Epistle To Her Friends At Gartmore Poem by Susanna Blamire

Epistle To Her Friends At Gartmore

My Gartmore friends a blessing on ye,
And all that's good still light upon ye!
Will you allow this hobbling rhyme
To tell you how I pass my time?
'Tis true I write in shorten'd measure,
Because I scrawl but at my leisure;
For why?--sublimity of style
Takes up a most prodigious while;
To count with fingers six or seven,
And mind that syllables are even,--
To make the proper accent fall,
La! 'tis the very deuce of all:
Alternate verse, too, makes me think
How to get t'other line to clink;
And then your odes with two lines rhyming,
An intermitting sort of chiming,
Just like the bells on birth--days ringing,
Or like your friend S. Blamire's singing,
Which only pleases those whose ears
Ne'er heard the music of the spheres.
As for this measure, these trite strains
Give me no sort of thought or pains;
If that the first line ends with head,
Why then the rhyme to that is bed;
And so on through the whole essay,
For careless ease makes out my say;
And if you'll let me tell you how
I pass my time, I'll tell you now.

First, then, I've brought me up my tea,--
A medicine which I'd order'd me;
Its from the coast of Labrador,
Sir Hugh, the gallant Commodore
Brought it to me for my rheumatics,--
O girls! these aches play me sad tricks;--
And e'en in London had you found me,
You'd found a yard of flannel round me.
At eight I rise--a decent time!
But aunt would say 'tis oftener nine.
I come down stairs, the cocoa ready,--
For you must know I'm turn'd fine lady,
And fancy tea gives me a pain
Where 'tis not decent to complain.
When breakfast's done, I take a walk
Where English girls their secrets talk;
But as for you, ye're modest maids,
And shun the house to walk i' the shades;
Often my circuit's round the garden,
In which there's no flower worth a farthing.
I sit me down and work a while,
But here, I think, I see you smile;
At work! quoth you;--but little's done,
Thou lik'st too well a bit of fun.
At twelve, I dress my head so smart,
Were there a man--he'd lose his heart;
My hair is turn'd the loveliest brown,
There's no such hair in London town!
Nor do I use one grain of powder,
Either the violet or the other;
Nature adopts me for her child,--
Fair is her fruit when not run wild.

At one, the cloth is constant laid
By little Fan, our pretty maid.
Round her such native beauty glows,
You'd take her cheek to be some rose
Just spreading forth its blossom sweet,
Where red and white in union meet;
She's prettier much than her young lady,
But that, you know, full easily may be.
``Well, Fanny, do you wish to go
To the dance there in the town below?''
``Yes;--but I dare not ask my mistress.''
``O! I'll relieve you from that distress!''
I ask for her,--away she goes,
And shines a belle among the beaus.
Now, my good friends, by this you see,
Rustics have balls as well as we;
And really as to different stations,
Or comforts in the various nations,
They're more upon an equal par
Than we imagine them by far.
They love and hate--have just the same
Feeling of pleasure and of pain;
Only our kind of education
Gives ours a greater elevation.
I oft have listen'd to the chat
Of country folks 'bout who knows what!
And yet their wit, though unrefin'd,
Seems the pure product of the mind.

You'd laugh to see the honest wives
Telling me how their household thrives;
For, you must know, I'm fam'd for skill
In the nice compound of a pill.
``Miss Sukey, here's a little lass,
She's not sae weel as what she was;
The peer peer bairn does oft complain,--
A'd tell ye where, but I think shame.''
``Nay, speak, good woman,--mind not me;
The child is not quite well I see.''
``Nea;'' she says, ``her belly aches,
And Jwohnie got her some worm--cakes;
They did nea good--though purg'd her well,--
What is the matter we can't tell;
She sadly whets her teeth at neet,
And a' the day does nought but freet;
It's outher worms, or wind, or water,
Something you know mun be the matter.''
``My little woman, come to me;
Her tongue is very white I see;
Come, wrap her little head up warm,
And give her this,--'twill do no harm;
'Twill give a gentle stool, or so.''
``Is it a purge?'' ``No, Peggy, no;
Only an easy gentle lotion,
To give her once a--day a motion;
For Pothecaries late have found
Diseases rise from being bound,
'Gainst which they've physic in their shop,
And many a drug, and useless slop;
This here will purify your blood,
And this will do your stomach good;
This is for vapours when splenetic,
And here's a cure for the sciatic;
But let her take what I have given,
'Twill help to keep your child from heaven.''
``Lord grant it may! and if it do,
Long as I live I'll pray for you.''

After I've dined, maybe I read,
Or write to favourites 'cross the Tweed;
Then work till tea, then walk again
If it does neither snow nor rain.
If e'er my spirits want a flow,
Up stairs I run to my bureau,
And get your letters--read them over
With all the fondness of a lover;
This never fails to give me pleasure,
For these are Friendship's hoarded treasure,
And never fail to make me gay;
How oft I bless the happy day
Which made us friends and keeps us so,
Though now almost five years ago!
Trust me, my dear, I would not part
With the share, I hope, I've in your heart,
For any thing that wealth could give;
Without a friend, O who would live!
My favourite motto runs--``He's poor
Who has a world and nothing more;
Exchange it for a friend, 'tis gain,
A better thing you then obtain.''

But stop, my journal's nearly done;
Through the whole day 'tis almost run.
I think I'd sipp'd my tea nigh up,
O! yes, I'm sure I drank my cup;
I work till supper, after that
I play or sing, maybe we chat;
At ten we always go to bed,
And thus my life I've calmly led
Since my return;--as Prior says
In some of his satiric lays,
``I eat, and drink, and sleep,--what then?
I eat, and drink, and sleep again;
Thus idly lolls my time away,
And just does nothing all the day!''

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