Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot
from The Works (1736)
1 Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigu'd I said,
2 Tye up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.
3 The Dog-star rages! nay 'tis past a doubt,
4 All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out:
5 Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
6 They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
7 What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
8 They pierce my thickets, thro' my Grot they glide,
9 By land, by water, they renew the charge,
10 They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
11 No place is sacred, not the Church is free,
12 Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me:
13 Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
14 Happy! to catch me, just at dinner-time.
15 Is there a parson, much be-mus'd in beer,
16 A maudling poetess, a ryming peer,
17 A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
18 Who pens a stanza when he should engross?
19 Is there, who lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls
20 With desp'rate charcoal round his darken'd walls?
21 All fly to Twit'nam and in humble strain
22 Apply to me, to keep them mad, or vain.
23 Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
24 Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause:
25 Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope,
26 And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
27 Friend to my Life! (which did not you prolong,
28 The world had wanted many an idle song)
29 What Drop or Nostrum can this plague remove?
30 Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
31 A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped,
32 If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
33 Seiz'd and ty'd down to judge, how wretched I,
34 Who can't be silent, and who will not lye;
35 To laugh, were want of goodness-and-of-grace,
36 And to be grave, exceeds all pow'r of face.
37 I sit with sad civility, I read
38 With honest anguish, and an aching head;
39 And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
40 This saving council, "Keep your piece nine years."
41 Nine years! cries he, who high in Drury-lane
42 Lull'd by soft Zephyrs thro' the broken pane,
43 Rymes 'ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends,
44 Oblig'd by hunger, and request of friends:
45 "The piece you think is incorrect? why take it,
46 "I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it."
47 Three things another's modest wishes bound,
48 My friendship, and a Prologue, and ten pound.
49 Pitholeon sends to me: "You know his Grace,
50 "I want a patron; ask him for a place."
51 Pitholeon libell'd me---"but here's a letter
52 "Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
53 "Dare you refuse him? Curl invites to dine!
54 "He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine."
55 Bless me! a packet.---"'Tis a stranger sues,
56 "A Virgin Tragedy, an Orphan Muse."
57 If I dislike it, "Furies, death and rage!
58 If I approve, "commend it to the Stage."
59 There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends,
60 The Players and I are, luckily, no friends.
61 Fir'd that the house reject him, "'Sdeath I'll print it
62 "And shame the fools---your int'rest, sir, with Lintot."
63 Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much.
64 "Not sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
65 All my demurs but double his attacks,
66 At last he whispers, "do, and we go snacks.
67 Glad of a quarrel, strait I clap the door,
68 Sir, let me see your works and you no more.
69 'Tis sung, when Midas' Ears began to spring,
70 (Midas, a sacred person and a King)
71 His very Minister who spy'd them first,
72 (Some say his Queen) was forc'd to speak, or burst.
73 And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case,
74 When ev'ry coxcomb perks them in my face,
75 "Good friend forbear! you deal in dang'rous things,
76 "I'd never name Queens, ministers or kings;
77 "Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick,
78 "'Tis nothing"---Nothing if they bite and kick?
79 Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass,
80 That secret to each fool, that he's an ass:
81 The truth once told, (and wherefore should we lie?)
82 The Queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
83 You think this cruel? take it for a rule,
84 No creature smarts so little as a fool.
85 Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break,
86 Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crak:
87 Pit, box, and gall'ry in convulsions hurl'd,
88 Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
89 Who shames a Scribler? break one cobweb thro',
90 He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew:
91 Destroy his fib, or sophistry, in vain,
92 The creature's at his dirty work again;
93 Thron'd in the centre of his thin designs,
94 Proud of a vast extent of flimzy lines!
95 Whom have I hurt? has Poet yet, or Peer,
96 Lost the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnassian sneer?
97 And has not Colly still his lord, and whore?
98 His butchers Henley, his free-masons Moore?
99 Does not one table Arnall still admit?
100 Still to one Bishop Phillips seem a wit?
101 Still Sappho---"Hold! for God-sake---you'll offend,
102 "No names---be calm---learn prudence of a friend:
103 "I too could write, and I am twice as tall,
104 "But foes like these!---One Flatt'rers worse than all;
105 Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right,
106 It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
107 A fool quite angry is quite innocent;
108 Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
109 One dedicates in high heroic prose,
110 And ridicules beyond a hundred foes;
111 One from all Grub-street will my fame defend,
112 And, more abusive, calls himself my friend.
113 This prints my Letters, or expects a bribe,
114 And others roar aloud, "Subscribe, subscribe."
115 There are, who to my person pay their court,
116 I cough like Horace, and tho' lean, am short,
117 Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high,
118 Such Ovid's nose, and Sir! you have an Eye---
119 Go on, obliging creatures, make me see
120 All that disgrac'd my betters, met in me.
121 Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
122 "Just so immortal Maro held his head:
123 And when I die, be sure you let me know,
124 Great Homer dy'd three thousand years ago.
125 Why did I write? what sin to me unknown
126 Dipt me in Ink, my parents, or my own?
127 As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
128 I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
129 I left no calling for this idle trade.
130 No duty broke, no father disobey'd.
131 The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not Wife,
132 To help me thro' this long disease, my life,
133 To second, Arbuthnot! thy Art and care,
134 And teach, the Being you preserv'd, to bear.
135 But why then publish? Granville the polite,
136 And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write,
137 Well-natur'd Garth inflam'd with early praise,
138 And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays;
139 The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read,
140 Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head,
141 And St. John's self (great Dryden's friend before)
142 With open arms receiv'd one Poet more.
143 Happy my studies, when by these approv'd!
144 Happier their author, when by these belov'd!
145 From these the world will judge of men and books,
146 Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cooks.
147 Soft were my numbers, who could take offence
148 While pure Description held the place of sense;
149 Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme,
150 A painted mistress, or a purling stream.
151 Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill;
152 I wish'd the man a dinner, and fate still:
153 Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret;
154 I never answer'd, I was not in debt:
155 If want provok'd, or madness made them print,
156 I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
157 Did some more sober Critics come abroad?
158 If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod.
159 Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence,
160 And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense.
161 Comma's and points they set exactly right.
162 And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite.
163 Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds,
164 From slashing Bentley down to pidling Tibalds.
165 Each wight who reads not, only scans and spells,
166 Each word-catcher who lives on syllables,
167 Ev'n such small critics some regard may claim,
168 Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakespear's name.
169 Pretty! in amber to observe the forms
170 Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms!
