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As Helluo, late dictator of the feast,
Flavia 's a wit, bas too much sense to pray;
Turn then from wits, and look on Simo's mate; No ass so meek, no ass so obstinate : Or her that owns her faults, but never mends, Because she's honest, and the best of friends : Or her whose life the church and scandal share, For ever in a passion or a prayer: Or her who laughs at hell, but (like her grace) Cries, 'Ah! how charming if there's no such place!' Or who in sweet vicissitude appears Of mirth and opium, ratafie and tears; The daily anodyne and nightly draught, To kill those foes to fair ones, time and thought.
Woman and fool are too hard things to hit;
But what are these to great Atossa's mind?
Atossa, cursed with every granted prayer,
Pictures, like these, dear madam! to design,
· Yet Chloe sure was form’d without a spot.' Nature in her then err'd not, but forgot. · With every pleasing, every prudent, part, Say, what can Chloe want?-She wants a heart. She speaks, behaves, and acts, just as she ought, But never never reach'd one generous thought. Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour, Content to dwell in decencies for ever. So very reasonable, so unmoved, As never yet to love or to be loved. She, while her lover pants upon her breast, Can mark the figures on an Indian chest; And when she sees her friend in deep despair, Observes how much a chintz exceeds mohair. Forbid it, Heaven! a favour or a debt She e'er should cancel !--but she may forget. Safe is your secret still in Chloe's ear; But none of Chloe's shall you ever hear. Of all her dears she never slander'd one,
cares not if a thousand are undone. Would Chloe know if you're alive or dead? She bids her footman put it in her head. Chloe is prudent--Would you too be wise? Then never break your heart when Chloe dies.
One certain portrait may (I grant) be seen, Which Heaven has varnish'd out and made a queen; The same for ever! and described by all With truth and goodness, as with crown and ball. Poets heap virtues, painters gems, at will, And show their zeal, and hide their want of skill. 'Tis well—but, artists ! who can paint or write, To draw the naked is your true delight. That robe of quality so struts and swells, None see what parts of nature it conceals : The exactest traits of body or of mind, We owe to models of an humble kind. If Queensberry to strip there's no compelling, 'Tis from a handmaid we must take a Helen. From peer or bishop 'tis no easy thing To draw the man who loves his God or king. Alas! I copy (or my draught would fail) From honest Mahomet or plain parson Hale.
But grant in public men sometimes are shown; A woman's seen in private life alone: Our bolder talents in full light display'd; Your virtues open fairest in the shade. Bred to disguise, in public 'tis you hide; There none distinguish 'twixt your shame or pride, Weakness or delicacy; all so nice, That each may seem a virtue or a vice.
In men we various ruling passions find; In women two almost divide the kind ; Those only fix'd, they first or last obey, The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.
That Nature gives; and where the lesson taught Is but to please, can pleasure seem a fault? Experience this : by man's oppression cursed, They seek the second not to lose the first.
Men some to business, some to pleasure take; But every woman is at heart a rake: Men some to quiet, some to public strife; But every lady would be queen for life.
Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of queens! Power all their end, but beauty all the means. In youth they conquer with so wild a rage, As leaves them scarce a subject in their age : For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam ; No thought of peace or happiness at home. But wisdom's triumph is well-timed retreat, As hard a science to the fair as great! Beauties, like tyrants, old and friendless grown, Yet hate repose, and dread to be alone; Worn out in public, weary every eye, Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die. Pleasures the sex, as children birds
See how the world its veterans rewards!