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Form a strong line about the silver bound,
And guard the wide circumference around.
Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large,
Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins,
Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins;
Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
Gums and pomatuins shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain;
Or alum styptics with contracting power
Shrink his thin essence like a shrivel'd flower;
Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
And tremble at the sea that froths below!"
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend: Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend; Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair; Some hang upon the pendants of her ear; With beating hearts the dire event they wait, Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate,
CLOSE bythose meads, for ever crown'd with flowers,
Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towers,
There stands a structure of majestic frame,
Which from the neighbouring Hampton takes its
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
Of foreign tyrants, and of nymphs at home;
Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take-and sometimes tea,
Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort,
To taste awhile the pleasures of a court;
In various talk th' instructive hours they past, 11
Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
One speaks the glory of the British queen,
And one describes a charming Indian screen;
A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes;
At every word a reputation dies.
Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat,
With singing, aughing, ogling, and all that.
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day, The Sun obliquely shoots his burning ray: The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine; The merchant from th' Exchange returns in peace, And the long labours of the toilet cease. Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites, Burns to encounter two adventurous knights, At Ombre singly to decide their doom; And swells her breast with conquests yet to come, Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join, Each band the number of the sacred nine.
Ver. 1. Close by those meads,] The first edition continues from this line to ver. 24, of this Canto..
Ver. 11, 12. Originally in the first edition,
In various talk the cheerful hours they past, Of, who was bit, or who capotted last.
Ver. 24. And the long labours of the toilet cease.] All that follows of the game at Ombre, was added since the first edition, till vcr. 105, which connected thus:
Sudden the board with cups and spoons is crown'd.
Soon as she spreads her hand, th' aërial guard
Descend, and sit on each important card:
First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore,
Then each according to the rank they bore;
For Sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race,
Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place.
Behold, four kings in majesty rever'd,
With hoary whiskers and a forky beard;
And four fair queens, whose hands sustain a flower,
Th' expressive emblem of their softer power;
Four knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band;
Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand
And party-coloured troops, a shining train,
Drawn forth to combat on the velvet plain.
The skilful nymph reviews her force with care: Let spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they were. Now move to war her sable Matadores, In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors. Spadillio first, unconquerable lord! Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board. As many more Manillio forc'd to yield, And march'd a victor from the verdant field. Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard Gain'd but one trump, and one plebeian card. With his broad sabre next, a chief in years, The hoary Majesty of Spades appears, The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceal'd. Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveal'd, Proves the just victim of his royal rage. The rebel knave, who dares his prince engage,
Ev'n mighty Pam, that kings and queens o'erthrew,
Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid,
And now'd down armies in the fights of Lu,
Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade!
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield;
Now to the baron Fate inclines the field.
His warlike Amazon her host invades,
Th' imperial consort of the crown of Spades.
The Club's black tyrant first her victim dy'd,
Spite of his haughty mien, and barbarous pride;
What boots the regal circle on his head,
His giant limbs in state unwieldy spread;
That long behind he trails his pompous robe,
And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe?
The baron now his Diamonds pours apace;
Th' embroider'd king who shows but half his face,
And his refulgent queen, with powers combin'd,
Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen,
Of broken troops an easy conquest find.
With throngs promiscuous strow the level green.
Thus when dispers'd a routed army runs,
Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons,
With like confusion different nations fly,
Of various habit, and of various dye,
The pierc'd battalions disunited fall,
In heaps on heaps; one fate o'erwhelms them all.
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts,
And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of
At this, the blood the virgin's cheek forsook,
A livid paleness spreads o'er all her look ;
She sees, and trembles at th' approaching ill,
Just in the jaws of ruin, and Codille.
And now (as oft in some distemper'd state)
On one nice trick depends the general fate,
An Ace of Hearts steps forth: the king unseen
Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn'd his captive queen
He springs to vengeance with an eager pace,
And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace.
The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky;
The walls, the woods, and long canals reply.
O thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate, Too soon dejected, and too soon elate. Sudden, these honours shall be snatch'd And curs'd for ever this victorious day. For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown'd, The berries crackle, and the mill turns round: On shining Altars of Japan they raise The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze; From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide, While China's earth receives the smoking tide: At once they gratify their scent and taste, And frequent cups prolong the rich repast. Strait hover round the fair her airy band; Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming liquor fann'd, Some o'er her lap their careful plumes display'd, Trembling, and conscious of the rich brocade. Coffee (which makes the politician wise, And see through all things with his half-shut eyes) Sent up in vapours to the baron's brain New stratagems, the radiant lock to gain. Ah cease, rash youth; desist ere 'tis too late, Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's fate! Chang'd to a bird, and sent to flit in air, She dearly pays for Nisus' injur'd hair!
But when to mischief mortals bend their will, How soon they find fit instruments of ill! Just then, Clarissa drew, with tempting grace, A two edg'd weapon from her shining case: So ladies, in Romance, assist their knight, Present the spear, and arm him for the fight. He takes the gift with reverence, and extends The little engine on his fingers ends; This just behind Belinda's neck he spread, As o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head. 134 Swift to the Lock a thousand Sprites repair, A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair ; And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear; Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew near. Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought The close recesses of the virgin's thought; As on the nosegay her breast reclin'd, He watch'd th' ideas rising in her mind, Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art, An earthly lover lurking at her heart. Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his power expir'd, Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir'd.
The peer now spreads the glittering forfex wide, T'enclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide. Ev'n then, before the fatal engine clos'd, A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd; Fate urg'd the sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain, (But airy substance soon unites again) The meeting points the sacred hair dissever From the fair head, for ever, and for ever ! 154 Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes, And screams of horrour rend th' affrighted skies.
Not louder shrieks to pitying Heaven are cast, When husbands, or when lap-dogs, breathe their last!
Ver. 103. Sudden the board, &c.] From hence the first edition continues to ver. 134. Ver. 134. In the first edition it was thus:
As o'er the fragrant stream she bends her head, First he expands the glittering forfex wide T' inclose the Lock; then joins it to divide : The meeting points the sacred hair dissever From the fair head, for ever and for ever. Ver: All that is between was added afterwards.
Or when rich China vessels, fall'n from high, In glittering dust and painted fragments lie!
Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine
(The victor cry'd), the glorious prize is mine!
While fish in streams, or birds delight in air,
Or in a coach and six the British fair,
As long as Atalantis shall be read,
Or the small pillow grace a lady's bed,
While visits shall be paid on solemn days,
When numerous wax-lights in bright order blaze,
While nymphs take treats, or assignations give,
So long my honour, name, and praise, shall live!
What time would spare, from steel receives its date,
And monuments, like men, submit to Fate,
Steel could the labour of the gods destroy,
And strike to dust th' imperial powers of Troy;
Steel could the works of mortal pride confound,
And hew triumphal arches to the ground.
What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs should
The conquering force of unresisted steel?
Bur anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress'd,
And secret passions labour'd in her breast.
Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive,
Not scornful virgins who their charms survive,
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss,
Not ancient ladies when refus'd a kiss,
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
Not Cynthia when her manteau's pinn'd awry,
E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair,
As thou, sad virgin! for thy ravish'd hair.
For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withAnd Ariel weeping from Belinda flew, [drew, 11 Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite, As ever sully'd the fair face of light, Down to the central earth, his proper scene, Repair'd to search the gloomy cave of Spleen.
Swift on his sooty pinions Wits the Gnome, And in a vapour reach'd the dismal dome. No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows, The dreaded east is all the wind that blows. Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air, And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare, She sighs for ever on her pensive bed,
Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
But differing far in figure and in face.
Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place,
Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid,
Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd;
With store of prayers, for mornings, nights, and
Practis'd to lisp, and hang the head aside,
Faints into airs, and languishes with pride,
On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe,
Wrapt in a gown, for sickness, and for show.
