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Corinna, with that youthful air,
Is thirty, and a bit to spare:
Her fondness for a certain earl
Began when I was but a girl |
Phillis, who but a month ago
Was marry'd to the Tunbridge beau,
I saw coquetting t'other night
In public with that odious knight !
They railly'd next Vanessa's dress:
That gown was made for old Queen Bess.
Dear Madam, let me see your head:
Don't you intend to put on red?
A petticoat without a hoop !
Sure, you are not asham'd to stoop!
With handsome garters at your knees,
No matter what a fellow sees. -
Fill'd with disdain, with rage inflam'd,
Both of herself and sex asham'd,
The nymph stood silent out of spite,
Nor would vouchsafe to set them right.
Away the fair detractors went,
And gave by turns their censures vent.
She's not so handsome in my eyes:
For wit, I wonder where it lies!
She's fair and clean, and that's the most:
But why proclaim her for a toast?
A baby face; no life, no airs,
But what she learn’d at country-fairs;
Scarce knows what difference is between
Rich Flanders lace and colberteen.
I'll undertake, my little Nancy
In flounces hath a better fancy!
With all her wit, I would not ask
Her judgment how to buy a mask.
We begg'd her but to patch her face,
She never hit one proper place;
Which every girl at five years old
Can do as soon as she is told.
I own, that out-of-fashion stuff
Becomes the creature well enough.
The girl might pass, if we could get her
To know the world a little better.
(To know the world ! a modern phrase
For visits, ombre, balls, and plays.)
Thus, to the world’s perpetual shame,
The Queen of Beauty lost her aim;
Too late with grief she understood,
Pallas had done more harm than good:
For great examples are but vain,
Where ignorance begets disdain.
Both sexes, arm'd with guilt and spite,
Against Vanessa's power unite:
To copy her, few nymphs aspir'd;
Her virtues fewer swains admir’d.
So stars beyond a certain height
Give mortals neither heat nor light.
Yet some of either sex, endow’d
With gifts superior to the crowd,
With virtue, knowledge, taste, and wit,
She condescended to admit;
With pleasing art she could reduce
Men's talents to their proper use;
And with address each genius held
To that wherein it most excell'd ;
Thus, making others' wisdom known,
Could please them, and improve her own.
A modest youth said something new ;
She plac'd it in the strongest view.
All humble worth she strove to raise;
Would not be prais'd, yet lov'd to praise.
The learned met with free approach,
Although they came not in a coach:
Some clergy too she would allow,
Nor quarrel'd at their awkward bow;
But this was for Cadenus' sake,
A gownman of a different make;
Whom Pallas, once Vanessa's tutor,
Had fix’d on for her coadjutor.
But Cupid, full of mischief, longs
To vindicate his mother's wrongs.
On Pallas all attempts are vain:
One way he knows to give her pain;
Vows on Vanessa's heart to take
Due vengeance, for her patron's sake.
Those early seeds by Venus sown,
In spite of Pallas, now were grown;
And Cupid hop'd they would improve
By time, and ripen into love.
The boy made use of all his craft,
In vain discharging many a shaft,
Pointed at colonels, lords, and beaux:
Cadenus warded off the blows;
For, placing still some book betwixt,
The darts were in the cover fix’d,
Or, often blunted and recoil'd,
On Plutarch's Morals struck, were spoil’d.
The Queen of Wisdom could foresee,
But not prevent the Fates' decree:
And human caution tries in vain
To break that adamantine chain.
Vanessa, though by Pallas taught,
By love invulnerable thought,
Searching in books for wisdom's aid,
Was, in the very search, betray'd.
Cupid, though all his darts were lost,
Yet still resolv'd to spare no cost:
He could not answer to his fame
The triumphs of that stubborn dame,
A nymph so hard to be subdued,
Who neither was comuette nor prude.
I find, said he, she wants a doctor,
Both to adore her, and instruct her:
I'll give her what she most admires,
Among those venerable sires.
Cadenus is a subject fit,
Grown old in politics and wit,
Caress'd by ministers of state,
Of half mankind the dread and hate.
Whate'er vexations love attend,
She need no rivals apprehend.
