TO A LADY GOING TO BATHE IN THE SEA.
1 VENUS, most histories agree,
2 Sprung from the ferment of the sea;
3 Yet I confess I'm always loth
4 To think such beauty was but froth,
5 Or that the ocean, which more odd is,
6 Should from a bubble spawn a Goddess:
7 Tho' hence, my Laura, learned fellows
8 Of such its wonderous powers still tell us,
9 That every mother brings her daughter
10 To dip in this specific water,
11 Expecting from the briny wave
12 Charms which it once to Venus gave.
13 These charms, my Laura, strive to gain;
14 And that you may not bathe in vain,
15 I'll here, as well as I am able,
16 Give you a Moral to this Fable.
17 Would you a Goddess reign o'er all?
18 From the wide flood its virtues call. [Page 73]
19 Free from each stain thy bosom keep,
20 Clear be it as this azure deep,
21 Which no capricious passion knows,
22 But duly ebbs, and duly flows;
23 Tho' sometimes ruffled, calm'd as soon,
24 Still constant to its faithful moon,
25 At whose approach with pride it swells,
26 And to each shore its chaste love tells:
27 Heedless of every change of weather,
28 That wafts a straw, or coxcomb feather,
29 Which only on the surface play,
30 And unobserv'd are wash'd away.
31 Reflect, that lodg'd within its breast
32 The modest pearl delights to rest,
33 While every gem to Neptune known,
34 Is there with partial bounty sown. —
35 In years, thus ever may we trace
36 Each sparkling charm, each blushing grace;
37 To these let judgment value give,
38 And in that seat of Beauty live!
39 This Moral keep before your eyes,
40 Plunge — and a new-born Venus rise.