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Whom Pallas, once Vanessa's tutor,
Had fix'd on for her coadjutor.
But Cupid, full of mischief, longs
To vindicate his mother's wrongs.
On Pallas all attempts are vain :
One way he knows to give her pain;
Vows on Vanessa's heart to take
Due vengeance, for her patron's sake.
Those early seeds by Venus sown,
In spite of Pallas, now were grown;
And Cupid hop'd they would improve
By time, and ripen into love.
The boy made use of all his craft,
In vain discharging many a shaft,
Pointed at colonels, lords, and beaux:
Cadenus warded off the blows;
For, placing still some book betwixt,
The darts were in the cover fix'd,
Or, often blunted and recoil'd,
On Plutarch's Morals struck, were spoil'd.
The queen of wisdom could foresee,
But not prevent, the Fates' decree :
And human caution tries in vain
To break that adamantine chain.
Vanessa, though by Pallas taught,
By Love invulnerable thought,
Searching in books for wisdom's aid,
Was, in the very search, betray'd.
Cupid, though all his darts were lost,
Yet still resolv'd to spare no cost:
He could not answer to his fame
The triumphs of that stubborn dame,
A nymph so hard to be subdued,
Who neither was coquette nor prude.
"I find," said he, "she wants a doctor
Both to adore her, and instruct her:
I'll give her what she most admires,
Among those venerable sires,
Cadenus is a subject fit,
Grown old in politics and wit,
Caress'd by ministers of state,
Of half mankind the dread and hate.
Whate'er vexations love attend,
She need no rivals apprehend.
Her sex, with universal voice,
Must laugh at her capricious choice."
Cadenus many things had writ:
Vanessa much esteem'd his wit,
And call'd for his poetic works:
Meantime the boy in secret lurks;
And, while the book was in her hand,
The urchin from his private stand
Took aim, and shot with all his strength
A dart of such prodigious length,
It pierc'd the feeble volume through,
And deep transfix'd her bosom too.
Some lines, more moving than the rest,
Stuck to the point that pierc'd her breast,
And, borne directly to the heart,
With pains unknown, increas'd her smart.
Vanessa, not in years a score,
Dreams of a gown of forty-four;
Imaginary charms can find
In eyes with reading almost blind :
Cadenus now no more appears
Declin'd in health, advanced in years.
She fancies music in his tongue;
No farther looks, but thinks him young.
What mariner is not afraid
To venture in a ship decay'd?
What planter will attempt to yoke
A sapling with a falling oak?
As years increase, she brighter shines
Cadenus with each day declines:
And he must fall a prey to time,
While she continues in her prime.
Cadenus, common forms apart,
In every scene had kept his heart;
Had sigh'd and languish'd, vow'd and writ
For pastime, or to show his wit.
But books, and time, and state affairs,
Had spoil'd his fashionable airs:
He now could praise, esteem, approve,
But understood not what was love.
His conduct might have made him styl'd
A father, and the nymph his child.
That innocent delight he took
To see the virgin mind her book,
Was but the master's secret joy
In school to hear the finest boy.
Her knowledge with her fancy grew;
She hourly press'd for something new;
Ideas came into her mind
So fast, his lessons lagg'd behind;
She reason'd, without plodding long,
Nor ever gave her judgment wrong.
But now a sudden change was wrought:
She minds no longer what he taught.
Cadenus was amaz'd to find
Such marks of a distracted mind:
For, though she seem'd to listen more
To all he spoke, than e'er before,
He found her thoughts would absent range,
Yet guess'd not whence could spring the change
And first he modestly conjectures
His pupil might be tir'd with lectures;
Which help'd to mortify his pride,
Yet gave him not the heart to chide :
But, in a mild dejected strain,
At last he ventur'd to complain;
Said, she should be no longer teas'd,
Might have her freedom when she pleas'd;
Was now convinc'd he acted wrong,
To hide her from the world so long,
And in dull studies to engage
One of her tender sex and age;
That every nymph with envy own'd,
How she might shine in the grand monde:
And every shepherd was undone
To see her cloister'd like a nun.
This was a visionary scheme:
He wak'd, and found it but a dream
A project far above his skill;
For nature must be nature still
If he were bolder than became
A scholar to a courtly dame,
She might excuse a man of letters
Thus tutors often treat their betters.
And, since his talk offensive grew,
He came to take his last adieu.
Vanessa, fill'd with just disdain, Would still her dignity maintain, Instructed from her early years To scorn the art of female tears.
