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Now learn a fecret from a friend,
But keep your council and attend.
Tho' in their tempers thought fo diftant,
Nor with their fex nor felves confiftent,
'Tis but the diff'rence of a name,
And ev'ry woman is the fame ;
For as the world, however vary'd,
And through unnumber'd changes carry'd,
Of elemental modes and forms,
Clouds, meteors, colours, calms, and storms,
Tho' in a thoufand fuits array'd,
Is of one fubject matter made;
So, Sir, a woman's conftitution,
The world's enigma, finds folution;
And let her form be what you will,
I am the fubject effence ftill.
With the firft fpark of female fenfe,
The fpeck of being, I commence;
Within the womb make fresh advances,
And dictate future qualms and fancies;
Thence in the growing form expand,
With childhood travel hand in hand,
And give a tafte for all their joys
In gewgaws, rattles, pomp, and noise.
And now, familiar and unaw'd,
I fend the flutt'ring foul abroad.
Prais'd for her fhape, her air, her mien,
The little godde's, and the queen,
Takes at her infant fhrine oblation,
And drinks fweet draughts of adulation.
Now blooming, tall, erect, and fair,
To drefs becomes her darling care;
The realms of beauty then I bound, 104
I fwell the hoop's enchanted round,
Shrink in the waift's defcending fize,
Heav'd in the fnowy bofom, rife,
High on the flowing lappet fail,
Or, curl'd in treffes, kifs the gale,
Then to her glass I lead the fair,
And fhew the lovely idol there;
Where, ftruck as by divine emotion,
She bows with moft fincere devotion,
And numb'ring ev'ry beauty o'er,
In fecret bids the world adore.
Then all for parking and parading,
Coquetting, dancing, mafquerading;
For balls, plays, courts, and crowds what paffion!
And churches, fometimes-if the fashion;
For woman's fenfe of right and wrong
Is rul'd by the almighty throng;
Still turns, to each meander tame,
And fwims the straw of ev'ry stream.
Her foul intrinfic worth rejects,
Accomplish'd only in defects;
Such excellence is her ambition,
Folly her wifeft acquifition;
And ev'n from pity and difdain
She'll cull fome reafon to be vain.
Thus, Sir, from ev'ry form and feature,
The wealth and wants of female nature,
And ev'n from vice, which you'd admire,
I gather fuel to my fire;
And on the very bafe of fhame
Erect my monument of fame.
Let me another truth attempt,
Of which your godfhip has not dreamt.
Thofe fhining virtues which you mutter, Whence think you they derive their luftre ? From native honour and devotion?
O yes, a mighty likely notion !
Truft me, from titled dames to fpinners,
'Tis I make faints, whoe'er make finners;
'Tis I inftruct them to withdraw,
And hold prefumptuous man in awe ;
For female worth, as I infpire,
In juft degrees, ftill mounts the higher;
And virtue, fo extremely nice,
Demands long toil and mighty price.
Like Sampfon's pillars, fix'd elate,
I bear the fex's tott'ring ftate;
Sap these, and in a moment's space
Down finks the fabric to its bafe.
Alike from titles and from toys
I fpring, the fount of female joys;
In ev'ry widow, wife, and mifs,
The fole artificer of blifs;
From them each topic I explore,
I cleave the fand of ev'ry shore;
To them uniting Indies fail,
Sabaa breathes her fartheft gale:
For them the bullion I refine,
Dig fenfe and virtue from the mine,
And from the bowels of invention
Spin out the various arts you mention.
Nor blifs alone my pow'rs beftow,
They hold the fov'reign balm of woe ;
Beyond the ftoic's boafted art
I footh the heavings of the heart;
To pain give fplendour and relief,
And gild the pallid face of grief.
Alike the palace and the plain
Admit the glories of my reign!
Thro' ev'ry age, in ev'ry nation,
Tafte, talents, tempers, ftate, and station,
Whate'er a woman fays, I fay;
Whate'er a woman fpends, I pay;
Alike I fill and empty bags,
Flutter in finery and rags;
With light coquettes thro' folly range;
And with the prude difdain to change.
