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If once her feeble bark recede,
Or deviate from the courfe decreed,
In vain the feeks the friendless thore, -
Her fwifter folly flies before!
The circling ports againft her close,
And fhut the wand'rer from repofe;
Till, by conflicting waves opprefs'd,
Her found'ring pinnace finks to reft.
Are there no offerings to atone
For but a fingle error -None.
Tho' woman is avow'd, of old,
No daughter of celestial mould,
Her temp'ring not without allay,
And forin'd but of the finer clay,
We challenge from the mortal dame
The ftrength angelic natures claim ;
Nay more for facred ftories tell,
That even immortal angels fell.
Whatever fills the teeming fphere
Of humid earth, and ambient air,
With varying elements en Jued,
Was form'd to fall, and rife renew'd.
The ftars no fix'd duration know;
Wide oceans ebb, again to flow;
The moon repletes her waning face,
All beauteous from her late difgrace;
And funs, that mourn approaching night,
Refulgent rife with new-born light.
In vain may death and time fubdue,
While nature mints her race anew;
And holds fome vital fpark apart,
Like virtue, hid in ev'ry heart.
'Tis hence reviving warmth is feen,
To clothe a naked world in green.
No longer barr'd by winter's cold,
Again the gates of life unfold;
Again each infect tries his wing,
And lifts fresh pinions on the fpring;
Again from ev'ry latent root
The bladed ftem and tendril fhoot,
Exhaling incenfe to the skies,
Again to perish, and to rife.
And muft weak woman then difown
The change to which a world is prone?
In one meridian brightness fhine,
And ne'er like ev'ning funs decline?
Refoly'd and firm alone? Is this
What we demand of woman?—Yes.
But fhould the fpark of vestal fire
In fome unguarded hour expire;
Or should the nightly thief invade
Hefperia's chafte and facred fhade,
Of all the blooming spoil poffefs'd,
The dragon Honour charm'd to reft,
Shall virtue's flame no more return?
No more with virgin fplendour burn >
No more the ravag'd garden blow
With fpring's fucceeding bloffom?-No.
Pity may mourn, but not reftore;
And woman falls-to rife no more!
Within this fublunary sphere
A country lies--no matter where;
The clime may readily be found
By all who tread poetic ground;
A ftream call'd Life, acrofs it glides,
And equally the land divides;
And here, of vice the province lies;
And there the hills of virtue rife.
Upon a mountain's airy stand,
Whofe fummit look'd to either land,
An ancient pair their dwelling chofe,
As well for profpect as repole;
For mutual faith they long were fam'd,
And Temp'rance and Religion nam’d.
A num'rous progeny divine
Confels'd the honours of their line,
But in a little daughter fair
Was center'd more than half their care;
For Heaven, to gratulate her birth,
Gave figns of future joy to earth;
White was the robe this infant wore,
And Chastity the name the bore.
As now the maid in ftature grew
(A flow'r juft op'ning to the view)
Oft through her native lawns fhe ftray'd,
And wrestling with the lambkins play'd;
Her looks diffufive fweets bequeath'd,
The breeze grew purer as the breath`d;
The morn her radiant bluth affum'd,
The fpring with earlier fragrance bloom'd;
And nature yearly took delight,
Like her, to drefs the world in white.
But when her rifing form was feen
To reach the crifis of fifteen,
Her parents up the mountain's head
With anxious ftep their darling led;
By turns they fnatch'd her to their breast,
And thus the fears of age exprefs'd:
O joyful caufe of many a care! O daughter too divinely fair! Yon world, on this important day, Demands thee to a dang'rous way; A painful journey all muft go, Whofe doubted period none can know; Whofe due direction who can find, Where reafon 's mute, and fenfe is blind? Ah, what unequal leaders thefe, Thro' fuch a wide, perplexing maze! Then mark the warnings of the wife, And learn what love and years advife.
Far to the right thy profpect bend, Where yonder tow'ring hills afcend; Lo! there the arduous path 's in view Which Virtue and her fons purfue; With toil o'er lefs'ning earth they rife, And gain, and gain upon the fkics. Narrow's the way her children tread, No walk for pleafure fmoothly fpread, But rough, and difficult, and fteep, Painful to climb, and hard to keep.
Fruits immature thofe lands difpenfe,
A food indelicate to fenfe,
Of tafte unpleafant: yet from thofe
Pure health, with cheerful vigour, flows;
And frength, unfeeling of decay,
Throughout the long laborious way.
Hence, as they feale that heavenly road,
Each limb is lighten'd of its load;
From earth refining ftill they go,
And leave the mortal weight below;
Then fpreads the strait, the doubtful clears,
And fimooth the rugged path appears ;
For custom turas fatigue to cafe,
And, taught by virtue, pain can please.
At length, the toilfome journey o'er,
And near the bright celeftial fhore,
A gulf, black, fearful, and profound,
Appears, of either world the bound,
Through darknefs leading up to light;
Senfe backward fhrinks, and thuns the fight;
For there the tranfitory train
Of time, and form, and care, and pain,
And matter's grofs incumb'ring mafs,
Man's late affociates, cannot pafs;
But, finking, quit th' immortal charge,
And leave the wond'ring foul at large;
Lightly the wings her obvious way,
And mingles with eternal day.
Thither, oh thither wing thy speed,
Tho' pleasure charm, or pain impede;
To fuch th' all-bounteous Pow'r has given,
For prefent earth, a future heaven;
For Livial lofs, unmeafur'd gain ;
And endless blifs for tranfient pain.
Then fear, ah! fear to turn thy fight
Where yonder flow'ry fields invite:
Wide on the left the pathway bends,
And with pernicious eafe defcends;
There, fweet to fenfe, and fair to fhow,
New-planted Edens feem to blow,
Trees, that delicious poifon bear;
For death is vegetable there.
Hence is the frame of health unbrac'd,
Each finew flack'ning at the taste,
The foul to paffion yields her throne,
And fees with organs not her own;
While, like the flumb'rer in the night,
Pleas'd with the shadowy dream of light,
Before her alienated eyes
The fcenes of fairy-land arife;
The puppet world's amufing show,
Dipp'd in the gaily-colour'd bow,
Sceptres, and wreaths, and glitt'ring things,
The toys of infants and of kings,
That tempt, along the baneful plain,
The idly wife and lightly vain,
Till, verging on the gulfy fhore,
Sudden they fink and rife no more.
But lift to what thy fates declare;
Tho' thou art woman, frail as fair,
If once thy fliding foot fhould ftray,
Once quit yon heaven-appointed way,
For thee, loft maid, for thee alone,
Nor pray'rs fhall plead, nor tears atone;
Reproach, fcorn, infamy, and hate,
On thy returning steps fhall wait;
Thy form be loath'd by ev'ry eye,
And ev'ry foot thy prefence fly.
Thus arm'd with words of potent found,
Like guardian angels plac'd around,
A charm, by truth divinely caft,
Forward our young advent'rer pafs'd;
Forth from her facred eyelids fent,
Like morn, fore-running radiance went,
While Honour, handmaid late aflign'd,
Upheld her lucid train behind.
Awe-ftruck, the much-admiring crowd
Before the virgin vifion bow'd;
Gaz'd with an ever-new delight,
And caught fresh virtue at the fight;
For not of carth's unequal frame
They deem the heaven-compounded Dame;
If matter, fure the moft refin'd,
High wrought, and temper'd into mind,
Some darling daughter of the day,
And bodied by her native ray.
Where'er the pales, thoufands bend,
And thoufands where the moves attend;
Her ways obfervant eyes confefs,
Her fteps puffuing praifes blefs
While to the elevated Maid
Oblations, as to Heaven, are paid.
