Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
The First Book of Ovid’s Art of Love
IN 1 Cupid’s school whoe’er wou’d take Degree,
Must learn his Rudiments, by reading me.
Seamen with sailing Arts their Vessels move;
Art guides the Chariot; Art instructs to Love.
Of Ships and Chariots others know the Rule;        5
But I am Master in Love’s mighty School.
Cupid indeed is obstinate and wild,
A stubborn God; but yet the God’s a Child:
Easy to govern in his tender Age,
Like fierce Achilles in his Pupillage,        10
That Heroe, born for Conquest, trembling stood
Before the Centaur, and receiv’d the Rod.
As Chyron mollify’d his cruel Mind
With Art; and taught his Warlike Hands to wind
The Silver Strings of his melodious Lyre:        15
So Love’s fair Goddess does my Soul inspire,
To teach her softer Arts; to soothe the Mind,
And smooth the rugged Breasts of Human Kind.
  Yet Cupid and Achilles, each with Scorn
And Rage were fill’d; and both were Goddess-born.        20
The Bull, reclaim’d and yok’d, the Burden draws:
The Horse receives the Bit within his Jaws;
And stubborn Love shall bend beneath my Sway,
Tho struggling oft he strives to disobey.
He shakes his Torch, he wounds me with his Darts;        25
But vain his Force, and vainer are his Arts.
The more he burns my Soul, or wounds my Sight,
The more he teaches to revenge the Spight.
  I boast no Aid the Delphian God affords,
Nor Auspice from the flight of chattering Birds;        30
Nor Clio, nor her Sisters have I seen;
As Hesiod saw them on the shady Green:
Experience makes my Work a Truth so try’d,
You may believe; and Venus be my Guide.
  Far hence, ye Vestals, be, who bind your Hair;        35
And Wives, who Gowns below your Ankles wear.
I sing the Brothels loose and unconfin’d,
Th’ unpunishable Pleasures of the Kind;
Which all a-like, for Love, or Mony find.
  You, who in Cupid’s Rolls inscribe your Name,        40
First seek an Object worthy of your Flame;
Then strive, with Art, your Lady’s Mind to gain:
And, last, provide your Love may long remain.
On these three Precepts all my Work shall move:
These are the Rules and Principles of Love.        45
Before your Youth with Marriage is opprest,
Make choice of one who suits your Humour best:
And such a Damsel drops not from the Sky;
She must be sought for with a curious Eye.
  The wary Angler, in the winding Brook,        50
Knows what the Fish, and where to bait his Hook.
The Fowler and the Hunts-man know by Name
The certain Haunts and Harbour of their Game.
So must the Lover beat the likeliest Grounds;
Th’ Assemblies 2 where his quarry most abounds.        55
Nor shall my Novice wander far astray;
These Rules shall put him in the ready Way.
Thou shalt not sail around the Continent,
As far as Perseus, or as Paris went:
For Rome alone affords thee such a Store,        60
As all the World can hardly shew thee more.
The Face of Heav’n with fewer Stars is crown’d,
Than Beauties in the Roman Sphere are found.
Whether thy Love is bent on blooming Youth,
On dawning Sweetness, in unartful Truth;        65
Or courts the juicy Joys of riper Growth;
Here mayst thou find thy full Desires in both.
Or if Autumnal Beauties please thy Sight
(An Age that knows to give, and take Delight;)
Millions of Matrons of the graver Sort,        70
In common Prudence, will not balk the Sport.
  In Summer Heats thou needst but only go
To Pompey’s cool and shady Portico;
Or Concord’s Fane; or that Proud Edifice,
Whose Turrets near the bawdy Suburb rise:        75
Or to that other Portico, where stands
The cruel Father, urging his Commands,
And fifty Daughters wait the Time of Rest,
To plunge their Ponyards in the Bridegroom’s Breast:
Or Venus Temple; where, on Annual Nights,        80
They mourn Adonis with Assyrian Rites.
Nor shun the Jewish Walk, where the foul drove,
On Sabbaths, rest from every thing but Love.
Nor Isis Temple; for that sacred Whore
Makes others, what to Jove she was before.        85
And if the Hall itself be not bely’d,
Ev’n there the Cause of Love is often try’d;
Near it at least, or in the Palace Yard,
From whence the noisy Combatants are heard.
The crafty Counsellors, in formal Gown,        90
There gain another’s Cause, but lose their own.
There Eloquence is nonplust in the Sute;
And Lawyers, who had Words at Will, are mute.
Venus, from her adjoyning Temple, smiles,
To see them caught in their litigious Wiles.        95
Grave Senators lead home the Youthful Dame,
Returning Clients, when they Patrons came.
But above all, the Play-House is the Place;
There’s Choice of Quarry in that narrow Chace.
There take thy Stand, and sharply looking out,        100
Soon mayst thou find a Mistress in the Rout,
For Length of Time, or for a single Bout.
The Theatres are Berries for the Fair:
Like Ants on Mole-hills, thither they repair;
Like Bees to Hives, so numerously they throng,        105
It may be said, they to that Place belong.
Thither they swarm, who have the publick Voice:
There choose, if Plenty not distracts thy Choice.
