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115

I 20

The daily Anodyne, and nightly Draught,
To kill those foes to Fair ones, Time and Thought.
Woman and Fool are two hard things to hit ;
For true No-meaning puzzles more than Wit.

But what are these to great Atossa's mind?
Scarce once herself, by turns all Womankind!
Who, with herself, or others, from her birth
Finds all her life one warfare upon earth :
Shines, in exposing Knaves, and painting Fools,
Yet is, whate'er she hates and ridicules.
No Thought advances, but her Eddy Brain
Whisks it about, and down it goes again.
Full fixty years the World has been her Trade,
The wiseft Fool much Time has ever made.
From loveless youth to unrespected age,
No Paffion gratify'd except her Rage.
So much the Fury still out-ran the Wit,
The Pleasure miss'd her, and the Scandal hit.
Who breaks with her, provokes Revenge from Hell,
But he's a bolder man who dares be well. 130
Her ev'ry turn with Violence pursu'd,
Nor more a storm her Hate than gratitude:
To that each Passion turns, or soon or late ;
Love, if it makes her yield, must make her hate :

125

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VARIATION S.
After 122. in the MS.

Oppress'd with wealth and wit, abundance sad!
One makes her poor, the other makes her mad.

Superiors ? death! and Equals ? what a curse ; 135
But an Inferior not dependant ? worse.
Offend her, and she knows not to forgive ;
Oblige her, and she'll hate you while you live :
But die, and she'll adore you—Then the Bust
And Temple rise-then fall again to dust.

140
Last night, her Lord was all that's good and great;
A Knave this morning, and his Will a Cheat.
Strange! by the Means defeated of the Ends,
By Spirit robb'd of Pow'r, by Warmth of Friends,
By Wealth of Follow'rs ! without one distress 145
Sick of herself thro' very selfishness !
Atoffa, curs d with ev'ry granted pray'r,
Childless with all her Children, wants an Heir.
To Heirs unknown descends th' unguarded store,
Or wanders, Heav'n-directed, to the Poor.

Igo Pictures like these, dear Madam, to design, Asks no firm hand, and no unerring line;

VER. 150. Or wanders, Heav'n-direEted, etc.] Alluding and referring to the great principle of his Philosophy, which he never lofes fight of, and which teaches, that Providence is incessantly turning the evils arising from the follies and vices of men to general good.

VARIATIONS.

After gå 148. in the MS.

This Death decides, nor lets the blessing fall
On any one she hates, but on them all.
Curs’d chance! this only could affiet her more,
If any part should wander to the poor.

Some wand'ring touches, some reflected light,
Some flying stroke alone can hit 'em right :
For how should equal Colours do the knack ? 155
Chameleons who can paint in white and black ?

“ Yet Chloe sure was form'd without a spot”Nature in her then err'd not, but forgot.

VER. 1;6. Chameleons who can paint in wbite and black ?] There is one thing that does a very distinguished honour to the accuracy of our poet's judgment, of which, in the course of these observations, I have given many instances, and fall here explain in what it conlfts; it is this, that the Similitudes in his didactic poems, of which he is not sparing, and which are all highly poetical, are always chosen with such exquifite discerament of Nature, as not only to illustrate the particular point he is upon, but to establith the general principles he would inforce; so, in the instance before us, he compares the inconstancy and contradiction in the Characters of Women, to the change of colours in the Chameleon ; yet 'tis nevertheless the great principle of this poem to thew that the general Characteristic of the Sex, as to the Ruling Passions, which they all have, is more uniform than that in Man: Now for this purpose, all Nature could not have supplied such another illustration as this of the Chameleon ; for tho' it instantaneously assumes much of the colour of every subject on which it chances to be placed, yet, as the most accurate Virtuofi have observed, it has two native colours of its own, which like the two ruling passions in the Sex) amidst all these changes are never totally discharged, but, tho' often discoloured by the neighbourhood of adventitious ones, fill make the foundation, and give a tincture to all those which, from thence, it occasionally assumes.

Yet Chloe fure, etc.] The purpose of the poet in this Character is important: It is to thew that the politic or

Ver. 157

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165

With ev'ry pleafing, ev'ry prudent part,

Say, what can Chloe want?”—She wants a Heart. She speaks, behaves, and acts juit as the ought; 161 But never, never, reach'd one gen’rous Thought. Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour, Content to dwell in Decencies for ever. So very

reasonable, so unmov’d, As never yet to love, or to be lov’d. She, while her Lover pants upon her breaft, Can mark the figures on an Indian chest; And when she sees her friend in deep despair, Observes how much a Chintz exceeds Mohair. 170 Forbid it Heav'n, 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 fhall you ever hear. Of all her Dears she never slander'd one, 175 But 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. 180

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prudent government of the passions is not enough to make a Character amiable, nor even to secure it from being ridiculous, if the end of that government be not pursued, which is the free exercise of the social appetites after the selfish ones have been subdued; for that if, tho' reason govern, the heart be never consulted, we interest ourselves as little in the fortune of such a Character, as in any of the foregoing, which passions or caprice drive up and down at random.

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One certain Portrait may (I grant) be seen,
Which Heav'n has varnish'd out, and made a Queen:
THE SAME FOR EVER! and describ’d by all
With Truth and Goodness, as with Crown and Ball.
Poets heap Virtues, Painters Gems at will, 185
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 fee what Parts of Nature it conceals ;

190
Th’exacteft 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 195
To draw the man who loves his God, or King :
Alas ! I copy, (or my draught would fail)
From honeft Mah’met, or plain Parson Hale.

Ver. 181. One certain Portrait-the same for ever -!] This is intirely ironical, and conveys under it this general moral truth, that there is, in life, no such thing as a perfect Character; so that the satire falls not on any particular Character, or Station, but on the Character-maker only. See Note on y 78. i Dia. logue 1738.

VER. 198. Mab'met, servant to the late King,

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VARIATIONS,
After x 199. in the MS.

Fain I'd in Fulvia spy the tender Wife;

I cannot prove it on her, for my life :
Vol. III,

K

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