[Page 275]

To a Lady, who commanded me to send her an Account in Verse, how I succeeded in my Subscription.

1 How I succeed, you kindly ask;
2 Yet set me on a grievous Task,
3 When you oblige me to rehearse,
4 The Censures past upon my Verse.
5 Tho' I with Pleasure may relate,
6 That many, truly good, and great,
7 With candid Eye my Lines survey,
8 And smile upon the artless Lay;
9 To those with grateful Heart I bend
10 But your Commands I must attend.
[Page 276]
11 SERVILLA cries, I hate a Wit;
12 Women should to their Fate submit,
13 Should in the Needle take Delight;
14 'Tis out of Character to write:
15 She may succeed among the Men;
16 They tell me, Swift subscribes for Ten;
17 And some say, Dorset does the same;
18 But she shall never have my Name:
19 Her Poetry has cost me dear;
20 When Lady Carteret was here,
21 The Widow Gordon got my Guinea;
22 For which I own myself a Ninny.
23 OLIVIA loses oft at Play;
24 So will not throw her Gold away.
25 Thus Silvia, of the haughty Tribe:
26 She never ask'd me to subscribe,
[Page 277]
27 Nor ever wrote a Line on me,
28 I was no Theme for Poetry!
29 She rightly judg'd; I have no Taste
30 For Womens Poetry, at least.
31 Then Fulvia made this sage Reply;
32 (And look'd with self-sufficient Eye:)
33 I oft have said, and say again,
34 Verses are only writ by Men;
35 I know a Woman cannot write;
36 I do not say this out of Spite;
37 Nor shall be thought, by those who know me,
38 To envy one so much below me.
39 SABINA, fam'd in Wisdom's School,
40 Allows I write but am a Fool:
41 "What! must our Sons be form'd by Rhyme?
42 "A fine Way to employ one's Time! "
[Page 278]
43 ALBINO has no gold to waste,
44 Far gone in the Italian Taste:
45 He vows he must subscribe this Year,
46 To keep dear
* Two famous Italian Singers, zealously supported by different Parties.
Carestini here;
47 Not from a narrow Party View;
48 He doats on
Senesino too;
49 By Turns their Int'rest he'll espouse;
50 He's for the public Good, he vows;
51 A gen'rous Ardor fires his Breast.
52 Hail, Britain, in such Patriots blest!
53 Says Belvidera, Since a Wit
54 Or Friend or Foe alike will hit,
55 Deliver me from Wits, I say;
56 Grant Heav'n, they ne'er may cross my Way!
57 Besides, I oft have heard it hinted,
58 Her Poems never will be printed:
[Page 279]
59 Her Sickness is a Feint, no doubt,
60 To keep her Book from coming out.
61 Of Wit, says Celia, I'll acquit her;
62 Then archly fell into a Titter.
63 A Female Bard! Pulvillio cries;
64 'Tis possible she may be wise;
65 But I could never find it yet,
66 Tho' oft in Company we met:
67 She talks just in the common Way:
68 Sure Wits their Talents should display;
69 Their Language surely should be bright,
70 Before they should pretend to write:
71 I'll ne'er subscribe for Books, says he;
72 'Fore Gad, it looks like Pedantry.
73 High-born Belinda loves to blame;
74 On Criticism founds her Fame:
[Page 280]
75 Whene'er she thinks a Fault she spies
76 How Pleasure sparkles in her Eyes!
77 Call it not Poetry, she says;
78 No Call it Rhyming, if you please:
79 Her Numbers might adorn a Ring,
80 Or serve along the Streets to sing:
81 Stella and Flavia's well enough;
82 What else I saw, was stupid Stuff;
83 Nor Love nor Satire in her Lays,
84 Insipid! neither pain nor please:
85 I promis'd once to patronize her;
86 But on Reflection, I was wiser:
87 Yet I subscrib'd among the rest;
88 I love to carry on a Jest.
89 BELINDA thus her Anger shows,
90 Nor tells the World, from whence it flows:
91 With more Success to wound my Lays,
92 She gilds the Dart with other Praise:
[Page 281]
93 To her own Breast I leave the Fair
94 Convinc'd I stand acquitted there.
95 AMANDA, your Commands, you see,
96 Tho' grievous, are obey'd by me.
97 What my Friends told me had been said,
98 Just as it came into my Head,
99 No matter for the Place or Time,
100 To shew your Pow'r, I tag with Rhyme.
101 Now let some News salute your Ear,
102 Tho' I have weary'd you, I fear:
103 Know, has Vengeance vow'd,
104 And in the Furies Temple bow'd:
105 He but suspends his Wrath, he says,
106 Till he can criticise my Lays.
107 Malice, thy Rancour I expect,
108 And shall return it with Neglect:
109 Go on, display your treasur'd Rage;
110 Invectives shall not blot my Page:
[Page 282]
111 What real Faults you note, I'll mend:
112 Proceed, your Efforts I attend;
113 Taught early, Dryden, by thy Song,
114 They ne'er forgive, who do the Wrong.
115 Now to the Muse I bid Adieu;
116 Nor rail at her, as Poets do:
117 Protected by the Good and Great,
118 I'll not repine, but bless my Fate.
119 You, Madam, who your Sex adorn,
120 Who Malice and Detraction scorn,
121 Who with superior Sense are bless'd,
122 Of ev'ry real Worth possess'd;
123 With Eye indulgent view my Lays:
124 You know to blame, but love to praise:
125 You know my Faults, and know beside,
126 I want not to be mortify'd.
127 One Merit I presume to boast,
128 And dare to plead but one at most:
[Page 283]
129 The Muse I never have debas'd;
130 My Lays are innocent at least;
131 Were ever ardently design'd
132 To mend and to enlarge the Mind.
133 This must be own'd a virtuous Aim.
134 The Praise of Wit let others claim.


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Title (in Source Edition): To a Lady, who commanded me to send her an Account in Verse, how I succeeded in my Subscription.
Author: Mary Barber
Themes: patronage; poetry; literature; writing; printing; publishing
Genres: satire
References: DMI 11654

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Source edition

Barber, Mary, ca. 1690-1757. Poems on Several Occasions [poems only]. London: Printed for C. Rivington, at the Bible and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1734, pp. 275-283. xlviii,283,[7]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T42622; DMI 519; Foxon p. 45) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Harding C 3644].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. 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 Barber