Narcissa and Eliza. A dramatic tale. By Francis Gentleman



[Price One Shilling and Sixpence.]


This Day are publiſhed, SEJANUS, A TRAGEDY, altered from BEN JOHNSON; AND Religious and Political LIBERTY, An ORATION; By FRANCIS GENTLEMAN.

The Former printed for R. MANBY and H. S. COX, the Latter for J. BOUQUET.

Alſo this Day are publiſhed, A VOYAGE to the MOON, Tranſlated from the French of BERGERAC: AND A RHAPSODY on FORTUNE, inſcribed to Mr. GARRICK.






Wiſe Wretch! with Pleaſures too refin'd to pleaſe,
With too much Spirit to be e'er at Eaſe;
With too much Quickneſs ever to be taught,
With too much Thinking to have common Thought;
You purchaſe Pain with all that Joy can give,
And die of Nothing but a Rage to live.




Speedily will be publiſhed, CAMILLO: A DRAMATIC TALE In VERSE.

Wealth makes the Man, and Want of it the Fellow,
The Reſt is all but Leather and Prunella.




IT has long been, and ſtill remains a ſettled Rule with AUTHORS, to chuſe the moſt conſpicuous Characters for Patrons; thus far I comply with general Cuſtom, which, however ridiculous, it is dangerous to break through; as to the trite Panegyrics of Dedication, they ſeem abſolutely unneceſſary upon the preſent Occaſion, for your Virtues,—Qualifications I mean, are ſo very generally known, that they require not any Illuſtration, being ſufficient Blazon to themſelves; therefore it will be ſufficient to obſerve, that to your great Predeceſſors, the DRAMA is obliged for many of its moſt ſtriking Characters. To you, and your courtly Tribe of Imitators, we ſtand indebted for the frequent, curious Amendments of FASHION, and Machinations of LOVE; alſo for OPERAS, BURLETTAS, MASQUERADES, PANTOMIMES, DRUMS, ROUTS, with a long &c. of Time-killing Amuſements; and laſt, though not leaſt in Love, for the following Tale founded on your Syſtems of Life, which Circumſtance muſt particularly recommend it to your moſt indulgent Patronage.

[Page vi] 'TIS true I may appear in this Addreſs as an INDIAN worſhipping the Devil, however that may be, it will evidently follow from One Conſideration, that I have an undoubted Right to claim your Patronage, when I declare that many Actions of my own Life have been truly Coxcomical, and perhaps not One of them more ſo than my Compliance with the Cacoethes Scribendi, which urged me to commence AUTHOR▪ eſpecially a Poetical or Verſifying One.

I am, with all due Reſpect, as a Writer, and ſincere Affection, as Relation,

Your moſt obedient, And devoted Servant, The AUTHOR.

I had almoſt dated this Addreſs, April the Firſt, but being ſenſible that it was giving the CRITICS a fair Opportunity to honour me with the Title of the Day, I ſtep Four and Twenty Hours forward in the Year 1754.



KNOWING from perſonal Experience how apt prefatory Matter is to pall, I ſhall no farther intrude upon the Leiſure of my Readers than briefly to obſerve, that the following Narration is founded on Truth; that it is related, excluſive of an Alteration in the Cataſtrophe of NARCISSA, with ſtrict Fidelity. What Merit there may be in it, I ſhall leave the Public to decide; I am well apprized that the Characters will ſeem ſomewhat imperfect, particularly ELIZA, who does not appear ſufficiently to conſtitute a Principal; but I hope to be excuſed any Error of this Kind, though voluntary, as I found Prolixity ſtealing in upon me, which I was reſolved at any Rate to avoid.

I ſhould perhaps have thrown the Incidents together in Proſe, but that I think the Town already too much harraſſed with MEMOIRS, ADVENTURES, &c. This is a Sort of Deviation, and I hope ſome Perſons of ſtronger Genius than I imagine myſelf to be will communicate Pictures of Life in poetical Narratives.

Upon the Whole, as I know many Faults muſt appear, I earneſtly requeſt that every judicious Reader will make ſuch Amendments as ſeem neceſſary, and render it, if poſſible, agreeable to his or her Taſte, believing I ſhould have done the ſame, had it been in my Power.



Ingenium Mala ſaepe movent.

SUBSCRIPTIONS are taken in by R. MANBY on Ludgate-Hill, PAUL VAILLANT in the Strand, H. S. Cox and J. BOUQUET in Pater-Noſter-Row, and B. BOURN under the Royal-Exchange, Bookſellers; J. BROOKE in Change-Alley, and by the AUTHOR.


