Book IIIThe men are arm'd, and for the fight prepare,
And now we must instruct and arm the fair.
Both sexes, well appointed, take the field,
And mighty love determine which shall yield.
Man were ignoble when thus arm'd to show
Unequal force against a naked foe;
No glory from such conquest can be gain'd,
And odds are always by the brave disdain'd.
"But," some exclaim, " what phrensy rules your mind?
Would you increase the craft of womankind ?
Teach them new wiles and arts? As well you may
Instruct a snake to bite, or wolf to prey."
But sure too hard a censure they pursue
Who charge on all the failings of a few;
Examine first impartially each fair,
Then, as she merits, or condemn or spare.
If Menelaus, and the king of men,1
With justice of their sister-wives complain;
If false Eriphyle forsook her faith,
And for reward procur'd her husband's death;
Penelope was loyal2 still, and chaste,
Tho' twenty years her lord in absence pass'd.
Reflect how Laodamia's truth was tried,
Who, tho' in bloom of youth and beauty's pride,
To share her husband's fate untimely died.3
Think how Alceste's piety was prov'd,
Who lost her life to save the man she lov'd.
Receive me, Capaneus," Evadne cried;
"Nor death itself our nuptials shall divide!
To join thy ashes pleas'd I shall expire;"
She said, and leap'd amidst the fun'ral fire.
Virtue herself a goddess we confess,4
Both female in her name and in her dress;
No wonder then, if to her sex inclin'd,
She cultivates with care a female mind.
But these exalted souls exceed the reach
Of that soft art which I pretend to teach.
My tender bark requires a gentle gale,
A little wind will fill a little sail.
Of sportful loves I sing, and shew what ways
The willing nymph must use her bliss to raise,
And how to captivate the man she'd please.
Woman is soft, and of a tender heart,
Apt to receive, and to retain love's dart;
Man has a breast robust, and more secure,
It wounds him not so deep, nor hits so sure.
Men oft are false, and, if you search with care,
You'll find less fraud imputed to the fair.
The faithless Jason from Medea fled
And made Creusa partner of his bed.
Bright Ariadne, on an unknown shore,
Thy absence, perjur'd Theseus, did deplore.
If then the wild inhabitants of air
Forbore her tender lovely limbs to tear,
It was not owing, Theseus, to thy care.
Enquire the cause, and let Demophoon tell
Why Phyllis by a fate untimely fell.5
Nine times, in vain, upon the promis'd day,
She sought th' appointed shore, and view'd the sea;
Her fall the fading trees consent to mourn,
And shed their leaves round her lamented urn.
The prince so far for piety renown'd,
To thee, Eliza, was unfaithful found;
To thee forlorn, and languishing with grief,
His sword alone he left, thy last relief.
Ye ruin'd nymphs, shall I the cause impart
Of all your woes? 'Twas want of needful art;
Love, of itself, too quickly will expire,
But powerful art perpetuates desire.
Women had yet their ignorance bewail'd,
Had not this art by Venus been reveal'd.
Before my sight the Cyprian goddess shone
And thus she said, "What have poor woman done!
Why is that weak, defenceless sex expos'd;
On ev'ry side, by men well arm'd, inclos'd?
Twice are the men instructed by thy muse,
Nor must she now to teach the sex refuse.
The bard who injur'd Helen in his song,
Recanted after, and redress'd the wrong.
And you, if on my favour you depend,
The cause of woman, while you live, defend."
This said, a myrtle sprig, which berries bore,
She gave me (for a myrtle wreath she wore.)
The gift receiv'd, my sense enlighten'd grew,
And from her presence inspiration drew.
Attend, ye nymphs, by wedlock unconfin'd,
And hear my precepts, while she prompts my mind.6
E'en now, in bloom of youth, and beauty's prime,
Beware of coming age, nor waste your time;
Now, while you may, and rip'ning years invite,
Enjoy the seasonable, sweet delight;
For rolling years, like stealing waters, glide,
For hope to stop their ever ebbing tide;
Think not hereafter will the loss repay;
For ev'ry morrow will the taste decay,
And leave less relish than the former day
I've seen the time, when, on that wither'd thorn,
The blooming rose vied with the blushing morn.7
With fragrant wreaths I thence have decked my head,
And see how leafless now, and how decay'd!
And you, who now the love-sick youth reject,
Will prove in age, what pains attend neglect.
None, then will press upon your midnight hours,
Nor wake to strew your street with morning flow'rs.
Then nightly knockings at your doors will cease,
Whose noiseless hammer, then, may rest in peace.
Alas, how soon a clear complexion fades!
How soon a wrinkled skin plump flesh invades!
And what avails it, tho' the fair one swears
She from her infancy had some grey hairs ?
She grows all hoary in a few more years,
And then the venerable truth appears.
