[Page 151]

To Mrs. Frances-Arabella Kelly
[ed.] "[Frances-Arabella Kelly] was the daughter of Captain Dennis Kelly and distinguished for her beauty; she captivated Swift and was a member of the Deanery circle. She died in 1733." (Tucker [1992], 216) (AH)

1 To Day, as at my Glass I stood,
2 To set my Head-cloaths, and my Hood;
3 I saw my grizzled Locks with Dread,
4 And call'd to mind the Gorgon's Head.
5 Thought I, whate'er the Poets say,
6 Medusa's Hair was only gray:
7 Tho' Ovid, who the Story told,
8 Was too well-bred to call her old;
9 But, what amounted to the same,
10 He made her an immortal Dame.
11 Yet now, whene'er a Matron sage
12 Hath felt the rugged Hand of Age,
[Page 152]
13 You hear out witty Coxcombs cry,
14 Rot that old Witch she'll never die.
15 Tho', had they but a little Reading,
16 Ovid would teach them better Breeding.
17 I fancy now, I hear you say,
18 Grant Heav'n, my Locks may ne'er be gray!
19 Why am I told this frightful Story?
20 To Beauty a Memento mori.
21 And, as along the Room you pass,
22 Casting your Eye upon the Glass,
23 Surely, say you, this lovely Face
24 Will never suffer such Disgrace:
25 The Bloom, that on my Cheek appears,
26 Will never be impair'd by Years.
27 Her Envy, now, I plainly see,
28 Makes her inscribe those Lines to me.
29 These Beldams, who were born before me,
30 Are griev'd to see the Men adore me:
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31 Their snaky Locks freeze up the Blood;
32 My Tresses fire the purple Flood.
33 Unnumber'd Slaves around me wait,
34 And from my Eyes expect their Fate:
35 I own, of Conquest I am vain,
36 Tho' I despise the Slaves I gain.
37 Heav'n gave me Charms, and destin'd me
38 For universal Tyranny.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To Mrs. Frances-Arabella Kelly.
Author: Mary Barber
Themes: age; beauty
Genres: complaint; address
References: DMI 11568

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Source edition

Barber, Mary, ca. 1690-1757. Poems on Several Occasions [poems only]. London: Printed for C. Rivington, at the Bible and Crown in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1734, pp. 151-153. xlviii,283,[7]p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T42622; DMI 519; Foxon p. 45) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [Harding C 3644].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. 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.

Other works by Mary Barber