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What flattering scenes our wandering fancy wrought, Rome's pompous glories rising to our thought! Together o'er the Alps, methinks we fly, Fir'd with ideas of fair Italy. With thee on Raphael's monument I mourn, Or wait inspiring dreams at Maro's urn: With thee repose where Tully once was laid, Or seek some ruin's formidable shade. While fancy brings the vanish'd piles to view, And builds imaginary Rome anew, Here thy well-studied marbles fix our eye; A fading fresco here demands a sigh : Each heavenly piece unwearied we compare, Match Raphael's grace with thy lov'd Guido's air, Carracci's strength, Correggio's softer line, Paulo's free stroke, and Titian's warmth divine.
How finish'd with illustrious toil appears
Muse! at that name thy sacred sorrows shed
Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage,
Each, pleasing Blount sball endless smiles bestow, And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
0! lasting as those colours may they shine! Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line; New graces yearly like thy works display, Soft without weakness, without glaring gay ; Led by some rule that guides, but not constrains, And finish'd more through happiness than pains, The kindred arts shall in their praise conspire, One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre. Yet should the Graces all thy figures place, And breathe an air divine on every face; Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul; With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie, And these be sung till Granville's Myra die : Alas! how little from the grave we claim ! Thou but preserv'st a face, and I a name.
To Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture. 1717. IN
these gay thoughts the loves and graces shine, And all the writer lives in every line; His easy art may happy nature seem; Trifles themselves are elegant in him. Sure to charm all was his peculiar fate, Who without flattery pleas'd the fair and great; Still with esteem no less convers'd than read; With wit well-natur'd, and with books well-bred : His heart, his mistress and his friend did share, His time, the Muse, the witty, and the fair. Thus wisely careless, innocently gay, Cheerful he play'd the trifle life away ; Till fate scarce felt his gentle breath supprest, As smiling infants sport themselves to rest. Ev'n rival wits did Voiture's death deplore, And the gay mourn'd who never mourn'd before; The truest hearts for Voiture heav'd with sighs; Voiture was wept by all the brightest eyes :
The smiles and loves had died in Voiture's death, But that for ever in his lines they breathe.
Let the strict life of graver mortals be A long, exact, and serious comedy ; In every scene some moral let it teach, And, if it can, at once both please and preach : Let mine an innocent gay farce appear, And more diverting still than regular; Have humour, wit, a native ease and grace, Though not
too strictly bound to time and place. Critics in wit or life are hard to please ; Few write to those, and none can live to these.
Too much your sex is by their forms confin'd, Severe to all, but most to womankind; Custom, grown blind with age, must be your guide; Your pleasure is a vice, but not your pride; By nature yielding, stubborn but for fame, Made slaves by honour, and made fools by shame. Marriage may all those petty tyrants chase, But sets up one, a greater, in their place: Well might you wish for change by those accurst; But the last tyrant ever proves the worst. Still in constraint your suffering sex remains, Or bound in formal or in real chains : Whole years neglected for some months ador'd, The fawning servant turns a haughty lord. Ah ! quit not the free innocence of life For the dull glory of a virtuous wife; Nor let false shews nor empty titles please : Aim not at joy, but rest content with ease.
The gods, to curse Pamela with her pray'rs, Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders' mares, The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state, And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate. She glares in balls, front-boxes, and the ring, A vain, unquiet, glittering, wretched thing! Pride, pomp, and state, but reach her outward part; She sighs, and is no duchess at her heart.
But, madam, if the fates withstand, and you Are destin'd Hymen's willing victim too, Trust not too much your now resistless charms, Those age or sickness, soon or late, disarms; Good-humour only teaches charms to last, Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past. Love rais'd on beauty will like that decay, Our hearts may bear its slender chain a day, As flowery bands in wantonness are worn, A morning's pleasure, and at evening torni This binds in ties more easy, yet more strong, The willing heart, and only holds it long.
Thus Voiture's early care * still shone the same, And Monthausier was only chang'd in name : By this ev'n now they live, ev'n now they charm, Their wit still sparkling, and their flames still warm.
Now crown'd with myrtle on the Elysian coast, Amid those lovers joys his gentle ghost; Pleas'd while with smiles his happy lines you view, And finds a fairer Rambouillet in you. The brightest eyes of France inspir'd his Muse; The brightest eyes of Britain now peruse ; And dead, as living, 'tis our author's pride Still to charm those who charm the world beside.
To the same, on her leaving the Town after the
Coronation. 1715. A
S some fond virgin, whom her mother's car e
Drags from the town to wholesome country air, Just when she learns to roll a melting eye, And hear a spark, yet think no danger nigh; From the dear man unwilling she must sever, Yet takes one kiss before she parts for ever: Thus from the world fair Zephalinda flew, Saw others happy, and with sighs withdrew; Not that their pleasures caus'd her discontent; She sigh'd not that they stay'd, but that she went.
# Mademoiselle Paulet.
She went to plain work, and to purling brooks, Old-fashion'd halls, dull aunts, and croaking rooks: She went from opera, park, assembly, play, To morning walks, and pray’rs three hours a day; To part her time 'twixt reading and bohea, To muse, and spill her solitary tea, Or o'er cold coffee trifle with the spoon, Count the slow clock, and dine exact at noon; Divert her eyes with pictures in the fire, Hum half a tune, tell stories to the squire; Up to her godly garret after seven, There starve and pray, for that's the way to heaven.
Some squire, perhaps, you take delight to rack, Whose game is whist, whose treat a toast in sack; Who visits with a gun, presents you birds, Then gives a smacking buss, and cries--no words ! Or with his hounds comes hallooing from the stable, Makes love with nods, and knees beneath a table; Whose laughs are hearty, tho' his jests are coarse, And loves you best of all things—but his horse.
In some fair evening, on your elbow laid, You dream of triumphs in the rural shade ; In pensive thought recall the fancied scene, See coronations rise on every green : Before you pass the imaginary sights Of lords, and earls, and dukes, and garter'd knights, While the spread fan o'ershades your closing eyes ; Then give one flirt, and all the vision flies. Thus vanish sceptres, coronets, and balls, And leave you in lone woods, or empty walls !
So when your slave, at some dear idle time, (Not plagued with head-achs or the want of rhyme) Stands in the streets, abstracted from the crew, And while he seems to study, thinks of you; Just when his fancy points your sprightly eyes, Or sees the blush of soft Parthenia rise, Gay pats my shoulder, and you. vanish quite, Streets, chairs, and coxconibs, rush upou my sight; Vext to be still in town I knit' my brow, Look sour, and hum a'tune, as you may now.