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Since I was here before
'Tis six-and-thirty years at least,
And you are now fourscore.
So much the worse, the clown rejoined,
To spare the aged would be kind;
However, see your search be legal
And your authority, — Is’t regal ?
Else you are come on a fool's errand,
With but a secretary's warrant.
Besides, you promised me three warnings,
Which I have looked for nights and mornings ;
But for that loss of time and ease
I can recover damages.
I know, cries Death, that at the best,
I seldom am a welcome guest;
But don't be captious, friend, at least;
I little thought you 'd still be able
To stump about your farm and stable ;
Your years have run to a great length,
I wish you joy though of your strength.
Hold, says the farmer, not so fast,
I have been lame these four years. past.
And no great wonder, Death replies;
However, you still keep your eyes,
And sure to see one's loves and friends,
For legs and arms would make amends.
Perhaps, says Dobson, so it might,
But, latterly, I've lost my sight.
This is a shocking story, faith,
Yet there's some comfort still, says Death ;
Each strives your sadness to amuse,
I warrant you have all the news.
There's none, cries he, and if there were,
I'm grown so deaf, I could not hear.
Nay then, the spectre stern rejoined,
These are unjustifiable yearnings ;
If you are lame and deaf and blind,
You've had your three sufficient warnings.
So come along, no more we'll part:
He said, and touched him with his dart;
And now old Dobson, turning pale,
Yields to his fate, — so ends my tale.


Duty and Pleasure — long at strife,
Crossed in the common walks of life;
Pray, don't disturb me, get you gone,
Cries Duty in a serious tone:
Then with a smile, — keep off, my dear,
Nor force me thus to be severe.
Lord, Sir, she cries, you 're grown so grave
You make yourself a perfect slave;
I can't think why we disagree,
You may turn Methodist for me.
But if you'll neither laugh nor play,
At least don't stop me on my way;
Yet sure one moment you might steal
To see our lovely Miss O'Neill ;
One hour to relaxation give,
0, lend one hour from life — to live.
And here's a bird and there's a flower,
Dear Duty, walk a little slower.
My youthful task is not half done,
Cries Duty, with an inward groan ;
False colors on each object spread,
I scarce see whence or where I'm led;
Your bragged enjoyments mount the wind,
And leave their venomed stings behind.
Where are you flown ? Voices around
Cry — Pleasure long has left this ground:
Old age advances — haste away ;
Nor lose the light of parting day.
See sickness follows, sorrow threats :
Waste no more time in vain regrets.
One moment more to Duty given,
Might reach perhaps the gates of heaven,
Where only — each with each delighted -
Duty and Pleasure live united.


MADAME D'ARBLAY's description of the Streatham Portraits will be the best preface to the following verses on them: “Mrs. Thrale and her eldest daughter were in one piece, over the fireplace (of the library), at full length. The rest of the pictures were all three-quarters. Mr. Thrale was over the door leading to his study. The general collection then began by Lord Sandys and Lord Westcote (Lyttelton), two early noble friends of Mr. Thrale. Then followed Dr. Johnson, Mr. Burke, Dr. Goldsmith, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Garrick, Mr. Baretti, Sir. Robert Chambers, and Sir Joshua Reynolds himself, — all painted in the highest style of this great master, who much delighted in this his Streatham gallery. There was place left but for one more frame when the acquaintance with Dr. Burney began at Streatham.”

The whole of them were sold by auction in the spring of 1816. According to Mrs. Piozzi's marked catalogue, they fetched respectively the following prices, which appear to vary according to the celebrity of the subjects, and to make small account of the pictures considered as works of art : “ Lord Sandys, £ 36 15s. (Lady Downshire); Lord Lyttelton, £ 43 1s. (Mr. Lyttelton, his son); Mrs. Piozzi and her daughter, £ 81 18s. (S. Boddington, Esq., a rich merchant); Goldsmith (duplicate of the original), £133 7s. (Duke of Bedford); Sir J. Reynolds, £ 128 2s. (R. Sharp, Esq., M.P.) ; Sir R. Chambers, £84 (Lady Chambers, his widow); David Garrick, £ 183 15s. (Dr. Charles Burney); Baretti, £ 31 10s. (Stewart, Esq., I know not who); Dr. Burney, £84 (Dr. C. Burney, his son); Edmund Burke, £252 (R. Sharp, Esq., M.P.); Dr. Johnson, £ 378 (Watson Taylor, Esq.), by whom for Mr. Murphy was offered £ 102 18s., but I bought it in.” In 1780 Reynolds raised the price of his portraits (three-quarter size) from thirty-five to fifty guineas, which, Mrs. Piozzi complains, made the Streatham portraits in many instances cost more than they fetched, as she had to pay for them after Mr.