The snake his skin, the deer his horns may cast,
And both renew their youth and vigor past;
But no receipt can human-kind relieve,
Doom'd to decrepit age, without reprieve.
Then crop the flow'r which yet invites your eye,
And which, ungather'd, on its stalk must die.
Besides, the tender sex is form'd to bear,
And frequent births too soon will youth impair;
Continual harvest wears the fruitful field,
And earth itself decays, too often till'd.
Thou didst not, Cynthia, scorn the Latmian swain;
Nor thou, Aurora, Cephalus disdain;
The Paphian Queen, who, for Adonis' fate
So deeply mourn'd, and who laments him yet,
Has not been found inexorable since;
Witness Harmonia, and the Dardan prince.
Then take example, mortals, from above,
And like immortals live, and like 'em love.
Refuse not those delights, which men require,
Nor let your lovers languish with desire.
False tho' they prove, what loss can you sustain?
Thence let a thousand take, 'twill all remain.
Tho' constant use, e'en flint and steel impairs,
What you employ no diminution fears,
Who would, to light a torch, their torch deny?
Or who can dread drinking an ocean dry?
Still women lose, you cry, if men obtain;
What do they lose, that's worthy to retain?
Think not this said to prostrate the sex,
But undeceive whom needless fears perplex.
Thus far the gentle breeze supplies our sail,
Now launch'd to sea we ask a brisker gale.
And, first, we treat of dress. The well-dress'd vine
Produces plumpest grapes, and richest wine;
And plenteous crops of golden grain are found,
Alone, to grace uncultivated ground.
Beauty's the gift of gods, the sex's pride!
Yet to how many is that gift deny'd?
Art helps a face; a face, tho' heav'nly fair,
May quickly fade for want of needful care.
In ancient days, if women slighted dress,
Then men were ruder too, and lik'd it less.
If Hector's spouse was clad in stubborn stuff,
A soldier's wife became it well enough.
Ajax, to shield his ample breast, provides
Seven lusty bulls, and tans their sturdy hides;
And might not he, d'ye think, be well caress'd,
And yet his wife not elegantly dress'd?
With rude simplicity Rome first was built,
Which now we see adorned, and gilt.
This capitol with that of old compare;8
Some other Jove you'd think was worship'd there.
That lofty pile where senates dictate law,9
When Tatius reign'd, was poorly thatch'd with straw;
And where Apollo's fane refulgent stands,
Was heretofore a tract of pasture lands.
Let ancient manners other men delight;
But me the modern please, as more polite.
Not that materials now in gold are wrought,
And distant shores for orient pearls are sought;
Not for, that hills exhaust their marble veins,
And structures rise whose bulks the sea retains;
But that the world is civilis'd of late,
And polish'd from the rust of former date.
Let not the nymph with pendants load her ear,
Nor in embroid'ry, or brocade, appear;
Too rich a dress may sometimes check desire,
And cleanliness more animate love's fire,
The hair dispos'd, may gain or lose a grace,
And much become or misbecome the face.
What suits your features of your glass enquire;
For no one rule is fixed for head attire,
A face too long should part and flat the hair.
Lest upward comb'd, the length too much appear:
So Laodamia dress'd. A face too round
Should show the ears, and with a tour be crown'd.
On either shoulder, one, her locks displays;
Adorn'd like Phoebus, when he sings his lays;
Another, all her tresses tie behind;
So dressed, Diana hunts the fearful hind.
Dishevelled locks most graceful are to some;
Others, the binding fillets more become:
Some plait, like spiral shells, their braided hair,
Others, the loose and waving curl prefer.
But to recount the several dresses worn,10
Which artfully each several face adorn,
Were endless as to tell the leaves on trees,
The beasts on Alpine hills, or Hybla bees.
Many there are who seem to slight all care,
And with a pleasing negligence ensnare:
Whole mornings, oft in such a dress are spent,
And all is art, that looks like accident.
With such disorder Iole was grac'd,
When great Alcides first the nymph embrac'd.
So Ariadne came to Bacchus' bed,
When with the conqueror from Crete she fled.
Nature indulgent to the sex, repays
The losses they sustain by various ways.
Men ill supply those hairs they shed in age,11
Lost like autumnal leaves when north winds rage.
Women with juice of herbs gray locks disguise,12
And art gives colour which with nature vies;
The well-wove tours they wear, their own art thought,
But only are their own, as what they've bought.
Nor need they blush to buy heads ready dress'd,
And choose at public shops what suits 'em best.
Costly apparel let the fair one fly,
Enrich'd with gold, or with the Tyrian dye,13
What folly must in such expense appear,
When more becoming colors are less dear!