To see and to be seen, in Heaps they run;
Some to undo, and some to be undone.        110
  From Romulus the Rise of Plays began,
To his new Subjects a commodious Man;
Who, his unmarried Soldiers to supply,
Took care the Common-Wealth should multiply:
Providing Sabine Women for his Braves,        115
Like a true King, to get a Race of Slaves.
His Play-House not of Parian Marble made,
Nor was it spread with purple Sayls for shade.
The Stage with Rushes, or with Leaves they strewd:
No Scenes in Prospect, no machining God.        120
On Rows of homely Turf they sate to see,
Crown’d with the Wreaths of every common Tree.
There, while they sat in rustick Majesty,
Each Lover had his Mistress in his Eye;
And whom he saw most suiting to his Mind,        125
For Joys of matrimonial Rape design’d.
Scarce cou’d they wait the Plaudit in their Haste;
But, e’re the Dances and the Song were past,
The Monarch gave the Signal from his Throne;
And rising, bad his merry Men fall on.        130
The Martial Crew, like Soldiers ready prest,
Just at the Word (the Word too was the Best)
With joyful Cries each other animate;
Some choose, and some at Hazzard seize their Mate.
As Doves from Eagles, or from Wolves the Lambs,        135
So from their lawless Lovers fly the Dames.
Their Fear was one, but not one Face of Fear;
Some rend the lovely Tresses of their Hair;
Some shreik, and some are struck with dumb Despair.
Her absent Mother one invokes in vain;        140
One stands amaz’d, not daring to complain;
The nimbler trust their Feet, the slow remain.
But nought availing, all are Captives led,
Trembling and Blushing to the Genial Bed.
She who too long resisted, or deny’d,        145
The lusty Lover made by Force a Bride;
And, with superiour Strength, compell’d her to his Side.
Then sooth’d her thus!—My Soul’s far better Part,
Cease weeping, nor afflict thy tender Heart:
For what thy Father to thy Mother was,        150
That Faith to thee, that solemn Vow I pass!
  Thus Romulus became so popular;
This was the Way to thrive in Peace and War;
To pay his Army, and fresh Whores to bring:
Who wou’d not fight for such a gracious King!        155
  Thus Love in Theaters did first improve;
And Theaters are still the Scene of Love:
Nor shun the Chariots, and the Courser’s Race;
The Circus is no inconvenient Place.
No need is there of talking on the Hand;        160
Nor Nods, nor Signs, which Lovers understand.
But boldly next the fair your Seat provide;
Close as you can to hers; and Side by Side.
Pleas’d or unpleas’d, no matter; crowding sit:
For so the Laws of publick Shows permit.        165
Then find Occasion to begin Discourse;
Enquire, whose Chariot this, and whose that Horse?
To whatsoever Side she is inclin’d,
Suit all your Inclinations to her Mind;
Like what she likes; from thence your Court begin;        170
And whom she favours, wish that he may win.
But when the Statues of the Deities,
In Chariots roll’d, appear before the Prize;
When Venus comes, with deep Devotion rise.
If Dust be on her Lap, or Grains of Sand,        175
Brush both away with your officious Hand.
If none be there, yet brush that nothing thence;
And still to touch her Lap make some Pretence.
Touch any thing of hers; and if her Train
Sweep on the Ground, let it not sweep in vain;        180
But gently take it up, and wipe it clean;
And while you wipe it, with observing Eyes,
Who knows but you may see her naked Thighs!
Observe, who sits behind her; and beware,
Dest his incroaching Knee shou’d press the Fair.        185
Light Service takes light Minds: For some can tell
Of Favours won, by laying Cushions well:
By Fanning Faces some their Fortune meet;
And some by laying Footstools for their Feet.
These Overtures of Love the Circus gives;        190
Nor at the Sword-play less the Lover thrives:
For there the Son of Venus fights his Prize;
And deepest Wounds are oft receiv’d from Eyes.
One, while the Crowd their Acclamations make,
Or while he Betts, and puts his Ring to Stake,        195
Is struck from far, and feels the flying Dart;
And of the Spectacle is made a Part.
  Cæsar wou’d represent a Naval Fight,
For his own Honour, and for Rome’s Delight.
From either Sea the Youths and Maidens come;        200
And all the World was then contain’d in Rome!
In this vast Concourse, in this Choice of Game,
What Roman Heart but felt a foreign Flame?
Once more our Prince prepares to make us glad;
And the remaining East to Rome will add.        205
Rejoice, ye Roman Souldiers, in your Urn;
Your Ensigns from the Parthians shall return;
And the slain Crassi shall no longer mourn.
A youth is sent those trophies to demand;
And bears his father’s thunder in his hand:        210
Doubt not th’ Imperial Boy in Wars unseen;
In Childhood all of Cæsar’s Race are Men.
Celestial Seeds shoot out before their Day,
Prevent their Years, and brook no dull Delay.
Thus Infant Hercules the Snakes did press,        215
And in his Cradle did his Sire confess.
Bacchus a Boy, yet like a Hero fought,
And early Spoils from conquer’d India brought.
Thus you your Father’s Troops shall lead to Fight,
And thus shall vanquish in your Father’s Right.        220
These Rudiments you to your Lineage owe;
Born to increase your Titles as you grow.
Brethren you had, Revenge your Brethren slain;
You have a Father, and his Rights maintain.
Arm’d by your Country’s Parent, and your own,        225
Redeem your Country, and restore his Throne.
