Page images
PDF
EPUB

Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain ; 130
Or allum styptics with contracting pow'r
Shrink his thin essence like a shrivell’d flow'r:
Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow, 135
And tremble at the sea that froths below!

He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend;
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend;
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair;
Some hang upon the pendants of her ear; 140
With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate.

CANTO III.

CLOSE by those meads, for ever crown'd with

flow'rs, Where Thames with pride surveys his rising tow'rs, There stands a structure of majestic frame, Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its name. Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom 5 Of foreign tyrants, and of nymphs at home; Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey, Dost sometimes counsel take....and sometimes tea.

Hitherto the heroes and the nymphs resort, To taste awhile the pleasures of the court; 10 In various talk th' instructive hours they past, Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last; One speaks the glory of the British Queen, And one describes a charming Indian screen; A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes; 15 At ev'ry word a reputation dies. Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat, With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that.

Meanwhile, declining from the noon of day, The sun obliquely shoots his burning ray; 20 The hungry Judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang that Jurymen may dine ; The merchant from th’ Exchange returns in peace, And the long labours of the toilet cease.

B 2

Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites, 25
Burns to encounter two advent'rous knights,
At Ombre singly to decide their doom,
And swells her breast with conquests yet to come.
Straight the three bands prepare in arms to join,
Each band the number of the sacred Nine. 30
Soon as she spreads her hand, the ærial guard
Descend, and sit on each important card:
First Ariel perch'd upon a Matadore,
Then each according to the rank they bore;
For sylphs, yet mindful of their ancient race, 35
Are, as when women, wondrous fond of place.

Behold, four Kings in majesty's rever'd,
With hoary whiskers and a forky beard;
And four fair Queens, whose hands sustain a flow'r,
Th' expressive emblem of their softer pow'r; 40
Four Knaves, in garbs succinct, a trusty band,
Caps on their heads, and halberts in their hand,
And party-colour'd troops a shining train,
Draw forth to combat on the velvet plain. 44

The skilful nymph reviews her force with care: Let spades be trumps! she said, and trumps they were.

Now move to war her sable Matadores, In show like leaders of the swarthy Moors. Spadilio first, unconquerable lord! Let off two captive trumps, and swept the board. 50

As many more Manillio forc'd to yield,
And march'd a victor from the verdant field,
Him Basto follow'd, but his fate, more hard,
Gain'd but one trump and one plebeian card.
With his broad sabre next a chief in years, 55
The hoary majesty of Spades appears,
Puts forth one manly leg, to sight reveald;
The rest his many colour'd robe conceald,
The rebel Knave, who dares his prince engage,
Proves the just victim of his royal rage.

60
Ev'n mighty Pam, that kings and queens o’erthrew,
And mow'd down arınies in the fights of Lu,
Sad chance of war! now destitute of aid,
Falls undistinguish'd by the victor Spade!
Thus far both armies to Belinda yield;

65 Now to the Baron Fate inclines the field. His warlike Amazon her host invades, Th' imperial consort of the crown of Spades. The Club's black tyrant first her victim dy'd, Spite of his haughty mien, and barb'rous pride; 70, What boast the regal circle on his head, His giant limbs, in state unwieldy spread; That long behind he trails his pompous robe, And, of all monarchs, only grasps the globe ?

The Baron now his Diamonds pours apace: 75 Th' embroider'd King, who shows but half his face,

And his refulgent Queen, with pow'rs combin'd
Of broken troops, an easy conquest find.
Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, in wild disorder seen,
With throngs promiscuous strow the level green. 80
Thus when dispers’d a routed army runs,
Of Asia's troops, and Afric's sable sons,
With like confusion diff'rent nations fly,
Of various habit, and of various dye;
The pierc'd battalions disunited fall,

85 In heaps on heaps; one fate o’erwhelms them all.

The Knave of Diamonds tries his wily arts, And wins (oh shameful chance!) the Queen of Hearts. At this, the blood the virgin's cheek forsook, A livid paleness spreads o’er all her look ; 90 She sees, and trembles at th' approaching ill, Just in the jaws of ruin and Codille. And now (as oft in some distemper'd state) On one nice trick depends the gen'ral fate : An Ace of Hearts steps forth: the King unseen 95 Lurk'd in her hand, and mourn’d his captive Queen: He springs to vengeance with an eager pace, And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace. The nymph, exulting, fills with shouts the sky; The walls, the woods, and long canals, reply. 100

O thoughtless mortals ! ever blind to Fate, Too soon dejected, and too soon elate.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »