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Hear, with what heart-felt beat, the midnight bell Swings its slow summons thro' the hollow pile ! The weak, wan votarist leaves her twilight-cell, To walk, with taper dim, the winding isle ;
With choral chantings vainly to aspire Beyond this nether sphere, on Rapture's wing of fire.
Lord of each pang the nerves can feel,
Hence with the rack and reeking wheel.
While gleams of glory open round,
Her heavenly form, with glowing hand,
Each fine feeling as it flows;
Pure as the mountain-snows :
Celestial transports round her play,
Shrinking from her glance in vain.
Her touch unlocks the day-spring from above, And lo ! it visits man with beams of light and love.
Yes, 'tis the pulse of life ! my fears were vain;
* After a Tragedy, performed for her benefit, at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, April 27, 1795.
Blanching each honest cheek with deeds of night,
-To drop all metaphor, that little bell
But, Ladies, say, must I alone unmask ?
First, how her little breast with triumph swells,
A school-girl next, she curls her hair in papers, And mimics father's gout, and mother's vapours ; Discards her doll, bribes Betty for romances; Playful at church, and serious when she dances ; 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;