XIV
Apollo’s Edict
Mary Barber

Ierne’s now our royal Care:
We lately fix’d our1 Vice-roy there.
How near was she to be undone,
Till pious Love inspir’d her Son!
What cannot our Vice-gerent do,
As Poet, and as Patriot too?
Let his Success our Subjects sway,
Our Inspirations to obey:
Let beaten Paths no more be trac’d;
But study to correct your Taste.

     No Simile shall be begun
With rising, or with setting Sun;
And let the secret Head of Nile
Be ever banish’d from your Isle.

     When wrtetched Lovers live on Air,
In Pity the Chameleon spare:
And when you’d make a Hero grander,
Forget he’s like a Salamander.

     No Son of mine shall dare to say,
Aurora usher’d in the Day.

     You all agree, I make no Doubt,
The Prophet’s Mantle’s quite worn out.

     The Bird of Jove shall toil no more,
To teach the humble Wren to soar.

     Your tragic Heroes shall not rant,
Nor Shepherds use poetic Cant.
Simplicity alone can grace
The Manners of the rural Race.

     When Damon’s Soul shall take its Flight,
(Tho’ Poets have the second Sight)
No Trail of Light shall upwards rise,
Nor a new Star adorn the Skies:
For who can hope to place one there,
So glorious as2 Belinda’s Hair?
Yet, if his Name you eternize,
And must exalt him to the Skies;
Without a Star it may be done—
So Trickell mourn’d his Addison.

     If Anna’s happy Reign you praise,
Say not a Word of Halcyon-Days:
Nor let my Vot’ries shew their Skill,
In apeing Lines from Cooper’s-Hill;
For, know, I cannot bear to hear
The Mimickry of deep, yet clear.

     Whene’er my Viceroy is address’d,
Against the Phoenix I protest.

     When3 Kelly’s Beauties you survey,
Forget they’re like the Milky Way.

     When Poets soar in youthful Strains,
No Phaeton, to hold the Reins.

     CUPID shall ne’er mistake another,
Not ev’n4 Eliza, for his Mother;
Nor shall his Darts at Random fly,
From Magazines in Rochford’s Eye.

     When5 Boyle’s exalted Genius shines,
Distinguish’d in your noblest Lines;
With his own Worth your Patron grace,
And let Mæcenas sleep in Peace.

     When you describe a lovely Girl,
No Coral Lips, or Teeth of Pearl.

     With Women Compounds I am cloy’d,
Which only pleas’d in Biddy Floyd.
For foreign Aid what need they roam,
Whom Fate hath amply bless’d at Home?
Unerring Heav’n, with bounteous Hand,
Has form’d a Model for your Land;
Whom Jove endow’d with ev’ry Grace,
The Glory of the Granard Race;
Now destin’d by the Pow’rs divine,
The Blessing of another Line.
Then, would you paint a matchless Dame,
And raise her to immortal Fame;
Invoke not Cytherea’s Aid,
Nor borrow from the Blue-ey’d Maid,
Nor need you on the Graces call;
Take Qualities from6 Donegal.

From Mary Barber, Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1734), 105-110.

Source: Eighteenth Century Collections Online

 

1.Dr. Swift. (Author’s notes)

2.Rape of the Lock.

3.Mrs. Frances-Arabella Kelly.

4.Mrs. Elizabeth Penifeather.

5.John Earl of Orrery.

6.Countess Dowager Donegal, Daughter to the late Earl of Granard.