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The light coquettes in sylphs aloft repair,
“ Know further yet ; whoever fair and chaste
"Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
“ Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
This erring mortals levitý may call;
"Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long, Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. 'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true, Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux; Wounds, charms, and ardours, were no sooner read, But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, With head uncover'd, the cosmetic pow'rs. A heavenly image in the glass appears, To that she bends, toʻthat her eyes she rears; The inferior priestess, at her altar's side, · Trembling begins the sacred 'rites of pride. Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here The various offerings of the world appear ; From each she nicely culls with curious toil, And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box. The tortoise here and elephant unite, Transform'd to combs, the speckled, and the white, Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Fuffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet.doux. Now awful beauty puts on all its arms; The fair each moment rises in her charms, Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace, And calls forth all the wonders of her face ;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
NOT with more glories, in the etherial plain,
The sun first rises o'er the purpled main, Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams Launch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames. Fair nymphs, and well-dress'd youths around her shone, But every eye was fix'd on her alone. On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore, Which Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore. Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose, Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those : Favours to none, to all she smiles extends ; Oft she rejects, but never once offends. Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, And, like the sun, they shine on all alike. Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride, Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide : If to her share some female errors fall, Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck. Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains, And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. With hairy springes we the birds betray, Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey, Fair tresses man's imperial race insnare, And beauty draws us with a single hair.
The' adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd; He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd,
Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way,
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd
But now secure the painted vessel glides, The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides; While melting music steals upon the sky, And soften'd sounds along the waters die : Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Belinda smild, and all the world was gay. All but the sylph-with careful thoughts opprest, The' impending woe sat heavy on his breast. He summons straight his denizens of air ; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold; Transparent forms too fine for mortal sight, Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light, Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, Thin glittering textures of the filmy dew, Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies, Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes, While every beam new transient colours Alings, Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings. Amid the circle, on the gilded mast, Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
His purple pinions opening to the sun,
“ Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear,
" Qur humbler province is to tend the fair, Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care ; To save the powder from too rude a gale, Nor let the' imprison'd essences exhale; To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers ; To steal from rainbows ere they drop in showers A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs, Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs ; Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow, To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.
“ This day black omens threat the brightest fair That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care ; Some dire disaster, or by force or slight; But what, or where, the fates have wrapp'd in night. Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law, Or some frail china-jar receive a flaw; Or stain her honour, or her new brocade ; Forget her pray’rs, or miss a masquerade ; Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball ; Or whether heav'n has doom'd that Shock must fall.