Her sex, with universal voice,
Must laugh at her capricious choice,
Cadenus many things had writ:
Vanessa much esteem’d his wit,
And call'd for his poetic works: Meantime the boy in secret lurks; And, while the book was in her hand, The urchin from his private stand Took aim, and shot with all his strength A dart of such prodigious length, It pierc'd the feeble volume through, And deep transfix’d her bosom too. Some lines, more moving than the rest, Stuck to the point that pierc'd her breast, And, borne directly to the heart, With pains unknown, increas'd her smart. Vanessa, not in years a score, Dreams of a gown of forty-four; Imaginary charms can find In eyes with reading almost blind: Cadenus now no more appears Declin’d in health, advanc'd in years. She fancies music in his tongue; No farther looks, but thinks him young. What mariner is not afraid To venture in a ship decay’d What planter will attempt to yoke A sapling with a falling oak 2 As years increase, she brighter shines: Cadenus with each day declines: And he must fall a prey to time, While she continues in her prime. Cadenus, common forms a part, In every scene had kept his heart; Had sigh'd and languish'd, vow'd and writ, For pastime, or to show his wit. But books, and time, and state affairs, Had spoil'd his fashionable airs: He now could praise, esteem, approve, But understood not what was love. His conduct might have made him styl'd A father, and the nymph his child. That innocent delight he took To see the virgin mind her book, Was but the master's secret joy In school to hear the finest boy. Her knowledge with her fancy grew; She hourly press'd for something new ; Ideas came into her mind So fast, his lessons lagg'd behind; She reason'd, without plodding long, Nor ever gave her judgment wrong. But now a sudden change was wrought: She minds no longer what he taught. Cadenus was amaz'd, to find Such marks of a distracted mind: For though she seem'd to listen more To all he spoke, than e'er before, He found her thoughts would absent range, Yet guess'd not whence could spring the change. And first he modestly 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 strain, At last he ventured to complain;
Said she should be no longer teas'd, Might have her freedom when she pleas'd ; Was now convinc'd he acted wrong, To hide her from the world so long, And in dull studies to engage One of her tender sex and age; That every nymph with envy own'd, How she might shine in the grande monds; And every shepherd was undone To see her cloister'd like a nun. This was a visionary scheme: He wak'd, and found it but a dream; A project far above his skill; For nature must be nature still. If he were bolder than became A scholar to a courtly dame, She might excuse a man of letters; Thus tutors often treat their betters: And, since his talk offensive grew, He came to take his last adieu. Vanessa, fill'd with just disdain, Would still her dignity maintain, Instructed from her early years To scorn the art of female tears. Had he employed his time so long To teach her what was right and wrong; Yet could such 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 cost, That all his lessons were not lost. Two maxims she could still produce, And sad experience taught their use: That virtue, pleas'd by being shown, Knows nothing which it dares not own; Can Imake us without fear disclose Our inmost secrets to our foes: That common forms were not design'd Directors to a noble mind. Now, said the nymph, to let you see My actions with your rules agree; That I can vulgar forms despise, And have no secrets to disguise: I knew, by what you said and writ, How dangerous things were men of wit: You caution'd me against their charms, But never gave me equal arms; Your lessons found the weakest part, Aim'd at the head, but reach'd the heart. Cadenus felt within him rise Shatne, disappointment, guilt, surprise. He knew not how to reconcile Such language with her usual style: And yet her words were so exprest, He could not hope she spoke in jest. His thoughts had wholly been confin'd To form and cultivate her mind. He hardly knew, till he was told, whether the nymph were young or old : Had met her in a public place, Without distinguishing her face:
Much less could his declining age
Vanessa's earliest thoughts engage;
And if her youth indifference met,
His person must contempt beget:
Or, grant her passion be sincere,
How shall his innocence be clear?
Appearances were all so strong,
The world must think him in the wrong;
Would say, he made a treacherous use
Of wit, to flatter and seduce:
The town would swear he had betray'd
By magic spells the harmless 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 show'd a true paternal care—
Five thousand guineas in her purse!
The doctor might have fancy'd worse.—
Hardly at length he silence broke,
And faulter'd every word he spoke;
Interpreting her complaisance,
Just as a man sans consequence.
She raillied well, he always knew:
Her manner now was something new ;
And what she spoke was in an air
As serious as a tragic player.
But those who aim at ridicule
Should fix upon some certain rule,
Which fairly hints they are in jest,
Else he must enter his protest:
For, let a man be ne'er so wise,
He may be caught with sober lies;
A science which he never taught,
And, to be free, was dearly bought;
For, take it in its proper light,
'Tis just what coxcombs call a bite.