The fair-ones feel such maladies as these,
When each new night-dress gives a new disease.
A constant vapour o'er the palace flies ; Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise; Dreadful, as hermits' dreams in haunted shades, Or bright, as visions of expiring maids. Now glaring fiends, and snakes on rolling spires, Pale spectres, gaping tombs, and purple fires: Now lakes of liquid gold, Elysian scenes, And crystal domes, and angels in machines.
Unnumber'd throngs on every side are seen, Of bodies chang'd to various forms by Spleen. Here living tea-pots stand, one arm held out, One bent; the handle this, and that the spout: A pipkin there, like Homer's tripod, walks; Here sighs a jar, and there a goose-pye talks ; Men prove with child, as powerful fancy works, And maids, turn'd bottles, call aloud for corks.
Safe past the Gnome through this fantastic band,
A branch of healing spleen-wort in his hand,
Then thus address'd the power-" Hail, wayward
Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen: [queen!
Parent of vapours, and of female wit,
Who give th' hysteric, or poetic fit,
On various tempers act by various ways,
Make some take physic, others scribble plays;
Who cause the proud their visits to delay,
And send the godly in a pet to pray.
A nymph there is, that all thy power disdains,
And thousands more in equal mirth maintains.
But, oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil a grace,
Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,
Like citron-waters, matrons' cheeks inflame,
Or change complexions at a losing game;
If c'er with airy horns I planted heads,
Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
Or caus'd suspicion where no soul was rude,
Or discompos'd the head-dress of a prude,
Or e'er to costive lap-dog gave disease,
Which not the tears of brightest eyes could ease:
Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin :
That single act gives half the world the spleen."
The goddess with a discontented air
Seems to reject him, though she grants his prayer.
A wonderous bag with both her hands she binds,
Like that where once Ulysses held the winds ;
There she collects the force of female lungs,
Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues.
A vial next she fills with fainting fears,
Soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears.
The Gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away,
Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to day.
Sunk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he found,
Her eyes dejected, and her hair unbound.
Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent,
And all the Furies issued at the vent.
Belinda burns with more than mortal ire,
And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire.
"Owretched maid!" she spread her hands, and cry'd,
(While Hampton's echoes, wretched maid! reply'd)
"Was it for this you took such constant care
The bodkin, comb, and essence, to prepare?
For this your locks in paper durance bound,
For this with torturing irons wreath'd around?
For this with fillets strain'd your tender head,
And bravely bore the double loads of lead!
Gods! shall the ravisher display your hair,
While the fops envy, and the ladies stare!
Honour forbid! at whose unrival'd shrine
Fase, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign.
Methinks already I your tears survey,
Already hear the horrid things they say,
Already see you a degraded toast,
And all your honour in a whisper lost!
How shall I, then, your helpless fame defend?
"Twill then be infamy to seem your friend!
And shall this prize, th' inestimable prize,
Expos'd through crystal to the gazing eyes,
And heighten'd by the diamond's circling rays,
On that rapacious hand for ever blaze!
Sooner shall grass in Hyde-park Circus grow,
And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow!
Sooner let earth, air, sea, to chaos fall,
Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all !"
She said; then raging to sir Plume repairs,
And bids her beau demand the precious hairs:
(Sir Plume of amber snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane)
With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face,
He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case,
And thus broke out-" My Lord, why, what the
"Z-ds! damn the Lock! 'fore Gad, you must be "civil!
Plague on 't! 'tis past a jest-nay pr'ythee, pox! "Give her the hair"-he spoke, and rapp'd his box.
"It grieves me much (reply'd the peer again) · Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain ; But by this Lock, this sacred Lock, I swear, (Which never more shall join its parted hair; Which never more its honours shall renew, Clipp'd from the lovely head where late it grew) That while my nostrils draw the vital air, This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear." He spoke, and, speaking, in proud triumph spread The long-contended honours of her head.
But Umbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so; He breaks the vial whence the sorrows flow. Then see the nymph in beauteous grief appears, Her eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in tears; On her heav'd bosom hung her drooping head, Which, with a sigh, she rais'd; and thus she said: “For ever curs'd be this detested day, Which snatch'd my best, my favourite curl away Happy! ah ten times happy had I been, If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen! Yet am not I the first mistaken maid By love of courts to numerous ills betray'd. Oh had I rather unadmir'd remain'd
In some lone isle, or distant northern land;
Where the gilt chariot never marks the way,
Where none learn ombre, none e'er taste bohea!
There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye,
Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.
What mov'd my mind with youthful lords to roam?
Oh had I stay'd, and said my prayers at home!
'Twas this, the morning omens seem'd to tell,
Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box fell;
The tottering china shook without a wind,
Nay Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind!
A Sylph too warn'd me of the threats of Fate,
In mystic visions, now believ'd too late!
See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs!
My hand shall rend what ev'n thy rapine spares:
These in two sable ringlets taught to break,
Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck ;,
The Sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
And in its fellow's fate foresees its own;
Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal sheers demands,
And tempts, once more, thy sacrilegious hands.
Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize
Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these!"
She said the pitying audience melt in tears;
But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the baron's ears.
In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
For who can move when fair Belinda fails?
Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
While Anna begg'd and Dido rag'd in vain.
Then grave Clarissa graceful way'd her fan;
Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began.
Say,why are beauties prais'd and honour'd most,
The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast?
Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Why angels call'd, and angel-like ador'd ?
Why round our coaches crowd the white-glov'd
Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows?
How vain are all these glories, all our pains,
Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains:
That men may say, when we the front-box grace,
Behold the first in virtue as in face!
Oh! if to dance all night and dress all day,
Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away;
Who would not scorn what housewife's cares pro-
Or who would learn one earthly thing of use?
To patch, nay ogle, may become a saint;
Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
But since, alas! frail beauty must decay;
Curl'd or uncurl'd, since Locks will turn to grey;
Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,
And she who scorns a man, must die a maid;
What then remains, but well our power to use,
And keep good-humour still, whate'er we lose?
And trust me, dear! good-humour can prevail,
When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding
Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; [fail.
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul."
Ver. 7. Then grave Clarissa, &c.] A new character introduced in the subsequent editions, to open more clearly the moral of the poem, in a parody of the speech of Sarpedon to Glaucus in Homer.
And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height 53
Clapp'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight:
Propp'd on their bodkin-spears, the sprites survey
The growing combat, or assist the fray.
While through the press enrag'd Thalestris flies
And scatters death around from both her eyes,
A beau and witling perish'd in the throng,
One dy'd in metaphor, and one in song.
O cruel nymph! a living death I bear," 7 Cry'd Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair. A mournful glance sir Fopling upwards cast,
Those eyes are made so killing"-was his last.
Thus on Maander's flowery inargin lies
Th' expiring swan, and as he sings he dies.
When bold sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down,
Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown;
She smil'd to see the doughty hero slain,
But, at her smile, the beau reviv'd again.
Ver. 37. To arms, to arms!] From hence the first edition goes on to the conclusion, except a very few short insertions added, to keep the machinery in view to the end of the poem.
'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona Hermes arms;
And all Olympus rings with loud alarms;
Jove's thunder roars, Heaven trembles all around,
Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound:
Earth shakes her nodding towers, the ground gives
See, fierce Belinda on the baron flies,
With more than usual lightning in her eyes:
Nor fear'd the chief th' unequal fight to try,
Who sought no more than on his foe to die.
But this bold lord, with manly strength endu'd,
She with one finger and a thumb subdued:
Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew,
A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw ;
The Gnomes direct, to every atom just,
The pungent graius of titillating dust.