And now you'd think, 'twixt you and I,
That things were ripe for a reply
But foft, and while I'm in the mood,
Kindly permit me to conclude,
Their utmoft mazes to unravel,
And touch the fartheft ftep they travel.
When ev'ry pleasure's run aground,
And folly tir'd thro' many a round,
The nymph, conceiving difcontent hence,
May ripen to an hour's repentance,
And vapours, fhed in pious moiffure,
Difmifs her to a church or clovfter;
Then on I lead her, with devotion
Confpicuous in her dress and motion,
Infpire the heav'nly-breathing air,
Roll up the lucid eye in pray'r,
Soften the voice, and in the face
Look melting harmony and grace.
Thus far extends my friendly pow'r,
Nor quits her in her latest hour;
The couch of decent pain I fpread,
In form recline her languid head;
Her thoughts I methodize in death,
And part not with her parting breath;
Then do I fet in order bright,
A length of fun'ral pomp to fight,
The glitt'ring tapers and attire,
The plumes that whiten o'er her bier;
And laft prefenting to her eye
Angelic fineries on high,
To fcenes of painted blifs I waft her,
And form the heav'n fhe hopes hereafter.
In truth, rejoin'd Love's gentle God,
You've gone a tedious length of road,
And ftrange, in all the toilfome way,
No hout of kind refreshment lay;
No nymph, whofe virtues might have tempted
To hold her from her fex exempted.
For one, we'll never quarrel, man;
Take her, and keep her, if you can;
And pleas'd, I yield to your petition,
Since ev'ry fair by fuch permiffion,
Will hold herfelf the one felected;
And so my fyftem stands protected.
O, deaf to virtue, deaf to glory,
To truths divinely vouch'd in ftory!
The Godhead in his zeal return'd,
And, kindling at her malice, burn'd.
Then fweetly rais'd his voice, and told
Of heav'nly nymphs, rever'd of old;
Hypfipyle, who fav'd her fire,
And Portia's love, approv'd by fire;
Alike Penelope was quoted,
Nor laurel'd Daphne pafs'd unnoted,
Nor Laodamia's fatal garter,
Nor fam'd Lucretia, honour's martyr,
Alcefte's voluntary fteel,
And Catherine, smiling on the wheel.
But who can hope to plant conviction,
Where cavil grows on contradiction?
Some the evades or difavows,
Demurs to all, and none allows;
A kind of ancient thing call'd fables!
And thus the Goddefs turn'd the tables.
Now both in argument grew high,
And choler flath'd from either eye;
Nor wonder each refus'd to yield
The conqueft of fo fair a field.
When happily arriv'd in view
A Goddefs whom our grandames knew,
Of afpect grave, and fober gait,
Majeftic, awful, and fedate,
As heav'n's autumnal eve ferene,
When not a cloud o'ercafts the fcene;
Once Prudence call'd, a matron fam'd,
And in old Rome Cornelia nam'd.
Quick, at a venture, both agree
To leave their ftrife to her decree.
And now by each the facts were stated,
In form and manner as related.
The cafe was fhort. They crav'd opinion, Which held o'er females chief dominion?
When thus the Goddess, anfw'ring mild,
Firft fhook her gracious head, and fmil'd :`
Alas, how willing to comply,
Yet how unfit a judge am I!
In times of golden date, 'tis true,
I thar'd the fickle fex with you;
But from their prefence long precluded,
Or held as one whose form intruded;
Full fifty annual funs can tell,
Prudence has bid the fex farewell.
In this dilemma what to do,
Or who to think of, neither knew;
For both ftill, bias'd in opinion,
And arrogant of fole dominion,
Were forc'd to hold the cafe compounded,
Or leave the quarrel where they found it.
When in the nick a rural fair,
Of inexperienc'd gait and air,
Who ne'er had crofs'd the neighb'ring lake,
Nor feen the world beyond a wake,
With cambric coif and kerchief clean,
Tript lightly by them o'er the green.
Now, now! cry'd Love's triumphant Child,
And at approaching conqueft fimil'd,
If Vanity will once be guided,
Our diff'rence foon be decided;
Behold yon wench : : a fit occafion
To try your force of gay perfuafion.
Go you, while I retire aloof,
Go, put these boafted pow'rs to proof;
And if your prevalence of art
Tranfcends my yet unerring dart,
I give the fav'rite conteft o'er,
And ne'er will boaft my empire more.
At once, fo faid, and fo confented;
And well our Goddess feem'd contented,
Nor paufing, made a moment's stand,
But tript, and took the girl in hand.
Meanwhile, the Godhead, unalarm'd,.
As one to each occafion arm'd,
Forth from his quiver cull'd a dart,
That erft had wounded many a heart;
Then bending, drew it to the head;
The bow-ftring twang'd, the arrow fled,
And, to her fecret foul addreft,
Transfix'd the whitenefs of her breast.
But here the Dame, whofe guardian care
Had to a moment watch'd the fair,
At once her pocket mirror drew,
And held the wonder full in view;
As quickly rang'd in order bright,
A thoufand beauties rufh to fight,
A world of charms, till now unknown,
A world reveal'd to her alone;
Enraptur'd ftands the love fick maid,
Sufpended o'er the darling fhade,
Here only fixes to adinire,
And centres ev'ry fond desire.
To bid your friend his errors mend,
Is almost certain to offend :
Tho' you in fofteft terms advise,
Confefs him good, admit him wife;
In vain you fweeten the difcourfe,
He thinks you call him fool, or worse.
You paint his character, and try
If he will own it, and apply;
Without a name reprove and warn;
Here none are hurt, and all may learn:
This too muft fail; the picture fhewn,
No man will take it for his own.
In moral lectures treat the case,
Say this is honeft, that is bafe;
In converfation, none will bear it ;
And for the pulpit, few come near it.
And is there then no other way
A moral leffon to convey?
Muft all that fhall attempt to teach,
Admonish, fatirize, or preach?
Yes, there is one, an ancient art,
By fages found to reach the heart,
Ere fcience, with distinctions nice,
Had fix'd what virtue is, and vice;
Inventing all the various names
Of which the moralift declaims:
They would by fimple tales advife,
Which took the hearer by furprife;
Alarm'd his confcience, unprepar'd,
Ere pride had put it on its guard;
And made him from himself receive
The lessons that they meant to give.
That this device will oft prevail,
And gain its ends when others fail,
If any fhall pretend to doubt,
The tale which follows makes it out.
There was a little ftubborn dame,
Whom no authority could tame;
Reftive by long indulgence grown,
No will the minded but her own:
At trifles oft she'd fcold and fret,
Then in a corner take a feat,
And, fourly moping all the day,
Difdain alike to work or play.
Papa all fofter arts had try'd,
And fharper remedies apply'd;
But both were vain; for ev'ry course
He took, ftill made her worfe and worse.
'Tis ftrange to think how female wit
So oft fhould make a lucky hit;
When man, with all his high pretence
To deeper judgment, founder fenfe,
Will err, and measures falfe pursue-
'Tis very strange, I own, but true.—
Mamma obferv❜d the rising lass
By ftealth retiring to the glafs,
To practice little arts unfeen,
In the true genius of thirteen;
On this a deep defign the laid,
To tame the humour of the maid;
Contriving, like a prudent mother,
To make one folly cure another.
Upon the wall, against the feat
Which Jeffy us'd for her retreat,
And if I fondly hope to please
With dry reflections, such as these,
So trite, fo hackney'd, and fo ftale,
I'll take the hint, and tell a tale.
One ev'ning, as a fimple swain
His flock attended on the plain,
The fhining bow he chanc'd to fpy,
Which warns us when a fhow'r is nigh;
With brightest rays it feem'd to glow;
Its diftance eighty yards, or fo.
This bumpkin had, it feems, been told
The ftory of the cup of gold,
Which fame reports is to be found
Juft where the Rainbow mecs the ground;
He therefore felt a fudden itch
To feize the goblet, and be rich;
Hoping, yet hopes are oft but vain,
No more to toil thro' wind and rain,
But fit indulging by the fire,
'Midft eafe and plenty, like a 'fquire:
He mark'd the very fpot of land
On which the Rainbow feem'd to stand,
And ftepping forwards at his leifure,
Expected to have found the treasure.