171 The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare,
172 But wonder how the devil they got there?
173 Were others angry? I excus'd them too;
174 Well might they rage, I gave them but their due.
175 A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find,
176 But each man's secret standard in his mind,
177 That casting-weight pride adds to emptiness,
178 This, who can gratify? For who can guess?
179 The Bard whom pilf'red Pastorels renown,
180 Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown,
181 Just writes to make his barrenness appear,
182 And strains, from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year:
183 He, who still wanting, tho' he lives on theft,
184 Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left:
185 And he, who now to sense, now nonsense leaning,
186 Means not, but blunders round about a meaning:
187 And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad,
188 It is not poetry, but prose run mad:
189 All these, my modest satire bad translate,
190 And own'd, that nine such poets made a Tate.
191 How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe?
192 And swear, not Addison himself was safe.
193 Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires
194 True Genius kindles, and fair Fame inspires,
195 Blest with each talent, and each art to please,
196 And born to write, converse, and live with ease:
197 Shou'd such a man, too fond to rule alone,
198 Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,
199 View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
200 And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise;
201 Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
202 And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
203 Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
204 Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
205 Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend,
206 A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend;
207 Dreading ev'n fools, by Flatterers besieg'd,
208 And so obliging that he ne'er oblig'd;
209 Like Cato, give his little Senate laws,
210 And sit attentive to his own applause;
211 While Wits and Templers ev'ry sentence raise,
212 And wonder with a foolish face of praise:
213 Who but must laugh if such a man there be?
214 Who would not weep, if Atticus were he?
215 What tho' my Name stood rubric on the walls?
216 Or plaster'd posts, with claps in capitals?
217 Or smoaking forth, a hundred hawkers load,
218 On wings of winds came flying all abroad,
219 I sought no homage from the race that write;
220 I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight;
221 Poems I heeded (now be rym'd so long)
222 No more than thou, great George! a birth-day song.
223 I ne'er with wits nor witlings past my days,
224 To spread about the itch of verse and praise;
225 Nor like a puppy, daggled through the town,
226 To fetch and carry sing-song up and down;
227 Nor at Rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cry'd,
228 With handkerchief and orange at my side;
229 But sick of fops, and poetry, and prate,
230 To Bufo left the whole Castalian state.
231 Proud, as Apollo on his forked hill,
232 Sate full blown Bufo puff'd by ev'ry quill;
233 Fed with soft Dedication all day long,
234 Horace and he went hand in hand in song.
235 His Library, (where busts of poets dead
236 And a true Pindar stood without a head)
237 Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race,
238 Who first his judgment ask'd, and then a place:
239 Much they extoll'd his pictures, much his seat,
240 And flatter'd ev'ry day, and some days eat:
241 Till grown more frugal in his riper days,
242 He pay'd some bards with port, and some with praise,
243 To some a dry rehearsal was assign'd,
244 And others (harder still) he paid in kind.
245 Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh,
246 Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye.
247 But still the great have kindness in reserve,
248 He help'd to bury him he help'd to starve.
249 May some choice Patron bless each gray goose quill!
250 May ev'ry Bavius have his Bufo still!
251 So, when a Statesman wants a day's defence,
252 Or Envy holds a whole week's war with sense,
253 Or simple pride for flatt'ry makes demands,
254 May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands!
255 Blest be the Great, for those they take away,
256 And those they left me---For they left me Gay;
257 Left me to see neglected genius bloom,
258 Neglected die, and tell it on his tomb:
259 Of all thy blameless life the sole return,
260 My Verse, and Queensb'ry weeping o'er thy urn!
261 Oh, let me live my own, and die so too!
262 ("To live and die is all I have to do)
263 Maintain a Poet's dignity and ease,
264 And see what friends, and read what books I please:
265 Above a Patron, tho' I condescend
266 Sometimes to call a Minister my friend.
267 I was not born for courts or great affairs:
268 I pay my debts, believe, and say my pray'rs;
269 Can sleep without a poem in my head,
270 Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.
271 Why am I ask'd, what next shall see the light?
272 Heav'ns! was I born for nothing but to write?
273 Has life no joys for me? or, to be grave,
274 Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save?
275 "I found him close with Swift---Indeed? no doubt
276 "(Cries prating Balbus) something will come out.
277 'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will.
278 "No, such a Genius never can lie still."
279 And then for mine obligingly mistakes
280 The first lampoon Sir Will. or Bubo makes,
281 Poor guiltless I! and can I chuse but smile,
282 When ev'ry coxcomb knows me by my Style?
283 Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
284 That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
285 Give Virtue scandal, Innocence a fear,
286 Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear!
287 But he who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace,
288 Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress,
289 Who loves a lye, lame slander helps about,
290 Who writes a libel, or who copies out:
291 That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name,
292 Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame;
293 Who can your merit selfishly approve,
294 And show the sense of it without the love;
295 Who has the vanity to call you friend,
296 Yet wants the honour injur'd to defend:
297 Who tells whate'er you think, whate'er you say,
298 And, if he lye not, must at least betray:
299 Who to the Dean and silver bell can swear,
300 And sees at Cannon's what was never there;
301 Who reads, but with a lust to misapply,
302 Make Satire a lampoon, and Fiction lye.
303 A lash like mine no honest man shall dread,
304 But all such babling blockheads in his stead.
305 Let Sporus tremble---"What? that thing of silk,
306 "Sporus, that mere white curd of Ass's milk?
307 "Satire or sense alas! can Sporus feel?
308 "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"
309 Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
310 This painted child of dirt, that stinks and stings,
311 Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
312 Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys:
313 So well-bred spaniels civilly delight
314 In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
315 Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,
316 As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
317 Whether in florid impotence he speaks,
318 And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks;
319 Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad,
320 Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad,
321 In puns, or politicks, or tales, or lyes,
322 Or spite, or smut, or rymes, or blasphemies.
323 His wit all see-saw between that and this,
324 Now high, now low, now master up, now miss,
325 And he himself one vile Antithesis.
326 Amphibious thing! that acting either part,
327 The trifling head, or the corrupted heart,
328 Fop at the toilet, flat'trer at the board,
329 Now trips a Lady, and now struts a Lord.
330 Eve's tempter thus the Rabbins have exprest,
331 A Cherub's face, a reptile all the rest,
332 Beauty that shocks you, parts that none can trust,
333 Wit that can creep, and Pride that licks the dust.
334 Not Fortune's worshipper, nor Fashion's fool,
335 Nor Lucre's madman, nor Ambition's tool,
336 Not proud, nor servile; be one Poet's praise,
337 That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways;
338 That Flatt'ry, ev'n to Kings, he held a shame,
339 And thought a Lye in verse or prose the same:
340 That not in Fancy's maze he wander'd long,
341 But stoop'd to Truth, and moraliz'd his song:
342 That not for Fame, but Virtue's better end,
343 He stood the furious foe, the timid friend,
344 The damning critic, half approving wit,
345 The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit;
346 Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had,
347 The dull, the proud, the wicked, or the mad;
348 The distant threats of vengeance on his head,
349 The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed?
350 The tale reviv'd, the lye so oft o'erthrown,
351 Th'imputed trash, and dulness not his own,
352 The morals blacken'd when the writings scape,
353 The libel'd person, and the pictur'd shape;
354 Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread,
355 A friend in exile, or a father, dead;
356 The Whisper, that to greatness still too near,
357 Perhaps, yet vibrates on his Sovereign's ear---
358 Welcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the past:
359 For thee, fair Virtue! welcome even the last!
360 "But why insult the poor, affront the great?"
