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The sex we honour, though their faults we blame, Nay, thank their faults for such a fruitful theme : A theme fair --! doubly kind to me, Since satirizing those is praising thee ; Who wouldst not bear, too modestly refin'd, A panegyric of a grosser kind.
Britannia's daughters, much more fair than nice, Too fond of admiration, lose their price; Worn in the public eye, give cheap delight To throngs, and tarnish to the sated sight: As unreserv'd and beauteous as the sun, Through every sign of vanity they run ; Assemblies, parks, course feasts in city-halls, Lectures and trials, plays, committees, balls; Wells, bedlams, executions, Smithfield-scenes, And fortune-zellers' caves and lions' dens; Taverns, Exchanges, Bridewells, drawing-rooms, Instalments, pillories, coronations, tombs, Tumblers and funeral, puppet-shows, reviews, Sales, races, rabbets (and, still stranger !) pews,
Clarinda's bosom burns, but burns for fame, And love lies vanquish'd in a nobler flame; Warm gleams of hope she now dispenses, then, Like April suns, dives into clouds again : With all her lustre now her lover warms, Then, out of ostentation, hides her charms. 'Tis next her pleasure sweetly to complain, And to be taken with a sudden pain; Then she starts up, all ecstasy and bliss, And is, sweet soul! just as sincere in this : O how she rolls her charming eyes in spite! And looks delightfully with all her might! But, like our heroes, much more brave than wise, She conquers for the triumph, not the prize.
Zara resembles Ætna crown'd with snows, Without she freezes, and within she glows: Twice ere the sun descends, with zeal inspir'd, From the vain converse of the world retir'd. She reads the psalms and chapters for the day,
Cleopatra, or the last new play.
Thus gloomy Zara, with a solemn grace,
Nor far beneath her in renown is she
A dearth of words a woman need not fear,
Xantippe cries, 'Let nymphs who nought can say
Famine, plague, war, and an unnumber'd throng Of guilt-avenging ills, to man belong. What black, what ceaseless, cares besiege our state? What strokes we feel from Fancy and from Fate ?
If Fate forbears us, Fancy strikes the blow;
How have I seen a gentle nymph draw nigh, Peace in her air, persuasion in her eye; Victorious tenderness ! it all o'ercame, Husbands look'd mild, and savages grew tame.
The silvan race our active nymphs pursue, Man is not all the game they have in view : In woods and fields their glory they complete; There Master Betty leaps a five-barr'd gate ; While fair Miss Charles to toilettes is confin'd, Nor rashly tempts the barbarous sun and wind. Some nymphs affect a more heroic breed, And vault from hunters to the manag'd steed; Command his prancings with a martial air, And Fobert has the forming of the fair.
More than one steed must Delia's empire feel, Who sits triumphant o'er the flying wheel, And as she guides it through the admiring throng, With what an air she smacks the silken thong?
Graceful as John, she moderates the reins,
O'er the belle-lettre lovely Daphne reigas;
But hold, she cries, lampooner ! have a care;
Sempronia lik'd her man, and well she might; The youth in person and in parts was bright; Possess'd of every virtue, grace, and art, That claims just empire o'er the female heart : He met her passion, all her sighs return'd, And in full rage of youthful ardour burn'd: Large his possessions, and beyond her own, Their bliss the theme and envy of the Town : The day was fix'd, when, with one acre more, In stepp'd deform'd, debauch'd, diseas'd, Threescore. The fatal sequel I, through shame, forbear. of pride and avarice who can cure the fair!
Man's rich with little, were his judgment true; Nature is frugal, and her wants are few; Those few wants answer'd bring sincere delights, But fools create themselves new appetites. Fancy and pride seek things at vast expense, Which relish not to reason, nor to sense. When surfeit or unthankfulness destroys, In Nature's narrow sphere, our solid joys, In Fancy's airy land of noise and show, Where nought but dreams, no real pleasures grow, Like cats in airpumps, to subsist we strive On joys too thin to keep the soul alive.
Lemira's sick; make haste; the doctor call : He comes : but where's his patient ? at the ball. The doctor stares ; her woman curt’sies low, And cries, ‘My Lady, Sir, is always so : Diversions put her maladies to flight; True, she can't stand, but she can dance all night : I've known my Lady (for she loves a tune) For fevers take an opera in June : And though, perhaps, you'll think the practice bold, A midnight Park is sovereign for a cold : With cholics breakfasts of green fruit agree, With indigestions supper just at three.' A strange alternative, replies Sir Hans, Must women have a doctor or a dance ? Though sick to death, abroad they safely roam, But droop and die, in perfect health, at home. For want-but not of health, are ladies ill, And tickets cure beyond the doctor's pill.
Alas, my heart! how languishingly fair, Yon lady lolls with what a tender air ! Pale as a young dramatic author, when O'er darling lines fell Cibber waves his pen. Is her lord angry, or has Veny chid ? Dead is her father, or the mask forbid ? 'Late sitting up has turn'd her roses white.' Why went she not to bed? Because 'twas night. Did she then dance or play ? 'Nor this nor that.' Well, night soon steals away in pleasing chat.