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To be about to take, and then command
His daring Wish, and only view the Hand:
Yes! all was Nature; it became a Maid
Of gentle Soul t' encourage Love afraid ;—
He, so unlike the confident and bold,
Would fly in mute Despair to find her cold:
The young and tender Germ requires the Sun
To make it spread; it must be smil'd upon.
Thus the kind Virgin gentle means devis'd,
To gain a Heart so fond, a Hand so priz❜d,
More gentle still she grew, to change her way,
Would cause Confusion, Danger, and Delay:
Thus (an increase of Gentleness her mode),
She took a plain, unvaried, certain road,
And every hour believ'd Success was near,
Till there was nothing left to hope or fear.
It must be own'd that in this Strife of Hearts,
Man has Advantage-has superior Arts:
The Lover's Aim is to the Nymph unknown,
Nor is she always certain of her own;
Or has her Fears, nor these can so disguise,
But he who searches, reads them in her Eyes,
In the avenging Frown, in the regretting Sighs:
These are his signals, and he learns to steer
The straighter course, whenever they appear,
'Pass we ten Years, and what was Clelia's fate?' At an Attorney's Board alert she sate, Not legal Mistress: he with other Men
Once sought her Hand, but other Views were then ;
And when he knew he might the Bliss command,
He other Blissing sought, without the Hand;
For still he felt alive the lambent Flame,
And offer'd her a Home,-and home she came,
There, though her higher Friendships liv'd no more, She lov❜d to speak of what she shar'd before"Of the dear Lucy, Heiress of the Hall,— "Of good Sir Peter,—of their annual Ball, "And the fair Countess!-Oh! she lov'd them all?” The humbler Clients of her Friend would stare, The knowing smile,-but neither caus'd her care; She brought her Spirits to her humble State, And sooth'd with idle Dreams her frowning Fate.
'Ten Summers pass'd, and how was Clelia then?'-Alas! she suffer'd in this trying Ten;
The Pair had parted: who to him attend,
Must judge the Nymph unfaithful to her Friend;
But who on her would equal faith bestow,
Would think him rash,--and surely she must know.
Then as a Matron Clelia taught a School,
But Nature gave not Talents fit for Rule:
Yet now, though Marks of wasting Years were seen,
Some touch of Sorrow, some attack of Spleen;
Still there was Life, a Spirit quick and gay,
And lively Speech and elegant Array.
The Griffin's Landlord these allur'd so far,
He made her Mistress of his Heart and Bar;
He had no idle retrospective whim,
Till she was his, her Deeds concern'd not him:
So far was well,--but Clelia thought not fit
(In all the Griffin needed) to submit:
Gaily to dress and in the Bar preside,
Sooth'd the poor spirit of degraded Pride;
But cooking, waiting, welcoming a Crew
Of noisy Guests, were arts she never knew:
Hence daily Wars, with temporary Trace,
His vulgar Insult, and her keen Abuse;
And as their Spirits wasted in the Strife,
Both took the Griffin's ready aid of Life;
But she with greater prudence-Harry tried
More powerful aid, and in the trial died;
Yet drew down Vengeance: in no distant time,
Th' insolvent Griffin struck his wings subl;ime—
Forth from her Palace walk'd th' ejected Queen,
And show'd to frowning Fate a look serene;
Gay spite of Time, though poor, yet well attir'd,
Kind without love, and vain if not admir'd.
Another Term is past; ten other Years
In various Trials, Troubles, Views, and Fears:
Of these some pass'd in small Attempts at Trade;
Houses she kept for Widowers lately made;
For now she said, "They'll miss th' endearing Friend,
"And I'll be there the soften'd Heart to bend :"
And true a part was done as Clelia plann'd—
The Heart was soften'd, but she miss'd the Hand.
She wrote a Novel, and Sir Denys said,
The Dedication was the best he read;
But Edgeworths, Smiths, and Radcliffes so engross'd
The public Ear, that all her Pains were lost.
To keep a Toy-shop was attempt the last,
There too she fail'd, and Schemes and Hopes were past.
Now friendless, sick and old, and wanting Bread,
The first-born Tears of fallen Pride were shed-
True, bitter Tears; and yet that wounded Pride,
Among the Poor, for poor Distinctions sigh'd,
Though now her Tales were to her Audience fit;
Though loud her Tones, and vulgar grown her Wit;
Though now her Dress-(but let me not explain
The piteous Patch-work of the needy-vain,
The flirtish Form to coarse materials lent,
And one poor Robe through fifty fashions sent);
Though all within was sad, without was mean,-
Still 'twas her wish, her comfort to be seen :
She would to Plays on lowest terms resort,
Where once her Box was to the Beaux a Court;
And, strange delight! to that same House, where she
Join'd in the Dance, all gaiety and glee,
Now with the Menials crowding to the wall,
She'd see, not share, the Pleasures of the Ball,
And with degraded Vanity unfold,
How she too triumph'd in the Years of old.
To her poor Friends 'tis now her Pride to tell
On what a height she stood before she fell;
At Church she points to one tall Seat, and " There
"We sat," she cries," when my Papa was Mayor."
Not quite correct in what she now relates,
She alters Persons, and she forges Dates;
And finding Memory's weaker help decay'd,
She boldly calls Invention to her Aid.
Touch'd by the Pity he had felt before, For her Sir Denys op'd the Alms-House Door; "With all her Faults," he said, "the Woman knew "How to distinguish---had a Manner too;
"And, as they say, she is allied to some
"In decent station---let the Creature come."
Here she and Blaney meet, and take their view
Of all the Pleasures they would still pursue:
Hour after hour they sit, and nothing hide
Of Vices past; their Follies are their pride;
What to the Sober and the Cool are Crimes,
They boast---exulting in those happy Times;
The darkest Deeds no indignation raise,
The purest Virtue never wins their praise;
But still they on their ancient Joys dilate,
Still with regret departed Glories state,
And mourn their grievous Fall, and curse their rigorous
INHABITANTS OF THE ALMS-HOUSE.
Thou art the Knight of the Burning Lamp-if thou wast any way given to virtue, I would swear by thy face; my oath should be by this fire. Oh! thou 'rt a perpetual triumph, thou hast saved me a thousand Marks in links and torches, walking in a night betwixt tavern and tavern.
Ebrietas tibi fida comes, tibi Luxus, et atris
Circa te semper volitans Infamia pennis.