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A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau
Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
face, For life predestind to the Gnomes embrace. These swell their prospects, and exalt their pride, When offers are disdain'd, and love denied: Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain, While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping
train, And garters, stars, and coronets appear, And in soft sounds, your grace' salutes their ear. 'Tis these that early taint the female soul, Instract the eyes of young coquettes to roll, Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know, And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
Oft, when the world imagine women stray, The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way, Through all the giddy circle they pursue, And old impertinence expel by new. What tender maid but must a victim fall To one man's treat, but for another's ball? When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand, If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand? With varying vanities, from every part, They shift the moving toy-shop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots
strive, Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive. This erring mortals levity may call; Oh, blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
Of these am I, who thy protection claim, A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name. Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air, In the clear mirror of thy ruling star I saw, alas ! some dread event impend, Ere to the main this morning sun descend; But Heaven reveals not what, or how, or where: Warn’d by thy Sylph, oh pious maid, beware! This to disclose is all thy guardian can: Beware of all, but most beware of man!' He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too
long, Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. 'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true, Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux; Wounds, charms, and ardours were no sooner read, But all the vision vanish'd from thy head."
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, With head uncover'd, the cosmetic powers. A heavenly image in the glass appears, To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears; Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side, Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride. Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here The various offerings of the world appear; From each she nicely culls with curious toil, And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box. The tortoise here and elephant unite, Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white. Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
N OT with more glories in th' ethereal plain,
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
Th’adventurous barop the bright locks admir'd;
For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implor'd Propitious Heaven, and every power ador'd; But chiefly Love; to Love an altar built, Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilta There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, And all the trophies of his former loves. 23 With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire, Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize: The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer; The rest the winds dispers'd in empty air.
But now secure the painted vessel glides, The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides: While melting music steals upon the sky, And soften'd sounds along the waters die; Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay, All but the Sylph; with careful thoughts opprest, Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast, He suinmons straight his denizens of air; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Soft o'er the shrouds aerial whispers breathe, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the sun their insect wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;