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The moral of the tale I sing
(A posy for a wedding ring)
In this short verse will be consin'd :
Love is a jest, and vows are wind.
MISS DANAï, when fair and young,
(As Horace has divinely sung)
Could not be kept from Jove's embrace
By doors of steel, and walls of brass.
The reason of the thing is clear;
Would Jove the naked truth aver:
Cupid was with him of the party,
And show’d himself sincere and hearty:
For, give that whipster but his errand,
He takes my Lord Chief Justice’ warrant;
Dauntless as death away he walks;
Breaks the doors open ; snaps the locks;
Searches the parlour, chamber, study;
Nor stops till he has culprit's body.
Since this has been authentic truth,
By age deliver'd down to youth ;
Tell us, mistaken husband, tell us,
Why so mysterious, why so jealous 2
Does the restraint, the bolt, the bar
Make us less curious, her less fair 2
The spy, which does this treasure keep,
Does she ne'er say her prayers, nor sleep?
Does she to no excess incline *
Does she fly music, mirth, and wine?
Or have not gold and flattery power
To purchase one unguarded hour *
Your care does farther yet extend :
That spy is guarded by your friend.—
But has this friend nor eye, nor heart?
May he not feel the cruel dart,
Which, soon or late, all mortals feel?
May he not, with too tender zeal,
Give the fair prisoner cause to see,
How much he wishes she were free?
May he not craftily infer
The rules of friendship too severe,
Which chain him to a hated trust;
Which make him wretched, to be just?
And may not she, this darling she,
Youthful and healthy, flesh and blood,
Easy with him, illus’d by thee,
Allow this logic to be good?
Sir, will your questions never end?
I trust to neither spy nor friend.
In short, I keep her from the sight
Of every human face.—She’ll write.
From pen and paper she's debarr'd.—
Has she a bodkin and a card 2
She'll prick her mind.—She will you say:
But how shall she that mind convey?
I keep her in one room ; I lock it:
The key (look here) is in this pocket.
The key-hole, is that left? most certain,
She'll thrust her letter through—Sir Martin.
Dear angry friend, what must be done?
Is there no way?—There is but one.
Send her abroad; and let her see,
That all this mingled mass, which she,
Being forbidden, longs to know,
Is a dull farce, an empty show,
Powder, and pocket-glass, and beau;
A staple of romance and lies,
False tears, and real perjuries:
Where sighs and looks are bought and sold
And love is made but to be told;
Where the fat bawd, and lavish heir
The spoils of ruin’d beauty share:
And youth, seduc’d from friends and fame,
Must give up age to want and shame.
Let her behold the frantic scene,
The women wretched, false the men:
And when, these certain ills to shun,
She would to thy embraces run;
Receive her with extended arms:
Seem more delighted with her charms:
Wait on her to the park and play:
Put on good humour; make her gay :
Be to her virtues very kind;
Be to her faults a little blind;
Let all her ways be unconsin’d ;
And clap your padlock—on her mind.
HANS CARVEL, impotent and old,
Married a lass of London mould :
Handsome? enough ; extremely gay:
Lov’d music, company, and play:
IIigh flights she had, and wit at will;
And so her tongue lay seldom still:
For in all visits who but she,
To argue, or to repartee?
She made it plain, that human passion
Was order'd by predestination;
That if weak women went astray,
Their stars were more in fault than they :
Whole tragedies she had by heart;
Enter'd into Roxana's part:
To triumph in her rival's blood,
The action certainly was good.
How like a vine young Ammon curl’d
Oh that dear conqueror of the world!
She pitied Betterton in age,
That ridicul'd the god-like rage.
- She, first of all the town, was told,
Where newest India things were sold:
So in a morning, without bodice,
Slip sometimes out to Mrs. Thody's;
To cheapen tea, to buy a screen:
What else could so much virtue mean?
For to prevent the least reproach,
Betty went with her in the coach.
But when no very great affair
Excited her peculiar care,
She without fail was wak’d at ten;
Drank chocolate, then slept again:
At twelve she rose; with much ado
Her clothes were huddled on by two;
Then, does my lady dine at home?
Yes, sure;—but is the Colonel come?
Next, how to spend the afternoon,
And not come home again too soon;
The Change, the City, or the Play,
As each was proper for the day:
A turn in summer to Hyde Park,
When it grew tolerably dark.
Wife's pleasure causes husband's pain:
Strange fancies come in Hans's brain:
He thought of what he did not name;
And would reform, but durst not blame.
At first he therefore preach'd his wife
The comforts of a pious life:
Told her how transient beauty was;
That all must die, and flesh was grass:
He bought her sermons, psalms, and graces;
And doubled down the useful places.
But still the weight of worldly care
Allow’d her little time for prayer:
And Cleopatra" was read o'er,
1 Cleopatra is a novel, much read by the ladies in the last century.