The Portrait
Elizabeth Tollet

Votiva pateat veluti descripta tabella
Vita -------  --------  --------  ---------- Hor.

On what wou’d I my Wishes fix?
‘Tis not upon a Coach and Six:
‘Tis not your rich Brocades to wear;
‘Tis not on Brilliants in my Ear.
‘Tis not to hurry up and down
To Tunbridge, Epsom, Kensington;
Much less to rub my wakeful Eyes
At Basset, till the Sun shou’d rise:
Had I a Foe I meant to curse,
Nay, Rival, I’d not wish her worse.
For once, to tell you what’s the Lot
I like, I’ve told you what ‘tis not;
A lazy Life I first wou’d choose,
A lazy Life best suits the Muse:
A few choice Books of ev’ry Sort;
But none that meddle with the Court.
Small Thoughts for Cloaths; ‘tis all a Case:
They’ll neither mend nor spoil my Face.
Money! Enough to serve my Ends:
An Hackney to go see my Friends;
That I may laugh if Fops pass by,
And they not know my Livery.
Friends that in any Dress would come;
To whom I’d always be at home:
My Table still shou’d cover’d be,
On this Side Books, on that Bohea;
While we sip on, and ne’er debate
Matters of Scandal, or of State.
For Horace tells us, as you know,
‘Tis sweet to fool it a propos.

                Dulce est desipere in loco.     Hor.


From Elizabeth Tollet, Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1755), 33-34.

Source: Eighteenth Century Collections Online