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For virgins, to keep chaste, must go
Abroad with such as are not so.
With a fa, la, la.
And thus, fair maids, my ballad ends;
God send the king safe landing ;
And make all honest ladies friends
To armies that are standing;
Preserve the limits of those nations,
And take off ladies' limitations.
With a fa, la, la.
ROXANA; OR, THE DRAWING-ROOM.
ROXANA, from the Court returning late,
Sigh'd her soft sorrow at St. James's gate:
Such heavy thoughts lay brooding in her breast,
Not her own chairmen with more weight oppress'd:
They curse the cruel weight they 're doom'd to bear;
She, in more gentle sounds, express'd her care.
"Mistress Howard," afterwards Countess of Suffolk, is of course the person alluded to in the next line. Neither Lady Rich nor Mrs. Howard would be much gratified by the poet's attentions in this ballad.]
1 [This and the following poem, though included in Pope's works, seem fairly to belong to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and form part of her Town Eclogues. Mr. Dallaway, in his memoir of Lady Mary, says, "Both Pope and Gay suggested many additions and alterations, which were certainly not adopted by Lady Mary; and as copies, including their corrections, have been found among the papers of these poets, their editors have attributed three out of six to them. The Basset Table and the Drawing Room are given to Pope, and The Toilet to Gay." The younger Richardson relates, that when Lady Mary showed Pope a paper of her verses in which he wished to make some trifling alterations, she said, "No, Pope, no touching, for then whatever is good for anything will pass for yours, and the rest for mine." Pope stated to Spence that Lydia (The Toilet) was almost wholly Gay's, only five or six lines being "new set" in it by Lady Mary. "It was that," he adds, "which gave the hint ; and she wrote the other five eclogues;" consequently, Pope wrote none of them himself.]
"Was it for this, that I these roses wear?
For this, new-set the jewels for my hair?
Ah princess! with what zeal have I pursued!
Almost forgot the duty of a prude.
This king, I never could attend too soon;
I miss'd my prayers, to get me dress'd by noon.
For thee, ah! what for thee did I resign?
My passions, pleasures, all that e'er was mine:
I've sacrificed both modesty and ease;
Left operas, and went to filthy plays:
Double-entendres shock'd my tender ear;
Yet even this, for thee, I chose to bear:
In glowing youth, when nature bids be gay,
And every joy of life before me lay;
By honour prompted, and by pride restrain'd,
The pleasures of the young my soul disdain'd:
Sermons I sought, and, with a mien severe,
Censured my neighbours, and said daily prayer.
Alas, how changed! with this same sermon-mien,
The filthy What-d'ye-call it—I have seen.
Ah, royal princess! for whose sake I lost
The reputation, which so dear had cost;
I, who avoided every public place,
When bloom and beauty bid me show my face,
Now near thee, constant, I each night abide,
With never-failing duty by my side;
Myself and daughters standing in a row,
To all the foreigners a goodly show.
Oft had your drawing-room been sadly thin,
And merchants' wives close by your side had been,
Had I not amply fill'd the empty place,
And saved your highness from the dire disgrace :
Yet Cockatilla's artifice prevails,
When all my duty and my merit fails:
That Cockatilla, whose deluding airs
Corrupts our virgins, and our youth ensnares ;
So sunk her character, and lost her fame,
Scarce visited, before your highness came;
Yet for the bed-chamber 'tis she you choose,
Whilst zeal, and fame, and virtue you refuse.
Ah worthy choice; not one of all your train,
Which censures blast not, or dishonours stain.
I know the Court, with all its treacherous wiles,
The false caresses, and undoing smiles.
Ah, princess! learn'd in all the courtly arts,
To cheat our hopes, and yet to gain our hearts."
The basset-table spread, the tallier come;
Why stays Smilinda in the dressing-room?
Rise, pensive nymph, the tallier waits for you!
Ah, madam, since my Sharper is untrue, I joyless make my once adored Alpeu.
I saw him stand behind Ombrelia's chair,
And whisper, with that soft, deluding air,
And those feign'd sighs, which cheat the listening fair.
Is this the cause of your romantic strains?
A mightier grief my heavy heart sustains.
As you by love, so I by fortune cross'd:
One, one bad deal, three Septlevas have lost.
Is that the grief, which you compare with mine? With ease, the smiles of Fortune I resign: Would all my gold in one bad deal were gone! Were lovely Sharper mine, and mine alone.
A lover lost, is but a common care,
And prudent nymphs against that change prepare ;
The Knave of Clubs thrice lost! Oh! who could guess
This fatal stroke, this unforeseen distress?
See Betty Lovet! very à-propos,
She all the cares of love and play does know:
Dear Betty shall the important point decide;
Betty, who oft the pain of each has tried;
Impartial, she shall say who suffers most,
By cards' ill usage, or by lovers lost.
Tell, tell your griefs; attentive will I stay, Though time is precious, and I want some tea.
Behold this equipage, by Mathers wrought,
With fifty guineas (a great pen'orth) bought.
See, on the tooth-pick, Mars and Cupid strive;
And both the struggling figures seem alive.
Upon the bottom shines the Queen's bright face;
A myrtle foliage round the thimble-case.
Jove, Jove himself, does on the scissors shine;
The metal, and the workmanship, divine!
This snuff-box,-once the pledge of Sharper's love, When rival beauties for the present strove;
At Corticelli's he the raffle won;
Then first his passion was in public shown:
Hazardia blush'd, and turn'd her head aside,
A rival's envy (all in vain) to hide.
This snuff-box-on the hinge see brilliants shine:
This snuff-box will I stake; the prize is mine.
Alas! far lesser losses than I bear,
Have made a soldier sigh, a lover swear.
And oh! what makes the disappointment hard,
"Twas my own lord that drew the fatal card.
In complaisance, I took the queen he gave;
Though my own secret wish was for the knave.
The knave won Sonica, which I had chose;
And the next pull, my Septleva I lose.
But ah! what aggravates the killing smart,
The cruel thought, that stabs me to the heart;
This cursed Ombrelia, this undoing fair,
By whose vile arts this heavy grief I bear;
She, at whose name I shed these spiteful tears,
She owes to me the very charms she wears.