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With wafting airs the winds obsequious blow,
And land the shining vengeance safe below.
A golden coffer in her hand she bore,
The present treacherous, but the bearer more;
'Twas fraught with pangs; for Jove ordain'd above,
That gold should aid, and pangs attend on love.
Her gay descent the man perceiv'd afar,
Wondering he ran to catch the falling star :
But so surpris'd, as none but he can tell,
Who lov'd so quickly, and who lov'd so well.
O'er all his veins the wandering passion burns,
He calls her nymph, and every nymph by turns.
Her form to lovely Venus he prefers,
Or swears that Venus' must be such as hers.
She, proud to rule, yet strangely fram'd to teaze,
Neglects his offers while her airs she plays,
Shoots scornful glances from the bended frown,
In brisk disorder trips it up and down;
Then hums a careless tune to lay the storm,
And sits, and blushes, smiles, and yields, in form.
"Now take what Jove design'd," she softly cry'd,
"This box thy portion, and myself the bride."
Fir'd with the prospect of the double charms,
He snatch'd the box, and bride, with eager arms.
Unhappy man! to whom so bright she shone,
The fatal gift, her tempting self, unknown!
The winds were silent, all the waves asleep,
And Heaven was trac'd upon the flattering deep:
But, whilst he looks unmindful of a storm,
And thinks the water wears a stable form,
What dreadful din around his ears shall rise!
What frowns confuse his picture of the skies!
At first the creature man was fram'd alone,
Lord of himself, and all the world his own.
For him the nymphs in green forsook the woods,
For him the nymphs in blue forsook the floods;
In vain the Satyrs rage, the Tritons rave,
They bore him heroes in the secret cave.
No care destroy'd, no sick disorder prey'd,
No bending age his sprightly form decay'd,
No wars were known, no females heard to rage,
And, poets tell us, 'twas a golden age.
When woman came, those ills the box confin'd
Burst furious out, and poison'd all the wind,
From point to point, from pole to pole they flew,
Spread as they went, and in the progress grew :
The nymphs regretting left the mortal race,
And altering Nature wore a sickly face.
New terms of folly rose, new states of care;
New plagues, to suffer, and to please, the fair!
The days of whining, and of wild intrigues,
Commenc'd, or finish'd with the breach of leagues;
The mean designs of well-dissembled love;
The sordid matches never join'd above :
Abroad the labour, and at home the noise,
(Man's double sufferings for domestic joys,)
The curse of jealousy; expense and strife;
Divorce, the public brand of shameful life;
The rival's sword; the qualm that takes the fair;
Disdain for passion, passion in despair
These, and a thousand yet unnam'd, we find;
Ah fear the thousand yet unnam❜d behind!
Thus on Parnassus tuneful Hesiod sung, The mountain echoed, and the valley rung.
The sacred groves a fix'd attention show,
The crystal Helicon forebore to flow,
The sky grew bright, and (if his verse be true)
The Muses came to give the laurel too.
But what avail'd the verdant prize of wit,
If Love swore vengeance for the tales he writ?
Ye fair offended, hear your friend relate
What heavy judgment prov'd the writer's fate,
Though when it happen'd no relation clears,
'Tis thought in five, or five and twenty years.
Where, dark and silent, with a twisted shade
The neighbouring woods a native arbour made,
There oft a tender pair, for amorous play
Retiring, toy'd the ravish'd hours away;
A Locrian youth, the gentle Troilus he,
A fair Milesian, kind Evanthe she:
But swelling nature in a fatal hour
Betray'd the secrets of the conscious bower;
The dire disgrace her brothers count their own,
And track her steps, to make its author known.
It chanc'd one evening, 'twas the lover's day, Conceal'd in brakes the jealous kindred lay; When Hesiod, wandering, mus'd along the plain, And fix'd his seat where love had fix'd the scene; A strong suspicion straight possess their mind, (For poets ever were a gentle kind,) But when Evanthe near the passage stood, Flung back a doubtful look, and shot the wood, "Now take" (at once they cry) "thy due reward,” And, urg'd with erring rage, assault the bard. His corpse the sea receiv'd. The dolphins bore ('Twas all the gods would do) the corpse to shore.
Methinks I view the dead with pitying eyes, And see the dreams of ancient wisdom rise: I see the Muses round the body cry, But here a Cupid loudly laughing by ; He wields his arrow with insulting hand, And thus inscribes the moral on the sand.. "Here Hesiod lies: ye future bards, beware How far your moral tales incense the fair. Unlov'd, unloving, 'twas his fate to bleed; Without his quiver, Cupid caus'd the deed: He judg'd this turn of malice justly due, And Hesiod dy'd for joys he never knew."
AN ALLEGORY ON MAN. A THOUGHTFUL being, long and spare, Our race of mortals call him Care, (Were Homer living, well he knew What name the gods have call'd him too,) With fine mechanic genius wrought, And lov'd to work, though no one bought. This being, by a model bred In Jove's eternal sable head, Contriv'd a shape empower'd to breathe, And be the worldling here beneath.
The man rose, staring like a stake; Wondering to see himself awake!
Then look'd so wise, before he knew
The business he was made to do;
That, pleas'd to see with what a grace
He gravely show'd his forward face,
Jove talk'd of breeding him on high,
An under-something of the sky.
But ere he gave the mighty nod,
Which ever binds a poet's god,
(For which his curls ambrosial shake,
And mother Earth's oblig'd to quake,)
He saw old mother Earth arise,
She stood confess'd before his eyes;
But not with what we read she wore,
A castle for a crown before,
Nor with long streets and longer roads
Dangling behind her, like commodes:
As yet with wreaths alone she drest,
And trail'd a landskip-painted vest.
Then thrice she rais'd, as Ovid said,
And thrice she bow'd her weighty head.
Her honours made, " Great Jove," she cry'd,
"This thing was fashion'd from my side:
His hands, his heart, his head are mine;
Then what hast thou to call him thine ?"
"Nay, rather ask," the monarch said, "What boots his hand, his heart, his head, Were what I gave remov'd away? Thy part's an idle shape of clay."
"Halves, more than halves!" cry'd honest Care, "Your pleas would make your titles fair, You clain the body, you the soul, But I who join'd them, claim the whole." Thus with the gods debate began,
On such a trivial cause, as inan.