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( Fable V ---- from Fables for the Female Sex )

Edward Moore
1712 - 1757


Why, Celia, is your spreading waist

So loose, so negligently lac'd ?

Why must the wrapping bed-gown hide

Your snowy bosom's swelling pride?

How ill that dress adorns your head,

Distain'd, and rumpled from the bed !

Those clouds, that shade your blooming face,

A little water might displace,

As nature ev'ry morn bestows

The crystal dew, to cleanse the rose.

Those tresses, as the raven black,

That wav'd in ringlets down your back,

Uncomb'd, and injur'd by neglect,

Destroy the face, which once they deck'd.

Whence this forgetfulness of dress?

Pray, madam, are you marry'd ?   Yes.

Nay, then indeed the wonder ceases,

No matter now how loose your dress is;

The end is won,  your fortune's made,

Your sister now may take the trade.

Alas    What pity 'tis to find

This fault in half the female kind !

From hence proceed aversion, strife,

And all that sours the wedded life.

Beauty can only point the dart,

'Tis neatness guides it to the heart;

Let neatness then, and beauty strive

To keep a wav'ring flame alive.

'Tis harder far ( you'll find it true )

To keep the conquest, than subdue;

Admit us once behind the screen,

What is there farther to be seen?

A newer face may raise the flame,

But ev'ry woman is the same.

Then study chiefly to improve

The charm, that fix'd your husband's love;

Weigh well his humour. Was it dress,

That gave your beauty pow'r to bless?

Pursue it still; be neater seen,

"Tis always frugal to be clean;

So shall you keep alive desire,

And time's swift wing shall fan the fire.


In garret high ( as stories say )

A Poet sung his tuneful lay;

So soft, so smooth his verse, you'd swear

Apollo, and the muses there;

Thro' all the town his praises rung,

His sonnets at the playhouse sung;

High waving o'er his lab'ring head,

The goddess Want her pinions spread.

And with poetic fury fir'd,

What Phbus faintly had inspir'd.

A noble Youth, of taste, and wit,

approv'd the sprightly things he writ,

And sought him in his cobweb dome,

Discharg'd his rent and brought him home.

Behold him at the stately board,

Who, but the Poet, and my Lord !

Each day, deliciously he dines,

And greedy quaffs the gen'rous wine;

His sides were plump, his skin was sleek,

And plenty wanton'd on his cheek;

Astonish'd at the change so new,

Away th' inspiring goddess flew.

Now, dropt for politics, and news,

Neglected lay the drooping muse,

Unmindful whence his fortune came,

He stifled the poetic flame;

Nor tale, nor sonnet, for my lady,

Lampoon, nor epigram was ready.

With just contempt his Patron saw,

( Resolv'd his bounty to withdraw )

And thus, with auger in his look,

The late-repenting fool bespoke.

Blind to the good that courts thee grown,

Whence has the sun of favour shone?

Delighted with thy tuneful art,

Esteem was growing in my heart,

But idly thou reject'st the charm,

That gave it birth, and kept it warm.

Unthinking fools, alone despise

The arts, that taught them first to rise.


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