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The ART of DANCING.

A POEM. Inscribed to the Rt. Hon. the Lady FANNY FIELDING. Written in the Year 1730.

Incessu patuit Dea. VIRG.
[ed.] Virgil, Aeneid 1.405. (AH)

CANTO I.

1 IN the smooth dance to move with graceful mien,
2 Easy with care, and sprightly tho' serene,
3 To mark th' instructions echoing strains convey,
4 And with just steps each tuneful note obey,
5 I teach; be present, all ye sacred Choir,
6 Blow the soft flute, and strike the sounding lyre;
7 When FIELDING bids your kind assistance bring,
8 And at her feet the lowly tribute fling;
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9 Oh may her eyes (to her this verse is due)
10 What first themselves inspir'd, vouchsafe to view!
11 Hail loftiest art! thou can'st all hearts insnare,
12 And make the fairest still appear more fair.
13 Beauty can little execution do,
14 Unless she borrows half her arms from you!
15 Few, like PYGMALION, doat on lifeless charms,
16 Or care to clasp a statue in their arms;
17 But breasts of flint must melt with fierce desire,
18 When art and motion wake the sleeping fire:
19 A Venus, drawn by great Apelles' hand,
20 May for awhile our wond'ring eyes command,
21 But still, tho' form'd with all the pow'rs of art,
22 The lifeless piece can never warm the heart;
23 So fair a nymph, perhaps, may please the eye,
24 Whilst all her beauteous limbs unactive lie,
25 But when her charms are in the dance display'd,
26 Then ev'ry heart adores the lovely maid:
27 This sets her beauty in the fairest light,
28 And shews each grace in full perfection bright;
29 Then, as she turns around, from every part,
30 Like porcupines she sends a piercing dart;
31 In vain, alas! the fond spectator tries
32 To shun the pleasing dangers of her eyes,
33 For Parthian-like, she wounds as sure behind,
34 With flowing curls, and ivory neck reclin'd:
35 Whether her steps the Minuet's mazes trace,
36 Or the slow Louvre's more majestick pace,
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37 Whether the Rigadoon employs her care,
38 Or sprightly Jigg displays the nimble fair,
39 At every stop new beauties we explore,
40 And worship now, what we admir'd before:
41 So when Aeneas, in the Tyrian grove,
42 Fair Venus met, the charming queen of Love,
43 The beauteous goddess, whilst unmov'd she stood,
44 Seem'd some fair nymph, the guardian of the wood;
45 But when she mov'd, at once her heav'nly mien
46 And graceful step confess'd bright Beauty's queen,
47 New glories o'er her form each moment rise,
48 And all the Goddess opens to his eyes.
49 Now haste, my Muse, pursue thy destin'd way,
50 What dresses best become the dancer, say;
51 The rules of dress forget not to impart,
52 A lesson previous to the dancing art.
53 The soldiers scarlet glowing from afar,
54 Shews that his bloody occupation's war;
55 Whilst the lawn band, beneath a double chin,
56 As plainly speaks divinity within;
57 The milk-maid safe thro' driving rains and snows,
58 Wrapt in her cloak, and prop'd on pattens goes;
59 Whilst the soft Belle, immur'd in velvet chair,
60 Needs but the silken shoe, and trusts her bosom bare:
61 The woolly drab, and English broad-cloth warm,
62 Guard well the horseman from the beating storm,
63 But load the dancer with too great a weight,
64 And call from ev'ry pore the dewy sweat;
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65 Rather let him his active limbs display
66 In camblet thin, or glossy paduasoy.
67 Let no unwieldy pride his shoulders press;
68 But airy, light, and easy be his dress;
69 Thin be his yielding soal, and low his heel,
70 So shall he nimbly bound, and safely wheel.
71 But let not precepts known my verse prolong,
72 Precepts which use will better teach, than song;
73 For why should I the gallant spark command,
74 With clean white gloves to fit his ready hand?
75 Or in his fob enlivening spirits wear,
76 And pungent salts to raise the fainting fair?
77 Or hint, the sword that dangles at his side,
78 Should from its silken bandage be unty'd?
79 Why should my lays the youthful tribe advise,
80 Lest snowy clouds from out their wigs arise;
81 So shall their partners mourn their laces spoil'd,
82 And shining silks with greasy powder soil'd?
83 Nor need I, sure, bid prudent youths beware,
84 Lest with erected tongues their buckles stare,
85 The pointed steel shall oft' their stocking rend,
86 And oft' th' approaching petticoat offend.
87 And now, ye youthful fair, I sing to you,
88 With pleasing smiles my useful labours view:
89 For you the silkworms fine-wrought webs display,
90 And lab'ring spin their little lives away,
91 For you bright gems with radiant colours glow,
92 Fair as the dies that paint the heav'nly bow,
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93 For you the sea resigns its pearly store,
94 And earth unlocks her mines of treasur'd ore;
95 In vain yet Nature thus her gifts bestows,
96 Unless yourselves with art those gifts dispose.
97 Yet think not, Nymphs, that in the glitt'ring ball,
98 One form of dress prescrib'd can suit with all;
99 One brightest shines when wealth and art combine
100 To make the finish'd piece compleatly fine;
101 When least adorn'd, another steals our hearts,
102 And rich in native beauties, wants no arts:
103 In some are such resistless graces found,
104 That in all dresses they are sure to wound;
105 Their perfect forms all foreign aids despise,
106 And gems but borrow lustre from their eyes.
107 Let the fair Nymph, in whose plump cheeks is seen
108 A constant blush, be clad in chearful green;
109 In such a dress the sportive sea-nymphs go;
110 So in their grassy bed fresh roses blow:
111 The lass whose skin is like the hazel brown,
112 With brighter yellow should o'ercome her own:
113 While maids grown pale with sickness or despair,
114 The sable's mournful dye should choose to wear;
115 So the pale moon still shines with purest light,
116 Cloath'd in the dusky mantle of the night.
117 But far from you be all those treach'rous arts,
118 That wound with painted charms unwary hearts,
119 Dancing's a touchstone that true beauty tries,
120 Nor suffers charms that Nature's hand denies:
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121 Tho' for awhile we may with wonder view
122 The rosy blush, and skin of lovely hue,
123 Yet soon the dance will cause the cheeks to glow,
124 And melt the waxen lips, and neck of snow:
125 So shine the fields in icy fetters bound,
126 Whilst frozen gems bespangle all the ground,
127 Thro' the clear crystal of the glitt'ring snow,
128 With scarlet dye the blushing hawthorns glow;
129 O'er all the plains unnumber'd glories rise,
130 And a new bright creation charms our eyes:
131 Till [Zephyr] breathes, then all at once decay
132 The splendid scenes, their glories fade away,
133 The fields resign the beauties not their own,
134 And all their snowy charms run trickling down.
135 Dare I in such momentous points advise,
136 I should condemn the hoop's enormous size,
137 Of ills I speak by long experience found,
138 Oft' have I trod th' immeasurable round,
139 And mourn'd my shins bruis'd black with many a wound.
140 Nor shou'd the tighten'd stays, too straitly lac'd,
141 In whale-bone bondage gall the slender waist;
142 Nor waving lappets shou'd the dancing fair,
143 Nor ruffles edg'd with dangling fringes wear;
144 Oft' will the cobweb ornaments catch hold
145 On the approaching button rough with gold,
146 Nor force, nor art can then the bonds divide,
147 When once th' intangled Gordian knot is ty'd:
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148 So the unhappy pair, by Hymen's pow'r,
149 Together join'd in some ill-fated hour,
150 The more they strive their freedom to regain,
151 The faster binds th' indissoluble chain.
152 Let each fair maid, who fears to be disgrac'd,
153 Ever be sure to tye her garter fast,
154 Lest the loos'd string, amidst the public ball,
155 A wish'd for prize to some proud fop should fall,
156 Who the rich treasure shall triumphant shew,
157 And with warm blushes cause her cheeks to glow.
158 But yet, (as Fortune by the self-same ways
159 She humbles many, some delights to raise)
160 It happen'd once, a-fair illustrious dame
161 By such neglect acquir'd immortal fame.
162 And hence the radiant Star and Garter blue
163 BRITANNIA'S nobles grace, if Fame says true:
164 Hence still, PLANTAGENET, thy beauties bloom,
165 Tho' long since moulder'd in the dusky tomb,
166 Still thy lost Garter is thy sov'reign's care,
167 And what each royal breast is proud to wear.
168 But let me now my lovely charge remind,
169 Lest they forgetful leave their fans behind;
170 Lay not, ye fear, the pretty toy aside,
171 A toy at once display'd, for use and pride,
172 A wond'rous engine, that by magick charms,
173 Cools your own breast, and ev'ry other's warms.
174 What daring bard shall e'er attempt to tell
175 The pow'rs, that in this little weapon dwell?
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176 What verse can e'er explain its various parts,
177 Its numerous uses, motions, charms and arts?
178 Its painted folds, that oft extended wide,
179 Th' afflicted fair one's blubber'd beauties hide,
180 When secret sorrows her sad bosom fill,
181 If STREPHON is unkind, or SHOCK is ill:
182 Its sticks, on which her eyes dejected pore,
183 And pointing fingers number o'er and o'er,
184 When the kind virgin burns with secret shame,
185 Dies to consent, yet fears to own her flame;
186 Its shake triumphant, its victorious clap,
187 Its angry slutter, and its wanton tap?
188 Forbear, my Muse, th' extensive theme to sing,
189 Nor trust in such a flight thy tender wing;
190 Rather do you in humble lines proclaim,
191 From whence this engine took its form and name,
192 Say from what cause it first deriv'd its birth,
193 How form'd in heav'n, how thence deduc'd to earth.
194 Once in Arcadia, that fam'd seat of love,
195 There liv'd a nymph, the pride of all the grove,
196 A lovely nymph, adorn'd with ev'ry grace,
197 An easy shape, and sweetly blooming face,
198 FANNY the damsel's name, as chaste as fair,
199 Each virgin's envy, and each swain's despair;
200 To charm her ear the rival shepherds sing,
201 Blow the soft flute, and wake the trembling string,
202 For her they leave their wand'ring flocks to rove,
203 Whilst FANNY'S name resounds thro' ev'ry grove,
204 And spreads on every tree, inclos'd in knots of love;
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205 As FIELDING'S now, her eyes all hearts inflame,
206 Like her in beauty, as alike in name.
207 'Twas when the summer sun, now mounted high,
208 With fiercer beams had scorch'd the glowing sky,
209 Beneath the covert of a cooling shade,
210 To shun the heat, this lovely nymph was lay'd;
211 The sultry weather o'er her cheeks had spread
212 A blush, that added to their native red,
213 And her fair breasts, as polish'd marble white,
214 Were half conceal'd, and half expos'd to sight;
215 AEOLUS the mighty God, whom winds obey,
216 Observ'd the beauteous maid, as thus she lay,
217 O'er all her charms he gaz'd with fond delight,
218 And suck'd in poison at the dangerous sight;
219 He sighs, he burns; at last declares his pain,
220 But still he sighs, and still he wooes in vain;
221 The cruel nymph, regardless of his moan,
222 Minds not his flame, uneasy with her own;
223 But still complains, that he who rul'd the air
224 Would not command one Zephyr to repair
225 Around her face, nor gentle breeze to play
226 Thro' the dark glade, to cool the sultry day;
227 By love incited, and the hopes of joy,
228 Th' ingenious God contriv'd this pretty toy,
229 With gales incessant to relieve her flame;
230 And call'd it FAN, from lovely FANNY'S name.
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CANTO II.

