페이지 이미지

Their work was half already done,
The child with native beauty shone,
The outward form no help requir’d,
Each breathing on her thrice, inspir’d
That gentle, soft, engaging air,
Which in old times adorn'd the fair,
And said, “ Vanessa be the name
By which thou shalt be known to fame;
Vanessa, by the gods inroll'd ;
Her name on earth—shall not be told.”
But still the work was not complete,
When Venus thought on a deceit:
Drawn by her doves away she flies,
And finds out Pallas in the skies.
“Dear Pallas ! I have been this morn
To see a lovely infant born;
A boy in yonder isle below,
So like my own without his bow ;
By beauty could your heart be won,
You'd swear it is Apollo's son :
But it shall ne'er be said a child
So hopeful has by me been spoil'd;
I have enough besides to spare,
And give him wholly to your care.”
Wisdom's above suspecting wiles;
The Queen of Learning gravely smiles,
Down from Olympus comes with joy,
Mistakes Vanessa for a boy,
Then sows within her tender mind
Seeds long unknown to woman-kind,
For manly bosoms chiefly fit,
The seeds of knowledge, judgment, wit:
Her soul was suddenly endued
With justice, truth, and fortitude;
With honour, which no breath can stain,
Which malice must attack in vain;
With open heart and bounteous hand ;
But Pallas here was at a stand :
She knew in our degenerate days
Bare virtue could not live on praise;-

That meat must be with money bought;
She therefore, upon second thought,
Infus’d, yet as it were by stealth,
Some sumall regard for state and wealth,
Of which, as she grew up, there stay'd
A tincture in the prudent maid:
She manag'd her estate with care,
Yet lik'd three footmen to her chair :
But lest he should neglect his studies
Like a young heir, the thrifty goddess
(For fear young master should be spoil'd)
Would use him like a younger child;
And, after long computing, found
'Twould come to just five thousand pound.
The Queen of Love was pleas'd, and proud
To see Vanessa thus endow'd;
She doubted not but such a dame
Through every breast would dart a flame;
That every rich and lordly swain
With pride would drag about her chain;
That scholars would forsake their books
To study bright Vanessa's looks;
As she advanc'd, that woman-kind
Would by her model form their mind,
And all their conduct would be tried
By her, as an unerring guide;
Offending daughters oft would hear
Vanessa's praise rung in their ear.
Miss Betty, when she does a fault,
Lets fall her knife, or spills the salt,
Will thus be by her mother chid,
* "Tis what Vanessa never did.”
Thus by the nymphs and swains ador'd,
My power shall be again restor'd,
And happy lovers bless my reign-
So Venus hop'd, but hop'd in vain.
For when in time the martial maid
Found out the trick that Venus play'd,
She shakes her helm, she knits her brows,
And, fir’d with indignation, vows


To-morrow, ere the setting sun, She'd all undo that she had done. * But in the poets we may find A wholesome law, time out of mind, Had been confirm'd by Fate's decree, That gods, of whatsoe'er degree, Resume not what themselves have giv'n, Or any brother-god in heav'n, Which keeps the peace among the gods, Or they must always be at odds; And Pallas, if she broke the laws, Must yield her foe the stronger cause, A shame to one so much ador'd For wisdom at Jove's council-board. Besides, she fear'd the Queen of Love Would meet with better friends above; And though she must with grief reflect To see a mortal virgin deck'd With graces hitherto unknown To female breasts except her own, Yet she would act as best became A goddess of unspotted fame. She knew, by augury divine, Venus would fail in her design; She studied well the point, and found Her foe's conclusions were not sound, From premises erroneous brought, And therefore the deduction's nought, And must have contrary effects To what her treacherous foe expects. In proper season Pallas meets The Queen of Love, whom thus she greets, (For gods, we are by Homer told, Can in celestial language scold) * Perfidious Goddess! but in vain You form'd this project in your brain, A project for thy talents fit, With much deceit and little wit. Thou hast, as thou shalt quickly see, Deceiv'd thyself instead of me;

For how can heavenly wisdom prove
An instrument to earthly love 2
Know'st thou not yet that men commence -
Thy votaries for want of sense?
Nor shall Vanessa be the theme
To manage thy abortive scheme;
She'll prove the greatest of thy foes;
And yet I scorn to interpose,
But using neither skill nor force,
Leave all things to their natural course.”
The goddess thus pronounc'd her doom;
When, lo! Vanessa, in her bloom,
Advanc'd like Atalanta's star,
But rarely seen, and seen from far;
In a new world with caution stept,
Watch'd all the company she kept,
Well knowing, from the books she read,
What dangerous paths young virgins tread;
Would seldom at the Park appear,
Nor saw the playhouse twice a year;
Yet, not incurious, was inclin'd
To know the converse of mankind.
First issued from perfumers' shops
A crowd of fashionable fops :
They ask'd her how she lik'd the play?
Then told the tattle of the day;
A duel fought last night at two,
About a lady—you know who ;
Mention'd a new Italian, come
Either from Muscovy or Rome;
Gave hints of who, and who's together,
Then fell to talking of the weather;
Last night was so extremely fine,
The ladies walk'd till after nine:
Then in soft voice, and speech absurd,
With nonsense every second word,
With fustian from exploded plays,
They celebrate her beauty's praise,
Run o'er their cant of stupid lies,
And tell the murders of her eyes. -

With silent scorn Vanessa sat, Scarce listening to their idle chat, Further than sometimes by a frown, When they grew pert, to pull them down. At last she spitefully was bent To try their wisdom's full extent, And said, “she valued nothing less Than titles, figure, shape, and dress; That merit should be chiefly plac'd In judgment, knowledge, wit, and taste; And these, she offer'd to dispute, Alone distinguish'd man from brute; That present times have no pretence To virtue in the noble sense By Greeks and Romans understood, To perish for our country's good: She nam'd the ancient heroes round, Explain’d for what they were renown'd, Then spoke with censure or applause, Of foreign customs, rites, and laws; Through nature, and through art she rang'd And gracefully her subject chang'd :' In vain; her hearers had no share In all she spoke, except to stare: Their judgment was, upon the whole, —‘That lady is the dullest soul’– Then tipt their forehead in a jeer, As who should say—"She wants it here: She may be handsome, young, and rich, But none will burn her for a witch.”

A party next of glittering dames, From round the purlieus of St. James, Came early, out of pure good-will, To see the girl in dishabille: Their clamour, 'lighting from their chairs, Grew louder all the way up stairs; At entrance loudest, where they found The room with volumes litter'd round. Vanessa held Montaigne, and read, Whilst Mrs. Susan comb'd her head.

« 이전계속 »