Your Enemies assert an impious Cause;
You fight both for divine and humane Laws.
Already in their Cause they are o’ercome:
Subject them too, by Force of Arms, to Rome.        230
Great Father Mars with greater Cæsar joyn,
To give a prosperous Omen to your Line:
One of you is, and one shall be divine.
I prophesy you shall, you shall o’ercome:
My Verse shall bring you back in Triumph Home.        235
Speak in my Verse, exhort to loud Alarms:
O were my Numbers equal to your Arms,
Then will I sing the Parthians Overthrow;
Their Shot averse sent from a flying Bow:
The Parthians, who already flying fight,        240
Already give an Omen of their Flight.
O when will come the Day, by Heav’n design’d,
When thou, the best and fairest of Mankind,
Drawn by white Horses shalt in Triumph ride,
With conquer’d Slaves attending on thy Side;        245
Slaves, that no longer can be safe in Flight;
O glorious Object, O surprizing Sight,
O Day of Publick Joy, too good to end in Night!
On such a Day, if thou, and, next to thee,
Some Beauty sits the Spectacle to see:        250
If she enquire the Names of conquer’d Kings,
Of Mountains, Rivers, and their hidden Springs,
Answer to all thou know’st; and, if need be,
Of things unknown seem to speak knowingly;
This is Euphrates, crown’d with Reeds; and there        255
Flows the swift Tigris with his Sea-green Hair.
Invent new Names of things unknown before;
Call this Armenia, that the Caspian Shore;
Call this a Mede, and that a Parthian Youth;
Talk probably; no Matter for the Truth.        260
  In Feasts, as at our Shows, new Means abound;
More Pleasure there, than that of Wine is found.
The Paphian Goddess there her Ambush lays;
And Love betwixt the Horns of Bacchus plays:
Desires encrease at ev’ry swilling Draught;        265
Brisk Vapours add new Vigour to the Thought.
There Cupid’s purple Wings no Flight afford;
But wet with Wine, he flutters on the Board.
He shakes his Pinnions, but he cannot move;
Fix’d he remains, and turns a Maudlin Love.        270
Wine warms the Blood, and makes the Spirits flow;
Care flies, and Wrinkles from the Forehead go:
Exalts the Poor, Invigorates the Weak;
Gives Mirth and Laughter, and a Rosy Cheek.
Bold Truths it speaks; and, spoken, dares maintain;        275
And brings our old Simplicity again.
Love sparkles in the Cup, and fills it higher:
Wine feeds the Flames, and Fuel adds to Fire.
But choose no Mistress in thy drunken Fit;
Wine gilds too much their Beauties and their Wit.        280
Nor trust thy Judgment when the Tapers dance;
But sober, and by Day, thy Sute advance.
By Day-Light Paris judg’d the beauteous Three;
And for the fairest did the Prize decree.
Night is a Cheat, and all Deformities        285
Are hid, or lessen’d in her dark Disguise.
The Sun’s fair Light each Error will confess,
In Face, in Shape, in Jewels, and in Dress.
  Why name I ev’ry Place where Youths abound?
’Tis Loss of Time, and a too fruitful Ground.        290
The Bajan Baths, where Ships at Anchor ride,
And wholesome Streams from Sulphur Fountains glide;
Where wounded Youths are by Experience taught,
The Waters are less healthful than they thought:
Or Dian’s Fane, which near the Suburb lies,        295
Where Priests, for their Promotion, fight a Prize.
That Maiden Goddess is Love’s mortal Foe
And much from her his Subjects undergo.
  Thus far the sportful Muse, with Myrtle bound,
Has sung where lovely Lasses may be found.        300
Now let me sing, how she who wounds your Mind,
With Art, may be to cure your Wounds inclin’d.
Young Nobles, to my Laws Attention lend;
And all you Vulgar of my School, attend.
  First then believe, all Women may be won;        305
Attempt with Confidence, the Work is done.
The Grasshopper shall first forbear to sing
In Summer Season, or the Birds in Spring,
Than Women can resist your flattering Skill:
Ev’n She will yield, who swears she never will.        310
To Secret Pleasure both the Sexes move;
But Women most, who most dissemble Love.
’Twere best for us, if they wou’d first declare,
Avow their Passion, and submit to Prayer.
The Cow by lowing tells the Bull her Flame:        315
The neighing Mare invites her Stallion to the Game.
Man is more temp’rate in his Lust than they,
And more than Women, can his Passion sway.
Biblis, we know, did first her Love declare,
And had Recourse to Death in her Despair.        320
Her Brother She, her Father Myrrha sought,
And lov’d; but lov’d not as a Daughter ought.
Now from a Tree she stills her odorous Tears,
Which yet the Name of her who shed ’em bears.
  In Ida’s shady Vale a Bull appear’d,        325
White as the Snow, the fairest of the Herd;
A Beauty Spot of black there only rose,
Betwixt his equal Horns and ample Brows:
The Love and Wish of all the Cretan Cows.
The Queen beheld him as his Head he rear’d;        330
And envy’d ev’ry Leap he gave the Herd.
A Secret Fire she nourish’d in her Breast,
And hated ev’ry Heifer he caress’d.
