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N. B. Whatever Verfes are not marked with an
Afterisk in this Volume are Dr. Swift's.
Written Anno 1713.
'HE fhepherds and the nymphs were feen
Pleading before the Cyprian queen.
The council for the * fair began,
Accufing the falfe creature man.
The brief with weighty crimes was charg'd,
On which the pleader much enlarg’d;
That Cupid now has loft his art,
Or blunts the point of ev'ry dart;
His altar now no longer smokes,
His mother's aid no youth invokes :
This tempts Free-thinkers to refine,
And bring in doubt their pow'rs divine
Now love is dwindled to intrigue,
And marriage grown a money-league.
Which crimes aforefaid (with her leave)
Were (as he humbly did conceive)
Against our fov'reign lady's peace,
Against the statute in that cafe,
need not here be inquired: his principal defign is to expose the faults and follies in both fexes, by which love is degraded, and marriage rendered fubfervient to fordid purposes. B 2
* This poem is founded upon an offer of marriage made by a young lady to her preceptor: whether fuch an incident really happened, or what gave the poet occasion to suppose it,
Against her dignity and crown:
Then pray'd an answer, and fat down.
The nymphs with fçorn beheld their føes:
When the defendant's council rofe,
And, what no lawyer ever lack'd,
With impudence own'd all the fact;
But, what the gentleft heart would vex,
Laid all the fault on t'other sex.
That modern love is no fuch thing,
As what those ancient poets fing;
A fire celeftial, chafte, refin'd,
Conceiv'd and kindled in the mind,
Which having found an equal flame,
Unites, and both become the fame,
In diff'rent breasts together burn,
Together both to ashes turn :
But women now feel no fuch fire,
And only know the grofs defire.
Their paffions move in lower spheres,
Where-e'er caprice or folly steers.
A dog, a parrot, or an ape,
Or fome worse brute in human shape,
Engrofs the fancies of the fair,
The few foft moments they can spare
From vifits to receive and pay,
From scandal, politicks, and play,
From fans, and flounces, and brocades,
From equipage and park-parades,
From all the thousand female toys,
From ev'ry trifle that employs
The out or infide of their heads
Between their toylets and their beds.
In a dull stream, which moving flow,
You hardly fee the current flow,
If a small breeze obftructs the course,
It whirls about for want of force,
And in its narrow circle gathers
Nothing but chaff, and straws, and feathers:
The current of a female mind
Stops thus, and turns with ev'ry wind;
Thus whirling round, together draws
Fools, fops, and rakes, for chaff and ftraws.
Hence we conclude, no women's hearts
Are won by virtue, wit, and parts;
Nor are the men of sense to blame,
For breafts incapable of flame:
The fault must on the nymphs be plac'd,
Grown fo corrupted in their taste.
The pleader, having spoke his best,
Had witness ready to atteft,
Who fairly could on oath depofe,
When questions on the fact arofe,
That ev'ry article was true;
Nor further thofe deponents knew &
Therefore he humbly would infift,
The bill might be with costs difmift.