17 When first I was silent a Day and a Night,
18 The Women were all in a terrible Fright.
19 Supplications to Jove, in an Instant, they make —
20 "Avert the Portent — a Woman not speak!
21 "Since Poets are Prophets, and often have sung,
22 "The last Thing that dies in a Woman's her Tongue;
23 "O Jove, for what Crime is Sapphira thus curst?
24 "'Tis plain by her Breathing, her Tongue has dy'd first.
25 "Ye Powers celestial, tell Mortals, what Cause
26 "Occasions Dame nature to break her own Laws?
27 "Did the Preacher live now, from his Text he must run;
28 "And own there was something new under the Sun.
29 "O Jove, for the future this Punishment spare;
30 "And all other Evils we'll willingly bear."[Page 24]
31 Then they throng to my House, and my Maid they beseech,
32 To say, if her Mistress had quite lost her Speech.
33 Nell readily own'd, what they heard was too true;
34 That To-day I was dumb, give the Devil his Due:
35 And frankly confess'd, were it always the Case,
36 No Servant could e'er have a happier Place.
37 When they found it was Fact, they began all to fear me;
38 And, dreading Infection, would scarcely come near me:
39 Till a Neighbour of mine, who was famous for Speeching,
40 Bid them be of good Cheer, the Disease was not catching;
41 And offer'd to prove, from Authors good Store,
42 That the like Case with this never happen'd before;
43 And if Ages to come should resemble the past,
44 As 'twas the first Instance, it would be the last.
45 Yet against this Disorder we all ought to strive:
46 Were I in her Case, I'd been bury'd alive.
47 Were I one Moment silent, except in my Bed,
48 My good natur'd Husband would swear I was dead.[Page 25]
49 The next said, her Tongue was so much in her Pow'r,
50 She was sullenly silent almost — half an Hour:
51 That, to vex her good Man, she took this Way to teaze him;
52 But soon left it off, when she found it would please him:
53 And vow'd, for the future, she'd make the Housering;
54 For when she was dumb, he did nothing but sing.
55 Quite tir'd with their Talking, I held down my Head:
56 So she who sat next me, cry'd out, I was dead.
57 They call'd for cold Water to throw in my Face:
58 Give her Air, give her Air — and cut open her Lace.
59 Says good Neighbour Nevil, You're out of your Wits;
60 She oft, to my Knowledge, has these sullen Fits:
61 Let her Husband come in, and make one Step that's wrong,
62 My Life for't, the Woman will soon find her Tongue.
63 You'll soon be convinc'd — O' my Conscience, he's here —
64 Why what's all this Rout? — Are you sullen, my Dear?[Page 26]
65 This struck them all silent; which gave me some Ease.
66 And made them imagine they'd got my Disease.
67 So they hasted away in a terrible Fright;
68 And left me, in Silence, to pass the long Night.
69 Not the Women alone were scar'd at my Fate;
70 'Twas reckon'd of dreadful Portent to the State.
71 When the Governors heard it, they greatly were troubled;
72 And, whilst I was silent, the Guards were all doubled:
73 The Militia Drums beat a perpetual Alarm,
74 To rouze up the Sons of the City to arm.
75 A Story was rumour'd about from*
* A small Island near Dublin.Lambey,
76 Of a powerful Fleet, that was seen off at Sea.
77 With Horror all list to the terrible Tale;
78 The Barristers tremble, the Judges grow pale;
79 To the Castle the frighted Nobility fly;
80 And the Council were summon'd, they could not tell why;[Page 27]
81 The Clergy in Crouds to the Churches repair;
82 And Armies, embattled, were seen in the Air.
83 Why they were in this Fright, I have lately been told,
84 It seems, it was sung by a Druid of old,
85 That the Hanover Race to Great-Britain should come;
86 And sit on the Throne, till a Woman grew dumb.
87 As soon as this Prophecy reach'd the Pretender,
88 He cry'd out, My Claim to the Crown I surrender.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): The Prodigy. A Letter to a Friend in the Country.
Author: Mary Barber
Themes: illness; injury
Genres: comic verse; epistle; narrative verse
References: DMI 11338
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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 ECCO-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 3.0.
