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WHAT ancient times (those times we fancy wise)
Have left on long record of woman's rise,
What morals teach it, and what fables hide,
What author wrote it, how that author died,
All these I sing. In Greece they fram'd the tale
(In Greece 'twas thought a woman might be frail);
Ye modern beauties! where the poet drew
His softest pencil, think he dreamt of you;
And, warn'd by him, ye wanton pens, beware
How Heaven's concern'd to vindicate the fair.
The case was Hesiod's; he the fable writ;
Some think with meaning, some with idle wit:
Perhaps 'tis either, as the ladies please;
I wave the contest, and commence the lays.
In days of yore (no matter where or when,
'Twas ere the low creation swarm'd with men)
That one Prometheus, sprung of heavenly birth,
(Our author's song can witness) liv'd on Earth:
He carv'd the turf to mould a manly frame,
And stole from Jove his animating flame.
The sly contrivance o'er Olympus ran,
When thus the monarch of the stars began:
"O vers'd in arts! whose daring thoughts aspire,
To kindle clay with never-dying fire!
Enjoy thy glory past, that gift was thine;
The next thy creature meets, be fairly mine:
And such a gift, a vengeance so design'd,
As suits the counsel of a god to find;
A pleasing bosom-cheat, a specious ill,
Which felt the curse, yet covets still to feel."
He said, and Vulcan straight the sire commands,
To temper mortar with ethereal hands;
In such a shape to mould a rising fair,
As virgin goddesses are proud to wear;
To make her eyes with diamond-water shine,
And form her organs for a voice divine.
"Twas thus the sire ordain'd: the power obey'd;
And work'd, and wonder'd at the work he made;
The fairest, softest, sweetest frame beneath,
Now made to seem, now more than seem to breathe.
As Vulcan ends, the cheerful queen of charms
Clasp'd the new-panting creature in her arms:
From that embrace a fine complexion spread,
Where mingled whiteness glow'd with softer red.
Then in a kiss she breath'd her various arts,
Of trifling prettily with wounded hearts;
A mind for love, but still a changing mind:
The lisp affected, and the glance design'd;
The sweet confusing blush, the secret wink,
The gentle swimming walk, the courteous sink;
The stare for strangeness fit, for scorn the frown;
For decent yielding, looks declining down;
The practis'd languish, where well-feign'd desire
Would own its melting in a mutual fire;
Gay smiles to comfort: April showers to move;
And all the nature, all the art of love.
Gold scepter'd Juno next exalts the fair; Her touch endows her with imperious air, Self-valuing fancy, highly-crested pride, Strong sovereign will, and some desire to chide; For which, an eloquence, that aims to vex, With native troops of anger, arms the sex. Minerva, skilful goddess, train'd the maid To twirl the spindle by the twisting thread;
To fix the loom, instruct the reeds to part,
Cross the long weft, and close the web with art:
An useful gift; but what profuse expense,
What world of fashions, took its rise from hence!
Young Hermes next, a close contriving god,
Her brows encircled with his serpent rod;
Then plots and fair excuses fill'd her brain,
The views of breaking amorous vows for gain;
The price of favors; the designing arts
That aim at riches in contempt of hearts;
And, for a comfort in the marriage life,
The little pilfering temper of a wife.
Full on the fair his beams Apollo flung,
And fond persuasion tipp'd her easy tongue;
He gave her words, where oily flattery lays
The pleasing colors of the art of praise;
And wit, to scandal exquisitely prone,
Which frets another's spleen to cure its own.
Those sacred Virgins whom the bards revere Tun'd all her voice, and shed a sweetness there, To make her sense with double charms abound, Or make her lively nonsense please by sound.
To dress the maid, the decent Graces brought
A robe in all the dyes of beauty wrought,
And plac'd their boxes o'er a rich brocade,
Where pictur'd Loves on every cover play'd;
Then spread those implements that Vulcan's art
Had fram'd to merit Cytherea's heart;
The wire to curl, the close indented comb
To call the locks, that lightly wander, home;
And chief, the mirror, where the ravish'd maid
Beholds and loves her own reflected shade.
Fair Flora lent her stores; the purpled Hours
Confin'd her tresses with a wreath of flowers;
Within the wreath arose a radiant crown;
A veil pellucid hung depending down;
Back roll'd her azure veil with serpent fold,
The purfled border deck'd the floor with gold.
Her robe (which closely by the girdle brac'd
Reveal'd the beauties of a slender waist)
Flow'd to the feet, to copy Venus' air,
When Venus' statues have a robe to wear.
The new-sprung creature, finish'd thus for harms Adjusts her habit, practises her charms, With blushes glows, or shines with lively smiles, Confirms her will, or recollects her wiles: Then, conscious of her worth, with easy pace Glides by the glass, and turning views her face. A finer flax than what they wrought before, Through Time's deep cave, the sister Fates explore, Then fix the loom, their fingers nimbly weave, And thus their toil prophetic songs deceive.
