Poems & Short Stories: 4,435
Forum Members: 67,986
Forum Posts: 1,216,101
And over 2 million unique readers monthly!
WRITTEN JUNE, 1727, JUST AFTER THE NEWS OF THE DEATH OF GEORGE I,
WHO DIED THE 12TH OF THAT MONTH IN GERMANY 
This poem was written when George II succeeded his father, and bore the following explanatory introduction:
Richmond Lodge is a house with a small park belonging to the crown. It was usually granted by the crown for a lease of years. The Duke of Ormond was the last who had it. After his exile, it was given to the Prince of Wales by the king. The prince and princess usually passed their summer there. It is within a mile of Richmond.
"Marble Hill is a house built by Mrs. Howard, then of the bedchamber, now Countess of Suffolk, and groom of the stole to the queen. It is on the Middlesex side, near Twickenham, where Pope lives, and about two miles from Richmond Lodge. Pope was the contriver of the gardens, Lord Herbert the architect, the Dean of St. Patrick's chief butler, and keeper of the ice-house. Upon King George's death, these two houses met, and had the above dialogue."--Dublin Edition, 1734.
In spight of Pope, in spight of Gay, And all that he or they can say; Sing on I must, and sing I will, Of Richmond Lodge and Marble Hill.
Last Friday night, as neighbours use, This couple met to talk of news: For, by old proverbs, it appears, That walls have tongues, and hedges ears.
Quoth Marble Hill, right well I ween, Your mistress now is grown a queen; You'll find it soon by woful proof, She'll come no more beneath your roof.
The kingly prophet well evinces, That we should put no trust in princes: My royal master promised me To raise me to a high degree: But now he's grown a king, God wot, I fear I shall be soon forgot. You see, when folks have got their ends, How quickly they neglect their friends; Yet I may say, 'twixt me and you, Pray God, they now may find as true!
My house was built but for a show, My lady's empty pockets know; And now she will not have a shilling, To raise the stairs, or build the ceiling; For all the courtly madams round Now pay four shillings in the pound; 'Tis come to what I always thought: My dame is hardly worth a groat. Had you and I been courtiers born, We should not thus have lain forlorn; For those we dext'rous courtiers call, Can rise upon their masters' fall: But we, unlucky and unwise, Must fall because our masters rise.
My master, scarce a fortnight since, Was grown as wealthy as a prince; But now it will be no such thing, For he'll be poor as any king; And by his crown will nothing get, But like a king to run in debt.
No more the Dean, that grave divine, Shall keep the key of my (no) wine; My ice-house rob, as heretofore, And steal my artichokes no more; Poor Patty Blount no more be seen Bedraggled in my walks so green: Plump Johnny Gay will now elope; And here no more will dangle Pope.
Here wont the Dean, when he's to seek, To spunge a breakfast once a-week; To cry the bread was stale, and mutter Complaints against the royal butter. But now I fear it will be said, No butter sticks upon his bread. We soon shall find him full of spleen, For want of tattling to the queen; Stunning her royal ears with talking; His reverence and her highness walking: While Lady Charlotte, like a stroller, Sits mounted on the garden-roller. A goodly sight to see her ride, With ancient Mirmont at her side. In velvet cap his head lies warm, His hat, for show, beneath his arm.
Some South-Sea broker from the city Will purchase me, the more's the pity; Lay all my fine plantations waste, To fit them to his vulgar taste: Chang'd for the worse in ev'ry part, My master Pope will break his heart.
In my own Thames may I be drownded, If e'er I stoop beneath a crown'd head: Except her majesty prevails To place me with the Prince of Wales; And then I shall be free from fears, For he'll be prince these fifty years. I then will turn a courtier too, And serve the times as others do. Plain loyalty, not built on hope, I leave to your contriver, Pope; None loves his king and country better, Yet none was ever less their debtor.
Then let him come and take a nap In summer on my verdant lap; Prefer our villas, where the Thames is, To Kensington, or hot St. James's; Nor shall I dull in silence sit; For 'tis to me he owes his wit; My groves, my echoes, and my birds, Have taught him his poetic words. We gardens, and you wildernesses, Assist all poets in distresses. Him twice a-week I here expect, To rattle Moody for neglect; An idle rogue, who spends his quartridge In tippling at the Dog and Partridge; And I can hardly get him down Three times a-week to brush my gown.
I pity you, dear Marble Hill; But hope to see you flourish still. All happiness--and so adieu.
Kind Richmond Lodge, the same to you.
[Footnote 1: The King left England on the 3rd June, 1727, and after supping heartily and sleeping at the Count de Twellet's house near Delden on the 9th, he continued his journey to Osnabruck, where he arrived at the house of his brother, the Duke of York, on the night of the 11th, wholly paralyzed, and died calmly the next morning, in the very same room where he was born.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 2: Swift was probably not aware how nearly he described the narrowed situation of Mrs. Howard's finances. Lord Orford, in a letter to Lord Strafford, 29th July, 1767, written shortly after her death, described her affairs as so far from being easy, that the utmost economy could by no means prevent her exceeding her income considerably; and states in his Reminiscences, that, besides Marble Hill, which cost the King ten or twelve thousand pounds, she did not leave above twenty thousand pounds to her family.--See "Lord Orford's Works," vol. iv, p. 304; v, p. 456.--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 3: Who was "often in Swift's thoughts," and "high in his esteem"; and to whom Pope dedicated his second "Moral Epistle."--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 4: This also proved a prophecy more true than the Dean suspected.]
[Footnote 5: Lady Charlotte de Roussy, a French lady.--Dublin Edition.]
[Footnote 6: Marquis de Mirmont, a Frenchman, who had come to England after the Edict of Nantes (by which Henri IV had secured freedom of religion to Protestants) had been revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. See Voltaire, "Siecle de Louis XIV."--W. E. B.]
[Footnote 7: The gardener.]
|Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily|
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets! Join our Sonnet-A-Day Newsletter and read them all, one at a time.