1 NOW see prepar'd to lead the sprightly dance,
2 The lovely nymphs, and well-dress'd youths advance;
3 The spacious room receives each jovial guest,
4 And the floor shakes with pleasing weight oppress'd:
5 Thick rang'd on every side, with various dyes
6 The fair in glossy silks our sight surprize:
7 So, in a garden bath'd with genial show'rs,
8 A thousand sorts of variegated flow'rs,
9 Jonquils, carnations, pinks, and tulips rise,
10 And in a gay confusion charm our eyes.
11 High o'er their heads, with num'rous candles bright,
12 Large sconces shed their sparkling beams of light,
13 Their sparkling beams that still more brightly glow,
14 Reflected back from gems, and eyes below:
15 Unnumber'd fans to cool the crowded fair
16 With breathing Zephyrs move the circling air,
17 The sprightly fiddle, and the sounding lyre
18 Each youthful breast with gen'rous warmth inspire;
19 Fraught with all joys the blissful moments fly,
20 While music melts the ear, and beauty charms the eye.
21 Now let the youth, to whose superior place
22 It first belongs the splendid ball to grace,
23 With humble bow, and ready hand prepare,
24 Forth from the crowd to lead his chosen fair;
25 The fair shall not his kind request deny,
26 But to the pleasing toil with equal ardour fly.
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27 But stay, rash pair, not yet untaught advance,
28 First hear the Muse, ere you attempt to dance:
29
*
Arte citae veloque rates remoque moventur,
Arte leves currus. OVID.
By art directed o'er the foaming tide
30 Secure from rocks the painted vessels glide;
31 By art the chariot scours the dusty plain,
32 Springs at the whip, and
Nec audit currus habenas. VIRG.
hears the strait'ning rein:
33 To art our bodies must obedient prove,
34 If e'er we hope with graceful ease to move.
35 Long was the dancing art unfix'd, and free,
36 Hence lost in error and uncertainty,
37 No precepts did in mind, or rules obey,
38 But every master taught a diff'rent way;
39 Hence ere each new-born dance was fully try'd,
40 The lovely product ev'n in blooming dy'd,
41 Thro' various hands in wild confusion toss'd,
42 Its steps were alter'd, and its beauties lost;
43 Till
Fuillet wrote the Art of Dancing by characters in French, since translated by Weaver.
FUILLET, the pride of GALLIA, rose,
44 And did the dance in characters compose,
45 Each lovely grace by certain marks he taught,
46 And every step in lasting volumes wrote:
47 Hence o'er the world this pleasing art shall spread,
48 And every dance in ev'ry clime be read.
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49 By distant masters shall each step be seen,
50 Tho' mountains rise, and oceans roar between;
51 Hence, with her sister arts, shall Dancing claim
52 An equal right to universal fame,
53 And ISAAC'S rigadoon shall live as long,
54 As RAPHAEL'S painting, or as VIRGIL'S song.
55 Wise Nature ever, with a prudent hand,
56 Dispenses various gifts to every land,
57 To every nation frugally imparts
58 A genius fit for some peculiar arts;
59 To trade the DUTCH incline, the SWISS to arms,
60 Music and verse are soft ITALIA'S charms;
61 BRITANNIA justly glories to have found
62 Lands unexplor'd, and sail'd the globe around:
63 But none will sure presume to rival FRANCE,
64 Whether she forms, or executes the dance;
65 To her exalted genius 'tis we owe
66 The sprightly Rigadoon and Louvre slow,
67 The Borée, and Courant unpractis'd long,
68 Th' immortal Minuet, and the smooth Bretagne,
69 With all those dances of illustrious fame,
70
* French dances.
That from their native country take their name,
71 With these let every ball be first begun,
72 Nor country dance intrude till these are done.
73 Each cautious bard, ere he attempts to sing,
74 First gently flutt'ring tries his tender wing,
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75 And if he finds that with uncommon fire
76 The Muses all his raptur'd soul inspire,
77 At once to heav'n he soars in lofty odes,
78 And sings alone of heroes and of gods;
79 But if he trembling fears a flight so high,
80 He then descends to softer elegy;
81 And if in elegy he can't succeed,
82 In past'ral he may tune the oaten reed:
83 So should the dancer, ere he tries to move,
84 With care his strength, his weight, and genius prove;
85 Then, if he finds kind Nature's gifts impart
86 Endowments proper for the dancing art,
87 If in himself he feels together join'd,
88 An active body and ambitious mind,
89 In nimble Rigadoons he may advance,
90 Or in the Louvre's slow majestic dance;
91 If these he fears to reach, with easy pace
92 Let him the Minuet's circling mazes trace:
93 Is this too hard? this too let him forbear,
94 And to the Country-dance confine his care.
95 Wou'd you in dancing ev'ry fault avoid,
96 To keep true time be your first thoughts employ'd;
97 All other errors they in vain shall mend,
98 Who in this one important point offend;
99 For this, when now united hand in hand
100 Eager to start the youthful couple stand;
101 Let them awhile their nimble feet restrain,
102 And with soft taps beat time to ev'ry strain:
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103 So for the race prepar'd two coursers stand,
104 And with impatient pawings spurn the sand.
105 In vain a master shall employ his care,
106 Where Nature once has fix'd a clumsy air;
107 Rather let such, to country sports confin'd,
108 Pursue the flying hare, or tim'rous hind:
109 Nor yet, while I the rural 'squire despise,
110 A mien effeminate would I advise;
111 With equal scorn I would the fop deride,
112 Nor let him dance but on the woman's side.
113 And you, fair nymphs, avoid with equal care,
114 A stupid dulness, and a coquet air;
115 Neither with eyes, that ever love the ground,
116 Asleep, like spinning-tops, run round and round;
117 Nor yet with giddy looks, and wanton pride,
118 Stare all around, and skip from side to side.
119 True dancing, like true wit, is best express'd
120 By nature only to advantage dress'd;
121 'Tis not a nimble bound, or caper high,
122 That can pretend to please a curious eye,
123 Good judges no such tumblers tricks regard,
124 Or think them beautiful, because they're hard.
125 'Tis not enough, that every stander-by
126 No glaring errors in your steps can spy,
127 The dance and music must so nicely meet,
128 Each note should seem an echo to your feet;
129 A nameless grace must in each movement dwell,
130 Which words can ne'er express, or precepts tell,
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131 Not to be taught, but ever to be seen
132 In FLAVIA'S air, and CHLOE'S easy mien:
133 'Tis such an air that makes her thousands fall,
134 When FIELDING dances at a birth-night ball;
135 Smooth as CAMILLA she skims o'er the plain,
136 And flies like her thro' crowds of heroes slain.
137 Now when the Minuet oft repeated o'er,
138 (Like all terrestrial joys) can please no more,
139 And ev'ry nymph, refusing to expand
140 Her charms, declines the circulating hand;
141 Then let the jovial country-dance begin,
142 And the loud fiddles call each straggler in:
143 But ere they come, permit me to disclose,
144 How first, as legends tell, this pastime rose.
145 In ancient times (such times are now no more)
146 When Albion's crown illustrious ARTHUR wore,
147 In some fair op'ning glade, each summer's night,
148 Where the pule moon diffus'd her silver light,
149 On the soft carpet of a grassy field,
150 The sporting fairies their assemblies held:
151 Some lightly tripping with their pigmy queen,
152 In circling ringlets mark'd the level green,
153 Some with soft notes bade mellow pipes resound,
154 And music warble thro' the groves around;
155 Oft' lonely shepherds by the forest side,
156 Belated peasants oft' their revels spy'd,
157 And home returning, o'er the nut-brown ale,
158 Their guests diverted with the wond'rous tale.
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159 Instructed hence, throughout the British isle,