A Story known, and known for true, I tell;
Nor Crete, though lying, can the Truth conceal.        335
She cut him Grass; (so much can Love command)
She strok’d, she fed him with her Royal Hand:
Was pleas’d in Pastures with the Herd to rome;
And Minos by the Bull was overcome.
Cease Queen, with Gemms t’ adorn thy beauteous Brows;        340
The Monarch of thy Heart no Jewel knows.
Nor in thy Glass compose thy Looks and Eyes:
Secure from all thy Charms thy Lover lies:
Yet trust thy Mirrour, when it tells thee true;
Thou art no Heifer to allure his View.        345
Soon wouldst thou quit thy Royal Diadem
To thy fair Rivals, to be horn’d like them.
If Minos please, no Lover seek to find;
If not, at least seek one of humane Kind.
  The wretched Queen the Cretan Court forsakes;        350
In Woods and Wilds her Habitation makes:
She curses ev’ry beauteous Cow she sees;
Ah, why dost thou my Lord and Master please!
And think’st, ungrateful Creature as thou art,
With frisking awkwardly, to gain his Heart.        355
She said; and straight commands, with frowning Look,
To put her, undeserving, to the Yoke;
Or feigns some holy Rites of Sacrifice,
And sees her Rival’s Death with joyful Eyes:
Then, when the Bloody Priest has done his Part,        360
Pleas’d, in her Hand she holds the beating Heart;
Nor from a scornful Taunt can scarce refrain;
Go, Fool, and strive to please my Love again.
  Now she would be Europa—Io, now;
(One bore a Bull; and one was made a Cow.)        365
Yet she at last her Brutal Bliss obtain’d,
And in a woodden Cow the Bull sustain’d;
Fill’d with his Seed, accomplish’d her Desire;
Till, by his Form, the Son betray’d the Sire.
  If Atreus Wife to Incest had not run,        370
(But ah, how hard it is to love but one!)
His Coursers Phœbus had not driv’n away,
To shun that Sight, and interrupt the Day.
Thy Daughter, Nisus, pull’d thy purple Hair,
And barking Sea-Dogs yet her Bowels tear.        375
At Sea and Land Atrides sav’d his Life,
Yet fell a Prey to his adult’rous Wife.
Who knows not what Revenge Medea sought,
When the slain Offspring bore the Father’s Fault?
Thus Phœnix did a Woman’s Love bewail:        380
And thus Hippolitus by Phædra fell.
These Crimes revengeful Matrons did commit:
Hotter their Lust, and sharper is their Wit.
Doubt not from them an easie Victory:
Scarce of a thousand Dames will one deny.        385
All Women are content that Men shou’d woo;
She who complains, and She who will not do.
Rest then secure, whate’er thy Luck may prove,
Not to be hated for declaring Love:
And yet how can’st thou miss, since Woman-kind        390
Is frail and vain, and still to Change inclin’d?
Old Husbands and stale Gallants they despise;
And more another’s than their own, they prize.
A larger Crop adorns our Neighbour’s Field;
More Milk his Kine from swelling Udders yield.        395
  First gain the Maid; By her thou shalt be sure
A free Access, and easie to procure:
Who knows what to her Office does belong,
Is in the Secret, and can hold her Tongue.
Bribe her with Gifts, with Promises, and Pray’rs;        400
For her good Word goes far in Love Affairs.
The Time and fit Occasion leave to her,
When she most aptly can thy Sute prefer.
The Time for Maids to fire their Lady’s Blood,
Is, when they find her in a merry Mood.        405
When all things at her Wish and Pleasure move:
Her heart is open then, and free to Love.
Then Mirth and Wantonness to Lust betray,
And smooth the Passage to the Lover’s Way.
Troy stood the Siege, when fill’d with anxious Care:        410
One merry Fit concluded all the War.
  If some fair Rival vex her jealous Mind,
Offer thy Service to revenge in Kind,
Instruct the Damsel, while she combs her Hair,
To raise the Choler of that injur’d Fair:        415
And sighing, make her Mistress understand,
She has the Means of Vengeance in her Hand.
Then, naming thee, thy humble Suit prefer;
And swear thou languishest and dy’st for her.
Then let her lose no Time, but push at all;        420
For Women soon are rais’d, and soon they fall.
Give their first Fury Leisure to relent,
They melt like Ice, and suddenly repent.
  T’ enjoy the Maid, will that thy Suit advance?
’Tis a hard Question, and a doubtful Chance.        425
One Maid, corrupted, bawds the better for’t;
Another for her self wou’d keep the Sport.
Thy Bus’ness may be further’d or delay’d:
But by my Counsel, let alone the Maid:
Ev’n tho she shou’d consent to do the Feat,        430
The Profit’s little, and the Danger great.
I will not lead thee through a rugged Road;
But where the Way lies open, safe, and broad.
Yet if thou find’st her very much thy Friend,
And her good Face her Diligence commend:        435
Let the fair Mistress have thy first Embrace,
And let the Maid come after in her Place.
  But this I will advise, and mark my Words,
For ’tis the best Advice my Skill affords:
If needs thou with the Damsel wilt begin;        440
Before th’ Attempt is made, make sure to win:
For then the Secret better will be kept;
And she can tell no Tales when once she’s dipt.
’Tis for the Fowlers Interest to beware,
The Bird intangled shou’d not scape the Snare.        445
The Fish, once prick’d, avoids the bearded Hook,
And spoils the Sport of all the neighb’ring Brook.
