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'Tis but their Sylph, the wise celestials know, The busy Sylphs surround their darling care : Though honor is the word with men below. These set the head, and those divide the hair; Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown, face,
And Betty's prais'd for labors not her own.
and dukes, and all their sweeping train, And garters, stars, and coronets appear,
Not with more glories in th' ethereal plain, And in soft sounds, your grace' salutes their ear.
The Sun first rises o'er the purpled main, 'Tis these that early taint the female soul, Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,
Launch'd on the bosom of the silver'd Thames. Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know, Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
shone, “Oft, when the world imagine women stray, But every eye was fix'd on her alone. The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way, On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore, Through all the giddy circle they pursue,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore. And oid impertinence expel by new.
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose, What tender maid but must a victim fall
Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those :
Favors to none, to all she smiles extends ;
And, like the Sun, they shine on all alike.
If to her share some female errors fall,
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
“Of these am I, who thy protection claim, In equal curls, and well conspir’d to deck A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck. Lale, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air,
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains, In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. I saw, alas ! some dread event impend,
With hairy springes we the birds betray; Ere to the main this morning sun descend ; Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey ; But Heaven reveals not what, or how, or where. Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare, Warnd by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware! And Beauty draws us with a single hair. This to disclose is all thy guardian can:
Th’adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd Beware of all, but most beware of man!" [long, He saw, he wish’d, and to the prize aspir'd.
He said ; when Shock, who thought she slept too Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way, Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. By force to ravish, or by fraud betray ; Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
For when success a lover's toil attends, Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux;
Few ask if fraud or force attain'd his ends. Wounds, charms, and ardors were no sooner read, For this, ere Phæbus rose, he had implor'd But all the vision vanish'd from thy head. Propitious Heaven, and every power ador'd;
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, But chiefly Love to Love an altar built, Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
Of twelve vast French romanees, neatly gilt. First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, With head uncover'd, the cosmetic powers. And all the trophies of his former loves. A heavenly image in the glass appears,
With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire. 'Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Trembling, begins the sacred rites of Pride. Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize : Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer; 'The various offerings of the world appear;
The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air. From each she nicely culls with curious toil, But now secure the painted vessel glides, And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. The sunbeams trembling on the floating lides : This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
While melting music steals upon the sky, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
And soften'd sounds along the waters die ; The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gentle play, Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white. Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay, Here files of pins extend their shining rows, All but the Sylph with careful thoughts opprest, Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux.. Th’impending woe sat heavy on his breast. Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms;
He summons straight his denizens of air ; The fair each moment rises in her charms, The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
Soft o'er the shrouds aëreal whispers breathe, And calls forth all the wonders of her face: That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
Some to the Sun their insect wings unfold, And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes. Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold ;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight, Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain ;
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend :
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend ; His purple pinions opening to the Sun,
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair ;
Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear; With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take--and sometimes tea.
Our humbler province is to tend the fair, Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last ;
And one describes a charming Indian screen;
A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes;
Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day,
The Sun obliqnely shoots his burning ray: To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.
The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, " This day, black omens threat the brightest fair And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine; That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care :
The merchant from th’ Exchange returns in peace
And the long labors of the toilet cease.
At ombre singly to decide their doom;
And swells her breast with conquests yet to come. Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade ; Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join, Or lose her heart, or necklace at a ball;
Each band the number of the sacred nine.
Descend, and sit on each important card :
Then each according to the rank they bore;
Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place. Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favorite lock;
Behold, four kings in majesty reverd, Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock. With hoary whiskers and a forky beard ;
“To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note, And four fair queens, whose hands sustain a flower We trust the important charge, the petticoat: Th'expressive emblem of their softer power; Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail, Four knaves in garbs succinct, a trusty band; Though stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand; whale.
And party-colored troops, a shining train,
The skilful nymph reviews her force with care :
In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors.
Spadillio first, unconquerable lord!
As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
Ah cease, rash youth ; desist ere 'tis too late, And march'd a victor from the verdant field. Fear the just Gods, and think of Scylla's fate! Him Basto follow'd, but his fate more hard Chang'd to a bird, and sent to flit in air, Gain'd but one trump, and one plebeian card. She dearly pays for Nisus' injur'd hair! With his broad sabre next, a chief in years,
But when to mischief mortals bend their will, The hoary Majesty of Spades appears,
How soon they find fit instruments of ill! Pats forth one manly leg, to sight revealid, Just then, Clarissa drew, with tempting grace, The resi, his many-color'd robe conceal'd. A two-edg'd weapon from her shining case : The rebel knave, who dares his prince engage, So ladies, in Romance, assist their knight, Proves the just victim of his royal rage.
