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OF A BEAUTY IN THE COUNTRY.
WAS night; and Flavia to her room retir'd,
With ev'ning chat and sober reading tir'd;
There, melancholy, pensive, and alone,
She meditates on the forsaken town;
On her rais'd arm reclin'd her drooping head,
She sigh'd, and thus in plaintive accents said:
Ah! what avails it to be young and fair, To move with negligence, to dress with care? What worth have all the charms our pride can boast, If all in envious solitude are lost?
Where none admire, 'tis useless to excel;
Where none are beaux, 'tis vain to be a belle :
Beauty, like wit, to judges should be shewn ;
Both most are valued where they best are known.
With every grace of nature, or of art,
We cannot break one stubborn country heart:
The brutes, insensible, our power defy :
To love, exceeds a 'squire's capacity.
The town, the court, is beauty's proper sphere;
That is our heav'n, and we are angels there:
In that gay circle thousand Cupids rove;
The court of Britain is the court of Love.
How has my conscious heart with triumph glow'd,
How have my sparkling eyes their transport shew'd,
At each distinguish'd birth-night ball to see
The homage due to empire paid to me!
And dreaded mine more than the monarch's frown;
When rival statesmen for my favour strove,
Less jealous in their power than in their love.
Chang'd is the scene, and all my glories die,
Like flowers transplanted to a colder sky;
Lost is the dear delight of giving pain,
The tyrant joy of hearing slaves complain.
In stupid indolence my life is spent,
Supinely calm and dully innocent:
Unbless'd I wear my useless time away,
Sleep, wretched maid! all night, and dream all day;
Go at set hours to dinner and to prayer,
For dulness ever must be regular.
Now with mama at tedious whist I play,
Now without scandal drink insipid tea,
Or in the garden breathe the country air,
Secure from meeting any tempter there;
From books to work, from work to books I rove,
And am, alas! at leisure to improve.
Is this the life a beauty ought to lead?
Were eyes so radiant only made to read?
These fingers, at whose touch ev'n age would glow,
Are these of use for nothing but to sew?
Sure erring nature never could design
To form a housewife in a mould like mine!
O Venus! queen and guardian of the fair,
Attend propitious to thy vot'ry's prayer ;
Let me revisit the dear town again,
Let me be seen!-Could I that wish obtain,
All other wishes my own pow'r would gain.'
EPISTLE TO A LADY IN TOWN,
Soon after her leaving the Country.
WHILST you, dear maid, o'er thousands born to reign,
For the gay town exchange the rural plain,
The cooling breeze and ev'ning walk forsake
For stifling crowds, which your own beauties make; Thro' circling joys while you incessant stray,
Charm in the Mall, and sparkle at the play;
Think (if successive vanities can spare
One thought to love) what cruel pangs I bear,
Left in these plains all wretched, and alone,
To weep with fountains, and with echoes groan,
And mourn incessantly that fatal day,
That all my bliss with Chloe snatch'd away.
Say by what arts I can relieve my pain,
Music, verse, all I try, but try in vain;
In vain the breathing flute my hand employs,
Late the companion of my Chloe's voice,
~Nor Handel's nor Corelli's tuneful airs
Can harmonise my soul, or sooth my cares;
Those once-lov'd med'cines unsuccessful prove,
Music, alas! is but the voice of love!
In vain I oft harmonious lines peruse,
And seek for aid from Pope's and Prior's muse;
Their treach'rous numbers but assist the foe,
And call forth scenes of sympathising wo:
Here Heloise mourns her absent lover's charms,
There parting Emma sighs in Henry's arms;
Their loves like mine ill-fated I bemoan,
And in their tender sorrows read my own.
Restless sometimes, as oft the mournful dove Forsakes her nest, forsaken by her love,
I fly from home, and seek the sacred fields
Where Cam's old urn its silver current yields,
Where solemn tow'rs o'erlook each mossy grove,
As if to guard it from th' assaults of love;
Yet guard in vain, for there my
But lately made whole colleges her prize;
Her sons, tho' few, not Pallas could defend,
Nor Dullness succour to her thousands lend;
Love, like a fever with infectious rage,
and thaw'd the frost of age:
gaze at her ev'n Don's were seen to run,
And leave unfinish'd pipes, and authors-scarce begun.
So Helen look'd, and moved with such a grace, When the grave seniors of the Trojan race
Were forced those fatal beauties to admire,
That all their youth consumed, and set their town on fire.
At famed Newmarket oft I spend the day,
An unconcern'd spectator of the play;
There pitiless observe the ruin'd heir
With anger fired, or melting with despair;
For how should I his trivial loss bemoan,
Who feel one, so much greater, of my own?
There while the golden heaps, a glorious prize,
Wait the decision of two rival dice,