But if the Wench be thine, she makes thy Way;
And, for thy Sake, her Mistress will betray;
Tell all she knows, and all she hears her say.        450
Keep well the Counsel of thy faithful Spy:
So shalt thou learn whene’er she treads awry.
  All things the Stations of their Seasons keep;
And certain Times there are to sow and reap.
Ploughmen and Sailors for the Season stay,        455
One to plough Land, and one to plough the Sea:
So shou’d the Lover wait the lucky Day.
Then stop thy Suit; it hurts not thy Design:
But think another Hour she may be thine.
And when she celebrates her Birth at home,        460
Or when she views the publick shows of Rome,
Know, all thy Visits then are troublesome.
Defer thy Work, and put not then to Sea,
For that’s a boding and a stormy Day.
Else take thy Time, and, when thou canst, begin:        465
To break a Jewish Sabbath, think no Sin:
Nor ev’n on superstitious Days abstain;
Not when the Romans were at Allia slain.
Ill Omens in her Frowns are understood;
When She’s in humour, ev’ry Day is good.        470
But than her Birth-day seldom comes a worse;
When Bribes and Presents must be sent of course;
And that’s a bloody Day, that costs thy Purse.
Be stanch; yet Parsimony will be vain:
The craving Sex will still the Lover drain.        475
No Skill can shift ’em off, nor Art remove;
They will be Begging, when they know we Love.
The Merchant comes upon th’ appointed Day,
Who shall before thy Face his Wares display.
To chuse for her she craves thy kind Advice;        480
Then begs again, to bargain for the Price:
But when she has her Purchase in her Eye,
She hugs thee close, and kisses thee to buy.
’Tis what I want, and ’tis a Pennorth too;
In many years I will not trouble you.        485
If you complain you have no ready Coin;
No matter, ’tis but Writing of a Line,
A little Bill, not to be paid at Sight;
(Now curse the Time when thou wert taught to Write)
She keeps her Birth-day; you must send the Chear;        490
And she’ll be Born a hundred times a year.
With daily Lies she dribs thee into Cost;
That Ear-ring dropt a Stone, that Ring is lost.
They often borrow what they never pay;
What e’er you lend her, think it thrown away.        495
Had I ten Mouths and Tongues to tell each Art,
All wou’d be weary’d e’er I told a Part.
  By Letters, not by Words, thy Love begin;
And Foord the dangerous Passage with thy Pen.
If to her Heart thou aim’st to find the way,        500
Extreamly Flatter, and extreamly Pray.
Priam by Pray’rs did Hector’s Body gain;
Nor is an Angry God invok’d in vain.
With promis’d Gifts her easy Mind bewitch;
For ev’n the Poor in promise may be Rich.        505
Vain Hopes a while her Appetite will stay;
’Tis a deceitful, but commodious way.
Who gives is Mad, but make her still believe
’Twill come, and that’s the cheapest way to give.
Ev’n barren Lands fair promises afford;        510
But the lean Harvest cheats the starving Lord.
Buy not thy first Enjoyment; lest it prove
Of bad example to thy future Love:
But get it gratis; and she’ll give thee more,
For fear of losing what she gave before.        515
The losing Gamester shakes the Box in vain,
And Bleeds, and loses on, in hopes to gain.
  Write then, and in thy Letter, as I said,
Let her with mighty Promises be fed.
Cydippe by a Letter was betray’d,        520
Writ on an Apple to th’ unwary Maid.
She read herself into a Marriage Vow;
(And ev’ry Cheat in Love the Gods allow.)
Learn Eloquence, ye noble Youth of Rome;
It will not only at the Bar o’ercome:        525
Sweet words the People and the Senate move;
But the chief end of Eloquence is Love.
But in thy Letter hide thy moving Arts;
Affect not to be thought a Man of Parts.
None but vain Fools to simple Women Preach;        530
A learned Letter oft has made a Breach.
In a familiar Style your Thoughts convey,
And Write such things, as Present you wou’d say;
Such words as from the Heart may seem to move:
’Tis Wit enough to make her think you Love.        535
If Seal’d she sends it back, and will not read:
Yet hope, in time, the business may succeed.
In time the Steer will to the Yoke submit;
In time the restiff Horse will bear the Bit.
Ev’n the hard Plough-share use will wear away;        540
And stubborn Steel in length of time decay.
Water is soft, and Marble hard; and yet
We see soft Water through hard Marble Eat.
Though late, yet Troy at length in Flames expir’d;
And ten years more Penelope had tir’d.        545
Perhaps, thy Lines unanswer’d she retain’d;
No matter; there’s a Point already gain’d:
For she who Reads, in time will Answer too;
Things must be left by just degrees to grow.
Perhaps she Writes, but Answers with disdain,        550
And sharply bids you not to Write again:
What she requires, she fears you shou’d accord;
The Jilt wou’d not be taken at her word.
  Mean time, if she be carried in her Chair,
Approach; but do not seem to know she’s there.        555
Speak softly, to delude the Standers by;
Or, if aloud, then speak ambiguously.
If Santring in the Portico she Walk,
Move slowly too; for that’s a time for talk:
And sometimes follow, sometimes be her guide:        560
But when the Croud permits, go side by side
Nor in the Play-House let her sit alone:
For she’s the Play-House and the Play in one.