361 A knave's a knave, to me, in ev'ry state:
362 Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail,
363 Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jayl,
364 A hireling scribler, or a hireling peer,
365 Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire,
366 If on a Pillory, or near a Throne,
367 He gain his Prince's ear, or lose his own.
368 Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit,
369 Sapho can tell you how this man was bit:
370 This dreaded Sat'rist Dennis will confess
371 Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress:
372 So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door,
373 Has drunk with Cibber, nay has rhym'd for Moor:
374 Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply?
375 Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lye:
376 To please a mistress one aspers'd his life,
377 He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife:
378 Let Budgel charge low Grubstreet on his quill,
379 Ann write whate'er he pleas'd except his will;
380 Let the two Curls of Town and Court, abuse
381 His father, mother, body, soul, and muse.
382 Yet why? that Father held it for a rule
383 It was a sin to call our neighbour fool,
384 That harmless Mother thought no wife a whore;
385 Hear this, and spare his family, James More!
386 Unspotted names, and memorable long,
387 If there be force in Virtue, or in Song.
388 Of gentle blood (part shed in Honour's cause,
389 While yet in Britain Honour had applause)
390 Each parent sprang---"What fortune, pray?---their own,
391 And better got than Bestia's from the Throne.
392 Born to no Pride, inheriting no Strife,
393 Nor marrying discord in a noble wife,
394 Stranger to civil and religious rage,
395 The good man walk'd inoxious thro' his age:
396 No Courts he saw, no suits would ever try,
397 Nor dar'd an Oath, nor hazarded a lye:
398 Un-learn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtile art,
399 No language, but the language of the heart:
400 By nature honest, by experience wise,
401 Healthy by temp'rance, and by exercise,
402 His life, tho' long, to sickness past unknown,
403 His death was instant, and without a groan.
404 O grant me thus to live, and thus to die!
405 Who sprung from Kings shall know less joy than I.
406 O Friend! may each domestic bliss be thine!
407 Be no unpleasing Melancholy mine:
408 Me, let the tender office long engage
409 To rock the cradle of reposing Age,
410 With lenient arts extend a Mother's breath,
411 Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death,
412 Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
413 And keep a while one parent from the sky!
414 On cares like these if length of days attend,
415 May heav'n, to bless those days, preserve my friend,
416 Preserve him social, chearful, and serene,
417 And just as rich as when he serv'd a Queen.
418 Whether that blessing be deny'd or giv'n,
419 Thus far was right, the rest belongs to Heav'n.
The Rape of the Lock
An Heroi-Comical Poem. Written in the Year 1712. From The Works (1736)
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sed juvat hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
(Martial, Epigrams 12.84)
1 What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
2 What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
3 I sing---This verse to C---, Muse! is due:
4 This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
5 Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
6 If She inspire, and He approve my lays.
7 Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
8 A well-bred Lord t'assault a gentle Belle?
9 Oh say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
10 Cou'd make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?
11 In tasks so bold, can little men engage,
12 And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty Rage?
13 Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
14 And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day;
15 Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
16 And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
17 Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground,
18 And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound.
19 Belinda still her downy pillow prest,
20 Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy rest:
21 'Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed
22 The morning-dream that hover'd o'er her head.
23 A Youth more glitt'ring than a Birth-night Beau,
24 (That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
25 Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
26 And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say.
27 Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
28 Of thousand bright Inhabitants of Air!
29 If e'er one Vision touch'd thy infant thought,
30 Of all the Nurse and all the Priest have taught;
31 Of airy Elves by moonlight shadows seen,
32 The silver token, and the circled green,
33 Or virgins visited by Angel-pow'rs,
34 With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs;
35 Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
36 Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
37 Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,
38 To Maids alone and Children are reveal'd:
39 What tho' no credit doubting Wits may give?
40 The Fair and Innocent shall still believe.
41 Know then, unnumber'd Spirits round thee fly,
42 The light Militia of the lower sky;
43 These, tho' unseen, are ever on the wing,
44 Hang o'er the Box, and hover round the Ring:
45 Think what an Equipage thou hast in Air,
46 And view with scorn two Pages and a Chair.
47 As now your own, our beings were of old,
48 And once inclos'd in Woman's beauteous mold;
49 Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
50 From earthly Vehicles to these of air.
51 Think not, when Woman's transient breath is fled,
52 That all her vanities at once are dead:
53 Succeeding vanities she still regards,
54 And tho' she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
55 Her joy in gilded Chariots, when alive,
56 And love of Ombre, after death survive.
57 For when the Fair in all their pride expire,
58 To their first Elements the Souls retire:
59 The Sprites of fiery Termagants in Flame
60 Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
61 Soft yielding minds to Water glide away,
62 And sip, with Nymphs, their elemental Tea.
63 The graver Prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
64 In search of mischief still on Earth to roam.
65 The light Coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
66 And sport and flutter in the fields of Air.
67 Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
68 Rejects mankind, is by some Sylph embrac'd:
69 For Spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
70 Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
71 What guards the purity of melting Maids
72 In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
73 Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,
74 The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
75 When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
76 When music softens, and when dancing fires?
77 'Tis but their Sylph, the wise Celestials know,
78 Tho' Honour is the word with Men below.
79 Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
80 For life predestin'd to the Gnomes embrace.
81 These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,
82 When offers are disdain'd, and love deny'd:
83 Then gay Ideas croud the vacant brain,
84 While Peers and Dukes, and all their sweeping train,
85 And Garters, Stars, and Coronets appear,
86 And in soft sounds, Your Grace salutes their ear.
87 'Tis these that early taint the female soul,
88 Instruct the eyes of young Coquettes to roll,
89 Teach Infants cheeks a bidden blush to know,
90 And little hearts to flutter at a Beau.
91 Oft' when the world imagine women stray,
92 The Sylphs thro' mystic mazes guide their way,
93 Thro' all the giddy circle they pursue,
94 And old impertinence expel by new.
95 What tender maid but must a victim fall
96 To one man's treat, but for another's ball?
97 When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
98 If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
99 With varying vanities, from ev'ry part,
100 They shift the moving Toyshop of their heart;
101 Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,
102 Beaus banish beaus, and coaches coaches drive.
103 This erring mortals Levity may call,
104 Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
105 Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
106 A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
107 Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air,
108 In the clear Mirror of thy ruling Star
109 I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
110 E'er to the main this morning sun descend.
111 But heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where:
112 Warn'd by thy Sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
113 This to disclose is all thy guardian can.
114 Beware of all, but most beware of Man!
115 He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
116 Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue.
