Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TOILETTE; A TOWN ECLOGUE, by JOHN GAY



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THE TOILETTE; A TOWN ECLOGUE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Now twenty springs had cloath'd the park with green
Last Line: And at the play-house harry keeps her box.
Subject(s): Clothing & Dress; Cosmetics


LYDIA.

Now twenty springs had cloath'd the Park with green,
Since Lydia knew the blossom of fifteen;
No lovers now her morning hours molest,
And catch her at her Toilette half undrest;
The thund'ring knocker wakes the street no more,
No chairs, no coaches croud her silent door;
Her midnights once at cards and Hazard fled,
Which now, alas! she dreams away in bed.
Around her wait Shocks, monkeys and mockaws,
To fill the place of Fops, and perjur'd Beaus;
In these she views the mimickry of man,
And smiles when grinning Pug gallants her fan;
When Poll repeats, the sounds deceive her ear,
For sounds, like his, once told her Damon's care.
With these alone her tedious mornings pass;
Or at the dumb devotion of her glass,
She smooths her brow, and frizles forth her hairs,
And fancys youthful dress gives youthful airs;
With crimson wooll she fixes ev'ry grace,
That not a blush can discompose her face.
Reclin'd upon her arm she pensive sate,
And curs'd th' inconstancy of youth too late.
O Youth! O spring of life! for ever lost!
No more my name shall reign the fav'rite Toast,
On glass no more the di'mond grave my name,
And rhymes mispell'd record a lover's flame:
Nor shall side-boxes watch my restless eyes,
And as they catch the glance in rows arise
With humble bows; nor white-glov'd Beaus encroach
In crouds behind, to guard me to my coach.
Ah hapless nymph! such conquests are no more,
For Chloe's now what Lydia was before!
'Tis true, this Chloe boasts the peach's bloom.
But does her nearer whisper breathe perfume?
I own her taper shape is form'd to please.
Yet if you saw her unconfin'd by stays!
She doubly to fifteen may make pretence,
Alike we read it in her face and sense.
Her reputation! but that never yet
Could check the freedoms of a young Coquet.
Why will ye then, vain Fops, her eyes believe?
Her eyes can, like your perjur'd tongues, deceive.
What shall I do? how spend the hateful day?
At chappel shall I wear the morn away?
Who there frequents at these unmodish hours,
But ancient matrons with their frizled tow'rs,
And gray religious maids? my presence there
Amid that sober train wou'd own despair;
Nor am I yet so old; nor is my glance
As yet fixt wholy to devotion's trance.
Strait then I'll dress, and take my wonted range
Through ev'ry Indian shop, through all the Change;
Where the tall jarr erects his costly pride,
With antic shapes in China's azure dy'd;
There careless lies the rich brocade unroll'd,
Here shines a cabinet with burnish'd gold;
But then remembrance will my grief renew,
'Twas there the raffling dice false Damon threw;
The raffling dice to him decide the prize.
'Twas there he first convers'd with Chloe's eyes;
Hence sprung th' ill-fated cause of all my smart,
To me the toy he gave, to her his heart.
But soon thy perj'ry in the gift was found,
The shiver'd China dropt upon the ground;
Sure omen that thy vows would faithless prove;
Frail was thy present, frailer is thy love.
O happy Poll, in wiry prison pent;
Thou ne'er hast known what love or rivals meant,
And Pug with pleasure can his fetters bear,
Who ne'er believ'd the vows that lovers swear
How am I curst! (unhappy and forlorn)
With perjury, with love, and rival's scorn!
False are the loose Coquet's inveigling airs,
False is the pompous grief of youthful heirs,
False is the cringing courtier's plighted word,
False are the dice when gamesters stamp the board,
False is the sprightly widow's publick tear;
Yet these to Damon's oaths are all sincere.
Fly from perfidious man, the sex disdain;
Let servile Chloe wear the nuptial chain.
Damon is practis'd in the modish life,
Can hate, and yet be civil to a wife.
He games; he swears; he drinks; he fights; he roves;
Yet Chloe can believe he fondly loves.
Mistress and wife can well supply his need,
A miss for pleasure, and a wife for breed.
But Chloe's air is unconfin'd and gay,
And can perhaps an injur'd bed repay;
Perhaps her patient temper can behold
The rival of her love adorn'd with gold,
Powder'd with di'monds; free from thought and care,
A husband's sullen humours she can bear.
Why are these sobs? and why these streaming eyes?
Is love the cause? no, I the sex despise;
I hate, I loath his base perfidious name.
Yet if he should but feign a rival flame?
But Chloe boasts and triumphs in my pains,
To her he's faithful, 'tis to me he feigns.
Thus love-sick Lydia rav'd. Her maid appears
A band-box in her steady hand she bears.
How well this ribband's gloss becomes your face,
She crys, in raptures! then, so sweet a lace!
How charmingly you look! so bright! so fair!
'Tis to your eyes the head-dress owes its air.
Strait Lydia smil'd; the comb adjusts her locks,
And at the Play-house Harry keeps her box.





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