“On the Art of Writing : Sent to MIRA”
Hail sacred art! by Gods above
Design’d the messenger of love,
In pity to th’ immortal mind,
In earthly prison close confin’d.
Without thee, what were Mira’s grace? 5
Or beauteous Helen’s fatal face?
Like sparks that glitt’ring upward fly,
Scarce known to live before they dye.
Thalia too, celestial maid,
Implor’d by bards, implores thy aid. 10
If you refuse, how vain her song!
The numbers perish on her tongue.
Fly hence! on light’ning’s wings away,
And to my lovely Mira say,
That London’s wealth, and mirth, and pride, 15
With all things apt to charm beside,
Enamel’d lawns, and waving trees,
From Mira take their power to please.
For when my Fair is out of sight,
These are but shadows of delight. 20
Away! thou love-relieving art!
To dearest Mira bear my heart,
Bid her, in Cupid’s name, return
That heart, for which I rave, I burn.
But shou’d she scorn the archer’s skill, 25
Great Pallas, guardian of her will,
Bid her dismiss her needless fears,
For lo! Sincerity appears.
Say, Hymen waits with ardent care,
To give the World a happy pair: 30
And Cupid too stands armed by,
To wound the first that dares to fly.
Thus Love and Reason shall combine,
And like twin-stars alternate shine;
Whatever Reason shall approve, 35
Shall seem th’ effects of yielding Love:
Whatever Love shall deign to name,
Applauding Reason shall proclaim.
Reason, like Sol to Tellus kind,
Ripens the products of the mind, 40
Dispells the anxious cares of life,
Those mists of sorrow and of strife:
And when old Time shall envious prove,
In this is Beauty, Youth, and Love.
But Love, if Reason’s out of sight, 45
Is all opaque and void of light,
Like the dull Moon, which oft resigns
Those borrow’d beams by which she shines:
The pleasure then it brags of most,
Is but what brutes themselves can boast. 50
Once more, thou heav’n-born art, away!
My soul’s impatient of delay:
As quick as thought again return,
And bring that heart for which I burn.
6 Helen Helen of Troy or Helen of Sparta, mortal daughter of Zeus and Leda, recognized for her perfect beauty, which was also considered as it led her to be abducted by Theseus as a young girl. Helen wed with Menelaus of Sparta but eventually fled to Troy from his kingdom with Paris, effectively starting the Trojan war. Helen was returned to Sparta with Menelaus once Troy was captured and is now memorialized in Greek mythology for the conflict and death that her beauty caused (Britannica).
9 Thalia One of the nine Muses that acted as goddesses of the arts; Thalia was patron of comedy and pastoral poetry; frequently depicted with a comic mask and shepherd’s staff (Britannica).
23 Cupid “In Roman Mythology, the god of love, son of Mercury and Venus, identified with the Greek Eros” (OED).
26 Pallas Epithet for Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom and war.
29 Hymen Greek god of marriage.
39 Sol Roman god of the sun; Tellus “Ancient Roman earth goddess” (Britannica).
SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 8 (October 1738), p. 544. [HathiTrust]
Edited by Shyla Jackson