'Twas on an ever-blithfome day,
The jovial birth of rofy May,
When genial warmth, no more fuppreft,
Now melts the froft in ev'ry breaft,
The cheek with fecret flufhing dyes,
And looks kind things from chafteft eyes;
The fun with healthier vifage glows,
Afide his clouded kerchief throws,
And dances up th' ethereal plain,
Where late he us'd to climb with pain,
While nature, as from bonds fet free,
Springs out, and gives a loose to glee.
And now, for momentary reft,
The nymph her travell'd ffep reprefs'd,
Juft turn'd to view the ftage attain'd,
And gloried in the height the gain'd.
Outftretch'd before her wide furvey
The realms of fweet perdition lay,
And pity touch'd her foul with woe,
To fee a world fo loft below;
When ftraight the breeze began to breathe
Airs, gently wafted from beneath,
That bore commiffion'd witchcraft thence,
And reach'd her fympathy of fenfe,-
No founds of difcord, that disclose
A people funk and loft in woes,
But as of prefent good poffeft,
The very triumph of the bleft."
The maid in rapt attention hung,
While thus approaching Sirens fung:
Hither, faireft, hither hafte,
Brightest beauty, come and tafte
What the pow'rs of bliss unfold,
Joys,too mighty to be told;
Tafte what ecftafies they give;
Dying raptures tafte, and live.
In thy lap, difdaining measure,
Nature empties all her treasure,
Soft defires, that fweetly languifh;
Fierce delights, that rife to anguish;
Faireft, doft thou yet delay?
Brightest beauty, come away.
Lift not, when the froward chide,
Sons of pedantry and pride,
Snarlers, to whofe feeble fenfe
April's funthine is offence;
Age and envy will advife
Even against the joy they prize.
Come, in pleafure's balmy bow!
Slake the thirftings of thy foul,
Till thy raptur'd pow'rs are fainting
With enjoyment paft the painting;
Faireft, doft thou yet delay?
Brightest beauty, come away.
So fung the Sirens, as of yore,
Upon the falfe Aufonian fhore;
And O! for that preventing chain,
That bound Ulyffes on the main,
That fo our Fair One might withstand
The covert ruin, now at hand.
The fong her charm'd attention drew,
When now the tempters ftood in view;
Curiofity, with prying eyes,
And hands of busy, bold emprise;
Like Hermes, feather'd were her feet;
And, like fore-running Fancy, flect;
By fearch untaught, by teil untir'd,
To novelty fhe ftill afpir'd,
Taftelefs of every good poffeft,
And but in expectation bleft.
With her, affociate, Pleafure came,
Gay Picafore, frolic-loving dame,.
Her mien all swimraing in delight,
Her beauties half reveal'd to fight;
Loofe flow'd her garments from the ground,
And caught the kiffing winds around.
As erft Medula's looks were known
To turn beholders into ftone,
A dire reverfion here they felt,
And in the eye of Pleafure melt.
Her glance with fweet perfuafion charm'd,
Unnerv'd the ftrong, the ficel'd difarm'd;
No fafety even the flying find,
Who, vent'rous, look but once behind.
Thus was the much-admiring Maid,
While diftant, more than half betray'd.
With fmiles, and adulation bland,
They join'd her hide, and feiz'd her hand;
Their touch envenom'd sweets inftilld,
Her frame with new pulfations thrill'd;
While half confeuting, half denying,
Reluctant now, and now complying,
Amidt a war of hopes and fears,
Of trembling wifhes, fimiling tears,
Still down and down, the winning pair
Compell'd the ftruggling, yielding Fair.
As when fome ftately veffel, bound
To bleft Arabia's diftant ground,
Borne from her courfes, haply lights
Where Barca's flow'ry clime invites,
Conceal'd around whofe treach'rous land
Lurk the dire rock and dang'rous fand;
The pilot warns, with fail and car
To thun the much-fufpected fhore,
In vain; the tide, too fubtly strong,
Still bears the wrestling bark along,
Till, found'ring, the reigns to fate,
And finks, o'erwhelm'd, with all her freight.