160 And fond to imitate the pleasing toil,
161 Round where the trembling may pole's fix'd on high,
162 And bears its flow'ry honours to the sky,
163 The ruddy maids, and sun-burnt swains resort,
164 And practise every night the lovely sport;
165 On every side Aeolian artists stand,
166 Whose active elbows swelling winds command,
167 The swelling winds harmonious pipes inspire,
168 And blow in ev'ry breast a generous fire.
169 Thus taught at first the country-dance began,
170 And hence to cities and to courts it ran,
171 Succeeding ages did in time impart
172 Various improvements to the lovely art:
173 From fields and groves to palaces remov'd;
174 Great ones the pleasing exercise approv'd;
175 Hence the loud fiddle, and shrill trumpet's sounds,
176 Are made companions of the dancer's bounds;
177 Hence gems, and silks, brocades, and ribbons join,
178 To make the ball with perfect lustre shine.
179 So rude at first the tragic Muse appear'd,
180 Her voice alone by rustic rabble heard,
181 Where twisting trees a cooling arbour made
182 The pleas'd spectators sat beneath the shade,
183 The homely stage with rushes green was strew'd,
184 And in a cart the strolling actors rode:
185 Till time at length improv'd the great design,
186 And bade the scenes with painted landskips shine;
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187 Then art did all the bright machines dispose,
188 And theatres of Parian marble rose,
189 Then mimic thunder shook the canvas sky,
190 And Gods descended from their tow'rs on high.
191 With caution now let every youth prepare
192 To choose a partner from the mingled fair;
193 Vain would he hear th' instructed Muse's voice,
194 If she pretended to direct his choice:
195 Beauty alone by fancy is express'd,
196 And charms in different forms each different breast;
197 A snowy skin this am'rous youth admires,
198 Whilst nut-brown cheeks another's bosom fires.
199 Small waists and slender limbs some hearts ensnare,
200 While others love the more substantial fair.
201 But let not outward charms your judgments sway,
202 Your reason rather than your eyes obey,
203 And in the dance, as in the marriage noose,
204 Rather for merit, than for beauty, choose:
205 Be her your choice, who knows with perfect skill
206 When she should move, and when she should be still,
207 Who uninstructed can perform her share,
208 And kindly half the pleasing burthen bear.
209 Unhappy is that hopeless wretch's fate,
210 Who fetter'd in the matrimonial state
211 With a poor, simple, unexperienc'd wife,
212 Is forc'd to lead the tedious dance of life;
213 And such is his, with such a partner join'd,
214 A moving puppet, but without a mind:
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215 Still must his hand be pointing out the way,
216 Yet ne'er can teach so fast, as she can stray,
217 Beneath her follies he must ever groan,
218 And ever blush for errors not his own.
219 But now behold united hand in hand,
220 Rang'd on each side, the well-pair'd couples stand!
221 Each youthful bosom beating with delight,
222 Waits the brisk signal for the pleasing fight:
223 While lovely eyes, that flash unusual rays,
224 And snowy bubbies pull'd above the stays,
225 Quick busy hands, and bridling heads declare,
226 The fond impatience of the starting fair.
227 And see the sprightly dance is now begun!
228 Now here, now there the giddy maze they run,
229 Now with slow steps they pace the circling ring,
230 Now all confus'd, too swift for sight they spring:
231 So, in a wheel with rapid fury toss'd,
232 The undistinguish'd spokes are in the motion lost.
233 The dancer here no more requires a guide,
234 To no strict steps his nimble feet are ty'd,
235 The Muse's precepts here wou'd useless be,
236 Where all is fancy'd, unconfin'd, and free;
237 Let him but to the musick's voice attend,
238 By this instructed, he can ne'er offend;
239 If to his share it falls the dance to lead,
240 In well-known paths he may be sure to tread;
241 If others lead, let him their motions view,
242 And in their steps the winding maze pursue.
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243 In every Country-dance a serious mind,
