OR, THE Rise of WOMAN.[Page]
HESIOD: OR, THE Rise of WOMAN.
1 WHAT antient Times (those Times we fancy wise)
2 Have left on long Record of Woman's Rise,
3 What Morals teach it, and what Fables hide,
4 What Author wrote it, how that Author dy'd,[Page 2]
5 All these I sing. In Greece they fram'd the Tale
6 (In Greece, 'twas thought, a Woman might be frail)
7 Ye modern Beauties! where the Poet drew
8 His softest Pencil, think he dreamt of you;
9 And warn'd by him, ye wanton Pens, beware
10 How Heav'n's concern'd to vindicate the Fair.
11 The Case was Hesiod's; he the Fable writ;
12 Some think with Meaning, some with idle Wit:
13 Perhaps 'tis either, as the Ladies please;
14 I wave the Contest, and commence the Lays.
15 In days of yore, (no matter where or when,
16 'Twas e're the low Creation swarm'd with Men)
17 That one Prometheus, sprung of heav'nly Birth,
18 (Our Author's Song can witness) liv'd on Earth.
19 He carv'd the Turf to mold a manly Frame,
20 And stole from Jove his animating Flame. [Page 3]
21 The sly Contrivance o'er Olympus ran,
22 When thus the Monarch of the Stars began.
23 Oh vers'd in Arts! whose daring Thoughts aspire
24 To kindle Clay with never-dying Fire!
25 Enjoy thy Glory past, That Gift was thine;
26 The next thy Creature meets, be fairly mine:
27 And such a Gift, a Vengeance so design'd,
28 As suits the Counsel of a God to find;
29 A pleasing Bosom-cheat, a specious Ill,
30 Which felt they curse, yet covet still to feel.
31 He said, and Vulcan strait the Sire commands,
32 To temper Mortar with etherial Hands;
33 In such a Shape to mold a rising Fair,
34 As Virgin-goddesses are proud to wear;
35 To make her Eyes with Diamond-water shine,
36 And form her Organs for a Voice divine. [Page 4]
37 'Twas thus the Sire ordain'd; the Pow'r obey'd;
