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The modest look, the castigated grace,
The gentle movement, and slow-measur'd pace,
For which her lovers died, her parents pray'd,
Are indecorums with the modern maid.
Stiff forms are bad; but let not worse intrude,
Nor conquer art and nature to be rude.
Modern good-breeding carry to its height,
And Lady D--'s self will be polite.
Ye rising Fair ! ye bloom of Britain's isle !
When high-born Anna, with a soften'd smile,
Leads on your train, and sparkles at your head,
What seems most hard is not to be well-bred :
Her bright example with success pursue,
And all but adoration is your due.
* But adoration! give me something more,'-
Cries Lyce, on the borders of threescore.
Nought treads so silent as the foot of Time;
Hence we mistake our autumn for our prime.
'Tis greatly wise to know, before we're told,
The melancholy news that we grow old.
Autumnal Lyce carries in her face
Memento mori to each public place.
O how your beating breast a mistress warms,
Who looks through spectacles to see your charms!
While rival undertakers hover round,
And with his spade the sexton marks the ground,
Intent not on her own, but others' doom,
She plans new conquests, and defrauds the tomb.
In vain the cock has summon'd sprites away,
She walks at noon, and blasts the bloom 'of day;
Gay rainbow-silks her mellow charms infold,
And nought of Lyce but herself is old:
Her grizzled locks assume a smirking grace,
And art has levelld her deep-furrow'd face :
Her strange demand no mortal can approve ;
We'll ask her blessing, but can't ask her love:
She grants, indeed, a lady may decline
(All ladies but herself) at ninety-nine.
O how unlike her was the sacred age
Of prudent Portia ? her gray hairs engage,
Whose thoughts are suited to her life's decline :
Virtue's the paint that can make wrinkles shine:
That, and that only, can old age sustain,
Which yet all wish, nor know they wish for pain.
Not numerous are our joys when life is new,
And yearly some are falling of the few;
But when we conquer life's meridian stage,
And downward tend into the vale of age,
They drop apace : by nature some decay,
And some the blasts of fortune sweep away ;
Till naked quite of happiness, aloud
We call for death, and shelter in a shroud.
Where's Portia now?-But Portia left behind
Two lovely copies of her form and mind.
What heart untouch'd their early grief can view,
Like blushing rose-buds dipp'd in morning dew ?
Who into shelter takes their tender bloom,
And forms their minds to flee from ills to come ?
The mind, when turn'd adrift, no rules to guide,
Drives at the mercy of the wind and tide;
Fancy and passion toss it to and fro,
A while torment, and then quite sink in woe.
Ye beauteous orphans ! since in silent dust
Your best example lies, my precepts trust.
Life swarms with ills; the boldest are afraid ;
Where then is safety for a tender maid ?
Unfit for conflict, round beset with woes,
And man, whom least she fears, her worst of foes!
When kind, most cruel; when oblig'd the most,
The least obliging ; and by favours lost :
Cruel by nature, they for kindness hate,
And scorn you for those ills themselves create.
If on your fame our sex a blot has thrown,
"Twill ever stick, through malice of your own.
Most hard ! in pleasing your chief glory lies,
And yet from pleasing your chief dangers rise:
Then please the best; and know, for men of sense
Your strongest charms are native innocence.
Arts on the mind, like paint upon the face,
Fright him that's worth your love from your embrace.
In simple manners all the secret lies ;-
Be kind and virtuous, you'll be bless'd and wise.
Vain show and noise intoxicate the brain,
Begin with giddiness, and end in pain.
Affect not empty fame and idle praise,
Which all those wretches I describe betrays.
Your sex's, glory 'tis to shine unknown;
Of all applause be fondest of your own.
Beware the fever of the mind; that thirst
With which the age is eminently curs’d:
To drink of pleasure but inflames desire,
And abstinence alone can quench the fire;
Take pain from life, and terror from the tomb,
Give peace in hand, and promise bliss to come.
THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.
An Allegorical Poem.
The Castle hight of Indolence,
And its false luxury;
Where for a little time, alas!
We liv'd right jollily.
Mortal man, who livest here by toil,
Do not complain of this thy hard estate: That like an emmet thou must ever moil, Is a sad sentence of an ancient date; And, certes, there is for it reason great ; For, tho' sometimes it inakes thee weep and wail, And curse thy star, and early drudge and late;
Withouten that would come an heavier bale,
Loose life, unruly passions, and diseases pale.
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side,
With woody hill o'er hill encompass'd round,
A most enchanting wizard did abide,
Than whom a fiend more fell is no where found.
It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground:
And there a season atween June and May,
Half prankt with spring, with summer half im-
brown'd, A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, No living wight could work, ne cared even for play.
Was nought around but images of rest :
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between;
And flow'ry beds that slumb'rous influence kest,
From poppies breath’d; and beds of pleasant green,
Where never yet was creeping creature seen.
Meantime unnumber'd glittering streamlets play'd,
And hurled every where their waters sheen;
That, as they bicker'd thro' the sunny glade,
Tho' restless still themselves, a lulling murmur made.
Join'd to the prattle of the purling rills
Were heard the lowing herds along the vale,
And flocks loud-bleating from the distant hills,
And vacant shepherds piping in the dale;
And now and then sweet Philomel would wail,
Or stock-doves 'plain amid the forest deep,
That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale ;
And still a coil the grasshopper did keep :
Yet all these sounds yblent inclined all to sleep.
Full in the passage of the vale above,
A sable, silent, solemn forest stood ;
Where nought but shadowy forms was seen to move,
As Idless fancied in her dreaming mood :
And up the hills on either side a wood
Of blackening pines, ay waving to and fro,
Sent forth a sleepy horror thro' the blood;
And where this valley winded out below,
The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely
heard, to flow.
A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer sky:
There eke the soft delights that witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
And calm the pleasures, always lover'd nigh;
But whate'er smack'd of noyance, or unrest, Was far, far off expell’d from this delicious nest.
The landscape such, inspiring perfect ease,
Where Indolence (for so the wizard hight)
Close hid his castle 'mid embow'ring trees,
That half shut out the beams of Phæbus bright,
And made a kind of checquer'd day and night:
Meanwhile, unceasing at the massy gate,
Beneath a spacious palm, the wicked wight
Was plac'd ; and, to his lute, of cruel fate
And labour harsh complain'd, lamenting man's estate.