Sidor som bilder
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E PIS T. XVII.

THE ARGUMENT.

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Helen, having received an epistle from Paris, re

turns the following answer: wherein she seems at first to chide lim for bis presumption in writing as he had done, which could only proceed from his low opinion of ber virtue; then owns berself to be sensible of the pasion, which he bad expressed for ber, tho frie much suspected his constancy; and at last discovers ber inclination to be favourable to him: the wlole letter foewing the extreme artifice of womankind.

WHER

HEN loose epistles violate chaste

eyes,
She half consents, who filently denies.
How dares a stranger, with designs so vain,
Marriage and hospitable rights prophane?
Was it for this, your fleet did shelter find
From swelling seas, and ev'ry faithless wind?
(For tho a distant country brought you forth,
Your usage here was equal to your worth.)

Nor my

Does this deserve to be rewarded fo?
Did you come here a stranger or a foe?
Your partial judgment may perhaps complain,
And think me barb'rous for my just disdain.
Ill-bred then let me be, but not unchaste,

clear fame with any spot defac'd.
Tho in my face there's no affected frown,
Nor in my carriage a feign'd niceness shown,
I keep my honor still without a stain,
Nor has my love made any coxcomb vain. .
Your boldness I with admiration see;
What hope had you to gain a queen like me?
Because a hero forc'd me once away,
Am I thought fit to be a second prey ?
Had I been won, I had desery'd your blame,
But sure my part was nothing but the shame.
Yet the base theft to him no fruit did bear,
I’scap'd unhurt by any thing but fear.
Rude force might some unwilling kisses gain ;
But that was all he ever could obtain.
You on such terms would ne'er have let

me go ; Were he like you, we had not parted so. Untouch'd the youth restor'd me to my friends, And modest usage made me some amends. 'Tis virtue to repent a vicious deed. Did he repent, that Paris might succeed?

my face;

Sure'tis fome fate that sets me above wrongs,
Yet Nill exposes me to busy tongues.
I'll not complain; for who's displeas'd with love,
If it sincere, discreet, and constant prove?
But that I fear; not that I think you base,
Or doubt the blooming beauties of
But all your sex is subject to deceive,
And ours, alas, too willing to believe.
Yet others yield; and love o'ercomes the best:
But why should I not shine above the rest?
Fair Leda's story seems at first to be
A fit example ready form'd for me.
But she was cozen’d by a borrow'd shape,
And under harmless feathers felt a rape.
If I should yield, what reason could I use?
By what mistake the loving crime excuse?
Her fault was in her powerful lover lost;
But of what Jupiter have I to boast?
Tho you to heroes and to kings succeed,
Our famous race does no addition need;
And great alliances but useless prove
To one that comes herself from mighty Jove.
Go then, and boast in some less haughty place
Your Phrygian blood, and Priam's ancient race;
Which I would shew I valu'd, if I durft;
You are the fifth from Jove, but I the first.

The crown of Troy is pow'rful, I confess;
But I have reason to think ours no less.
Your letter, filld with promises. of all
That men can good, and women pleasant call,
Gives expectation such an ample field,
As would move Goddesses themselves to yield.
But if I e'er offend great Juno's laws,
Yourself shall be the dear, the only cause :
Either

my

honor I'll to death maintain,
Or follow you, without mean thoughts of gain.
Not that so fair a present I despise ;
We like the gift, when we the giver prize.
But 'tis your love moves me,

love moves me, which made you take Such pains, and run such hazards for

my

sake. I have perceiv'd (tho I dissembled too) A thousand things that love has made you

do. Your eager eyes would almost dazzle mine, In which (wild man) your wanton thoughts would

shine. Sometimes you'd figh, sometimes disorder'd stand, And with unusual ardor press my hand; Contrive just after me to take the glass, Nor would you let the least occasion pass : When oft I fear'd, I did not mind alone, And blushing fate for things which you have done: Then murmur'd to myself, He'll for ny

fake Do

any thing; I hope 'twas no mistake. Oft have I read within this pleasing grove, Under

my name, those charming words, I love. 1, frowning, seem’d not to believe your flame; But now, alas, am come to write the same. If I were capable to do amiss, I could not but be fensible of this. For oh! your face has such peculiar charms, That who can hold from flying to your arms! But what I ne'er can have without offence, May some blest maid possess with innocence. Pleasure may tempt, but virtue more should

move ; O learn of me to want the thing you love. What you desire is sought by all mankind : As you have eyes,

fo others are not blind. Like you they see, like you my charms adore ; They wish not less, but you dare venture more. Oh! had you then upon our coasts been brought, My virgin-love when thousand rivals fought, You had I feen, you should have had

my

voice; Nor could my husband justly blame my

choice, For both our hopes, alas! you come too late ; ; Another now is master of my fate.

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