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Ah cease, rash youth! desist ere 'tis too late,
But when to mischief mortals bend their will,
7 Vide Ovid, Metam. viii.
“As o'er the fragrant stream she bends her head,
From the fair head, for ever and for ever.”
9 See Milton, lib. iv. of Satan cut asunder by the angel Michael.
The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
160 “Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine, (The victor cried,) the glorious prize is mine! While fish in streams, or birds delight in air, 10 Or in a coach and six the British fair, As long as Atalantis shall be read, 11
165 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!” 170 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 towers of Troy ; Steel could the works of mortal pride confound,
175 And hew triumphal arches to the ground. What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs should feel12 The conquering force of unresisted steel?
10 Ver. 163, 170,
“Dum juga montis aper, fluvios dum piscis amabit,
Semper honos, nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt.”—Virg. 11 A famous book written about that time by a woman: full of court and party scandal; and in a loose effeminacy of style and sentiment, which well suited the debauched taste of the better vulgar. (Mrs. Manley, the authoress of the “New Atalantis,” was a remarkable person in her own times, and claimed attention as a novelist, a dramatist, a political writer, and a woman of intrigue. She is frequently mentioned in Swift's Journal to Stella; and when the Dean relinquished the Examiner Mrs. Manley continued it, with the assistance of Swift and other Tory wits. She was the daughter of Sir Roger Manley, Governor of Guernsey. After a gay and busy life she sunk into a connection with Alderman Barber, in whose house she died in 1724.]
12 “ Ille quoque eversus mons est, &c.
Catull. de Com. Berenices.
anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress’d,
And secret passions labour'd in her breast.
For, that sad moment, when the sylphs withdrew,?
Swift on his sooty pinions flits the gnome,
Two handmaids wait the throne : alike in place,
1 "At regina gravi,” &c.—Virg. Æn. iv.
2 All the lines from hence to the ninety-fourth 'verse, that describe the House of Spleen, are not in the first edition; instead of them followed only these:
“While her rack'd soul repose and peace requires,
The fierce Thalestris fans the rising fires," and continued at the ninety-fourth verse of this canto.
With store of prayers, for mornings, nights, and noons,
A constant vapour o'er the palace flies ; Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise ;
40 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,
45 And crystal domes, and angels in machines.
Unnumber'd throngs on every side are seen Of bodies changed to various forms by Spleen. Here living tea-pots stand, one arm held out, One bent; the handle this, and that the spout:
50 A pipkin there, like Homer's tripod walks ;3 Here sighs a jar, and there a goose-pie talks : 4 Men prove with child, as powerful fancy works, And maids turn'd bottles call aloud for corks.5
Safe pass’d the gnome through this fantastic band, 55 A branch of healing spleen-wort in his hand. Then thus address’d the power : “Hail, wayward Queen! Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen ; Parent of vapours, and of female wit, Who give th' hysteric or poetic fit ;
60 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.
3 See Hom. Iliad. xviii. of Vulcan’s walking tripods.
4 Alludes to a real fact, a lady of distinction imagined herself in this condition.
5 [See Beaumont and Fletcher's “Loyal Subject," act iv. sc. 2.]