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MARTHA BLOUNT,

From an

Original Picture,

in the Collection of Michael Blount, Esq. at Maple Durham

Published by Cadell & Davies, Strand, and the other Proprietors, May 1.1807.

EPISTLE

ΤΟ

MRS. BLOUNT,

WITH THE WORKS OF VOITURE.

thefe

IN

gay thoughts the Loves and Graces fhine, And all the Writer lives in ev'ry line; His easy Art may happy Nature seem,, Trifles themselves are elegant in him. Sure to charm all was his peculiar fate, Who without flatt'ry pleas'd the fair and great; Still with esteem no less convers'd than read; With wit well-natur'd, and with books well-bred: His heart, his mistress and his friend did fhare, His time, the Mufe, the witty, and the fair. · Thus wifely carelefs, innocently gay, Chearful he play'd the trifle, Life, away; Till fate fcarce felt his gentle breath fuppreft, As fmiling Infants fport themfelves to reft,

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NOTES.

VER. 1. In thefe gay] The works of Voiture, after having been idolized in France, are now justly funk into neglect and oblivion.

WARTON.

VER 12. As fmiling Infants, &c.] There is a beautiful paffage of this fort in Temple's Effays:-" After all, life is like a froward child, that must be trifled with, and played with, till it falls afleep, and then the care is over."

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Ev'n rival Wits did Voiture's death deplore,
And the gay mourn'd who never mourn'd before;
The trueft hearts for Voiture heav'd with fighs,
Voiture was wept by all the brightest Eyes:
The Smiles and Loves had dy'd in Voiture's death,
Bút that for ever in his lines they breathe.

Let the ftrict life of graver mortals be
A long, exact, and ferious Comedy;
In ev'ry scene fome Moral let it teach,
And, if it can, at once both please and preach.
Let mine an innocent gay Farce appear,
And more diverting ftill than regular,
Have Humour, Wit, a native Ease and Grace,
Tho' not too strictly bound to Time and Place:
Critics in Wit, or Life, are hard to please,
Few write to those, and none can live to these.

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"Etrufca Veneres, Camoenæ Iberæ,
Hermes Gallicus, et Latina Siren;
Rifus, Deliciæ, et Dicacitates,
Lufûs, Ingenium, Joci, Lepores:
Et quid quid unquam fuit elegantiarum,
Quo Vecturius hoc jacent fepulcro."

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NOTES.

VER. 19. The Smiles] Alluding to an elegant epitaph on Voiture:

Many curious particulars of his life may be found in the enter taining 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 affembled, and where Voiture prefided. It was coldly received; and Voiture was fent to tell Corneille in gentle terms, that it was the opinion of his friends that Polyeucte would not fucceed. Such judges were the moft fashionable wits of France! WARTON.

VER. 19. The Smiles and Loves, &c.] This is a poor conceit and unworthy of Pope; it is more like Cowley, Marvel, and Waller.

Too much your Sex is by their forms confin'd,
Severe to all, but moft to Womankind;
Custom, grown blind with Age, must be your guide;
Your pleasure is a vice, but not your pride;
By Nature yielding, stubborn but for fame;

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Made Slaves by honour, and made Fools by fhame.
Marriage may all thofe petty Tyrants chase,
But fets up one, a greater in their place :
Well might you wish for change by those accurft,
But the last Tyrant ever proves the worst.
Still in constraint your fuff'ring Sex remains,
Or bound in formal, or in real chains:
Whole years neglected, for fome months ador'd,
The fawning Servant turns a haughty Lord.
Ah quit not the free innocence of life,
For the dull glory of a virtuous Wife;
Nor let falfe Shews, nor empty Titles please:
Aim not at Joy, but reft content with Eafe.

The Gods, to curfe Pamela with her pray'rs,
Gave the gilt Coach, and dappled Flanders Mares,
The fhining robes, rich jewels, beds of state,
And, to complete her blifs, a Fool for Mate.
She glares in Balls, front Boxes, and the Ring,
A vain, unquiet, glitt'ring, wretched Thing!
Pride, Pomp, and State but reach her outward part;
She fighs, and is no Duchefs at her heart.

56

But, Madam, if the fates withstand, and you Are deftin'd Hymen's willing Victim too;

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Truft

Trust not too much your now refistless charms,
Thofe, Age or Sickness, foon or late, difarms:
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 flender chain a day ;
As flow'ry bands in wantonness are worn,
A morning's pleasure, and at evening torn;
This binds in ties more eafy, yet more strong,
The willing heart, and only holds it long.

Thus Voiture's early care still fhone the same,
And Monthaufier 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 ftill warm.

Now crown'd with Myrtle, on th' Elysian coaft, Amid thofe Lovers, joys his gentle Ghost: Pleas'd, while with fmiles his happy lines you view, And finds a fairer Ramboüillet in you.

бо

NOTES.

VER. 69. Thus Voiture's early care] Mademoiselle Paulet.

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The

POPE.

VER. 76. And finds a fairer Our author's attachment to this lady ended but with his life. Yet it is faid, fhe gave him many hours of uneafinefs and difquiet. She occafioned 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 Balfac is well expreffed by Boileau, in two letters written under their names, from the Elyfian Fields to the Duc de Vivonne, in p. 155, of vol. iii. of his works. And Boileau, fpeaking often of ab

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