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The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
■ Know further yet; whoever fair and chaste
'Oft, when the world imagine women stray, The sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way; Through all the giddy circle they pursue, And old impertinence expel by new. What tender maid but must a victim fall To one man's treat, but for another's ball?
When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand.
'Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
He said ; when Shock, who thought she slept too long, Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue. 'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true, Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux; Wounds, charms, and ardours, were no sooner read, But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd, Each silver vase in mystic order laid. First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores, With head uncover'd, the cosmetic pow'rs. A heavenly image in the glass appears, To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears; The' inferior priestess, at her altar's side, Trembling begins the sacred rites of pride. TJnnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here The various offerings of the world appear; From each she nicely culls with curious toil, And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil. This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
CANTO H. V'OT with more glories, in the' ethereal plain,
The sun first rises o'er the purpled main, Than. issuing forth, the rival of his beams lannch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames. Pair nymphs, and well-dress'd youths around her
shone, But every eye was fix'd on her alone. On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore, Which Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore. Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose, Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those: Favours to none, to all she smiles extends: Oft she rejects, but never once offends. Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, And, like the sun, they shine on all alike. Tet graceful ease. and sweetness void of pride, Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide: If to her share some female errors fall, Look on her face, and you'll forget them all. This nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Noorish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck With shming ringlets the smooth ivory neck.
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
The' adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd;
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd Propitious Heav'n, and every pow'r ador'd, But chiefly Love—to Love an altar built, Of-twelve vast French romances, neatly guilt. There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, And all the trophies of his former loves; With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire. Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize: The pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r. The rest the winds dispers'd in empty air.
But now secure the painted vessel glides, The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides; While melting music steals upon the sky, And soften'd sounds along the waters die: Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay. All but the sylph—with careful thoughts opprest, The' impending woe sat heavy on his breast. He summons straight his denizens of air; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Soft o'er the shrouds aerial whispers breathe, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold, Waft on the breeze. or sink in clouds of gold; Transparent forms too fine for mortal sight. Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light,
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
'Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear,
'Our humbler province is to tend the fair, Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care; To save the powder from too rude a gale, Nor let the' imprison'd essences exhale; To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers; To steal from rainbows ere they drop in showers A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs, Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs; Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow, To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.
'This day black omens threat the brightest fair That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care;