244 Turn'd for reflection, can a moral find;
245 In Hunt-the-Squirrel thus the nymph we view,
246 Seeks when we fly, but flies when we pursue:
247 Thus in Round-dances, where our partners change,
248 And unconfin'd from fair to fair we range,
249 As soon as one from his own consort flies,
250 Another seizes on the lovely prize:
251 Awhile the fav'rite youth enjoys her charms,
252 Till the next comer steals her from his arms,
253 New ones succeed, the last is still her care;
254 How true an emblem of th' inconstant fair!
255 Where can philosophers, and sages wise,
256 Who read the curious volumes of the skies,
257 A model more exact than dancing name,
258 Of the creation's universal frame?
259 Where worlds unnumber'd o'er th' aetherial way,
260 In a bright regular confusion stray;
261 Now here, now there they whirl along the sky,
262 Now near approach, and now far distant fly,
263 Now meet in the same order they began,
264 And then the great celestial dance is done.
265 Where can the mor'list find a juster plan
266 Of the vain labours, and the life of man?
267 Awhile thro' justling crowds we toil, and sweat,
268 And eagerly pursue we know not what,
269 Then when our trifling short-liv'd race is run,
270 Quite tir'd sit down, just where we first begun.
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271 Tho' to your arms kind fate's indulgent care
272 Has giv'n a partner exquisitely fair,
273 Let not her charms so much engage your heart,
274 That you neglect the skilful dancer's part;
275 Be not, when you the tuneful notes should hear,
276 Still whisp'ring idle prattle in her ear;
277 When you should be employ'd, be not at play,
278 Nor for your joys all others steps delay:
279 But when the finish'd dance you once have done,
280 And with applause thro' ev'ry couple run,
281 There rest awhile: there snatch the fleeting bliss,
282 The tender whisper, and the balmy kiss;
283 Each secret wish, each softer hope confess,
284 And her moist palm with eager fingers press;
285 With smiles the fair shall hear your warm desires,
286 When musick melts her soul, and dancing sires.
287 Thus mix'd with love, the pleasing toil pursue,
288 Till the unwelcome morn appears in view;
289 Then, when approaching day its beams displays,
290 And the dull candles shine with fainter rays,
291 Then when the sun just rises o'er the deep,
292 And each bright eye is almost set in sleep,
293 With ready hands, obsequious youths, prepare
294 Safe to her coach to lead each chosen fair,
295 And guard her from the morn's inclement air:
296 Let a warm hood enwrap her lovely head,
297 And o'er her neck a handkerchief be spread,
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298 Around her shoulders let this arm be cast,
299 Whilst that from cold defends her slender waist;
300 With kisses warm her balmy lips shall glow,
301 Unchill'd by nightly damps, or wintry snow;
302 While gen'rous white-wine, mull'd with ginger warm,
303 Safely protects her inward frame from harm.
304 But ever let my lovely pupils fear
305 To chill their mantling blood with cold small beer;
306 Ah, thoughtless fair! the tempting draught refuse,
307 When thus forewarn'd by my experienc'd Muse;
308 Let the sad consequence your thoughts employ,
309 Nor hazard future pains, for present joy,
310 Destruction lurks within the pois'nous dose,
311 A fatal fever, or a pimpled nose.
312 Thus thro' each precept of the dancing art
313 The Muse has play'd the kind instructors part,
314 Thro' every maze her pupils she has led,
315 And pointed out the surest paths to tread;
316 No more remains; no more the goddess sings,
317 But drops her pinions, and unfurls her wings;
318 On downy beds the weary dancers lie,
319 And sleep's silk cords tie down each drowsy eye;
320 Delightful dreams their pleasing sports restore,
321 And ev'n in sleep they seem to dance once more.
322 And now the work completely finish'd lies,
323 Which the devouring teeth of time defies;
324 Whilst birds in air, or fish in streams we find,
325 Or damsels fret with aged partners join'd;
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326 As long as nymphs shall with attentive ear
327 A fiddle rather than a sermon hear;
328 So long the brighest eye shall oft peruse
329 The useful lines of my instructive Muse;
330 Each belle shall wear them wrote upon her fan,
331 And each bright beau shall read them if he can.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): The ART of DANCING. A POEM. Inscribed to the Rt. Hon. the Lady FANNY FIELDING. Written in the Year 1730.
    Author: Soame Jenyns
    Themes: entertainments; pastimes
    Genres: heroic couplet
    References: DMI 22682

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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. III. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 146-167. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.003)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.