One with a die is ting'd of lovely blue,
Such as through air serene the sky we view,
With yellow lustre see another spread,
As if the golden fleece compos'd the thread.14
Some of the sea green wave the cast display;
With this the nymphs their beauteous forms array;
And some the saffron hue will well adorn;
Such is the mantle of the blushing morn.
Of myrtle-berries, one, the tincture shows,
In this, of amethysts, the purple glows,
And that more imitates the paler rose.
Nor Thracian cranes forget, whose silv'ry plumes
Give patterns which employ the mimic looms.
Nor almond nor the chesnut dye disclaim,
Nor others which from wax derive their name.
As fields you find, with various flowers o'erspread,
When vineyards bud, and winter's frost is fled;
So various are the colours you may try,
Of which the thirsty wool imbibes the dye.
Try ev'ry one; what best becomes you wear,
For no complexion all alike can bear.
If fair the skin, black may become it best,
In black the lovely fair Briseis dress'd;
If brown the nymph, let her be cloth'd in white,
Andromeda so charm'd the wond'ring sight.
I need not warn you of too powerful smells,
Which sometimes health or kindly heat expels;
Nor from your tender legs to pluck with care
The casual growth of all unseemly hair.
Tho' not to nymphs of Caucasus I sing,
Nor such who taste remote the Mysian spring,
Yet let me warn you that thro' no neglect
You let your teeth disclose the least defect.
You know the use of white to make you fair,
And how with red lost colour to repair;
Imperfect eyebrows you by art can mend,
And skin, when wanting, o'er a scar extend;
Nor need the fair one be asham'd, who tries
By art to add new lustre to her eyes.
A little book I've made, but with great care,
How to preserve the face, and how repair.
In that, the nymphs by time or chance annoy'd,
May see what pains to please 'em I've employ'd,
But still beware that from your lover's eye
You keep conceal'd the med'cines you apply:
Tho' art assists, yet must that art be hid,
Lest whom it would invite it should forbid.
Who would not take offence to see a face
All daub'd and dripping with the melted grease?
And tho' your unguents bear th' Athenian name,
The wool's unsav'ry scent is still the same.
Marrow of stags, nor your pomatums try,
Nor clean your furry teeth when men are by;
For many things, when done, afford delight,
Which yet, while doing, may offend the sight.
E'en Myro's statues, which for art surpass
All others, once were but a shapeless mass;
Rude was that gold which now in rings is worn,
As once the robe you wear was wool unshorn;
Think, how that stone rough in the quarry grew,
Which now a perfect Venus shews to view.15
While we suppose you sleep, repair your face,
Lock'd from observers, in some secret place;
Add the last hand before yourselves you show,
Your need of art why should your lover know?
For many things when most conceal'd are best,
And few of strict enquiry bear the test.
Those figures which in theatres are seen,
Gilded without, are common wood within.
But no spectators are allow'd to pry
Till all is finished which allures the eye.
Yet, I must own, it oft affords delight
To have the fair one comb her hair in sight;
To view the flowing honours of her head
Fall on her neck, and o'er her shoulders spread.
But let her look that she with care avoid
All fretful humours while she's so employ'd;
Let her not still undo, with peevish haste,
All that her woman does, who does her best.
I hate a vixen that her maid assails,
And scratches with her bodkin or her nails;
While the poor girl in blood and tears must mourn,
And her heart curses what her hands adorn,
Let her who has no hair, or has but some,
Plant sentinels before her dressing-room;
Or in the fane of the good goddess dress,
Where all the male kind are debarr'd access.
'Tis said that I (but 'tis a tale devis'd)
A lady at her toilet once surpris'd,
Who starting, snatch'd in haste the tour she wore,
And in her hurry placed the hinder part before.
But on our foes fall ev'ry such disgrace,
Or barb'rous beauties of the Parthian race.
Ungraceful 'tis to see without a horn
The lofty hart whom branches best adorn,
A leafless tree, or an unverdant mead,
And as ungraceful is a hairless head.
But think not these instructions are design'd
For first-rate beauties of the finish'd kind;
Not to a Semele, or a Leda bright,16
Nor an Europa, these my rules I write;17
Nor the fair Helen18 do I teach, whose charms
Stirr'd up Atrides and all Greece to arms;
Thee to regain well was that war begun,
And Paris well defended what he won:
What lover or what husband would not fight
In such a cause, where both are in the right?
The crowd I teach, some homely and some fair,
But of the former sort the larger share.
The handsome least require the help of art,
Rich in themselves, and pleas'd with nature's part.
When calm the sea, at ease the pilot lies,
But all his skill exerts when storms arise.
Faults in your person or your face correct;
And few are seen that have not some defect.
The nymph too short her seat should seldom quit,
Lest when she stands she may be thought to sit;
And when extended on her couch she lies,
Let length of petticoats conceal her size.
The lean of thick wrought stuff her clothes should choose,
And fuller made than what the plumper use.
