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Then proftrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
But now fecure the painted veffel glides, The fun-beams trembling on the floating tides: While melting mufic fteals upon the sky, And foften'd founds along the waters die; 50 Smooth flow the waves, the Zephyrs gently play,. Belinda fmil'd, and all the world was gay. All but the Sylph--with careful thoughts oppreft, Th' impending woe fat heavy on his breast. He fummons ftraits his Denizens of air; The lucid fquadrons round the fails repair : Soft o'er the fhrouds aërial whispers breathe, That feem'd but Zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the fun their infect-wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or fink in clouds of gold; Transparent forms, too fine for mortal fight, Their fluid bodies half diffolv'd in light. Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew, Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies, Where light difports in ever-mingling dyes, While ev'ry beam new tranfient colours flings, Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.
VER. 45. The pow'rs gave ear,] Virg. Æn. xi,
Amid the circle on the gilded mast,
Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day. Some guide the courfe of wand'ring orbs on high, Cr roll the planets thro' the boundless sky. Some lefs refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light Purfue the ftars that shoot athwart the night, Or fuck the mifts in groffer air below, Or dip their pinions in the painted bow, Or brew fierce tempefts on the wintry main, Or o'er the glebe diftill the kindly rain. Others on earth o'er human race prefide, Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide: Of these the chief the care of Nations own, And guard with Arms divine the British Throne. 90 Our humbler province is to tend the Fair, Not a lefs pleafing, tho' lefs glorious care; To fave the powder from too rude a gale, Nor let th' imprison'd effences exhale; To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs; 95 To fteal from rainbows, ere they drop in fhow'rs,
A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
To fifty chofen Sylphs, of special note,
VER. 105. Whether the nymph, etc.] The difafter, which makes the subject of this poem, being a trifle, taken seriously; it naturally led the Poet into this fine fatire on the female eftimate of human mifchances.
Form a strong line about the filver bound,
Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye :
Shrink his thin effence like a rivel'd flow'r :
He spoke; the fpirits from the fails defcend;
With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
LOSE by thofe meads, for ever crown'd with
Where Thames with pride furveys his rifing tow'rs,
VER. 1. Clofe by thofe meads,] The first Edition continues from this line to ✯ 24. of this Canto.
VER. 11, 12. Originally in the first Edition,
In various talk the chearful hours they paft,