Had he employ'd his time so long To teach her what was right and wrong, Yet could such notions entertain That all his lectures were in vain?
She own'd the wandering of her thoughts: But he must answer for her faults.
She well remembered, to her cost,
That all his lessons were not lost.
Two maxims she could still produce,
And sad experience taught their use;
That virtue, pleas'd by being shown,
Knows nothing which it dares not own;
Can make us without fear disclose
Our inmost secrets to our foes:
That common forms were not design'd
Directors to a noble mind.
"Now," said the nymph, "to let you see
My actions with your rules agree;
That I can vulgar forms despise,
And have no secrets to disguise:
I knew, by what you said and writ,
How dangerous things were men of wit;
You caution'd me against their charms,
But never gave me equal arms;
Your lessons found the weakest part,
Aim'd at the head, but reach'd the heart."
Cadenus felt within him rise
Shame, disappointment, guilt, surprise.
He knew not how to reconcile
Such language with her usual style:
And yet her words were so express'd,
He could not hope she spoke in jest,
His thoughts had wholly been confin'd
To form and cultivate her mind.
He hardly knew, till he was told,
Whether the nymph were young or old;
Had met her in a public place,
Without distinguishing her face:
Much less could his declining age
Vanessa's earliest thoughts engage;
And, if her youth indifference met,
His person must contempt beget:
Or, grant her passion be sincere,
How shall his innocence be clear?
Appearances were all so strong,
The world must think him in the wrong;
Would say, he made a treacherous use
Of wit, to flatter and seduce:
The town would swear, he had betray'd
By magic spells the harmless maid:
And, every beau would have his jokes,
That scholars were like other folks;
And when Platonic flights were over,
The tutor turn'd a mortal lover!
So tender of the young and fair!
It show'd a true paternal care-
Five thousand guineas in her purse!
The doctor might have fancied worse.-
Hardly at length he silence broke,
And falter'd every word he spoke ;
Interpreting her complaisance,
Just as a man sans conséquence.
She rallied well, he always knew:
Her manner now was something new;
And what she spoke was in an air
As serious as a tragic player.
But those who aim at ridicule
Should fix upon some certain rule,
Which fairly hints they are in jest,
Else he must enter his protest:
For, let a man be ne'er so wise,
He may be caught with sober lies;
A science which he never taught,
And, to be free, was dearly bought;
For, take it in its proper light,
"Tis just what coxcombs call a bite.
But, not to dwell on things minute, Vanessa finish'd the dispute, Brought weighty arguments to prove That reason was her guide in love. She thought he had himself describ'd His doctrines when she first imbib'd: What he had planted now was grown; His virtues she might call her own; As he approves, as he dislikes, Love or contempt her fancy strikes. Self-love, in nature rooted fast, Attends us first, and leaves us last: Why she likes him, admire not at her; She loves herself, and that's the matter. How was her tutor wont to praise The geniuses of ancient days! (Those authors he so oft had nam'd, For learning, wit, and wisdom fam'd,) Was struck with love, esteem, and awe, For persons whom he never saw. Suppose Cadenus flourish'd then, He must adore such godlike men. If one short volume could comprise All that was witty, learn'd, and wise, How would it be esteem'd and read, Although the writer long were dead! If such an author were alive, How all would for his friendship strive, And come in crowds to see his face! And this she takes to be her case. Cadenus answers every end, The book, the author, and the friend; The utmost her desires will reach, Is but to learn what he can teach: His converse is a system fit Alone to fill up all her wit; While every passion of her mind In him is center'd and confin'd.
Love can with speech inspire a mute, And taught Vanessa to dispute. This topic, never touch'd before, Display'd her eloquence the more: Her knowledge, with such pains acquir'd, By this new passion grew inspir'd; Through this she made all objects pass, Which gave a tincture o'er the mass; As rivers, though they bend and twine, Still to the sea their course incline; Or, as philosophers, who find Some favorite system to their mind, In every point to make it fit, Will force all nature to submit.
Cadenus, who could ne'er suspect
His lessons would have such effect,
Or be so artfully applied,
Insensibly came on her side.
It was an unforeseen event;
Things took a turn he never meant.
Whoe'er excels in what we prize,
Appears a hero in our eyes:
Each girl, when pleas'd with what is taught,
Will have the teacher in her thought.
When Miss delights in her spinnet,
A fiddler may a fortune get;
A blockhead, with melodious voice,
In boarding-schools may have his choice;
And oft the dancing-master's art
Climbs from the toe to touch the heart.