Sudden, with starting tears each eye o'erflows,
And the high dome re-echoes to his nose.
"Now meet thy fate," incens'd Belinda cry'd,
And drew a deadly bodkin from her side.
(The same, his ancient personage to deck,
Her great-great-grandsire wore about his neck,
In three seal-rings; which after, melted down,
Form'd a vast buckle for his widow's gown:
Her infant grandame's whistle next it grew,
The bells she jingled, and the whistle blow;
Then in a bodkin grac'd her mother's hairs,
Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.)
"Boast not my fall (he cry'd, insulting foe!
So spoke the dame, but no applause ensued:
Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her prude.
"To arms, to arms!" the fierce virago cries,
And swift as lightning to the combat flies.
All side in parties, and begin th' attack;
Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones crack; Thou by some other shalt be laid as low.
Heroes' and heroines' shouts confus'dly rise,
And base and treble voices strike the skies.
No common weapon in their hands are found;
Like gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
So when bold Homer makes the gods engage,
And heavenly breasts with human passions rage;
Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air, Weighs the men's wits against the lady's hair ; The doubtful beam long nods from side to side; At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside.
Nor think, to die dejects my lofty mind:
All that I dread is leaving you behind!
Rather than so, ah let me still survive,
And burn in Cupid's flames-but burn alive.”
"Restore the Lock," she cries; and all around,
"Restore the Lock!" the vaulted roofs rebound.
Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain
Roar'd for the handkerchief that caus'd his pain.
But see how oft ambitious aims are cross'd,
And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost!
The Lock, obtain'd with guilt, and kept with pain,
In every place is sought, but sought in vain:
Ver. 53. Triumphant Umbriel] These four lines added, for the reason before mentioned.
With such a prize no mortal must be blest,
So Heaven decrees! with Heaven who can con-
Some thought it mounted to the lunar sphere,
Since all things lost on Earth are treasur'd there.
There heroes' wits are kept in ponderous vases,
And beaux in snuff-boxes and tweezer-cases:
There broken vows and death-bed alms are found,
And lovers' hearts with ends of ribband bound;
The courtier's promises, and sick man's prayers,
The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs,
Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea,
Dry'd butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.
But trust the Muse--she saw it upward rise, Though mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes: (So Rome's great founder to the Heavens withdrew,
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of angels and of gods:
Thence to their images on Earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
To Proculus alone confess'd in view)
A sudden star, it shot through liquid air,
And drew behind a radiant trail of hair.
Not Berenice's locks first rose so bright,
The Heaven bespangling with dishevell❜d light.
The Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies,
And pleas'd pursue its progress through the skies.
This the beau-monde shall from the Mall sur-
And hail with music its propitious ray.
This the blest lover shall for Venus take,
And send up vows from Rosamonda's lake,
This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies,
When next he looks through Galileo's eyes;
And hence th' egregious wizard shall foredoom
The fate of Louis, and the fall of Rome.
Then cease, bright nymph! to mourn thy
Which adds new glory to the shining sphere!
Not all the tresses that fair head can boast,
Shall draw such envy as the Lock you lost.
For, after all the murders of your eye,
When, after millions slain, yourself shall dje;
When those fair suns shall set, as set they must,
And all those tresses shall be laid in dust,
This Lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame,
And 'midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die】
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And separate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race,
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of Death;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates;
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long funerals blacken all the way)
"Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curst with hearts unknowing how to yield."
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow,
For others good, or melt at others woe
What can atone (oh ever-injur'd shade !)
Thy fate unpity'd, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier :
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,.
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
WHAT beckoning ghost, along the moon-light
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
'Tis she!-but why that bleeding bosom gor'd,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in Heaven, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire ?
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress'd,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground now sacred by thy reliques made.
So, peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How lov'd, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be !
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue,
Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart,
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!
Ver. 131. The Sylphs behold,] These two lines added for the same reason, to keep in view the machinery of the poem.