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Some fold the sleeve, while others plait the gown; Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
Dipp'd in the richest tinctures of the skies,
Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
Where every beam new transient colours flings,
Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings Not with more glories, in the ethereal plain, Amid the circle on the gilded mast The gun first rises o'er the purpled main,
Superior by the head, was Ariel placed ; Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams His purple pinions opening to the sun, Launch'd on the bosom of the silver'd Thames. He raised his azure wand, and thus began: Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her shone, 'Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear. But every eye was fix'd on her alone.
Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Demons, hear; On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore, Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assign'd Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore. By laws eternal to the aërial kind. Her lifely looks a sprightly mind disclose, Some in the fields of purest ether play, Quek as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those : And bask and whiten in the blaze of day; Favours to none, to all she smiles extends; Some guide the course of wandering orbs on high, Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky; Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, Some, less refined, beneath the moon's pale light And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Others on earth, o'er human race preside, Noarish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide: In equal curls, and well conspired to deck
Of these the chief the care of nations own, With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck. And guard with arms divine the British throne. Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
“Our humbler province is to tend the fair, And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care ; With hairy springes we the birds betray;
To save the powder from too rude a gale, Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey; Nor let the imprison'd essences exhale; Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare,
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers ; And beauty draws us with a single bair.
To steal from rainbows, 'ere they drop in showers, The adventurous baron the bright locks admired; A brighter wash ; to curl their waving hairs, He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspired. Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs : Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way,
Nay, oft in dreams, invention we bestow, By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;
To change a flounce or add a furbelow. For when success a lover's toil attends,
*This day, black omens threat the brightest fair Few ask if fraud or force attain'd his ends. That e'er deserved a watchful spirit's care :
For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implored Some dire disaster, or by force, or slight;
Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade ;
But now secure the painted vessel glides, Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favourite lock;
“To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note, And soften'd sounds along the water die;
We trust the important charge, the petticoat : Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Oft have we known that sevenfold fence to fail, Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay ; Though stiff' with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of whale. Al but the Sylph: with careful thoughts oppress'd, Form a strong line about the silver bound, The impending woe sat heavy on his breast : And guard the wide circumference around. He sarmons straight his denizens of air ;
• Whatever spirit, careless of his charge, The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large, Sot s'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe, Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins; That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins; Some to the sun their insect wings unfold, Or plunged in lakes of bitter washes lie, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold; Or wedged whole ages in a bodkin's eye; Transparent forms too fine for mortal sight, Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain, Tieir fluid bodies half dissolved in light.
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain;
Or alum styptics, with contracting power,
As many more Manillio forced to yield, Shrink his thin essence like a shrivel'd flower : And march'd a victor from the verdant field. Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard, The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
Gain'd but one trump, and one plebeian card. In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
With his broad sabre next, a chief in years, And tremble at the sea that froths below!' The hoary majesty of Spades appears,
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend; Puts forth one inanly leg, to sight reveal'd, Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend ; The rest his many-colour'd robe conceal’d. Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair;
The rebel knave, who dares his prince engage, Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
Proves the just victim of his royal rage.
And mow'd down armies in the fights of Loo,
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield ;
Now to the baron Fate inclines the field,
The Club's black tyrant first her victim died, Which from the neighbouring Hampton takes its Spite of his haughty mien, and barbarous pride: name ;
What boots the regal circle on his head, Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom His giant limbs in state unwieldy spread; Of foreign tyrants, and of nymphs at home; That long behind he trails his
pompous robe, Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey, And, of all monarchs only grasps the globe ? Dost sometimes counsel take--and sometimes tea.
The baron now his Diamonds pours apace; Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort, The embroider'd king who shows but half his face, To taste awhile the pleasures of a court ;
And his refulgent queen with powers combined, In various talk the instructive hours they passid, Of broken troops an easy conquest find. Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen, One speaks the glory of a British queen,
With throngs promiscuous strew the level green. And one describes a charining Indian screen; Thus when dispersed a routed army runs, A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes ;
Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons, At every word a reputation dies.
With like confusion different nations fly, Spuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat, Of various habit, and of various dye. With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that. The pierced battalions disunited fall,
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day, In heaps on heaps; one fate o'erwhelms them all. The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray:
The knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,
And wins (oh shameful chance!) the queen of Hearts And wretches hang that jurymen may dine; At this, the blood the virgin's cheek forsook, The merchant from the Exchange returns in peace, A livid paleness spreads o'er all her look; And the long labours of the toilet cease.