There thou may’st ogle, or by signs advance
Thy suit, and seem to touch her Hand by chance.        565
Admire the Dancer who her liking gains,
And pity in the Play the Lover’s pains;
For her sweet sake the loss of time despise;
Sit while she sits, and when she rises rise.
But dress not like a Fop; nor curle your Hair,        570
Nor with a Pumice make your body bare.
Leave those effeminate and useless toys
To Eunuchs, who can give no solid joys.
Neglect becomes a Man: this Theseus found:
Uncurl’d, uncomb’d, the Nymph his Wishes Crown’d.        575
The rough Hippolitus was Phædra’s care;
And Venus thought the rude Adonis fair.
Be not too Finical; but yet be clean;
And wear well-fashion’d Cloaths, like other Men.
Let not your Teeth be yellow, or be foul;        580
Nor in wide Shoes your Feet too loosely roul.
Of a black Muzzel, and long Beard beware;
And let a skilful Barber cut your Hair:
Your Nailes be pick’d from filth, and even par’d;
Nor let your nasty Nostrils bud with Beard.        585
Cure your unsav’ry Breath, gargle your Throat,
And free your Arm-pits from the Ram and Goat.
Dress not, in short, too little, or too much;
And be not wholly French, nor wholly Dutch.
  Now Bacchus calls me to his jolly Rites:        590
Who wou’d not follow, when a God invites?
He helps the Poet, and his Pen inspires,
Kind and indulgent to his former Fires.
  Fair Ariadne wander’d on the shore,
Forsaken now; and Theseus Loves 3 no more:        595
Loose was her Gown, dishevel’d was her Hair;
Her Bosom naked, and her Feet were bare:
Exclaiming, in 4 the Waters brink she stood;
Her briny Tears augment the briny Flood.
She shreik’d, and wept, and both became her Face:        600
No posture cou’d that Heav’nly form disgrace.
She beat her Breast: The Traytor’s gone, said she,
What shall become of poor forsaken me?
What shall become——she had not time for more,
The sounding Cymbals ratled on the Shore.        605
She swoons for fear, she falls upon the Ground;
No vital heat was in her body found.
The Mimallonian Dames about her stood;
And scudding Satyrs ran before their God.
Silenus on his Ass did next appear,        610
And held upon the Mane (the God was clear)
The drunken Syre pursues; the Dames retire;
Sometimes the drunken Dames pursue the drunken Syre.
At last he topples over on the Plain;
The Satyrs laugh, and bid him rise again.        615
And now the God of Wine came driving on,
High on his Chariot by swift Tygers drawn,
Her Colour, Voice, and Sense forsook the fair;
Thrice did her trembling Feet for flight prepare,
And thrice affrighted did her flight forbear.        620
She shook, like leaves of Corn when Tempests blow
Or slender Reeds that in the Marshes grow.
To whom the God—Compose thy fearful Mind;
In me a truer Husband thou shalt find.
With Heav’n I will endow thee; and thy Star        625
Shall with propitious Light be seen afar,
And guide on Seas the doubtful Mariner.
He said; and from his Chariot leaping light;
Lest the grim Tygers shou’d the Nymph affright,
His brawny Arms around her wast he threw;        630
(For Gods, what ere they will, with ease can do:)
And swiftly bore her thence: th’ attending throng
Shout at the Sight, and sing the Nuptial song.
Now in full bowls her Sorrow she may steep:
The Bridegroom’s Liquor lays the Bride asleep.        635
  But thou, when flowing Cups in Triumph ride,
And the lov’d Nymph is seated by thy side;
Invoke the God, and all the mighty Pow’rs,
That Wine may not defraud thy Genial hours.
Then in ambiguous Words thy suit prefer;        640
Which she may know were all addrest to her,
In liquid purple Letters write her Name,
Which she may read, and reading find thy Flame.
Then may your Eyes confess your mutual Fires;
(For Eyes have Tongues, and glances tell desires)        645
Whene’er she Drinks, be first to take the Cup;
And where she laid her Lips, the Blessing sup.
When she to Carving does her Hand advance,
Put out thy own, and touch it as by chance.
Thy service ev’n her Husband must attend:        650
(A Husband is a most convenient Friend.)
Seat the fool Cuckold in the highest place:
And with thy 5 Garland his dull Temples grace.
Whether below, or equal in degree,
Let him be Lord of all the Company;        655
And what he says, be seconded by Thee.
’Tis common to deceive through friendships Name:
But common though it be, ’tis still to blame:
Thus Factors frequently their Trust betray,
And to themselves their Masters gains convey.        660
Drink to a certain Pitch, and then give o’re;
Thy Tongue and Feet may stumble, drinking more.
Of drunken Quarrels in her sight beware;
Pot Valour only serves to fright the Fair.
Eurytion justly fell, by Wine opprest,        665
For his rude Riot at a Wedding-Feast.
Sing, if you have a Voice; and show your Parts
In Dancing, if endu’d with Dancing Arts.
Do any thing within your power to please;
Nay, ev’n affect a seeming Drunkenness;        670
Clip every word; and if by chance you speak
Too home; or if too broad a Jest you break;
In your excuse the Company will joyn,
And lay the Fault upon the Force of Wine.
