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VENUS, most histories agree,
Sprung from the ferment of the sea;
Yet I confess I'm always loth
To think such beauty was but froth,
Or that the ocean, which more odd is,
Should from a bubble spawn a Goddess:
Though hence, my Laura, learned fellows
Of such its wonderous powers still tell us,
That every mother brings her daughter
To dip in this specific water,
Expecting from the briny wave
Charms which it once to Venus gave.
These charms, my Laura, strive to gain;
And, that you may not bathe in vain,
I'll here, as well as I am able,
Give you a Moral to this Fable.
Would you a Goddess reign o'er all ? From the wide flood its virtues call. Free from each stain thy bosom keep, Clear be it as this azure deep, Which no capricious passion knows, But duly ebbs, and duly flows; Though sometimes ruffled, calm'd as soon, Still constant to its faithful moon, At whose approach with pride it swells, And to each shore its chaste love tells; Heedless of every change of weather, That wafts a straw, or coxcomb feather, Which only on the surface play, And unobservsd are wash'd away.
Reflect, that, lodged within its breast, The modest pearl delights to rest, While every gem to Neptune known Is there with partial bounty sown. In years, thus ever may we trace Each sparkling charm, each blushing grace; To these let judgment value give, And in that seat of Beauty live!
This Moral keep before your eyes, Plunge and a new-born Venus rise.
The Most Honorable
THE MARCHIONESS GREY;
Sent with Phoebe, a Pastoral Opera.
FROM polish'd circles of the fair,
From gilded domes and tainted air,
Where Pleasure 's toilsome, Silence loud,
Retirement but from crowd to crowd;
Where Love but drives a trade at best
(An alley-broker He profess'd,)
Not giving corresponding hearts,
But chaffering with his golden darts;
Where innocence the world amazes,
Her face scarce known in public places :
But choosing-still at home-to share
One corner of St. James's Square-
Far hence permit the simple swain
To lead thee to the guiltless plain,
Where Phoebe, innocent and gay,
Dares with the dangerous passion play :
And Celia, uninstructed maid,
Stoops her pure
cause herself to plead.
Nor scornfully wilt thou disdain
The shepherd's pastime, pure though plain.
Thou (whose well-cultivated mind,
Nor for enjoyment too refin'd,
Nor others' woes to feel too wise,
Knows all but Nature to despise)
Serene shalt teach the madding train,
False pleasure is but real pain;
Superior to her Siren-song,
Prudent thou glid'st the stream along,
Not careless of the baits of youth,
But steady to the pilot, Truth.
With her upon the helm advanc'd,
In purer joys thou sitt'st intranc❜d,
And seest with pity and amaze
The voluntary herds, that graze
Th' inchanted shores of Circe's isle,
Transform'd so foully by her smile.
Lady, from all their painted pride, Come, let the Shepherd be thy guide: He 'll lead thee to the fountain's brink, Where all the Sylvan Muses drink; Whose spotless and translucent face
Heaven reflects with Heaven's own grace,
And pure at once, and yet refin'd,
Presents a mirror to the mind.
He'll lead thee (go with him along)
Where Greene's sweet Muse attunes her song,
And plays her not unusual part,
Mixing simplicity with art.
Thy Genius shall according move,
And, self-approving, her approve.