Present the spear, and arm him for the fight. Ev'n mighty Pam, that kings and queens o'erthrew, He takes the gift with reverence, and extends And mow'd down armies in the fights of Lu, The little engine on his fingers' ends ; Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid, This just behind Belinda's neck he spread, Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade! As o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head.
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield; Swift to the Lock a thousand Sprites repair, Now to the baron Fate inclines the field.
A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair; His warlike Amazon her host invades,
And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear; Th'imperial consort of the crown of Spades. Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew near The Club's black tyrant first her victim died, Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought Spite of his haughty mien, and barbarous pride : The close recesses of the virgin's thought; What boots the regal circle on his head,
As on the nosegay in her breast reclin'd, His giant limbs in state unwieldy spread; He watch'd th' ideas rising in her mind, That long behind he trails his pompous robe, Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art, And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe? An earthly lover lurking at her heart. The baron now his Diamonds pours apace;
Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his power expir'd, Th' embroider'd king who shows but half his face, Resign'd to fate, and with a sigh retir'd. And his refulgent queen, with powers combind, The peer now spreads the glittering forfex wide Of broken troops an easy conquest find.
T'inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide. Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen, Ev'n then, before the fatal engine clos’d, With throngs promiscuous strow the level green. A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos'd ; Thus when dispers'd a routed army runs, Fate urg'd the shears, and cut the Sylph in twain, Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons,
(But airy substance soon unites again,) With like confusion different nations fly,
The meeting points the sacred hair dissever of various habit, and of various dye,
From the fair head, for ever, and for ever! The pierc'd battalions disunited fall,
Then flash'd the living lightning froin her eyes, In heaps on heaps; one fate o'erwhelms them all. And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies.
The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, Not louder shrieks to pitying Heaven are cast, And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts. When husbands, or when lap-dogs, breathe their last! At this, the blood the virgin's cheek forsook, Or when rich China vessels, fallin from high, A livid paleness spreads o'er all her look; In glittering dust and painted fragments lie! She sees, and trembles at th' approaching ill, Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twino Just in the jaws of ruin, and Codille.
(The victor cried,) the glorious prize is mine! And now (as oft in some distemper'd state) While fish in streams, or birds delight in air, On one nice trick depends the general fate, Or in a coach and six the British fair, An Ace of Hearts steps forth: the king unseen As long as Atalantis shall be read, Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn'd his captive queen : Or the small pillow grace a lady's bed, He springs to vengeance with an eager pace, While visits shall be paid on solemn days, And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace. When numerous wax-lights in bright order blaze, The nymph exulting fills with shouts the sky; While nymphs take treats, or assignations give, The walls, the woods, and long canals reply. So long my honor, name, and praise, shall live!
O thoughtless mortals ! ever blind to fate, What time would spare, from steel receives its date, Too soon dejected, and 100 soon elate.
And monuments, like men, submit to Fate. Sudden, these honors shall be snatch'd away, Steel could the labor of the gods destroy, And curs'd for ever this victorious day.
And strike to dust th' imperial powers of Troy ; For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crown'd, Steel could the works of mortal pride confound, The berries crackle, and the mill turns round: And hew triumphal arches to the ground. On shining Altars of Japan they raise
What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs should feel The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze : The conquering force of unresisted steel ? From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide, While China's earth receives the smoking tide : At once they gratify their scent and taste,
Canto IV. And frequent cups prolong the rich repast. Straight hover round the fair her airy band; But anxious cares the pensive nymph oppress'd. Some, as she sipp'd, the fuming liquor fann'd, And secret passions labor'd in her breast. Some o'er her lap their careful plumes display'd, Not youthful kings in battle seiz'd alive, Trembling, and conscious of the rich brocade. Not scornful virgins who their charms survive, Coffee (which makes the politician wise,
Not ardent lovers robb'd of all their bliss, And see through all things with his half-shut eyes) Not ancient ladies when refus'd a kiss, Sent up in vapors to the baron's brain
Not tyrants fierce that unrepenting die, New stratagems, the radiant lock to gain.
