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That charm shall grow, while what fatigues the
ring, Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing : So when the sun's broad beam has tired the
sight, All mild ascends the moon's more sober light, Serene in virgin modesty she shines,
255 And unobserved the glaring orb declines.
O! bless'd with temper, whose unclouded ray Can make to-morrow cheerful as to-day; She, who can love a sister's charms, or hear Sighs for a daughter with unwounded ear; 260 She, who ne'er answers till a husband cools; Or, if she rules him, never shows she rules ; Charms by accepting, by submitting sways, Yet has her humor most when she obeys; Lets fops or fortune fly which way they will; 265 Disdains all loss of tickets or codille ; Spleen, vapors, or small-pox, above them all; And mistress of herself, though china fall.
And yet, believe me, good as well as ill, Woman's at best a contradiction still. Heaven, when it strives to polish all it can Its last, best work, but forms a softer man; Picks from each sex, to make the favorite bless'd, Your love of pleasure, our desire of rest; Blends, in exception to all general rules, 275 Your taste of follies with our scorn of fools; Reserve with frankness, art with truth allied, Courage with softness, modesty with pride; Fix'd principles, with fancy ever new; Shakes all together, and produces
Be this a woman's fame: with this unbless'd, Toasts live a scorn, and queens may die a jest. This Phæbus promised, (I forget the year) When those blue eyes first open'd on the sphere: Ascendant Phæbus watch'd that hour with care; Averted half your parents' simple prayer; 286 And gave you beauty, but denied the pelf That buys your sex a tyrant o'er itself. The generous god, who wit and gold refines, And ripens spirits as he ripens mines, 290 Kept dross for duchesses, the world shall know it; To you gave sense, good-humor, and a poet.
281 Be this a woman's fame. In conclusion,' says Warburton, boldly, the great moral from both those Epistles together, is that the two rarest things in all nature are, a disinterested man, and a reasonable woman.'
It was justly a favorite doctrine of Pope, that the evils of nature, and the errors of man, are convertible by Providence into the instruments of general good. In this Epistle he takes the peculiar instance of the abuses of wealth, and labors to prove that even the absurdities of avarice are capable of being turned into general utility. From the abuses he turns to the capabilities; and shows, in the character of the Man of Ross, the power of humble means directed by active virtue.