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To a Young Lady with FONTENELLE'S Plurality of Worlds.

1 IN this small work, all nature's wonders see,
2 The soften'd features of philosophy.
3 In truth by easy steps you here advance,
4 Truth is diverting, as the best romance.
5 Long had these arts to sages been confin'd,
6 None saw their beauty, till by poring blind;
7 By studying spent, like men that cram too full,
8 From Wisdom's feast they rose not chear'd, but dull:
9 The gay and airy smil'd to see 'em grave,
10 And fled such wisdom like Trophonius' cave.
11 Justly they thought they might those arts despise,
12 Which made men sullen, ere they could be wise.
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13 Brought down to sight, with ease you view 'em here;
14 Tho' deep the bottom, yet the stream is clear.
15 Your flutt'ring sex still valued science less;
16 Careless of any but the arts of dress.
17 Their useless time was idly thrown away
18 On empty novels, or some new-born play;
19 The best, perhaps, a few loose hours might spare
20 For some unmeaning thing, miscall'd a pray'r.
21 In vain the glitt'ring orbs, each starry night,
22 With mingling blazes shed a flood of light:
23 Each nymph with cold indiff'rence saw 'em rise;
24 And, taught by fops, to them preferr'd her eyes.
25 None thought the stars were suns so widely sown,
26 None dreamt of other worlds, besides our own.
27 Well might they boast their charms, when ev'ry fair
28 Thought this world all; and her's the brightest here.
29 Ah! quit not the large thoughts this book inspires,
30 For those thin trifles which your sex admires:
31 Assert your claim to sense, and shew mankind,
32 That reason is not to themselves confin'd.
33 The haughty belle, whose beauty's aweful shrine
34 'Twere sacrilege t' imagine not divine,
35 Who thought so greatly of her eyes before,
36 Bid her read this, and then be vain no more.
37 How poor ev'n you, who reign without controul,
38 If we except the beauties of your soul!
39 Shou'd all beholders feel the same surprize:
40 Shou'd all who see you, see you with my eyes;
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41 Were no sick blasts to make that beauty less;
42 Cou'd you be what I think, what all confess:
43 'Tis but a narrow space those charms engage;
44 The island only, and not half an age!

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    Title (in Source Edition): To a Young Lady with FONTENELLE'S Plurality of Worlds.
    Author: Edward Rolle
    Themes: science; women; female character
    Genres: heroic couplet; epistle
    References: DMI 22688

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    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. 233-235. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.003) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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