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The truest hearts for Voiture heav'd with sighs,
Let the strict life of graver mortals be
Too much your sex is by their forms confin’d Severe to all, but most to Womankind; Custom, grown blind with Age, must be your guide; Your pleasure is a vice, but not your pride ;
NOTES. Ver. 19. The Smiles) Alluding to an elegant epitaph on Voiture :
“ Etruscæ Veneres, Camænæ Iberæ,
Quo Vecturius, hoc jacent sepulcro." Many curious particulars of his life may be found in the entertaining Miscellanies of Vigneul Marville, vol. ii. p. 409.
Corneille was invited to read his Polyeucte at the Hotel de Rambouillet, where the wits of that time assembled, and where Voiture presided. It was coldly received ; and Voiture was sent to tell Corneille in gentle terms, that it was the opinion of his friends that Polyeucte would not succeed. Such judges were the most fashionable wits of France !
By nature yielding, stubborn but for fame : 35
The Gods, to curse Pamela with her pray’rs,
part; She sighs, and is no Dutchess at her heart. 56
But, Madam, if the fates withstand, and you Are destin'd Hymen's willing Victim too ; Trust not too much your now resistless charms, Those, Age or Sickness, soon or late, disarms : 60 Good-humour only teaches charms to last, Still makes new conquests, and maintains the past; Love rais'd on Beauty, will like that decay, Our hearts may bear its slender chain a day;
As flow'ry bands in wantonness are worn, 65
Thus Voiture's early care still shone the same, And Monthausier was only chang'd in name : 70 By this, ev’n now they live, ev'n now they charm, Their Wit still sparkling, and their flames still warm.
Now crown'd with Myrtle, on th' Elysian coast, Amid those lovers, joys his gentle Ghost: Pleas'd, while with smiles his happy lines you view, And finds a fairer Rambouillet in you.
Ver. 76. And finds a fairer] Our author's attachment to this lady ended but with his life. Her affectation and ill-temper gave him, however, many hours of uneasiness and disquiet. When she visited him in his very last illness, and her company seemed to give him fresh spirits, the antiquated prude could not be prevailed on to stay and pass the night at Twickenham, because of her reputation. She occasioned an unhappy breach betwixt him and his old friend Allen, because he would not lend his coach to carry her to a mass-house at Bath during his mayoralty.
The characteristical difference betwixt Voiture and Balsac is well expressed by Boileau, in two letters written under their names, from the Elysian Fields to the Duc de Vivonne, in p. 155 of vol. iii. of his works. And Boileau, speaking often of absurd readers and critics, loved to relate, that one of his relations, to whom he had presented his works, said to him, “ Pray, Cousin, how came you to insert any other person's writings among your own ? I find in your works two letters, one from Balsac, and the other from Voiture.” Descartes, who, as well as Leibnitz, was an elegant scholar, wrote a judicious censure of Balsac, in admir-able Latin. Balsac was, however, superior to Voiture. But he was affectedly turgid, pompous, and bloated, on all subjects and
The brightest eyes of France inspir'd his Muse;
NOTES. on all occasions alike. Yet was he the first that gave form and harmony to the French prose, which was still improved by the provincial letters of Pascal.
Ver. 80. beside] This last word is a blemish to the piece, otherwise so correct.
TO THE SAME,
ON HER LEAVING THE TOWN AFTER THE CORONATION.
As some fond Virgin, whom her mother's care Drags from the Town to wholesome Country air, Just when she learns to roll a melting eye, And hear a spark, yet think no danger nigh; From the dear man unwilling she must sever, 5 Yet takes one kiss before she parts for ever : Thus from the world fair Zephalinda flew, Saw others happy, and with sighs withdrew; Not that their pleasures caus'd her discontent, 9 She sigh'd not that they stay’d, but that she went.
She went, to plain-work, and to purling brooks, Old-fashion'd halls, dull Aunts, and croaking rooks: She went from Op’ra, Park, Assembly, Play, To morning-works, and pray’rs three hours a day; To part her time 'twixt reading and bohea, 15 To muse, and spill her solitary tea, Or o'er cold coffee trifle with the spoon, Count the slow clock, and dine exact at noon :
Coronation] Of King George the First, 1715. P.
Ver. 1. As some fond Virgin,] There is so much likeness (to use Johnson's words on another poem) in the initial comparison, that there is no illustration. As one lady lamented the going out of London, so did another.