True Drunkenness is subject to offend;        675
But when ’tis feign’d, ’tis oft a Lover’s Friend.
Then safely you may praise her beauteous Face,
And call him Happy, who is in her grace.
Her Husband thinks himself the Man design’d;
But curse the Cuckold in your secret Mind.        680
When all are risen, and prepare to go,
Mix with the Croud, and tread upon her Toe.
This is the proper time to make thy Court;
For now she’s in the Vein, and fit for Sport;
Lay Bashfulness, that rustick Virtue, by;        685
To manly Confidence thy Thoughts apply.
On Fortune’s Foretop timely fix thy hold;
Now speak and speed, for Venus loves the old.
No Rules of Rhetorick here I need afford:
Only begin, and trust the following word;        690
It will be Witty of its own accord.
  Act well the Lover, let thy Speech abound
In dying words, that represent thy Wound.
Distrust not her belief; she will be mov’d;
All women think they merit to be lov’d.        695
  Sometimes a Man begins to Love in Jest,
And, after, feels the Torments he profest.
For your own sakes be pitiful ye Fair;
For a feign’d Passion may a true prepare.
By Flatteries we prevail on Woman-kind;        700
As hollow Banks by Streams are undermin’d.
Tell her, her Face is Fair, her Eyes are Sweet
Her Taper Fingers praise, and little Feet.
Such Praises ev’n the Chast are pleas’d to hear;
Both Maids and Matrons hold their Beauty dear.        705
  Once naked Pallas with Jove’s Queen appear’d;
And still they grieve that Venus was prefer’d.
Praise the proud Peacock, and he spreads his Train;
Be silent, and he pulls it in again.
Pleas’d is the Courser in his rapid Race;        710
Applaud his Running, and he mends his pace.
But largely promise, and devoutly swear;
And, if need be, call ev’ry God to hear.
Jove sits above, forgiving with a Smile
The Perjuries that easy Maids beguile.        715
He swore to Juno by the Stygian Lake:
Forsworn, he dares not an Example make,
Or punish Falshood, for his own dear sake.
’Tis for our Int’rest that the Gods shou’d be;
Let us believe ’em: I believe, they see,        720
And both reward, and punish equally.
Not that they live above like lazy Drones,
Or Kings below, supine upon their Thrones.
Lead then your Lives as present in their sight;
Be Just in Dealings, and defend the right;        725
By Fraud betray not, nor Oppress by Might.
But ’tis a Venial Sin to Cheat the Fair;
All Men have Liberty of Conscience there.
On cheating Nymphs a Cheat is well design’d;
  ’Tis a prophane and a deceitful Kind.        730
’Tis said, that Ægypt for nine Years was dry,
Nor Nile did Floods, nor Heav’n did Rain supply.
A Foreigner at length inform’d the King,
That slaughter’d Guests would kindly Moisture bring.
The King reply’d, On thee the Lot shall fall,        735
Be thou, my Guest, 6 the Sacrifice for all.
Thus Phalaris, Perillus taught to low,
And made him season first the brazen Cow.
A rightful Doom, the Laws of Nature cry,
’Tis, the Artificers of Death should die.        740
Thus justly Women suffer by Deceit;
Their Practice authorizes us to cheat.
Beg her, with Tears, thy warm Desires to grant;
For Tears will pierce a Heart of Adamant.
If Tears will not be squeez’d, then rub your Eye,        745
Or noint the Lids, and seem at least to cry.
Kiss, if you can: Resistance if she make,
And will not give you Kisses, let her take.
Fie, fie, you naughty Man, are Words of Course;
She struggles but to be subdu’d by Force.        750
Kiss only soft, I charge you, and beware,
With your hard Bristles not to brush the Fair.
He who has gain’d a Kiss, and gains no more,
Deserves to lose the Bliss he got before.
If once she kiss, her Meaning is exprest;        755
There wants but little Pushing for the rest.
Which if thou dost not gain, by Strength or Art,
The Name of Clown then suits with thy Desert;
’Tis downright Dulness, and a shameful Part.
Perhaps, she calls it Force; but, if she ’scape,        760
She will not thank you for th’ omitted Rape.
The Sex is cunning to conceal their Fires;
They would be forc’d, ev’n to their own Desires.
They seem t’ accuse you, with a down-cast Sight,
But in their Souls confess you did them right.        765
Who might be forc’d, and yet untouch’d depart,
Thank with their Tongues, but curse you with their Heart.
Fair Phœbe and her Sister did prefer,
To their dull Mates, the noble Ravisher.
  What Deidamia did, in Days of Yore,        770
The Tale is old, but worth the reading o’er.
  When Venus had the golden Apple gain’d,
And the just Judge fair Hellen had obtain’d:
When she with Triumph was at Troy receiv’d,
The Trojans joyful while the Grecians griev’d:        775
They vow’d Revenge of violated Laws,
And Greece was arming in the Cuckold’s Cause:
Achilles, by his Mother warn’d from War,
Disguis’d his Sex, and lurk’d among the Fair,
What means Eacides to spin and sow?        780
With Spear, and Sword, in Field thy Valour show;
And, leaving this, the Nobler Pallas know.
Why dost thou in that Hand the Distaff wield,
Which is more worthy to sustain a Shield?
Or with that other draw the woolly Twine,        785
The same the Fates for Hector’s Thread assign?