117 'Twas then Belinda, if report say true,
118 Thy eyes first open'd on a Billet-doux;
119 Wounds, Charms, and Ardors, were no sooner read,
120 But all the Vision vanish'd from thy head.
121 And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd,
122 Each silver Vase in mystic order laid.
123 First, robe'd in white, the nymph intent adores
124 With head uncover'd, the Cosmetic pow'rs.
125 A heav'nly Image in the glass appears,
126 To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
127 Th'inferior Priestess, at her altar's side,
128 Trembling, begins the sacred rites of Pride.
129 Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here
130 The various off'rings of the world appear;
131 From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
132 And decks the Goddess with the glitt'ring spoil.
133 This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
134 And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
135 The Tortoise here and Elephant unite,
136 Transform'd to combs, the speckled, and the white.
137 Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
138 Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux.
139 Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms;
140 The fair each moment rises in her charms,
141 Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
142 And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
143 Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
144 And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
145 The busy Sylphs surround their darling care,
146 These set the head, and those divide the hair,
147 Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
148 And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.
1 Not with more glories, in th'etherial plain,
2 The Sun first rises o'er the purpled main,
3 Than issuing forth, the rival of his beams
4 Lanch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames.
5 Fair Nymphs, and well-drest Youths around her shone,
6 But ev'ry eye was fix'd on her alone.
7 On her white breast a sparkling Cross she wore,
8 Which Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore.
9 Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
10 Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those:
11 Favours to none, to all she smiles extends,
12 Oft' she rejects, but never once offends.
13 Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
14 And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
15 Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride
16 Might hide her faults, if Belles had faults to hide:
17 If to her share some female errors fall,
18 Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all.
19 This Nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
20 Nourish'd two Locks, which graceful hung behind
21 In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
22 With shining ringlets the smooth iv'ry neck:
23 Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
24 And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.
25 With hairy sprindges we the birds betray,
26 Slight lines of hair surprize the finny prey,
27 Fair tresses man's imperial race insnare,
28 And beauty draws us with a single hair.
29 Th'advent'rous Baron the bright locks admir'd,
30 He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd.
31 Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way,
32 By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;
33 For when success a Lover's toil attends,
34 Few ask, if fraud or force attain'd his ends.
35 For this, e'er Phoebus rose, he had implor'd
36 Propitious heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r ador'd,
37 But chiefly Love---to Love an altar built,
38 Of twelve vast French Romances, neatly gilt.
39 There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves;
40 And all the trophies of his former loves.
41 With tender Billet-doux he lights the pyre,
42 And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
43 Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
44 Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
45 The Pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r,
46 The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air.
47 But now secure the painted vessel glides,
48 The sun-beams trembling on the floating tydes;
49 While melting music steals upon the sky,
50 And soften'd sounds along the waters die;
51 Smooth flow the waves, the Zephyrs gently play,
52 Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay.
53 All but the Sylph---with careful thoughts opprest,
54 Th'impending woe sate heavy on his breast.
55 He summons strait his Denizens of air;
56 The lucid squadrons round the sails repair:
57 Soft o'er the shrouds aerial whispers breathe,
58 That seem'd but Zephyrs to the train beneath.
59 Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold,
60 Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
61 Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
62 Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light.
63 Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
64 Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew,
65 Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies,
66 Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
67 While ev'ry beam new transient colours flings,
68 Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.
69 Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
70 Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
71 His purple pinions opening to the sun,
72 He rais'd his azure wand, and thus begun.
73 Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear,
74 Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Dæmons hear!
75 Ye know the spheres and various tasks assign'd
76 By laws eternal to th'aerial kind.
77 Some in the fields of purest Æther play,
78 And bask and whiten in the blaze of day.
79 Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high,
80 Or roll the planets thro' the boundless sky.
81 Some less refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light
82 Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
83 Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
84 Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
85 Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
86 Or o'er the glebe distill the kindly rain.
87 Others on earth o'er human race preside,
88 Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide:
89 Of these the chief the care of Nations own,
90 And guard with Arms divine the British Throne.
91 Our humbler province is to tend the Fair;
92 Not a less pleasing, tho' less glorious care:
93 To save the powder from too rude a gale,
94 Nor let th'imprison'd essences exhale;
95 To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs;
96 To steal from rainbows e'er they drop in show'rs
97 A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
98 Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs;
99 Nay oft', in dreams, invention we bestow,
100 To change a Flounce, or add a Furbelow.
101 This day, black Omens threat the brightest Fair
102 That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care;
103 Some dire disaster, or by force, or slight;
104 But what, or where, the fates have wrapt in night.
105 Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
106 Or some frail China jar receive a flaw,
107 Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,
108 Forget her pray'rs, or miss a masquerade,
109 Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;
110 Or whether Heav'n has doom'd that Shock must fall.
111 Haste then, ye spirits! to your charge repair;
112 The flutt'ring fan be Zephyretta's care;
113 The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign;
114 And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
115 Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav'rite Lock;
116 Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
117 To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
118 We trust th'important charge, the Petticoat:
119 Oft' have we known that seven-fold fence to fail,
120 Tho' stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of whale.
121 Form a strong line about the silver bound,
122 And guard the wide circumference around.
123 Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
124 His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large
, 125 Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins,
126 Be stop'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins;
127 Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie,
128 Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
129 Gums and Pomatums shall his flight restrain,
130 While clog'd he beats his silken wings in vain;
131 Or Alom stypticks with contracting pow'r
132 Shrink his thin essence like a rivell'd flow'r:
133 Or as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
134 The giddy motion of the whirling Mill,
135 In fumes of burning Chocolate shall glow,
136 And tremble at the sea that froaths below!
137 He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend;
138 Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend;
139 Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair;
140 Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
141 With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
142 Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate.
1 Close by those meads, for ever crown'd with flow'rs,
2 Where Thames with pride surveys his rising tow'rs,
3 There stands a structure of majestic frame,
4 Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its name.
