Hesiod: or, The Rise of Woman



What ancient times (those times we fancy wise)
Have left on long record of woman's rise,
What morals teach it, and what fables hide,
What author wrote it, how that author dy'd
All these I sing. In Greece they fram'd the tale
(In Greece 'twas thought a woman might be frail);
Ye modern beauties! where the Poet drew
His softest pencil, thin he dreamt of you;
And, warn'd by him, ye wanton pens beware
How Heaven's concern'd to vindicate the fair.
The case was Hesiod's; he the fable writ;
Some think with meaning, some with idle wit:
Perhaps 'tis either, as the ladies please;
I wave the contest, and commence the lays.
In days of yore (no matter what or when,
'Twas ere the low creation swarm'd with men)
That one Prometheus, sprung of heavenly birth,
(Our Author's song can witness) liv'd on earth:
He carv'd the turf to mould a manly frame,
And stole from Jove his animating flame.
The sly contrivance o'er Olympus ran,
When thus the Monarch of the Stars began.
O vers'd in arts! whose daring thoughts aspire,
To kindle clay with never-dying fire!
Enjoy thy glory past, that gift was thine;
The next thy creature meets, be fairly mine:
And such a gift, a vengence so design'd,
As suits the counsel of a God to find;
A pleasing bosom-cheat, a specious ill,
Which felt the curse, yet covets still to feel.
He said, and Vulcan straight the Sire commands,
To temper mortar with Etherial hands;
In such a shape to mould a rising fair;
As virgin goddesses are proud to wear;
To make her eyes with diamond-water shine,
And form her organs for a voice divine
'Twas thus the Sire ordain'd; the Power obey'd;
And work'd, and wonder'd at the work he made;
The fairest, softest, sweetest frame beneath,
Now made to seem, now more than seem to breathe.
As Vulcan ends, the cheerful Queen of Charms
Clasp'd the new-panting creature in her arms:
From that embrace a fine complexion spread,
Where mingled whiteness glow'd with softer red.
Then in a kiss she breath'd her various arts,
Of triffling prettily with wounded hearts;
A mind for love, but still a changing mind;
The lisp affected, and the glance design'd
The sweet confusing blush, the secret wink,
The gentle swimming walk, the courteous sink;
The stare for strangeness fit, for scorn the frown;
For decent yielding, looks declining down;
The practis'd languish, where well-feign'd desire
Would its own melting in a mutual fire;
Gay smiles to comfort; April showers to move;
And all the nature, all the art of love.
Gold scepter'd Juno next exalts the fair;
Her touch endows her with imperious air,
Self-valuing fancy, highly-crested pride,
Strong soverign will, and some desire to chide;
For which an eloquence, that aims to vex,
With native tropes of anger, arms the sex.
Minerva, skillful goddess, train'd the maid
To twirle the spindle by the twisting thread;
To fix the loom, instruct the reeds to part,
Cross the long weft, and close the web with art,
A useful gift; but what profuse expense,
What world of fashions, took its rise from hence!
Young Hermes next, a close contriving god,
Her brows encircled with his serpent rod;
Then plots and fair excuses fill'd her brain,
The views of breaking amorous vows for gain;
The price of favours; the designing arts
That aim at riches in contempt of hearts;
And, for a comfort in the marriage life,
The little pilfering temper of a wife.
Full on the fair his beams Apollo flung,
And fond persuasion tipp'd her easy tongue;
He gave her words, where oily flattery lays
The pleasing colours of the art of praise;,
And wit, to scandal equisitely prone
Which frets another's spleen to cure its own.
Those sacred Virgins1 whom the bards revere
Tun'd all her voice, and shed a sweetness there,
To make her sense with double charms abound,
Or make her lively nonsense please by sound.
To dress the maid, the decent Graces brought
A robe in all the dies of beauty wrought,
And plac'd their boxes o'er a rich brocade,
Where pictured Loves on every cover play'd;
Then spread those implements that Vulcan's art
Had frame'd to merit Cytherea's heart;
The wire to curl, the close indented comb
To call the locks, that lightly wander, home;
And chief, the mirror,where the ravish'd maid
Beholds and loves her own reflected shade.
Fair Flora lent her stores; the purpled Hours
Confin'd her tresses with a wreath of flowers;
Within the wreath arose a radiant crown;
A veil pellucid hung depending down;
Back roll'd her a
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

4:03 min read
103

Quick analysis:

Scheme Text too long
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 4,400
Words 771
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 101

Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell was an Anglo-Irish poet and clergyman who was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was the son of Thomas Parnell of Maryborough, Queen's County now Port Laoise, County Laoise}, a prosperous landowner who had been a loyal supporter of Cromwell during the English Civil War and moved to Ireland after the restoration of the monarchy. Thomas was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and collated archdeacon of Clogher in 1705. He however spent much of his time in London, where he participated with Pope, Swift and others in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator and aiding Pope in his translation of The Iliad. He was also one of the so-called "Graveyard poets": his 'A Night-Piece on Death,' widely considered the first "Graveyard School" poem, was published posthumously in Poems on Several Occasions, collected and edited by Alexander Pope and is thought by some scholars to have been published in December of 1721 (although dated in 1722 on its title page, the year accepted by The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature; see 1721 in poetry, 1722 in poetry). It is said of his poetry 'it was in keeping with his character, easy and pleasing, ennunciating the common places with felicity and grace. more…

All Thomas Parnell poems | Thomas Parnell Books

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