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With store of prayers, for mornings, nights, and noons^
Her hand is fill'd; her bosom with lampoons.
There Affectation, with a sickly mien,
Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen;
Practised 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 changed 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-pie talks ;2
Men prove with child, as powerful fancy works,
And maids, turn'd bottles, call aloud for corks.
Safe pass'd the gnome through this fantastic band,
A branch of healing spleenwort 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 the 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,
1 See Horn. Iliad, xviii. of Vulcan's walking tripods.
2 Alludes to a real fact, a lady of distinction imagined herself In thii condition.
Like citron-waters matrons' cheeks inflame,
Or change complexions at a losing game;
If e'er with airy horns I planted heads,
Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
Or caused suspicion when no soul was rude,
Or discomposed 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 wondrous 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. O wretched maid! she spread her hands, and cried, (While Hampton's echoes, Wretched maid! replied,) 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 wreathed 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 fdj>s envy, and the ladies stare! Honour forbid! at whose unrivall'd shrine Ease, 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 hapless fame defend? Twill then be infamy to seem your friend!
And shall this prize, the inestimable prize,
Exposed 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 a!.1!
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 niae conduct of a clouded cane,)
"With earnest eyes, and round, unthinking fac«>,
He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case,
And thus broke out—" My lord, why, what th« devil!
"Z—ds! damn the lock I 'fore Gad, you must be civil.
"Plague on't! 'tis past a jest—nay prithee, pox!
"Give her the hair"—he spoke, and rapp'd his box.
It grieves me much (replied 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 TJmbriel, hateful gnome! forbears not so;
He breaks the vial whence the sorrows floV.
Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears,
Her eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in tears;
On her heaved bosom hung her drooping head,
Which with a sigh she raised; and thus she said:
For ever cursed 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 unadmired remain'd
In some lone isle, or distant northern land;
Where the gilt chariot never marks the way,
Wherer none learn ombre, none e'er taste Bohea!
There kept my charms concealed from mortal.eye,
Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.
What moved my mind with youthful lords to roam?
Oh had I staid, 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 believed too late!
See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs!
My hands shall rend what even 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 shears 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 1
Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
"While Anna begg'd and Dido rage'd in vain.
Then grave Clarissa graceful waved her fan;
Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began:—
Say, why are beauties praised and honour'd most.
The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast 1
Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Why angels call'd, and angel-like adored 1
Why round our coaches crowd the white-gloved beaux^
Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows 1
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,
Ch$rm'd the small-pox, or chased old-age away;
Who would not scorn what housewife's cares produce^
Or who would learn one earthly thing of use i
To patch, nay ogle, might 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 welf 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 fail;
Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
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 swiffc as lightning to the combat flies.
All side in parties, and begin the attack;
Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones crack;
Heroes' and heroines' shouts confusedly rise,
And bass and treble voices strike the skies.
No common weapons 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; 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latdna, 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 way, And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
Triumphant Umbriel, on a sconce's height 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 enraged Thalestris flies, And scatters death around from both her eyes, A beau and witling perish'd in the throng, One died in metaphor, and one in song. u O cruel nymph! a living death I bear!" Cried Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair. A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast, * Tlfbse eyes are made so killing!"—was his last.