Main Text

the LOOKING-GLASS Sent from DAMON to IRIS,

How long, O charming Iris! shall I speak in vain of your ador-able Beauty? You have been just, and believe I love you with a Passion perfectly tender and extream; and yet you will not allow your Charms to be infinite. You must either accuse my Flames to be unreasonable, and that my Eyes and Heart are false Judges of Wit and Beauty, or allow, that you are the most perfect of your Sex. But instead of that, you always accuse me of Flattery, when I speak of your infinite Merit; and when I refer you to your Glass, you tell me, that flatters, as well as Damon; though one wou'd imagine, that shou'd be a good Witness for the Truth of what I say, and undeceive you of the Opinion of my Injustice. Look – and confirm your self, that nothing can equal your Perfections. All the World says it, and you must pg 361doubt it no longer. O Iris! Will you dispute against the whole World?

But since you have so long distrusted your own Glass, I have here presented you with One, which I know is very true; and having been made for you only, can serve only you. All other Glasses present all Objects, but this reflects only Iris; whenever you consult it, it will convince you; and tell you, how much Right I have done you, when I told you, you were the fairest Person that ever Nature made. When other Beauties look into it, it will speak to all the fair Ones; but let 'em do what they will, 'twill say nothing to their Advantage.

  • Iris, to spare what you call Flattery,
  •      Consult your Glass each Hour of the Day.
  • 'Twill tell you where your Charms and Beauties lye,
  •      And where your little wanton Graces play:
  • Where Love does revel in your Face and Eyes;
  • What Look invites your Slaves, and what denies.
  • Where all the Loves adorn you with such Care,
  •      Where dress your Smiles; where arm your lovely Eyes;
  • Where deck the flowing Tresses of your Hair:
  •      How cause your Snowy Breasts to fall and rise:
  • How this severe Glance makes the Lover dye;
  • How that, more soft, gives Immortality.
  • Where you shall see, what 'tis enslaves the Soul;
  •      Where e'ery Feature, e'ery Look combines:
  • When the adorning Air, o'er all the Whole,
  •      To so much wit, and so nice Vertue joyns.
  • Where the Belle Taillea and Motion still afford
  •      Graces to be eternally ador'd.

But I will be silent now, and let your Glass speak.

pg 362Iris's Looking-Glass.

Damon (O charming Iris!) has given me to you, that you may some-times give your self the Trouble, and me the Honour of Consulting me in the great and weighty Affairs of Beauty. I am, my adorable Mistress! a faithful Glass; and you ought to believe all I say to you.

The Shape of Iris.

I must begin with your Shape, and tell you, without Flattery, 'tis the finest in the World, and gives Love and Admiration to all that see you. Pray observe how free and easie it is, without Constraint, Stiffness, or Affectation, those mistaken Graces of the Fantastick, and the Formal; who give themselves Pain, to shew their Will to please; and whose Dressing makes the greatest Part of its Fineness, when they are more oblig'd to the Taylor, than to Nature; who add or diminish, as Occasion serves, to form a Grace, where Heaven never gave it: And while they remain on this Wreck of Pride, they are eternally uneasie, without pleasing any Body. Iris, I have seen a Woman of your Acquaintance, who, having a greater Opinion of her own Per-son, than any Body else, has screw'd her Body into so fine a Form (as she calls it) that she dares no more stir a Hand, lift up an Arm, or turn her Head aside, than if, for the Sin of such a Disorder, she were to be turn'd into a Pillar of Salt;a the less stiff and fix'd Statue of the two. Nay, she dares not speak or smile, lest she shou'd put her Face out of that Order she had set it in her Glass, when she last lookt on her self: And is all over such a Lady Nice (excepting in her Conversation) that ever made a ridiculous Figure. And there are many Ladies more, but too much tainted with that nauceous Formality, that old-fashion'd Vice: But Iris, the charming, the all-perfect Iris, has nothing in her whole Form, that is not free, natural, and easie; and whose every Motion cannot please extreamly, and which has not given Damon a Thousand Rivals.

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  • Damon, the Young, the Am'rous, and the True;
  •      Who sighs incessantly for you:
  •      Whose whole Delight, now you are gone,
  •      Is to retire to Shades alone,
  •      And to the Ecchoes make his Moan.
  • By purling Streams the wishing Youth is laid,
  • Still sighing Iris! Lovely charming Maid!
  • See, in thy Absence, how thy Lover dies;
  • While to his Sighs, the Eccho still replies.
  •      Then with the Stream he holds Discourse:
  •      O thou that bendst thy liquid Force
  •      To lovely Thames! upon whose shore
  •      The Maid resides, whom I adore!
  • My Tears of Love upon thy Surface bear:
  • And if upon thy Banks thou see'st my Fair,
  •      In all thy softest Murmurs sing,
  •      'From Damon, I this Present bring;
  •      My e'ery Curl contains a Tear!
  •      Then at her Feet thy Tribute pay:
  •      But haste, O happy Stream! away;
  • Lest, charm'd too much, thou shou'dst for ever stay.
  •      And thou, O gentle, murm'ring Breeze!
  • That plays in Air, and wantons with the Trees;
  • On thy young Wings, where gilded Sunbeams play,
  •      To Iris my soft Sighs convey,
  • Still as they rise, each Minute of the Day:
  •      But whisper gently in her Ear;
  • Let not the ruder Winds thy Message hear,
  • Nor ruffle one dear Curl of her bright Hair.
  • Oh! touch her Cheeks with sacred Reverence,
  • And stay not gazing on her lovely Eye!
  • But if thou bear'st her Rose Breath from thence,
  •      'Tis Incense of that Excellence,
  • That as thou mount'st, 'twill perfume all the Skies.

Iris's Complexion.

Say what you will, I am confident, if you will confess your Heart, you are, every time you view your self in me, surpriz'd at the Beauty of your Complexion; and will secretly own, you pg 364never saw any thing so fair. I am not the first Glass, by a Thousand, that has assur'd you of this. If you will not believe me, ask Damon: He tells it you every Day, but that Truth from him offends you; and because he loves too much, you think his Judgment too little; and since this is so perfect, that must be defective. But 'tis most certain, your Complexion is infinitely fine, your Skin soft and smooth, as polisht Wax, or Ivory, extreamly white and clear; though if any Body speaks but of your Beauty, an agreeable Blush casts it self all over your Face, and gives you a Thousand new Graces.

  • And then two Flowers, newly born,
  •      Shine in your Heav'nly Face:
  • The Rose, that blushes in the Morn,
  •      Usurps the Lilly's Place:
  • Sometimes the Lilly does prevail,
  • And makes the gen'rous Crimson pale.

Iris's Hair.

Oh, the beautiful Hair of Iris! It seems, as if Nature had crown'd you with a great Quantity of lovely fair brown Hair, to make us know, that you were born to rule; and to repair the Faults of Fortune, that has not given you a Diadem: And do not bewail the Want of that (so much your Merit's Due) since Heaven has so gloriously recompenc'd you, with what gains more admiring Slaves.

  • Heav'n for Soveraignty, has made your Form:
  • And you were more than for dull Empire born.
  •      O'er Hearts your Kingdom shall extend,
  •      Your vast Dominion know no End.
  • Thither the Loves and Graces shall resort;
  • To Iris make their Homage, and their Court.
  •      No envious Star, no common Fate,
  • Critical Apparatus     Did on my Iris' Birth-day wait;
  • But all was happy, all was delicate.
  • Here Fortune wou'd inconstant be in vain:
  • Iris and Love, eternally shall reign.

Love does not make less use of your Hair for new Conquests, than of all the rest of your Beauties that adorn you. If he takes pg 365our Hearts with your fine Eyes, it tyes 'em fast with your Hair; and of it weaves a Chain, not easily broken. It is not of those sorts of Hair, whose Harshness discovers ill Nature; nor of those, whose Softness shews as the Weakness of the Mind: Not that either of these are Arguments without Exception; but 'tis such as bears the Character of a perfect Mind, and a delicate Wit; and for its Colour, the most faithful, discreet, and beautiful in the World; such as shews a Complexion and Constitution, neither so cold, to be insensible; nor so hot, to have too much Fire; that is, neither too white, nor too black; but such a Mixture of the two Colours, as makes it the most agreeable in the World.

