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The cause appear'd of fo much weight, That Venus, from her judgment-feat, Defir'd them not to talk fo loud, Else she must interpofe a cloud : For, if the heav'nly folk fhould know These pleadings in the courts below, That mortals here difdain to love,
She ne'er could fhew her face above;
For Gods, their betters, are too wise
To value that, which men defpife.
And then, faid fhe, my fon and I
Muft ftrole in air 'twixt earth and sky;
Or elfe, fhut out from heav'n and earth,
Fly to the fea, my place of birth;
There live with daggled mermaids pent,
And keep on fish perpetual lent.
But, fince the cafe appear'd fo nice,
She thought it beft to take advice.
The Muses by their king's permiffion,
Though foes to love, attend the feffion,
And on the right hand took their places
In order; on the left, the Graces:
To whom she might her doubts propose
On all emergencies that rofe.
The Mufes oft were seen to frown; The Graces half-afham'd look down; And 'twas obferv'd, there were but few Of either sex among the the crew, Whom she or her affeffors knew.
The Goddess foon began to fee,
Things were not ripe for a decree,
And faid fhe must confult her books,
The lovers' Fletas, Bractons, Cokes.
First to a dapper clerk fhe beckon'd
To turn to Ovid, book the second;
She then referr'd them to a place
In Virgil (vide Dido's cafe ;)
As for Tibullus's reports,
They never pafs'd for law in courts:
For Cowley's briefs, and pleas of Waller,
Still their authority was smaller.
There was on both fides much to say: She'd hear the cause another day; And fo fhe did, and then a third; She heard it there she kept her word : But with rejoinders and replies, Long bills, and answers ftuff'd with lyes, Demur, imparlance, and effoign, The parties ne'er could iffue join: For fixteen years the cause was spun, And then ftood, where it first begun. Now, gentle Clio, fing or fay, What Venus meant by this delay. The Goddess, much perplex'd in mind To see her empire thus declin'd, When firft this grand debate arose, Above her wisdom to compose, B 4
Conceiv'd a project in her head
To work her ends; which, if it fped,
Wou'd fhew the merits of the cause
Far better than confulting laws.
In a glad hour Lucina's aid.
Produc'd on earth a wond'rous maid,
On whom the queen of love was bent
To try a new experiment.
She threw her law-books on the shelf,
And thus debated with herself.
Since men alledge, they ne'er can find Those beauties in a female mind, Which raise a flame, that will endure For ever uncorrupt and pure; If 'tis with reason they complain, This inftant shall restore my reign. I'll fearch where ev'ry virtue dwells, From courts inclufive down to cells; What preachers talk, or fages write : Thefe I will gather and unite, And reprefent them to mankind Collected in that infant's mind.
This faid, fhe plucks in heav'n's high bow'rs A fprig of amaranthine flow'rs, In nectar thrice infuses bays, Three times refin'd in Titan's rays; Then calls the Graces to her aid, And fprinkles thrice the new-born maid :
From whence the tender fkin affumes
A sweetness above all perfumes :
From whence a cleanliness remains,
Incapable of outward ftains :
From whence that decency of mind,
So lovely in the female kind;
Where not one careless thought intrudes
Less modeft than the speech of prudes;
Where never blush was call'd in aid,
That spurious virtue in a maid,
A virtue but at second-hand;
They blush, because they understand.
The Graces next would act their part,
And fhew'd but little of their art;
Their work was half already done,
The child with native beauty fhone;
The outward form no help requir'd
Each breathing on her thrice, infpir'd
That gentle, foft, engaging air,
Which in old times adorn'd the fair:
And faid, "Vanessa be the name,
By which thou shalt be known to fame;
Vanessa, by the Gods enroll'd:
"Her name on earth--shall not be told."
But ftill the work was not compleat,
When Venus thought on a deceit :
Drawn by her doves, away fhe flies,
And finds out Pallas in the skies:
Dear Pallas, I have been this morn
To fee a lovely infant born;
A boy in yonder ifle below,
So like my own without his bow,
By beauty cou'd heart be won,
You'd fwear it is Apollo's fon:
But it shall ne'er be faid, a child
So hopeful has by me been spoil'd;
I have enough befides to spare,
And give him wholly to your care.
Wisdom's above fufpecting wiles :
The queen of learning gravely fmiles,
Down from Olympus comes with joy,
Mistakes Vanessa for a boy;
Then fows within her tender mind
Seeds long unknown to womankind;
For manly bofoms chiefly fit,
The feeds of knowledge, judgment, wit:
Her foul was fuddenly endu'd
With juftice, truth, and fortitude;
With honour, which no breath can stain,
Which malice must attack in vain ;
With open heart and bounteous hand.
But Pallas here was at a ftand;
She knew in our degenʼrate days
Bare virtue could not live on praise;
That meat must be with money bought:
She therefore, upon second thought,