Breaks like the sun behind a cloud;
While gracefulness its art conceals,
And yet through every motion steals.
Say, Stella, was Prometheus blind,
And, forming you, mistook your kind?
No; ’twas for you alone he stole
The fire that forms a manly soul;
Then, to complete it every way,
He moulded it with female clay:
To that you owe the nobler flame,
To this the beauty of your frame.
How would Ingratitude delight,
And how would Censure glut her spite,
If I should Stella’s kindness hide
In silence, or forget with pride!
When on my sickly couch I lay,
Impatient both of night and day,
Lamenting in unmanly strains,
Call’d every power to ease my pains;
Then Stella ran to my relief,
With cheerful face and inward grief;
And, though by Heaven’s severe decree
She suffers hourly more than me,
No cruel master could require,
From slaves employ’d for daily hire,
What Stella, by her friendship warm’d
With vigour and delight perform’d:
My sinking spirits now supplies
With cordials in her hands and eyes:
Now with a soft and silent tread
Unheard she moves about my bed.
I see her taste each nauseous draught,
And so obligingly am caught;
I bless the hand from whence they came,
Nor dare distort my face for shame.
Best pattern of true friends! beware;
You pay too dearly for your care,
If, while your tenderness secures
My life, it must endanger yours;
For such a fool was never found,
Who pull’d a palace to the ground,
Only to have the ruins made
Materials for a house decay’d.
St. Patrick’s Dean, your country’s pride,
My early and my only guide,
Let me among the rest attend,
Your pupil and your humble friend,
To celebrate in female strains
The day that paid your mother’s pains;
Descend to take that tribute due
In gratitude alone to you.
When men began to call me fair,
You interposed your timely care:
You early taught me to despise
The ogling of a coxcomb’s eyes;
Show’d where my judgment was misplaced;
Refined my fancy and my taste.
Behold that beauty just decay’d,
Invoking art to nature’s aid:
Forsook by her admiring train,
She spreads her tatter’d nets in vain;
Short was her part upon the stage;
Went smoothly on for half a page;
Her bloom was gone, she wanted art,
As the scene changed, to change her part;
She, whom no lover could resist,
Before the second act was hiss’d.
Such is the fate of female race
With no endowments but a face;
Before the thirtieth year of life,
A maid forlorn, or hated wife.
Stella to you, her tutor, owes
That she has ne’er resembled those:
Nor was a burden to mankind
With half her course of years behind.