But, not to dwell on things minute,
Vanessa finish'd the dispute,
Brought weighty arguments to prove
That reason was her guide in love.
She thought he had himself describ'd,
His doctrines when she first imbib'd :
What he had planted now was grown;
His virtues she might call her own;
As he approves, as he dislikes,
Love or contempt her fancy strikes.
Self-love, in nature rooted fast,
Attends us first, and leaves us last:
Why she likes him, admire not at her;
She loves herself, and that's the matter.
How was her tutor wont to praise
The geniuses of ancient days
(Those authors he so oft' had nam’d,
For learning, wit, and wisdom fam'd)
Was struck with love, esteem, and awe,
For persons whom he never saw.
Suppose Cadenus flourish'd then,
He must adore such godlike men.
If one short volume could comprise
All that was witty, learn'd, and wise,
How would it be esteem'd and read,
Although the writer long were dead!
If such an author were alive,
How all would for his friendship strive,
And come in crowds to see his face!
And this she takes to be her case.
Cadenus answers every end,
The book, the author, and the friend;
The utmost her desires will reach,
Is but to learn what he can teach:
His converse is a system fit
Alone to fill up all her wit:
While every passion of her mind
In him is center'd and confin'd.
Love can with speech inspire a mute,
And taught Vanessa to dispute.
This topic, never touch'd before,
Display'd her eloquence the more:
Her knowledge, with such pains acquir'd,
By this new passion grew inspir'd;
Through this she made all objects pass,
Which gave a tincture o'er the mass;
As rivers though they bend and twine,
Still to their sea their course incline;
Or, as philosophers, who find
Some favourite system to their mind,
In every point to make it fit,
Will force all nature to submit.
Cadenus, who could ne'er suspect
His lessons would have such effect,
Or be so artfully apply'd,
Insensibly came on her side.
It was an unforeseen event;
Things took a turn he never meant.
Whoe'er excels in what we prize,
Appears a hero in our eyes:
Each girl, when pleas'd with what is taught,
Will have the teacher in her thought;
When Miss delights in her spinet,
A fiddler may a fortune get;
A blockhead, with melodious voice,
In boarding-schools may have his choice;
And oft the dancing-master's art
Climbs from the toe to touch the heart;
In learning let a nymph delight,
The pedant gets a mistress by 't.
Cadenus, to his grief and shame,
Could scarce oppose Vanessa's flame;
And, though her arguments were strong,
At least could hardly wish them wrong.
Howe'er it came, he could not tell,
But sure she never talk"d so well.
His pride began to interpose;
Preferr'd before a crowd of beaux:
So bright a nymph to come unsought:
Such wonder by his merit wrought !
'Tis merit must with her prevail :
He never knew her judgment fail :
She noted all she ever read Î
And had a most discerning head :
'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
That flattery's the food of fools;
Yet now and then your men of wit
Will condscend to take a bit.
So, when Cadenus could not hide,
He chose to justify, his pride;
Construing the passion she had shown,
Much to her praise, more to his own.
Nature in him had merit plac'd,
In her a most judicious taste.
Love, hitherto a transient guest,
Ne'er held possession of his breast;
So long attending at the gate,
Disdain'd to enter in so late.
Love why do we one passion call,
When 'tis a compound of them all?
Where hot and cold, where sharp and sweet,
In all their equipages meet;
Where pleasures mix'd with pains appear,
Sorrow with joy, and hope with fear;
Wherein his dignity and age
Forbid Cadenus to engage.
But friendship, in its greatest height,
A constant, rational delight,
On virtue's basis fix'd to last,
When love allurements long are past;
Which gently warms, but cannot burn;
He gladly offers in return;
His want of passion will redeem
With gratitude, respect, esteem;
With that devotion we bestow,
When goddesses appear below.
While thus Cadenus entertains
Vanessa in exalted strains,
The nymph in sober words entreats
A truce with all sublime conceits:
For why such raptures, flights, and fancies,
To her who durst not read romances?
In lofty style to make replies,
Which he had taught her to despise
But when her tutor will affect
Devotion, duty, and respect,
He fairly abdicates the throne;
The government is now her own;
He has a forfeiture incurr'd ;
She vows to take him at his word,
And hopes he will not think it strange,
If both should now their stations change.
