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But books, and time, and state affairs,
That innocent delight he took
To fee the virgin mind her book,
Was but the master's fecret joy
In fchool to hear the finest boy.
Her knowledge with her fancy grew;
She hourly prefs'd for fomething new;
Ideas came into her mind
So faft, his leffons lagg'd behind;
She reafon'd, without plodding long,
Nor ever gave her judgement wrong.
But now a fudden change was wrought:
She minds no longer what he taught.
Cadenus was amaz'd, to find
Such marks of a diftracted mind:
For, though the feem'd to liften more
To all he spoke, than e'er before,
He found her thoughts would absent range,
Yet guefs'd not whence could spring the change.
And firft he modeftly conjectures
His pupil might be tir'd with lectures;
Which help'd to mortify his pride,
Yet gave him not the heart to chide:
But, in a mild dejected ftrain,
He wak'd, and found it but a dream;
A project far above his skill;
For nature must be nature ftill.
If he were bolder than became
A fcholar to a courtly dame,
She might excufe a man of letters;
Thus tutors often treat their betters:
And, fince his talk offenfive grew,
He came to take his last adiéu.
Vaneffa, fill'd with just disdain,
Would ftill her dignity maintain,
Inftructed from her early years
To fcorn the art of female tears.
Had he employ'd his time fo long
To teach her what was right and wrong;
Yet could fuch notions entertain
That all his lectures were in vain ?
She own'd the wandering of her thoughts;
But he must answer for her faults.
She well remember'd, to her coft,
That all his leffons were not loft.
Two maxims she could still produce,
And fad experience taught their use ;
That virtue, pleas'd by being shown,
Knows nothing which it dares not own ;
Can make us without fear difclofe
Our inmoft fecrets to our foes:
That common forms were not defign'd
Directors to a noble mind.
Now, faid the nymph, to let you
My actions with your rules agree;
That I can vulgar forms defpife,
And have no fecrets to difguife:
I knew, by what you faid and writ,
How dangerous things were men of wit;
You caution'd me against their charms,
But never gave me equal arms;
Your leffons found the weakest part,
Aim'd at the head, but reach'd the heart.
Cadenus felt within him rife
Shame, difappointment, guilt, furprize.
He knew not how to reconcile
Such language with her ufual style:
And yet her words were fo expreft,
Without diftinguishing her face:
Much lefs could his declining age
Vaneffa's earliest thoughts engage;
And, if her youth indifference met,
His perfon must contempt beget :
Or, grant her paffion be fincere,
How fhall his innocence be clear?
Appearances were all fo ftrong,
The world muft think him in the wrong :
Would fay, he made a treacherous use
Of wit, to flatter and feduce :
The town would fwear, he had betray'd
By magic fpells the harmlefs maid:
And every beau would have his jokes,
That scholars were like other folks;
And, when Platonic flights were over,
The tutor turn'd a mortal lover !
So tender of the young and fair!
It fhew'd a true paternal care —
Five thousand guineas in her purse!
The Doctor might have fancy'd worse.
Hardly at length he filence broke,
And faulter'd every word he spoke;
Interpreting her complaisance,
Juft as a man fans confequence,
She raillied well, he always knew:
Her manner now was fomething new;
And what she spoke was in an air
As ferious as a tragic player.
But those who aim at ridicule
Should fix upon fome certain rule,
Which fairly hints they are in jest,
Elfe he must enter his proteft :
For, let a man be ne'er fo wife,
may be caught with sober lies;
A fcience which he never taught,
And, to be free, was dearly bought;
For, take it in its proper light,
'Tis juft what coxcombs call a bite.
But, not to dwell on things minute,
Vaneffa finish'd the difpute,
Brought weighty arguments to prove
That reason was her guide in love.
She thought he had himself describ'd,
His doctrines when the first imbib'd :
What he had planted, now was grown;.
His virtues fhe might call her own;