Belphegor’stale by Satan was believed;
Reward he got: the term, which-sorely grieved,
Was now reduced; indeed, what had he done,
That should prevent it?—If away he’d run,
Who would not do the same who weds a shrew?
Sure worse below the devil never knew!
A brawling woman’s tongue, what saint can bear?
E’en Job, Honesta would have taught despair.
Whatis the inference? you ask:—I’ll tell;—
Live single, if you know you are well;
But if old Hymen o’er your senses reign,
Beware Honestas, or you’ll rue the chain.
* By this character La Fontaine
is supposed to
have meant his own wife.
The little bell
How weak is man! how changeable his mind!
His promises are naught, too oft we find;
I vowed (I hope in tolerable verse,)
Again no idle story to rehearse.
And whence this promise?—Not two days ago;
I’m quite confounded; better I should know:
A rhymer hear then, who himself can boast,
Quite steady for—a minute at the most.
The pow’rs above could prudence ne’er design;
For those who fondly court the Sisters Nine.
Some means to please they’ve got, you will confess;
But none with certainty the charm possess.
If, howsoever, I were doomed to find
Such lines as fully would content the mind:
Though I should fail in matter, still in art;
I might contrive some pleasure to impart.
Let’ssee what we are able to obtain:—
A bachelor resided in Touraine.
A sprightly youth, who oft the maids beset,
And liked to prattle to the girls he met,
With sparkling eyes, white teeth, and easy air,
Plain russet petticoat and flowing hair,
Beside a rivulet, while Io round,
With little bell that gave a tinkling sound,
On herbs her palate gratified at will,
And gazed and played, and fondly took her fill.
Amongthe rustic nymphs our spark perceived
A charming girl, for whom his bosom heaved;
Too young, however, to feel the poignant smart,
By Cupid oft inflicted on the heart.
I will not say thirteen’s an age unfit
The contrary most fully I admit;
The law supposes (such its prudent fears)
Maturity at still more early years;
But this apparently refers to towns,
While love was born for groves, and lawns, and downs.
Theyouth exerted ev’ry art to please;
But all in vain: he only seemed to teaze:
Whate’er he said, however nicely graced,
Ill-humour, inexperience, or distaste,
Induced the belle, unlearned in Cupid’s book;
To treat his passion with a froward look.