The nymyh will have her turn to be
The tutor; and the pupil, he
Though she already can discern
Her scholar is not apt to learn;
Or wants capacity to reach
The science she designs to teach :
Wherein his genius was below
The skill of every common beau,
Who, though he cannot spell, is wise
Enough to read a lady's eyes,
And will each accidental glance
Interpret for a kind advance.
But what success Vanessa met,
is to the world a secret yet.
Whether the nymph, to please her swain,
Talks in a high romantic strain;
Or whether he at lasts descends To act with less seraphic ends; Or, to compound the business, whether They temper love and books together; Must never to mankind be told, "Nor shall the conscious Muse unfold. Meantime the mournful Queen of Love Led but a weary life above. She ventures now to leave the skies, Grown by Vanessa's conduct wise: For, though by one perverse event, Pallas had cross'd her first intent; Though her design was not obtain'd; Yet had she much experience gain'd, And, by the project vainly try’d, Could better now the cause decide. She gave due notice that both parties, Coram Regina, pror' die Martis, Should at their peril, without fail, Come and appear, and save their bail. All met; and, silence thrice proclaim’d, One lawyer to each side was nam'd. The judge discover'd in her face Resentments for her late disgrace; And, full of anger, shame, and grief, Directed them to mind their brief, Nor spend their time to show their reading; She'd have a summary proceeding. She gather'd under every head The sum of what each lawyer said, Gave her own reasons last, and then Decreed the cause against the men. But, in a weighty case like this, To show she did not judge amiss, Which evil tongues might else report, She made a speech in open court; Wherein she grievously complains, “How she was cheated by the swains;” On whose petition (humbly showing, That women were not worth the wooing, And that, unless the sex would mend, The race of lovers soon must end)— “She was at Lord knows what expense To form a nymph of wit and sense, A model for her sex design'd, Who never could one lover find. She saw her favour was misplac'd; The fellows had a wretched taste ; She needs must tell them to their face, They were a stupid, senseless race; And, were she to begin again, She'd study to reform the men ; Or add some grains of folly more To women, than they had before, To put them on an equal foot; And this, or nothing else, would do 't. This might their mutual fancy strike, Since every being loves its like. “But now, repenting what was done, She left all business to her son ; She puts the world in his possession, And let him use it at discretion."
The cryer was order'd to dismiss The court, so made his last O yes! The goddess would no longer wait; But, rising from her chair of state, Left all below at six and seven, Harness'd her doves, and flew to Heaven.
AN ELEGF ON THE DEATH of DEMAR, THE Usurer, Who died the 6th of July, 1720.
Know all men by these presents, Death the tamer, By mortgage, hath secur'd the corpse of Demar: Nor can four hundred thousand stirling pound Redeem him from his prison under ground. His heirs might well, of all his wealth possess'd, Bestow to bury him one iron chest. Plutus the god of wealth will joy to know His faithful steward in the shades below. He walk'd the streets, and wore a threadbare cloak; He din’d and supp'd at charge of other folk : And by his looks, had he held out his palms, He might be thought an object fit for alms. So, to the poor, if he refus'd his pelf, He us’d them full as kindly as himself. Where'er he went, he never saw his betters; Lords, knights, and squires, were all his humble And under hand and seal the Irish nation [debtors; Were forc'd to own to him their obligation. He that could once have half a kingdom bought, In half a minute is not worth a groat. His coffers from the coffin could not save, Nor all his interest kept him from the grave. A golden monument would not be right, Because we wish the earth upon him light. Oh London tavern! thou hast lost a friend, Though in thy walls he ne'er did farthing spend: He touch'd the pence, when others touch'd the pot; The hand that sign'd the mortgage paid the shot. Old as he was, no vulgar known disease On him could ever boast a power to seize; “But, as he weigh’d his gold, grim Death in spite Cast in his dart, which made three moidores light; And, as he saw his darling money fail, Blew his last breath, to sink the lighter scale.” He who so long was current, 'twould be strange If he should now be cry’d down since his change. The sexton shall green sods on thee bestow; Alas, the sexton is thy banker now ! A dismal banker must that banker be, Who gives no bills but of mortality.
THE COUNTRP-LIFE. PART OF A sum MER SPENTAT GAULSTown-Hous E.
Thalia, tell in sober lays,
How George, Nim, Dan, Dean, pass their days;
And, should our Gaulstown's art grow fallow,
Yet, Neget quis carmina Gallo?
§er. (by the way) by Gallus mean I
* Sheridan, but friend Delany.