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The Fan : A Poem. Book II.

Olympus' gates unfold: in heaven's high towers
Appear in council all the immortal powers;
Great Jove above the rest exalted sate,
And in his mind revolv'd succeeding fate,
His awful eye with ray superior shone,
The thunder-grasping eagle guards his throne
On silver clouds the great assembly laid,
The whole creation at one view survey'd.

But see, fair Venus comes in all her state;
The wanton Loves and Graces round her wait;
With her loose robe officious Zephyrs play,
And strow with odoriferous flowers the way.
In her right hand she waves the fluttering fan,
And thus in melting sounds her speech began.

Assembled powers, who fickle mortals guide,
Who o'er the sea, the skies and earth preside,
Ye fountains whence all human blessings flow,
Who pour your bounties on the world below;
Bacchus first rais'd and prun'd the climbing vine,
And taught the grape to stream with generous wine;
Industrious Ceres tam'd the savage ground,
And pregnant fields with golden harvest crown'd;
Flora with bloomy sweets enrich'd the year,
And fruitful autumn in Pomona's care.
I first taught woman to subdue mankind,
And all her native charms with dress refin'd,
Celestian synod, this machine survey,
That shades the face, or bids cool zephyrs play;
If conscious blushes on her cheek arise,
With this she veils them from her lover's eyes;
No levell'd glance betrays her amorous heart,
From the fan's ambush she directs the dart.
The royal sceptre shines in Juno's hand,
And twisted thunder speaks great Jove's command;
On Pallas' arm the Gorgon shield appears,
And Neptune's mighty grasp the trident bears;
Ceres is with the bending suckle seen,
And the strong bow points out the Cynthian queen;
Henceforth the waving fan my hand shall grace,
The waving fan supply the sceptre's place.
Who shall, ye powers, the forming pencil hold?
What story shall the wide machine unfold?
Let Loves and Graces lead the dance around,
With myrtle wreaths and flowery chaplet's crown'd,
Let Cupid's arrows strow the smiling plains
With unresisting nymphs, and amorous swains:
May glowing picture o'er the surface shine,
To melt slow virgins with the warm design.

Diana rose; with silver crescent crown'd,
And fixt her modest eyes upon the ground;
Then with becoming mien she rais'd her head,
And thus with graceful voice the virgin said.

Has woman then forgot all former wiles,
The watchful ogle, and delusive smiles?
Does man against her charms too powerful prove,
Or are the sex grown novices in love?
Why then these arms? or why should artful eyes,
From this slight ambush, conquer by surprise?
No guilty thought the spotless virgin knows,
And o'er her cheek no conscious crimson glows;
Since blushes then from shame alone arise,
Why should we veil them from her lover's eyes?
Let Cupid rather give up his command,
And trust his arrows in a female hand.
Have not the gods already cherish'd pride,
And woman with destructive arms supply'd?
Neptune on her bestows his choicest stores,
For her the chambers of the deep explores:
The gaping shell its pearly charge resigns,
And round her neck the lucid bracelet twines:
Plutus for her bids earth its wealth unfold,
Where the warm oar is ripen'd into gold:
Or where the ruby reddens in the soil,
Where the green emerald pays the searcher's toil.
Does not the diamond sparkle in her ear,
Glow on her hand, and tremble in her hair?
From the gay nymph the glancing lustre flies,
And imitates the lightning of her eyes.
But yet it Venus' wishes must succeed,
And this fantastic engine be decreed,
May some chaste story from the pencil flow,
To speak the virgin's joy, and Hymen's wo.

Here let the wretched Ariadne stand,
Seduc'd by Theseus to some desert land.
Her locks dishevell'd waving in the wind,
The crystal tears confess her tortur'd mind;
The perjur'd youth unfurls his treacherous sails,
And their white bosoms catch the swelling gales.
Be still, ye winds, she cries, stay, Theseus, stay:
But faithless Theseus hears no more than they.
All desperate, to some craggy cliff she flies,
And spreads a well-known signal in the skies;
His less'ning vessel ploughs the foamy main,
She sighs, she calls, she waves the sign in vain.

Paint Dido there amidst her last distress,
Pale cheeks and blood-shot eyes her grief express;
Deep in her breast the reeking sword is drown'd,
And gushing blood streams purple from the wound;
Her sister Anna hovering o'er her stands,
Accuses heaven with lifted eyes and hands,
Upbraids the Trojan with repeated crie
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:58 min read

John Gay

John Gay, a cousin of the poet John Gay, was an English philosopher, biblical scholar and Church of England clergyman. more…

All John Gay poems | John Gay Books

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    "The Fan : A Poem. Book II." Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 20 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/22783/the-fan-%3A-a-poem.-book-ii.>.

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