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Tramples alike on customs and on toes,
And whispers all she hears to all she knows;
Terror of caps, and wigs, and sober notions !
A romp! that longest of perpetual motions !
-Till tamed and tortured into foreign graces,
She sports her lovely face at public places;
And with blue, laughing eyes, behind her fan,
First acts her part with that great actor, MAN.
Too soon a flirt, approach her and she flies !
Frowns when pursued, and, when entreated, sighs !
Plays with unhappy men as cats with mice;
Till fading beauty hints the late advice.
Her prudence dictates what her pride disdained,
And now she sues to slaves herself had chained !
Then comes that good old character, a Wife,
With all the dear, distracting cares of life;
A thousand cards a day at doors to leave,
And, in return, a thousand cards receive;
Rouge high, play deep, to lead the ton aspire,
With nightly blaze set PORTLAND-PLACE on fire ;
Snatch half a glimpse at Concert, Opera, Ball,
A meteor, traced by none, tho’ seen by all;
And, when her shattered nerves forbid to roam,
In very spleen-rehearse the girls at home.
Last the grey Dowager, in ancient flounces,
With snuff and spectacles the age denounces ;
Boasts how the Sires of this degenerate Isle
Knelt for a look, and duelled for a smile.
The scourge and ridicule of Goth and Vandal,
Her tea she sweetens, as she sips, with scandal ;
With modern Belles eternal warfare
Like her own birds that clamour from their cages;
And shuffles round to bear her tale to all,
Like some old Ruin, “nodding to its fall!”
Thus WOMAN makes her entrance and her exit; Not least an actress when she least suspects it. Yet Nature oft peeps out and mars the plot, Each lesson lost, each poor pretence forgot; Full oft, with energy that scorns controul, At once lights up the features of the soul; Unlocks each thought chained down by coward Art, And to full day the latent passions start! -And she, whose first, best wish is your applause, Herself exemplifies the truth she draws. Born on the stage-thro' every shifting scene, Obscure or bright, tempestuous or serene, Still has your smile her trembling spirit fired! And can she act, with thoughts like these inspired ? Thus from her mind all artifice she flings, All skill, all practice, now unmeaning things ! To you, unchecked, each genuine feeling flows; For all that life endears—to
SLEEP on, and dream of Heaven awhile.
Tho’ shut so close thy laughing eyes,
Thy rosy lips still wear a smile,
And move, and breathe delicious sighs !-
Ah, now soft blushes tinge her cheeks,
And mantle o'er her neck of snow.
Ah, now she murmurs, now she speaks
What most I wish—and fear to know.
She starts, she trembles, and she weeps! Her fair hands folded on her breast. --And now, how like a saint she sleeps! A seraph in the realms of rest!
Sleep on secure! Above controul,
Thy thoughts belong to Heaven and thee!
And may the secret of thy soul
Remain within its sanctuary !
While on the cliff with calm delight she kneels,
And the blue vales a thousand joys recall,
See, to the last, last verge her infant steals!
O fly—yet stir not, speak not, lest it fall.
Far better taught, she lays her bosom bare,
And the fond boy springs back to nestle there.
THERE is a streamlet issuing from a rock.
The village-girls singing wild madrigals,
Dip their white vestments in its waters clear,
And hang them to the sun. There first I saw her ;
There on that day. Her dark and eloquent eyes
'Twas heaven to look upon; and her sweet voice
As tuneable as harp of many strings,
At once spoke joy and sadness to my soul !
Dear is that valley to the murmuring bees;
And all, who know it, come and come again.
The small birds build there; and, at summer-noon,
Oft have I heard a child, gay among flowers,
As in the shining grass she sate concealed,
Sing to herself.
LOVE, under Friendship’s vesture white,
Laughs, his little limbs concealing;
And oft in sport, and oft in spite,
Like Pity meets the dazzled sight,
Smiles thro' his tears revealing.
But now as Rage the God appears !
He frowns, and tempests shake his frame !
Frowning, or smiling, or in tears,
'Tis Love; and Love is still the same.
As thro' the hedge-row shade the violet steals,
And the sweet air its modest leaf reveals ;
Her softer charms, but by their influence known,
Surprise all hearts, and mould them to her own.