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Nor think I praise you ill, when thus I show
What female vanity might fear to know.
Some merit 's mine, to dare to be fincere;
But greater yours, fincerity to bear.

Hard is the fortune that your fex attends;
Women, like princes, find few real friends :
All who approach them their own ends pursue ;
Lovers and Minifters are seldom true.

Hence oft from Reafon heedlefs Beauty ftrays,
And the most trufted guide the most betrays :
Hence, by fond dreams of fancied power amus'd,
When most ye tyrannize, you're most abus'd.
What is your fex's earliest, latest care,
Your heart's fupreme ambition ?-To be fair.
For this, the toilet every thought employs,
Hence all the toils of drefs, and all the joys:
For this, hands, lips, and eyes, are put to school,
And each inftructed feature has its rule:

And yet how few have learnt, when this is given,
Not to difgrace the partial boon of Heaven!

How few with all their pride of form can move!
How few are lovely, that are made for love!
Do you, my fair, endeavour to poffefs
An elegance of mind as well as drefs;
Be that your ornament, and know to please
By graceful Nature's unaffected eafe.

Nor make to dangerous wit a vain pretence,
But wifely reft content with modest sense;
For wit, like wine, intoxicates the brain,
Too strong for feeble woman to sustain:


Of those who claim it more than half have none;
And half of those who have it are undone.

Be ftill fuperior to your fex's arts,
Nor think dishonesty a proof of parts:
For you, the plaineft is the wifeft rule:
A cunning woman is a knavish fool.

Be good yourself, nor think another's fhame
Can raise your merit, or adorn your fame.
Prudes rail at whores, as ftatesmen in difgrace
At minifters, because they wish their place.
Virtue is amiable, mild, ferene;

Without, all beauty; and all peace within:
The honour of a prude is rage and storm,,
'Tis uglinefs in its moft frightful form.
Fiercely it ftands, defying gods and men,
As fiery monfters guard a giant's den.
Seek to be good, but aim not to be great:
A woman's nobleft ftation is retreat :
Her fairest virtues fly from public fight,
Domestic worth, that fhuns too ftrong a light.
To rougher man Ambition's task refign:
'Tis ours in fenates or in courts to fhine,
To labour for a funk corrupted state,
Or dare the rage of Envy, and be great.
One only care your gentle breafts fhould move,
Th' important bufinefs of your life is love;
To this great point direct your conftant aim,
This makes your happiness, and this your fame.
Be never cool referve with paffion join'd;
With caution chufe; but then be fondly kind.


The felfish heart, that but by halves is given,
Shall find no place in Love's delightful heaven ;
Here fweet extremes alone can truly bless :
The virtue of a lover is excefs.

A maid unafk'd may own a well-plac'd flame ;-
Not loving first, but loving wrong, is fhame,
Contemn the little pride of giving pain,
Nor think that conqueft juftifies difdain.
Short is the period of infulting power:
Offended Cupid finds his vengeful hour;
Soon will refume the empire which he gave,
And foon the tyrant fhall become the flave.

Bleft is the maid, and worthy to be bleft,
Whose foul, entire by him the loves poffeft,
Feels every vanity in fondness loft,

And asks no power but that of pleasing most:
Hers is the blifs, in juft return, to prove
The honeft warmth of undiffembled love;
For her, inconftant man might ceafe to range,
And gratitude forbid defire to change.

But, left harsh care the lover's peace destroy,
And roughly blight the tender buds of joy,
Let Reason teach what Paffion fain would hide,
That Hymen's bands by Prudence should be tied,
Venus in vain the wedded pair would crown,
If angry Fortune on their union frown :
Soon will the flattering dream of bliss be o'er,

And cloy'd imagination cheat no more.

Then, waking to the fenfe of lafting pain,

With mutual tears the nuptial couch they stain;


And that fond love, which fhould afford relief,
Does but increase the anguish of their grief:
While both could easier their own forrows bear,
Than the fad knowledge of each other's card.

Yet may you rather feel that virtuous pain,
Than fell your violated charms for gain; 1
Than wed the wretch whom you defpife or hate,
For the vain glare of ufelefs wealth or state.
The most abandon'd prostitutes are they,
Who not to love, but avarice, fall a prey:
Nor aught avails the fpecious name of wife;
A maid fo wedded is a whore for life.

Ev'n in the happiest choice, where favouring Heaven
Has equal love and easy fortune given,

Think not, the Husband gain'd, that all is done :
The prize of happiness must still be won:

And oft, the careless find it to their cost,
The lover in the husband may be loft;
The Graces might alone his heart allure;
They and the Virtues meeting muft fecure.
Let ev'n your prudence wear the pleafing drefs
Of care for him, and anxious tenderness.
From kind concern about his weal or woe,
Let each domeftic duty feem to flow.
The houshold fceptre if he bids you bear,
Make it your pride his fervant to appear:
Endearing thus the common acts of life,
The mistress ftill fhall charm him in the wife;
And wrinkled age fhall unobferv'd come on,
Before his eye perceives one beauty gone :


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Ev'n o'er your cold, your ever-facred urn,
His conftant flame fhall unextinguish'd burn.
Thus I, Belinda, would your charms improve,
And form your heart to all the arts of love.
The task were harder, to fecure my own
Against the power of thofe already known:
For well you twift the fecret chains that bind.
With gentle force the captivated mind,
Skill'd every foft attraction to employ,
Each flattering hope, and each alluring joy..
I own your genius; and from you receive
The rules of pleasing, which to you I give.


Written in the Year 1732.


WHEN Delia on the plain appears,

Aw'd by a thoufand tender fears,

I would approach, but dare not move:
Tell me, my heart, if this be love?


Whene'er the speaks, my ravish'd ear
No other voice but hers can hear,
No other wit but hers approve :
Tell me, my heart, if this be love?


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