  • 'Tis that which leads those captiv'd Hearts,
  •      That bleeding at your Feet do lye.
  • 'Tis that he Obstinate converts,
  •      That dare the Power of Love deny.
  • 'Tis that which Damon so admires;
  •      Damon, who often tells you so.
  • If from your Eyes Love takes his Fires,
  •      'Tis with your Hair he strings his Bow:
  • Which touching but the feather'd Dart,
  • It never mist the destin'd Heart.

Iris's Eyes.

I Believe, my fair Mistress, I shall dazle you with the Lustre of your own Eyes. They are the finest Blue in the World: They have all the Sweetness, that ever charm'd the Heart; with a certain Languishment, that's irresistable; and never any lookt on 'em, that did not sigh after 'em. Believe me, Iris, they carry unavoidable Darts and Fires; and whoever expose themselves to their Dangers, pay for their Imprudence.

  • Cold as my solid Chrystal is,
  •      Hard and impenetrable too;
  • Yet I am sensible of Bliss,
  •      When your charming Eyes I view:
  • Even by me, their Flames are felt;
  • And at each Glance, I fear to melt.
  • pg 366Ah, how pleasant are my Days!
  •      How my glorious Fate I bless!
  • Mortals never knew my Joys,
  •      Nor Monarchs guest any Happiness.
  • Every Look that's soft and gay.
  • Iris gives me every Day.
  • Spight of her Vertue, and her Pride,
  •      Every Morning I am blest
  • With what to Damon is deny'd;
  •      To view her when she is undrest.
  • All her Heaven of Beauty's shown
  • To triumphing Me – alone.
  • Scarce the prying Beams of Light,
  •      Or th'impatient God of Day,
  • Are allow'd so dear a Sight,
  •      Or dare prophane her with a Ray;
  • When she has appear'd to me,
  • Like Venus rising from the Sea.
  • But Oh! I must those Charms conceal,
  •      All too Divine for vulgar Eyes:
  • Shou'd I my secret Joys reveal,
  •      Of Sacred Trust I break the Tyes;
  • And Damon wou'd with Envy dye,
  • Who hopes, one Day, to be as blest as I.

Extravagant with my Joys, I have stray'd beyond my Limits; for I was telling you of the wondrous Fineness of your Eyes, which no Mortal can resist, nor any Heart stand the Force of their Charms; and the most difficult Conquests they gain, scarce cost 'em the Expence of a Look. They are modest and tender, chaste and languishing. There you may take a View of the whole Soul, and see Wit and good Nature (those two in-separable Vertues of the Mind) in an extraordinary Measure. In fine, you see all that fair Eyes can produce, to make themselves ador'd. And when they are angry, they strike an unresistable Awe upon the Soul: And those Severities, Damon wishes, may perpetually accompany them, during their Absence from him; for 'tis with such Eyes, he wou'd have you receive all his Rivals.

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  • Keep, lovely Maid, the Softness in your Eyes,
  •      To flatter Damon with another Day:
  • When at your Feet the ravisht Lover lies,
  •      Then put on all that's tender, all that's gay:
  • And for the Griefs your Absence makes him prove,
  • Give him the softest, dearest Looks of Love.
  • His trembling Heart with sweetest Smiles caress,
  •      And in your Eyes, soft Wishes let him find;
  • That your Regret of Absence may confess,
  •      In which, no Sense of Pleasure you cou'd find:
  • And to restore him, let your faithful Eyes
  • Declare, that all his Rivals you despise.

The Mouth of Iris.

I Perceive, your Modesty wou'd impose Silence on me: But, O fair Iris! Do not think to present your self before a Glass, if you wou'd not have it tell you all your Beauties: Content your self, that I only speak of 'em, En Passant;a for shou'd I speak what I wou'd, I shou'd dwell all Day upon each Particular, and still say something new. Give me Liberty then to speak of your fine Mouth: You need only open it a little, and you will see the most delicate Teeth, that ever you beheld; the whitest, and the best set. Your Lips are the finest in the World; so round, so soft, so plump, so dimpled, and of the loveliest Colour. And when you smile, Oh! What Imagination can conceive how sweet it is, that has not seen you Smiling? I cannot describe what I so admire; and 'tis in vain to those, who have not seen Iris.