She sees, and trembles at the approaching ill,
Just in the jaws of ruin and Codille.
On one nice trick depends the general fate,
Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn'd his captive queen: Each band the number of the sacred nine.
He springs to vengeance with an eager pace, Soon as she spreads her hand, the aërial guard
And falls like thunder on the prostrate ace. Descend, and sit on each important card :
The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky; First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore,
The walls, the woods, and long canals reply.
O thoughtless mortals ! ever blind to fate;
And cursed for ever this victorious day.
For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown'd, And four fair queens, whose hands sustain a flower, The berries crackle, and the mill turns round: The expressive emblem of their softer power; On shining altars of Japan they raise Four knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band : The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze: Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand; From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide, And party-colour'd troops, a shining train,
While China's earth receives the smoking tide ;
The skilful nymph reviews her force with care: And frequent cups prolong the rich repast.
Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming liquor fann'd;
Some o'er her lap their carefui plumes display'd, n show like leaders of the swarthy Moors. Trembling and conscious of the rich brocade. Spadillo first, unconquerable lord,
Coffee (which makes the politician wise, Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board. And see through all things with his half-shut eyes)
Sent up in vapours to the baron's brain
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss,
Not ancient ladies when refused a kiss,
E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair,
As thou, sad virgin! for thy ravish'd hair.
And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew,
Down to the central earth, his proper scene, Present the spear, and arm him for the fight. Repair'd to search the gloomy cave of Spleen. He takes the gift with reverence, and extends
Swift on his sooty pinjons flits the Gnome, The little engine on his fingers' ends;
And in a vapour reach'd the dismal dome. This just behind Belinda's neck he spread, No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows, As o'er the fragrant steams she bent her head. The dreadful east is all the wind that blows. Swift to the lock a thousand sprites repair, Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air, A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair! And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare, And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear; She sighs for ever on her pensive bed, Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew near. Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head. Jost in that instant, anxious Ariel sought
Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place, The close recesses of the virgin's thought; But differing far in figure and in face. As on the nosegay in her breast reclined,
Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid, He watch'd the ideas rising in her mind,
Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd; Sedden he view'd in spite of all her art,
With store of prayers, for mornings, nights, and noons, An earthly lover lurking at her heart.
Her hand is fill'd: her bosom with lampoons. Amazed, confused, he found his power expired, There Atfectation, with a sickly mien, Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retired.
Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen, The peer now spreads the glittering forfex wide, Practised to lisp, and hang the head aside, To enclose the lock; now joins it, to divide. Fants into airs, and languishes with pride, Een then, before the fatal engine closed,
On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe, A wretched Sylph too fondly interposed ;
Wrapp'd in a gown, for sickness and for show Fate urged the shears, and cut the Sylph in twain; The fair ones feel such maladies as these, (Burt airy substance soon unites again ;)
When each new night-dress gives a new disease. The meeting points the sacred hair dissever,
A constant vapour o'er the palace flies; From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!
Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise ; Then flash'd the livid lightning from her eyes, Dreadful, as hermits' dreams in haunted shades, And streams of horror rend the affrighted skies. Or bright, as visions of expiring maids; Not louder shrieks to pitying Heaven are cast, Now glaring fiends, and snakes on rolling spires, When husbands, or when lap-dogs, breathe their last! Pale spectres, gaping tombs, and purple fires : 0; when rich china vessels, fallen from high, Now lakes of liquid gold, Elysian scenes, la glittenog dust, and painted fragments lie. And crystal domes, and angels in machines.
Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine! Unnurnber'd throngs on every side are seen, The victor cred;) the glorious prize is mine! Of bodies changed to various forms by Spleen. While fish in streams, or birds delight in air, Here living tea-pots stand, one arm held out, Or in a coach and six the British fair;
One bent; the handle this, and that the spout; As long as Atalantis shall be read,
A pipkin there, like Homer's tripod walks; Oz the small pillow grace a lady's bed;
Here sighs a jar, and there a goose-pie talks ;
Make some take physic, others scribble plays:
And send the godly in a pet to pray.
But oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil a grace,
Or raise a pimple in a beauteous face,
If e'er with airy horns 1 planted heads,
Or caused suspicion when no soul was rude,
But Umbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so; Or discomposed the head-dress of a prude, He breaks the vial whence the sorrows flow. Or e'er to costive lap-dogs gave disease,
Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears, Which not the tears of brightest eyes could ease: Her eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in tears ; Ilear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin:
On her heaved bosom hung her drooping head, That single act gives half the world the spleen.' Which, with a sigh, she raised; and thus she said: The goddess with a discontented air
For ever cursed be this detested day, Seems to reject him, though she grants his prayer. Which snatch'd my best, my favourite curl away. A wondrous bag with both her hands she binds, Happy! ah, ten times happy had I been, Like that where once Ulysses held the winds; If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen! There she collects the force of female lungs, Yet am not I the first mistaken maid Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues. By love of courts to numerous ills betray'd. A vial next she fills with fainting fears,
Oh had I rather unadmired remain'd Soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears. In some lone isle, or distant northern land; The Gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away, Where the gilt chariot never marks the way, Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to day. Where none learn ombre, none ere taste bohea!
Sunk in Thalestris' arins the nymph he found, There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye, Iler eyes dejected and her hair unbound.
Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die. Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent, What moved my inind with youthful lords to roam ? And all the furies issued at the vent.
Oh had I staid, and said my prayers at home! Belinda burns with more than mortal ire,
"Twas this, the morning omens seem'd to tell; And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire.
Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box fell: O wretched maid!' she spread her hands, and cried, The tottering china shook without a wind, (While Hampton's echoes, wretched maid!' replied,) Nay, Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind! "Was it for this you took such constant care A Sylph too warn'd me of the threats of fate, The bodkin, comb, and essence to prepare ? In mystic visions, now believed too late ! For this your locks in paper durance bound? See the poor remnant of these slighted hairs ! For this with torturing irons wreathed around? My hand shall rend what e'en thy rapine spares : For this with fillets strain'd your tender head, These in two sable ringlets taught to break, And bravely bore the double loads of lead ? Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck; Gods! shall the ravisher display your hair, The sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone, While the fops envy, and the ladies stare? And in its fellow's fate foresees its own; Honour forbid! at whose unrivall'd shrine
Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal shears demands, Ease, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign.
And tempts once more thy sacrilegious hands, Methinks already I your tears survey,
Oh, hadst thou, cruel ! been content to seize
Ilairs less in sight, or any hairs but these!'
She said ; the pitying audience melt in tears ; Exposed through crystal to the gazing eyes, But fate and Jove had stopp d the baron's ears. And heighten'd by the diamond's circling rays, In vain Thalestris with reproach assails, On that rapacious hand for ever blaze ?
For who can move when fair Belinda fails? Sooner shall grass in Hyde-park circus grow, Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain, And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow! While Anna begg'd, and Dido raged in vain. Sooner let air, earth, sea, to chaos fall,
Then grave Clarissa graceful waved her fan; Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all! Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began : She said ; then raging to sir Plume repairs,
"Say, why are beauties praised and honour'd most, And bids her beau demand the precious hairs The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast ? (Sir Plume of amber snuff-box justly vain, Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford ? And the nice conduct of a clouded cane :)
Why angels call'd, and angel-like adored ? With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face, Why roundourcoaches crowd the white-gloved beaux? He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case, Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows ? And thus broke out :-My Lord, why, what the devil? How vain are all these glories, all our pains, 2-ds! damn the lock : 'fore Gad, you must be civil! Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains : Plague on't, 'tis past a jest-nay pr’ythee, pox! That men may say, when we the front box grace, Give her the hair.'—He spoke, and rapp'd his box. Behold the first in virtue as in face!
“It grieves me much (replied the peer again) Oh! if to dance all night and dress all day, Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain; Charm'd the small-pox, or chased old age away, But by this lock, this sacred lock, I swear,
Who would not scorn what housewife's cares produce, (Which never more shall join its parted hair; Or who would learn one earthly thing of use? Which never more its honours shall renew, To patch, nay ogle, may become a saint; Clipp'd from the lovely head where late it grew) Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint. That while my nostrils draw the vital air,
But since, alas! frail beauty must decay; This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear.' Curl'd or uncurl'd, since locks will turn to gray; He spoke, and speaking, in proud triumph spread Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade, The long-contended honours of her head.
