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Then who with reason can maintain
That no effects of food remain *
And is not virtue in mankind
The nutriment that feeds the mind,
Upheld by each good action past, ,
And still continued, by the last 2
Then who with reason can pretend
That all effects of virtue end?
Believe me, Stella, when you show
That true contempt for things below,
Nor prize your life for other ends
Than merely to oblige your friends,
Your former actions claim their part,
And join to fortify your heart:
For Wirtue in her daily race,
Like Janus, bears a double face,
Looks back with joy where she has gone,
And therefore goes with courage on:
She at your sickly couch will wait,
And guide you to a better state.
O then, whatever Heav'n intends,
Take pity on your pitying friends;
Nor let your ills affect your mind,
To fancy they can be unkind. -
Me, surely me, you ought to spare,
Who gladly would your sufferings share,
Or give my scrap of life to you,
And think it far beneath your due ;
You to whose care so oft I owe
That I'm alive to tell you so.
Visiting me in my Sickness, October 1727.
ALLAS, observing Stella's wit
Was more than for her sex was fit,
And that her beauty, soon or late,
Might breed confusion in the state,
In high concern for human-kind,
Fix’d honour in her infant mind.
But (not in wranglings to engage with such a stupid vicious age) If honour I would here define; It answers faith in things divine. As natural life the body warms, And, scholars teach, the soul informs, So honour animates the whole, And is the spirit of the soul. Those numerous virtues which the tribe Of tedious moralists describe, And by such various titles call, True honour comprehends them all. Let melancholy rule supreme, Choler preside, or blood, or phlegm, It makes no difference in the case, Nor is complexion honour's place. But lest we should for honour take The drunken quarrels of a rake, Or think it seated in a scar, . Or on a proud triumphal car, Or in the payment of a debt We lose with sharpers at piquet, Or when a whore in her vocation Keeps punctual to an assignation, Or that on which his Lordship swears, When vulgar knaves would lose their ears, Let Stella's fair example preach A lesson she alone can teach. In points of honour to be tried, All passions must be laid aside; Ask no advice, but think alone; Suppose the question not your own: How shall I act? is not the case, But how would Brutus in my place 2 In such a cause would Cato bleed 2 And how would Socrates proceed? Drive all objections from your mind, Else you relapse to human-kind; Ambition, avarice, and lust, And factious rage, and breach of trust,
And flattery tipt with nauseous fleer,
And guilty shame, and servile fear,
Envy, and cruelty, and pride,
Will in your tainted heart preside.
Heroes and heroines of old
By honour only were enroll'd
Among their brethren in the skies,
To which (though late) shall Stella rise.
Ten thousand oaths upon record
Are not so sacred as her word ;
The world shall in its atoms end
Ere Stella can deceive a friend.
By honour seated in her breast
She still determines what is best.
What indignation in her mind
Against enslavers of mankind!
Base kings and ministers of state
Eternal objects of her hate.
She thinks that Nature ne'er design'd
Courage to man alone confin'd.
Can cowardice her sex adorn,
Which most exposes ours to scorn ?
She wonders where the charm appears -
In Florimel's affected fears;
For Stella never learn'd the art
At proper times to scream and start,
Nor calls up all the house at night,
And swears she saw a thing in white.
Doll never flies to cut her lace,
Or throw cold water in her face,
Because she heard a sudden drum,
Or found an earwig in a plum. -
Her hearers are amaz'd from whence
Proceeds that fund of wit and sense;
Which, though her modesty would shroud,
Breaks like the sun behind a cloud,
While gracefulness its art conceals,
And yet through every motion steals.
Say, Stella! was Prometheus blind,
And, forming you, mistook your kind?
No; 'twas for you alone he stole The fire that forms a manly soul; Then to complete it every way, He moulded it with female clay: To that you owe the nobler flame, To this the beauty of your frame. How would Ingratitude delight, And how would Censure glut her spite, If I should Stella's kindness hide In silence, or forget with pride? when on my sickly couch I lay, Impatient both of night and day, Lamenting in unmanly strains, Call'd every pow'r to ease my pains, Then Stella ran to my relief , With cheerful face, and inward grief; And, though by Heav'n's severe decree She suffer hourly more than me, No cruel master could require From slaves employ'd for daily hire What Stella, by her friendship warm’d, With vigour and delight perform'd. My sinking spirits now supplies ... With cordials in her hands and eyes; Now, with a soft and silent tread, Unheard, she moves about my bed: I see her taste each nauseous draught, And so obligingly am caught: I bless the hand from whence they came, Nor dare distort my face for shame. Best pattern of true friends ! beware; You pay too dearly for your care, If, while your tenderness secures * My life, it must endanger yours; For such a fool was never found, Who pull'd a palace to the ground, Only to have the ruins made Materials for a house decay’d.
44 O Shield me from his rage, celestial Powers :
This tyrant, that embitters all my hours;
Ah love! you've poorly played the hero's part;
TYou conquer'd, but you can't defend my heart.
When first I bent beneath your gentle reign,
I thought this monster banish’d from your train;
But you would raise him to support your throne,
And now he claims your empire as his own.
Or tell me, tyrants, have you, both agreed
That where one reigns, the other shall succeed 2*
HAP: blushing goddess, beauteous Spring!
Who in thy jocund train, dost bring
Loves and Graces, smiling hours,
Balmy breezes, fragrant flowers,
Come, with tints of roseate hue,
Nature's faded charms renew. -
Yet why should I thy presence hail?
To me no more the breathing gale s
Comes fraught with sweets, no more the rose
With such transcendent beauty blows,
As when Cadenus blest the scene,
And shared with me those joys serene.
When, unperceived, the lambent fire
Of Friendship kindled new desire;
Still listening to his tuneful tongue,
The truths which angels might have sung,
Divine impress'd their gentle sway,
And sweetly stole my soul away.
* celebrated by Dean Swift under the name of Stella, f Wanessa.