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Be never cool reserve with passion join'd: With caution choose; but then be fondly kind. The selfish heart, that but by halves is given, Shall find no place in Love's delightful heaven; Here sweet extremes alone can truly blessThe virtue of a lover is excess.
Contemn the little pride of giving pain,
Nor think that conquest justifies disdain :
Short is the period of insulting power;
Offended Cupid finds his vengeful hour,
Soon will resume the empire which he gave,
And soon the tyrant shall become the slave.
Bless'd is the maid, and worthy to be bless'd,
Whose soul, entire by him she loves possess'd,
Feels every vanity in fondness lost,
And asks no power but that of pleasing most:
Hers is the bliss in just return to prove
The honest warmth of undissembled love;
For her, inconstant man might cease to range,
And gratitude forbid desire to change.
But lest harsh Care the lover's peace destroy,
And roughly blight the tender buds of joy,
Let Reason teach what Passion fain would hide,
That Hymen's bands by Prudence should be tied.
Venus in vain the wedded pair would crown,
If angry Fortune on their union frown:
Soon will the flattering dream of bliss be o'er,
And cloy'd imagination cheat no more;
Then waking to the sense of lasting pain,
With mutual tears the nuptial couch they stain;
And that fond love, which should afford relief,
Does but increase the anguish of their grief,
While both could easier their own sorrows bear,
Than the sad knowledge of each other's care.
Yet may you rather feel that virtuous pain,
Than sell your violated charms for gain;
Than wed the wretch whom you despise or hate,
For the vain glare of useless wealth or state.
The most abandon'd prostitutes are they
Who not to love, but avarice, fall a prey.
Nor aught avails the specious name of wife :
A maid, so wedded, is a whore for life.
E'en in the happiest choice, where favouring Heaven
Has equal love and easy fortune given,
'Think not, the husband gain'd, that all is done;
The prize of happiness must still be won;
And oft, the careless find it to their cost,
The lover in the husband may be lost.
The Graces might alone his heart allure:
They and the Virtues meeting must secure.
Let e'en your prudence wear the pleasing dress
Of care for him, and anxious tenderness.
From kind concern about his weal or woe,
Let each domestic duty seem to flow;
Endearing every common act of life,
The mistress still shall charm him in the wife!
And wrinkled age shall unobserved come on,
Before his eye perceives one beauty gone;
E'en o'er your cold and ever-sacred urn,
His constant flame shall unextinguish'd burn.
'Tis thus, Belinda, I your charms improve,
And form your heart to all the arts of love.
The task were harder to secure my own
Against the power of those already known;
For well you twist the secret chains that bind
With gentle force the captivated mind;
Skill'd every soft attraction to employ,
Each flattering hope, and each alluring joy :
I own your genius, and from you receive
The rules of pleasing, which to you I give.
IN Britain's Isle and Arthur's days,
When Midnight Fairies daunced the maze,
Lived Edwin of the Green:
Edwin, I wis, a gentle youth,
Endow'd with courage, sense, and truth,
Though badly shaped he been.
His mountain back mote well be said
To measure height against his head,
And lift itself above;
Yet spite of all that nature did
To make his uncouth form forbid,
This creature dared to love.
He felt the charms of Edith's eyes,
Nor wanted hope to gain the prize,
Could ladies look within;
But one Sir Topaz dress'd with art,
And, if a shape could win a heart,
He had a shape to win.
Edwin, if right I read my song,
With slighted passion paced along
All in the moony light;
'Twas near an old enchanted court,
Where sportive fairies made resort
To revel out the night.
His heart was drear, his hope was cross'd,
"Twas late, 'twas far, the path was lost
That reach'd the neighbour-town;
With weary steps he quits the shades,
Resolved, the darkling dome he treads,
And drops his limbs adown.
But scant he lays him on the floor,
When hollow winds remove the door,
A trembling rocks the ground:
And, well I ween to count aright,
At once an hundred tapers light
On all the walls around.
Now sounding tongues assail his ear,
Now sounding feet approachen near,
And now the sounds increase:
And from the corner where he lay,
He sees a train profusely gay
Come prankling o'er the place.
But (trust me, gentles!) never yet
Was dight a masquing half so neat,
Or half so rich before;
The country lent the sweet perfumes,
The sea the pearl, the sky the plumes,
The town its silken store.
Now whilst he gazed, a gallant dress'd
In flaunting robes above the rest
With awful accent cried :
"What mortal of a wretched mind,
Whose sighs infect the balmy wind,
Has here presumed to hide?"