THE POET AND HIS PATRON.
1 WHY, Celia, is your spreading waist
2 So loose, so negligently lac'd?
3 Why must the wrapping bed-gown hide
4 Your snowy bosom's swelling pride?
5 How ill that dress adorns your head,
6 Distain'd, and rumpled, from the bed!
7 Those clouds, that shade your blooming face,
8 A little water might displace,
9 As Nature, ev'ry morn, bestows
10 The crystal dew, to cleanse the rose:
11 Those tresses, as the raven black,
12 That wav'd in ringlets down your back,
13 Uncomb'd, and injur'd by neglect,
14 Destroy the face which once they deckt.
15 Whence this forgetfulness of dress?
16 Pray, madam, are you married? Yes. [Page 279]
17 Nay, then, indeed, the wonder ceases;
18 No matter, then, how loose your dress is;
19 The end is won, your fortune's made;
20 Your sister, now, may take the trade.
21 Alas! what pity 'tis, to find
22 This fault in half the female kind!
23 From hence proceed aversion, strife,
24 And all that sours the wedded life.
25 Beauty can only point the dart;
26 'Tis neatness guides it to the heart;
27 Let neatness, then, and beauty strive
28 To keep a wav'ring flame alive.
29 'Tis harder far (you'll find it true)
30 To keep the conquest, than subdue;
31 Admit us once behind the screen,
32 What is there farther to be seen?
33 A newer face may raise the flame;
34 But ev'ry woman is the same.
35 Then study, chiefly, to improve
36 The charm that fix'd your husband's love;
37 Weigh well his humour. Was it dress
38 That gave your beauty power to bless?
39 Pursue it still; be neater seen;
40 'Tis always frugal to be clean;
41 So shall you keep alive desire,
42 And Time's swift wing shall fan the fire.
43 In garret high (as stories say)
44 A Poet sung his tuneful lay;
45 So soft, so smooth his verse, you'd swear
46 Apollo and the Muses there;[Page 280]
47 Thro' all the town his praises rung,
48 His sonnets at the playhouse sung;
49 High waving o'er his lab'ring head,
50 The goddess Want her pinions spread,
51 And with poetic fury fir'd
52 What Phoebus faintly had inspir'd.
53 A noble youth, of taste and wit,
54 Approv'd the sprightly things he writ,
55 And sought him in his cobweb dome,
56 Discharg'd his rent, and brought him home.
57 Behold him at the stately board;
58 Who, but the Poet, and my Lord!
59 Each day, deliciously he dines,
60 And greedy quaffs the gen'rous wines;
61 His sides were plump, his skin was sleek,
62 And plenty wanton'd on his cheek;
63 Astonish'd at the change so new,
64 Away th' inspiring goddess flew.
65 Now, dropt for politics, and news,
66 Neglected lay the drooping muse;
67 Unmindful whence his fortune came,
68 He stifled the poetic flame;
69 Nor tale, nor sonnet, for my lady,
70 Lampoon, nor epigram, was ready.
71 With just contempt his patron saw,
72 (Resolv'd his bounty to withdraw)
73 And thus, with anger in his look,
74 The late-repenting fool bespoke.
75 Blind to the good that courts thee grown;
76 Whence has the sun of favour shone? [Page 281]
77 Delighted with thy tuneful art,
78 Esteem was growing in my heart;
79 But idly thou reject'st the charm
80 That gave it birth, and kept it warm.
81 Unthinking fools alone despise
82 The arts that taught them first to rise.