Not Cynthia when her manteau 's pinn'd awry,
E'er felt such rage, resentment, and despair, Hear me, and touch Belinda with chagrin:
For, that sad moment, when the Sylphs withdrew, The goddess with a discontented air
Seems to reject him, though she grants his prayer. Umbriel, a dusky, melancholy sprite,
A wondrous bag with both her hands she binds, As ever sullied the fair face of light,
Like that where once Ulysses held the winds; Down to the central earth, his proper scene, There she collects the force of female lungs, Repair'd to search the gloomy cave of Spleen. Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues.
Swift on his sooty pinions flits the Gnome, A vial next she fills with fainting fears, And in a va por reach'd the dismal dome. Sofi sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears. No cheerful breeze this sullen region knows, The Gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away, The dreaded east is all the wind that blows. Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to-day Here in a grotto, shelter'd close from air,
Sunk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he found, And screen'd in shades from day's detested glare, Her eyes dejected, and her hair unbound. She sighs for ever on her pensive bed,
Full o'--r their heads the swelling bag he rent, Pain at her side, and Megrim at her head.
And all the Furies issued at the vent. Two handmaids wait the throne: alike in place, Belinda burns with more than mortal ire, But differing far in figure and in face,
And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire. Here stood Ill-nature like an ancient maid, “O wretched maid !” she spread her hands, and cried, Her wrinkled form in black and white array'd; (While Hampton's echoes, wretched maid! replied, With store of prayers, for mornings, nights, and Was it for this you took such constant care noons,
The bodkin, comb, and essence, to prepare ? Her hand is fill'd; her bosom with lampoons. For this your locks in paper durance bound, There Affectation, with a sickly mien,
For this with torturing irons wreath'd around? Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen, For this with fillets strain'd your tender bead, Practis'd to lisp, and hang the head aside,
And bravely bore the double loads of lead?
Ease, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign.
Already hear the horrid things they say,
How shall I, then, your helpless fame defend?
Unnumber'd throngs on every side are seen, On that rapacious hand for ever blaze! Of bodies chang'd to various forms by Spleen. Sooner shall grass in Hyde-Park Circus grow, Here living tea-pots stand, one arm held out, And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow ! One bent; the handle this, and that the spout: Sooner let earth, air, sea, to chaos fall, A pipkin there, like Homer's tripod, walks ; Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all !" Here sighs a jar, and there a goose-pie talks ; She said ; then raging to Sir Plume repairs, Men prove with child, as powerful fancy works, And bids her beau deniand the precious hairs: And maids, turn'd bottles, call aloud for corks. (Sir Plume of amber snuff-box justly vain,
Safe past the Gnome through this fantastic band, And the nice conduct of a clouded cane,) A branch of healing spleen-wor: in his hand, With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face, Then thus address'd the power.—“Hail, wayward He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case, queen!
And thus broke out:-“My Lord, why, what the Who rule the sex to fifty from fifteen :
devil ? Parent of vapors, and of female wit,
2–ds! damn the Lock! 'fore Gad, you must be Who give th' hysteric, or poetic fit,
civil! On various tempers act by various ways,
Plague on't! 'tis past a jest-nay pr’ythee, pox! Make some take physic, others scribble plays; Give her the hair"-he spoke, and rapp'd his box. Who cause the proud their visits to delay,
" It grieves me much (replied the peer again), And send the godly in a pet to pray.
Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain; A nymph there is, that all thy power disdains, But by this Lock, this sacred Lock, I swear, And thousands more in equal mirth maintains. (Which never more shall join its parted hair; But, oh! if e'er thy Gnome could spoil a grace, Which never more its honors shall renew, Or raise a pimple on a beauteous face,
Clipp'd from the lovely head where late it grew, Like citron-waters, matrons' cheeks inflame, That while my nostrils draw the vital air, Or change complexions at a losing game;
This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear." If e'er with airy horns I planted heads,
He spoke, and, speaking, in proud triumph spread Or rumpled petticoats, or tumbled beds,
The long-contended honors of her head. Or caus'd suspicion where no soul was rude, But Umbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so ; Or discompos d the head-dress of a prude, He breaks the vial whence the sorrows flow. Or o'er to costive lap-dog gave disease,
Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears, Which not the tean of brightest eyes could ease : Her eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in tears;
On her heav'd bosom hung her drooping head, Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; Which, with a sigh, she rais’d; and thus she said : Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul." “For ever curs'd be this detested day,
So spoke the dame, but no applause ensued : Which snatch'd my best, my favorite curl away: Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her prude. Happy!. ah ten times happy had I been,
“ To arms, to arms !" the fierce virago cries, If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen! And swift as lightning to the combat flies. Yet am not I the first mistaken maid
All side in parties, and begin th' attack ; By love of courts to numerous ills betray'd. Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones Oh had I rather unadmir'd remain'd
crack ; In some lone isle, or distant northern land ; Heroes' and heroines’ shouts confus’dly rise, Where the gilt chariot never marks the way, And base and treble voices strike the skies. Where none learn ombre, none e'er taste bohea! No common weapons in their hands are found; 'There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye, Like gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound. Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.
