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Thus every fool herself deludes;
The prudes condemn the absent prudes:
Mopsa, who stinks her spouse to death,
Accuses Chloe's tainted breath;
Hircina, rank with sweat, presumes
To censure Phyllis for perfumes;
While crooked Cynthia, sneering, says
That Florimel wears iron stays:
Chloe, of every coxcomb jealous,
Admires how girls can talk with fellows;
And, full of indignation, frets,
That women should be such coquettes :
Iris, for scandal most notorious,
Cries, "Lord, the world is so censorious!"
And Rufa, with her combs of lead,
Whispers that Sappho's hair is red:
Aura, whose tongue you hear a mile hence,
Talks half a day in praise of silence:
And Sylvia, full of inward guilt,
Calls Amoret an arrant jilt.
Now voices over voices rise,
While each to be the loudest vies:
They contradict, affirm, dispute,
No single tongue one moment mute;
All mad to speak, and none to hearken,
They set the very lap-dog barking;
Their chattering makes a louder din
Than fish-wives o'er a cup of gin:
Not school-boys at a barring-out
Rais'd ever such incessant rout;
The jumbling particles of matter
In chaos made not such a clatter;
Far less the rabble roar and rail,
When drunk with sour election ale.
Nor do they trust their tongues alone, But speak a language of their own; Can read a nod, a shrug, a look, Far better than a printed book; Convey a libel in a frown, And wink a reputation down; Or, by the tossing of the fan, Describe the lady and the man.
But see, the female club disbands, Each twenty visits on her hands. Now all alone poor madam sits In vapours and hysteric fits: "And was not Tom this morning sent? I'd lay my life he never went: Past six, and not a living soul!
I might by this have won a vole." A dreadful interval of spleen! How shall we pass the time between? "Here, Betty, let me take my drops; And feel my pulse, I know it stops: This head of mine, Lord, how it swims! And such a pain in all my limbs !" "Dear madam, try to take a nap." But now they hear a footman's rap: "Go, run, and light the ladies up: It must be one before we sup.'
The table, cards, and counters, set,
And all the gamester-ladies met,
Her spleen and fits recover'd quite,
Our madam can sit up all night:
"Whoever comes, I'm not within."
Quadrille 's the word, and so begin.
How can the Muse her aid impart,
Unskill'd in all the terms of art?
Or in harmonious numbers put
The deal, the shuffle, and the cut?
The superstitious whims relate,
That fill a female gamester's pate?
What agony of soul she feels
To see a knave's inverted heels!
She draws up card by card, to find
Good-fortune peeping from behind;
With panting heart, and earnest eyes,
In hope to see spadillo rise :
In vain, alas! her hope is fed;
She draws an ace, and sees it red;
In ready counters never pays,
But pawns her snuff-box, rings, and keys:
Ever with some new fancy struck,
Tries twenty charms to mend her luck.
"This morning, when the parson came,
I said I should not win a game.
This odious chair, how came I stuck in 't?
I think I never had good luck in 't.
I'm so uneasy in my stays;
Your fan a moment, if you please.
Stand further, girl, or get you gone;
I always lose when you look on.'
"Lord! madam, you have lost codille!
I never saw you play so ill."
"Nay, madam, give me leave to say,
'Twas you that threw the game away :
When lady Tricksey play'd a four,
You took it with a mattadore;
I saw you touch your wedding-ring
Before my lady call'd a king;
You spoke a word began with H,
And I know whom you meant to teach,
Because you held the king of hearts;
Fie, madam, leave these little arts.'
"That's not so bad as one that rubs
Her chair, to call the king of clubs;
And makes her partner understand
A mattadore is in her hand."
"Madam, you have no cause to flounce,
I swear I saw you thrice renounce.'
"And truly, madam, I know when,
Instead of five, you scor'd me ten.
Spadillo here has got a mark;
A child may know it in the dark:
I guess'd the hand: it seldom fails :
I wish some folks would pare their nails."
While thus they rail, and scold, and storm,
It passes but for common form :
But, conscious that they all speak true,
And give each other but their due,
It never interrupts the game,
Or makes them sensible of shame.
The time too precious now to waste,
The supper gobbled up in haste;
Again afresh to cards they run,
As if they had but just begun.
But I shall not again repeat,
How oft they squabble, snarl, and cheat.
At last they hear the watchman knock,
"A frosty morn
past four o'clock."
The chairmen are not to be found,
"Come, let play the other round."
Now all in haste they huddle on
Their hoods, their cloaks, and get them gone;
But, first, the winner must invite
The company to-morrow night.
Unlucky madam, left in tears,
(Who now again quadrille forswears,)
With empty purse, and aching head,
Steals to her sleeping spouse to bed.
ON THE DEATH OF DR. SWIFT.*
OCCASIONED BY READING THE FOLLOWING MAXIM IN, ROCHEFOUCAULT:
Dans l'adversité de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelque chose qui ne nous déplaît pas.
"In the adversity of our best friends, we always find something that doth not displease us."
As Rochefoucault his maxims drew
From nature, I believe them true:
They argue no corrupted mind
In him: the fault is in mankind.
Written in November, 1731. -There are two distinct poems on this subject, one of them containing many spurious lines. In what is here printed, the genuine parts of both are preserved.