  • O Iris! boast that one peculiar Charm,
  •      That has so many Conquests made;
  • So innocent, yet capable of Harm;
  •      So just it self, yet has so oft betray'd
  •        Where a Thousand Graces dwell,
  •        And wanton round in e'ery Smile.
  • pg 368A Thousand Loves do listen when you speak,
  •      And catch each Accent as it flies:
  • Rich flowing Wit, when e'er you Silence break,
  •      Flows from your Tongue, and sparkles in your Eyes.
  •        Whether you talk, or silent are;
  •        Your Lips Immortal Beauties were.

The Neck of Iris.

All you Modesty, all your nice Care, cannot hide the ravishing Beauties of your Neck; we must see it, coy as you are; and see it the whitest, and finest-shap't, that ever was form'd. Oh! Why will you cover it? You know, all handsom things wou'd be seen. And Oh! How often have you made your Lovers envy your Scarf, or any thing that hides so fine an Object from their Sight. Damon himself complains of your too nice Severity. Pray do not hide it so carefully. See how perfectly turn'd it is; with small blue Veins, wandring and ranging here and there, like little Rivulents, that wanton o'er the flowery Meads. See how the round white rising Breasts heave with every Breath, as if they disdain'd to be confin'd to a Covering; and repel the malicious Cloud, that wou'd obscure their Brightness.

  • Fain I wou'd have leave to tell
  • The Charms that on your Bosom dwell;
  • Describe it like some flow'ry Field,
  • That does Ten Thousand Pleasures yield;
  • A Thousand gliding Springs and Groves;
  • All Receptacles for Loves.
  • But Oh! What Iris hides, must be
  • Ever sacred kept by me.

The Arms and Hands of Iris.

I shall not be put to much Trouble to shew you your Hands and Arms, because you may view them without my Help; and you are very unjust, if you have not admir'd 'em a Thousand times. Critical ApparatusThe beautiful Colour and Proportion of your Arm is inimitable, pg 369and your Hand is dazling fine, small, and plump; long-pointed Fingers, delicately turn'd; dimpl'd on the Snowy Out-side, but adorn'd within with Rose, all over the soft Palm, O Iris! Nothing equals your fair Hand; that Hand, of which Love so often makes such use, to draw his Bow, when he wou'd fend the Arrow home, with more Success; and which irresistibly wounds those, who possibly, have not yet seen your Eyes: And when you have been veil'd, that lovely Hand has gain'd you a Thousand Adorers. And I have heard Damon say, 'Without the Aid of more Beauties, that alone had been sufficient to have made an absolute conquest o'er his Soul.' And he has often vow'd, 'It never toucht him, but it made his Blood run with little irregular Motions in his Veins; his Breath beat short and double; his Blushes rise, and his very Soul dance.

  • Oh! How the Hand the Lover ought to prize,
  •      'Bove any one peculiar Grace,
  • While he is dying for the Eyes,
  •      And doting on the lovely Face.
  • The Unconsid'ring little knows,
  • How much he is to this Beauty owes.
  • That, when the Lover absent is,
  •      Informs him of his Mistress Heart.
  • 'Tis that, which gives him all his Bliss,
  •      When dear Love-Secrets' twill impart.
  • That plights the Faith, the Maid bestows:
  • And that confirms the tim'rous Vows.
  • 'Tis that betrays the Tenderness,
  •      Which the too bashful Tongue denies.
  • 'Tis that, that does the Heart confess,
  •      And spares the Language of the Eyes.
  •      'Tis that, which Treasures gives so vast:
  • Ev'n Iris 'twill to Damon give at last.

The Grace and Air of Iris.