5 Here Britain's statesmen oft' the fall foredoom
6 Of foreign Tyrants, and of Nymphs at home;
7 Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
8 Dost sometimes counsel take---and sometimes Tea.
9 Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort,
10 To taste a while the pleasures of a Court;
11 In various talk th'instructive hours they past,
12 Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
13 One speaks the glory of the British Queen,
14 And one describes a charming Indian screen;
15 A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes;
16 At ev'ry word a reputation dies.
17 Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat,
18 With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.
19 Mean while declining from the noon of day,
20 The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray;
21 The hungry Judges soon the sentence sign,
22 And wretches hang that jury-men may dine;
23 The merchant from th'Exchange returns in peace,
24 And the long labours of the Toilet cease.
25 Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites,
26 Burns to encounter two advent'rous Knights,
27 At Ombre singly to decide their doom;
28 And swells her breast with conquests yet to come.
29 Strait the three bands prepare in arms to join,
30 Each band the number of the sacred nine.
31 Soon as she spreads her hand, th'aerial guard
32 Descend, and sit on each important card:
33 First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore,
34 Then each, according to the rank they bore;
35 For Sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race,
36 Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place.
37 Behold, four Kings in majesty rever'd,
38 With hoary whiskers and a forky beard;
39 And four fair Queens whose hands sustain a flow'r,
40 Th' expressive emblem of their softer pow'r;
41 Four Knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band,
42 Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand;
43 And particolour'd troops, a shining train,
44 Draw forth to combat on the velvet plain.
45 The skilful Nymph reviews her force with care:
46 Let Spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they were.
47 Now move to war her sable Matadores,
48 In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors.
49 Spadillio first, unconquerable Lord!
50 Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board.
51 As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
52 And march'd a victor from the verdant field.
53 Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard
54 Gain'd but one trump and one Plebeian card.
55 With his broad sabre next, a chief in years,
56 The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
57 Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveal'd,
58 The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceal'd.
59 The rebel Knave, who dares his prince engage,
60 Proves the just victim of his royal rage.
61 Ev'n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o'erthrew,
62 And mow'd down armies in the fights of Lu,
63 Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid,
64 Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade!
65 Thus far both armies to Belinda yield;
66 Now to the Baron fate inclines the field.
67 His warlike Amazon her host invades,
68 Th'imperial consort of the crown of Spades.
69 The Club's black Tyrant first her victim dy'd,
70 Spite of his haughty mien, and barb'rous pride:
71 What boots the regal circle on his head,
72 His giant limbs, in state unwieldly spread;
73 That long behind he trails his pompous robe,
74 And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe?
75 The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace;
76 Th' embroider'd King who shows but half his face,
77 And his refulgent Queen, with pow'rs combin'd,
78 Of broken troops an easy conquest find.
79 Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen,
80 With throngs promiscuous strow the level green.
81 Thus when dispers'd a routed army runs,
82 Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons,
83 With like confusion different nations fly,
84 Of various habit, and of various dye,
85 The pierc'd battalions dis-united fall,
86 In heaps on heaps; one fate o'erwhelms them all.
87 The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts,
88 And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts.
89 At this, the blood the virgin's cheek forsook,
90 A livid paleness spreads o'er all her look;
91 She sees, and trembles at th'approaching ill,
92 Just in the jaws of ruin, and Codille.
93 And now, (as oft' in some distemper'd State)
94 On one nice Trick depends the gen'ral fate.
95 An Ace of Hearts steps forth: The King unseen
96 Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn'd his captive Queen:
97 He springs to vengeance with an eager pace,
98 And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace.
99 The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky;
100 The walls, the woods, and long canals reply.
101 Oh thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate,
102 Too soon dejected, and too soon elate!
103 Sudden, these honours shall be snatch'd away,
104 And curs'd for ever this victorious day.
105 For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown'd,>
106 The berries crackle, and the mill turns round;
107 On shining Altars of Japan they raise
108 The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze:
109 From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide,
110 While China's earth receives the smoaking tyde:
111 At once they gratify their scent and taste,
112 And frequent cups prolong the rich repaste.
113 Strait hover round the Fair her airy band;
114 Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming liquor fann'd,
115 Some o'er her lap their careful plumes display'd,
116 Trembling, and conscious of the rich brocade.
117 Coffee, (which makes the politician wise,
118 And see thro' all things with his half-shut eyes)
119 Sent up in vapours to the Baron's brain
120 New stratagems, the radiant Lock to gain.
121 Ah cease, rash youth! desist e'er 'tis too late,
122 Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's Fate!
123 Chang'd to a bird, and sent to flit in air,
124 She dearly pays for Nisus' injur'd hair!
125 But when to mischief mortals bend their will,
126 How soon they find fit instruments of ill?
127 Just then, Clarissa drew with tempting grace
128 A two-edg'd weapon from her shining case;
129 So Ladies in Romance assist their Knight,
130 Present the spear, and arm him for the fight.
131 He takes the gift with rev'rence, and extends
132 The little engine on his finger's ends;
133 This just behind Belinda's neck he spread,
134 As o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head.
135 Swift to the Lock a thousand Sprites repair,
136 A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair;
137 And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear;
138 Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew near.
139 Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought
140 The close recesses of the Virgin's thought;
141 As on the nosegay in her breast reclin'd,
142 He watch'd th'Ideas rising in her mind,
143 Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art,
144 An earthly Lover lurking at her heart.
145 Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his pow'r expir'd,
146 Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir'd.
147 The Peer now spreads the glitt'ring Forfex wide,
148 T'inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide.
149 Ev'n then, before the fatal engine clos'd,
150 A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd;
151 Fate urg'd the sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain,
152 (But airy substance soon unites again)
153 The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
154 From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!
155 Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
156 And screams of horror rend th'affrighted skies.
157 Not louder shrieks to pitying heav'n are cast,
158 When husbands or when lapdogs breathe their last;
159 Or when rich China vessels fall'n from high,
160 In glitt'ring dust, and painted fragments lie!
161 Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine,
162 (The Victor cry'd) the glorious Prize is mine!