So, baffling ev'ry bar to fin,
And Heaven's own pilot plac'd within,
Along the devious, fmooth defcent,
With pow'rs increafing as they went,
The dames, accuftom'd to fubdue,
As with a rapid current drew,
And o'er the fatal bounds convey'd
The loft, the long reluctant Maid.
Here ftop, ye fair ones, and beware,
Nor fend your fond affections there;
Yet, yet your darling, now deplor'd,
May turn, to you and heaven restor'd :
Till then, with weeping Honour wait,
The fervant of her better fate;
With Honour, left upon the fhore,
Her friend and handmaid now no more;
Nor, with the guilty world, upbraid
The fortunes of a wretch betray'd;
But o'er her failing caft a veil,
Rememb'ring you yourfelves are frail.
And now, from all-enquiring light,
Faft fled the confcious thades of night;
The Damfel, from a fhort repose,
Confounded at her plight, arofe.
As when, with flumb'rous weight oppreft,
Some wealthy mifer finks to reft,
Where felons eye the glitt'ring prey,
And fteal his hoard of joys away;
He, borne where golden Indus ftreams,
Of pearl and quarry'd diamond dreams;
Like Midas, turns the glebe to ore,
And ftands all rapt amidft his ftore;
But wakens, naked, and defpoil'd
Of that for which his years had toil'd :
So far'd the Nymph, her treasure flown,
And turn'd, like Niobe, to ftone;
Within, without, obfcure and void,
She felt all ravag'd, all deftroy'd.
And, O thou curs'd, infidious coaft!
Are thefe the bleings thou canft boast ?
Thefe, Virtue! thefe the joys they find,
Who leave thy heaven-topt hills behind 2
Shade me, ye pines, ye caverns, hide,
Ye mountains, cover me! the cried.
Her trumpet Slander rais'd on high,
And told the tidings to the fky;
Contempt difcharg'd a living dart,
A fide-long viper to her heart;
Reproach breath'd poisons o'er her face,
And foil'd and blafted ev'ry grace;
Officious Shame, her handmaid new,
Still turn'd the mirror to her view,
While thofe in crimes the deepest dyed
Approach'd to whiten at her fide:
And ev'ry lewd infulting dame
Upon her folly rofe to fame.
What fhould the do? Attempt once more
To gain the late deferted thore?
So trufting, back the Mourner flew,
As faft the train of fiends purfue.
Again the farther fhore 's attain'd,
Again the land of virtue gain'd;
But echo gathers in the wind,
And thews her inftant foes behind.
Amaz'd, with headlong speed she tends,
Where late fhe left an hoft of friends;
Alas! thofe fhrinking friends decline,
Nor longer own that form divine:
With fear they mark the following cry,
And from the lonely trembler fly,
Or backward drive her on the coaft,
Where peace was wreck'd, and honour lost.
From earth thus hoping aid in vain,
To Heaven not daring to complain;
No truce by hoftile clamour given,
And from the face of friendship driven,
The Nymph funk proftrate on the ground,
With all her weight of woes around.
Enthron'd within a circling sky,
Upon a mount, o'er mountains high,
All radiant fat, as in a fhrine,
Virtue, first effluence divine;
Far, far above the fcenes of woe,
That fhut this cloud-wrapt world below;
Superior goddefs, effence bright,
Beauty of uncreated light,
Whom should mortality furvey,
As doom'd upon a certain day,
The breath of frailty must expire,
The world diffolve in living fire,
The gems of heaven and folar flame
Be quench'd by her eternal beam,
And nature, quick'ning in her eye,
To rife a new-born phoenix, dic.
Hence, unreveal'd to mortal view,
A veil around her form the threw,
Which three fad fitters of the fhade,
Pain, Care, and Melancholy, made.