38 And work'd, and wonder'd at the Work he made;
39 The fairest, softest, sweetest Frame beneath,
40 Now made to seem, now more than seem, to breathe.
41 As Vulcan ends, the chearful Queen of Charms
42 Clasp'd the new-panting Creature in her Arms;
43 From that Embrace a fine Complexion spread,
44 Where mingled Whiteness glow'd with softer red.
45 Then in a Kiss she breath'd her various Arts,
46 Of trifling prettily with wounded Hearts;
47 A Mind for Love, but still a changing Mind;
48 The Lisp affected, and the Glance design'd;
49 The sweet confusing Blush, the secret Wink,
50 The gentle-swimming Walk, the courteous Sink,
51 The Stare for Strangeness fit, for Scorn the Frown,
52 For decent yielding Looks declining down,[Page 5]
53 The practis'd Languish, where well-feign'd Desire
54 Wou'd own its melting in a mutual Fire;
55 Gay Smiles to comfort; April Show'rs to move;
56 And all the Nature, all the Art, of Love.
57 Gold-scepter'd Juno next exalts the Fair;
58 Her Touch endows her with imperious Air,
59 Self-valuing Fancy, highly-crested Pride,
60 Strong sov'reign Will, and some Desire to chide:
61 For which, an Eloquence, that aims to vex,
62 With native Tropes of Anger, arms the Sex.
63 Minerva (skillful Goddess) train'd the Maid
64 To twirl the Spindle by the twisting Thread,
65 To fix the Loom, instruct the Reeds to part,
66 Cross the long Weft, and close the Web with Art,[Page 6]
67 An useful Gift; but what profuse Expence,
68 What world of Fashions, took its Rise from hence!
69 Young Hermes next, a close-contriving God,
70 Her Brows encircled with his Serpent Rod:
71 Then Plots and fair Excuses, fill'd her Brain,
72 The Views of breaking am'rous Vows for Gain,
73 The Price of Favours; the designing Arts
74 That aim at Riches in Contempt of Hearts;
75 And for a Comfort in the Marriage Life,
76 The little, pilf'ring Temper of a Wife.
77 Full on the Fair his Beams Apollo flung,
78 And fond Persuasion tip'd her easy Tongue;
79 He gave her Words, where oyly Flatt'ry lays
80 The pleasing Colours of the Art of Praise;
81 And Wit, to Scandal exquisitely prone,
82 Which frets another's Spleen to cure its own.
83 Those sacred Virgins whom the Bards revere,
84 Tun'd all her Voice, and shed a Sweetness there,
85 To make her Sense with double Charms abound,
86 Or make her lively Nonsense please by Sound.
87 To dress the Maid, the decent Graces brought
88 A Robe in all the Dies of Beauty wrought,
89 And plac'd their Boxes o'er a rich Brocade
90 Where pictur'd Loves on ev'ry cover plaid;
91 Then spread those Implements that Vulcan's Art
92 Had fram'd to merit Cytherea's Heart;
93 The Wire to curl, the close-indented Comb
94 To call the Locks that lightly wander, home;
95 And chief, the Mirrour, where the ravish'd Maid
96 Beholds and loves her own reflected Shade.
97 Fair Flora lent her Stores, the purpled Hours
98 Confin'd her Tresses with a Wreath of Flow'rs;[Page 8]
99 Within the Wreath arose a radiant Crown;
100 A Veil pellucid hung depending down;
101 Back roll'd her azure Veil with Serpent fold,
102 The purfled Border deck'd the Floor with Gold.
103 Her Robe (which closely by the Girdle brac't
104 Reveal'd the Beauties of a slender Waste)
105 Flow'd to the Feet; to copy Venus Air,
106 When Venus's Statues have a Robe to wear.
107 The new sprung Creature finish'd thus for Harms,
108 Adjusts her Habit, practises her Charms;
109 With Blushes glows, or shines with lively Smiles,
110 Confirms her Will, or recollects her Wiles:
111 Then conscious of her Worth, with easy Pace
112 Glides by the Glass, and turning views her Face.
113 A finer Flax than what they wrought before,
114 Thro' Time's deep Cave the Sister Fates explore,[Page 9]
115 Then fix the Loom, their Fingers nimbly weave,
116 And thus their Toil prophetick Songs deceive.
117 Flow from the Rock my Flax! and swiftly flow,
118 Pursue thy Thread; the Spindle runs below.
119 A Creature fond and changing, fair and vain,
120 The Creature Woman, rises now to reign.
121 New Beauty blooms, a Beauty form'd to fly;
122 New Love begins, a Love produc'd to dye;
123 New Parts distress the troubled Scenes of Life,
124 The fondling Mistress, and the ruling Wife.
125 Men, born to Labour, all with Pains provide;
126 Women have Time, to sacrifice to Pride:
127 They want the Care of Man, their Want they know,
128 And dress to please with heart-alluring Show,
129 The Show prevailing, for the Sway contend,
130 And make a Servant where they meet a Friend.
131 Thus in a thousand wax-erected Forts
132 A loytering Race the painful Bee supports,
133 From Sun to Sun, from Bank to Bank he flies,
134 With Honey loads his Bag, with Wax his Thighs,
135 Fly where he will, at home the Race remain,
136 Prune the silk Dress, and murm'ring eat the Gain.
137 Yet here and there we grant a gentle Bride,
138 Whose Temper betters by the Father's side;
139 Unlike the rest that double humane Care,
140 Fond to relieve, or resolute to share:
141 Happy the Man whom thus his Stars advance!
142 The Curse is gen'ral, but the Blessing Chance.
143 Thus sung the Sisters, while the Gods admire
144 Their beauteous Creature, made for Man in Ire;[Page 11]
145 The young Pandora she, whom all contend
146 To make too perfect not to gain her End:
147 Then bid the Winds that fly to breath the Spring,
148 Return to bear her on a gentle Wing;
149 With wafting Airs the Winds obsequious blow,
150 And land the shining Vengeance safe below.
151 A golden Coffer in her Hand she bore,
152 (The Present treach'rous, but the Bearer more)
153 'Twas fraught with Pangs; for Jove ordain'd above,
154 That Gold shou'd aid, and Pangs attend on Love.
155 Her gay Descent the Man perceiv'd afar,
156 Wond'ring he run to catch the falling Star;
157 But so surpriz'd, as none but he can tell,
158 Who lov'd so quickly, and who lov'd so well.
159 O'er all his Veins the wand'ring Passion burns,
160 He calls her Nymph, and ev'ry Nymph by turns. [Page 12]
161 Her Form to lovely Venus he prefers,
162 Or swears that Venus must be such as hers.
163 She, proud to rule, yet strangely fram'd to teize,
164 Neglects his Offers while her Airs she plays,
165 Shoots scornful Glances from the bended Frown,
166 In brisk Disorder trips it up and down,
167 Then hums a careless Tune to lay the Storm,
168 And sits, and blushes, smiles, and yields, in Form.
169 "Now take what Jove design'd (she softly cry'd)
170 " This box thy Portion, and my self thy Bride: "
