The Will, "that Bully of the Mind," is next to pay court to Queen Fancy: "Follies wait on him in a Troop behind; / He meets Reception from the Antick Queen, / Who thinks her Majesty's most honour'd, when / Attended by those fine drest Gentlemen"
— Duke, Richard (1658-1711)
How happy are we in this sweet Retreat?
Thus humbly blest, who'd labour to be great?
Who for Preferments at a Court would wait,
Where ev'ry Gudgeon's nibbling at the Bait?
What Fish of Sense would on that Shallow lye,
Amongst the little starving wriggling Fry,
That throng and crowd each other for a Taste
Of the deceitful, painted, poison'd Paste;
When the wide River he behind him sees,
Where he may launch to Liberty and Ease?
No Cares or Business here disturb our Hours,
While underneath these shady, peaceful Bow'rs,
In cool Delight and Innocence we stray,
And midst a thousand Pleasures waste the Day;
Sometimes upon a River's Bank we lye,
Where skimming Swallows o'er the Surface fly,
Just as the Sun, declining with his Beams,
Kisses, and gently warms the gliding Streams;
Amidst whose Current rising Fishes play,
And rowl in wanton Liberty away.
Perhaps, hard by there grows a little Bush,
On which the Linnet, Nightingale and Thrush,
Nightly their solemn Orgyes meeting keep,
And sing their Vespers e'er they go to sleep:
There we two lye, between us may be's spread
Some Books, few understand though many read.
Sometimes we Virgil's Sacred Leaves turn o'er,
Still wond'ring, and still finding Cause for more.
How Juno's Rage did good Æneas vex,
Then how he had Revenge upon her Sex
In Dido's State, whom bravely he enjoy'd,
And quitted her as bravely too when cloy'd;
He knew the fatal Danger of her Charms,
And scorn'd to melt his Virtue in her Arms.
Next Nisus and Euryalus we admire,
Their gentle Friendship, and their Martial Fire
We praise their Valour 'cause yet matcht by none
And love their Friendship, so much like our own.
But when to give our Minds a Feast indeed,
Horace, best known and lov'd by thee, we read,
Who can our Transports, or our Longings tell,
To taste of Pleasures, prais'd by him so well?
With Thoughts of Love, and Wine, by him we're fir'd,
Two Things in sweet Retirement much desir'd:
A generous Bottle and a Lovesome She,
Are th'only Joys in Nature, next to Thee:
To which retiring quietly at Night,
If (as that only can) to add Delight,
When to our little Cottage we repair,
We find a Friend or two, we'd wish for there,
Dear Beverly, kind as parting Lovers Tears
Adderly, honest as the Sword he wears,
Wilson, professing Friendship yet a Friend,
Or Short, beyond what Numbers can commend,
Finch, full of Kindness, gen'rous as his Blood,
Watchful to do, to modest Merit, good;
Who have forsook the vile tumultuous Town,
And for a Taste of Life to us come down;
With eager Arms, how closely then we embrace,
What Joys in ev'ry Heart, and ev'ry Face!
The moderate Table's quickly cover'd o'er
With choicest Meats at least, tho' not with Store:
Of Bottles next succeeds a goodly Train,
Full of what cheers the Heart, and fires the Brain:
Each waited on by a bright Virgin Glass,
Clean, sound and shining like its drinker's Lass:
Then down we sit, while ev'ry Genius tries
T'improve, 'till he deserves his Sacrifice:
No saucy Hour presumes to stint Delight,
We laugh, love, drink, and when that's done 'tis Night:
Well warm'd and pleas'd, as we think fit we part,
Each takes th'obedient Treasure of his Heart,
And leads her willing to his silent Bed,
Where no vexatious Cares come near his Head,
But ev'ry Sense with perfect Pleasure's fed;
'Till in full Joy dissolv'd, each falls asleep
With twining Limbs, that still Love's Posture keep,
At Dawn of Morning to renew Delight,
So quiet craving Love, 'till the next Night:
Then we the drowsie Cells of Sleep forsake,
And to our Books our earliest Visit make;
Or else our Thoughts to their Attendance call,
And there methinks, Fancy sits Queen of all;
While the poor under-Faculties resort,
And to her fickle Majesty make Court;
The Understanding first comes plainly clad,
But usefully; no Ent'rance to be had.
Next comes the Will, that Bully of the Mind,
Follies wait on him in a Troop behind;
He meets Reception from the Antick Queen,
Who thinks her Majesty's most honour'd, when
Attended by those fine drest Gentlemen.
Reason, the honest Counsellor, this knows,
And into Court with res'lute Virtue goes;
Lets Fancy see her loose irregular Sway,
Then how the flattering Follies sneak away!
This Image, when it came, too fiercely shook
My Brain, which its soft Quiet streight forsook;
When waking as I cast my Eyes around,
Nothing but old loath'd Vanities I found;
No Grove, no Freedom, and, what's worse to me,
No Friend; for I have none compar'd with thee.
Soon then my Thoughts with their old Tyrant care
Were seiz'd; which to divert I fram'd this Pray'r:
Gods! Life's your Gift, then season't with such Fate,
That what ye meant a Blessing prove no Weight.
Let me to the remotest Part be whirl'd,
Of this your play-thing made in Haste, the World;
But grant me Quiet, Liberty and Peace,
By Day what's needful, and at Night soft Ease;
The Friend I trust in, and the She I love,
Then fix me; and if e'er I wish Remove,
Make me as great (that's wretched) as ye can,
Set me in Power, the wofull'st State of Man;
To be by Fools mis-led, to Knaves a Prey.
But make Life what I ask, or take't away.
First published in Tonson's Miscellany Poems (1684) [there titled An Epistle to R.D.]: See Miscellany Poems. Containing a New Translation of Virgil's Eclogues, Ovid's Love Elegies, Odes of Horace, and Other Authors; With Several Original Poems by the Most Eminent Hands (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, at the Judges-head in Chancery-Lane near Fleet-street, 1684). <Link to ESTC>
Text from Poems by the Earl of Roscomon. To which is added, An Essay on Poetry, By the Earl of Mulgrave, now Duke of Buckingham. Together with poems By Mr. Richard Duke (London: Printed for J. Tonson, 1717).
Earliest hit in ECCO is Miscellany Poems (London: Tonson, 1702). <Link to ECCO>