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Written at Windsor in the Year 1713.
HE Shepherds and the Nymphs were seen
Pleading before the Cyprian Queen,
The Council for the Fair began,
Accusing that false Creature Man:
The Brief with weighty Crimes was chargʻd,
On which the Pleader much enlarg'd :
That, Cupid now has lost his Art,
Or blunts the Point of ev'ry Dart :
His Altar now no longer smokes,
His Mother's Aid no Youth invokes:
This tempts Free-thinkers to refine,
And bring in doubt their Pow'r divine,
Now Love is dwindled to Intrigue,
And Marriage grown a Money-League.
Which Crimes aforesaid, (witb ber Leave)
Were (as he humbly did conceive)
Against our Sov’reign Lady's Peace,
Against the Statute in that Case:
Against her Dignity and Crown.
Then pray'd an Answer, and sat down.
The Nymphs with Scorn beheld their Foes :
When the Defendant's Council rose;
And, what no Lawyer ever lack'd,
With Impudence own'd all the Fact:
But, what the gentleft Heart would yex,
Laid all the Fault on t'other Sex.
That modern Love is no such Thing,
As what those antient Poets fing;
A Fire celestial, chafte, refin’d,
Conceiv'd and kindled in the Mind;
Which, having found an equal Flame,
Unites, and both become the same ;
In different Breasts together burn,
Together both to Ashes turn.
But Women now feel no such Fire ;
And only know the gross Desire.
Their Passions move in lower Spheres,
Where.e’er Caprice or Folly steers :
A Dog, a Parrot, or an Ape,
Or, fome worse Brute in human Shape,
Engross the Fancies of the Fair,
The few soft Moments they can spare ;
From Visits to receive and pay ;
From Scandal, Politicks, and Play ;
From Fans, and Flounces, and Brocades,
From Equipage and Park-Parades;
From all the Thousand Female Toys ;
From every Trifle that employs
The Out or In-side of their Heads,
Between their Toylets and their Beds.
In a dull Stream, which moving flow,
You hardly see the Current flow;
If a small Breeze obstructs the Course,
It whirls about for want of Force ;
And in its narrow Circle gathers
Nothing but Chaff, and Straws, and Feathers :
The Current of a Female Mind
Stops thus, and turns with ev'ry Wind;
Thus whirling round, together draws
Fools, Fops, and Rakes, for Chaff and Straws.
Hence we conclude, no Women's Hearts
Are won by Virtue, Wit, and Parts :
Nor are the Men of Sense to blame,
For Breasts incapable of Flame;
The Fault must on the Nymphs be plac'd,
Grown so corrupted in their Taste.
The Pleader having spoke his best,
Had Witness ready to attest : ;
Who fairly could on Oath depose,
When Questions on the Fact arose,
That ev'ry Article was true ;
Nor further those Deponents knew :
Therefore he humbly would insist,
The Bill might be with Costs dismist.
The Cause appeard of so much Weight, That Venks, from her Judgment-Seat,
Desir'd them not to talk so loud,
Else she must interpose a Cloud :
For, if the Heav'nly Folk should know
Those Pleadings in the Courts below,
That Mortals here disdain to love ;
She ne'er could shew her Face above:
For Gods, their Betters, are too wise
To value that which Men despise:
And then, said she, my Son and I,
Must strole in Air 'cwixt Land and Sky;
Or else, shut out from Heaven and Earth,
Fly to the Sea, my Place of Birth ;
There live with daggld Mermaids pent,
And keep on Fish perpetual Lent.
BUT, since the Case appear'd so nice,
She thought it best to take Advice.
The Muses, by their King's Permission,
Tho' Foes to Love, attend the Session ;
And on the Right Hand cook their Places
In Order; on the Left, the Graces:
To whom she might her Doubts propose
On all Emergencies that rose.
The Muses oft were seen to frown ;
The Graces, half asham'd, look'd down ;
And 'cwas observ'd, there were but few,
Of either Sex, among the Crew,
Whom she or her Affeffors knew.
The Goddefs foon began to see
Things were not ripe for a Decrec :
And said, she must confult her Books,
The Lovers Fletaʼs, Braetons, Cokes.
First, to a dapper Clerk she beckond,
To turn to Ovid, Book the Second :
She then referr'd them to a Place
In Virgil (vide Dido's Case :)
As for Tibullus's Reports,
They never pass’d for Law in Courts ;
For Cowley's Briefs, and Pleas of Waller,
Still their Authority was smaller.
There was on both sides much to say:
She'd hear the Cause another Day ;
And so she did, and then a Third :
She heard it there she kept her Word
But with Rejoinders and Replies,
Long Bills, and Answers, stuffd with Lies;
Demur, Imparlance, and Effoign,
The Parties ne'er could Iffue join :
For sixteen Years the Cause was spun,
And then stood where it first begun.
Now, gentle Clio, sing or say,
What Venus meant by this Delay.
The Goddess much perplex'd in Mind,
To see her Empire thus declin’d ;
When first this grand Debate arose
Above her Wisdom to compose,
Conceiv'd a Project in her Head,
To work her Ends; which if it sped,