So when bold Homer makes the gods engage, What mov'd my mind with youthful lords to roam ? And heavenly breasts with human passions rage; Oh had I stay'd, and said my prayers at home! 'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona Hermes arms; "Twas this, the morning omens seem'd to tell, And all Olympus rings with loud alarms; Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box fell; Jove's thunder roars, Heaven trembles all around, The tottering china shook without a wind, Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound : Nay, Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind! Earth shakes her nodding towers, the ground gives A Sylph too warn'd me of the threats of Fate,
way, In mystic visions, now believ'd too late!
And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day! See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs! Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height My hand shall rend what ev'n thy rapine spares: Clapp'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight: These in two sable ringlets taught to break, Propp'd on their bodkin spears, the Sprites survey Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck; The growing combat, or assist the fray. The Sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
While through the press enrag'd Thalestris flies, And in its fellow's fate foresees its own;
And scatters death around from both her eyes, Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal shears demands, A beau and witling perish'd in the throng, And tempis, once more, thy sacrilegious hands. One died in metaphor, and one in song. Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize "O cruel nymph! a living death I bear," Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these !" Cried Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair.
A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast,
“Those eyes are made so killing"- - was his last. Canto V.
Thus on Mæander's flowery margin lies
Th' expiring swan, and as he sings he dies. She said : the pitying audience melt in tears; When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the baron's ears. Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown; In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
She smild to see the doughty hero slain, For who can move when fair Belinda fails ? But, at her smile, the beau reviv'd again. Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air, While Anna begg'd and Dido rag'd in vain. Weighs the men's wits against the lady's hair; Then grave Clarissa graceful wav'd her fan; The doubtful beam long nods from side to side; Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began : At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside.
Say, why are beauties prais'd and honor'd most, See, fierce Belinda on the baron flies, The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast ? With more than usual lightning in her eyes : Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford, Nor fear'd the chief th' unequal fight to try, Why angels call’d, and angel-like ador'd ? [beaux ? Who sought no more than on his foe to die. Why round our coaches crowd the white-glov'd But this bold lord, with manly strength endu'd, Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows ? She with one finger and a thumb subdued : How vain are all these glories, all our pains, Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew, Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains : A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw; That men may say, when we the front-box grace, The Gnomes direct, to every atom just, Behold the first in virtue as in face!
The pungent grains of titillating dust. Oh! if to dance all night and dress all day, Sudden, with starting tears eaeh eye o'erflows, Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away : And the high dome re-echoes to his nose. Who would not scorn what housewife's cares pro- “Now meet thy fate," incens'd Belinda cried, duce,
And drew a deadly bodkin from her side. Or who would learn one earthly thing of use ? (The same, his ancient personage to deck, To patch, nay ogle, may become a saint;
Her great-great-grandsire wore about his neck, Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
In three seal rings; which after, melted down, But since, alas, frail beauty must decay;
Form'd a vast buckle for his widow's gown : Curld or uncurl'd, since locks will turn to grey ; Her infant grandame's whistle next it grew, Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade, The bells she jingled, and the whistle blew; And she who scorns a man must die a maid ; Then in a bodkin grac'd her mother's hairs, What then remains, but well our power to use, Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.) And keep good-humor still, whate'er we lose? Boast not my fall (he cried), insulting foe.! And trust me, dear, good-humor can prevail, Thou by some other shalt be laid as low. When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding Nor think, to die dejects my lofty mind : fail ;
All that I dread is leaving you behind!