"Flow from the rock, my flax! and swiftly flow Pursue thy thread; the spindle runs below. A creature fond and changing, fair and vain, The creature woman, rises now to reign. New beauty blooms, a beauty form'd to fly; New love begins, a love produc'd to die; New parts distress the troubled scenes of life, The fondling mistress, and the ruling wife.
"Men born to labor, all with pains provide; Women have time to sacrifice to pride: They want the care of man, their want they know, And dress to please with heart-alluring show; The show prevailing, for the sway contend, And make a servant where they meet a friend. "Thus in a thousand wax-erected forts A loitering race the painful bee supports; From sun to sun, from bank to bank he flies, With honey loads his bag, with wax his thighs;
Fly where he will, at home the race remain,
Prune the silk dress, and murmuring eat the gain.
"Yet here and there we grant a gentle bride,
Whose temper betters by the father's side;
Unlike the rest that double human care,
Fond to relieve, or resolute to share:
Happy the man whom thus his stars advance!
The curse is general, but the blessing chance."
Thus sung the sisters, while the gods admire
Their beauteous creature, made for man in ire;
The young Pandora she, whom all contend
To make too perfect not to gain her end:
Then bid the winds, that fly to breathe the spring,
Return to bear her on a gentle wing;
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 tease,
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 cried,
"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 labor, 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 echo'd, 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 neighboring woods a native arbor 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 died 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 obliged 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 landscape-painted vest.
Then thrice she rais'd, as Ovid said,
And thrice she bow'd her weighty head.
Her honors made, "Great Jove," she cried, "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!" cried honest Care, "Your pleas would make your titles fair. You claim 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 man.
And can celestial tempers rage?
Quoth Virgil, in a later age?
As thus they wrangled, Time came by;
(There's none that paint him such as I,
For what the fabling ancients sung
Makes Saturn old, when Time was young).
As yet his winters had not shed
Their silver honors on his head;
He just had got his pinions free,
From his old sire, Eternity.
A serpent girdled round he wore,
The tail within the mouth, before;
By which our almanacs are clear
That learned Egypt meant the year.
A staff he carried, where on high
A glass was fix'd to measure by,
As amber boxes made a show
For heads of canes an age ago.
His vest, for day and night, was py'd;
A bending sickle arm'd his side;
And Spring's new months his train adorn:
The other seasons were unborn.
Known by the gods, as near he draws,
They make him umpire of the cause.
O'er a low trunk his arm he laid,
Where since his hours a dial made;
Then leaning heard the nice debate,
And thus pronounc'd the words of Fate:
"Since body from the parent Earth,
And soul from Jove receiv'd a birth,
Return they where they first began;
But since their union makes the man,
Till Jove and Earth shall part these two,
To Care who join'd them, man is due."
He said, and sprung with swift career
To trace a circle for the year;
Where ever since the seasons wheel,
And tread on one another's heel.
""Tis well," said Jove, and for consent Thundering he shook the firmament. "Our umpire Time shall have his way, With Care I let the creature stay: Let business vex him, avarice blind, Let doubt and knowledge rack his mind, Let error act, opinion speak,
And want afflict, and sickness break,
And anger burn, dejection chill,
And joy distract, and sorrow kill,
Till, arm'd by Care, and taught to mow,
Time draws the long destructive blow;
And wasted man, whose quick decay
Comes hurrying on before his day,
Shall only find by this decree,
The soul flies sooner back to me."
COME hither, boy, we'll hunt to-day,
The book-worm, ravening beast of prey,
Produc'd by parent Earth, at odds,
As Fame reports it, with the gods.
Him frantic hunger wildly drives
Against a thousand authors' lives:
Through all the fields of wit he flies;
Dreadful his head with clustering eyes,
With horns without, and tusks within,
And scales to serve him for a skin.
Observe him nearly, lest he climb
To wound the bards of ancient time,
Or down the vale of fancy go
To tear some modern wretch below.
On every corner fix thine eye,
Or ten to one he slips thee by.
See where his teeth a passage eat:
We'll rouse him from the deep retreat.
But who the shelter's forc'd to give?
"Tis sacred Virgil, as I live!
From leaf to leaf, from song to song,
He draws the tadpole form along,
He mounts the gilded edge before,
He's up, he scuds the cover o'er,
He turns, he doubles, there he past,
And here we have him, caught at last.
Insatiate brute, whose teeth abuse
The sweetest servants of the Muse-
(Nay never offer to deny,
I took thee in the fact to fly).
His roses nipt in every page,
My poor Anacreon mourns thy rage;
By thee my Ovid wounded lies;
By thee my Lesbia's sparrow dies;
Thy rabid teeth have half destroy'd
The work of love in Biddy Floyd,
They rent Belinda's locks away,
And spoil'd the Blouzelind of Gay.
For all, for every single deed,
Relentless Justice bids thee bleed.
Then fall a victim to the Nine,
Myself the priest, my desk the shrine.
Bring Homer, Virgil, Tasso near,
To pile a sacred altar here;
Hold, boy, thy hand outruns thy wit,
You reach'd the plays that Dennis writ
You reach'd me Philips' rustic strain
Pray take your mortal bards again.
