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Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
with more glories, in the' etherial plain,
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
The' adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd; He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd.
Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way, By force to ravish, or by fraud betray; For when success a lover's toil attends, Few ask if fraud or force attain'd his ends. For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd Propitious Heav'n, and every pow'r ador'd, But chiefly Love-to Love an altar built, Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt. There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves, And all the trophies of his former loves; With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre, And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire. Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize : The pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r, The rest the winds dispers'd in empty air. But now secure the painted vessel glides, The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides; While melting music steals upon the sky, And soften'd sounds along the waters die : Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play, Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay. All but the sylph-with careful thoughts opprest, The' impending woe sat heavy on his breast. He summons straight his denizens of air; The lucid squadrons round the sails repair: Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe, That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath. Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold, Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold; Transparent forms too fine for mortal sight, Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light, Loose to the wind their airy garments flew, Thin glittering textures of the filmy dew, Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies, Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes, While every beam new transient colours flings, Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings. Amid the circle, on the gilded mast, Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
His purple pinions opening to the sun,
He rais'd his azure wand, and thus begun :
"Ye sylphs and sylphids, to your chief give ear,
Some in the fields of purest ether play,
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers;
"This day black omens threat the brightest fair That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care;
Some dire disaster, or by force or slight;
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade;
Or whether heav'n has doom'd that Shock must fall:
Haste then, ye spirits! to your charge repair : The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care; The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign; And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine; Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favourite Lock; Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock. "To fifty chosen sylphs, of special note, We trust the' important charge, the petticoat: Oft have we known that seven-fold fence to fail, Though stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of whale; Form a strong line about the silver bound, And guard the wide circumference around. "Whatever spirit, careless of his charge, His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large, Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins, Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins; Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie, Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye: Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain, While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain ; Or allum styptics with contracting power Shrink his thin essence like a shrivell'd flower: Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel The giddy motion of the whirling mill, In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow, And tremble at the sea that froths below!" He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend; Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend; Some thread the mazy ringlets of her hair; Some hang upon the pendants of her ear; With beating hearts the dire event they wait, Anxious, and trembling for the birth of fate.
LOSE by those meads, for ever crown'd with flowers, Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towers, There stands a structure of majestic frame,
Which from the neighb'ring Hampton takes its name.
Here Britain's statesmen oft the fall foredoom
Snuff, or the fan, supply each pause of chat,
And swells her breast with conquests yet to come.