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Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,

And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say:

Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care

Of thousand bright inhabitants of air!

If e'er one vision touch'd thy infant thought,

Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught;

Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,

The silver token, and the circled green,

Or virgins visited by angel pow'rs,

With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs;

Hear and believe! thy own importance know,

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,

To maids alone and children are reveal'd:

What though no credit doubting wits may give?

The fair and innocent shall still believe.

Know then, unnumber'd spirits round thee fly,

The light militia of the lower sky:

These, though unseen, are ever on the wing,

Hang o'er the box, and hover round the ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,

And view with scorn two pages and a chair.

As now your own, our beings were of old,

And once enclos'd in woman's beauteous mould;

Thence, by a soft transition, we repair

From earthly vehicles to those of air.

Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled,

That all her vanities at once are dead;

Succeeding vanities she still regards,

And, though she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.

Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,

And love of ombre, after death survive.

For when the fair in all their pride expire,

To their first elements their souls retire:

The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, and take a salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip, with nymphs, their elemental tea.

The graver prude sinks downward to a gnome,

In search of mischief still on earth to roam.

The light coquettes in sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.

'Know further yet; whoever fair and chaste

Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac'd:

For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.

What guards the purity of melting maids,

In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,

Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,

The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,

When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires?

'Tis but their sylph, the wise celestials know,

Though honour is the word with men below.

'Some nymphs there are too conscious of their face,

For life predestin'd to the gnomes' embrace.

These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,

When offers are disdain'd, and love deny'd:

Then gay

ideas crowd the vacant brain,

While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping train,

And garters, stars, and coronets appear,

And in soft sounds Your Grace' salutes their ear.

'Tis these that early taint the female soul,

Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,

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To one man's treat, but for another's ball?

When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,

If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?

With varying vanities, from ev'ry part,

They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;

Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,

Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.

This erring mortals levity may call;

Oh blind to truth! the sylphs contrive it all.

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