171 Fir'd with the Prospect of the double Charms,
172 He snatch'd the Box, and Bride, with eager Arms.
173 Unhappy Man! to whom so bright she shone,
174 The fatal Gift, her tempting self, unknown!
175 The Winds were silent, all the Waves asleep,
176 And Heav'n was trac'd upon the flatt'ring Deep;[Page 13]
177 But whilst he looks unmindful of a Storm,
178 And thinks the Water wears a stable Form,
179 What dreadful Din around his Ears shall rise!
180 What Frowns confuse his Picture of the Skies!
181 At first the Creature Man was fram'd alone,
182 Lord of himself, and all the World his own.
183 For him the Nymphs in green forsook the Woods,
184 For him the Nymphs in blue forsook the Floods,
185 In vain the Satyrs rage, the Tritons rave,
186 They bore him Heroes in the secret Cave.
187 No Care destroy'd, no sick Disorder prey'd,
188 No bending Age his sprightly Form decay'd,
189 No Wars were known, no Females heard to rage,
190 And Poets tell us, 'twas a golden Age.
191 When Woman came, those Ills the Box confin'd
192 Burst furious out, and poison'd all the Wind,[Page 14]
193 From Point to Point, from Pole to Pole they flew,
194 Spread as they went, and in the Progress grew:
195 The Nymphs regretting left the mortal Race,
196 And alt'ring Nature wore a sickly Face:
197 New Terms of Folly rose, new States of Care;
198 New Plagues, to suffer, and to please, the Fair!
199 The Days of whining, and of wild Intrigues,
200 Commenc'd, or finish'd, with the Breach of Leagues;
201 The mean Designs of well-dissembled Love;
202 The sordid Matches never joyn'd above;
203 Abroad, the Labour, and at home the Noise,
204 (Man's double Suff'rings for domestick Joys)
205 The Curse of Jealousy; Expence, and Strife;
206 Divorce, the publick Brand of shameful Life;
207 The Rival's Sword; the Qualm that takes the Fair;
208 Disdain for Passion, Passion in Despair —
209 These, and a thousand, yet unnam'd, we find;
210 Ah fear the thousand, yet unnam'd behind!
211 THUS on Parnassus tuneful Hesiod sung,
212 The Mountain echo'd, and the Valley rung,
213 The sacred Groves a fix'd Attention show,
214 The chrystal Helicon forbore to flow,
215 The Sky grew bright, and (if his Verse be true)
216 The Muses came to give the Laurel too.
217 But what avail'd the verdant Prize of Wit,
218 If Love swore Vengeance for the Tales he writ?
219 Ye fair offended, hear your Friend relate
220 What heavy Judgment prov'd the Writer's Fate,
221 Tho' when it happen'd, no Relation clears,
222 'Tis thought in five, or five and twenty Years.
223 Where, dark and silent, with a twisted Shade
224 The neighb'ring Woods a native Arbour made,
225 There oft a tender Pair for am'rous Play
226 Retiring, toy'd the ravish'd Hours away;[Page 16]
227 A Locrian Youth, the gentle Troilus he,
228 A fair Milesian, kind Evanthe she:
229 But swelling Nature in a fatal Hour
230 Betray'd the Secrets of the conscious Bow'r;
231 The dire Disgrace her Brothers count their own,
232 And track her Steps, to make its Author known.
233 It chanc'd one Evening, ('twas the Lover's Day)
234 Conceal'd in Brakes the jealous Kindred lay;
235 When Hesiod wand'ring, mus'd along the Plain,
236 And fix'd his Seat where Love had fix'd the Scene:
237 A strong Suspicion strait possest their Mind,
238 (For Poets ever were a gentle kind.)
239 But when Evanthe near the Passage stood,
240 Flung back a doubtful Look, and shot the Wood,
241 "Now take, (at once they cry) thy due Reward,"
242 And urg'd with erring Rage, assault the Bard. [Page 17]
243 His Corps the Sea receiv'd. The Dolphins bore
244 ('Twas all the Gods would do) the Corps to Shore.
245 Methinks I view the Dead with pitying Eyes,
246 And see the Dreams of antient Wisdom rise;
247 I see the Muses round the Body cry,
248 But hear a Cupid loudly laughing by;
249 He wheels his Arrow with insulting Hand,
250 And thus inscribes the Moral on the Sand.
251 "Here Hesiod lies: Ye future Bards, beware
252 " How far your Moral Tales incense the Fair:
253 "Unlov'd, unloving, 'twas his Fate to bleed;
254 " Without his Quiver Cupid caus'd the Deed:
255 "He judg'd this Turn of Malice justly due,
256 " And Hesiod dy'd for Joys he never knew.