Strephon's Love for Delia justified: In an Epistle to Celadon.
1 All Men have Follies, which they blindly trace
2 Thro' the dark Turnings of a dubious Maze:
3 But happy those, who by a prudent Care,
4 Retreat betimes, from the fallacious Snare.
5 The eldest Sons of Wisdom were not free
6 From the same Failure you condemn in me;
7 They lov'd, and by that glorious Passion led,
8 Forgot what Plato, and themselves had said.
9 Love triumph'd o'er those dull pedantick Rules,
10 They had collected from the wrangling Schools;
11 And made 'em to his nobler Sway submit,
12 In spight of all their Learning, Art, and Wit:
13 Their grave starch'd Morals then unuseful prov'd,
14 Those dusty Characters he soon remov'd;
15 For when his shining Squadrons came in view,
16 Their boasted Reason murmur'd, and withdrew:
17 Unable to oppose their mighty Force
18 With phlegmatick Resolves, and dry Discourse. [Page 38]
19 If, as the wisest of the Wise, have err'd,
20 I go astray, and am condemn'd unheard;
21 My Faults you too severely reprehend,
22 More like a rigid Censor, than a Friend.
23 Love is the Monarch Passion of the Mind,
24 Knows no Superior, by no Laws confin'd;
25 But triumphs still, impatient of Controul,
26 O'er all the proud Endowments of the Soul.
27 You own'd my Delia Friend, divinely fair,
28 When in the Bud her native Beauties were:
29 Your Praise did then her early Charms confess,
30 Yet you'd perswade me to adore her less,
31 You but the Non-age of her Beauty saw,
32 But might from thence sublime Ideas draw;
33 And what she is, by what she was, conclude,
34 For now she governs those, she then subdu'd.
35 Her Aspect noble, and mature is grown,
36 And ev'ry Charm in its full Vigour known.
37 There we may wond'ring View, distinctly writ,
38 The Lines of Goodness, and the Marks of Wit:
39 Each Feature emulous, of pleasing most,
40 Does justly, some peculiar Sweetness boast:
41 And her Composure's of so fine a Frame,
42 Pride cannot hope to mend, nor envy blame.
43 When the immortal Beauties of the Skies
44 Contended naked for the golden Prize,[Page 39]
45 The Apple had not fall'n to Venus share,
46 Had I been Paris, and my Delia there:
47 In whom alone we all their Graces find,
48 The moving Gayety of Venus join'd
49 With Juno's Aspect, and Minerva's Mind.
50 View but those Nymphs, which other Swains adore
51 You'll value charming Delia still the more.
52 Dorinda's Mien's Majestick, but her Mind
53 Is to Revenge and Peevishness inclin'd:
54 Myrtilla's fair, and yet Myrtilla's proud;
55 Cloe has Wit, but noisy, vain, and loud:
56 Melania doats upon the silliest things,
57 And yet Melania like an Angel sings.
58 But in my Delia all Endowments meet,
59 All that is just, agreeable, or sweet;
60 All that can Praise, and Admiration move;
61 All that the Wisest, and the Bravest love.
62 In all Discourse she's apposite and gay,
63 And ne'er wants something pertinent to say:
64 For if the Subject's of a serious kind,
65 Her Thoughts are manly, and her Sense refin'd,
66 But if divertive, her Expressions fit
67 Good Language, joyn'd with inoffensive Wit
68 So cautious always, that she ne'er affords
69 An idle Thought the Charity of Words.
70 The Vices common to her Sex, can find
71 No room, e'en in the Suburbs of her Mind. [Page 40]
72 Concluding wisely, she's in danger still,
73 From the meer Neighbourhood of industrious Ill;
74 Therefore at distance keep the subtil Foe,
75 Whose near approach would formidable grow.
76 While the unwary Virgin is undone,
77 And meets the Misery which she ought to shun.
78 He Wit is penetrating, clear, and gay,
79 But let's true Judgment, and Right-reason sway:
80 Modestly bold, and quick to apprehend,
81 Prompt in Replies, but cautious to offend.
82 Her Darts are keen, but level'd with such Care,
83 They ne'er fall short, and seldom fly too far:
84 For when she rallies, 'tis with so much Art,
85 We blush with Pleasure, and with Rapture smart.
86 O Celadon! you would my Flame approve
87 Did you but hear her talk, and talk of Love;
88 That tender Passion to her Fancy brings
89 The prettiest Notions, and the softest Things:
90 Which are by her so movingly exprest,
91 They fill with Extacy my throbbing Breast.
92 'Tis then the Charms of Eloquence impart
93 Their native Glories, unimprov'd by Art:
94 By what she says, I measure things above,
95 And guess the Language of Seraphic Love.
96 To the cool Bosom of a peaceful Shade,
97 By some wild Beech, or lofty Poplar made,[Page 41]
98 When Ev'ning comes, we secretly repair,
99 To breath in private, and unbend our Care:
100 And, while our Flocks in fruitful Pastures feed,
101 Some well-design'd instructive Poem read.
102 Where useful Morals, with soft Numbers joyn'd,
103 At once delight, and cultivate the Mind:
104 Which are by her to more Perfection brought,
105 By wise Remarks upon the Poet's Thought.
106 So well she knows the Stamp of Eloquence,
107 The empty Sound of Words from solid Sense;
108 The florid Fustian of a Rhyming Spark,
109 Whose random Arrow ne'er comes ne'er the Mark,
110 Can't on her Judgement be impos'd, and pass
111 For Standard Gold, when 'tis but gilded Brass,
112 Oft in the Walks of an adjacent Grove,
113 Where first we mutually engag'd to love;
114 She'd smiling ask me, whether I'd prefer,
115 An humble Cottage on the Plains with her,
116 Before the pompous Building of the Great,
117 And find Content, in that inferior State?
118 Said I, the Question you propose to me,
119 Perhaps a matter of Debate might be;
120 Were the Degrees of my Affection less,
121 Than burning Martyrs to the Gods express.
122 In you I've all I can desire below,
123 That Earth can give me, or the Gods bestow;
124 And blest with you, I know not where to find
125 A second Choice; you take up all my Mind.
126 I'd not forsake that dear delightful Plain,
127 Where charming Delia, Love and Delia reign;[Page 42]
128 For all the Splendor that a Court can give,
129 Where gaudy Fools, and busy Statesmen live.
130 Tho' youthful Paris, when his Birth was known,
131 Too fatally related to a Throne,
132 Forsook Oenone, and his rural Sports,
133 For dangerous Greatness, and tumultuous Courts,
134 Yet Fate should still offer its Pow'r in vain,
135 For what is Pow'r to such an humble Swain?
136 I would not leave my Delia, leave my Fair,
137 Tho' half the Globe should be assign'd my Share.
138 And would you have me Friend, reflect again,
139 Become the basest and the worst of Men?
140 O do not urge me Celadon, forbear!
141 I cannot leave her, she's too charming Fair!
142 Should I your Counsel in this case pursue,
143 You might suspect me for a Villain too:
144 For sure that perjur'd Wretch can never prove
145 Just to his Friend, who's faithless to his Love.