Come, bind the victiin, there he lies, And here between his numerous eyes This venerable dust I lay, From manuscripts just swept away. The goblet in my hand I take, (For the libation's yet to make,) A health to poets! all their days May they have bread, as well as praise; Sense may they seek, and less engage In papers fill'd with party-rage. But if their riches spoil their vein, Ye Muses, make them poor again.
Now bring the weapon, yonder blade, With which my tuneful pens are made. I strike the scales that arm thee round, And twice and thrice I print the wound, The sacred altar floats with red, And now he dies, and now he's dead.
How like the son of Jove I stand, This Hydra stretch'd beneath my hand! Lay bare the monster's entrails here, To see what dangers threat the year: Ye gods! what sonnets on a wench! What lean translations out of French! Tis plain, this lobe is so unsound, Sprints, before the months go round
But hold, before I close the scene, The sacred altar should be clean. Oh had I Shadwell's second bays, Or, Tate! thy pert and humble lays! (Ye pair, forgive me, when I vow I never miss'd your works till now,) I'd tear the leaves to wipe the shrine, (That only way you please the Nine,) But since I chance to want these two, I'll make the songs of Durfey do.
Rent from the corpse, on yonder pin, I hang the scales that brac'd it in; I hang my studious morning-gown, And write my own inscription down.
"This trophy from the Pithon won, This robe, in which the deed was done, These, Parnell, glorying in the feat, Hung on these shelves, the Muses' seat. Here Ignorance and Hunger found Large realms of Wit to ravage round: Here Ignorance and Hunger fell;
Two foes in one I sent to Hell.
Ye poets, who my labors see,
Come share the triumph all with me!
Ye critics! born to vex the Muse,
Go mourn the grand ally you lose."
NICHOLAS ROWE, descended from an ancient derived his principal claims upon posterity, are family in Devonshire, was the son of John Rowe, chiefly founded on the model of French tragedy; Esquire, a barrister of reputation and extensive and in his diction, which is poetical without being practice. He was born in 1673, at the house of his bombastic or affected; in his versification, which is maternal grandfather, at Little Berkford, in Bed- singularly sweet; and in tirades of sentiment, given fordshire. Being placed at Westminster-school, with force and elegance, he has few competitors. under Dr. Busby, he pursued the classical studies As a miscellaneous poet, Rowe occupies but an
ing simplicity, scarcely excelled by any pieces of the kind. His principal efforts, however, were in poetical translation; and his version of Lucan's Pharsalia has been placed by Dr. Johnson among the greatest productions of English poetry.
of that place with credit. At the age of sixteen he inconsiderable place among his countrymen; but it was removed from school, and entered a student of has been thought proper to give some of his songs the Middle Temple, it being his father's intention or ballads in the pastoral strain; which have a touchto bring him up to his own profession; but the death of this parent, when Nicholas was only nineteen, freed him from what he probably thought a pursuit foreign to his disposition; and he turned his chief studies to poetry and polite literature. At the age of twenty-five he produced his first tra- In politics, Rowe joined the party of the Whigs, gedy, "The Ambitious Stepmother;" which was under whose influence he had some gainful posts, afterwards succeeded by "Tamerlane;" "The Fair without reckoning that of poet-laureate, on the acPenitent;" Ulysses;" "The Royal Convert;" cession of George I. He was twice married to "Jane Shore;" and "Lady Jane Grey." Of women of good connexions, by the first of whom these, though all have their merits, the third and the two last alone keep possession of the stage; but Jane Shore in particular never fails to be viewed with deep interest. His plays, from which are
he had a son, and by the second, a daughter. He died in December, 1718, in the 45th year of his age, and was interred among the poets in Westminster Abbey.
DESPAIRING beside a clear stream,
A shepherd forsaken was laid;
And while a false nymph was his theme,
A willow supported his head.
The wind that blew over the plain,
To his sighs with a sigh did reply;
And the brook, in return to his pain,
Ran mournfully murmuring by.
Alas, silly swain that I was!"
Thus sadly complaining, he cried,
"When first I beheld that fair face,
"Twere better by far I had died.
She talk'd, and I bless'd the dear tongue;
When she smil'd, 'twas a pleasure too great.
I listen'd, and cried, when she sung,
Was nightingale ever so sweet?
"How foolish was I to believe
She could dote on so lowly a clown,
Or that her fond heart would not grieve,
To forsake the fine folk of the town?
To think that a beauty so gay,
So kind and so constant would prove;
Or go clad like our maidens in grey,
Or live in a cottage on love?
"What though I have skill to complain,
Though the Muses my temples have crown'd;
What though, when they hear my soft strain,
The virgins sit weeping around.
Ah, Colin, thy hopes are in vain,
Thy pipe and thy laurel resign;
Thy false-one inclines to a swain,
Whose music is sweeter than thine.
"And you, my companions so dear,
Who sorrow to see me betray'd,
Whatever I suffer, forbear,
Forbear to accuse the false maid.