TOWN ECLOGUES: SATURDAY; THE SMALL-POX - William Cosmo Monkhouse Poems

 
 

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TOWN ECLOGUES: SATURDAY; THE SMALL-POX

FLAVIA. THE wretched FLAVIA on her couch reclin'd,
Thus breath'd the anguish of a wounded mind ;
A glass revers'd in her right hand she bore,
For now she shun'd the face she sought before.

' How am I chang'd ! alas ! how am I grown
' A frightful spectre, to myself unknown !
' Where's my Complexion ? where the radiant Bloom,
' That promis'd happiness for Years to come ?
' Then with what pleasure I this face survey'd !
' To look once more, my visits oft delay'd !
' Charm'd with the view, a fresher red would rise,
' And a new life shot sparkling from my eyes !

' Ah ! faithless glass, my wonted bloom restore;
' Alas ! I rave, that bloom is now no more !
' The greatest good the GODS on men bestow,
' Ev'n youth itself, to me is useless now.
' There was a time, (oh ! that I could forget !)
' When opera-tickets pour'd before my feet ;
' And at the ring, where brightest beauties shine,
' The earliest cherries of the spring were mine.
' Witness, O Lilly ; and thou, Motteux, tell
' How much Japan these eyes have made ye sell.
' With what contempt ye you saw me oft despise
' The humble offer of the raffled prize ;
' For at the raffle still the prize I bore,
' With scorn rejected, or with triumph wore !
' Now beauty's fled, and presents are no more !

' For me the Patriot has the house forsook,
' And left debates to catch a passing look :
' For me the Soldier has soft verses writ ;
' For me the Beau has aim'd to be a Wit.
' For me the Wit to nonsense was betray'd ;
' The Gamester has for me his dun delay'd,
' And overseen the card, I would have play'd.
' The bold and haughty by success made vain,
' Aw'd by my eyes has trembled to complain:
' The bashful 'squire touch'd by a wish unknown,
' Has dar'd to speak with spirit not his own ;
' Fir'd by one wish, all did alike adore ;
' Now beauty's fled, and lovers are no more!

' As round the room I turn my weeping eyes,
' New unaffected scenes of sorrow rise !
' Far from my sight that killing picture bear,
' The face disfigure, and the canvas tear !
' That picture which with pride I us'd to show,
' The lost resemblance but upbraids me now.
' And thou, my toilette! where I oft have sat,
' While hours unheeded pass'd in deep debate,
' How curls should fall, or where a patch to place :
' If blue or scarlet best became my face;
' Now on some happier nymph thy aid bestow ;
' On fairer heads, ye useless jewels glow !
' No borrow'd lustre can my charms restore ;
' Beauty is fled, and dress is now no more !

' Ye meaner beauties, I permit ye shine ;
' Go, triumph in the hearts that once were mine ;
' But midst your triumphs with confusion know,
' 'Tis to my ruin all your arms ye owe.
' Would pitying Heav'n restore my wonted mien,
' Ye still might move unthought-of and unseen.
' But oh ! how vain, how wretched is the boast
' Of beauty faded, and of empire lost !
' What now is left but weeping, to deplore
' My beauty fled, and empire now no more !

' Ye, cruel Chymists, what with-held your aid !
' Could no pomatums save a trembling maid ?
' How false and trifling is that art you boast ;
' No art can give me back my beauty lost.
' In tears, surrounded by my friends I lay,
' Mask'd o'er and trembled at the sight of day;
' MIRMILLO came my fortune to deplore,
' (A golden headed cane, well carv'd he bore)
' Cordials, he cried, my spirits must restore :
' Beauty is fled, and spirit is no more !

' GALEN, the grave ; officious SQUIRT was there,
' With fruitless grief and unavailing care :
' MACHAON too, the great MACHAON, known
' By his red cloak and his superior frown ;
' And why, he cry'd, this grief and this despair ?
' You shall again be well, again be fair ;
' Believe my oath ; (with that an oath he swore)
' False was his oath ; my beauty is no more !

' Cease, hapless maid, no more thy tale pursue,
' Forsake mankind, and bid the world adieu !
' Monarchs and beauties rule with equal sway ;
' All strive to serve, and glory to obey :
' Alike unpitied when depos'd they grow ;
' Men mock the idol of their former vow.

' Adieu ! ye parks ! -- in some obscure recess,
' Where gentle streams will weep at my distress,
' Where no false friend will in my grief take part,
' And mourn my ruin with a joyful heart ;
' There let me live in some deserted place,
' There hide in shades this lost inglorious face.
' Ye, operas, circles, I no more must view !
' My toilette, patches, all the world adieu!