Shall I complain, or shall I warn you most?
Faith, truth, and friendship, in the world are lost;
A little and an empty name they boast.
Trust not thy friend, much less thy mistress praise;
If he believe, thou man'st a rival raise.
'Tis true, Patroclus, by no lust misled,
Sought not to stain his dear companion's bed.60
Nor Pylades Hermione embrac'd;61
Ev'n Phaedra to Pirithous still was chaste.
But hope not thou, in this vile age to find
Those rare examples of a faithful mind.
The sea shall sooner with sweet honey flow;
Or from the furze pears and apples grow.
We sin with gust, we love by fraud to gain,
And find a pleasure in our fellow's pain.
From rival foes you may the fair defend;
But would you ward the blow, beware your friend.
Beware your brother, and your next of kin;
But from your bosom friend your care begin.
Here had I ended, but experience finds,
That sundry women are of sundry minds;
With various crotchets fill'd, and hard to please,
They therefore must be caught by various ways.
All things are not produced in any soil;62
This ground for wine is proper, that for oil.
So 'tis in men, but more in woman-kind;
Diff'rent in face, in manners, and in mind.
But wise men shift their sails with ev'ry wind;
As changeful Proteus varied oft his shape,
And did in sundry forms and figures 'scape.
A running stream, a standing tree became,
A roaring lion, or a bleating lamb.
Some fish with harpoons, some with darts, are struck,63
Some drawn with nets, some hang upon the hook;
So turn thyself; and imitating them,
Try several tricks, and change thy stratagem.
One rule will not for diff'rent ages hold;
The jades grow cunning, as they grow more old.
Then talk not bawdy to the bashful maid;
Broad words will make her innocence afraid.
Nor to an ign'rant girl of learning speak;
She thinks you conjure when you talk in Greek.
And hence 'tis often seen, the simple shun
The learn'd, and into vile embraces run.
Part of my task is done, and part to do:
But here 'tis time to rest myself and you.64
Now Io Paean sing! now wreaths prepare!
And with repeated Ios fill the air:
The prey is fall'n in my successful toils,
My artful nets inclose the lovely spoils.
My numbers now, ye smiling lovers, crown,
And make your poet deathless in renown:
With lasting fame my verse shall be enroll'd,
And I preferr'd to all the bards of old.
Thus Paris from the warlike Spartans bore
Their ravish'd bride to Ida's distant shore.
Victorious Pelops thus in triumph drove
The vanquish'd maid, and thus enjoy'd his love.
Stay, eager youth! your bark's but under sail;
The distant port requires a prosp'rous gale.
'Tis not enough the yielding beauty's found,
And with my aid your artful passion crown'd;
The conquests our successful conduct gain'd,
With art must be secur'd, by arts maintain'd.
The glory's more to guard than win the prize,
There all the toil and threatening danger lies.
If ever, Cupid, now indulgent prove;
O Venus! aid, thou charming queen of love!
Kind Erato, let thy auspicious name
Inspire the work, and raise my gen'rous flame.
The labour's great! a method I design
For love, and will the fetter'd god confine;
The god that roves the spacious world around,
In ev'ry clime, and distant region found;
Active and light, his wings elude our guard,
And to confine a deity is hard.