But, as he mov'd, the colour'd ray
Still chang'd its place, and flipt away,
As feeming his approach to fhun.
From walking he began to run;
But all in vain, it ftill withdrew
As nimbly as he could purfue.
At laft, thro' many a bog and lake,
Rough craggy road, and thorny brake,
It led the eafy fool, till night
Approach'd, then vanish'd in his fight,
And left him to compute his gains,
With nought but labour for his pains.
§ 204. The Rake and the Hermit. WILKIE.
A YOUTH, a pupil of the town,
Philofopher and atheift grown,
Benighted once upon the road,
Found out a herinit's lone abode,
Whofe hofpitality in need
Reliev'd the trav'ller and his fteed;
For both fufficiently were tir'd,
Well drench'd in ditches, and bemir'd.
Hunger the first attention claims;
Upon the coals a rather flames.
Dry crufts, and liquor fomething stale,
Were added to make up a meal;
At which our traveller, as he fat,
By intervals began to chat.-
'Tis odd, quoth he, to think what strains
Of folly governs fome folks brains:
What makes you choose this wild abode ?
You'll fay, 'tis to converfe with God.
Alas, I fear 'tis all a whim;
You never faw or fpoke with him,
They talk of Providence's pow'r,
And fay, it rules us ev'ry hour;
To me, all nature feems confufion;
And fuch weak fancies mere delufion.
Say, if it rul'd and govern'd right,
Could there be fuch a thing as night;
Which, when the fun has left the skies,
Puts all things in a deep difguife?
If then a trav'ller chance to ftray
The leaft ftep from the public way,
He's foon in endlefs mazes loft,
As I have found it to my coft.
Befides, the gloom which nature wears
Aflifts imaginary fears
Of ghosts and goblins from the waves
Of fulph'rous lakes and yawning graves ;
All fprung from fuperftitious feed,
Like other maxims of the creed.
For my part, I reject the tales
Which Faith fuggefts when Reafon fails;
And Reason nothing understands,
Unwarranted by eyes and hands.
Thefe fubtile effences, like wind,
Which fome have dreamt of, and call mind,
It ne'er admits; nor joins the lye,
Which fays men rot, but never die.
It holds all future things in doubt,
And therefore wifely leaves them out :
Suggesting what is worth our care,
To take things prefent as they are,
Our wifeft courfe: the reft is folly,
The fruit of fpleen and melancholy.-
Sir, quoth the Hermit, I agree
That reafon ftill our guide fhould be:
And will admit her as the teft
Of what is true, and what is beft;
But reafon fure would blush for shame
At what you mention in her name;
Her dictates are sublime and holy;
Impiety's the child of folly;
Reason, with meafur'd steps, and flow,
To things above from things below
Afcends, and guides us thro' her sphere
With caution, vigilance, and care.
Faith in the utmoft frontier ftands,
And Reafon puts us in her hands;
But not till her commiffion giv'n
Is found authentic, and from Heav'n.
'Tis ftrange that man, a reas'ning creatur
Should mifs a God in viewing nature:
Whofe high perfections are difplay'd
In ev'ry thing his hands have made :
Ev'n when we think their traces loft,
When found again we fee them moft:
The night itself, which you would blame
As fomething wrong in nature's frame,
Is but a curtain to inveft
Her weary children, when at reft :
Like that which mothers draw, to keep
The light off from a child afleep.
Befides, the fears which darkness breeds
(At least augments) in vulgar heads,
Are far from ufelefs, when the mind
Is narrow, and to earth confin'd;
They make the worldling think with pain
On frauds, and oaths, and ill-got gain;
Force from the ruffian's hand the knife
Juft rais'd against his neighbour's life;
And, in defence of virtue's cause,
Affift each fanction of the laws.
But fouls ferene, where wifdom dwells,
And fuperftitious dread expels,
The filent majesty of night
Excites to take a nobler flight;
With faints and angels to explore
The wonders of creating pow'r;
And lifts on Contemplation's wings
Above the fphere of mortal things:
Walk forth, and tread thofe dewy plains
Where night in awful filence reigns;
The fky's ferene, the air is still,
The woods ftand lift'ning on each hill,
To catch the founds that fink and fwell,
Wide-floating from the ev'ning bell,
While foxes howl, and beetles hum,
Sounds which make filence still more dumb,
And try if Folly, rash and rude,
Dare on the facred hour intrude.