If pale, let her the crimson juice apply;
If swarthy, to the Pharian varnish fly.
A leg too lank tight garters still must wear,
Nor should an ill-shap'd foot be ever bare.
Round shoulders, bolster'd,19 will appear the least;
And lacing straight confines too full a breast.
Whose fingers are too fat, and nails too coarse,
Should always shun much gesture in discourse;
And you whose breath is touch'd, this caution take,
Nor fasting, nor too near another, speak.
Let not the nymph with laughter much abound,
Whose teeth are black, uneven, or unsound.
You'd hardly think how much on this depends,
And how a laugh or spoils a face or mends.
Gape not too wide, lest you disclose your gums,
And lose the dimple which the cheek becomes.
Nor let your sides too long concussions shake,
Lest you the softness of the sex forsake:
In some, distortions quite the face disguise;
Another laughs, that you would think she cries.
In one, too hoarse a voice we hear betray'd;
Another's is as harsh as if she bray'd.
What cannot art attain! Many, with ease,
Have learn'd to weep, both when and how they please.
Others thro' affectation lisp; and find
In imperfection charms to catch mankind.
Neglect no means which may promote your end;
Now learn what way of walking recommends.
Too masculine a motion shocks the sight;
But female grace allures with strange delight.
One has an artful swing and jut behind,
Which helps her coats to catch the swelling wind;
Swell'd with the wanton wind, they loosely flow,
And ev'ry step and graceful motion show.
Another, like an Umbrian's sturdy spouse,
Strides all the space her petticoats allows.
Between extremes, in this, a mean adjust,
Nor show too nice a gait, nor too robust.
If snowy white your neck, you still should wear
That, and the shoulder of the left arm bare;
Such sights ne'er fail to fire my am'rous heart,
And make me pant to kiss the naked part.
Sirens, tho' monsters of the stormy main,20
Can ships, when under sail, with songs detain:
Scarce could Ulysses by his friends be bound,
When first he listen'd to the charming sound,
Singing insinuates, learn all ye maids;
Oft when a face forbids, a voice persuades.
Whether on theatres loud strains we hear,
Or in Ruelles some soft Egyptian air.21
Well shall she sing, of whom I make my choice,
And with her lute accompany her voice.
The rocks were stirr'd, the beasts to listen staid
When on his lyre melodious Orpheus play'd,
Even Cerberus and hell that sound obey'd,
And stones officious were thy walls to raise.
0, Thebes, attracted by Amphion's lays.22
The dolphin, dumb itself, thy voice admir'd,
And was, Arion, by thy songs inspir'd.23
Of sweet Callimachus the works rehearse,24
And real Philetas and Anacreon's verse,25
Terentian plays may much the mind improve;26
But softest Sappho best instructs to love.27
Propertius28, Gallus, and Tibullus29 read,
And let Varronian verse to these succeed.
Then mighty Maro's work with care peruse;
Of all the Latians boards the noblest muse,
Even I, 'tis possible, in after-days,
May 'scape oblivion, and be nam'd with these.
My labour'd lines, some readers may approve,
Since I've instructed either sex in love.
Whatever book you read of this soft art,
Read with a lover's voice and lover's heart.
Tender epistles too, by me are fram'd,
A work before unthought of, and unnam'd.
Such was your sacred will, 0, tuneful nine!
Such thine Apollo, and Lycreus, thine!
Still unaccomplish'd may the maid be thought,
Who gracefully to dance was never taught:
That active dancing may to love engage,
Witness the well-kept dancers of the stage.30
Of some odd trifles I'm asham'd to tell,
Tho' it becomes the sex to trifle well;
To raffle prettily, or slur a die,
Implies both cunning and dexterity;
Nor is't amiss at chess to be expert,31
For games most thoughtful, sometimes most divert.
Learn ev'ry game, you'll find it prove of use;
Parties begun at play may love produce:
But easier 'tis to learn how bets to lay,
Than how to keep your temper while you play.
Unguarded then, each breast is open laid,
And while the head's intent, the heart's betray'd.
Then base desire of gain, then rage appears,
Quarrels and brawls arise, and anxious fears;
Then clamours and revilings reach the sky,
While losing gamsters all the gods defy.
They grieve, and curse, and storm, nay weep at last.
Good Jove avert such shameful faults as these,
From ev'ry nymph whose heart's inclin'd to please
Soft recreations fit the female kind;
Nature, for men, has rougher sports design'd:
To wield the sword and hurl the pointed spear;
To stop or turn the steed in full career.
Tho' martial fields ill suit your tender frames,
Nor may you swim in Tiber's rapid streams;
Yet when Sol's burning wheels from Leo drive,32
And at the glowing Virgin's sign arrive,
'Tis both allow'd and fit you should repair,
To pleasant walks, and breathe refreshing air.