163 While fish in streams, or birds delight in air,
164 Or in a Coach and six the British Fair,
165 As long as Atalantis shall be read,
166 Or the small pillow grace a Lady's bed,
167 While visits shall be paid on solemn days,
168 When num'rous wax-lights in bright order blaze,
169 While nymphs take treats, or assignations give,
170 So long my honour, name, and praise shall live!
171 What Time wou'd spare, from Steel receives its date,
172 And monuments, like men, submit to fate!
173 Steel could the labour of the Gods destroy,
174 And strike to dust th'imperial tow'rs of Troy;
175 Steel could the works of mortal pride confound,
176 And hew triumphal arches to the ground.
177 What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs shou'd feel
178 The conqu'ring force of unresisted steel?
1 But anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress'd,
2 And secret passions labour'd in her breast.
3 Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive,
4 Not scornful virgins who their charms survive,
5 Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss,
6 Not ancient ladies when refus'd a kiss,
7 Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die,
8 Not Cynthia when her manteau's pinn'd awry,
9 E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair,
10 As thou, sad Virgin! for thy ravish'd Hair.
11 For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew,
12 And Ariel weeping from Belinda flew,
13 Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
14 As ever sully'd the fair-face of light,
15 Down to the central earth, his proper scene,
16 Repair'd to search the gloomy Cave of Spleen.
17 Swift on his sooty pinions flits the Gnome,
18 And in a vapour reach'd the dismal dome.
19 No chearful breeze this sullen region knows,
20 The dreaded East is all the wind that blows.
21 Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air,
22 And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare,
23 She sighs for ever on her pensive bed,
24 Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
25 Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place,
26 But diff'ring far in figure and in face.
27 Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid,
28 Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd;
29 With store of pray'rs, for mornings, nights, and noons,
30 Her hand is fill'd; her bosom with lampoons.
31 There Affectation, with a sickly mien,
32 Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen,
33 Practis'd to lisp, and hang the head aside,
34 Faints into airs and languishes with pride,
35 On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe,
36 Wrapt in a gown, for sickness, and for show.
37 The fair-ones feel such maladies as these,
38 When each new night-dress gives a new disease.
39 A constant Vapour o'er the palace flies;
40 Strange phantoms rising as the mists arise;
41 Dreadful, as hermit's dreams in haunted shades,
42 Or bright, as visions of expiring maids.
43 Now glaring fiends, and snakes on rolling spires,
44 Pale spectres, gaping tombs, and purple fires:
45 Now lakes of liquid gold, Elysian scenes,
46 And crystal domes, and Angels in machines.
47 Unnumber'd throngs on ev'ry side are seen,
48 Of bodies chang'd to various forms by Spleen.
49 Here living Tea-pots stand, one arm held out,
50 One bent; the handle this, and that the spout:
51 A Pipkin there, like Homer's Tripod walks;
52 Here sighs a Jar, and there a Goose-pye talks;
53 Men prove with child, as pow'rful fancy works,
54 And maids turn'd bottles, call aloud for corks.
55 Safe past the Gnome thro' this fantastic band,
56 A branch of healing Spleenwort in his hand.
57 Then thus address'd the pow'r---Hail wayward Queen!
58 Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen:
59 Parent of vapours and of female wit,
60 Who give th'hysteric, or poetic fit,
61 On various tempers act by various ways,
62 Make some take physic, others scribble plays;
63 Who cause the proud their visits to delay,
64 And send the godly in a pett, to pray.
65 A Nymph there is, that all thy pow'r disdains,
66 And thousands more in equal mirth maintains.
67 But oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil a grace,
68 Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,
69 Like Citron-waters matrons cheeks inflame,
70 Or change complexions at a losing game;
71 If e'er with airy horns I planted heads,
72 Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
73 Or caus'd suspicion when no soul was rude,
74 Or discompos'd the head-dress of a Prude,
75 Or e'er to costive lap-dog gave disease,
76 Which not the tears of brightest eyes could ease:
77 Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin:
78 That single act gives half the world the spleen.
79 The Goddess with a discontented air
80 Seems to reject him, tho' she grants his pray'r.
81 A wond'rous Bag with both her hands she binds,
82 Like that where once Ulysses held the winds;
83 There she collects the force of female lungs,
84 Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues.
85 A Vial next she fills with fainting fears,
86 Soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears.
87 The Gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away,
88 Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to day.
89 Sunk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he found,
90 Her eyes dejected and her hair unbound.
91 Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent,
92 And all the Furies issued at the vent.
93 Belinda burns with more than mortal ire,
94 And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire.
95 O wretched maid! she spread her hands, and cry'd,
96 (While Hampton's echoes, wretched maid! reply'd)
97 Was it for this you took such constant care
98 The bodkin, comb, and essence to prepare?
99 For this your locks in paper durance bound,
100 For this with tort'ring irons wreath'd around?
101 For this with fillets strain'd your tender head,
102 And bravely bore the double loads of lead?
103 Gods! shall the ravisher display your hair,
104 While the Fops envy, and the Ladies stare!
105 Honour forbid! at whose unrival'd shrine
106 Ease, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign.
107 Methinks already I your tears survey,
108 Already hear the horrid things they say,
109 Already see you a degraded toast,
110 And all your honour in a whisper lost!
111 How shall I, then, your helpless fame defend?
112 'Twill then be infamy to seem your friend!
113 And shall this prize, th'inestimable prize,
114 Expos'd thro' crystal to the gazing eyes,
115 And heighten'd by the diamond's circling rays,
116 On that rapacious hand for ever blaze?
117 Sooner shall grass in Hyde-park Circus grow,
118 And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow;
119 Sooner let earth, air, sea, to Chaos fall,
120 Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all!
121 She said; then raging to Sir Plume repairs,
122 And bids her Beau demand the precious hairs:
123 (Sir Plume, of amber Snuff-box justly vain,
124 And the nice conduct of a clouded cane)
125 With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face,
126 He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case,
127 And thus broke out---"My Lord, why, what the devil?
128 "Z---ds! damn the lock! 'fore Gad, you must be civil!
129 "Plague on't! 'tis past a jest---nay prithee, pox!
130 "Give her the hair"---he spoke, and rapp'd his box.
131 It grieves me much (reply'd the Peer again)
132 Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain.
133 But by this Lock, this sacred Lock I swear,
134 (Which never more shall join its parted hair;
135 Which never more its honours shall renew,
136 Clip'd from the lovely head where late it grew)
137 That while my nostrils draw the vital air,
138 This hand which won it, shall for ever wear.
139 He spoke, and speaking, in proud triumph spread
140 The long-contended honours of her head.
141 But Umbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so;
142 He breaks the Vial whence the sorrows flow.
143 Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears,
144 Her eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in tears;
145 On her heav'd bosom hung her drooping head,
146 Which, with a sigh, she rais'd; and thus she said.
147 For ever curs'd be this detested day,
148 Which snatch'd my best, my fav'rite curl away!
149 Happy! ah ten times happy had I been,
150 If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen!
151 Yet am not I the first mistaken maid,
152 By love of Courts to num'rous ills betray'd.
153 Oh had I rather un-admir'd remain'd
154 In some lone isle, or distant Northern land;
155 Where the gilt Chariot never marks the way,
156 Where none learn Ombre, none e'er taste Bohea!
157 There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye,
158 Like roses, that in desarts bloom and die.
159 What mov'd my mind with youthful Lords to roam?
160 O had I stay'd, and said my pray'rs at home!
161 'Twas this, the morning omens seem'd to tell;
162 Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box fell;
163 The tott'ring China shook without a wind,
164 Nay Poll sate mute, and Shock was most unkind!
165 A Sylph too warn'd me of the threats of fate,
166 In mystic visions, now believ'd too late!
167 See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs!
168 My hands shall rend what ev'n thy rapine spares:
169 These, in two sable ringlets taught to break,
170 Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck;
171 The sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
172 And in its fellow's fate foresees its own;
173 Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal sheers demands,
174 And tempts once more thy sacrilegious hands.
175 Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize
176 Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these!