  • I. THAT the Work ſhall be put to the Preſs as ſoon as two Hundred are ſubſcribed for.
  • II. That it ſhall be printed off with all Expedition afterwards, on ſuperfine Paper and an elegant Letter.
  • III. The Price to Subſcribers will be Six Shillings; Three to be paid at the Time of ſubſcribing, and Three on the Delivery of the Work, in one Octavo Volume, ſtitch'd in Blue Paper.
  • IV. The Subſcribers Names to be printed, as Encouragers of the Work.
  • V. A few will be printed off, for the Curious, on Royal Paper, and delivered neatly Bound, at Ten Shillings and Six-Pence Each, Five Shillings to be paid on ſubſcribing.
  • VI. The Price will be rais'd to thoſe who don't ſubſcribe.


INDULGENT Muſe, to whom my Soul repairs,
As gentle Antidote of all its Cares;
Thou calm Receſs of an o'erburthen'd Mind,
The Chains of rough Adverſity unbind.
Then to forget myſelf I aſk thy Aid,
Oh! ſnatch me from the Gloom of Fortune's Shade;
For tender Fancy ſtruggles hard to riſe,
Through the ſharp Gales and Froſts of wint'ry Skies,
Bear from dull Earth on thy expanded Wing,
And teach thy humble Proſelyte to ſing;
[Page 2] With ſprightly Elegance of Thought inſpire,
Enflame my Boſom with poetic Fire,
Strike with bold Imag'ry, and tune my Verſe,
While fabled Truths a moral Tale rehearſe.
ANSELMO wearied with a trading Life,
Reſolv'd to fly Solicitude and Strife;
To lay the anxious Cares of Buſineſs down,
And ſhun the Buſtle of the noiſy Town.
Nature had mingled in ANSELMO'S Frame,
A Love of Virtue, and Contempt of Fame;
Grave without Pride, though prudent, not ſevere,
Of Honour boundleſs, and of Judgment clear;
To Cenſure ſlow, to Pardon always free,
The Friend of Mankind, and of Liberty:
Who could, with equal Honeſty, deſpiſe
The Fools of Pow'r, or the corrupted Wiſe;
A venal Commoner, or lordly Knave,
A mitred Deiſt, or a willing Slave.
[Page 3] A grapling Miſer, or a Spendthrift Heir,
An impious Rake-hell, or abandon'd Fair,
A ſhameleſs Sinner, or affected Saint,
A Mind of Fallacy, or Face of Paint.
FORTUNE had bleſs'd him with ſufficient Store,
And REASON wiſely told him, ſeek no more.
HE choſe a lonely, yet delightful Seat,
Where ev'ry Comfort crown'd the bleſs'd Retreat;
Where Joys, unknown to pompous Pride and Pow'r,
Danc'd on the Wings of ev'ry paſſing Hour.
Content, the Goddeſs of ſupreme Delight,
Still cheer'd the Day, and balm'd the happy Night.
Here ſafe calm Peace could ſmile at diſtant Wars,
The Cannon's Thunder and loud Stateſmen's Jars.
Religion here diveſted of all Art,
Conjoin'd with Reaſon to amend the Heart,
Juſt in her Tenets, in her Doctrine clear,
Placid in Zeal, not formally ſevere.
[Page 4]
HERE Charity, in all her native Charms,
Call'd faint Diſtreſs to her enliv'ning Arms;
Diſpers'd the Cloud of Woe with ſun-like Beams,
And ſcatter'd Bounty in diffuſive Streams.
No Widow here, e'er bootleſs told her Pain,
No helpleſs Orphan ſtream'd with Tears in vain.
ANSELMO had but one remaining Care,
Of which two Daughters claim'd an equal Share,
The Elder deem'd beyond Deſcription fair.
NARCISSA, ſo the lovely Nymph we call,
In Shape was delicate, in Stature tall;
Her blooming Cheeks made pale the Tyrian Dye,
And Cupids ambuſh'd in each ſparkling Eye;
With ev'ry Glance flew forth a golden Dart,
The certain Conqueſt of a wounded Heart.
Her Charms diffus'd a World of pleaſing Pains,
And fetter'd, half Mankind in am'rous Chains.
[Page 5] Each public Place re-echo'd with her Fame,
And thriving Vintners bleſs'd her lucky Name;
For Sons of Bacchus holding her Divine,
Pouring Libations, empti'd Tons of Wine.
To ſhew his Taſte in panegyric Lays;