And she who scorns a man must die a maid;
What then remains but well our power to use, Boast not my fall,' he cried, 'insulting foe!
Rather than so, ah let me still survive,
So spoke the dame, but no applause ensued : • Restore the lock,' she cries; and all around,
Roar'd for the handkerchief that caused his pain. All side in parties, and begin the attack;
But see how oft ambitious aims are cross'd. Fans elap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones crack; And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost! Heroes' and heroines' shouts confusedly rise, The lock, obtain'd with guilt, and kept with pain, And base and treble voices strike the skies. In every place is sought, but sought in vain : No common weapons in their hands are found; With such a prize no mortal must be bless'd : Like gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound. So Heaven decrees! with Heaven who can contest?
So when bold Homer makes the gods engage, Some thought it mounted to the lunar sphere, And heavenly breasts with human passions rage; Since all things lost on earth are treasured there : 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arins ; There heroes' wils are kept in ponderous vases, And all Olympus rings with loud alarms;
And beaus' in snuff-boxes and tweezer cases : Jove's thunder roars, heaven trembles all around, There broken vows and death-bed alms are found, Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound, and lovers' hearts with ends of riband bound; Earth shakes her noddingtowers, the ground gives way, The courtier's promises, and sick man's prayers, And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day! The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs,
Triumphant Umbriel, on a sconce's height, Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea, Clapp'd his glad wings, and sat to view the fight : Dried butterflies, and tomes of casuistry. Propp'd on their bodkin-spears, the sprites survey But trust the muse—she saw it upward rise, The growing combat, or assist the fray.
Though mark'd by none but quick poetic eyes ; While through the press enraged Thalestris flies (So Rome's great founder to the heavens withdrew, And scatters death around from both her eyes, To Proculus alone confess'd in view :) A beau and witling perish'd in the throng,
A sudden star it shot through liquid air, One died in metaphor, and one in song.
And drew behind a radiant trail of hair. O cruel nymph! a living death 1 bear,
Not Berenice’s locks first rose so bright, Cried Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair. The heavens bespangling with dishevell'd light. A mournful glance sir Fopling upwards cast : The Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies, "Those eyes are made so killing was his last. And pleased pursue its progress through the skies. Thus on Meander's flowery margin lies
This the beau-monde shall from the Mall survey, The expiring swan, and as he sings he dies. And hail with music its propitious ray.
When bold sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down, This the bless'd lover shall for Venus take, Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown; And send up vows from Rosamonda's lake. She smiled to see the doughty hero slain,
This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies, But, at her smile, the beau revived again.
When next he looks through Galileo's eyes ; Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air, And hence the egregious wizard shall foredoom Weighs the men's wits against the lady's hair; The fate of Louis, and the fall of Rome. The doubtful beam long nods from side to side; Then cease, bright nymph! to mourn thy ravish'd hair At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside. Which adds new glory to the shining sphere! See fierce Belinda on the baron flies,
Not all the tresses that fair head can boast, With more than usual lightning in her eyes : Shall draw such envy as the lock you lost. Nor fear'd the chief the unequal fight to try, For, after all the murders of your eye, Who sought no more than on his foe to die. When, after millions slain, yourself shall die ; But this bold lord, with inanly strength endued, When those fair suns shall set, as set they must, She with one finger and a thumb subdued :
And all those tresses shall be laid in dust,
And 'midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name.
Now meet thy fate,' incensed Belinda cried, And drew a deadly bodkin from her side;
MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY his ancient personage to deck,
What beckoning ghost, along the moonlight shade, her great-great-grandsire wore about his neck, Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ? In three seal-rings; which after, melted down, "Tis she !—but why that bleeding bosom gored ? Formid a vast buckle for his widow's gown: Why dimly gleams the visionary sword ? lier infant grandame's whistle next it grew, Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell, The belly she jingled, and the whistle blew ; Is it, in heaven, a crime to love too well ? Then in a bodkin graced her mother's hairs, To bear too tender, or too firm a heart ? Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.) To act a lover's or a Roman's part ?