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Light that seems but just to show
Breasts that beat, and cheeks that glow.
Let us now, in whisper'd joy,
Evening's silent hours employ,
Silence best, and conscious shades,
Please the hearts that love invades,
Other pleasures give them pain,
Lovers all but love disdain.
WHETHER Stella's eyes are found
Fix'd on earth, or glancing round,
If her face with pleasure glow,
If she sigh at others woe,
If her easy air express
Conscious worth, or soft distress,
Stella's eyes, and air, and face,
Charm with undiminish'd grace.
If on her we see display'd
Pendant gems, and rich brocade,
If her chintz with less expense
Flows in easy negligence;
Still she lights the conscious flame,
Still her charms appear the same;
If she strikes the vocal strings,
If she's silent, speaks, or sings,
If she sit, or if she move,
Still we love, and still approve.
Vain the casual, transient glance,
Which alone can please by chance,
Beauty, which depends on art,
Changing with the changing heart,
Which demands the toilet's aid,
Pendent gems and rich brocade.
I those charms alone can prize,
Which from constant nature rise,
Which nor circumstance, nor dress,
E’er can make or more or less.
No more thus brooding o'er yon heap,
With Avarice painful vigils keep;
Still unenjoy'd the present store,
Still endless sighs are breath'd for more.
O! quit the shadow, catch the prize,
Which not all India’s treasure buys!
To purchase Heaven has gold the power ?
Can gold remove the mortal hour ?
In life can love be bought with gold ?
Are friendship's pleasures to be sold ?
No-all that is worth a wish --a thought,
Fair virtue gives unbrib’d, unbought.
Cease then on trash thy hopes to bind,
Let nobler views engage thy mind.
With science tread the wond'rous way,
Or learn the Muses' moral lay;
In social hours indulge thy soul,
Where mirth and temperance mix the bowl ;
To virtuous love resign thy breast,
And be, by blessing beauty-blest.
Thus taste the feast by nature spread,
Ere youth and all its joys are fled;
Come taste with me the balm of life,
Secure from pomp, and wealth, and strife.
I boast whate'er for man was meant,
In health, and Stella, and content;
And scorn! oh! let that scorn be thine!
Mere things of clay that dig the mine.
When lately Stella's form display'd
The beauties of the gay brocade,
The nymphs, who found their power decline,
Proclaim'd her not so fair as fine.
“ Fate! snatch away the bright disguise,
And let the goddess trust her eyes.”
Thus blindly pray'd the fretful fair,
And Fate malicious heard the
But, brighten’d by the sable dress,
As virtue rises in distress,
Since Stella still extends her reign,
Ah! how shall envy soothe her pain ?
Th’ adoring youth and envious fair,
Henceforth shall form one common prayer ;
And love and hate alike implore
The skies -« That Stella mourn no more.”
Not the soft sighs of vernal gales,
The fragrance of the flowery vales,
The murmurs of the crystal rill,
The vocal grove, the verdant hill ;
Not all their charms, though all unite,
Can touch my bosom with delight.
Not all the gems on India's shore,
Not all Peru's unbounded store,
Not all the power, nor all the fame,
That heroes, kings, or poets, claim;
Nor knowledge, which the learn'd approve;
To form one wish
soul can move.
Yet Nature's charms allure my eyes,
And knowledge, wealth, and fame, I prize;
Fame, wealth, and knowledge, I obtain,
Nor seek I Nature's charms in vain ;
In lovely Stella all combine;
And, lovely Stella! thou art mine.
WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF A GENTLEMAN TO WHOM
A LADY HAD GIVEN A SPRIG OF MYRTLE*.
What hopes, what terrors, does this gift create ?
Ambiguous emblem of uncertain fate.
The myrtle (ensign of supreme command,
Consign’d to Venus by Melissa's hand)
Not less capricious than a reigning fair,
Oft favours, oft rejects, a lover's prayer.
In myrtle shades oft sings the happy swain,
In myrtle shades despairing ghosts complain.
The myrtle crowns the happy lovers' heads,
Th' unhappy lovers' graves the myrtle spreads.
Oh! then, the meaning of thy gift impart,
And ease the throbbings of an anxious heart.
Soon must this sprig, as you shall fix its doom,
Adorn Philander's head, or grace his tomb.