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A Tale. Extracted from the Natural History of Berkshire.

1 Two Nymphs of chaste Diana's train,
2 Both fair, and tolerably vain,
3 One morning early left their beds,
4 And said their pray'rs, and drest their heads.
5 The coach was order'd, in they step,
6 Not well awake, nor quite asleep:
7 Of well-dress'd Beaus a brace they chuse,
8 At once for ornament, and use.
9 Their conversation need I tell?
10 Or who spoke most, or which spoke well?
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11 Or how it ran of various things,
12 Of Queens and grottos, wars and Kings,
13 Of fortune-tellers, or the fashion,
14 Of marriage, or predestination ?
15 In short, they settled all the nation.
16 Not many miles the Nymphs were come,
17 Ere Cloe wish'd she'd stay'd at home.
18 Her lively colour comes and goes,
19 The lilly struggled, and the rose.
20 "I wish!" Wish on, thou gentle maid;
21 Of Wishes need one be afraid?
22 "Why then" and whisper'd something low;
23 But what, or when, or where, or how,
24 None but the Muse shall ever know.
25 Yet trust me, Prudes, it was no more,
26 Than you or I have wish'd before:
27 Bright Emily, of royal race,
28 Might wish the same in such a case.
29 In short, the lady but no matter:
30 I'll never tell one earthly creature.
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31 For why should I, in lays forbidden,
32 Unveil what Custom would have hidden?
33 But lest the Beaus, for Beaus might blame,
34 Should hear, and after hurt her fame,
35 On each she cast a languid look,
36 And thus the Heroes twain bespoke.
37 "What vast variety of woe
38 Does Jove let fall on folks below!
39 Poor Kitty, who but yesterday
40 Was all so giggling, and so gay,
41 Is pouring now the frantic tear,
42 And bares her breast, and beats the air:
43 All comfort from her bosom's fled,
44 For ah! her Parroquet is dead.
45 "Now 'tis but civil, as I guess,
46 To visit people in distress;
47 If not for love, in spite, or joke,
48 To see how horridly they look:
49 For grief the fairest cheek will stain,
50 And make folks look extremely plain.
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51 "Then wonder not, if I alight,
52 To do what's decent, and what's right;
53 To visit first the hapless maid,
54 Then pay the rite to Polly's shade:
55 Whose grave I'll sprinkle with my tears,
56 And mix my friendly drops with hers.
57 Excuse me then I can no more
58 Here, Thomas, stop; undo the door."
59 Tom stops, and Cloe soon alights,
60 Looks pleas'd, but full of fears and frights.
61 Sir Fopling he must needs attend her,
62 And, with a speech, his hand will lend her.
63 "O no, Sir Fopling! You'll excuse it;
64 Time's precious, and we must not lose it."
65 Away she flies, as swist as wind,
66 And leaves the lover far behind.
67 At length a little farm she sees,
68 Surrounded by a clump of trees;
69 No yelping Cur was heard from far,
70 The door had neither bolt nor bar:
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71 So in she goes, and looks around,
72 But no expedient's to be found.
73 What shall she do? Her wants are pressing,
74 And speedily require redressing.
75 In haste she trips it to the dairy,
76 In hopes to find or Nan or Mary;
77 But not a living soul was there,
78 Nor cat to squall, nor mouse to stir.
79 In short, the bus'ness must be done;
80 Time to consider there was none.
81 The cream-pot first she fill'd with liquor,
82 Fit for the thorax of the Vicar.
83 Nay Jove himself, the skies protector,
84 Would call such liquor heav'nly Nectar.
85 So, in a grot, I've seen enthron'd
86 Some river goddess, osier-crown'd,
87 Pour all her copious urns around.
88 Hence plenteous crops our harvests yield,
89 And Ceres laughs thro' all the field.
90 A pan of milk, unskimm'd its cream,
91 Did next receive the bounteous stream;
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92 The bounteous stream in bubbles breaks,
93 And many a curious eddy makes.
94 O stop, dear nymph; alack! forbear;
95 Spoil not our cheese! our butter spare!
96 What will poor Gooddy Baucis say,
97 To see her milk all turn'd to whey?
98 The nymph was deaf, the noise was loud,
99 And who hear less than those that shou'd?
100 So in an aqueduct I've stood,
101 And heard aghast the headlong flood:
102 What tho' with Stentor's lungs you call,
103 I hear you not, I'm deafness all.
104 The rite perform'd, herself much eas'd,
105 And Polly's gentle shade appeas'd,
106 Back to her company she flies,
107 Quite unobserv'd by vulgar eyes.
108 The muse indeed behind her stood.
109 And heard the noise, and saw the flood.
110 But when poor Baucis from the field.
111 Return'd, and saw her vessels fill'd;
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112 How did she lift her hands, and stare!
113 And cry'd "What Fairy has been here?
114 I left this milk-pan yet to skim,
115 And saw no bubbles on the brim!
116 My cream-pot too was hardly full,
117 But now it over-flows the bowl!
118 Yet no disorder I can view,
119 No six-pence left in Kattern's shoe:
120 My pewter on the shelves have slept,
121 The house too's neither brusht nor swept.
122 Well; guard us all, I say, from evil!
123 For mighty watchful is the Devil."
124 A large brown jugg stood there apart,
125 The reservoir of near a quart;
126 The liquor pure, as amber fine,
127 But stock'd with particles saline.
128 Now Baucis, who came hot from work,
129 Was very dry, her dinner pork;
130 One draught, cry'd she, of good sound beer!
131 I'm thirsty, and no creature near
132 Let's see what Heav'n has sent us here.
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133 She smelt it, and no full-blown rose
134 Sent half the fragrance to her nose.
135 It looks, thinks she, like cowslip wine,
136 And if not sweet, I'm sure 'tis fine:
137 However, 'tis a sin to waste it,
138 I'll e'en take heart o'grace, and taste it
139 She drank, and down the liquor went;
140 "A little, and therewith content,
141 We learn, says she, from good St. Paul:
142 And sure Content is all in all!
143 Our beer is dead, but no great matter,
144 'Tis better still than common water.
145 We poor folks must make shift, 'tis true;
146 Howe'er, to give the dev'l his due,
147 E'en let him bake, but never brew."


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Title (in Source Edition): HOLT WATERS. A Tale. Extracted from the Natural History of Berkshire.
Author: Mary Jones
Themes: sex; relations between the sexes; animals; bawdy humour
Genres: narrative verse; comic verse
References: DMI 22596

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Jones, Mary, d. 1778. Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. By Mary Jones. Oxford: Printed; and delivered by Mr. Dodsley in Pall-Mall, Mr. Clements in Oxford, and Mr. Frederick in Bath, MDCCL., 1750, pp. 93-100. vi,[1],xlv,[1],405p. (ESTC T115196) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Harding C 1723].)

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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 Jones