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Queeney's first verses
I will write down her1 first Attempt at Verses, & have done; She will be thirteen next September, and then they will be no Rareties; if I had not thought these past Specimens of her Wit tolerable in themselves I would not have inserted them—but Burke would have given a Crown apiece for the Quibbles, and as for the insolent Speeches they are very happy ones let who would have said them. The Verses are a Song from Metastasio.
When the Rivers haughty Wave Breaks from forth its wonted Bed; Scarce th’affrighted Swain can save From the Stream his little Shed.
Though he stop one open Shore Were the Currents swiftly glide, At a hundred Places more Rushes the victorious Tide. ——
These Verses of hers at twelve and a half are better than my own Translation of the Spanish Sonnet in the Novel of the Curious Impertinent2 done at thirteen, as for Example
Since frail Woman’s made of Glass Can my friend be such an Ass To use brittle Ware like Brass? Knowing what may come to pass. Why hazard the Jewel you might defend? Why strive to ruin what none can mend? Why pine with needless Pain? When Generous Jove on Danae pours Resistless Love in Golden show’rs He shall not sigh in vain.
Old Orpheus lost his Wife one Day Where should he seek her but in Hell ! The likeliest Place to find one’s Wife As honest Orpheus knew full well.
Singing he sought her all the Way And could it surpass your Belief, Had he sung on from Morning till Night At the Thoughts of so sweet a Relief.
The Beasts that still crowded around His Voice and Intent to admire; Much wonder’d his Skill he’d employ To fetch his Wife out of the Fire.
Pluto too though he gave him his Wife Thought his Song so uncommonly clever; That in Friendship he dropt him a hint How he surely might lose her forever.
T’was therefore that as they return’d And fancying She stopt on the Road; He turn’d round at this lucky Excuse Miss’d his Wife and continued his Road.
Thrice happy old Orpheus say I For to bury two Wives is not new; But twice to get quit of the same Is a Pleasure experienc’d by few.