Henry James Pye

(20 February 1745 – 11 August 1813 / London, England)

Beauty. Part II


Of all that Nature's rural prospects yield,
The chrystal fountain and the flow'ry field,
Enough, my Muse!—the force of Beauty trace
Now in each feature of the female face,
For there she boasts superior powers, that move
The melting soul to extasy and love.
O! whisper to my heart, Aonia's choir,
Harmonious numbers, and seraphic fire!
Resistless Queen of Paphos, aid my strain,
With all the Loves and Graces in thy train.
Ye sportive Nymphs, and laughing Pleasures join,
Adorn each thought, and polish ev'ry line.
With such assistance shall my song rehearse
The fairest subject in the sweetest verse.

Britannia! happy land! thy sea-girt coast
The tend'rest ornament of love can boast:
From other regions exil'd, here alone
Fair Delicacy rears her sacred throne:
Honor and Modesty her lineage claim,
Her nurse was Decency, her tutor Fame,
Desire attends where'er her footsteps move,
Unalter'd bliss, and never-fading love.
O! keep her rules for ever in your view,
Ye Nymphs of Albion, for I sing to you:
Tho' your bright charms can kindle fiercer flames
Than those of fam'd Circassia's lovely dames,
With stedfast course pursue her perfect plan,
Whose dictates please us more than Beauty can.
Let Gallia's sunburn'd maids their cheeks incrust
With the false varnish of a crimson dust;
On artificial locks, which tow'ring rise
A monstrous pile, and seem to threat the skies,
Let them, with taste capricious, powder spread,
To ape the honours of a hoary head:
So Caledonia's fir-crown'd hills appear,
When big with snow descends th' inclement year:
Let them, each soft endearment laid apart,
With open impudence attack the heart:
Form'd as you are each Beauty to display,
And mock the painter's tint, and poet's lay,
Ne'er may this modest ornament be lost,
Your first perfection, and your fairest boast,
Which can your eyes with force resistless arm,
Point ev'ry glance, and double ev'ry charm.
Ne'er may your skill such foreign arts employ,
To raise that passion which they must destroy:
Still let your skins, with native lustre, shew
The white rose, blended with its blushing foe;
Still let your hair, with unaffected grace,
In glossy ringlets decorate your face:
With powers like these can pomp and splendor vie,
The sparkling di'mond, or the Tyrian dye:
When youth and beauty deck the blooming maid,
The purple sickens, and the di'monds fade.
Adorn'd with charms that ev'ry art despise,
Victorious Love exults, and triumphs in her eyes.

Not all the blossoms Nature's fingers fling
O'er the gay plains, when Zephyr breathes the spring,
Please like the Nymph, whose winning smiles inspire
Love's gentle flame, and kindle warm desire;
Pale is each flower, and faded ev'ry green,
If female Beauty heighten not the scene.
When newly form'd, and plac'd in Eden's shade,
Our waking Sire the blushing fields survey'd,
Awhile he view'd the land with fond delight,
Awhile the fair creation charm'd his sight;
But soon the pleasing novelty was o'er,
And soon the fair creation charm'd no more:
Heaven saw the dull stagnation of his breast,
And, pitying, sent him Eve, to make him blest;
With her, distress he rather wish'd to share,
To live by toil, and taste the bread of care,
Than with his careless limbs on roses thrown,
To prove the joys of Paradise alone:
With her thro' dreary wastes he chose to go,
Friend to her grief, and partner of her woe:
Chear'd by the flame of love, the desart smil'd,
And more than Eden bloom'd upon the wild.

May the curs'd wretch! from female charms who roves
To monstrous pleasures, and unseemly loves;
Who from kind Nature's lucid fountain flies
To the polluted pools of guilty joys,
Far from the social haunts of man be driv'n,
And left to conscience, and avenging Heaven.
But hail! ye favour'd train! supremely blest
With the rich treasure of a feeling breast,
Who fir'd by transports, exquisitely fine,
Submissive kneel at Beauty's brightest shrine,
Whether the sprightly virgin claim your care,
Or arm'd with majesty, the haughtier fair,
Or the sweet nymph, whose melting eyes proclaim
Her bosom, form'd for Love's imperial flame,
Where as we gaze, the torch of young Desire
Lights in our breasts a sympathetic fire:
Hail, happy train! form'd only to receive
The fairest joys the hand of Heaven can give,
Joys, which alone th' exalted soul can prove,
The burning extasies of mutual love.
Far from your paths be hate, and fell disdain,
Pale jealousy, and sorrow's weeping train:
To crown your hours, may love with friendship join,
And smiling peace her roseate garlands twine,
And every golden moment take its flight,
Wing'd with soft ease, and pregnant with delight,
Till time proclaims their destin'd period run,
And death concludes the bliss which love begun.

Ye stoic tribe, who o'er the mind preside
With useless sway, and impotence of pride:
Who form your empty rules, with childish art,
To force each gen'rous passion from the heart,
With eager zeal your air-built schemes pursue,
And talk of feelings which ye never knew:
So may the wretch of lights and colours dream,
Whose eye-balls never drank the solar beam;
Love shall superior to your efforts rise,
Elude your labours, and your toils despise:
Love, whose fierce rays in every climate shine,
The Arctic Circle, or the scorching Line:
Inspir'd by Love, beneath the spicy shade,
The am'rous Indian wooes the sable maid:
Love's sacred power the frozen Zemblians know
'Midst icy rocks, and mountains form'd of snow,
For there his glowing beam with genial light
Has pierc'd the gloom, and chear'd the polar night.
Where eastern luxury (those joys unknown
Which spring from mutual liberty alone,)
Commits, relentless, to the Eunuch's care,
With barb'rous dignity, th' imprison'd fair,
O'er the deserted shores and barren plains,
Pale Tyranny in all her horrors reigns;
No dauntless Patriots there the Despot awe,
His will is reason, and his sentence law:
While the mean slaves, a cruel, coward train,
Bow to the rod, and kiss the galling chain:
But where, with gentle sway, Love's friendly hand
Has stretch'd its influence o'er a happy land,
There in the shade of each inspiring grove,
By science led, the warbling Muses rove;
There all the gen'rous passions fix their seat,
And ev'ry bosom burns with patriot heat,
There manly courage dwells, ingenuous shame,
And Virtue's conscious worth, and Freedom's glorious flame.

Submitted: Monday, September 27, 2010

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