In learning let a nymph delight,
The pedant gets a mistress by 't.
Cadenus, to his grief and shame,
Could scarce oppose Vanessa's flame:
And, though her arguments were strong,
At least could hardly wish them wrong.
Howe'er it came, he could not tell,
But sure she never talk'd so well.
His pride began to interpose;
Preferr'd before a crowd of beaux!
So bright a nymph to come unsought!
Such wonder by his merit wrought!
"Tis merit must with her prevail !
He never knew her judgment fail!
She noted all she ever read!
And had a most discerning head!
'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
That flattery's the food of fools,
Yet now and then your men of wit
Will condescend to take a bit.
So, when Cadenus could not hide,
He chose to justify, his pride;
Construing the passion she had shown,
Much to her praise, more to his own,
Nature in him had merit plac'd,
In her a most judicious taste,
Love, hitherto a transient guest,
Ne'er held possession of his breast;
So long attending at the gate,
Disdain'd to enter in so late.
Love why do we one passion call,
When 'tis a compound of them all?
Where hot and cold, where sharp and sweet,
In all their equipages meet;
Where pleasures mix'd with pains appear,
Sorrow with joy, and hope with fear;
Wherein his dignity and age
Forbid Cadenus to engage.
But friendship, in its greatest height,
A constant, rational delight,
On virtue's basis fix'd to last,
When love allurements long are past,
Which gently warms, but cannot burn,
He gladly offers in return;
His want of passion will redeem
With gratitude, respect, esteem;
With that devotion we bestow,
When goddesses appear below.
While thus Cadenus entertains
Vanessa in exalted strains,
The nymph in sober words entreats
A truce with all sublime conceits:
For why such raptures, flights, and fancies,
To her who durst not read romances?
In lofty style to make replies,
Which he had taught her to despise?
But when her tutor will affect
Devotion, duty, and respect,
He fairly abdicates the throne;
The government is now her own;
He has a forfeiture incurr'd;
She vows to take him at his word,
And hopes he will not think it strange,
If both should now their stations change.
The nymph will have her turn to be
The tutor; and the pupil, he:
Though she already can discern
Her scholar is not apt to learn;
Or wants capacity to reach
The science she designs to teach :
Wherein his genius was below
The skill of every common beau,
Who, though he cannot spell, is wise
Enough to read a lady's eyes,
And will each accidental glance
Interpret for a kind advance.
But what success Vanessa met,
Is to the world a secret yet.
Whether the nymph, to please her swain,
Talks in a high romantic strain;
Or whether he at last descends
To act with less seraphic ends;
Or, to compound the business, whether
They temper love and books together;
Must never to mankind be told,
Nor shall the conscious Muse unfold.
Meantime the mournful queen of love
Led but a weary life above.
She ventures now to leave the skies,
Grown by Vanessa's conduct wise:
For, though by one perverse event
Pallas had cross'd her first intent;
Though her design was not obtain'd,
Yet had she much experience gain'd;
And by the project vainly tried,
Could better now the cause decide.
She gave due notice, that both parties,
Coram regina, prox' die Martis,
Should at their peril, without fail,
Come and appear, and save their bail.
All met; and, silence thrice proclaim'd
One lawyer to each side was nam'd.
The judge discover'd in her face
Resentments for her late disgrace;
And, full of anger, shame, and grief,
Directed them to mind their brief,
Nor spend their time to show their reading
She'd have a summary proceeding.
She gather'd under every head
The sum of what each lawyer said,
Gave her own reasons last, and then
Decreed the cause against the men.
But, in a weighty case like this,
To show she did not judge amiss,
Which evil tongues might else report,
She made a speech in open court,
Wherein she grievously complains,
"How she was cheated by the swains:
On whose petition (humbly showing,
That women were not worth the wooing,
And that, unless the sex would mend,
The race of lovers soon must end)-
She was at Lord knows what expense
To form a nymph of wit and sense,
A model for her sex design'd,
Who never could one lover find.
She saw her favor was misplac'd;
The fellows had a wretched taste;
She needs must tell them to their face.
They were a stupid, senseless race;
And, were she to begin again,
She'd study to reform the men;
Or add some grains of folly more
To women, than they had before,
To put them on an equal foot;
And this, or nothing else, would do't.
This might their mutual fancy strike,
Since every being loves its like.
"But now, repenting what was done She left all business to her son; She puts the world in his possession, And lets him use it at discretion."
