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HESIOD; OR, THE RISE OF WOMAN.
HESIOD; OR, THE RISE OF WOMAN.
WHAT ancient times, those times we fancy wise,
Have left on long record of woman's rise,
What morals teach it, and what fables hide,
What author wrote it, how that author died,
All these I sing. In Greece they fram'd the tale ;
In Greece, 'twas thought a woman might be frail,
Ye modern beauties! where the poet drew
His softest pencil, think he dreamt of you;
And warn'd by him, ye wanton pens, beware
How heaven's concern'd to vindicate the fair.
The case was Hesiod's; he the fable writ;
Some think with meaning, some with idle wit:
Perhaps 'tis either, as the ladies please;
I wave the contest, and commence the lays.
In days of yore, no matter where or when,
'Twas ere the low creation swarm'd with men,
That one Prometheus, sprung of heavenly birth
Our author's song can witness, liv'd on earth.
He carv'd the turf to mould a manly frame,
And stole from Jove his animating flame.
The sly contrivance o'er Olympus ran,
When thus the monarch of the stars began.
O vers'd in arts! whose daring thoughts aspire
To kindle clay with never-dying fire!
Enjoy thy glory past, that gift was thine;
The next thy creature meets, be fairly mine:
And such a gift, a vengeance so design'd,
As suits the counsel of a God to find;
A pleasing bosom-cheat, a specious ill,
Which felt they curse, yet covet still to feel.
He said, and Vulcan straight the sire commands,
To temper mortar with ethereal hands;
In such a shape to mould a rising fair,
As virgin-goddesses are proud to wear;
To make her eyes with diamond-water shine,
And form her organs for a voice divine.
'Twas thus the sire ordain'd; the power obeyed;
And work'd, and wonder'd at the work he made;
The fairest, softest, sweetest frame beneath,
Now made to seem, now more than seem, to breathe.
As Vulcan ends, the cheerful queen of charms
Clasp'd the new-panting creature in her arms;
From that embrace a fine complexion spread,
Where mingled whiteness glow'd with softer red.
Then in a kiss she breath'd her various arts,
Of trifling prettily with wounded hearts;
A mind for love, but still a changing mind;
The lisp affected, and the glance design'd;
The sweet confusing blush, the secret wink,
The gentle-swimming walk, the courteous sink,
The stare for strangeness fit, for scorn the frown,
For decent yielding looks declining down,
The practis'd languish, where well-feign'd desire
Would own its melting in a mutual fire;
Gay smiles to comfort; April showers to move;
And all the nature, all the art, of love.
Gold-sceptred Juno next exalts the fair ;
Her touch endows her with imperious air,
Self-valuing fancy, highly-crested pride,
Strong sovereign will, and some desire to chide :
For which, an eloquence, that aims to vex,
With native tropes of anger, arms the sex.
Minerva, skilful goddess, train'd the maid
To twirl the spindle by the twisting thread,
To fix the loom, instruct the reeds to part,
Cross the long weft, and close the web with art,
A useful gift; but what profuse expense,
What world of fashions, took its rise from hence!
Young Hermes next, a close-contriving god,
Her brows encircled with his serpent rod :
Then plots and fair excuses fill'd her brain,
The views of breaking amorous vows for gain,
The price of favours, the designing arts
That aim at riches in contempt of hearts;
And for a comfort in a marriage life,
The little, pilfering temper of a wife.