To Pompey's gardens,33 or the shady groves
Which Caesar honours, and which Phoebus loves:
Phoebus, who sunk the proud Egyptian fleet,34
And made Augustus' victory complete.
Or seek those shades, where monuments of fame
Are raised to Livia's or Octavia's name;
Or where Agrippa first adorn'd the ground,
When he with naval victory was crown'd.
To Isis' fine, to theatres resort;
And in the circus see the noble sport.
In ev'ry public place, by turns be shown;
In vain you're fair while you remain unknown.
Should you in singing, Thamyras transcend;35
Your voice unheard, who will your skill commend!
Had not Appelles drawn the sea-born queen,36
Her beauties still beneath the waves had been.
Poets inspir'd write only for a name,
And think their labours well repay'd with fame.
In former days, I own, the poets were
Of gods and king the most peculiar care:
Majestic awe was in the name allow'd,
And they with rich possessions were endowed
Ennius with honours was by Scipio grac'd,
And next his own the poets statue plac'd.
But now their ivy crowns bear no esteem,
And all their learning's thought an idle dream.
Still there's a pleasure that proceeds from praise:
What could the high renown of Homer raise,
But that he sung his Iliad's deathless lays?37
Who could have been of Danae's charms assur'd,
Had she grown old, within her tow'r immur'd?38
This, as a rule, let ev'ry nymph pursue,
That 'tis her int'rest oft' to come in view.
A hungry wolf at all the herd will run,
In hopes, through many, to make sure of one.
So, let the fair the gazing crowd assail,
That over one, at least, she may prevail.
In ev'ry place to please, be all her thought;
Where, sometimes, least we think, the fish is caught.
Sometimes, all day, we hunt the tedious foil,
Anon, the stag himself shall seek the toil.
How could Andromeda once doubt relief,
Whose charms were heighten'd and adorn'd by grief?
The widow'd fair, who sees her lord expire,
While yet she weeps, may kindle new desire,
And Hymen's torch relight the fun'ral fire.
Beware of men who are too sprucely dress'd;
And look, you fly with speed a fop profess'd.
Such tools to you, and to a thousand more,
Will tell the same dull story o'er and o'er.
This way add that, unsteadily they rove,
And never fixed, are fugitives in love.
Such flutt'ring things all women sure should hate,
Light as themselves, and more effeminate.
Believe me, all I say is for your good;
Had Priam been believ'd, Troy still had stood.39
Many, with base designs, will passions feign,
Who know no love, but sordid love of gain.
But let not powder'd heads, nor essenc'd hair,
Your well-believing, easy hearts ensnare.
Rich clothes are oft by common sharpers worn,
And diamond rings felonious hands adorn.
So may your lover burn with fierce desire
Your jewels to enjoy, and best attire.
Poor Chloe robb'd, runs crying thro' the streets;
And as she runs," Give me my own," repeats.
How often, Venus, hast thou heard such cries,
And laugh'd amidst thy Appian votaries?40
Some, so notorious are their very name,
Must ev'ry nymph whom they frequent defame.
Be warn'd by ills which others have destroy'd,
And faithless men with constant care avoid.
Trust not a Theseus, fair Athenian maid,
Who has so oft th' attesting gods betray'd.
And thou, Demophoon, heir to Theseus' crimes,
Hast lost thy credit to all future times.
Promise for promise equally afford,
But once a contract made, keep well your word.
For she for any act of hell is fit,
And undismayed may sacrilege commit;
With impious hands could quench the vestal fire
Poison her husband in her arms for hire,
Who first to take a lover's gift complies,
And then defrauds him, and his claim denies.
But hold, my muse, check thy unruly horse,
And more in sight pursue th' intended course.
If love epistles tender lines impart,
And billet-doux are sent to sound your heart,
Let all such letters by a faithful maid,
Or confident, be secretly convey'd.
Soon from the words you'll judge, if read with care,
When feign'd a passion is, and when sincere.41
Ere in return you write some time require;
Delays, if not too long, increase desire;
Nor let the pressing youth with ease obtain,
Nor yet refuse him with too rude disdain.
Now let his hopes, now let his fears increase,
But by degrees, let fear to hope give place.
Be sure avoid set phrases when you write,
The usual way of speech is more polite.
How have I seen the puzzl'd lover vex'd,
To read a letter with hard words perplex'd;
A style too coarse takes from a handsome face,42
And makes us wish an uglier in its place.
But since (tho' chastity be not your care)
You from your husband still would hide th' affair,
Write to no stranger till his truth be tried;
Nor in a foolish messenger confide.
What agonies that woman undergoes,
Whose hand the traitor threatens to expose;
Who rashly trusting, dreads to be deceiv'd,
And lives for ever to that dread enslav'd!
