The work's complete, triumphant palms prepare
With flow'ry deaths adorn my flowing hair.
As to the Greeks was Poldalirius' art,
To heal with med'cines the afflicted part;
Nestor's advice, Achilles' arms in field,
Automedon for chariot-driving skill'd;
As Calchas could explain the mystic bird,87
And Telemon could wield the brandish'd sword;
Such to the town my fam'd instructions prove,
So much am I renown'd for arts of love.
Me ev'ry youth shall praise, extol my name,
And o'er the globe diffuse my lasting fame.
I arms provide against the scornful fair;
Thus Vulcan arm'd Achilles for the war.
Whatever youth shall with my aid o'ercome,
And lead his Amazon in triumph home;88
Let him that conquers and enjoys the dame,
In gratitude for his instructed flame,
Inscribe the spoils with my auspicious name.
The tender girls my precepts next demand,
Them I commit to a more skilful hand.
The men are arm'd, and for the fight prepare,
And now we must instruct and arm the fair.
Both sexes, well appointed, take the field,
And mighty love determine which shall yield.
Man were ignoble when thus arm'd to show
Unequal force against a naked foe;
No glory from such conquest can be gain'd,
And odds are always by the brave disdain'd.
"But," some exclaim, " what phrensy rules your mind?
Would you increase the craft of womankind ?
Teach them new wiles and arts? As well you may
Instruct a snake to bite, or wolf to prey."
But sure too hard a censure they pursue
Who charge on all the failings of a few;
Examine first impartially each fair,
Then, as she merits, or condemn or spare.
If Menelaus, and the king of men,89
With justice of their sister-wives complain;
If false Eriphyle forsook her faith,
And for reward procur'd her husband's death;
Penelope was loyal90 still, and chaste,
Tho' twenty years her lord in absence pass'd.
Reflect how Laodamia's truth was tried,
Who, tho' in bloom of youth and beauty's pride,
To share her husband's fate untimely died.91
Think how Alceste's piety was prov'd,
Who lost her life to save the man she lov'd.
Receive me, Capaneus," Evadne cried;
"Nor death itself our nuptials shall divide!
To join thy ashes pleas'd I shall expire;"
She said, and leap'd amidst the fun'ral fire.
Virtue herself a goddess we confess,92
Both female in her name and in her dress;
No wonder then, if to her sex inclin'd,
She cultivates with care a female mind.
But these exalted souls exceed the reach
Of that soft art which I pretend to teach.
My tender bark requires a gentle gale,
A little wind will fill a little sail.
Of sportful loves I sing, and shew what ways
The willing nymph must use her bliss to raise,
And how to captivate the man she'd please.
Woman is soft, and of a tender heart,
Apt to receive, and to retain love's dart;
Man has a breast robust, and more secure,
It wounds him not so deep, nor hits so sure.
Men oft are false, and, if you search with care,
You'll find less fraud imputed to the fair.
The faithless Jason from Medea fled
And made Creusa partner of his bed.
Bright Ariadne, on an unknown shore,
Thy absence, perjur'd Theseus, did deplore.
If then the wild inhabitants of air
Forbore her tender lovely limbs to tear,
It was not owing, Theseus, to thy care.
Enquire the cause, and let Demophoon tell
Why Phyllis by a fate untimely fell.93
Nine times, in vain, upon the promis'd day,
She sought th' appointed shore, and view'd the sea;
Her fall the fading trees consent to mourn,
And shed their leaves round her lamented urn.
The prince so far for piety renown'd,
To thee, Eliza, was unfaithful found;
To thee forlorn, and languishing with grief,
His sword alone he left, thy last relief.
Ye ruin'd nymphs, shall I the cause impart
Of all your woes? 'Twas want of needful art;
Love, of itself, too quickly will expire,
But powerful art perpetuates desire.