Then turn your eyes to heav'n's broad frame,
Attempt to quote thofe lights by name
Which fhine fo thick and spread fo far;
Conceive a fun in ev'ry star,
Round which unnumber'd planets roll,
While comets shoot athwart the whole.
From fyftem ftill to fitem ranging,
Their various benefits exchanging,
And fhaking from their flaming hair
The things moft needed everywhere.
Explore this glorious fcene, and say,
That night difcovers lefs than day;
That 'tis quite ufclefs, and a fign
That chance difposes, not design :
Whoe'er maintains it, I'll pronounce
Him either inad, or clie a dunce;
For reafon, tho' 'tis far from strong,
Will foon find out that nothing's wrong,
From figns and evidences clear,
Of wife contrivance ev'rywhere.
The Hermit ended, and the youth
Became a convert to the truth;
At least he yielded, and confeft
That all was order'd for the beft.
§ 205. The Youth and the Philofopher.
A GRECIAN youth, of talents rare,
Whom Plato's philofophic care
Had form'd for virtue's nobler view,
By precept and example too,
Would often boaft his matchlefs skill
To curb the feed, and guide the wheel;
And as he pafs'd the gazing throng
With graceful eafe, and fmack'd the thong,
The idiot wonder they expreft
Was praife and tranfport to his breast.
At length, quite vain, he needs would fhew
His mafter what his art could do ;
And bade his flaves the chariot lead
To Academus' facred fhade.
The trembling grove confefs'd its freight,
The wood-nymphs ftarted at the fight;
The Mufes dropt the learned lyre,
And to their innoft fhades retire.
Howe'er, the youth, with forward air,
Bows to the fage, and mounts the car;
The lafh refounds, the courfers fpring,
The chariot marks the rolling ring;
And gath'ring crowds, with eager eyes
And fhouts, purfue him as he flies.
Triumphant to the goal return'd,
With nobler thirft his bofom burn'd;
And now along th'indented plain
The felf-fame track he marks again;
Purfues with care the nice defign,
Nor ever deviates from the line.
Amazement feiz'd the circling crowd;
The youths with emulation glow'd;
Ev'n bearded fages hail'd the boy,
And all but Plato gaz'd with joy.
For he, decp-judging fage, beheld
With pain the triumphs of the field:
And, when the charioteer drew nigh,
And, flush'd with hope, had caught his eye,
Alas! unhappy youth, he cry'd,
Expect no praife from me (and figh'd).
With indignation 1 furvey
Such fkill and judgment thrown away.
The time profufely fquander'd there
On vulgar arts, beneath thy care,
If well employ'd, at lefs expence,
Had taught thee honour, virtue, fenfe,
And rais'd thee from a coachman's fate
To govern men, and guide the state.
$206. The Bee, the Ant, and the Sparrow. Addreffed to Phoebe and Kitty C. at BoardingSchool. Dr. COTTON.
Y dears, 'tis faid, in days of old, That beafts could talk and birds could fcold: But now, it feems the human race Alone engrofs the fpeaker's place. Yet lately, if report be true
(And much the tale relates to you)
There met a Sparrow, Ant, and Bee,
Which reafon'd and convers'd as we.
Who reads my page will doubtlefs grant'
That Phe's the wife induftrious Ant;
And all with half an eye may fee
That Kitty is the bufy Bee.
Here then are two-but where's the third?
Go fearch the fchool, you'll find the bird.
Your school! I ask your pardon, Fair;
I'm fure you'll find no fparrow there.
Now to my tale-One fummer's morn
A Bee rang'd o'er the verdant lawn;.
Studious to hufband ev'ry hour,
And make the most of ev'ry flow'r.
Nimble, from ftalk to ftalk fhe flies,
And loads with yellow wax her thighs;
With which the artist builds her comb,
And keeps all tight and warm at hoine:
Or from the cowflip's golden bells
Sucks honey, to enrich her cells:
Or ev'ry tempting rofe purfues,
Or fips the lily's fragrant dews;