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Address Spoken by Miss Fontenelle on her Benefit Night, December 4th, 1793 Analysis



Author: Poetry of Robert Burns Type: Poetry Views: 170

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Still anxious to secure your partial favour,

And not less anxious, sure, this night, than ever,

A Prologue, Epilogue, or some such matter,

'Twould vamp my bill, said I, if nothing better;

So sought a poet, roosted near the skies,

Told him I came to feast my curious eyes;

Said, nothing like his works was ever printed;

And last, my prologue-business slily hinted.

"Ma'am, let me tell you," quoth my man of rhymes,

"I know your bent-these are no laughing times:

Can you-but, Miss, I own I have my fears-

Dissolve in pause, and sentimental tears;

With laden sighs, and solemn-rounded sentence,

Rouse from his sluggish slumbers, fell Repentance;

Paint Vengeance as he takes his horrid stand,

Waving on high the desolating brand,

Calling the storms to bear him o'er a guilty land?"



I could no more-askance the creature eyeing,

"D'ye think," said I, "this face was made for crying?

I'll laugh, that's poz-nay more, the world shall know it;

And so, your servant! gloomy Master Poet!"



Firm as my creed, Sirs, 'tis my fix'd belief,

That Misery's another word for Grief:

I also think-so may I be a bride!

That so much laughter, so much life enjoy'd.



Thou man of crazy care and ceaseless sigh,

Still under bleak Misfortune's blasting eye;

Doom'd to that sorest task of man alive-

To make three guineas do the work of five:

Laugh in Misfortune's face-the beldam witch!

Say, you'll be merry, tho' you can't be rich.



Thou other man of care, the wretch in love,

Who long with jiltish airs and arts hast strove;

Who, as the boughs all temptingly project,

Measur'st in desperate thought-a rope-thy neck-

Or, where the beetling cliff o'erhangs the deep,

Peerest to meditate the healing leap:

Would'st thou be cur'd, thou silly, moping elf?

Laugh at her follies-laugh e'en at thyself:

Learn to despise those frowns now so terrific,

And love a kinder-that's your grand specific.



To sum up all, be merry, I advise;

And as we're merry, may we still be wise.





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