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Ladies, like variegated tulips, show, Tis to their changes half their charms they owe Fine by defect, and delicately weak, Their happy spots the nice admirer take. 'Twas thus Calypso once each heart alarm'd, Awed without virtue, without beauty charm'd; Her tongue bewitched as oddly as her eyes; Less wit than mimic, more a wit t'ian wise: Strange graces still, and stranger lights she had, Was just not ugly, and was just not mad;
50 Yet ne'er so sure our passions to create, As when she touch'd the brink of all we hate.
Narcissa's nature, tolerably mild, To make a wash would hardly stew a child; Has e'en been proved to grant a lover's prayer, And paid a tradesman once to make him stare: Gave alms at Easter in a christian trim, And made a widow happy for a whim. Why then declare good-nature is her scorn, When 'tis by that alone she can be borne ? 6C Why pique all mortals, yet affect a name? A fool to pleasure, yet a slave to fame : Now deep in Taylor and the book of Martyrs, Now drinking citron with his grace and Chartres: Now conscience chills her, and now passion burns And atheism and religion take their turns; A very heathen in the carnal part, Yet still a sad good christian at her heart.
See sin in state, majestically drunk, Proud as a peeress, prouder as a punk;
70 Chaste to her husband, frank to all beside, A teeming mistress, but a barren bride. What then? let blood and body bear the fault, Her head's untouch'd, that noble seat of thought; Such this day's doctrine-in another fit She sins with poets through pure love of wit. What has not fired her bosom or her brain ? Cæsar and Tall-boy, Charles and Char'emagne
As Helluo, late dictator of the feast,
Flavia's a wit, has too much sense to pray;
100 Turn then from wits, and look on Simo's mate; No ass so meek, no ass so obstinate: Or her that owns her faults but never mends, Because she's honest, and the best of friends : Or her whose life the church and scandal share, For ever in a passion or a prayer : Or her who laughs at hell, but (like her grace) Cries, 'Ah! how charming if there's no such places' Or who in sweet vicissitude appears, Of mirth and opium, ratafie and tears,
110 The daily anodyne, and nightly draught To kill those foes to fair ones, time and thought. Woman and fool are two hard things to hit: For true no-meaning puzzles more than wit. But what are those to great Atossa's mind? Scarce once herself, by turns all womankind;
Who, with herself, or others, from her birth,
Pictures, like these, dear madam, to design, 150 Asks no firm hand, and no unerring line; Some wandering touches, some reflected light, Some flying stroke alone can hit them right:
For how should equal colours do the knack?
* Yet Chloe sure was form'd without a spot. Nature in her then err'd not, but forgot.
With every pleasing, every prudent part, Say, what can Chloe want?-She wants a heart. 166 She speaks, behaves, and acts just as she ought; But never, never reach'd one generous though Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour, Content to dwell in decencies for ever. Sy very reasonable, so unmoved, As never yet to love, or to be loved. She, while her lover pants upon her breast, Can mark the figures on an Indian chest; And when she sees her friend in deep despair Observes how much a chintz exceeds mohair. 170 Forbid it, Heaven, a favour or a debt She e'er should cancel-but she may forget. Safe is your secret still in Chloe's ear; But none of Chloe's shall you ever hear. Of all her dears she never slander'd one, But cares not if a thousand are undone. Would Chloe know if you're alive or dead ? Slie bids her footman put it in her head. Chloe is prudent-Would you too be wise? Then never break your heart when Chloe dies. 186
One certain portrait may (I grant) be seen, Which Heaven has varnish'd out, and made a queen The same for ever! and described by all With truth and goodness, as with crown and ball. Poets heap virtues, painters gems at will, And show their zeal, and hide their want of skill. 'Tis well--but artists! who can paint or write, To draw the naked is your true delight. That robe of quality so struts and swells, None see what parts of nature it conceals : 190 The exactest traits of body or of mind, We owe to models of an humble kind.
If Queensberry to strip there's no compelling,
But grant, in public men sometimes are shown, A woman's seen in private life alone :
200 Our bolder talents in full light display'd, Your virtues open fairest in the shade. Bred to disguise, in public 'tis you hide; There, none distinguish 'twixt your shade or pride, Weakness or delicacy; all so nice, That each may seem a virtue or a vice.
In men we various ruling passions find; In women, two almost divide the kind : Those, only fix'd, they first or last obey, The love of pleasure, and the love of sway. 210 That nature gives; and where the lesson taught Is but to please, can pleasure scem a fault? Experience, this; by man's oppression cursed, They seek the second not to lose the first.
Men, some to business, some to pleasure take; But every woman is at heart a rake: Men, some to quiet, some to public strife, But every lady would be queen for life.
Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of queens ! Power all their end, but beauty all the means: 220 In youth they conquer with so wild a rage, As leaves them scarce a subject in their age : For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam; No thought of peace or happiness at home. But wisdom's triumph is well-timed retreat, As hard a science to the fair as great! Beauties, like tyrants, old and friendless grown, Yet hate repose, and dread to be alone; Worn out in public, weary every eye, Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die. 230