Such treachery can never be surpass'd,
For those discoveries, sure as light'ning, blast.
Might I advise, fraud shou'd with fraud be paid;
Let arms repel all who with arms invade.
But since your letters may be brought to light,
What if in sev'ral hands you learn to write?
My curse on him who first the sex betray'd,
And this advice so necessary made.
Nor let your pocket-book two hands contain,
First rub your lover's out, then write again.
Still one contrivance more remains behind,
Which you may use as a convenient blind;
As if to women writ, your letters frame,
And let your friend, to you subscribe a female name.
Now, greater things to tell, my muse prepare,
And clap on all the sail the bark can bear.
Let no rude passions in your looks find place;
For fury will deform the finest face;
It swells the lips, and blackens all the veins,
While in the eye a Gorgon horror reigns.
While on her flute divine Minerva play'd,43
And in a fountain saw the change it made,
Swelling her cheek: she flung it quick aside,
"Nor is thy music so much worth," she cried.
Look in your glass when you with anger glow,
And you'll confess, you scarce yourself can know.
Nor with excessive pride insult the sight,
For gentle looks alone to love invite.
Believe it as a truth that's daily tried,
There's nothing more detestable than pride.
How have I seen some airs disgust create,
"Like things which by antipathy we hate!"
Let looks with looks, and smiles with smiles be paid,
And when your lover bows incline your head.
So love preluding plays at first with hearts,
And after wounds with deeper-piercing darts.
Nor me a melancholy mistress charms;
Let sad Tecmessa weep in Ajax' arms.
Let mournful beauties sullen heroes move;
We cheerful men like gaiety in love.
Let Hector in Andromache delight,
Who, in bewailing Troy, wastes all the night.
Had they not both born children (to be plain)
I ne'er could think they'd with their husbands lain.
I no idea in my mind can frame,
That either one or t'other doleful dame,
Could toy, could fondle, or could call their lords
"My life, my soul ;" or speak endearing words.
Why from comparisons should I refrain
Or fear small things by greater to explain?
Observe what conduct prudent generals use,
And how their several officers they choose;
To one a charge of infantry commit,
Another for the horse is thought more fit.
So you your sev'ral lovers should select,
And as you find 'em qualified, direct.
The wealthy lover store of gold should send;
The lawyer should, in courts, your case defend.
We, who write verse, with verse alone shouldbribe;
Most apt to love is all the tuneful tribe.
By us, your fame shall thro' the world be blaz'd;
So Nemesis, so Cynthia's name was rais'd.44
From east to west Lycoris' praises ring;45
Nor are Corinna's silent, whom we sing.46
No fraud the poet's sacred breast can bear;
Mild are his manners, and his heart sincere,
Nor wealth he seeks, nor feels ambition's fires,
But shuns the bar; and books and shades requires.
Too faithfully, alas ! we know to love,
With ease we fix, but we with pain remove;
Our softer studies with our souls combine,
And both to tenderness our hearts incline.
Be gentle, virgins, to the poets pray'r,
The god that fills him, and the muse revere;
Something divine is in us, and from heav'n
Th' inspiring spirit can alone be given.
'Tis sin a price from poets to exact,
But 'tis a sin no woman fears to act;
Yet hide, howe'er, your avarice from sight,
Lest you too soon your new admirer fright.
As skilful riders rein, with diff'rent force,
A new-back'd courser and a well-train'd horse,
Do you by diffrent management engage
The man in years, and youth of greener age.
This, while the wiles of love are yet unknown,
Will gladly cleave to you, and you alone;
With kind caresses oft indulge the boy,
And all the harvest of his heart enjoy.
Alone, thus bless'd, of rivals most beware;
Nor love nor empire can a partner bear.
Men more discreetly love, when more mature,
And many things, which youth disdains, endure;
No windows break, nor houses set on fire,
Nor tear their own, or mistress's attire.
In youth, the boiling blood gives fury vent,
But men in years more calmly wrong resent;
As wood when green, or as a torch when wet,
They slowly burn, but long retain their heat.
More bright is youthful flame, but sooner dies;
Then swiftly seize the joy that swiftly flies.
Thus, all betraying to the beauteous foe,
How surely to enslave ourselves we show.
To trust a traitor you'll no scruple make,
Who is a traitor only for your sake.
Who yields too soon will soon her lover lose;
Would you retain him long ? then long refuse.
Oft at your door make him for entrance wait;
There let him lie, and threaten and entreat.
When cloy'd with sweets, bitters the taste restore;
Ships by fair winds are sometimes run ashore;
Hence springs the coldness in a married life;
The husband when he pleases has his wife.
Bar but your gate,47 and let your porter cry,
"Here's no admittance, sir; I must deny;"
The very husband, — so repuls'd, will find
A growing inclination to be kind.
