« PreviousContinue »
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
Th’adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd;
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd Propitious Heaven, and every power ador'd; But chiefly Love; to Love an altar built, Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt. There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, And all the trophies of his former loves. With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire. Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize : The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer; The rest the winds dispers’d 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, And soften'd sounds along the waters die; Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay, All but the Sylph; with careful thoughts opprest, Th’impending woe sat heavy on bis breast, He summons straight his denizens of air; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Soft o'er the shrouds aerial whispers breathe, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the sun their insect wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
• Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear;
! 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' imprison'd essences exhale; To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers; To steal from rainbows, ere they drop in showers, A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs, Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs; Nay, oft in dreams, invention we bestow, To change
ace, or add a furbelow.
* This day, black omens threat the brightest fair That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care: Some dire disaster, or by force,'or slight; But what, or where, the Fates have wrapp'd in night. 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 prayers, or miss a masquerade; Or lose her heart, or necklace at a bail; Or whether Heaven has doom'd that Shock must fall. Haste then, ye spirits ! to your chargc repair: The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care; The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign; And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine; Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favourite lock; Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
• To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note, We trust th' important charge, the petticoat: Oft have we known that sevenfold fence to fail, Though stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of
whale, Form a strong line about the silver bound, And guard the wide circumference around.
• Whatever spirit, careless of his charge, Ilis post neglects, or leaves the fair at large, Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins, Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins; Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie, Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye: Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain, While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain; Or alum styptics with contracting power Shrink his thin essence like a shrivell’d flower: Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel The giddy motion of the whirling mill, In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow, And tremble at the sea that froths below!'
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend; Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend;
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair;
CLOSE by those meads, for ever crown’d with
Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort,
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
At Ombre singly to decide their doom;
Behold, four kings in majesty rever'd,
The skilful nymph reviews her force with care: • Let spades be trumps” she said, and trumps they
Now move to war her sable Matadores, In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors. Spadillio first, unconquerable lord! Led off two captive trumps, and swept the board. As many more Manillio forc'd to yield, And march'd a victor from the verdant field. Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard Gain'd but one trump, and one plebeian card. With his broad sabre next, a chief in years, The hoary majesty of Spades appears, Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveald, The rest, his many-colour'd robe conceald. The rebel knave, who dares his prince engage, Proves the just victim of his royal rage. Ev’n mighty Pam, that kings and queens o'erthrew, And mow'd down armies in the fights of Lu, Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid, Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade!