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Full sixty years the world has been her trade,
The wisest fool much time has ever made.
From loveless youth to unrespected age,


No passion gratified, except her rage,

So much the fury still outran the wit,

The pleasure miss'd her, and the scandal hit.

Who breaks with her, provokes revenge from hell,
But he's a bolder man who dares be well.


Her every turn with violence pursued,

No more a storm her hate than gratitude:
To that each passion turns, or soon or late;

Love, if it makes her yield, must make her hate:
Superiors? death! and equals? what a curse!
But an inferior not dependant? worse.


Offend her, and she knows not to forgive;

Oblige her, and she'll hate you while you live :

But die, and she'll adore you-then the bust
And temple rise—then fall again to dust.


Last night, her lord was all that's good and great ;
A knave this morning, and his will a cheat.
Strange! by the means defeated of the ends,

By spirit robbed of power, by warmth of friends,
By wealth of followers! without one distress,
Sick of herself, through very selfishness!
Atossa, cursed with every granted prayer,
Childless with all her children, wants an heir. 14
To heirs unknown descends the unguarded store,
Or wanders, heaven-directed, to the poor.

Pictures like these, dear Madam, to design,
Ask no firm hand, and no unerring line;
Some wandering touches, some reflected light,
Some flying stroke alone can hit them right:
For how should equal colours do the knack?
Cameleons who can paint in white and black?
"Yet Chloe sure was form'd without a spot."
Nature in her then err'd not, but forgot.

14 After ver. 148, in the MS. :

"This death decides, not lets the blessing fall
On any one she hates, but on them all.

Cursed chance! this only could afflict her more,
If any part should wander to the poor."




"With every pleasing, every prudent part,
Say, what can Chloe want?"-She wants a heart.
She speaks, behaves, and acts, just as she ought,
But never, never, reached one generous thought.
Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour,
Content to dwell in decencies for ever.
So very reasonable, so unmoved,

As never yet to love, or to be loved.



She, while her lover pants upon her breast,
Can mark the figures on an Indian chest;
And when she sees her friend in deep despair,
Observes how much a chintz exceeds mohair!
Forbid it Heaven, a favour or a debt


She e'er should cancel-but she may forget.
Safe is your secret still in Chloe's ear;
But none of Chloe's shall you ever hear.
Of all her dears she never slander'd one,
But cares not if a thousand are undone.
Would Chloe know if you're alive or dead?
She bids her footman put it in her head.15


Chloe is prudent-would you too be wise?

Then never break your heart when Chloe dies.


One certain portrait may (I grant) be seen,

Which Heaven has varnish'd out, and made a queen:

The same for ever! and described by all

With truth and goodness, as with crown and ball.

Poets heap virtues, painters gems, at will,


And show their zeal, and hide their want of skill.

'Tis well-but artists! who can paint or write,

To draw the naked is your true delight.

That robe of quality so struts and swells,
None see what parts of nature it conceals:
The exactest traits of body or of mind,
We owe to models of an humble kind.

If Queensberry to strip there's no compelling,
"Tis from a handmaid we must take a Helen.


15 [Warton says, that Pope, being at dinner one day with Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suffolk-the Chloe of the poem-heard her order her footman to put her in mind to send to know how Mrs. Blount, who was ill, had passed the night.]

From peer or bishop 'tis no easy thing

To draw the man who loves his God, or king:
Alas! I copy (or my draught would fail)
From honest Mahomet, or plain Parson Hale.


But grant, in public, men sometimes are shown,


A woman's seen in private life alone:


Our bolder talents in full light display'd;

Your virtues open fairest in the shade.

Bred to disguise, in public 'tis you hide;

There, none distinguish 'twixt your shame or pride,
Weakness or delicacy; all so nice,


That each may seem a virtue, or a vice.

In men we various ruling passions find; 17

In women, two almost divide the kind;

Those, only fix'd, they first or last obey,

The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.


That, Nature gives; and where the lesson taught 18
Is but to please, can pleasure seem a fault?
Experience, this; by man's oppression cursed,
They seek the second not to lose the first.

Men, some to business, some to pleasure take;
But every woman is at heart a rake:19
Men, some to quiet, some to public strife;
But every lady would be queen for life.

16 After ver. 198, in the MS. :


Fain I'd in Fulvia spy the tender wife;

I cannot prove it on her for my life:
And, for a noble pride, I blush no less,
Instead of Berenice to think on Bess.

Thus while immortal Cibber only sings

(As* and H**y preach) for queens and kings,

The nymph that ne'er read Milton's mighty line,

May, if she love, and merit verse, have mine."


[The blanks may be filled up with the names of Clarke and Hoadley, the Queen's favourite divines.]

17 The former part having shown, that the particular characters of women are more various than those of men, it is nevertheless observed, that the general characteristic of the sex, as to the ruling passion, is more uniform. 18 This is occasioned partly by their nature, partly by their education, and in some degree by necessity.

19 [Ayre, in his Memoirs of Pope (1745), says a certain lady "whose name for virtue and rectitude of manners has been too conspicuous not to be seen by everybody," rallied Pope on this depreciatory couplet. The poet

Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of queens! 20
Power all their end, but beauty all the means:
In youth they conquer with so wild a rage,
As leaves them scarce a subject in their age:
For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam;
No thought of peace or happiness at home.
But wisdom's triumph is well-timed retreat,
As hard a science to the fair as great!
Beauties, like tyrants, old and friendless grown,
Yet hate repose, and dread to be alone.
Worn out in public, weary every eye,
Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die.
Pleasures the sex, as children birds, pursue, 21
Still out of reach, yet never out of view;
Sure, if they catch, to spoil the toy at most,
To covet flying, and regret when lost:
At last, to follies youth could scarce defend,
It grows their age's prudence to pretend;
Ashamed to own they gave delight before,
Reduced to feign it, when they give no more:
As hags hold sabbaths, less for joy than spite,
So these their merry, miserable night;
Still round and round the ghosts of beauty glide,
And haunt the places where their honour died.

See how the world its veterans rewards!
A youth of frolics, an old age of cards;
Fair to no purpose, artful to no end,
Young without lovers, old without a friend;
A fop their passion, but their prize a sot,
Alive, ridiculous, and dead, forgot!








gallantly rejoined, "I must entreat of you to observe, that I only say,' But every woman is at heart a rake.' This no way affects your ladyship, who was an angel when you were young, and now, advancing into life, are almost already become a saint." "At this door (adds simple Squire Ayre) did Mr. Pope escape, for the lady was woman enough to be pleased with the compliment, and only said, "O fie, O fie! you wits will always make things out either a great deal worse or better than they are."]

20 What are the aims and the fate of this sex-I. As to power. 21 II. As to pleasure.

22 [The six lines, v. 242-248, originally formed part of the poem addressed to Martha Blount on her birth-day, and published in the Miscellanies. James Moore Smyth printed five of the lines as his own, in his play, the Rival Modes,

Ah, Friend! to dazzle let the vain design;23

To raise the thought and touch the heart be thine!
That charm shall grow, while what fatigues the ring, 24
Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing:
So when the sun's broad beam has tired the sight,
All mild ascends the moon's more sober light,
Serene in virgin modesty she shines,
And unobserved the glaring orb declines.

Oh! bless'd with temper, whose unclouded ray

Can make to-morrow cheerful as to-day;

She, who can love a sister's charms, or hear25
Sighs for a daughter with unwounded ear;
She who ne'er answers till a husband cools,
Or, if she rules him, never shows she rules;




and Pope frequently alludes with great bitterness to the theft and its author. For an account of the plagiarism, see Testimonies of Authors, prefixed to the Dunciad, vol. ii. p. 27. See also Prologue to the Satires in this volume, verse 373.1

23 Advice for their true interest.

24 [The ring or circle in Hyde Park was a place of fashionable resort from the time of Charles I. to that of George II., when it was partly destroyed by the formation of the Serpentine river. It is alluded to in most of the comedies and fashionable verses of the period. It was in the ring that that curious incident occurred in the life of Wycherley, which Fope related to Spence. "Wycherley was a very handsome man. His acquaintance with the famous Duchess of Cleveland commenced oddly enough. One day as he passed that duchess's coach in the ring, she leaned out of the window, and cried out loud enough to be heard distinctly by him, 'Sir, you're a rascal; you're a villain.' Wycherley from that instant entertained hopes. He did not fail waiting on her the next morning; and, with a very melancholy tone, begged to know, how it was possible for him to have so much disobliged her grace? They were very good friends from that time."]

25 [In first edition :

"That pleased can see a younger charm, or hear

Sighs for a sister with unwounded ear;

That ne'er shall answer till a husband cool,

Or, if you rule him, never show you rule;

Please by receiving, by submitting sway,

Yet have your humour most when you obey."

The sister, of course, was Teresa Blount, who was two years older than Martha. The substitution of daughter for sister, and the other alterations, seem to deprive Martha Blount of the honour of this address, as Johnson has remarked, but they were most likely adopted from motives of delicacy, as her connection with Pope had given rise to local scandal.]

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