Benjamin Tompson poems

Benjamin Tompson(1642 - 1714 / Massachusetts, United States)
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On A Fortification At Boston Begun By Women

- by Benjamin Tompson 28

A Grand attempt some Amazonian Dames
Contrive whereby to glorify their names,
A Ruff for Boston Neck of mud and turfe,
Reaching from side to side from surfe to surfe,
Their nimble hands spin up like Christmas pyes,
Their pastry by degrees on high doth rise.
The wheel at home counts it an holiday,
Since while the Mistris worketh it may play.
A tribe of female hands, but manly hearts
Forsake at home their pasty-crust and tarts
To knead the dirt, the samplers down they hurle,
Their undulating silks they closely furle.
The pick-axe one as a Commandress holds,
While t'other at her awkness gently scolds.
One puffs and sweats, the other mutters why
Cant you promove your work so fast as I?
Some dig, some delve, and others hands do feel
The little waggons weight with single wheel.
And least some fainting fits the weak surprize,
They want no sack nor cakes, they are more wise.
These brave essayes draw forth Male stronger hands
More like to Dawbers then to Martial bands:
These do the work, and sturdy bulwarks raise,
But the beginners well deserve the praise.

Marlburyes Fate

- by Benjamin Tompson 23

When Londons fatal bills were blown abroad
And few but Specters travel'd on the road,
Not towns but men in the black bill enrol'd
Were in Gazetts by Typographers sold:
But our Gazetts without Errataes must
Report the plague of towns reduct to dust:
And feavers formerly to tenants sent
Arrest the timbers of the tenement.
Ere the late ruines of old Groton's cold,
Of Marlbury's peracute disease we're told.
The feet of such who neighbouring dwellings urnd
Unto her ashes, not her doors return'd
And what remaind of tears as yet unspent
Are to its final gasps a tribute lent.
If painter overtrack my pen let him
An olive colour mix these elves to trim:
Of such an hue let many thousand thieves
Be drawn like Scare-crows clad with oaken leaves,
Exhausted of their verdant life and blown
From place to place without an home to own.
Draw Devils like themselves, upon their cheeks
The banks for grease and mud, a place for leeks.
Whose locks Medusaes snakes, do ropes resemble,
And ghostly looks would make Achilles tremble.
Limm them besmear'd with Christian Bloud and oild
With fat out of white humane bodyes boil'd.
Draw them with clubs like maules and full of stains,
Like Vulcans anvilling New-Englands brains.
Let round be gloomy forrests with crag'd rocks
Where like to castles they may hide their flocks,
Till oppertunity their cautious friend
Shall jogge them fiery worship to attend.
Shew them like serpents in an avious path
Seeking to sow the fire-brands of their wrath.
Most like AEneas in his cloak of mist,
Who undiscover'd move where ere they list
Cupid they tell us hath too sorts of darts.
One sharp and one obtuse, one causing wounds,
One piercing deep the other dull rebounds,
But we feel none but such as drill our hearts.
From Indian sheaves which to their shoulders cling,
Upon the word they quickly feel the string.
Let earth be made a screen to hide our woe
From Heavens Monarch and his Ladyes too;
And least our Jealousie think they partake,
For the red stage with clouds a curtain make.
Let dogs be gag'd and every quickning sound
Be charm'd to silence, here and there all round
The town to suffer, from a thousand holes
Let crawle these fiends with brands and fired poles,
Paint here the house and there the barn on fire,
With holocausts ascending in a spire.
Here granaries, yonder the Churches smoak
Which vengeance on the actors doth invoke.
Let Morpheus with his leaden keyes have bound
In feather-beds some, some upon the ground,
That none may burst his drowsie shackles till
The bruitish pagans have obtain'd their will,
And Vulcan files them off then Zeuxis paint
The phrenzy glances of the sinking saint.
Draw there the Pastor for his bible crying,
The souldier for his sword, The Glutton frying
With streams of glory-fat, the thin-jaw'd Miser
Oh had I given this I had been wiser.
Let here the Mother seem a statue turn'd
At the sad object of her bowels burn'd.
Let the unstable weakling in belief
Be mounting Ashurs horses for relief.
Let the half Convert seem suspended twixt
The dens of darkness, and the Planets fixt,
Ready to quit his hold, and yet hold fast
By the great Atlas of the Heavens vast.
Paint Papists mutterring ore their apish beads
Whome the blind follow while the blind man leads.
Let Ataxy be mounted on a throne
Imposing her Commands on every one,
A many-headed monster without eyes
To see the wayes which wont to make men wise.
Give her a thousand tongues with wings and hands
To be ubiquitary in Commands,
But let the concave of her skull appear
Clean washt and empty quite of all but fear,
One she bids flee, another stay, a third
She bids betake him to his rusty sword,
This to his treasure, th'other to his knees,
Some counsels she to fry and some to freeze,
These to the garison, those to the road,
Some to run empty, some to take their load:
Thus while confusion most mens hearts divide
Fire doth their small exchecquer soon decide.
Thus all things seeming ope or secret foes,
An Infant may grow old before a close,
But yet my hopes abide in perfect strength.
New England will be prosperous once at length.

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