Thus far with foils you've sought those laid aside;
I now sharp weapons for the sex provide,
Nor doubt not 'gainst myself to see 'em tried.
When first a lover you design to charm,
Beware lest jealousies his soul alarm;
Make him believe with all the skill you can,
That he and only he's the happy man.
Anon, by due degrees, small doubts create,
And let him fear some rival's better fate.
Such little arts make love its vigour hold,
Which else would languish, and too soon grow old.
Then strains the courser to outstrip the wind,
When one before him runs, and one he hears behind.
Love, when extinct, suspicions may revive;
I own when mine's secure 'tis scarce alive.
Yet no precaution to this rule belongs;
Let us at most suspect, not prove our wrongs.
Sometimes your lover, to incite the more,
Pretends your husband's spies beset the door;
Tho' free as Thais, still affect a fright,48
For seeming danger heightens the delight.
Oft let the youth in thro' your windows steal,
Tho' he might enter at the door as well;
And sometimes let your maid surprise pretend,
And beg you in some hole to hide your friend:
Yet ever and anon dispel his fear,
And let him taste of happiness sincere;
Lest, quite dishearten'd with too much fatigue,
He should grow weary of the dull intrigue.
But I forgot to tell how you may try
Both to evade the husband and the spy.
That wives should of their husbands stand in awe,
Agrees with justice, modesty, and law;
But that a mistress may be lawful prize,
None but her keeper I am sure denies.
For such fair nymphs these precepts are design'd,
Which ne'er can fail, join'd with a willing mind.
Tho' stuck with Argus' eyes your keeper were,49
Advis'd by me you shall elude his care.
When you to wash or bathe retire from eight,
Can he observe what letters then you write?
Or can his caution against such provide,
Which in her breast your confidant may hide!
Can he that note beneath her garter view,
Or that which more conceal'd is in her shoe ?
Yet, these perceived, you may her back undress,
And writing on her skin your mind express.
New milk, or pointed spires of flax when green,
Will ink supply, and letters mark unseen.
Fair will the paper, show, nor can be read,
Till all the writing 's with warm ashes spread.
Acresius was with all his care betray'd,
And in his tow'r of brass a grandsire made.
Can spies avail when you to plays resort,
Or in the circus view the noble sport?
Or can you be to Isis' fane pursu'd,
Or Cybele's, whose rights all men exclude?
Tho' watchful servants to the Bagnio come,
They're ne'er admitted to the bathing-room.
Or when some sudden sickness you pretend,
May you not take to your sick bed a friend?
False keys a private passage may procure,
If not, there are more ways besides the door.
Sometimes with wine your watchful follower treat;
When drunk, you may with ease his care defeat:
Or, to prevent too sudden a surprise,
Prepare a sleeping draught to seal his eyes;
Or let your maid, still longer time to gain,
An inclination for his person feign;
With faint resistance let her drill him on,
And, after competent delays, be won.
But what need all these various doubtful wiles,
Since gold the greatest vigilance beguiles?
Believe me, men and gods with gifts are pleas'd,
E'en angry Jove with offerings is appeas'd;
With presents fools and wise alike are caught;
Give but enough, the husband may be bought,
But let we warn you, when you bribe a spy,
That you for ever his connivance buy;
Pay him his price at once, for with such men
You'll know no end of giving now and then.
Once, I remember, I with cause complain'd
Of jealousy occasion'd by a friend.
Believe me, apprehensions of that kind
Are not alone to our false sex confin'd.
Trust not too far your she-companion's truth,
Lest she sometimes should intercept the youth;
The very confidant that lends the bed,
May entertain your lover in your stead.
Nor keep a servant with too fair a face,
For such I've known supply her lady's place.
But whither do I run with heedless rage,
Teaching the foe unequal war to wage?
Did ever bird the fowler's net prepare?
Was ever hound instructed by the hare?
But all self-ends and int'rests set apart,
I'll faithfully proceed to teach my art;
Defenceless and unarm'd expose my life,
And for the Lemnian ladies whet the knife.50
Perpetual fondness of your lover feign,
Nor will you find it hard belief to gain;
Full of himself, he your design will aid!
To what we wish 'tis easy to persuade.
With dying eyes his face and form survey,
Then sigh, and wonder he so long could stay;
Now, drop a tear your sorrows to assuage,
Anon, reproach him, and pretend to rage.
Such proofs as these will all distrust remove,
And make him pity your excessive love.
Scarce to himself will he forbear to cry,
"How can I let this poor fond creature die?"
But chiefly one such fond behaviour fires,
Who courts his glass, and his own charms admires.
Proud of the homage to his merit done,
He'll think a goddess might with ease be won.
Light wrongs be sure you still with mildness bear,
Nor straight fly out when you a rival fear.
