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What Nature wants has an intrinsic weight,
All more is but the fashion of the plate,
Which for one moment charms the fickle view;
It charms us now, anon we cast a new,
To some fresh birth of fancy more inclin'd;
Then wed not acres, but a noble mind.
Mistaken lovers, who, make worth their care,
And think accomplishments will win the fair ;
The fair, 'tis true, by genius should be won,
As flowers unfold their beauties to the sun :
And yet in female scales a fop outweighs,
And wit must wear the willow and the bays.
Nought shines so bright in vain Liberia's eye
As riot, impudence, and perfidy:
The youth of fire, that has drunk deep, and play'd,
And kill'd his man, and triumph'd o'er his maid,
For him, as yet uphang'd, she spreads her charms,
Snatches the dear destroyer to her arms,
And amply gives, (though treated long amiss)
The man of merit his revenge in this.
If you resent, and wish a woman ill,
But turn her o'er one moment to her will.
The languid lady next appears in state, Who was not born to carry her own weight; She lolls, reels, staggers, till some foreign aid To her own stature lifts the feeble maid; Then, if ordain'd to so severe a doom, She, by just stages, journies round the room ; But, knowing her own weakness, she despairs To scale the Alps-that is, ascend the stairs. *My fan!' let others say, who laugh at toil ; 'Fan ! hood! glove! scarf!' is her laconic style, And that is spoke with such a dying fall, That Betty rather sees than hears the call : The motion of her lips, and meaning eye, Piece out the idea her faint words deny. O listen with attention most profound ! Her voice is but the shadow of a sound. And help! oh, help! her spirits are so dead, One hand scarce lifts the other to her head;
If there a stubborn pin it triumphs o'er,
She pants ! she sinks away! and is no more.
Let the robust, and the gigantic, carve,
Life is not worth so much; she'd rather starve:
But chew she must herself: ah, cruel fate !
That Rosalinda can't by proxy eat.
An antidote in female caprice lies (Kind Heav'n!) against the poison of their eyes.
Thalestris triumphs in a manly mien ; Loud is her accent, and her phrase obscene. In fair and open dealing where's the shame ? What Nature dares to give, she dares to name. This honest fellow is sincere and plain, And justly gives the jealous husband pain. (Vain is the task to petticoats assign’d, If wanton language shows a naked mind.) And now and then, to grace her eloquence, An oath supplies the vacancies of sense. Hark! the shrill notes transpierce the yielding air, And teach the neighbouring echoes how to swear. * By Jove,' is faint, and for the simple swain; She, on the Christian system, is profane: But though the volley rattles in your ear, Believe her dress, she's not a grenadier. If thunder's awful, how much more our dread, When Jove deputes a lady in his stead? A lady! pardon my mistaken pen : A shameless woman is the worst of men.
Few to good-breeding make a just pretence ; Good-breeding is the blossom of good sense ; The last result of an accomplish'd mind, With outward grace, the body's virtue, join'd. A violated decency now reigns, And nymphs for failings take peculiar pains. With Chinese painters modern toasts agree, The point they aim at is deforinity : They throw their persons, with a hoyden air, Across the room, and toss into the chair. So far their commerce with mankind is gone, They for our manners have exchang'd their own.
The modest look, the castigated grace,
The gentle movement, and slow.measur'd pace,
For which her lovers died, her parents pray'd,
Are indecorums with the modern maid.
Stiff forms are bad; but let not worse intrude,
Nor conquer art and nature to be rude.
Modern good-breeding carry to its height,
And Lady D--'s self will be polite.
Ye rising Fair ! ye bloom of Britain's isle !
When high-born Anna, with a soften'd smile,
Leads on your train, and sparkles at your head,
What seems most hard is not to be well-bred:
Her bright example with success pursue,
And all but adoration is your due.
“But adoration! give me something more,'—
Cries Lyce, on the borders of threescore.
Nought treads so silent as the foot of Time;
Hence we mistake our autumn for our prime.
'Tis greatly wise to know, before we're told,
The melancholy news that we grow old.
Autumnal Lyce carries in her face
Memento mori to each public place.
O how your beating breast a mistress warms,
Who looks through spectacles to see your charms!
While rival undertakers hover round,
And with his spade the sexton marks the ground,
Intent not on her own, but others' doom,
She plans new conquests, and defrauds the tomb.
In vain the cock has summon’d sprites away,
She walks at noon, and blasts the bloom of day;
Gay rainbow-silks her mellow charms infold,
And nought of Lyce but herself is old :
Her grizzled locks assume a smirking grace,
And art has levelld her deep-furrow'd face :
Her strange demand no mortal can approve ;
We'll ask her blessing, but can't ask her love:
She grants, indeed, a lady may decline
(All ladies but herself) at ninety-nine.
O how unlike her was the sacred age
Of prudent Portia ? her gray hairs engage,
Whose thoughts are suited to her life's decline:
Virtue's the paint that can make wrinkles shine:
That, and that only, can old age sustain,
Which yet all wish, nor know they wish for pain.
Not numerous are our joys when life is new,
And yearly some are falling of the few;
But when we conquer life's meridian stage,
And downward tend into the vale of age,
They drop apace : by nature some decay,
And some the blasts of fortune sweep away ;
Till naked quite of happiness, aloud
We call for death, and shelter in a shroud.
Where's Portia now ?-But Portia left behind
Two lovely copies of her form and mind.
What heart untouch'd their early grief can view,
Like blushing rose-buds dipp'd in morning dew ?
Who into shelter takes their tender bloom,
And forms their minds to flee from ills to come ?
The mind, when turn'd adrift, no rules to guide,
Drives at the mercy of the wind and tide;
Fancy and passion toss it to and fro,
A while torment, and then quite sink in woe.
Ye beauteous orphans ! since in silent dust
Your best example lies, my precepts trust.
Life swarms with ills; the boldest are afraid ;
Where then is safety for a tender maid ?
Unfit for conflict, round beset with woes,
And man, whom least she fears, her worst of foes!
When kind, most cruel; when oblig'd the most,
The least obliging ; and by favours lost :
Cruel by nature, they for kindness hate,
And scorn you for those ills themselves create.
If on your fame our sex a blot has thrown,
"Twill ever stick, through malice of your own,
Most hard! in pleasing your chief glory lies,
And yet from pleasing your chief dangers rise :
Then please the best; and know, for men of sense
Your strongest charms are native innocence.
Arts on the mind, like paint upon the face,
Fright him that's worth your love from your embrace,
In simple manners all the secret lies ;-
Be kind and virtuous, you'll be bless'd and wise.
Vain show and notse intoxicate the brain,
Begin with giddiness, and end in pain.
Affect not empty fame and idle praise,
Which all those wretches I describe betrays.
Your sex's glory 'tis to shine unknown;
Of all applause be fondest of your own.
Beware the fever of the mind; that thirst
With which the age is eminently curs'd:
To drink of pleasure but inflames desire,
And abstinence alone can quench the fire;
Take pain from life, and terror from the tomb,
Give peace in hand, and promise bliss to come.