Thro' this her all-enquiring eye,
Attentive from her ftation high,
Beheld, abandon'd to defpair,
The ruins of her fav'rite fair;
And with a voice, whofe awful found
Appall'd the guilty world around,
Bid the tumultuous winds be still,
To numbers bow'd each lift'ning hill,
Uncurl'd the furging of the main,
And smooth'd the thorny bed of pain;
The golden harp of heaven the ftrung,
And thus the tuneful goddess fung:
Lovely Penitent, arife,
Come, and claim thy kindred skies;
Come, thy fifter angels fay
Thou haft wept thy ftains away.
Let experience now decide
'Twixt the good and evil tried;
In the smooth, enchanted ground,
Say, unfold the treasures found.
Structures, rais'd by morning dreams;
Sands, that trip the fitting ftreams;
Down, that anchors on the air;
Clouds, that paint their changes there;
Seas, that fmoothly dimpling lie,
While the ftorm impends on high,
Shewing, in an obvious glass,
Joys that in poffeffion pals;
Tranfient, fickle, light, and gay,
Flatt'ring, only to betray;
What, alas, can life contain!
Life! like all its circles-vain.
Will the ftork, intending reft,
On the billow build her neft?
Will the bee demand his ftore
From the bleak and bladeless fhore?
Man alone, intent to stray,
Ever turns from wifdom's way;
Lays up wealth in foreign land,
Sows the fea, and ploughs the fand.
Soon this elemental mafs,
Soon th' incumb'ring world fhall pafs;
Form be wrapt in wafting fire,
Time be spent, and life expire.
Then, ye boafted works of men,
Where is your asylum then?
Sons of pleasure, fons of care,
Tell me, mortals, tell me where ?
Gone, like traces on the deep,
Like a fceptre grafp'd in fleep,
Dews, exhal'd from morning glades,
Melting fnows, and gliding fhades.
Pafs the world, and what 's behind?
Virtue's gold, by fire refin'd;
From an univerfe deprav'd,
From the wreck of nature fav'd.
Like the life-fupporting grain,
Fruit of patience and of pain,
On the fwain's autumnal day,.
Winnow'd from the chaff away.
Little trembler, fear no more,
Thou haft plenteous crops in ftore;
Seed, by genial forrows fown,
More than all thy feorners own.
What tho' hoftile earth defpife, Heaven beholds with gentler eyes; Heaven thy friendlefs iteps fhall guide, Cheer thy hours, and guard thy fide.
When the fatal rump fhall found,
When th' immortals pour around,
Heaven fhall thy return atteft,
Hail'd by myriads of the bleft.
Little native of the fkies,
Lovely penitent, arife;
Calm thy bofom, clear thy brow,
Virtue is thy fifter now.
More delightful are my woes
Than the rapture pleafure knows:
Richer far the weeds I bring
Than the robes that grace a king.
On my wars, of inorteft date,
Crowns of endless triumph wait;
On my cares a period bleft;
On my toils eternal reft.
Come, with Virtue at thy fide;
Come, be ev'ry bar defied,
Till we gain our native fhore:
Sifter, come, and turn no more,
$325. FABLE XVI. Love and Vanity. THE breczy morning breath'd perfume,
The wak'ning flow'rs unveil'd their bloom,
Up with the fun, from short repose,
Gay health and lufty labour rofe;
The milkmaid caroll'd at her pail,
And fhepherds whiftled o'er the dale:
When Love, who led a rural life,
Remote from bustle, ftate, and strife,
Forth from his thatch-roof 'd cottage ftray'd,
And ftroll'd along the dewy glade.
A Nymph, who lightly tripp'd it by,
To quick attention turn'd his eye;
He mark'd the gefture of the Fair,
Her felf-fufficient grace and air,
Her fteps, that mincing meant to pleafe,
Her ftudied negligence, and cafe;
And curious to enquire what meant
This thing of prettiness and paint,
Approaching fpoke, and bow'd obfervant;
The Lady, flightly,-Sir, your fervaut.
