Priscilla Pointon, “Enigma, Extempore”


“Enigma, Extempore”

Ladies, with these you’ll find out my name,
Tho’ I from subterraneous dwellings came;
When ADAM he existed here on earth,
Aspiring Man attempted not my birth,
In peaceful shades my infant days I past,                                     5
‘Till MAN, destructive MAN, found me at last;
Transported raised me from my silent bed,
And strait my fame thro’ all the world was spread.
Without my aid no nation can be won,
And it is true, I hundreds have undone,                                        10
For with me now no monarch sure can vie,
Or justly boast so many slaves as I;
Poets have sung in soft melodious strain,
To gain my smiles, but oft have sung in vain.
To me, ye Fair, your charms are frequent due,                            15
To me you are oblig’d for lovers too;
Tho’ Nature’s form’d you like VENUS fair,
And in your mind you every virtue wear,
Without me these are seldom known to do,
It is for me they mostly sigh and woo.                                            20
Such matchless charms does in my person center,
That me to gain, their lives will thousands venture.

Ladies, by this, no doubt, my name you guess,
And sighing, wish my power on earth was less;
But sighs and tears will ineffectual prove,                                      25
There’s nought like me the heart of man can move.


3 ADAM “The first human in the biblical account of the creation of the world” (OED).

11 vie “To display, advance, practise, etc., in competition or rivalry with another person or thing; to contend or strive” (OED).

17 VENUS “The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love (esp. sensual love)” (OED).

Source:  Poems on Several Occasions. By Miss Priscilla Pointon, of Lichfield, (Birmingham, 1770), pp. 5-6. [Google Books]

Edited by Skylar DeAnda-Grey

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