Let not your passions o'er your sense prevail,
Nor credit lightly ev'ry idle tale.
Let Procris' fate a sad example be
Of what effects attend credulity.
Near where his purple head Hymettus shows,
And flow'ring hills, a sacred fountain flows;
With soft and verdant turf the soil is spread,
And sweetly smelling shrubs the ground o'ershade.
There rosemary and bays their odours join,
And with the fragrant myrtle's scent combine.
There tamarisks with thick-leav'd box are found,
And cytisus and garden pines abound.
While through the boughs soft winds of Zephyr pass,
Tremble the leaves and tender tops of grass.
Hither would Cephalus retreat to rest,
When tir'd with hunting, or with heat oppress'd;
And, thus, to air the panting youth would pray;
Come, gentle Aura, come, this heat allay."
But some tale-bearing too officious friend,
By chance o'erheard him as he thus complain'd;
Who with the news to Procris quick repair'd,
Repeating word for word what she had heard.
Soon as the news of Aura reach'd her ears,
With jealousy surpris'd. and fainting fears,
Her rosy colour fled her lovely face,
And agonies like death supplied the place;
Pale she appear'd as are the falling leaves
When first the vine the winter's blast receives.
Of ripen'd quinces, such the yellow hue,
Or, when unripe, we cornel-berries view.
Reviving from her swoon, her robes she tore,
Nor her own faultless face to wound forbore;
Now all dishevell'd to the woods she flies,
With Bacchanalian fury in her eyes.51
Thither arriv'd, she leaves below her friends,
And all alone the shady hill ascends.
What fully, Procris, o'er thy mind prevail'd?
What rage, thus fatally to lie conceal'd?
"Who'er this Aura be," such was thy thought,
"She now shall in the very fact be caught "
Anon thy heart repents its rash designs,
And now to go, and now to stay, inclines;
Thus love with doubts perplexes still thy mind,
And makes thee seek what thou must dread to find.
But still the rival's name rings in thy ears,
And more suspicious still the place appears;
But more than all, excessive love deceives,
Which all it fears too easily believes.
And now a chillness runs thro' ev'ry vein,
Soon as she saw where Cephalus had lain.
'Twas noon when he again retir'd, to shun
The scorching ardour of the mid-day's sun;
With water first he sprinkled o'er his face
Which glow'd with heat; then sought his usual place.
Procris, with anxious but with silent care,
View'd him extended, with his bosom bare;
And heard him soon th' accustom'd words repeat,
" Come Zephyr, Aura come, allay this heat."
Soon as she found her error, from the word,
Her colour and her temper were restor'd;
With joy she rose to clasp him in her arms,
But Cephalus the rustling noise alarms;
Some beast he thinks he in the bushes hears,
And straight his arrows and his bow prepares.
Hold, hold, unhappy youth!-I call in vain;
With thy own hand thou hast thy Procris slain
" Me, me," she cries, " thou'st wounded with thy dart;
But Cephalus was wont to wound this heart.
Yet lighter on my ashes earth will lie,
Since, tho' untimely, I unrivall'd die!
Come, close with thy dear hand my eyes in death;
Jealous of air, to air I yield my breath."
Close to his heavy heart her cheek he laid,
And wash'd with streaming tears the wound he made;
At length the springs of life their currents leave,
And her last gasp her husband's lips receive.
Now to pursue our voyage we must provide,
Till safe to port our weary bark we guide.
You may expect, perhaps, I now should teach
What rules to treats and entertainments reach.
Come not the first, invited to a feast;
Rather come last, as a more grateful guest,
For that of which we fear to be depriv'd,
Meets with the surest welcome when arriv'd.
Besides, complexions of a coarser kind,
From candle-light no small advantage find.
During the time you eat, observe some grace,
Nor let your unwip'd hands besmear your face;
Nor yet too squeamishly your meat avoid,
Lest we suspect you were in private cloy'd.
Of all extremes in either kind forbear
And still, before your belly's full, beware.
No glutton nymph, however fair, can wound,
Tho' more than Helen she in charms abound.
I own I think of wire the moderate use
More suits the sex, and sooner finds excuse;
It warms the blood, adds lustre to the eyes,
And wine and love have always been allies.
But carefully from all intemperance keep,
Nor drink till you see double, lisp, or sleep;
For in such sleeps brutalities are done,
Which, tho' you loath, you have no pow'r to shun.
And now th' instructed nymph from table led,
Should next be taught how to behave in bed;--
But modesty forbids: nor more my muse
With weary wings the labour'd flight pursues;
Her purple swans unyok'd, the chariot leave,52
And needful rest (their journey done) receive.
Thus, with impartial care, my art I show,
And equal arms on either sex bestow;
White men and maids, who by my rules improve,
Ovid, must own, their master is in love.