Brandish thy Fauchion in thy pow’rful Hand,
Which can alone the pond’rous Lance command.
In the same Room by chance the Royal Maid
Was lodg’d, and, by his seeming Sex betray’d,        790
Close to her Side the Youthful Heroe laid.
I know not how his Courtship he began;
But, to her Cost, she found it was a Man.
’Tis thought she struggled; but withal ’tis thought,
Her Wish was to be conquer’d, when she fought.        795
For when disclos’d, and hast’ning to the Field,
He laid his Distaff down, and took the Shield,
With Tears her humble Suit she did prefer,
And thought to stay the grateful Ravisher.
She sighs, she sobs, she begs him not to part:        800
And now ’tis Nature, what before was Art.
She strives by Force her Lover to detain,
And wishes to be ravish’d once again.
This is the Sex; they will not first begin,
But, when compell’d, are pleas’d to suffer Sin.        805
Is there, who thinks that Women first should woo;
Lay by thy Self-Conceit, thou foolish Beaux.
Begin, and save their Modesty the Shame;
’Tis well for thee, if they receive thy Flame.
’Tis decent for a Man to speak his Mind;        810
They but expect th’ Occasion to be kind.
Ask, that thou may’st enjoy; she waits for this;
And on thy first Advance depends thy Bliss.
Ev’n Jove himself was forc’d to sue for Love;
None of the Nymphs did first sollicit Jove.        815
But if you find your Pray’rs encrease her Pride,
Strike Sail awhile, and wait another Tide.
They fly when we pursue; but make Delay,
And when they see you slacken, they will stay.
Sometimes it profits to conceal your End;        820
Name not your self her Lover, but her Friend.
How many skittish Girls have thus been caught?
He prov’d a Lover, who a Friend was thought.
Sailors by Sun and Wind are swarthy made;
A tann’d Complexion best becomes their Trade.        825
’Tis a Disgrace to Ploughmen to be fair;
Bluff Cheeks they have, and weather-beaten Hair.
Th’ ambitious Youth, who seeks an Olive Crown,
Is Sun-burnt with his daily Toil, and brown.
But if the Lover hopes to be in Grace,        830
Wan be his Looks, and meager be his Face.
That Colour, from the Fair, Compassion draws:
She thinks you sick, and thinks herself the Cause.
Orion wander’d in the Woods for Love,
His Paleness did the Nymphs to Pity move;        835
His ghastly Visage argu’d hidden Love.
Nor fail a Night-Cap, in full Health, to wear;
Neglect thy Dress, and discompose thy Hair.
All things are decent, that in Love avail.
Read long by Night, and study to be pale:        840
Forsake your Food, refuse your needful Rest;
Be miserable, that you may be blest.
  Shall I complain, or shall I warn you most?
Faith, Truth, and Friendship in the World are lost;
A little and an empty Name they boast.        845
Trust not thy Friend, much less thy Mistress praise:
If he believe, thou may’st a Rival raise.
’Tis true, Patroclus, by no Lust mis-led,
Sought not to stain his dear Companion’s Bed.
Nor Pylades Hermione embrac’d;        850
Ev’n Phædra to Perithous still was chaste.
But hope not thou, in this vile Age, to find
Those rare Examples of a faithful Mind.
The Sea shall sooner with sweet Hony flow;
Or from the Furzes Pears and Apples grow.        855
We Sin with Gust, we love by Fraud to gain:
And find a Pleasure in our Fellows Pain.
From Rival Foes you may the Fair defend;
But would you ward the Blow, beware your Friend.
Beware your Brother, and your next of Kin;        860
But from your Bosom Friend your Care begin.
  Here I had ended, but Experience finds,
That sundry Women are of sundry Minds;
With various Crochets fill’d, and hard to please;
They therefore must be caught by various Ways.        865
All things are not produc’d in any Soil;
This Ground for Wine is proper, that for Oil.
So ’tis in Men, but more in women-kind:
Diff’rent in Face, in Manners, and in Mind:
But wise Men shift their Sails with ev’ry Wind:        870
As changeful Proteus vary’d oft his Shape,
And did in sundry Forms and Figures ’scape;
A running Stream, a standing Tree became,
A roaring Lyon, or a bleating Lamb.
Some Fish with Harpons, some with Darts are strook,        875
Some drawn with Nets, some hang upon the Hook:
So turn thy self; and, imitating them,
Try sev’ral Tricks, and change thy Stratagem.
One Rule will not for diff’rent Ages hold;
The Jades grow cunning, as they grow more old.        880
Then talk not Bawdy to the bashful Maid;
Bug 7 words will make her Innocence afraid.
Nor to an ign’rant Girl of Learning speak;
She thinks you conjure, when you talk in Greek
And hence ’tis often seen, the Simple shun        885
The Learn’d, and into vile Embraces run.
  Part of my Task is done, and part to do;
But here ’tis time to rest my self and you.
Note 1. Text of 1709. [back]
Note 2. Assemblies] Some editors give Assembly. [back]
Note 3. Loves] The editors wrongly give loved. [back]
Note 4. in] The editors give on. [back]
Note 5. thy] The editors nonsensically give the. [back]
Note 6. Be thou, my Guest] The editors give Be thou my Guest. [back]
Note 7. Bug] The editors give Broad. [back]

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