'Tis I alone, O charming Maid! that can shew you that noble Part of your Beauty: That generous Air, that adorns all your lovely Person, and renders every Motion and Action perfectly pg 370adorable. With what a Grace you walk! — How free, how easie, and how unaffected! See how you move; — for only here you can see it. Damon has told you a Thousand times, that never any Mortal had so glorious an Air; but he cou'd not half describe it, nor wou'd you credit even what he said; but with a careless Smile, pass it off for the Flattery of a Lover. But here behold, and be convinc'd; and know, no part of your Beauty can charm more than this. O Iris, confess, Love has adorn'd you with all his Art and Care. Your Beauties are the Themes of all the Muses; who tell you in daily Songs, that the Graces themselves have not more than Iris. And one may truly say, that you alone know how to joyn the Ornaments and Dress, with Beauty; and you are still adorn'd, as if that Shape and Air had a peculiar Art to make all things appear gay and fine. Oh, how well drest you are! How every thing becomes you! Never singular, never Critical Apparatusgawdy; but always suiting with your Quality.

  • Oh, how that Negligence becomes your Air!
  •      That careless flowing of your Hair,
  •      That plays about, with wanton Grace,
  •      With every Motion of your Face:
  • Disdaining all that dull Formality,
  •      That dares not move the Lip, or Eye;
  •      But at some fancy'd Grace's cost;
  • And think, with it, at least, a Lover lost.
  • But the unlucky Minute to reclaim,
         And ease the Coquet of her Pain,
    The Pocket-Glassa adjusts the Face again:

  • Re-sets the Mouth, and languishes the Eyes;
  • And thinks, the Spark that ogles that Way — dyes.
  •      Of Iris learn, O ye mistaken Fair!
  •      To dress your Face, your Smiles, your Air.
  • Let easie Nature all the bus'ness do:
  •      She can the softest Graces shew:
  •      Which Art but turns to Ridicule;
  • And where there's none, serves but to shew the Fool.
  •      In Iris you all Graces find;
  • Charms without Art, a Motion unconfin'd:
  • pg 371Without Constraint, she smiles, she looks, she talks;
  • And without Affectation, moves and walks.
  • Beauties so perfect ne'er were seen.
  • Critical ApparatusO ye mistaken Fair! Dress ye by Iris' Miene.

The Discretion of Iris.

But O Iris! The Beauties of the Body are imperfect, if the Beauties of the Soul do not advance themselves to an equal Height. But, O Iris! What Mortal is there so damned to Malice, that does not, with Adoration, confess, that you (O charming Maid!) have an equal Portion of all the Braveries and Vertues of the Mind? And who is it, that confesses your Beauty, that does not, at the same time acknowledge, and bow to your Wisdom? The whole World admires both in you? And all, with Im-patience, ask, Which of the Two is most surprizing? Your Beauty, or your Discretion? But we dispute in vain on that excellent Subject; for after all, 'tis determin'd, that the two Charms are equal. 'Tis none of those idle Discretions, that consists in Words alone, and ever takes the Shadow of Reason for the Substance; and that makes use of all the little Artifices of Subtilty, and florid Talking, to make the Out-side of the Argu-ment appear fine, and leave the In-side wholly mis-understood: Who runs away with Words, and never thinks of Sense. But you, O lovely Maid! never make use of these affected Arts; but without being too brisk, or too severe; too silent, or too talk-ative, you inspire in all your Hearers, a Joy, and a Respect. Your Soul is an Enemy to that usual Vice of your Sex, of using little Arguments against the Fair; or by a Word, or Jest, make your self, and Hearers pleasant, at the Expence of the Fame of others.

Your Heart is an Enemy to all Passions, but that of Love. And this is one of your noble Maxim's 'That every One ought to love, in some Part of his Life: And that, in a Heart truly brave, Love is without Folly: That Wisdom is a Friend to Love, and Love to perfect Wisdom.' Since these Maxims are your own, do not, O charming Iris! resist that noble Passion: And since Damon is the most tender of all your Lovers, answer his Passion with a noble Ardour: Your Prudence never fails in the Choice of your Friends; and in chusing so well your Lover, you will stand an eternal President to all unreasonable fair Ones.

pg 372

  • O thou, that dost excel in Wit and Youth!
  • Be still a President for Love and Truth.
  •      Let the dull World say what it will,
  •      A Noble Flame's unblameable.
  • Where a fine Sent'ment, and soft Passion rules,
  •      They scorn the Censure of the Fools
  •      Yield, Iris, then; Oh, yield to Love!
  • Redeem your dying Slave from Pain:
  •      The World your Conduct must approve:
  • Your Prudence never acts in vain.

The Goodness and Complaisance of Iris.

