Page images
PDF
EPUB

One certain portrait may (I grant) be seen, Which Heaven has varnish'd out and made a queen; The same for ever! and described by all With truth and goodness, as with crown and ball. Poets heap virtues, painters gems, at will, And show their zeal, and hide their want of skill. 'Tis well—but, artists! who can paint or write, To draw the naked is your true delight. That robe of quality so struts and swells, None see what parts of nature it conceals : The exactest traits of body or of mind, We owe to models of an humble kind. If Queensberry to strip there's no compelling, 'Tis from a handmaid we must take a Helen. From peer or bishop 'tis no easy thing To draw the man who loves his God or king. Alas! I copy (or my draught would fail) From honest Mahomet or plain parson Hale.

But grant in public men sometimes are shown;
A woman's seen in private life alone:
Our bolder talents in full light display'd;
Your virtues open fairest in the shade.
Bred to disguise, in public 'tis you hide;
There none distinguish 'twixt your shame or pride,
Weakness or delicacy; all so nice,
That each may seem a virtue or a vice.

In men we various ruling passions find;
In women two almost divide the kind;
Those only fix’d, they first or last obey,
The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.

That Nature gives; and where the lesson taught Is but to please, can pleasure seem a fault? Experience this : by man's oppression cursed, They seek the second not to lose the first.

Men some to business, some to pleasure take; But every woman is at heart a rake: Men some to quiet, some to public strife; But every lady would be queen for life.

Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of queens! Power all their end, but beauty all the means. In youth they conquer with so wild a rage, As leaves them scarce a subject in their age : For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam; No thought of peace or happiness at home. But wisdom's triumph is well-timed retreat, As hard a science to the fair as great! Beauties, like tyrants, old and friendless grown, Yet hate repose, and dread to be alone; Worn out in public, weary every eye, Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die.

Pleasures the sex, as children birds pursue,
Still out of reach, yet never out of view;
Sure, if they catch, to spoil the toy at most,
To covet, flying, and regret when lost:
At last to follies youth could scarce defend,
It grows their age's prudence to pretend;
Ashamed to own they gave delight before,
Reduced to feign it when they give no more.
As hags hold sabbaths less for joy than spite,
So these their merry miserable night;
Still round and round the ghosts of beauty glide,
And haunt the places where their honqur died.

See how the world its veterans rewards!
A youth of frolics, an old age of cards ;
Fair to no purpose, artful to no end,
Young without lovers, old without a friend;
A fop their passion, but their prize a sot,
Alive ridiculous, and dead forgot!

Ah, friend! to dazzle let the vain design; To raise the thought and touch the heart be thine! That charm shall grow, while whatfatigues the ring Flaunts and goes down an unregarded thing. So when the sun's broad beam has tired the sight, All mild ascends the moon's more sober light, Serene in virgin modesty she shines, And unobserved the glaring orb declines.

0! bless'd with temper, whose unclouded ray Can make to-morrow cheerful as to day; She who can love a sister's charms, or hear Sighs for a daughter with unwounded ear; She who ne'er answers till a husband cools, Or, if she rules him, never shows she rules; Charms by accepting, by submitting sways, Yet has her humour most when she obeys; Let fops or fortune fly which way they will, Disdains all loss of tickets or codille; Spleen, vapours, or small-pox, above them all, And mistress of herself, though china fall.

And yet believe me, good as well as ill, Woman's at best a contradiction still. Heaven, when it strives to polish all it can Its last best work, but forms a softer man; Picks from each sex to make the favourite bless’d, Your love of pleasure, our desire of rest; Blends, in exception to all general rules, Your taste of follies with our scorn of fools; Reserve with frankness, art with truth allied,

Courage with softness, modesty with pride; · Fix'd principles, with fancy ever new: Shakes all together, and produces-you.

Be this a woman's fame; with this unbless'd, Toasts live a scorn, and queens may die a jest.

This Phoebus promised (I forget the year)
When those blue eyes first open'd on the sphere;
Ascendant Phæbus watch'd that hour with care,
Averted half your parents’ simple prayer;
And gave you beauty, but denied the pelf
That buys your sex a tyrant o'er itself.,
'The generous god, who wit and gold refines,
And ripens spirits as he ripens mines,
Kept dross for duchesses, the world shall know it,
To you gave sense, good humour, and a poet.

EPISTLE III.
To Allen Lord Bathurst.
OF THE USE OF RICHES.

argument. That it is known to few, most falling into one of the ex

tremes, avarice or profusion.---The point discassed, whether the invention of money has been more commodious or pernicious to mankind.-That riches either to the avaricious or the prodigal, cannot afford happiness, scarcely necessaries.--That a varice is an absolute frenzy, without an end or purpose.-Conjectures about the motives of avaricious men.--That the conduct of men, with respect to riches, can only be accounted for by the order of Providence, which works the general good out of extremes, and brings all to its great end by perpetual revolutions.—How a miser acts upon principles which appear to him reasonable.How a prodigal does the same.-The due medium and true use of riches.—The Man of Ross.—The fate of the profuse and the covetons, in two examples ; both miserable in life and in death. The story of Sir Balaam.

P. Who shall decide when doctors disagree,
And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me?
You hold the word from Jove to Momus given,
That man was made the standing jest of Heaven;
And gold but sent to keep the fools in play,
For some to heap, and some to throw away.

But I, who think more highly of our kind,
(And surely Heaven and I are of a mind)
Opine that Nature, as in duty bound,
Deep hid the shining mischief under ground:
But when by man's audacious labour won
Flamed forth this rival to its sire the sun,

« PreviousContinue »