Each Witling ſtrove to celebrate her Praiſe.
BEAUS with their Taylors', and their Barbers' Aid,
For Beaus are but mechanically made;
In foppiſh Emulation vainly ſtrove,
To catch the Fair One's Eye, and win her Love.
While ſhe convinc'd of her extenſive Pow'r,
Studied to gain new Conqueſts ev'ry Hour.
A Thouſand little practis'd Arts ſhe tries;
CUPID the PROTEUS of her varying Eyes,
Veil'd in the Ambuſh of their dazling Rays,
Fill'd each Beholder with an am'rous blaze,
While ſhe with Pride beheld each ſubject Swain,
With Rapture ſaw, and triumph'd in his Pain.
[Page 6]
PALE Envy ſat on ev'ry Female Brow,
To ſee thoſe Charms which Envy muſt allow,
NARCISSA'S Beauty Rivals would not ſee,
But thus anatomiz'd her over Tea.
HERE One can plainly in Complexion trace,
Undoubted Symptons of a borrow'd Face;
The next a Dart of Criticiſm throws,
Againſt the Diſproportion of her Noſe;
A Third's ſarcaſtic on her jetty Hair,
A Fourth diſcovers her immodeſt Stare;
A Fifth, for not one Atom can eſcape,
Diſtorts maliciouſly her matchleſs Shape;
A Sixth, to ſum up all, with Heart elate
Deſcants at large upon her awkward Gait.
THUS feeble Envy like a ſable Cloud,
Which ſtrives the Sun's enliv'ning Rays to ſhrowd
Labour'd t'envelop with its tainting Shade,
The radiant Beauties of this lovely Maid;
[Page 7] But as the God of Day triumphant reigns,
His Beams unſullied with polluting Stains,
Thus ſhone the Maid through Scandal's pois'nous Gloom,
In all the Luſtre of Meridian Bloom;
Though clog'd with Malice, ſtill ſhe ſoar'd above,
Hail'd as the Shrine of univerſal Love.
No Wonder, if NARCISSA forc'd to leave,
The Mart of Beauty, ſhould reluctant grieve;
To yield the Spoil of Three coquetted Years,
Call'd forth the Tribute of ſome pearly Tears.
She wept, ſhe murmur'd at the hard Decree,
So inconſiſtent with her Gaiety:
She found no Pleaſure in the rural Plains;
Reflection ſuited not her want of Brains;
For oh!—though ſad the Truth we muſt declare,
This lovely Maid ſo exquiſitely fair;
Whoſe ſparkling Eyes could Joy, or Pain diſpenſe,
Wanted the Attribute of Common-Senſe;
[Page 8] And ſelf-ſufficient, like all other Fools,
Still ſoar'd beyond the mean conſtraint of Rules.
Reaſon's ſage dictates ſtill ſhe could reſiſt,
And juſt had Head enough to play at WHIST.
ANSELMO ſaw her Levity with Pain,
And often ſpoke, but always ſpoke in vain.
She had been told a Sire declin'd in Age,
Near to his Exit from this mortal Stage;
Should not with antiquated Rules controul,
The modiſh Sallies of a Daughter's Soul.
The Joys of boundleſs Liberty ſhe choſe,
And look'd on prudent Friends, as envious Foes:
A Father's Care, her Folly deem'd his Vice,
And call'd reſtraining Love his Avarice.
ELIZA, Siſter to this witleſs Thing,
This flimſey Butterfly with gilded Wing,
Fell far beneath in the external Part,
Yet roſe ſuperior in an honeſt Heart.
[Page 9]
THOUGH Nature furniſh'd not thoſe fleeting Charms,
Which Sickneſs oft, but ſurely Age diſarms;
Thoſe Eye-delighting Beauties of an Hour,
Which one rough Blaſt can inſtantly devour;
A Mind, to no unruly Paſſion, Slave,
The great, and juſt Equivalent ſhe gave.
IN ſtrict Compliance did ELIZA move,
With filial Piety, and kindred Love;
Though youngeſt, took a Houſewife's homely Care,
Nor would her Siſter ever deign to ſhare:
Receiv'd her Father's Precepts, as her Guide,
And prudently a Mother's Place ſupply'd.
Domeſtics, with her mild Deportment won,
With Emulation to their Duty run;
The humble Villagers who liv'd around,
From her good Humour gentle Treatment found.
With chearful Countenance ſhe would reſort,
To rural Feſtivals, and ſhare their Sport;
And ſometimes gaily join, as if by Chance,
In the rude Meaſures of the ruſtic Dance:
[Page 10] While vain NARCISSA, with diſdainful Brow,
From Pride's high Throne o'erlook'd the poor below.
SCARCE had ANSELMO been three Months at Reſt,
Three little Months with Solitude been bleſs'd,
When this unthinking Object of his Love,
Tormented her fond Parent to remove;
To quit the Country for the gayer Town,
Where various Pleaſures, various Minutes crown,
Where, as ſhe ſaid, there are a thouſand Ways,
As Drums and Balls, and Maſquerades and Plays,
To plume with Joy the drooping Wings of Time,
And waft direct to Happineſs ſublime.
"THOU know'ſt my Child, replies the tender Sire,
"I ſtill have gratifi'd each fond Deſire,
"Review thy ſcanty Catalogue of Years,
"Behold my Tenderneſs, my anxious Fears;
"When did'ſt thou taſk my utmoſt Pow'r in vain?
"Did'ſt thou e'er ſingly feel, or Joy, or Pain?
[Page 11] "Why wou'd'ſt thou then a wiſh'd Repoſe deny,
"To ſee a Father happy, doſt thou ſigh?
"Why ſits that moody Frontlet on thy Brow?
"Does Gratitude thy Diſcontent allow?
"Think, my NARCISSA, of thy wild Demand,
"Nor ſeek for Ruin at ANSELMO'S Hand:
"If my Indulgence let thy Spirits roam,
"Diſcretion urges me to call 'em Home.
"LIFE Nature's turbulent and dang'rous Sea,
"Is form'd of complicate Variety;
"Here wanton Sun-Beams on ſmooth Waters play,
"And all within the calm Horizon's Gay:
"But farther on a furious Tempeſt roars,
"While wat'ry Mountains burſt on trembling Shores;
"Ten Thouſand Shoals and Rocks, in Ambuſh wait,
"The ſecret, ſudden Miniſters of Fate.
"Youth's fragile Barks with ſilken Tackle Ride,
"On the ſmooth Stream of Folly's faithleſs Tide;
"Unnumber'd Proſpects of Deluſion Glare,
"Which lead into the Eddies of Deſpair;
[Page 12] "Vice guiding raſh Adventurers along,
"To Fate allures them with her Syren Song;
"Experience only can through Dangers ſteer,
"And wiſely with the Turns of Fortune veer;
"Then ſlight not the Affection that wou'd ſave,
"Thy tender Youth from Fate's o'erwhelming Wave."
ANSELMO here gave Admonition o'er,
NARCISSA wearied, long had Wiſh no more.
Her flighty Soul cou'd modiſhly deſpiſe,
The prudent Hints of being ſometimes Wiſe;
And all the Knowledge, which her Father taught,
A tedious, taſteleſs Homily ſhe thought.
Not long ſhe griev'd at her eclipſing State,
Her Freedom came upon the Wing of Fate;
For Six revolving Moons had ſcarcely paſt,
Before the good ANSELMO breath'd his laſt.
In a malignant Fever's deadly Guiſe,
Pale ATROPOS ſeal'd up her Father's Eyes.
[Page 13]
WHILE on the Bed of gloomy Death he lay,
In all the Agony of ſwift Decay;
His Eyes o'erflowing with Affection's Tide,
To ſee his Daughters mourning by his Side;
He ſnatch'd from vaſt Eternity and Prayer,
A few ſhort Moments for his worldly Care;
Spoke all the Precepts of a happy Life,
Adapted to the Maiden and the Wife;
And recommended with his dying Voice,
Untainted Virtue as the wiſeſt Choice;
A ſtrict Compliance with her Laws requir'd,
Then ſunk at once, and bleſſing them expir'd.
THIS fatal Chance, this unexpected Dart,
Shot Pains unnumber'd through ELIZA'S Heart;
Her Breaſt full fraught with Love's abundant Store,
In burſting Groans re-eccho'd, "He's no mre.
"Ye Nymphs and Swains in ſolemn Chorus join,
"And let your Voices catch the Tone of mine;
"Let me, depriv'd of Comfort's cheering Beam,
"Let me inſtruct your pious Eyes to ſtream;
[Page 14] "For none like me the mighty Loſs can tell,
"How many Virtues with ANSELMO fell:
"Weep, weep, ye Indigent, your Boſoms rend,
"Like me you've loſt a Father and a Friend."
In ſuch ſad Wailings, her Affection ſpoke
Her filial Sorrow for the fatal Stroke.
