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He recommends the Rules and Instructions to the
Fair Sex, in the Conduct of their Amours: After having already composed Two Books for the Use of Men upon the same Subject.
'HE men are arm’d, and for the fight prepare ;
And now we must instruct and arm the fair.
Both sexes, well appointed, take the field,
And mighty Love determine which shall yield.
Man were ignoble, when thus arm’d, to show
Unequal force against a naked foe:
No glory from such conquest can be gain’d,
And odds are always by the brave disdain'd.
But some exclaim, “What frenzy rules your mind? " Would you
increase the craft of woman-kind! “ Teach them new wiles and arts ! As well you may " Instruct a snake to bite, or wolf to prey.” But, sure, too hard a censure they pursue, Who charge on all the failings of a few.
Examine first impartially each fair,
Then, as the merits, or condemn, or spare.
If Menelaus, and the king of men,
With justice of their sister-wives complain ;
If false Eriphyle forsook her faith,
And for reward procur'd her husband's death ;
Penelope was loyal still, and chaste,
Though twenty years her lord in absence pass’d.
Reflect how Laodama's truth was try'd,
Who, though in bloom of youth, and beauty's pride,
To share her husband's fate, untimely dy’d.
Think how Alceste’s piety was prov'd,
Who lost her life to save the man she lov'd.
Receive me, Capaneus, Avadne cry'd ;
Nor Death itself our nuptials shall divide :
To join thy ashes, pleas'd I shall expire ;
She said, and leap'd amid the funeral fire.
Virtue herfelf a goddess we confess,
Both female in her name and in her dress
No wonder then, if to her fex inclin'd,
She cultivates with care a female mind.
But these exalted fouls exceed the reach
Of that soft art which I pretend to teach.
My tender bark requires a gentle gale,
A little wind will fill a little fail.
Of sportive Loves I fing, and shew what ways
The willing nymph must use her bliss to raise,
And how to captivate the man she'd please.
Woman is soft, and of a tender heart,
Apt to receive, and to retain, love's dart:
Man has a breast robust, and more secure,
It wounds him not fo decp, nor hits fu fure.
Men oft are false; and, if you fearch with care,
You 'll find less fraud imputed to the fair.
The faithless Jason from Medea fied,
And made Creusa partner of his bed.,
Bright Ariadne, on an unknown shore,
Thy abfence, perjur'a Theseus, did deplore.
If then, the wild inhabitants of air
Forbore her tender lovely limbs to tear,
It was not owing, Thefeus, to thy care.
Enquire the cause, and let Demophoon tell,
Why Phyllis by a fate untimely fell.
Nine times, in vain, upon the promis'd day,
She fought th' appointed fhore, and view'd the fea.
Her fall the fading trees consent to mourn,
And shed their leaves round her lamented urn,
The prince so far for piety renown'd,
To thee, Eliza, was unfaithful found;
To thee forloin and languishing with grief,
His sword alone he left, thy laft relief.
Ye ruin'd nymphs, shall I the cause iinpart
Of all your woes? 'Twas want of needful art,
Love of itself, too quickly will expire ;
But powerful Art perpetuates defire.
bewail'd, Had not this art by Venus been reveal’d.
Before my fight the Cyprian goddcfs hone,
And thus she faid; “What have poor women done?
" Why is that weak, defenceless sex expos’d,
« On every side, by men well arm’d, inclos'd ?
“ Twice are the men instructed by the Muse
“ Nor must fhe now to teach the fex refuse.
“ The Bard, who injur'd Helen in his song,
« Recanted after, and redress’d the wrong.
« And you, if on my favour you depend,
“ The cause of women, while you live, defend."
This faid, a myrtle sprig, which berries bore
She gave me (for a myrtle wreath she wore).
The gift receiv'd, my sense enlighten'd grew,
And from her presence inspiration drew.
Attend, ye nymphs, by wedlock unconfin’d,
And hear my precepts,
prompts my Ev'n now, in bloom of youth, and beauty's prime, Beware of coming age, nor waste your
time : Now, while you may, and ripening years invite, Enjoy the seasonable, sweet delight : For rolling years, like stealing waters, glide ; Nor hope to stop their ever-ebbing tide : Think, nor hereafter will the loss repay; For every morrow will the taste decay, And leave less relish than the former day. I've seen the time, when, on that wither'd thorn, The blooming rose vy’d with the blushing morn. With fragrant wreaths I thence have deck'd my head, And see how leafless now, and how decay'd ! And you, who now the love-fick youth reject, Will prove, in age, what pains attend neglect.
None, then, will press upon your midnight hours,
Nor wake, to strew your street with morning flowers.
Then nightly knockings at your door will cease,
Whofe noiseless hammer, then, may rust in peace.
Alas, how foon a clear complexion fades !
How soon a wrinkled skin plump flesh invades;
And what avails it, though the fair-one swears
She from her infancy had some grey hairs ?
She grows all hoary in a few more years,
And then the venerable truth appears.
The snake his skin, the deer his horns may caft,
And both renew their youth and vigours paft :
But no receipt can human-kind relieve,
Doom'd to decrepit age without reprieve.
Then crop the flower which yet invites your eye,
And which, ungather'd, on its stalk must die.
Belides, the tender fex is form’d to bear,
And frequent births too soon will youth impair:
Continual harvest wears the fruitful field,
And earth itself decays too often tillid.
Thou didit not, Cynthia, scorn the Latmian swain;
Nor thou, Aurora, Cephalus disdain ;
The Paphian queen, who, for Adonis' fate
So deeply mourn’d, and who laments him yet,
Has not been found inexorable since;
Witness Harmonia, and the Dardan prince.
Then take example, mortals, from above,
And like immortals live, and like them love.
Refuse not those delights, which men require,
Nor let your lovers languish with desire.