The crier was order'd to dismiss The court, so made his last O yes! The goddess would no longer wait; But, rising from her chair of state, Left all below at six and seven, Harness'd her doves, and flew to Heaven.
ALL travellers at first incline
Where'er they see the fairest sign;
And, if they find the chambers neat,
And like the liquor and the meat,
Will call again and recommend
The Angel-inn to every friend.
What though the painting grows decay'd,
The house will never lose its trade:
Nay, though the treacherous tapster Thomas
Hangs a new Angel two doors from us,
As fine as daubers' hands can make it,
In hopes that strangers may mistake it,
We think it both a shame and sin
To quit the true old Angel-inn.
Now this is Stella's case in fact,
An angel's face a little crack'd:
(Could poets or could painters fix
How angels look at thirty-six :)
This drew us in at first to find
In such a form an angel's mind;
And every virtue now supplies
The fainting rays of Stella's eyes.
See at her levee crowding swains,
Whom Stella freely entertains
With breeding, humor, wit, and sense;
And puts them but to small expense;
Their mind so plentifully fills,
And makes such reasonable bills,
So little gets for what she gives,
We really wonder how she lives!
And, had her stock been less, no doubt
She must have long ago run out.
Then who can think we'll quit the place,
When Doll hangs out a newer face?
Or stop and light at Chloe's head,
With scraps and leavings to be fed ?
Then, Chloe, still go on to prate
Of thirty-six and thirty-eight;
Pursue your trade of scandal-picking,
Your hints that Stella is no chicken;
Your innuendoes, when you tell us,
That Stella loves to talk with fellows:
And let me warn you to believe
A truth, for which your soul should grieve;
That, should you live to see the day
When Stella's locks must all be grey,
When age must print a furrow'd trace
On every feature of her face;
Though you, and all your senseless tribe,
Could art, or time, or nature bribe,
To make you look like beauty's queen,
And hold for ever at fifteen;
No bloom of youth can ever blind
The cracks and wrinkles of your mind:
All men of sense will pass your door,
And crowd to Stella's at fourscore.
THE JOURNAL OF A MODERN LADY.
IN A LETTER TO A PERSON OF QUALITY.-1728
It was a most unfriendly part
In you, who ought to know my heart,
Are well acquainted with my zeal
For all the female commonweal-
How could it come into your mind
To pitch on me, of all mankind,
Against the sex to write a satire,
And brand me for a woman-hater?
On me, who think them all so fair,
They rival Venus to a hair;
Their virtues never ceas'd to sing,
Since first I learn'd to tune a string?
Methinks I hear the ladies cry,
Will he his character belie?
Must never our misfortunes end?
And have we lost our only friend?
Ah, lovely nymphs, remove your fears
No more let fall those precious tears,
Sooner shall, &c.
[Here are several verses omitted.] The hound be hunted by the hare, Than I turn rebel to the fair.
"Twas you engag'd me first to write.
Then gave the subject out of spite:
The journal of a modern dame
Is by my promise what you claim.
My word is past, must submit ;
And yet, perhaps, you may be bit.
I but transcribe; for not a line
Of all the satire shall be mine.
Compell'd by you to tag in rhymes
The common slanders of the times,
Of modern times, the guilt is yours,
And me my innocence secures.
Unwilling Muse, begin thy lay,
The annals of a female day.
By nature turn'd to play the rake well,
(As we shall show you in the sequel,)
The modern dame is wak'd by noon,
(Some authors say, not quite so soon,)
Because, though sore against her will,
She sate all night up at quadrille.
She stretches, gapes, unglues her eyes,
And asks, if it be time to rise:
Of head-ache and the spleen complains; And then, to cool her heated brains,
Her night-gown and her slippers brought her
Takes a large dram of citron-water.
Then to her glass; and, "Betty, pray
Don't I look frightfully to-day?
But was it not confounded hard?
Well, if I ever touch a card!
Four mattadores, and lose codille!
Depend upon't, I never will.
But run to Tom, and bid him fix
The ladies here to-night by six."
"Madam, the goldsmith waits below;
He says, 'His business is to know
If you'll redeem the silver cup
He keeps in pawn?"-" First, show him up.
Your dressing-plate he'll be content
To take, for interest cent. per cent.
And, madam, there's my lady Spade,
Hath sent this letter by her maid."
'Well, I remember what she won;
And hath she sent so soon to dun?