NARCISSA, marble-hearted to all Woe,
But ſuch as could from Diſappointment flow;
She, who had never miniſter'd Relief,
Who ne'er was gloom'd, but with a ſelfiſh Grief;
Ev'n ſhe vouchſaf'd ſome pious Tears to ſhed,
Nature's laſt Tribute to a Parent dead.
But ſoon the Cloud of fleeting Care gave Way,
When ſigh'd for Pleaſures beam'd their dazling Ray;
Freſh Conqueſts danc'd before her raptur'd View,
She long'd her loſt Dominion to renew;
And Fortune join'd with Inclination here,
To give that Liberty ſhe held ſo dear;
For upon Fate's unalterable Page,
She ſtood recorded of a legal Age.
[Page 15] No Guardian's ſage Impertinence ſhe fears,
To rule the Conduct of Diſcretion's Years,
And on a careful Scrutiny ſhe found,
Her Portion counted twice ten thouſand Pound.
WING'D with the Gold, ſhe took a ſudden Flight,
And quickly gain'd the Region of Delight;
LONDON, dear LONDON, that bewitching Place,
That happy Market for a lovely Face;
LONDON, the Seat of Induſtry and Play,
LONDON, the great, the populous and gay;
LONDON poſſeſs'd of Worthies, and of Knaves,
Of ev'ry Clime, and each Degree, but Slaves;
LONDON, where Trade, and lighter Pleaſures ſmile,
LONDON, the Pride, the Glory of this Iſle.
NARCISSA bleſs'd with abſolute Command,
Sets up an Equipage with laviſh Hand;
Her Splendour more than former Fame reſtores,
Each Milliner admires, each Fop adores.
[Page 16] The brilliant Fair, all Connoiſſeurs confeſs,
The Soul of Faſhion, and the Life of Dreſs.
Two Years a Life of Elegance ſhe led,
Paſs'd Nights in Revelry, and Days in Bed;
Suitors unnumber'd pleaded Love ſincere,
But none with Titles, ſuited to her Ear;
She thought her boundleſs Charms might juſtly claim,
Some honourable prelude to her Name;
Your Ladyſhip.—"No, no, a higher Place,
"Hail me kind Fortune with the Title, Grace."
This was the conſtant Subject of her Care,
Her ſole remaining Wiſh and only Pray'r.
For though ſhe went to Church each Sabbath Day,
Her Buſineſs was to Ogle not to Pray.
AT length Fate join'd to her admiring Train,
The wiſh'd for Conqueſt of a lorded Swain;
The gay CAMILLO; Maſter of thoſe Arts,
Which ſerve to triumph o'er coquetiſh Hearts;
Who though in Parliament he always ſate,
A perfect Monoſyllable of State;
[Page 17] In Politics a very harmleſs Peer,
In Love ſtill thunder'd on with bold Career;
Through each Degree of Galantry he rov'd,
And now a Counteſs, then a Milk-Maid lov'd:
With equal Ardour flew at any Game,
For high and low poſſeſs'd an equal Flame.
While Fortune ſtill, throughout his am'rous Round,
The noble Peer with countleſs Conqueſts crown'd.
Nor ſhould we wonder at his boundleſs Reign,
No leſs his happy Attributes cou'd gain;
For though the Knowledge of this titled Prig,
Could climb but to a faſhionable Wig;
Though Books he little knew, and Virtue leſs;
He was an Adept in the Art of Dreſs;
His Cloaths were glaring; he could dance and game,
Swear, fawn, and lie, untouch'd with conſcious Shame;
To theſe, a paltry Cunning we may add,
Which ſhew'd a worthleſs Head, and Heart as bad.
HE ſaw the Failings of NARCISSA'S Mind,
To all the Dictates of Diſcretion, blind;
[Page 18] At Cards he watch'd the Motions of her Soul,
And ſaw her variegated Paſſions roll;
Saw gay Succeſs her lovely Face embloom,
And Diſappointment all her Beauties gloom;
With Love of Play he join'd her boundleſs Pride,
And craftily appointed them his Guide;
By their Aſſiſtance he reſolv'd to move,
And humble this proud Citadel of Love.
HIS Scheme propos'd, at length the Siege began;
The Lady too had form'd a previous Plan;
And all the Motions of each Side confeſs,
Both Parties well acquainted with Fineſſe.
