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Man the Monarch

Mary Leapor 1722 (Northamptonshire) – 1746 (Brackley)



Amaz'd we read of Nature's early Throes
How the fair Heav'ns and pond'rous Earth arose:
How blooming Trees unplanted first began;
And Beasts submissive to their Tyrant, Man:
To Man, invested with despotic Sway,
While his mute Brethren tremble and obey;
Till Heav'n beheld him insolently vain,
And checked the Limits of his haughty Reign.
Then from their Lord, the rude Deserters fly,
And, grinning back, his fruitless Rage defy;
Pards, Tygers, Wolves, to gloomy Shades retire,
And Mountain-Goats in purer Gales respire.
To humble Valleys, where soft Flowers blow,
And fatt'ning Streams in crystal Mazes flow,
Full of new Life, the untam'd Coursers run,
And roll, and wanton, in the chearful Sun;
Round their gay Hearts the dancing Spirits rise,
And Rouse the Lightnings in their rolling Eyes:
To cragged Rocks destructive Serpents glide,
Whose mossy Crannies hide their speckled Pride;
And monstrous Whales on foamy Billows ride.
Then joyful Birds ascend their native Sky:
But where! ah! where, shall helpless Woman fly?

Here smiling Nature brought her choicest Stores,
And roseat Beauty on her Fav'rite pours:
Pleas'd with her Labour, the officious Dame
With-held no Grace would deck the rising Frame.
Then view'd her Work, and view'd, and smil'd again,
And kindly whisper'd, Daughter, live, and reign.
But now the Matron mounrs her latest Care,
And sees the Sorrows of her darling Fair;
Beholds a Wretch, whom she design'd a Queen,
And weeps that e'er she form'd the weak Machine,
In vain she boasts her Lip of scarlet Dyes,
Cheeks like the Morning, and far-beaming Eyes;
Her Neck refulgent--fair and feeble Arms,
A Set of useless and neglected Charms.
She suffers Hardship with afflictive Moans:
Small Tasks of Labour suit her slender Bones.
Beneath a Load her weary Shoulders yield,
Nor can her Fingers grasp teh sounding Shield;
She sees and trembles as approaching Harms,
And Fear and Grief destroy her fading Charms.
Then her pale Lips no pearly Teeth disclose,
And Time's rude Sickle cuts the yielding Rose.
Thus wretched Woman's short-liv'd Merit dies;
In vain to Wisdom's sacred Help she flies;
Or sparkling Wit but lends a feeble Aid:
'Tis all Delirium from a wrinkled Maid.

A tattling Dame, no matter where, or who;
Me it concerns not--and it need not you;
Once told this Story to the listening Muse,
Which we, as now it serves our Turn, shall use.

When our Grandsire+ nam'd the feather'd Kind,
Pond'ring their Natures in his careful Mind,
'Twas then, if on our Author we rely,
He view'd his Consort with an envious Eye;
Greedy of Pow'r, he hugg'd he tott'ring Throne;
And, better to secure his doubtful Rule,
Roll'd his wise Eye-balls, and pronounc'd her Fool.
The regal Blood to distant Ages runs:
Sires, Brothers, Husbands, and commanding Sons,
The Sceptre claim; and ev'ry Cottage brings
A long Succession of Domestic Kings.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:31 min read
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Mary Leapor

Mary Leapor was an English poet, born in Marston St. Lawrence, Northamptonshire, the only child of Anne Sharman and Philip Leapor, a gardener. She is notable for being one of the most critically well-received of the numerous labouring-class writers of the period. more…

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    "Man the Monarch" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 29 May 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/26921/man-the-monarch>.

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