Who but your Lovers, fair Iris! doubts, but you are the most complaisant Person in the World: And that with so much Sweetness you oblige all, that you command in Yielding; and as you gain the Heart of both Sexes, with the Affability of your noble Temper; so all are proud and vain of obliging you. And Iris; you may live assur'd, that your Empire is eternally estab-lisht, by your Beauty, and your Goodness: Your Power is confirm'd, and you grow in Strength every Minute: Your Good-ness gets you Friends, and your Beauty Lovers.

This Goodness is not one of those, whose Folly renders it easie to every Desirer; but a pure Effect of the Generosity of your Soul: such as Prudence alone manages, according to the Merit of the Person, to whom it is extended; and those whom you esteem, receive the sweet Marks of it; and only your Lovers complain: Yet even then you charm. And though sometimes you can be a little disturb'd, yet, through your Anger, your Goodness shines; and you are but too much afraid, that they may bear a false Interpretation: For oftentimes, Scandal makes that pass for an Effect of Love, which is purely, that of Com-plaisance.

Never had any Body more Tenderness for their Friends, than Iris: Their Presence gives her Joy; their Absence, Trouble; and when she cannot see 'em, she finds no Pleasure, like Speaking of 'em obligingly. Friendship reigns in your Heart, and Sincer-ity on your Tongue. Your Friendship is so strong, so constant, and so tender, that it charms, pleases, and satisfies All, that are not your Adorers. 'Tis therefore, Damon is excusable, if he be pg 373not contented with your Noble Friendship alone; for he is the most tender of that Number.

  • No! Give me all, th'impatient Lover cries;
  •      Without your Soul, I cannot live:
  • Dull Friendship cannot mine suffice,
  •      That dyes for all you have to give.
  • The Smiles, the Vows, the Heart must all be mine:
  • I cannot spare one Thought, or Wish of thine.
  • I sigh, I languish all the Day;
  •      Each Minute ushers in my Groans:
  • To e'ery God in vain I pray;
  •      In e'ery Grove repeat my Moans.
  • Still Iris Charms are all my Sorrows Theams:
  • They pain me Waking, and they wrack in Dreams.
  • Return, fair Iris! Oh, return!
  •      Left Sighing long, your Slave destroys.
  • I wish, I rave, I faint, I burn;
  •      Restore me quickly all my Joys:
  • Your Mercy else, will come too late.
  • Distance in love more cruel is, than Hate.

The Wit of Iris.

You are deceiv'd in me, fair Iris, if you take me for one of those ordinary Glasses, that represent the Beauty only of the Body; I remark to you also, the Beauties of the Soul: And all about you declares yours, the finest that ever was formed; that you have a wit that surprises, and is always new: 'Tis none of those, that loses its Lustre, when one considers it; the more we examine yours, the more adorable we find it. You say nothing, that is not, at once, agreeable and solid; 'tis always quick and ready, without Impertinence, that little Vanity of the Fair; who, when they know they have Wit, rarely manage it so, as not to abound in Talking; and think, that all they say must please, because, luckily, they sometimes chance to do so. But Iris never speaks, but 'tis of use; and gives a Pleasure to all that hears her. She has the perfect Art of Penetrating, even the most secret Thoughts. pg 374How often have you known, without being told, all that has past in Damon's Heart? For all great Wits are Prophets too.

  • Tell me; Oh, tell me! Charming Prophetess;
  • For you alone can tell my Love's Success.
  •      The Lines in my dejected Face,
  • I fear, will lead you to no kind Result:
  •      It is your own, that you must trace;
  •      Those of your Heart you must consult.
  •      'Tis there, my Fortune I must learn,
  •      And all the Damon does concern.
  •      I tell you, that I love a Maid,
  •      As bright as Heav'n, of Angel-hue:
  •      The softest, Nature ever made:
  •      Whom I, with Sighs and Vows, pursue.
  •      Oh, tell me, charming Prophetess!
  •      Shall I this lovely Maid possess?
  • A Thousand Rivals do obstruct my Way;
  •      A Thousand Fears they do create:
  •      They throng about her all the Day,
  •      Whilst I at awful Distance wait.
  • Say, Will the lovely Maid so fickle prove,
  • To give my Rivals Hope, as well as Love?
  •      She has a Thousand Charms of Wit,
  •      With all the Beauty Heav'n e'er gave:
  •      Oh! Let her not make use of it,
  •      To flatter me into the Slave.
  •      Oh! Tell me Truth, to ease my Pain:
  • Say rather, I shall dye by her Disdain.