Other works by Mary Barber
- Apollo's Edict. ()
- An Apology for my Son to his Master, for not bringing an Exercise on the Coronation Day. ()
- An Apology for the Clergy, who were present when the Minister of the Parish read Prayers and preach'd twice in one Day, at Tunbridge-Wells. Written at the Request of a Layman. ()
- An Apology to Dr. Clayton, Bishop of Killala, and his Lady, who had promis'd to dine with the Author. ()
- An Apology to the Earl of Orrery, Dr. Swift, and some others of my Friends, for falling into Tears before them, on my leaving Ireland. ()
- An Apology written for my Son to his Master, who had commanded him to write Verses on the Death of the late Lord —. ()
- An Apology written for my Son to the Reverend Mr. Sampson, who had invited some Friends to celebrate Lord Carteret's Birth-Day, at Mount-Carteret near Dublin; and desir'd my Son to write on that Occasion. ()
- By a Person of Quality. ()
- Conclusion of a Letter to the Rev. Mr. C—. ()
- The Earl's Answer, written extempore. ()
- An Epigram on the Battle of the Books. ()
- An Epigram on the same Occasion. ()
- An EPIGRAM. ()
- Epilogue to a Comedy acted at Bath, where the Dutchess of Ormond was present. ()
- An Epitaph on the late Lord Mount-Cashel. ()
- An Hymn to Sleep. Written when the Author was sick. ()
- An Invitation to Edward Walpole, Esq; upon hearing he was landed in Dublin. ()
- Jupiter and Fortune. A Fable. ()
- A Letter for my Son to one of his School-fellows, Son to Henry Rose, Esq; ()
- A Letter to a Friend, on Occasion of some Libels written against him. ()
- A Letter written for my Daughter to a Lady, who had presented her with a Cap. ()
- A Letter written for my Son to a young Gentleman, who was sent to be educated at the Jesuits College in Flanders. ()
- A Letter written from London to Mrs. Strangeways Horner, whom the Author had left the Day before at Tunbridge-Wells. Oct. 1730. ()
- News from St. James's. ()
- The Oak and its Branches. A Fable. Occasion'd by seeing a dead Oak beautifully encompass'd with Ivy. ()
- Occasion'd by reading the Memoirs of Anne of Austria, written by Madam de Motteville. Inscrib'd to the Right Honourable the Countess of Hertford. ()
- Occasion'd by seeing some Verses written by Mrs. Constantia Grierson, upon the Death of her Son. ()
- Occasion'd by seeing the Honourable — treat a Person of Merit with Insolence, who came to make a Request to her. ()
- On imagining a Friend had treated the Author with Indifference. ()
- On leaving Bath. ()
- On seeing an Officer's Widow distracted who had been driven to Despair, by a long and fruitless Sollicitation for the Arrears of her Pension. ()
- On seeing the Captives, lately redeem'd from Barbary by His Majesty. ()
- On sending my Son, as a Present, to Dr. Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, on his Birth-Day. ()
- On the Dutchess of Newcastle's Picture. ()
- On the Earl of Oxford and Mortimer's giving his Daughter in Marriage in Oxford-Chapel. ()
- The Peacock. A Fable. ()
- The RECANTATION: To the same Lady. ()
- Reply to the foregoing Verses. ()
- The RESOLUTION. ()
- Sent as from a School-fellow to my Son Anno 1727. ()
- SINCERITY. A Poem. Occasion'd by a Friend's resenting some Advice I gave. ()
- SONG. (); Stella and Flavia. ()
- Spoken extempore, to the Right Honourable the Lady Barbara North, on her presenting the Author with a white Ribband at Tunbridge-Wells. ()
- To a Gentleman, who had abus'd Waller. ()
- To a Gentleman, who shew'd a fine Poem as his own. ()
- To a Gentleman, who took a very grave Friend of his, to visit one of quite a different Turn. ()
- To a Lady at Bath. ()
- To a Lady in the Spleen, whom the Author was desir'd to amuse. ()
- To a Lady who was libell'd. ()
- To a Lady, who commanded me to send her an Account in Verse, how I succeeded in my Subscription. ()
- To a Lady, who invited the Author into the Country. ()
- To a Lady, who valu'd herself on speaking her Mind in a blunt Manner, which she call'd being sincere. ()
- To Alexander Pope, Esq; Intreating him to write Verses to the Memory of Thomas, late Earl of Thanet. ()
- To Dr. Mead, on his Cape Wine. ()
- To Dr. Richard Helsham. Upon my Recovery from a dangerous Fit of Sickness. ()
- To her Grace the Dutchess of Manchester, and Lady Diana Spencer, now Dutchess of Bedford. The humble Petition of little Jemmy Pen, at Tunbridge-Wells. ()
- To her Grace the Dutchess of Portland, with the foregoing Lines. ()
- To his Excellency the Lord Carteret. Occasion'd by seeing a Poem, intitled, The Birth of Manly Virtue. ()
- To his Grace the Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, at the Camp before Philipsburgh. ()
- To his Grace the Duke of Chandos. ()
