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Whether, the charmer sinner it, or saint it,
If folly grow romantic, I must paint it.
Come then, the colours and the ground prepare !
Dip in the rainbow, trick her off in air;
Choose a firm cloud, before it fall, and in it
Catch, ere she change, the Cynthia of this minute, 20
Rufa, whose eye, quick glancing o'er the park,
Attracts each light gay meteor of a spark,
Agrees as ill with Rufa studying Locke,
As Sappho's diamond's with her dirty sinock;
Or Sappho at her toilet's greasy task,
With Sappho fragrant at an evening mask
So morning insects, that in muck begun,
Shine, buzz, and fly-blow in the setting sun.
How soft is Silia! fearful to offend :
The frail-one's advocate, the weak-one's friend, 30
To her, Calista proved her conduct nice;
And good Simplicius asks of her advice.
Sudden, she storms! she raves! You tip the wink,
spare your censure ; Silia does not drink. All eyes may see from what the change arose, All eyes may see-a pimple on her nose.
Papilia, wedded to her amorous spark,
Sighs for the shades-- How charming is a park!'
A park is purchased, but the fair he sees
All bathed in tears-Oh odious, odious trees!' 40
Ladies, like variegated tulips, show,
'Tis 10 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 bewitch'd as oddly as her eyes ;
Less wit than mimic, more a wit than wise:
Strange graces still and stranger flights she had,
Was just not ugly, and was just not mad;
Yet ne'er so sure our passion 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 ! 60
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 siv in state, majestically drunk,
Proud as a peeress, prouder as a punk ;
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 Charlemagne.
As Helluo, late dictator of the feast,
The nose of haut-gout, and the tip of taste, 80
Critiqued your wine, and analysed your meat,
Yet on plain pudding deigned at home to eat;
So Philomede, lecturing all mankind
On the soft passion, and the taste refined,
The address, the delicacy-stoops at once,
And makes her hearty meal upon a dunce.
Flavia's a wit, has too much sense to pray;
To toast our wants and wishes, is her way;
Nor asks of God, but of her stars to give
The mighty blessing, ' while we live, to live.' 90
Then all for death, that opiate of the soul!
Lucretia's dagger, Rosamonda's bowl.
Say, what can cause such impotence of mind ?
A spark too fickle, or a spouse too kind.
Wise wretch! with pleasure too refined to please ;
With too much spirit to be e'er at ease;
With too much quickness ever to be taught ;
With too much thinking to have common thought ;
My You purchase pain with all that joy can give,
And die of nothing but a rage to live.
Turn then from wits, and look on Simon's mate;
No ass so meek, no ass so obstinate:
Or her that own's 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) 1;
Cries, . Ah! how charming if there's no such place!
Or who in sweet vicissitude appears
Of mirth and opium, ratafie and tears,
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
Finds all her life one warfare
earth. Shines in exposing knaves and painting fools, Yet is whate'er she hates and ridicules.
120 No thought advances but her eddy brain Whisks it about, and down it goes again, Full sixty years the world has been her trade, The wisest fool much time has ever made. From loveless youth to unrespected age, No passion gratified, except her rage! So much the fury still outran the wit, The pleasure miss'd her, and the scandal hit. Who breaks with her, provokes revenge from hell, But he's a bolder man who dares be well.
130 Her every turn with violence pursued, Nor more a storm her hate than gratitude : To that each passion turns, or soon or late ; Love, if it makes her yield, must make her hatę: Superiors ? death! and equals ? what a curse! But an inferior not dependant worse. Offend her, and she knows not to forgive; Oblige her, and she'll hate you while you live: But die, and she'll adore you~Then the bust And temple rise-then fall again to dust.
140 Last night, her lord was all that's good and great; A knave this morning, and his will a cheat. Strange! by the means defeated of the ends, By spirit robb’d of power, by warmth of friends, By wealth of followers ! without one distress Sick of herself, through very selfishness! Atossa, cursed with every granted prayer,
Childless with all her children, wants an heir.
To heirs unknown descends the unguarded store,
Or wanders, Heaven-directed, to the poor! 150
Pictures, like these, dear madam, to design,
Asks no firm hand, and no unerring line;
Some wandering touches, some reflected light,
Some flying stroke alone can hit them righ! :
For how should equal colours do the knack?
Cameleons who can paint in white and black ?
• Yet Chloe sure was form’d without a spot.'--
Nature in her then err'd not, but forgot.
• With every pleasing, every prudent part, 169
Say, what can Chloe want ?'—She wants a heart.
She speaks, behaves, and acts just as she ought,
But never, never reach'd one generous thought.
Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour,
Content to dwell in decencies for ever.
So 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,
your secret still in Chloe's ear; But none of Chloe's shall you ever hear. Of all her dears she never slandered one, But cares not if a thousand are undone. Would Chloe know if you're alive or dead? She bids her footman put it in her head. Chloe is prudent-Would you too be wise? Then never break your heart when Chloe dies, 180