The joy of man, the pride of brutes,
Domestic subject for disputes,
Of plenty thou the emblem fair,
Adorn'd by nymphs with all their care!
I saw thee raised to high renown,
Supporting half the British crown;
And often have I seen thee grace
The chaste Diana's infant face;
And whensoe'er you please to shine,
Less useful is her light than thine:
Thy numerous fingers know their way,
And oft in Celia's tresses play.
To place thee in another view,
I'll show the world strange things and true;
What lords and dames of high degree
May justly claim their birth from thee!
The soul of man with spleen you vex;
Of spleen you cure the female sex.
Thee for a gift the courtier sends
With pleasure to his special friends:
He gives, and with a generous pride,
Contrives all means the gift to hide:
Nor oft can the receiver know,
Whether he has the gift or no.
On airy wings you take your flight,
And fly unseen both day and night;
Conceal your form with various tricks;
And few know how or where you fix:
Yet some, who ne'er bestow'd thee, boast
That they to others give thee most.
Meantime, the wise a question start,
If thou a real being art;
Or but a creature of the brain,
That gives imaginary pain?
But the sly giver better knows thee;
Who feels true joys when he bestows thee.