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The goddess with a discontented air
Seems to reject him, though she grants his prayer.
A wonderous bag with both her hands she binds,
Like that where once Ulysses held the winds;
There she collects the force of female lungs,
Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues.
A vial next she fills with fainting fears,
Soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears.
The Gnome rejoicing bears her gifts away,
Spreads his black wings, and slowly mounts to day.
Sunk in Thalestris' arms the nymph he found,
Her eyes dejected, and her hair unbound.
Full o'er their heads the swelling bag he rent,
And all the Furies issued at the vent.
Belinda burns with more than mortal ire,
And fierce Thalestris fans the rising fire.
"O wretched maid!" she spread her hands, and
(While Hampton's echoes, wretched maid! reply'd)
"Was it for this you took such constant care
The bodkin, comb, and essence, to prepare?
For this your locks in paper durance bound,
For this with torturing irons wreath'd around?
For this with fillets strain'd your tender head,
And bravely bore the double loads of lead?
Gods! shall the ravisher display your hair,
While the fops envy, and the ladies stare!
Honour forbid! at whose unrivall'd shrine
Ease, pleasure, virtue, all our sex resign.
Methinks already I your tears survey,
Already hear the horrid things they say,
Already see you a degraded toast,
And all your honour in a whisper lost!
How shall I, then, your helpless fame defend?
'Twill then be infamy to seem your friend!
And shall this prize, th' inestimable prize,
Expos'd through crystal to the gazing eyes,
And heighten'd by the diamond's circling rays,
On that rapacious hand for ever blaze!
Sooner shall grass in Hyde-park Circus grow,
And wits take lodgings in the sound of Bow!
Sooner let earth, air, sea, to chaos fall,
Men, monkeys, lap-dogs, parrots, perish all !"
She said; then raging to Sir Plume repairs,
And bids her beau demand the precious hairs:
(Sir Plume of amber snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane,)
With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face,
He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case,
And thus broke out: -"My Lord, why, what the
Z-ds! damn the Lock! 'fore Gad, you must be civil !
Plague on 't! 'tis past a jest nay pr'ythee, pox! Give her the hair"—he spoke, and rapp'd his box.
"It grieves me much (reply'd the peer again), Who speaks so well should ever speak in vain ; But by this Lock, this sacred Lock, I swear, (Which never more shall join its parted hair; Which never more its honours shall renew, Clipp'd from the lovely head where late it grew,) That while my nostrils draw the vital air,
This hand, which won it, shall for ever wear.
He spoke, and, speaking, in proud triumph spread The long-contended honours of her head.
But Umbriel, hateful Gnome! forbears not so ; He breaks the vial whence the sorrows flow. Then see! the nymph in beauteous grief appears, Her eyes half-languishing, half-drown'd in tears; On her heav'd bosom hung her drooping head, Which, with a sigh, she rais'd; and thus she said: "For ever curs'd be this detested day,
Which snatch'd my best, my favourite curl away:
Happy! ah ten times happy had I been,
If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen!
Yet am not I the first mistaken maid
By love of courts to numerous ills betray'd.
Oh had I rather unadmir'd remain'd
In some lone isle, or distant northern land;
Where the gilt chariot never marks the way,
Where none learn ombre, none e'er taste bohea!
There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye,
Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.
What mov'd my mind with youthful lords to roam?
Oh had I stay'd, and said my prayers at home!
'Twas this, the morning omens seem’d to tell,
Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box fell;
The tottering china shook without a wind,
Nay Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind!
A Sylph too warn'd me of the threats of Fate,
In mystic visions, now believ'd too late!
See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs!
My hand shall rend what ev'n thy rapine spares:
These in two sable ringlets taught to break,
Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck;
The Sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
And in its fellow's fate foresees its own;
Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal shears demands,
And tempts, once more, thy sacrilegious hands.
Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize
Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these!"
SHE said the pitying audience melt in tears;
But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the baron's ears.
In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
For who can move when fair Belinda fails?
Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
While Anna begg'd and Dido rag'd in vain.
Then grave Clarissa graceful wav'd her fan;
Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began :
"Say, why are beauties prais'd and honour'd most, The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast? Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford, Why angels call'd, and angel-like ador'd? [beaux? Why round our coaches crowd the white-glov'd Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows? How vain are all these glories, all our pains, Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains : That men may say, when we the front-box grace, Behold the first in virtue as in face!
Oh! if to dance all night and dress all day,
Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away;
Who would not scorn what housewife's cares pro-
Or who would learn one earthly thing of use?
To patch, nay ogle, may become a saint;
Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
But since, alas, frail beauty must decay;
Curl'd or uncurl'd, since locks will turn to grey;
Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,
And she who scorns a man must die a maid;
What then remains, but well our power to use,
And keep good-humour still, whate'er we lose?
And trust me, dear, good-humour can prevail,
When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding
Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.”
So spoke the dame, but no applause ensued :
Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her prude.
"To arms, to arms!" the fierce virago cries,
And swift as lightning to the combat flies.
All side in parties, and begin th' attack;
Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones crack;
Heroes' and heroines' shouts confus'dly rise,
And base and treble voices strike the skies.
No common weapon in their hands are found;
Like gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
So when bold Homer makes the gods engage,
And heavenly breasts with human passions rage;
'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona Hermes arms;
And all Olympus rings with loud alarms;
Jove's thunder roars, Heaven trembles all around
Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound:
Earth shakes her nodding towers, the ground gives
And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height Clapp'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight: