Death And Daphne
To An Agreeable Young Lady, But Extremely Lean ( April, 1730)

DEATH went upon a solemn Day,
At Pluto's Hall, his Court to pay:
The Phantom, having humbly kiss't
His griesly Monarch's sooty Fist,
Presented him the weekly Bills
Of Doctors, Fevers, Plagues, and Pills.
Pluto observing, since the Peace,
The Burial Article decrease;
And, vext to see Affairs miscarry,
Declar'd in Council, Death must marry:
Vow'd, he no longer could support
Old Batchelors about his Court:
The Int'rest of his Realm had need
That Death should get a num'rous Breed;
Young Deathlings, who, by Practice made
Proficient in their Father's Trade,
With Colonies might stock around
His large Dominions under Ground.

A CONSULT of Coquets below
Was call'd, to rig him out a Beau:
From her own Head, Megwra takes
A Perriwig of twisted Snakes;
Which in the nicest Fashion curl'd,
Like Toupets of this upper World;
(With Flow'r of Sulphur powder'd well,
That graceful on his Shoulders fell)

An Adder of the sable Kind,
In Line direct, hung down behind.
The Owl, the Raven, and the Bat,
Club'd for a Feather to his Hat;
His Coat, an Us'rer's Velvet Pall,
Bequeathed to Pluto, Corps and all.
But, loth his Person to expose
Bare, like a Carcase pick't by Crows,
A Lawyer o'er his Hands and Face,
Stuck artfully a Parchment Case.
No new-flux't Rake shew'd fairer Skin;
Not Phyllis after lying-in.
With Snuff was fill'd his Ebon Box,
Of Shin-Bones rotted by the Pox.
Nine Spirits of blaspheming Fops,
With Aconite anoint his Chops:
And give him Words of dreadful Sounds,
G— d—n his Blood, and Bl— and W—ds.

THUS furnish't out, he sent his Train
To take a House in Warwick Lane:
The Faculty, his humble Friends,
A complimental Message sends:
Their President, in Scarlet Gown,
Harangu'd, and welcom'd him to Town.

BUT, Death had Bus'ness to dispatch:
His Mind was running on his Match.
And, hearing much of Daphne's Fame,
His Majesty of Terrors came,
Fine as a Col'nel of the Guards,
To visit where she sat at Cards:
She, as he came into the Room,
Thought him Adonis in his Bloom.
And now her Heart with Pleasure jumps,
She scarce remembers what is Trumps.
For, such a Shape of Skin and Bone
Was never seen, except her own:
Charm'd with his Eyes and Chin and Snout,
Her Pocket-Glass drew slily out;
And, grew enamour'd with her Phiz,
As just the Counterpart of his.
She darted many a private Glance,
And freely made the first Advance:
Was of her Beauty grown so vain,
She doubted not to win the Swain.
Nothing she thought could sooner gain him,
Than with her Wit to entertain him.
She ask't about her Friends below;
This meagre Fop, that batter'd Beau:
Whether some late departed Toasts
Had got Gallants among the Ghosts?

If Chloe were a Sharper still,
As great as ever, at Quadrille?
(The Ladies there must needs be Rooks,
For, Cards we know, are Pluto's Books)
If Florimel had found her Love
For whom she hang'd herself above?
How oft a Week was kept a Ball
By Proserpine, at Pluto's Hall?
She fancy'd, those Elysian Shades
The sweetest Place for Masquerades:
How pleasant on the Banks of Styx,
To troll it in a Coach and Six!

WHAT Pride a Female Heart enflames!
How endless are Ambition's Aims!
Cease haughty Nymph; the Fates decree
Death must not be a Spouse for thee:
For, when by chance the meagre Shade
Upon thy Hand his Finger laid;
Thy Hand as dry and cold as Lead,
His matrimonial Spirit fled;
He felt about his Heart a Damp,
That quite extinguish't Cupid's Lamp:
Away the frighted Spectre scuds,
And leaves my Lady in the Suds.

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