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The soft address, with airs so sweet,
That cringes at the ladies' feet;
The pert, vivacious, play-house style,
That wakes the gay assembly's smile ;
Jests that his brother-beaux may hit,
pass with young coquettes for wit,
And prized by fops of true discerning,
Outface the pedantry of learning.
Yet learning too shall lend its aid
To fill the coxcomb's spongy head;
And studious oft he shall peruse
The labours of the modern muse.
From endless loads of novels gain
Soft, simpering tales of amorous pain,
With double meanings, neat and handy,
From Rochester and Tristram Shandy.*
The blundering aid of weak reviews,
That forge the fetters of the muse,
Shall give him airs of criticising
On faults of books he ne'er set eyes on.
The magazines shall teach the fashion,
And commonplace of conversation,
And where his knowledge fails, afford
The aid of many a sounding word.
Then, lest religion he should need,
Of pious Hume he'll learn his creed,
By strongest demonstration shown,
Evince that nothing can be known;
Take arguments, unvexed by doubt,
On Voltaire's trust, or go without;
* Sterne's Tristram Shandy was then in the highest vogue.
'Gainst Scripture rail in modern lore,
As thousand fools have railed before;
Or pleased a nicer art display
To expound its doctrines all away,
Suit it to modern tastes and fashions
By various notes and emendations ;
The rules the ten commands contain,
With new provisos well explain ;
Prove all religion was but fashion,
Beneath the Jewish dispensation :
A ceremonial law, deep hooded
In types and figures long exploded ;
Its stubborn fetters all unfit
For these free times of gospel light,
This rake's millennium, since the day
When Sabbaths first were done away;
Since pander-conscience holds the door,
And lewdness is a vice no more;
And shame, the worst of deadly fiends,
On virtue, as its squire, attends,
Alike his poignant wit displays
The darkness of the former days,
When men the paths of duty sought,
And owned what revelation taught;
Ere human reason grew so bright,
Men could see all things by its light,
And summoned Scripture to appear,
And stand before its bar severe,
To clear its page from charge of fiction,
And answer pleas of contradiction;
Ere miracles were held in scorn,
Or Bolingbroke or Hume were born.
And now the fop, with great energy,
Levels at priestcraft and the clergy,
At holy cant and godly prayers,
And bigots' hypocritic airs ;
Musters each veteran jest to aid,
Calls piety the parson's trade;
Cries out, “ 'Tis shame, past ail abiding,
The world should still be so priest-ridden !"
Applauds free thought that scorns control,
And generous nobleness of soul,
That acts its pleasure, good or evil,
And fears nor deity nor devil.
These standing topics never fail
prompt our little wits to rail,
With mimic drollery of grimace,
And pleased impertinence of face,
Gainst virtue arm their feeble forces,
And sound the charge in peals of curses.
Blest be his ashes ! under ground
If any particles be found,
Who, friendly to the coxcomb race,
First taught those arts of commonplace,
Those topics fine, on which the beau
May all his little wits bestow,
Secure the simple laugh to raise,
And gain the dunce's palm of praise.
For where's the theme that beaux could hit
With least similitude of wit,
Did not religion and the priest
Supply materials for the jest ;
The poor in purse, with metals vile
For current coins, the world beguile;
The poor in brain, for genuine wit
Pass off a viler counterfeit;
While various thus their doom appears,
These lose their souls, and those their ears;
The want of fancy, whim supplies,
And native humour, mad caprice;
Loud noise for argument goes off,
For mirth polite, the ribald's scoff ;
For sense, lewd drolleries entertain us,
And wit is mimicked by profaneness !
THINGS NECESSARY TO THE LIFE OF A WOMAN.
N inventory clear
Of all she needs, Lamira offers here; Nor does she fear a rigid Cato's frown, When she lays by the rich embroidered gown, And modestly compounds for just enoughPerhaps some dozens of mere flighty stuff : With lawns and lustrings, blond, and Mecklin laces, Fringes and jewels, fans and tweezer-cases ; Gay cloaks and hats, of every shape and size, Scarfs, cardinals, and ribbons, of all dyes; With ruffles stamped, and aprons of tambour, Tippets and handkerchiefs at least threescore; With finest muslins that fair India boasts, And the choice herbage from Chinesan coasts.
Add feathers, furs, rich satins, and ducapes,
And head-dresses in pyramidal shapes;
Sideboards of plate, and porcelain profuse,
With fifty dittoes that the ladies use ;
If my poor, treach'rous memory has missed,
Ingenious T--I shall complete the list.
So weak Lamira, and her wants so few,
Who can refuse ?—they're but the sex’s due.
Yet Clara quits the more dressed negligee,
And substitutes the careless Polanee,
Until some fair one from Britannia's court
Some jaunty dress or newer taste import;
This sweet temptation could not be withstood,
Though for the purchase's paid her father's blood;
Though earthquakes rattle, or volcanoes roar,
Indulge this trifle, and she asks no more :
Can the stern patriot Clara's suit deny ?
'Tis Beauty asks, and Reason must comply.
ON THE DEATH OF HER CHILD AT THE RETREAT
AS it for this, with thee, a pleasing load,
I sadly wandered through the hostile wood-
When I thought Fortune's spite could do no more,
To see thee perish on a foreign shore ?
O my loved babe! my treasures left behind
Ne'er sunk a cloud of grief upon my mind;