He ſtill approached in Love's ſincereſt 'Guiſe,
She play'd th'Artillery of ſparkling Eyes;
He breath'd his Vows with a pathetic Grace,
She deign'd to liſten with a ſmiling Face;
And then was moſt particularly gay,
When he politely loſt his Stakes at Play.
Much Time elaps'd without a Conqueſt gain'd,
For both alike invincible remain'd;
[Page 19] NARCISSA would have yielded as a Wife,
But then CAMILLO lov'd a ſingle Life.
WHILE Matters thus remain'd in dubious Senſe,
And both were almoſt wearied with Suſpenſe;
Misfortune, which too often will prevail,
Caſt a large Balance in his Lordſhip's Scale.
NARCISSSA riſing from her Bed one Morn,
Gay as thoſe Beams which Eaſtern Hills adorn;
Succeſſive Pleaſures juſtling in her Brain,
Found the gay Proſpect of Idea vain;
And with a ſudden Shock of ruthleſs Fate,
Fell from the Glory of her dazling Height.
A LETTER came, ſuppos'd the Sacrifiſe,
Of ſome poor Swain, the Captive of her Eyes.
She cry'd,—A Lady FANCIFUL in Mind,—
"Oh wherefore was I born to plague Mankind."
With gentle Indolence ſhe broke the Seal,
Unknowing what her Vanity muſt feel;
[Page 20] When lo! in fatal Characters ſhe read,
That Bankrupt PHILO, her Truſtee, was fled;
That with her Fortune all her Hopes were dead.
AMAZE and Madneſs trembled in her Face,
And crowding Paſſions gave each other Chace;
Firſt ſilent Horror took its chilly Reign,
And icicled her Blood through ev'ry Vein;
Her ſhudd'ring Limbs an aguiſh Soul confeſs'd,
Then climbing Rage enflam'd her tender Breaſt;
At laſt the Thunder-cloud of Nature breaks,
In briny Torrents down her pallid Cheeks.
In hopes to mitigate her raging Pain,
At Intervals ſhe read her Fate again;
But where th'unhappy Fair One ſought Relief,
She met the Confirmation of her Grief.
Four reſtleſs Days and ſleepleſs Nights ſhe paſs'd,
And wiſh'd each Woe fraught Minute was her laſt.
A CROWD of Viſitors approach'd her Door,
Yet unacquainted with her being Poor;
[Page 21] But all the Servants were deſir'd to tell,
Each courtly Friend, their Lady was not well;
A Thouſand Cards of Compliments there came,
In Language and Sincerity the ſame.
Perplex'd NARCISSA no Aſylum knew,
Through the maz'd Labyrinth of Thought ſhe flew;
But no kind Hope its cheering Beam wou'd ſhew,
Through the Dark Cloud of her obſcuring Woe.
THUS hunted by Misfortune to a Bay,
Diſtraction led, and ſhe purſu'd the Way;
Reſolv'd by des'prate Means to keep her State,
Or fall a Victim of relentleſs Fate.
So acts the lordly Tyrant of the Wood,
When Hunters ſeek to revel in his Blood,
A dangerous, unequal Fight he tries,
And lives triumphant, or triumphant dies.
THE fair unfortunate her Stock look'd o'er,
And found two hundred Guineas all her Store;
[Page 22] On this ſmall Pittance ſtrait ſhe ſallied out,
With eager Haſte to Lady GAMEWELL'S Route;
In all the Splendor of an Eaſtern Bride,
And her falſe Spirits deck'd in falſer Pride.
Each told how much her Abſence had been mourn'd,
And complimented on her Health return'd;
But above all CAMILLO vow'd his Pain,
And ſaid that Joy return'd with her again.
To Cards in Parties all with Speed retir'd,
Each Boſom with a Love of Gain inſpir'd;
Here eager Hope appears in eager Eyes;
See, in one Trick the gay Deluſion flies.
There angry Looks dark Diſcontent betray,
One luckleſs Card can ſtrike with pale Diſmay.
Now ſome with jocund Hearts their Bets receive,
While thoſe who loſe, with trembling Fingers give.
A gen'ral Silence rul'd external Parts,
Yet various Tumults reign'd in various Hearts.
[Page 23]
FORTUNE reviews their anxious Fears and Wiles,
And juſtly at the mad Aſſembly ſmiles.
Yet undetermin'd where Succeſs to bring,
Sometime ſhe flutter'd on a dubious Wing;
At length by Accident ſhe chanc'd to light,
Bleſſing NARCISSA with a golden Flight.
Five Hundred Guineas with harmonious Notes,
Beyond the Warblings of Italian Throats,
Chink'd in her Ears, and to th'enliv'ning Sound
Her new-born Spirits beat a nimble Round;
Her Joy-fill'd Eyes look'd eminently gay,
And though unreſted, rival'd riſing Day.
CAMILLO ſaw the Tranſports of her Breaſt,
And with mean Art a Sympathy profeſs'd;
Swore her Succeſs much greater Pleaſure gave,
Than any Flow of Fortune he cou'd have;
Vow'd her Content ſuperior to his own,
And that her Joys to him were Joys alone;
Then proudly uſher'd the victorious Fair,
And led the Way to her attending Chair.
[Page 24] Requeſted Leave to viſit her at Home,
She ſmil'd Aſſent, and told him, "He might come."
Now all departing to their Beds retreated,
Both thoſe with Conqueſt crown'd, and thoſe defeated;
But diff'rent Fortunes, diff'rent Vigils kept,
And hardly one of either Party ſlept.
Here Reſt was murder'd in the Loſer's Pain,
There conquer'd by exhilerating Gain.
TRUE to the Touch, that Day his Lordſhip came,
To paint his inextinguiſhable Flame;
NARCISSA on precarious Footing plac'd,
Thought it imprudent to be coyly c h ſte,
Therefore politically caſt aſide,
Affected Levity and diſtant Pride.
Therefore with grave Attention heard his Tale,
Convinc'd her Eyes muſt certainly prevail;
Convinc'd, the Lover to eſcape his Pains,
Wou'd nooze himſelf in matrimonial Chains,
[Page 25] Each Day he viſited, each Day ſhe thought
The Period of Advancement nearer brought;
But, ah! weak Maid, in all her Projects vain,
Love ſtruck her Heart, without a Senſe of Pain;
Love of the gay Deceiver gently ſtole,
And unperceiv'd enthrall'd her roving Soul;
The Sigh affected once, ſincerely heaves,
CAMILLO flatters, and NARCISSA b'lieves.
WHEN he beheld the Captive in his Pow'r,
He villainouſly ſeiz'd a pliant Hour;
When pow'rful Nature bore imperial Sway,
And her dilated Mind was freely gay:
Then with the Force of ſtimulative Art,
Enfeebl'd Reaſon, and enflam'd her Heart;
Down, with falſe Vows, her ſtruggling Virtue bore,
Enjoy'd his utmoſt Wiſh, and ſigh'd no more.
Then left her haſtily with cold Reſpect,
LOTHARIO like, at leiſure to reflect.
[Page 26]
THIS was NARCISSA'S Aera of Diſtreſs,
Her little Comfort grew each Moment leſs;
Tortur'd with Love and diſappointed Hope,
She gave the Fury of her Madneſs Scope;
Wild as a Tempeſt of the North ſhe rav'd,
And from avenging Heav'n Aſſiſtance crav'd.
While her Gallant divulg'd to babbling Fame,
The Secret of his Villainy,—her Shame.
His dauntleſs Infamy Remorſe defies,
And the black Tale on blacker Scandal flies;
In one ſhort Day through Thouſands ſwiftly goes,
A ſtanding Jeſt for Prudes, Coquets and Beaus;
Haſtes to the Knowledge of the Grub-ſtreet Throng,
And ſtrait becomes the Subject of a Song.
THUS the bewitching, but uncautious Maid,
By Fortune and by Fallacy betray'd;
Rent with the Rage of agonizing Thought,
When paſt the Nine Days' Wonder of her Fault;
[Page 27] Was metamorphos'd, as by magic Spell,
And to the Shade of dark Oblivion fell▪
APPROACHING Penury again aſſail'd,
Which with loſt Fame o'er Penitence prevail'd;
Another Lover ſhe at length obtain'd,
And he too ſhortly all his Wiſhes gain'd;
Then ſoon revolted from her fading Charms,
And left for others, her incircling Arms:
A Third, a Fourth ſucceeded, and were bleſt,
But each one prov'd inconſtant as the reſt.
Thus half a Bedlamite through Shame ſhe ran,
The juſtly irritated Foe of Man;
To Vice a Captive, and afraid to think,
Took the ſad Refuge of oblivious Drink:
In Bacchanalian Chains her Reaſon bound,