1 She said: the pitying audience melt in tears.
2 But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the Baron's ears.
3 In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
4 For who can move when fair Belinda fails?
5 Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
6 While Anna begg'd and Dido rage'd in vain.
7 Then grave Clarissa graceful wav'd her fan;
8 Silence ensu'd, and thus the nymph began.
9 Say why are Beauties prais'd and honour'd most,
10 The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast?
11 Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
12 Why Angels call'd, and Angel-like ador'd?
13 Why round our coaches croud the white-glov'd Beaus,
14 Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows?
15 How vain are all these glories, all our pains,
16 Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains:
17 That men may say, when we the front-box grace,
18 Behold the first in virtue, as in face!
19 Oh! if to dance all night, and dress all day,
20 Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away;
21 Who would not scorn what houswife's cares produce,
22 Or who would learn one earthly thing of use?
23 To patch, nay ogle, might become a Saint,
24 Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
25 But since, alas! frail beauty must decay,
26 Curl'd or uncurl'd, since Locks will turn to grey;
27 Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,
28 And she who scorns a man, must die a maid;
29 What then remains but well our pow'r to use,
30 And keep good-humour still whate'er we lose?
31 And trust me, dear! good-humour can prevail,
32 When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding fail.
33 Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
34 Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
35 So spoke the Dame, but no applause ensu'd;
36 Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her Prude.
37 To arms, to arms! the fierce Virago cries,
38 And swift as lightning to the combat flies.
39 All side in parties, and begin th'attack;
40 Fans clap, silks russle, and tough whalebones crack;
41 Heroes and Heroines shouts confus'dly rise,
42 And base, and treble voices strike the skies.
43 No common weapons in their hands are found,
44 Like Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
45 So when bold Homer makes the Gods engage,
46 And heav'nly breasts with human passions rage;
47 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona, Hermes arms;
48 And all Olympus rings with loud alarms:
49 Jove's thunder roars, heav'n trembles all around;
50 Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound;
51 Earth shakes her nodding tow'rs, the ground gives way,
52 And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
53 Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height
54 Clap'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight:
55 Prop'd on their bodkin spears, the Sprites survey
56 The growing combat, or assist the fray.
57 While thro' the press enrag'd Thalestris flies,
58 And scatters deaths around from both her eyes,
59 A Beau and Witling perish'd in the throng,
60 One dy'd in metaphor, and one in song.
61 "O cruel nymph! a living death I bear,"
62 Cry'd Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair.
63 A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast,
64 Those eyes are made so killing---was his last.
65 Thus on Mæander's flow'ry margin lies
66 Th'expiring Swan, and as he sings he dies.
67 When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down,
68 Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown;
69 She smil'd to see the doughty hero slain,
70 But, at her smile, the Beau reviv'd again.
71 Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air,
72 Weighs the Men's wits against the Lady's hair;
73 The doubtful beam long nods from side to side;
74 At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside.
75 See fierce Belinda on the Baron flies,
76 With more than usual lightning in her eyes:
77 Nor fear'd the Chief th'unequal fight to try,
78 Who sought no more than on his foe to die.
79 But this bold Lord with manly strength endu'd,
80 She with one finger and a thumb subdu'd:
81 Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew,
82 A charge of Snuff the wily virgin threw;
83 The Gnomes direct, to ev'ry atome just,
84 The pungent grains of titillating dust.
85 Sudden, with starting tears each eye o'erflows,
86 And the high dome re-echoes to his nose.
87 Now meet thy fate, incens'd Belinda cry'd,
88 And drew a deadly bodkin from her side.
89 The same, his ancient personage to deck,
90 Her great great grandsire wore about his neck,
91 In three seal-rings; which after, melted down,
92 Form'd a vast buckle for his widow's gown:
93 Her infant grandame's whistle next it grew,
94 The bells she jingled, and the whistle blew;
95 Then in a bodkin grac'd her mother's hairs,
96 Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.)
97 Boast not my fall (he cry'd) insulting foe!
98 Thou by some other shalt be laid as low.
99 Nor think, to die dejects my lofty mind:
100 All that I dread is leaving you behind!
101 Rather than so, ah let me still survive,
102 And burn in Cupid's flames,---but burn alive.
103 Restore the Lock! she cries; and all around
104 Restore the Lock! the vaulted roofs rebound.
105 Not fierce Othello in so loud a strain
106 Roar'd for the handkerchief that caus'd his pain.
107 But see how oft' ambitious aims are cross'd,
108 And chiefs contend 'till all the prize is lost!
109 The Lock, obtain'd with guilt, and kept with pain,
110 In ev'ry place is sought, but sought in vain:
111 With such a prize no mortal must be blest,
112 So heav'n decrees! with heav'n who can contest?
113 Some thought it mounted to the Lunar sphere,
114 Since all things lost on earth are treasur'd there.
115 There Hero's wits are kept in pond'rous vases;
116 And Beau's in snuff-boxes and tweezer-cases.
117 There broken vows, and death-bed alms are found;
118 And lover's hearts with ends of ribband bound,
119 The courtier's promises, and sick man's pray'rs,
120 The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs,
121 Cages for gnats, and chains to yoak a flea,
122 Dry'd butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.
123 But trust the Muse---she saw it upward rise,
124 Tho' mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes:
125 (So Rome's great founder to the heav'ns withdrew,
126 To Proculus alone confess'd in view)
127 A sudden Star, it shot thro' liquid air,
128 And drew behind a radiant trail of hair.
129 Not Berenice's Locks first rose so bright,
130 The heav'ns bespangling with dishevel'd light.
131 The Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies,
132 And pleas'd pursue its progress thro' the skies.
133 This the Beau-monde shall from the Mall survey,
134 And hail with music its propitious ray.
135 This the blest Lover shall for Venus take,
136 And send up vows from Rosamonda's lake.
137 This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies,
138 When next he looks thro' Galilæo's eyes;
139 And hence th' egregious wizard shall foredoom
140 The fate of Louis, and the fall of Rome.
141 Then cease, bright Nymph! to mourn thy ravish'd hair,
142 Which adds new glory to the shining sphere!
143 Not all the tresses that fair head can boast,
144 Shall draw such envy as the Lock you lost.
145 For, after all the murders of your eye,
146 When, after millions slain, yourself shall die;
147 When those fair suns shall set, as set they must,
148 And all those tresses shall be laid in dust;
149 This Lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame,
150 And 'midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name.
A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General
His Grace! impossible! what, dead!
