Not a member?     Existing members login below:

The History of Tom Jones

Book XIII.
Containing The Space Of Twelve Days.
Chapter 1.
An Invocation.
Come, bright love of fame, inspire my glowing breast: not thee I will call, who,
over swelling tides of blood and tears, dost bear the heroe on to glory, while
sighs of millions waft his spreading sails; but thee, fair, gentle maid, whom
Mnesis, happy nymph, first on the banks of Hebrus did produce. Thee, whom
Maeonia educated, whom Mantua charmed, and who, on that fair hill which
overlooks the proud metropolis of Britain, sat'st, with thy Milton, sweetly tuning
the heroic lyre; fill my ravished fancy with the hopes of charming ages yet to
come. Foretel me that some tender maid, whose grandmother is yet unborn,
hereafter, when, under the fictitious name of Sophia, she reads the real worth
which once existed in my Charlotte, shall from her sympathetic breast send forth
the heaving sigh. Do thou teach me not only to foresee, but to enjoy, nay, even to
feed on future praise. Comfort me by a solemn assurance, that when the little
parlour in which I sit at this instant shall be reduced to a worse furnished box, I
shall be read with honour by those who never knew nor saw me, and whom I
shall neither know nor see.
And thou, much plumper dame, whom no airy forms nor phantoms of imagination
cloathe; whom the well-seasoned beef, and pudding richly stained with plums,
delight: thee I call: of whom in a treckschuyte, in some Dutch canal, the fat ufrow
gelt, impregnated by a jolly merchant of Amsterdam, was delivered: in Grub-
street school didst thou suck in the elements of thy erudition. Here hast thou, in
thy maturer age, taught poetry to tickle not the fancy, but the pride of the patron.
Comedy from thee learns a grave and solemn air; while tragedy storms aloud,
and rends th' affrighted theatres with its thunders. To soothe thy wearied limbs in
slumber, Alderman History tells his tedious tale; and, again, to awaken thee,
Monsieur Romance performs his surprizing tricks of dexterity. Nor less thy well-
fed bookseller obeys thy influence. By thy advice the heavy, unread, folio lump,
which long had dozed on the dusty shelf, piecemealed into numbers, runs nimbly
through the nation. Instructed by thee, some books, like quacks, impose on the
world by promising wonders; while others turn beaus, and trust all their merits to
a gilded outside. Come, thou jolly substance, with thy shining face, keep back thy
inspiration, but hold forth thy tempting rewards; thy shining, chinking heap; thy
quickly convertible bank-bill, big with unseen riches; thy often-varying stock; the
warm, the comfortable house; and, lastly, a fair portion of that bounteous mother,
whose flowing breasts yield redundant sustenance for all her numerous offspring,
did not some too greedily and wantonly drive their brethren from the teat. Come
thou, and if I am too tasteless of thy valuable treasures, warm my heart with the
transporting thought of conveying them to others. Tell me, that through thy
bounty, the pratling babes, whose innocent play hath often been interrupted by
my labours, may one time be amply rewarded for them.
 
Remove