- To Lady H—r, who ask'd, Had the Author done writing Verses? ()
- To Mrs. Anne Donnellan, with the fourth Essay on MAN. ()
- To Mrs. Armine Cartwright, at Bath. ()
- To Mrs. CÆsar, at the Speaker's Lodgings at Bath. ()
- To Mrs. Frances-Arabella Kelly. ()
- To Mrs. Mary CÆsar, upon seeing her just after the Marriage of her Friend, the Lady Margaret Harley. ()
- To Mrs. Newans, encouraging her to draw Lady Killmorey's Picture. ()
- To Mrs. Putland. ()
- To Mrs. Strangeways Horner, with a Letter from my Son; wherein he desires me to accept his first Prize of Learning, conferr'd on him by the University of Dublin. ()
- To Mrs. S—. Written in my Sickness. ()
- To Mrs. — ()
- To Novella, on her saying deridingly, that a Lady of great Merit, and fine Address, was bred in the Old Way. An EPIGRAM. ()
- To Robert Barber Esq; Deputy to the Treasurer's Remembrancer in the Court of Exchequer, on his attending, whilst his Son repeated Gay's Fable of the Hare and Many Friends. ()
- To Sophronia. ()
- To the Honble. Miss Carteret, now Countess of Dysert. ()
- To the Honourable Mrs. Percival. ()
- To the Honourable Mrs. Spencer, on her removing from Windsor to Rookly in Hampshire. ()
- To the Reverend Dr. L—. Occasion'd by his Sermon for the Support of the Charity-Children at Tunbridge-Wells, where the Collection was small. ()
- To the Right Hon. the Earl of Orrery, on his Promise to sup with the Author. ()
- To the Right Honble. the Lady Dowager Torrington, with some Verses her Ladyship commanded me to send her. ()
- To the Right Honourable John Barber, Esq; Lord Mayor of London, on committing one of my Sons to his Care. ()
- To the Right Honourable John Earl of Orrery, at Bath, after the Death of the late Earl. ()
- To the Right Honourable the Earl of Thomond, at Bath; who charg'd the Author with making an Irish Bull. ()
- To the Right Honourable the Lady Elizabeth Brownlow, upon desiring me to send her some of my Poems. ()
- To the Right Honourable the Lady Elizabeth Germain, upon seeing her do a generous Action. Written as from the Person reliev'd. ()
- To the Right Honourable the Lady Kilmorey, with a Letter, which was written by the late Lady Roydon, of the Kingdom of Ireland, just before her Death. ()
- To the Right Honourable the Lady Sarah Cowper. Written when the Author was sick at Tunbridge-Wells. ()
- To the Rt. Hon. Charlotte Lady Conway, on her resolving to leave Bath. ()
- A True TALE. ()
- An unanswerable Apology for the Rich. ()
- Upon seeing a Raffle for Addison's Works unfill'd. ()
- Verses occasion'd by the Sickness of Mrs. Anne Donnellan. ()
- Verses sent to a Lady, who took Delight in ridiculing a Person of very weak Under-standing, whom she reliev'd from Want. ()
- The Widow Gordon's Petition To the Right Hon. the Lady Carteret. ()
- Written at Bath to a young Lady, who had just before given me a short Answer. ()
- Written at Camberwell, near London, in the Study of Mr. Wainwright, now Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, where the Author accidentally din'd alone. ()
- Written at Dr. Mead's House in Ormond-Street, to Mrs. Mead. ()
- Written at Tunbridge-Wells, where the Author had, the Year before, been honour'd with the Acquaintance of Mrs. Strangeways Horner, who, after, went abroad on account of her Health. ()
- Written at Tunbridge-Wells. To the Right Honourable the Lady Barbara North, occasion'd by some of the Company's saying they would go to Faint-Fair, and act a Play. ()
- Written for a Gentlewoman in Distress. To her Grace Adelida, Dutchess of Shrewsbury. ()
- Written for my Son in his Sickness, to one of his School fellows. ()
- Written for my Son to his Master, on the Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. ()
- Written for my Son, and spoken by him at his first putting on Breeches. ()
- Written for my Son, and spoken by him at School to some of the Fellows of the College of Dublin, at a public Examination for Victors. ()
- Written for my Son, and spoken by him in School, upon his Master's first bringing in a Rod. ()
- Written for my Son, and spoken by him, at a public Examination for Victors. ()
- Written for my Son, in a Bible which was presented to him. ()
- Written for my Son, to Mr. Barry; occasion'd by the foregoing Verses. ()
- Written for my Son, to some of the Fellows of the College, who took care of the School in his Master's Absence. ()
- Written for my Son, upon Lady Santry's coming to School, to see her Son, and getting the Scholars a Play-Day. ()
- Written from Dublin, to a Lady in the Country. ()
- Written in the Conclusion of a Letter to Mr. Tickel, intreating him to recommend the Widow Gordon's Petition. ()
- Written upon the Rocks at Tunbridge, on seeing the Names of several Persons written there. ()