The Fable of IXION.
1 IXION, as the poets tell us,
2 Was one of those pragmatic fellows,
3 Who claim a right to kiss the hand
4 Of the best lady in the land;
5 Demonstrating by dint of reason,
6 That impudence in love's no treason.
7 He let his fancy soar much higher;
8 And ventur'd boldly to aspire
9 To Juno's high and mighty grace,
10 And woo'd the goddess face to face.[Page 243]
11 What mortal e'er had whims so odd,
12 To think of cuckolding a God?
13 For she was both Jove's wife and sister,
14 And yet the rascal wou'd have kiss'd her.
15 How he got up to heav'n's high palace,
16 Not one of all the poets tell us;
17 It must be therefore understood,
18 That he got up which way he cou'd.
19 Nor is it, that I know, recorded,
20 How bows were made, and speeches worded;
21 So, leaving this to each one's guess,
22 I'll only tell you the success.
23 But first I stop awhile to shew
24 What happen'd lately here below.
25 Chlorinda, who beyond compare
26 Of all the fair ones is most fair;
27 Chlorinda, by the Gods design'd
28 To be the pattern of her kind,
29 With every charm of face and mind;
30 Glanc'd light'ning from her eyes so blue,
31 And shot poor Strephon through and through.
32 He, over head and ears her lover,
33 Try'd all the ways he cou'd to move her;
34 He sigh'd, and vow'd, and pray'd, and cry'd,
35 And did a thousand things beside:
36 She let him sigh, and pray, and cry on —
37 But now hear more about Ixion.
38 The Goddess, proud, (as folks report her)
39 Disdain'd that mortal wight shou'd court her,
40 And yet she chose the fool to flatter,
41 To make him fancy some great matter,
42 And hope in time he might get at her;
43 Grac'd him with now and then a smile,
44 But inly scorn'd him all the while;
45 Resolv'd at last a trick to shew him,
46 Seeming to yield and so undo him.
47 Now which way, do you think, she took?
48 (For do't she wou'd by hook or crook)
49 Why, thus I find it in my book.
50 She call'd a pretty painted cloud,
51 The brightest of the wand'ring crowd,
52 For she you know is queen o' th' air,
53 And all the clouds and vapours there
54 Governs at will, by nod or summons,
55 As Walpole does the house of commons.
56 This cloud which came to her stark naked,
57 She dress'd as fine as hands could make it.
58 From her own wardrobe out she brought
59 Whate'er was dainty, wove or wrought.
60 A smock which Pallas spun and gave her
61 Once on a time to gain her favour;
62 A gown that ha'n't on earth its fellow,
63 Of finest blue and lined with yellow,
64 Fit for a Goddess to appear in,
65 And not a pin the worse for wearing.[Page 245]
66 A quilted petticoat beside,
67 With whalebone hoop six fathom wide.
68 With these she deck'd the cloud, d'ye see?
69 As like herself, as like cou'd be:
70 So like, that cou'd not I or you know
71 Which was the cloud, and which was Juno.
72 Thus dress'd she sent it to the villain,
73 To let him act his wicked will on:
74 Then laugh'd at the poor fool aloud,
75 Who for a Goddess grasp'd a cloud.
76 This you will say was well done on her
77 T' expose the tempter of her honour —
78 But more of him you need not hear;
79 Only to Strephon lend an ear.
80 He never entertain'd one thought
81 With which a Goddess could find fault;
82 His spotless love might be forgiven
83 By ev'ry saint in earth and heav'n.
84 Juno herself, though nice and haughty,
85 Wou'd not have judg'd his passion naughty.
86 All this Chlorinda's self confess'd,
87 And own'd his flame was pure and chaste,
88 Read what his teeming Muse brought forth,
89 And prais'd it far beyond its worth:
90 Mildly receiv'd his fond address,
91 And only blam'd his love's excess:
92 Yet she, so good, so sweet, so smiling,
93 So full of truth, so unbeguiling,[Page 246]
94 One way or other still devis'd
95 To let him see he was despis'd:
96 And when he plum'd, and grew most proud,
97 All was a vapour, all a cloud.