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135 The tortoise here and elephant unite,

Transformed to combs, the speckled, and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billets-doux.

Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
140 The fair each moment rises in her charms,

Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,

And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes. 145 The busy sylphs surround their darling care,

These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, while others plait the gown;
And Betty's praised for labours not her own.

CANTO II

Not with more glories, in th’ ethereal plain,
The sun first rises o'er the purpled main,
Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams

Launched on the bosom of the silver Thames. 5 Fair nymphs, and well-dressed youths around her

shone,

But ev'ry eye was fixed on her alone.
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.

Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
10 Quick as her eyes, and as unfixed as those;

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Favours to none, to all she smiles extends;
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide;
If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all.

This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
Nourished two locks, which graceful hung behind
In equal curls, and well conspired to deck,
With shining ringlets, the smooth iv'ry neck.
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.
With hairy springes we the birds betray,
Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey,
Fair tresses man's imperial race insnare,
And beauty draws us with a single hair.

Th’advent'rous baron the bright locks admired;
He saw, he wished, and to the prize aspired.
Resolved to win, he meditates the way,
By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;
For when success a lover's toil attends,
Few ask, if fraud or force attained his ends.

For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implored
Propitious heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r adored,
But chiefly Love - to Love an altar built,
Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt.

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There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, 40 And all the trophies of his former loves;

With tender billets-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes

Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize : 45 The pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray’r, The rest, the winds dispersed in empty air.

But now secure the painted vessel glides,
The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides:

While melting music steals upon the sky, 50 And softened sounds along the waters die;

Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play,
Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay.
All but the sylph — with careful thoughts oppressed,

Th’impending woe sat heavy on his breast. 55 He summons straight his denizens of air;

The lucid squadrons round the sails repair:
Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe,
That seemed but zephyrs to the train beneath.

Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold,
60 Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;

Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
Their fluid bodies half dissolved in light,
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,

Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew,
65 Dipped in the richest tincture of the skies,

Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes;

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While ev'ry beam new transient colours flings,
Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.
Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
Superior by the head, was Ariel placed;
His purple pinions opening to the sun,
He raised his azure wand, and thus begun.

Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear!
Fays, fairies, genii, elves, and demons, hear!
Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assigned
By laws eternal to th' aërial kind.
Some in the fields of purest ether play,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day.
Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high,
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky.
Some less refined, beneath the moon's pale light
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
Others on earth o'er human race preside,
Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide:
Of these the chief the care of nations own,
And guard with arms divine the British throne.

“Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care;
To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Nor let th’ imprisoned essences exhale;

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95 To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs;

To steal from rainbows ere they drop in show'rs
A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs;

Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow, 100 To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.

“This day, black omens threat the brightest fair That e'er deserved a watchful spirit's care; Some dire disaster, or by force, or slight;

But what, or where, the fates have wrapped in night. 105 Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,

Or some frail china jar receive a flaw;
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade;
Forget her pray’rs, or miss a masquerade;

Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball; 110 Or whether heav'n has doomed that Shock must fall.

Haste then, ye spirits ! to your charge repair :
The flutt'ring fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign;

And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine; 115 Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav'rite lock;

Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.

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125

“Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large,
Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins,
Be stopped in vials, or transfixed with pins;
Or plunged in lakes of bitter washes lie,

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