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Full on the fair his beams Apollo flung,
And fond persuasion tipp'd her easy tongue;
He gave her words, where oily flattery lays
The pleasing colours of the art of praise;
And wit, to scandal exquisitely prone,
Which frets another's spleen to cure its own.
Those sacred Virgins whom the bards revere, Tun'd all her voice, and shed a sweetness there, To make her sense with double charms abound, Or make her lively nonsense please by sound.
To dress the maid, the decent Graces brought
A robe in all the dyes of beauty wrought,
And plac'd their boxes o'er a rich brocade
Where pictur'd loves on every cover play'd;
Then spread those implements that Vulcan's art
Had fram'd to merit Cytherea's heart;
The wire to curl, the close-indented comb
To call the locks, that lightly wander, home;
And chief, the mirror, where the ravish'd maid
Beholds and loves her own reflected shade.
Fair Flora lent her stores, the purpled Hours
Confin'd her tresses with a wreath of flowers;
Within the wreath arose a radiant crown;
A veil pellucid hung depending down;
Back roll'd her azure veil with serpent fold,
The purfled border deck'd the floor with gold.
Her robe (which closely by the girdle brac't
Reveal'd the beauties of a slender waist)
Flow'd to the feet; to copy Venus' air,
When Venus' statues have a robe to wear.
The new-sprung creature finish'd thus for harms,
Adjusts her habit, practises her charms,
With blushes glows, or shines with lively smiles,
Confirms her will, or recollects her wiles:
Then conscious of her worth, with easy pace
Glides by the glass, and turning views her face.
A finer flax than what they wrought before, Through time's deep cave the sister Fates explore, Then fix the loom, their fingers nimbly weave, And thus their toil prophetic songs deceive.
Flow from the rock, my flax! and swiftly flow,
Pursue thy thread; the spindle runs below.
A creature fond and changing, fair and vain,
The creature woman, rises now to reign.
New beauty blooms, a beauty form'd to fly;
New love begins, a love produc'd to die;
New parts distress the troubled scenes of life,
The fondling mistress, and the ruling wife.
Men, born to labour, all with pains provide;
Women have time, to sacrifice to pride:
They want the care of man, their want they know,
And dress to please with heart-alluring show,
The show prevailing, for the sway contend,
And make a servant where they meet a friend.
Thus in a thousand wax-erected forts
A loitering race the painful bee supports;
From sun to sun, from bank to bank he flies
With honey loads his bag, with wax his thighs;
Fly where he will, at home the race remain,
Prune the silk dress, and murmuring eat the gain.
Yet here and there we grant a gentle bride,
Whose temper betters by the father's side;
Unlike the rest that double human care,
Fond to relieve, or resolute to share :
Happy the man whom thus his stars advance!
The curse is general, but the blessing chance
Thus sung the Sisters, while the gods admire
Their beauteous creature, made for man in ire;
The young Pandora she, whom all contend
To make too perfect not to gain her end:
Then bid the winds that fly to breathe the spring,
Return to bear her on a gentle wing;
With wafting airs the winds obsequious blow,
And land the shining vengeance safe below.
A golden coffer in her hand she bore,
(The present treacherous, but the bearer more)
'Twas fraught with pangs; for Jove ordain'd above,
That gold should aid, and pangs attend on love
Her gay descent the man perceiv'd afar
Wondering he run to catch the falling star;
But so surpris'd, as none but he can tell,
Who lov'd so quickly, and who lov'd so well.
O'er all his veins the wandering passion burns,
He calls her nymph, and every nymph by turns.
Her form to lovely Venus he prefers,
Or swears that Venus' must be such as hers.
She, proud to rule, yet strangely fram'd to teize,
Neglects his offers while her airs she plays,
Shoots scornful glances from the bended frown,
In brisk disorder trips it up and down,
Then hums a careless tune to lay the storm,
And sits, and blushes, smiles, and yields, in form.
"Now take what Jove design'd," she softly cried, "This box thy portion, and myself thy bride :" Fir'd with the prospect of the double charms, He snatch'd the box, and bride, with eager arms.
Unhappy man! to whom so bright she shone:
The fatal gift, her tempting self, unknown!
The winds were silent, all the waves asleep,
And heaven was trac'd upon the flattering deep;
But whilst he looks unmindful of a storm,
And thinks the water wears a stable form,
What dreadful din around his ears shall rise!
What frowns confuse his picture of the skies!
At first the creature man was fram'd alone,
Lord of himself, and all the world his own.
For him the Nymphs in green forsook the woods,
For him the Nymphs in blue forsook the floods;
In vain the Satyrs rage, the Tritons rave;
They bore him heroes in the secret cave.
No care destroy'd, no sick disorder prey'd,
No bending age his sprightly form decay'd,
No wars were known, no females heard to rage,
And poets tell us, 'twas a golden age.
When woman came, those ills the box confin'd
Burst furious out, and poison'd all the wind,
From point to point, from pole to pole they flew,
Spread as they went, and in the progress grew:
The Nymphs regretting left the mortal race,
And altering nature wore a sickly face;
New terms of folly rose, new states of care;
New plagues to suffer, and to please, the fair!
The days of whining, and of wild intrigues,
Commenc'd, or finish'd, with the breach of leagues;
The mean designs of well-dissembled love;
The sordid matches never join'd above;
Abroad, the labour, and at home the noise,
(Man's double sufferings for domestic joys);
The curse of jealousy; expense, and strife;
Divorce, the public brand of shameful life;
The rival's sword; the qualm that takes the fair;
Disdain for passion, passion in despair—
These, and a thousand, yet unnam’d, we find;
Ah fear the thousand, yet unnam'd, behind!