Thrale's death at the increased price. Her own prefatory remarks are:

“ With the dismal years 1772 and 1773 ended much of my misery, no doubt. The recollection of the sweet and saintlike manner in which my incomparable mother meekly laid down her temporal existence, sweetened the loss of her who I shall see no more in this world, and whose situation in the next will probably be too high for my most fervent aspirations. The loss of our dear boy fell so heavy on my husband, that it became my duty to endure it courageously, and shake away as much of the weight as it was possible. Among other efforts to amuse myself and my eldest daughter, — now my daily companion, and a charming one, but never partial to a mother who sought in vain to obtain her friendship, — was a fancy I took of writing little paltry verse characters of the gentlemen who sat for their portraits in the library, and of whose sittings I was cruelly impatient. No wonder! when such calamity was hanging over our heads as is mentioned in the last volume. Let that reflection make you hesitate in censuring the satirical vein which perhaps does run through them all : –

LORD SANDYS appears first, at the head of the tribe,
But flat insipidity who can describe ?
When such parents and wife as might check even Pindar,
Form family compacts his progress to hinder:
Their oppression for forty long years he endured,
The nobleman sunk, and the scholar obscured;
Till rank, reason, virtue, endeav’ring in vain
To fling off their burden, and break off their chain,
Can at last but regret, not resist, his hard fate,
Like Enceladus, crushed by the mountainous weight.


Next him on the right hand, see Lyttelton hang;
Polite in behavior, prolix in harangue.
With power well matured, with science well bred,
He had studied, had travelled, had reasoned, had read.
Yet the mind, as the body, was wanting in strength,
For in Lyttelton everything run into length ;

Of his long wheaten straw that the farmer complains, Where the chaff is still found to outnumber the grains.

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In these features * so placid, so cool, so serene,
What trace of the wit or the Welshwoman 's seen ?
What trace of the tender, the rough, the refined,

The soul in which such contrarieties joined !
Where, though merriment loves over method to rule,
Religion resides, and the virtues keep school :
Till when tired we condemn her dogmatical air,
Like a rocket she rises, and leaves us to stare.
To such contradictions d’ye wish for a clue?
Keep vanity still, that vile passion, in view,
For 't is thus the slow miner his fortune to make,
Of arsenic thin scattered pursues the pale track,
Secure where that poison pollutes the rich ground,
That it points to the place where some silver is found.


Of a virgin so tender,f the face or the fame
Alike would be injured by praise or by blame;
To the world's fiery trial too early consigned,
She soon shall experience it, cruel or kind.
His concern thus the artful enameller hides,
And his well-finished work to the furnace confides;
But jocúnd resumes it secure from decay,
If the colors stand firm on the dangerous day.

* She complained in prose as well as in verse of the want of likeness in her own portrait. Northcote, in his Life of Reynolds, observed of Sir Joshua's pictures in general, that “they possess a degree of merit superior to mere portraits; they assume the rank of history. His portraits of men are distinguished by a certain air of dignity, and those of wornen and children by a grace, a beauty, and simplicity which have seldom been equalled and never surpassed. In his attempts to give character where it did not exist, he has sometimes lost likeness, but the deficiencies of the portrait were often compensated by the beauty of the picture.” Mrs. Piozzi remarks on this passage: " True, in my portrait above all, there is really no resemblance, and the character is less like my father's daughter than Pharaoh's.” Speaking of Sir Joshua's picture of Lady Sarah Bunbury “sacrificing to the Graces," Mrs. Piozzi says: “Lady Sarah never did sacrifice to the Graces. Her beauty was in her face, which had few equals; but she was a cricket player, and ate beefsteaks upon the Steyne at Brighthelmstone."

† Her eldest daughter, then a child.

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