Page images

That every rich and lordly swain
With pride would drag about her chain;
That fcholars would forfake their books,
To study bright Vaneffa's looks;
As fhe advanc'd, that womankind
Would by her model form their mind,
And all their conduct would be try'd
By her, as an unerring guide;
Offending daughters oft' would hear
Vaneffa's praise rung in their ear:
Mifs Betty, when the does a fault,
Lets fall her knife, or fpills the falt,
Will thus be by her mother chid,



[blocks in formation]

She shakes her helm, fhe knits her brows,

And, fir'd with indignation, vows,

To-morrow, ere the fetting fun,

She'd all undo that fhe had done.


But in the poets we may
A wholefome law, time out of mind,
Had been confirm'd by Fate's decree,
That gods, of whatfoe'er degree,


Refume not what themselves have given,
Or any brother-god in heaven;


Which keeps the peace among the gods,
(Or they must always be at odds:
And Pallas, if the broke the laws,
Muft yield her foe the ftronger cause ;
A fhame to one fo much ador'd
For wisdom at Jove's council-board.
Befides, fhe fear'd the Queen of Love
Would meet with better friends above.
And though she must with grief reflect,
To fee a mortal virgin deck'd
With graces hitherto unknown
To female breafts, except her own;
Yet fhe would act as beft became
A goddefs of unfpotted fame.
She knew, by augury divine,

Venus would fail in her defign:

She study'd well the point, and found
Her foe's conclufions were not found,
From premifies erroneous brought,
And therefore the deduction 's nought,
And must have contrary effects,

To what her treacherous foe expects.

In proper feafon Pallas meets





The Queen of Love, whom thus fhe greets


(For gods, we are by Homer told,

Can in celestial language scold):
Perfidious goddess! but in vain
You form'd this project in your brain;

A project for thy talents fit,

With much deceit and little wit.


[blocks in formation]

To manage thy abortive scheme:

She 'll prove the greateft of thy foes;


And yet I fcorn to interpose,

But, ufing neither fkill nor force,

Leave all things to their natural course.

The goddess thus pronounc'd her doom: When lo! Vaneffa in her bloom


Advanc'd, like Atalanta's ftar,

But rarely feen, and feen from far:

In a new world with caution stept,
Watch'd all the company fhe kept,

Well knowing, from the books fhe read,


What dangerous paths young virgins tread:

Would feldom at the Park appear,

Nor faw the play-house twice a year;

Yet, not incurious, was inclin'd

To know the converfe of mankind.


First iffued from perfumers' fhops,

A croud of fashionable fops:

They afk'd her, how the lik'd the play;
Then told the tattle of the day;
A duel fought last night at two,
About a lady—you know who;



[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Gave hints of who and who's together;

Then fell to talking of the weather;
Laft night was fo extremely fine,


The ladies walk'd till after nine;

Then, in foft voice and speech abfurd,
With nonfenfe every fecond word,

[blocks in formation]

When they grew pert, to pull them down.

At laft fhe fpitefully was bent

To try their wisdom's full extent;

And said, the valued nothing less


Than titles, figure, fhape, and drefs;

That merit fhould be chiefly plac'd

In judgement, knowledge, wit, and taste;

And thefe, the offer'd to difpute,

Alone distinguish'd man from brute :


That prefent times have no pretence

To virtue, in the noble fenfe
By Greeks and Romans understood,

To perish for our country's good.
She nam'd the ancient heroes round,
Explain'd for what they were renown'd;



Then fpoke with cenfure or applaufe

Of foreign cuftoms, rites, and laws;
Through nature and through art she rang'd,
And gracefully her fubject chang'd;

In vain her hearers had no fhare
In all she spoke, except to ftare.

Their judgement was, upon the whole,
-That lady is the dulleft foul!—

Then tipt their forehead in a jeer,

As who should fay-She wants it here!
She may
be handfome, young, and rich,
But none will burn her for a witch!



A party next of glittering dames,

From round the purlieus of St. James,


Came early, out of pure good-will,

To fee the girl in difhabille.

Their clamour, 'lighting from their chairs,
Grew louder all the way up ftairs;


At entrance loudeft, where they found
The room with volumes litter'd round.
Vanessa held Montaigne, and read,
Whilft Mrs. Sufan comb'd her head.
They call'd for tea and chocolate,

And fell into their ufual chat,


Difcourfing with important face,

On ribbons, fans, and gloves, and lace;
Shew'd patterns juft from India brought,

And gravely afk'd her what the thought,
Whether the red or green were best,
And what they coft? Vaneffa guefs'd,

[blocks in formation]


« EelmineJätka »