The Modesty of Iris.

I Perceive, fair Iris, you have a Mind to tell me, I have enter-tain'd you too long, with a Discourse on your self. I know, your Modesty makes this Declaration an Offence; and you suffer me, with Pain, to unvail those Treasures you wou'd hide. Your Modesty, that so commendable a Vertue in the Fair, and so peculiar to you, is here a little too severe: did I flatter you, you shou'd blush: Did I seek, by praising you, to shew an Art of pg 375Speaking finely, you might chide. But, O Iris! I say nothing, but such plain Truths, as all the World can witness, are so. And so far I am from Flattery, that I seek no Ornament of Words. Why do you take such Care to conceal your Vertues? They have too much Lustre, not to be seen, in spight of all your Modesty: Your Wit, your Youth, and Reason oppose themselves, against this dull Obstructor of our Happiness. Abate, O Iris, a little of this Vertue, since you have so many other, to defend your self against the Attacks of your Adorers.

You your self have the least Opinion of your own Charms: and being the only Person in the World, that is not in love with 'em, you hate to pass whole Hours before your Looking-glass; and to pass your Time, like most of the idle Fair, in dressing, and setting off those Beauties, which need so little Art. You, more wise, disdain to give those Hours to the Fatigue of Dress-ing, which you know so well how to employ a Thousand Ways. The Muses have blest you, above your Sex; and you know how to gain a Conquest with your Pen, more absolutely, than all the industrious Fair, who trust to Dress and Equipage.

I have a Thousand things to tell you more, but willingly resign my Place to Damon, that faithful Lover; he will speak more ardently than I: For, let a Glass use all its Force, yet, when it speaks its Best, it speaks but coldly.

If my Glass, O charming Iris! have the good Fortune (which I cou'd never entirely boast) to be believ'd, 'twill serve, at least, to convince you, I have not been so guilty of Flattery, as I have a Thousand times been charg'd. Since then my Passion is equal to your Beauty (without Comparison, or End) believe, O lovely Maid! how I sigh in your Absence: And be perswaded to lessen my Pain, and restore me to my Joys' for there is no Torment so great, as the Absence of a Lover from his Mistress; of which, this is the Idea.

The Effects of Absence from what we love.

  • Thou one continu'd Sigh! all over Pain!
  • Eternal Wish! but Wish, alas in vain!
  • Thou languishing, impatient Hoper on;
  • A busie Toyler, and yet still undone!
  • A breaking Glimpse of distant Day,
  • Inticing on, and leading more astray.
  • Thou Joy in Prospect, future Bliss extream;
  • pg 376But ne'er to be possest, but in a Dream.
  • Thou fab'lous Goddess,a which the ravisht Boy,
  • In happy Slumbers proudly did enjoy:
  • But waking found an Airy Cloud he prest;
  • His arms came empty to his panting Breast.
  • Thou Shade, that only haunts the Soul by Night;
  • And when thou shou'dst inform, thou fly'st the Sight.
  • Thou false Idea of the Thinking Brain,
  • That labours for the charming Form in vain;
  • Which if by Chance it catch, thou'rt lost again.

FINIS.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
a French: fine figure.
Editor’s Note
a In the Old Testament, Lot and his wife escaped the destruction of Sodom, but Lot's wife disobeyed God's instructions not to look back at the city. As punishment, she was transformed into a pillar of salt.
Critical Apparatus
364.32: Iris to Iris'
Editor’s Note
a French: in passing.
Critical Apparatus
368.33: unimitable to inimitable
Critical Apparatus
370.16: suting to suiting
Editor’s Note
a Pocket mirror.
Critical Apparatus
371.4: Iris to Iris'
Editor’s Note
a Selene, the goddess of the moon who fell in love with Endymion, a handsome shepherd, on Mt Latmus. The goddess placed him in a perpetual sleep and visited him each night.
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