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“Never since I was born did I hear so much wit, .
And, Madam, I laugh'd till I thought I should split:
So then you look'd scornful, and snift at the Dean,
As who should say, Now, am I Skinny and Lean **
But he durst not so much as once open his lips,
And the Doctor was plaguily down in the hips.”
Thus merciless Hannah ran on in her talk,
Till she heard the Dean call, ‘Will your Ladyship
Her Ladyship answers, “I’m just coming down:”
Then turning to Hannah, and forcing a frown,
Although it was plain in her heart she was glad,
Cried, ‘Hussey! why, sure the wench is gone mad:
How could these chimeras get into your brains 2–
Come hither, and take this old gown for your pains.
But the Dean, if this secret should come to his ears,
Will never have done with his gibes and his jeers:
For your life, not a word of the matter, I charge ye.
Give me but a Barrack, a fig for the clergy.”
TH. shepherds and the nymphs were seen
Pleading before the Cyprian Queen.
The counsel for the fair began,
Accusing the false creature Man:
The brief with weighty crimes was charg’d,
On which the pleader much enlarg’d ;
* That Cupid now has lost his art,
Or blunts the point of every dart;-
His altar now no longer smokes,
His mother's aid no youth invokes;
This tempts Freethinkers to refine,
And bring in doubt their powers divine:
Now love has dwindled to intrigue,
And marriage grown a money-league.
Which crimes aforesaid (with her leave)
Were (as he humbly did conceive)
Against our sovereign lady's peace,
Against the statute in that case,
Against her dignity and crown,
Then pray'd an answer;' and sat down.
The nymphs with scorn beheld their foes,
When the defendant's counsel rose,
And, what no lawyer ever lack'd,
With impudence own’d all the fact;
But, what the gentlest heart would vex,
Laid all the fault on t'other sex.
“The modern love is no such thing,
As what those ancient poets sing,
A fire celestial, chaste, refin'd,
Conceiv'd and kindled in the mind,
Which having found an equal flame,
Unites, and both become the same,
In different breasts together burn,
Together both to ashes turn:
But women now feel no such fire,
And only know the gross desire:
Their passions move in lower spheres,
Where'er caprice or folly steers.
A dog, a parrot, or an ape,
Or some worse brute in human shape,
Engross the fancies of the fair; .
The few soft moments they can spare
From visits to receive and pay,
From scandal, politics, and play,
From fans, and flounces, and brocades,
From equipage and Park-parades,
From all the thousand female toys,
From every trifle that employs
The out or inside of their heads,
Between their toilettes and their beds.
“In a dull stream, which moving slow,
You hardly see the current flow,
If a small breeze obstructs the course,
It whirls about for want of force, .
And in its narrow circle gathers
Nothing but chaff, and straws, and feathers:
The current of a female mind
Stops thus, and turns with every wind;
Thus whirling round, together draws
Fools, fops, and rakes, for chaff and straws:
Hence we conclude, no women's hearts
Are won by virtue, wit, and parts;
Nor are the men of sense to blame
For breasts incapable of flame;
The fault must on the nymphs be plac'd,
Grown so corrupted in their taste.”
The pleader, having spoke his best,
Had witness ready to attest,
Who fairly could on oath depose,
When questions on the fact arose,
That every article was true;
INor further these deponents knew ;-
Therefore he humbly would insist
The bill might be with costs dismist.
The cause appear'd of so much weight,
That Venus, from her judgment-seat,
Desir'd them not to talk so loud,
Else she must interpose a cloud;
For if the heavenly folk should know
These pleadings in the courts below,
That mortals here disdain to love,
She ne'er could show her face above:
For gods, their betters, are too wise
To value that which men despise.
“And then, (said she,) my son and I
Must stroll in air, 'twixt earth and sky;
Or else, shut out from heav'n and earth,
Fly to the sea, my place of birth,
There live, with daggled mermaids pent,
And keep on fish perpetual Lent.”
But since the case appear'd so nice,
She thought it best to take advice.
The Muses, by their king's permission,
Though foes to love, attend the session,
And on the right hand took their places
In order; on the left, the Graces:
To whom she might her doubts propose
On all emergencies that rose.
The Muses oft were seen to frown,
The Graces half-asham'd look down;
And 'twas observ'd there were but few
Of either sex among the crew,
Whom she or her assessors knew.
The goddess soon began to see
Things were not ripe for a decree,
And said she must consult her books,
The lovers' Fletas, Bractons, Cokes.
First to a dapper clerk she beckon'd
To turn to Ovid, book the second;
She then referr'd them to a place
In Virgil (vide Dido's case)
As for Tibullus's reports,
They never pass'd for law in courts;
For Cowley's briefs, and pleas of Waller,
Still their authority was smaller.
There was on both sides much to say;
She’d hear the cause another day;
And so she did, and then a third ;
She heard it—there she kept her word:
But with rejoinders and replies,
Long bills, and answers stuff'd with lies,
Demur, imparlance, and essoign,
The parties ne'er could issue join :
For sixteen years the cause was spun,
And then stood where it first begun.
Now, gentle Clio" sing or say
What Venus meant by this delay.
The goddess, much perplex'd in mind
To see her empire thus declin'd,
When first this grand debate arose,
Above her wisdom to compose,
Conceiv'd a project in her head
To work her ends, which, if it sped,
Would show the merits of the cause
Far better than consulting laws.
In a glad hour Lucina's aid
Produc’d on earth a wondrous maid,
On whom the Queen of Love was bent
To try a new experiment:
She threw her law-books on the shelf,
And thus debated with herself.
‘Since men allege they ne'er can find
Those beauties in a female mind
Which raise a flame, that will endure
For ever uncorrupt and pure :
If 'tis with reason they complain,
This instant shall restore my reign:
I'll search where every virtue dwells, "
From courts inclusive down to cells,
What preachers talk, or sages write;
These I will gather and unite,
And represent them to mankind
Collected in that infant's mind.”
This said, she plucks, in heaven's high bow'rs,
A sprig of amaranthine flow’rs,
In nectar thrice infuses bays,
Three times refin'd in Titan's rays,
Then calls the Graces to her aid,
And sprinkles thrice the new-born maid,
From whence the tender skin assumes
A sweetness above all perfumes,
From whence a cleanliness remains,
Incapable of outward stains;
From whence that decency of mind
So lovely in the female kind,
Where not one careless thought intrudes
Less modest than the speech of prudes;
Where never blush was call'd in aid,
That spurious virtue in a maid,
A virtue but at second-hand;
They blush because they understand.
The Graces next would act their part,
(And show'd but little of their art;