Thus ſeal'd her Ruin, thus Deſtruction crown'd;
For ſoon her blooming Beauty felt Decay,
And with her Charms Subſiſtence drop'd away;
[Page 28] Yet to the laſt her Follies ſhe purſu'd,
Till dreaded Poverty at length enſu'd;
Till ſhe was plac'd by Fate's relentleſs Power,
Where human Wretchedneſs cou'd fall no lower.
PROSPERITY here turn thy ſparkling Eye,
And view the Ravage of Adverſity;
See Deſolation ſpread o'er ev'ry Part,
Glare in her Eyes, and rankle in her Heart.
See thoſe ſoft Limbs which in full Fortune wore,
The richeſt Produce of each trading Shore;
For Maintenance their gaudy Rayment fold,
[...] now, and ſhiv'ring with the Cold.
[...] that nice Palate with rich Viands fed,
Enjoy the ſimple Suſtenance of Bread;
With no Dilution to imbibe when dry,
But ſuch as Springs and friendly Streams ſupply;
See her beneath a dropping Penthouſe creep,
There in ſad Exigence behold her ſleep;
[Page 29] A damp, uncomfortable Stone her Bed,
And the rude Pillow of her houſeleſs Head.
That Soul, which lighteſt Trifles cou'd affright,
Sleeps in the Horrors of a Winter's Night.
Though Hurricanes the Face of Heav'n deform,
Sleeps in the Tumult of the raging Storm.
TELL thy gay Minions of their empty Pride,
Borne on the Waves of Fortune's golden Tide.
How near Mortality's allied to Woe,
In the ſad Proſpect of NARCISSA ſhew.
See that wreck'd Form ſo late admir'd by all,
See her Diſtreſs, and tremble at her fall.
ELIZA, whom we have ſo long forgot,
On Life's vaſt Stage had found a milder Lot,
We meet her ſettled in a rural Life,
A tender Mother and a prudent Wife.
Though ſhe too loſt her patrimonial Right,
Diſcretion guarded her 'gainſt Fortune's Spite;
[Page 30] For by the Help of Induſtry ſhe gain'd,
A Manſion where Contentment ever reign'd;
Where Neatneſs ſhone, beyond a ſplendid Glare,
And void of Grandeur, it was void of Care.
NARCISSA'S ſtubborn Pride, though fall'n ſo low,
Diſdain'd to let her tender Siſter know
The tragic Story of her matchleſs Woe.
OFT' had ELIZA wrote, but ſtill in vain,
Her Love could never friendly Anſwer gain;
Remov'd from Town, ſhe knew not what had paſt,
But the ſad Tidings reach'd her Ears at laſt.
Wing'd on Affection ſwift as fleeting Thought,
To Town ſhe flew, and poor NARCISSA ſought.
From Street to Street inceſſantly ſhe went,
Yet a long Week in fruitleſs Searches ſpent;
At length the Object of her Care ſhe found,
In wretched State upon the flinty Ground;
[Page 31] Struck with the Sight, immoveable ſhe ſtood,
While Horror, Shame and Anguiſh, thrill'd her Blood.
Soon as Speech triumph'd o'er the Bonds of Grief,
Look up, ſhe cried, "I come to give Relief,
"Come, wretched Siſter, from the Earth ariſe,",
At this NARCISSA rais'd her languid Eyes;
Drop'd a few ſilent Tears, let fall her Head,
While in a Sigh her ſhatter'd Spirit fled.
ELIZA thought 'twas only Strength that fail'd,
She knew not that tyrannic Death prevail'd;
But ſoon was told that his unerring Dart
Had pierc'd incurably her Siſter's Heart.
Convinc'd no Care, no human Pow'r cou'd ſave,
With pious Tears ſhe wet NARCISSA'S Grave;
Then haſted homeward to her humble Seat,
To taſte the Comforts of her calm Retreat
There ſtill remains contented there to live,
On thoſe Enjoyments Heav'n is pleas'd to give;
[Page 32] Nor does her humble Gratitude aſpire,
And cultivate irregular Deſire;
No idle Wiſhes envious Poiſon mix,
Unmov'd ſhe views a Neighbour's Coach-and-Six.
BEHOLD her, ye NARCISSAS of the Age,
Who gayly flutter on Life's tranſient Stage;
To imitate her Virtues be your Care,
Prefer a perfect Mind to Grandeur's Glare,
For ſhe that's beſt is Faireſt of the Fair.