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Lo! the god mounts his throne of state, And sits the arbiter of fate: * His head, with radiant glories drest, Gently reclin'd on Virtue's breast : Love took his station on the right, His quiver beam'd with golden light. Beauty usurp'd the second place, Ambitious of distinguish'd grace; She claim'd this ceremonial joy, Because related to the boy; (Said it was hers to point his dart, And speed its passage to the heart) While on the god's inferior hand Fancy and Wealth obtain'd their stand.
And now the hallow'd rites proceed,
And now a thousand heart-strings bleed.
I saw a blooming, trembling bride,
A toothless lover join'd her side;
Averse she turn'd her weeping face,
And shudder'd at the cold embrace.
But various baits their force impart;
Thus titles lie at Celia's heart :
A passion much too foul to name,
Costs supercilious prudes their fame :
Prudes wed to publicans and sinuers,
The hungry poet weds for dinners.
The god with frown indignant view'd
The rabble, covetous or lewd;
By ev'ry vice his altars stain'd,
By ev'ry fool his rites profan'd:
When Love complain'd of Wealth aloud,
Affirming Wealth debauch'd the crowd;
Drew up in form his heavy charge,
Desiring to be heard at large.
The god consents, the throng divide,
The young espous'd the plaintiff's side:
The old declared for the defendant,
For age is money's sworn attendant.
Love said, that wedlock was design'd
By gracious Heav'n to match the mind;
To pair the tender and the just,
And his the delegated trust:
That Wealth had play'd a knavish part,
And taught the tongue to wrong the heart;
But what avails the faithless voice?
The injur'd heart disdains the choice.
Wealth straight reply'd, that Love was blind,
And talk'd at random of the mind;
That killing eyes, and bleeding hearts,
And all th' artillery of darts,
Were long ago exploded fancies,
And laugh'd at even in romances:
Poets indeed style love a treat,
Perhaps for want of better meat;
And love might be delicious fare,
Could we, like poets, live on air.
But grant that angels feast on love,
(Those purer essences above)
Yet Albion's sons, he understood,
Preferr'd a more substantial food.
Thus while with gibes he dress’d his cause,
His grey admirers liemm'd applause.
With seeming conquest pert and proud,
Wealth shook his sides and chuckled loud;
When Fortune, to restrain his pride,
And fond to favour Love beside,
Op’ning the miser's tape-ty'd vest,
Disclos'd the cares which stung his breast:
Wealth stood abash'd at his disgrace,
And a deep crimson flush'd his face.
Love sweetly simper'd at the sight, His gay adherents laugh'd outright. The god, though grave his temper, smild, For Hymen dearly priz'd the child. But he who triumphs o'er his brother,
turn is laugh'd at by another: Such cruel scores we often find Repaid the criminal in kind. For Poverty, that famish'd fiend! Ambitious of a wealthy friend, Advanc'd into the miser's place, And star'd the stripling in the face; Whose lips grew pale, and cold as clay;I thought the chit would swoon away.
The god was studious to employ
His cares to aid the vanquish'd boy,
And therefore issu'd his decree,
That the two parties straight agree;
When both obey'd the god's commands,
And Love and Riches join’d their hands.
What wondrous change in each was wrought,
Believe me, fair, stirpasses thought.
If Love had many charms before,
He now had charms ten thousand more.
If Wealth had serpents in his breast,
They now are dead, or lull’d to rest.
Beauty, that vain affected thing,
Who join'd the Hymeneal ring,
Approach'd with round unthinking face,
And thus the trifler states her case :
She said, that Love's complaints, 'twas known,
Exactly tally'd with her own;
That Wealth had learn'd the felon's arts,
And robb’d her of a thousand hearts;
Desiring judgment against Wealth,
For falschood, perjury, and stealth,
All which she could on oath depose,
And hop'd the court would slit his nose.
But Hymen, when he heard her name,
Call'd her an interloping dame;
Look'd through the crowd with angry state,
And blam'd the porter at the gate,
For giving entrance to the fair,
When she was no essential there,
To sink this haughty tyrant's pride,
He order'd Fancy to preside.
Hence when debates on beauty rise,
And each bright fair disputes the prize,
To Fancy's court we straight apply,
And wait the sentence of her eye;
In Beauty's realms she holds the seals,
And her awards preclude appeals.
The counsels of a friend, Belinda, hear,
Too roughly kind to please a lady's ear;
Unlike the flatt'ries of a lover's pen,
Such truths as women seldom learn from men,
Nor think I praise you ill, when thus I show
What female vanity might fear to know :
Some merit's mine, to dare to be sincere ;
But greater yours, sincerity to bear.