« PreviousContinue »
A WAY ! let nought to love displeasing,
A My Winifreda, move thy fear ;
Let nought delay the heavenly blessing,
Nor squeamish pride, nor gloomy care.
What tho' no grants of royal donors
With pompous titles grace our blood; We'll shine in more substantial honours,
And to be noble, we'll be good.
What tho' from fortune's lavish bounty
No mighty treasures we possess,
We'll find within our pittance plenty,
And be content without excess.
Still shall each kind returning season
Sufficient for our wishes give;
For we will live a life of reason,
And that's the only life to live.
Our name, while virtue thus we tender,
Shall sweetly sound where'er 'tis spoke,
And all the great ones much shall wonder
How they admire such little folk. Thro' youth and age, in love excelling,
We'll hand in hand together tread; Sweet smiling peace shall crown our dwelling,
And babes, sweet smiling babes, our bed. How should I love the pretty creatures,
Whilst round my knees they fondly clung, To see them look their mother's features,
To hear 'em lisp their mother's tongue ! And when with envy time transported
Shall think to rob us of our joys, You'll in your girls again be courted, And I'll go wooing in my boys.
ADVICE TO A LADY. 1731.
THE counsels of a friend, Belinda, hear,
+ Too roughly kind to please a lady's ear,
Unlike the flatteries of a lover's pen,
Such truths as women seldom learn from men.
Nor think I praise you ill, when thus I show
What female vanity might fear to know :
Some merit's mine, to dare to be sincere;
But greater your's, sincerity to bear.
Hard is the fortune that your sex attends;
Women, like princes, find few real friends :
All who approach them their own ends pursue;
Lovers and ministers are seldom true.
Hence oft from Reason heedless Beauty strays,
And the most trusted guide the most betrays :
Hence, by fond dreams of fancied power amus'd,
When most you tyrannize, you're most abus'd.
What is your sex's earliest, latest care,
Your heart's supreme ambition ?-To be fair.
For this, the toilet every thought employs,
Hence all the toils of dress, and all the joys:
For this, hands, lips, and eyes, are put to school,
And each instructed feature has its rule:
And yet how few have learnt, when this is given
Not to disgrace the partial boon of Heav'n!
How few with all their pride of form can move !
How few are lovely, that are made for love!
Do you, my fair, endeavour to possess
An elegance of mind as well as dress;
Be that your ornament, and know to please
By graceful Nature's unaffected ease.
Nor make to dangerous wit a vain pretence,
But wisely rest content with modest sense ;
For wit, like wine, intoxicates the brain,
Too strong for feeble woman to sustain:
of those who claim it more than half have none : And half of those who have it are undone.
Be still superior to your sex's arts,
Nor think dishonesty a proof of parts:
For you, the plainest is the wisest rule :
A cunning woman is a knavish fool.
Be good yourself, nor think another's shame
Can raise your merit, or adorn your fame.
Prudes rail at whores, as statesmen in disgrace
At ministers, because they wish their place :
Virtue is amiable, mild, serene;
Without, all beauty ; and all peace within :
The honour of a prude is rage and storm,
'Tis ugliness in its most frightful form.
Fiercely it stands, defying gods and men,
As fiery monsters guard a giant's den.
Seek to be good, but aim not to be great: A woman's noblest station is retreat ; Her fairest virtues fly from public sight, Domestic worth, that shuns too strong a light.
To rougher man Ambition's task resign, 'Tis ours in senates or in courts to shine, To labour for a sunk corrupted state, Or dare the rage of Envy, and be great. One only care your gentle breasts should move, The important business of your life is love; To this great point direct your constant aim, This makes your happiness, and this your fame.
Be never cool reserve with passion join'd; With caution chuse! but then be fondly kind, The selfish heart, that but by halves is given, Shall find no place in Love's delightful heaven; Here sweet extremes alone can truly bless : The virtue of a lover is excess.
A maid unask'd may own a well-plac'd flame; Not loving first, but loving wrong, is shame.
Contemn the little pride of giving pain, Nor think that conquest justifies disdain, Short is the period of insulting power : Offended Cupid finds his vengeful hour;
Soon will resume the empire which he gave,
And soon the tyrant shall become the slave.
Blest is the maid, and worthy to be blest,
Whose soul, entire by him she loves possest,
Feels every vanity in fondness lost,
And asks no power, but that of pleasing most:
Her's is the bliss, in just return, to prove
The honest warmth of undissembled love:
For her, inconstant man might cease to range,
And gratitude forbid desire to change.
But, lest harsh care the lover's peace destroy,
And roughly blight the tender buds of joy,
Let Reason teach what Passion fain would hide,
That Hymen's bands by Prudence should be tied,
Venus in vain the wedded pair would crown,
If angry Fortune on their union frown:
Soon will the flattering dream of bliss be o'er
And cloy'd Imagination cheat no more.
Then, waking to the sense of lasting pain,
With mutual tears the nuptial couch they stain;
And that fond love, which should afford relief,
Does but increase the anguish of their grief: -
While both could easier their own sorrows bear,
Than the sad knowledge of each other's care.
Yet may you rather feel that virtuous pain, Than sell your violated charms for gain; Than wed the wretch whom you despise or hate, For the vain glare of useless wealth or state. The most abandon's prostitutes are they, Who not to love, but avarice, fall a prey : Nor aught avails the specious name of wife; A maid so wedded is a whore for life. E'en in the happiest choice, where favouring
Heaven Has equal love, and easy fortune given, Think not, the husband gain'd, that all is done: The prize of happiness must still be won: And oft, the careless find it to their cost, The lover in the husband may be lost;
The Graces might alone his heart allure ;
They and the Virtues meeting must secure.
Let e'en your Prudence wear the pleasing dress
Of care for Him, and anxious tenderness.
From kind concern about his weal or woe,
Let each domestic duty seem to flow.
The household sceptre if he bids you bear,
Make it your pride his servant to appear :
Endearing thus the common acts of life,
The mistress still shall charm him in the wife ;
And wrinkled age shall unobserv'd come on,
Before his eye perceives one beauty gone :
E'en o'er your cold, your ever-sacred urn,
His constant flame shall unextinguish'd burn.
Thus I, Belinda, would your charms improve,
And form your heart to all the arts of love.
The task were harder, to secure my own
Against the power of those already known :
For well you twist the secret chains that bind
With gentle force the captivated mind,
Skill'd every soft attraction to employ,
Each flattering hope, and each alluring joy;
I own your genius, and from you receive
The rules of pleasing, which to you I give.
To the Memory of Lady Lyttelton. 1747.
Ipse cava solans ægrum testudine amorem,
Te dulcis conjux, te solo in littore secum,
Te veniente die, te decedente canebat.
AT length escap'd from every human eye, A From every duty, every care, That in my mournful thoughts might claim a share, Or force my tears their flowing stream to dry; Beneath the gloom of this embowering shade, This lone retreat, for tender sorrow made,