Here, carry down those ten pistoles
My husband left to pay for coals:
I thank my stars, they all are light;
And I may have revenge to-night."
Now, loitering o'er her tea and cream,
She enters on her usual theme;
Her last night's ill success repeats,
Calls lady Spade a hundred cheats:
"She slipt spadillo in her breast,
Then thought to turn it to a jest:
There's Mrs. Cut and she combine,
And to each other give the sign."
Through every game pursues her tale,
Like hunters o'er their evening ale.
Now to another scene give place:
Enter the folks with silks and lace:
Fresh matter for a world of chat,
Right Indian this, right Mechlin that:
"Observe this pattern; there's a stuff;
I can have customers enough.
Dear madam, you are grown so hard-
This lace is worth twelve pounds a yard:
Madam, if there be truth in man,
I never sold so cheap a fan."
This business of importance o'er,
And madam almost dress'd by four;
The footman, in his usual phrase,
Comes up with, "Madam, dinner stays."
She answers in her usual style,
"The cook must keep it back awhile:
I never can have time to dress;
(No woman breathing takes up less ;)
I'm hurried so it makes me sick;
I wish the dinner at Old Nick."
At table now she acts her part,
Has all the dinner-cant by heart:
"I thought we were to dine alone,
My dear; for sure, if I had known
This company would come to-day-
But really 'tis my spouse's way!
He's so unkind, he never sends
To tell when he invites his friends:
I wish ye may but have enough!"
And while with all this paltry stuff
She sits tormenting every guest,
Nor gives her tongue one moment's rest,
In phrases batter'd, stale, and trite,
Which modern ladies call polite;
You see the booby husband sit
In admiration at her wit.
But let me now awhile survey Our madam o'er her evening-tea; Surrounded with her noisy clans Of prudes, coquettes, and harridans; When, frighted at the clamorous crew, Away the god of Silence flew, And fair Discretion left the place, And Modesty with blushing face: Now enters overweening Pride, And Scandal ever gaping wide; Hypocrisy with frown severe, Scurrility with gibing air; Rude Laughter seeming like to burst, And Malice always judging worst; And Vanity with pocket-glass, And Impudence with front of brass;
And studied Affectation came,
Each limb and feature out of frame;
While Ignorance, with brain of lead,
Flew hovering o'er each female head.
Why should I ask of thee, my Muse,
An hundred tongues, as poets use,
When, to give every dame her due,
An hundred thousand were too few?
Or how shall I, alas! relate
The sum of all their senseless prate,
Their innuendoes, hints, and slanders,
Their meanings lewd, and double entendres ?
Now comes the general scandal-charge;
What some invent, the rest enlarge;
And, "Madam, if it be a lie,
You have the tale as cheap as I :
I must conceal my author's name;
But now 'tis known to common fame."
Say, foolish females, bold and blind, Say, by what fatal turn of mind, Are you on vices most severe, Wherein yourselves have greatest share? Thus every fool herself deludes; The prudes condemn the absent prudes: Mopsa, who stinks her spouse to death, Accuses Chloe's tainted breath; Hircina, rank with sweat, presumes To censure Phyllis for perfumes; While crooked Cynthia, sneering, says That Florimel wears iron stays: Chloe, of every coxcomb jealous, Admires how girls can talk with fellows; And, full of indignation, frets,
That women should be such coquettes: Iris, for scandal most notorious,
Cries, "Lord, the world is so censorious!"
And Rufa, with her combs of lead,
Whispers that Sappho's hair is red:
Aura, whose tongue you hear a mile hence,
Talks half a day in praise of silence;
And Sylvia, full of inward guilt,
Calls Amoret an arrant jilt.
Now voices over voices rise,
While each to be the loudest vies:
They contradict, affirm, dispute,
No single tongue one moment mute;
mad to speak, and none to hearken,
They set the very lap-dog barking;
Their chattering makes a louder din
Than fish-wives o'er a cup of gin:
Not school-boys at a barring-out
Rais'd ever such incessant rout;
The jumbling particles of matter
In chaos made not such a clatter;
Far less the rabble roar and rail,
When drunk with sour election ale.
Nor do they trust their tongues alone, But speak a language of their own; Can read a nod, a shrug, a look, Far better than a printed book; Convey a libel in a frown, And wink a reputation down; Or, by the tossing of the fan, Describe the lady and the man.
But see, the female club disbands, Each twenty visits on her hands. Now all alone poor madam sits In vapors and hysteric fits: "And was not Tom this morning sent? I'd lay my life he never went: