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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 antient 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 wages, 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 lise endears - to you she owes.
ON ... ASLEEP.
Sleep on, and dream of Heaven awhile.
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,
may the secret of thy soul Repose within its sanctuary!
'Twas Autumn; thro' Provence had ceased
She starts, and what has caught her eye?
It looked as all within were blest?
What will not woman, when she loves?
Yet lost, alas, who can restore her?
She lifts the latch, the wicket moves;
And now the world is all before her.