Mary Barber

(1690-1757 / England)

To Mrs. Frances--Arabella Kelly. - Poem by Mary Barber

To Day, as at my Glass I stood,
To set my Head--cloaths, and my Hood;
I saw my grizzled Locks with Dread,
And call'd to mind the Gorgon's Head.

Thought I, whate'er the Poets say,
Medusa's Hair was only gray:
Tho' Ovid, who the Story told,
Was too well--bred to call her old;
But, what amounted to the same,
He made her an immortal Dame.

Yet now, whene'er a Matron sage
Hath felt the rugged Hand of Age,
You hear out witty Coxcombs cry,
Rot that old Witch--she'll never die.
Tho', had they but a little Reading,
Ovid would teach them better Breeding.

I fancy now, I hear you say,
Grant Heav'n, my Locks may ne'er be gray!
Why am I told this frightful Story?
To Beauty a Memento mori.

And, as along the Room you pass,
Casting your Eye upon the Glass,
Surely, say you, this lovely Face
Will never suffer such Disgrace:
The Bloom, that on my Cheek appears,
Will never be impair'd by Years.
Her Envy, now, I plainly see,
Makes her inscribe those Lines to me.
These Beldams, who were born before me,
Are griev'd to see the Men adore me:
Their snaky Locks freeze up the Blood;
My Tresses fire the purple Flood.

Unnumber'd Slaves around me wait,
And from my Eyes expect their Fate:
I own, of Conquest I am vain,
Tho' I despise the Slaves I gain.
Heav'n gave me Charms, and destin'd me
For universal Tyranny.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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