By the side of a glimmering fire,
by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Melinda sat pensively down,
Impatient of rural esquire,
And vex'd to be absent from Town.
The cricket, from under the grate,
With a chirp to her sighs did reply,
And the kitten, as grave as a cat,
Sat mournfully purring hard by.
"Alas! silly maid that I was!"
Thus sadly complaining, she cried;
"When first I forsook that dear place,
'T were better by far I had died!
How gaily I pass'd the long day,
In a round of continu'd delight;
Park, visits, assemblies, and play,
And quadrille to enliven the night.
"How simple was I to believe
Delusive poetical dreams!
The flattering landskips they give
Of groves, meads, and murmuring streams.
Bleak mountains, and wild staring rocks,
Are the wretched result of my pains;
The swains greater brutes than their flocks,
And the nymphs as polite as the swains.
"What though I have skill to ensnare,
Where Smarts in bright circles abound;
What though at St. James's at prayers,
Beaux ogle devoutly around:
Fond virgin, thy power is lost,
On a race of rude Hottentot brutes;
What glory in being the toast
Of noisy dull 'squires in boots?
"And thou, my companion, so dear,
My all that is left of relief,
Whatever I suffer, forbear --
Forbear to dissuade me from grief:
'Tis in vain then, you'll say to repine
At ills which cannot be redress'd,
But in sorrows so pungent as mine,
To be patient, alas! is a test.
"If, further to soothe my distress,
Thy tender compassion is led,
Call Jenny to help me undress,
And decently put me to bed.
The last humble solace I wait,
Would Heaven indulge me the boon,
Some dream less unkind than my fate,
In a vision transport me to Town.
"Clarissa, meantime, weds a beau,
Who decks her in golden array;
The finest at every fine show,
And flaunts it at Park and at Play;
Whilst here we are left in the lurch,
Forgot and secluded from view;
Unless when some bumpkin at church
Stares wistfully over the pew."