Such beauty in fo rude a place!
Fair one, you do the country grace;
At court no doubt the public care,
But Love has fmall acquaintance there.
Yes, Sir, replied the flutt'ring Dame,
This form confeffes whence it came;
But dear variety, you know,
Can make us pride and pomp forego.
My name is Vanity. I fway
The utmost iflands of the fea;
Within my court all honour centres ;
I raife the meaneft foul that enters,
Endow with latent gifts and graces,
And model fools for pofts and places.
As Vanity appoints at pleasure,
The world receives its weight and measure;
Hence all the grand concerns of life,
Joys, cares, plagues, paffions, peace and ftrife.
Reflect how far my pow'r prevails,
When I ftep in where nature fails,
And, ev'ry breach of fenfe repairing,
Am bounteous ftill where Heaven is sparing.
But chief in all their arts and airs,
Their playing, painting, pouts, and pray'rs,
Their various habits and complexions,
Fits, frolics, foibles, and perfections,
Their robing, curling, and adorning,
From noon to night, from night to morning,
From fix to fixty, fick or found,
I rule the female world around.
Hold there a moment, Cupid cried,
Nor boaft dominion quite fo wide.
Was there no province to invade,
But that by Love and Meeknefs fway'd ?
All other empire I refign;
But be the fphete of beauty mine.
For in the downy lawn of reft,
That opens on a woman's breaft,
Attended by my peaceful train,
I choofe to live, and choofe to reign.
Far-fighted faith I bring along,
And truth, above an army ftrong i
And chastity, of icy mould,
Within the burning tropics cold;
And lowlinefs, to whofe mild brow
The pow'r and pride of nations bow;
And modefty, with downcaft eye,
That lends the morn her virgin dye;
And innocence, array'd in light;
And honour, as a tow'r upright;
With fweetly winning graces, more
Than poets ever dreamt of yore,
In unaffected conduct free,
All fmiling fifters, three times three;
And rofy peace, the cherub bleft,
That nightly fings us all to reft.
Hence, from the bud of nature's prime,
From the first step of infant time,
Woman, the world's appointed light,
Has fkirted ev'ry fhade with white;
Has ftood for imitation high,
To ev'ry heart and ev'ry eye;
From ancient deeds of fair renown,
Has brought her bright memorials down ;
To time affix'd perpetual youth,
And form'd each tale of love and truth.
Upon a new Promethean plan
She moulds the effence of a man,
Tempers his mafs, his genius fires,
And, as a better foul, infpires.
The rude the foftens, varms the cold,
Exalts the meck, and checks the bold,
Calls floth from his fupine repofe,
Within the coward's bolom glows,
Of pride unplumes the lofty creft,
Bids bafhful merit stand confeft,
And, like coarfe metal from the mincs,
Collects, irradiates, and refines.
The gentle fcience the imparts,
All manners fmooths, informs all hearts;
From her fweet influence are felt
Paffions that pleafe, and thoughts that melt;
To formy rage the bids controul,
And finks ferenely on the foul,
Softens Deucalion's flinty race,
And tunes the warring world to peace.
Thus arm'd to all that 's light and vain,
And freed from thy fantastic chain,
She fills the fphere by Heaven affign'd,
And, rul'd by me, o'er-rules mankind.
He fpoke. The Nymph impatient stood,
And, laughing, thus her fpeech renew'd:
And pray, Sir, may I be fo bold
To hope your pretty tale is told;
And next demand, without a cavil,
What new Utopia do you travel?-
Upon my word, thefe high-flown fancies
Shew depth of learning-in romances.
Why, what unfashion'd stuff you tell us
Of buckram dames, and tiptoe fellows!
Go, child; and when you 're grown maturers
You'll fhoot your next opinion furer.
O fuch a pretty knack at painting!
And all for foft'ning and for fainting!
Gucfs now, who can, a fingle feature,
Thro' the whole piece of female nature;