Of old age too, and in his bed!
And could that mighty warrior fall,
And so inglorious, after all?
Well, since he's gone, no matter how,
The last loud trump must wake him now;
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
He'd wish to sleep a little longer.
And could he be indeed so old
As by the newspapers we're told?
Threescore, I think, is pretty high;
'Twas time in conscience he should die!
This world he cumber'd long enough;
He burnt his candle to the snuff;
And that's the reason, some folks think,
He left behind so great a stink.
Behold his funeral appears,
Nor widows' sighs, nor orphans' tears,
Wont at such times each heart to pierce,
Attend the progress of his hearse.
But what of that? his friends may say,
He had those honours in his day.
True to his profit and his pride,
He made them weep before he died
Come hither, all ye empty things!
Ye bubbles rais'd by breath of kings!
Who float upon the tide of state;
Come hither, and behold your fate!
Let pride be taught by this rebuke,
How very mean a thing's a duke;
From all his ill_got honours flung,
Turn'd to that dirt from whence he sprung
The Lady's Dressing Room
Five hours, (and who can do it less in?)
By haughty Celia spent in dressing;
The goddess from her chamber issues,
Arrayed in lace, brocades, and tissues.
Strephon, who found the room was void
And Betty otherwise employed,
Stole in and took a strict survey
Of all the litter as it lay;
Whereof, to make the matter clear,
An inventory follows here.
And first a dirty smock appeared,
Beneath the arm-pits well besmeared.
Strephon, the rogue, displayed it wide
And turned it round on every side.
On such a point few words are best,
And Strephon bids us guess the rest;
And swears how damnably the men lie
In calling Celia sweet and cleanly.
Now listen while he next produces
The various combs for various uses,
Filled up with dirt so closely fixt,
No brush could force a way betwixt.
A paste of composition rare,
Sweat, dandruff, powder, lead and hair;
A forehead cloth with oil upon't
To smooth the wrinkles on her front.
Here alum flower to stop the steams
Exhaled from sour unsavory streams;
There night-gloves made of Tripsy's hide,
Bequeath'd by Tripsy when she died,
With puppy water, beauty's help,
Distilled from Tripsy's darling whelp;
Here gallypots and vials placed,
Some filled with washes, some with paste,
Some with pomatum, paints and slops,
And ointments good for scabby chops.
Hard by a filthy basin stands,
Fouled with the scouring of her hands;
The basin takes whatever comes,
The scrapings of her teeth and gums,
A nasty compound of all hues,
For here she spits, and here she spews.
But oh! it turned poor Strephon's bowels,
When he beheld and smelt the towels,
Begummed, besmattered, and beslimed
With dirt, and sweat, and ear-wax grimed.
No object Strephon's eye escapes:
Here petticoats in frowzy heaps;
Nor be the handkerchiefs forgot
All varnished o'er with snuff and snot.
The stockings, why should I expose,
Stained with the marks of stinking toes;
Or greasy coifs and pinners reeking,
Which Celia slept at least a week in?
A pair of tweezers next he found
To pluck her brows in arches round,
Or hairs that sink the forehead low,
Or on her chin like bristles grow.
The virtues we must not let pass,
Of Celia's magnifying glass.
When frighted Strephon cast his eye on't
It shewed the visage of a giant.
A glass that can to sight disclose
The smallest worm in Celia's nose,
And faithfully direct her nail
To squeeze it out from head to tail;
(For catch it nicely by the head,
It must come out alive or dead.)
Why Strephon will you tell the rest?
And must you needs describe the chest?
That careless wench! no creature warn her
To move it out from yonder corner;
But leave it standing full in sight
For you to exercise your spite.
In vain, the workman shewed his wit
With rings and hinges counterfeit
To make it seem in this disguise
A cabinet to vulgar eyes;
For Strephon ventured to look in,
Resolved to go through thick and thin;
He lifts the lid, there needs no more:
He smelt it all the time before.
As from within Pandora's box,
When Epimetheus oped the locks,
A sudden universal crew
Of humane evils upwards flew,
He still was comforted to find
That Hope at last remained behind;
So Strephon lifting up the lid
To view what in the chest was hid,
The vapours flew from out the vent.
But Strephon cautious never meant
The bottom of the pan to grope
And foul his hands in search of Hope.
O never may such vile machine
Be once in Celia's chamber seen!
O may she better learn to keep
"Those secrets of the hoary deep"!
As mutton cutlets, prime of meat,
Which, though with art you salt and beat
As laws of cookery require
And toast them at the clearest fire,
If from adown the hopeful chops
The fat upon the cinder drops,
To stinking smoke it turns the flame
Poisoning the flesh from whence it came;
And up exhales a greasy stench
For which you curse the careless wench;
So things which must not be exprest,
When plumpt into the reeking chest,
Send up an excremental smell
To taint the parts from whence they fell,
The petticoats and gown perfume,
Which waft a stink round every room.
Thus finishing his grand survey,
Disgusted Strephon stole away
Repeating in his amorous fits,
Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!
But vengeance, Goddess never sleeping,
Soon punished Strephon for his peeping:
His foul Imagination links
Each dame he see with all her stinks;
And, if unsavory odors fly,
Conceives a lady standing by.
All women his description fits,
And both ideas jump like wits
By vicious fancy coupled fast,
And still appearing in contrast.
I pity wretched Strephon blind
To all the charms of female kind.
Should I the Queen of Love refuse
Because she rose from stinking ooze?
To him that looks behind the scene
Satira's but some pocky queen.
When Celia in her glory shows,
If Strephon would but stop his nose
(Who now so impiously blasphemes
Her ointments, daubs, and paints and creams,
Her washes, slops, and every clout
With which he makes so foul a rout),
He soon would learn to think like me
And bless his ravished sight to see
Such order from confusion sprung,
Such gaudy tulips raised from dung.
On Stella's Birth-Day 1719
Stella this Day is thirty four,
(We shan't dispute a Year or more)
However Stella, be not troubled,
Although thy Size and Years are doubled,
Since first I saw Thee at Sixteen
The brightest Virgin on the Green,
So little is thy Form declin'd
Made up so largely in thy Mind.
Oh, woud it please the Gods to split
Thy Beauty, Size, and Years, and Wit,
No Age could furnish out a Pair
Of Nymphs so graceful, Wise and fair
With half the Lustre of your Eyes,
With half your Wit, your Years and Size:
And then before it grew too late,
How should I beg of gentle Fate,
(That either Nymph might have her Swain,)
To split my Worship too in twain.