[Page 144]

To a LADY, in answer to a LETTER wrote in a very fine Hand.

1 WHilst well-wrote lines our wond'ring eyes command,
2 The beauteous work of CHLOE'S artful hand,
3 Throughout the finish'd piece we see display'd
4 Th' exactest image of the lovely maid;
5 Such is her wit, and such her form divine,
6 This pure, as flows the style thro' ev'ry line,
7 That, like each letter, exquisitely fine.
8 See with what art the sable currents stain
9 In wand'ring mazes all the milk-white plain!
10 Thus o'er the meadows wrap'd in silver snow
11 Unfrozen brooks in dark meanders flow;
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12 Thus jetty curls in shining ringlets deck
13 The ivory plain of lovely CHLOE'S neck:
14 See, like some virgin, whose unmeaning charms
15 Receive new lustre from a lover's arms,
16 The yielding paper's pure, but vacant breast,
17 By her fair hand and flowing pen impress'd,
18 At ev'ry touch more animated grows,
19 And with new life and new ideas glows;
20 Fresh beauties from the kind defiler gains,
21 And shines each moment brighter from its stains.
22 Let mighty love no longer boast his darts,
23 That strike unerring, aim'd at mortal hearts;
24 CHLOE, your quill can equal wonders do,
25 Wound full as sure, and at a distance too:
26 Arm'd with your feather'd weapons in your hands,
27 From pole to pole you send your great commands;
28 To distant climes in vain the lover flies,
29 Your pen o'ertakes him, if he 'scapes your eyes;
30 So those, who from the sword in battle run,
31 But perish victims to the distant gun.
32 Beauty's a short-liv'd blaze, a fading flow'r,
33 But these are charms no ages can devour;
34 These, far superior to the brightest face;
35 Triumph alike o'er time, as well as space,
36 When that fair form, which thousands now adore,
37 By years decay'd, shall tyrannize no more,
38 These lovely lines shall future ages view,
39 And eyes unborn, like ours, be charm'd by you.
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40 How oft do I admire with fond delight
41 The curious piece, and wish like you to write!
42 Alas, vain hope! that might as well aspire
43 To copy PAULO'S stroke, or TITIAN'S fire:
44 Ev'n now your splendid lines before me lie,
45 And I in vain to imitate them try;
46 Believe me, fair, I'm practising this art,
47 To [steel] your hand, in hopes to steal your heart.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To a LADY, in answer to a LETTER wrote in a very fine Hand.
Author: Soame Jenyns
Themes: poetry; literature; writing
Genres: heroic couplet; epistle
References: DMI 22681

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Source edition

Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764. A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. III. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 144-146. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.003) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.