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For ftill we think an absent blessing best,
Which cloys, and is no bleffing when poffeft;
A new arifing with expels it from the breast.
The fev'rish thirst of life increases still;
We call for more and more, and never have our fill;
Yet know not what to-morrow we shall try,
What dregs of life in the laft draught may lie:
Nor, by the longest life we can attain,
One moment from the length of death we gain;
For all behind belongs to his eternal reign.
When once the fates have cut the mortal thread,
The man as much to all intents is dead,
Who dies to-day, and will as long be so,
As he who dy'd a thousand years ago.
The latter Part of the FOURTH BOOK of
Concerning the Nature of Love.
Sic igitur veneris qui telis accipit icum, &c.
HUS, therefore, he, who feels the fiery dart
defire transfix his amorous heart,
Whether fome beauteous boy's alluring face,
Or lovelier maid, with unrefifting grace,
From her each part the winged arrow fends,
From whence he firft was ftruck he thither tends;
Restless he roams, impatient to be freed,
And eager to inject the sprightly feed.
For fierce defire does all his mind employ,
And ardent love affures approaching joy.
Such is the nature of that pleafing smart,
Whofe burning drops diftil upon the heart,
The fever of the foul fhot from the fair,
And the cold ague of fucceeding care,
If abfent her idea still appears,
And her sweet name is chiming in your ears.
But ftrive those pleafing fantoms to remove,
And shun th' aerial images of love,
That feed the flame: when one molefts thy mind,
Discharge thy loins on all the leaky kind;
For that's a wifer way, than to restrain
Within thy fwelling nerves that hoard of pain.
For ev'ry hour fome deadlier symptom fhews,
And by delay the gathering venom grows,
When kindly applications are not us'd;
The fcorpion, love, must on the wound be bruis'd:
On that one object 'tis not fafe to say,
But force the tide of thought fome other way:
The fquander'd spirits prodigally throw,
And in the common glebe of nature sow.
Nor wants he all the blifs, that lovers feign,
Who takes the pleasure, and avoids the pain;
For purer joys in purer health abound,
And lefs affect the fickly than the found.
When love its utmost vigour does employ,
Ev'n then 'tis but a reftlefs wand'ring joy:
Nor knows the lover in that wild excefs,
With hands or eyes, what firft he would poffefs;
But ftrains at all, and, faft'ning where he ftrains,
Too closely preffes with his frantic pains;
With biting kiffes hurts the twining fair,
Which fhews his joys imperfect, unfincere:
For, fung with inward rage, he flings around,
And ftrives t'avenge the fmart on that which gave the
But love thofe eager bitings does reftrain,
And mingling pleasure mollifies the pain.
For ardent hope ftill flatters anxious grief,
And fends him to his foe to feek relief:
Which yet the nature of the thing denies;
For love, and love alone of all our joys,
By full poffeffion does but fan the fire;
The more we ftill enjoy, the more we still defire.
Nature for meat and drink provides a space,
And, when receiv'd, they fill their certain place:
Hence thirst and hunger may be fatisfy'd;
But this repletion is to love deny'd:
Form, feature, colour, whatfoe'er delight
Provokes the lover's endless appetite,
Thefe fill no space, nor can we thence remove
With lips, or hands, or all our inftruments of love:
In our deluded grasp we nothing find,
But thin aerial fhapes, that fleet before the mind.
As he, who in a dream with drought is curst,
And finds no real drink to quench his thirst;
Runs to imagin'd lakes his heat to steep,
And vainly fwills and labours in his fleep:
So love with fantoms cheats our longing eyes,
Which hourly seeing never satisfies:
Our hands pull nothing from the parts they strain,
But wander o'er the lovely limbs in vain:
Nor when the youthful pair more closely join,
When hands in hands they lock, and thighs in thighs they twine,
Juft in the raging foam of full defire,
When both prefs on, both murmur, both expire,
They gripe, they squeeze, their humid tongues they dart,
As each would force their way to t' other's heart:
In vain; they only cruize about the coaft;
For bodies cannot pierce, nor be in bodies loft;
As fure they ftrive to be, when both engage
In that tumultuous momentary rage;
So tangled in the nets of love they lie,
Till man diffolves in that excess of joy.
Then, when the gather'd bag has burft its way,
And ebbing tides the flacken'd nerves betray,
A pause enfues; and nature nods a-while,
Till with recruited rage new fpirits boil;
And then the fame vain violence returns;
With flames renew'd th' erected furnace burns.
Again they in each other would be loft,
But ftill by adamantine bars are croft.
All ways they try, fuccefslefs all they prove,
To cure the fecret fore of ling'ring love.
They waste their ftrength in the venereal ftrife,
And to a woman's will enflave their life;
Th' eftate runs out, and mortgages are made;
All offices of friendship are decay'd;
Their fortune ruin'd, and their fame betray'd.
Affyrian ointment from their temples flows,
And diamond buckles fparkle in their fhoes.
The chearful emerald twinkle on their hands,
With all the luxury of foreign lands:
And the blue coat, that with imbroid'ry fhines,
Is drunk with fweat of their o'er-labour'd loins.
Their frugal father's gains they mifemploy,
And turn to point, and pearl, and ev'ry female toy,
French fashions, coftly treats are their delight;
The park by day, and plays and balls by night.
In vain :
For in the fountain, where their sweets are fought,
Some bitter bubbles up, and poifons all the draught,
Firft guilty confcience does the mirror bring,
Then tharp remorfe hoots out her angry fting;
And anxious thoughts, within themselves at ftrife,
Upbraid the long, mif-fpent, luxurious life.
Perhaps, the fickle fair-one proves unkind,
Or drops a doubtful word, that pains his mind,
And leaves a rankling jealoufy behind.
-Perhaps, he watches close her amorous eyes,
And in the act of ogling does furprise;
And thinks he fees upon her cheeks the while
The dimpled tracks of fome foregoing fmile;
His raging pulfe beats thick, and his pent fpirits boil.
This is the product e'en of profperous love;
Think then what pangs difaftrous passions prove.
Innumerable ills; difdain, defpair,
With all the meager family of care.
Thus, as I faid, 'tis better to prevent,
Than flatter the disease, and late repent:
Because to fhun th' allurement is not hard
To minds refolv'd, forewarn'd, and well prepar'd;
But wond'rous difficult, when once befet,
To ftruggle thro' the ftraits, and break th' involving net. Yet thus infnar'd thy freedom thou may'ft gain,
If, like a fool, thou doft not hug thy chain;
If not to ruin obftinately blind,
And wilfully endeavouring not to find
Her plain defects of body and of mind.
For thus the Bedlam train of lovers ufe
T'inhance the value, and the faults excufe.
And therefore 'tis no wonder if we fee
They doat on dowdies and deformity:
E'en what they cannot praife, they will not blame,
But veil with fome extenuating name:
The fallow skin is for the fwarthy put,
And love can make a flattern of a flut.
If cat-ey'd, then a Pallas is their love:
If freckled, the's a party-colour'd dove:
If little, then fhe's life and foul all o'er:
An Amazon, the large two-handed' whore.