1 AS Bathian Venus t'other day
2 Invited all the Gods to tea,
3 Her maids of honour, the miss Graces,
4 Attending duely in their places,
5 Their godships gave a loose to mirth,
6 As we at Butt'ring's here on earth.
7 Minerva in her usual way
8 Rallied the daughter of the sea.
9 Madam, said she, your lov'd resort,
10 The city where you hold your court,
11 Is lately fallen from its duty,
12 And triumphs more in wit than beauty;
13 For here, she cried; see here a poem —
14 'Tis Dalston's; you, Apollo, know him.
15 Little persuasion sure invites
16 Pallas to read what Dalston writes:
17 Nay, I have heard that in Parnassus
18 For truth a current whisper passes,
19 That Dalston sometimes has been known
20 To publish her works as his own.
21 Minerva read, and every God
22 Approv'd — Jove gave the critic nod:
23 Apollo and the sacred Nine
24 Were charm'd, and smil'd at ev'ry line;
25 And Mars, who little understood,
26 Swore, d—n him, if it was not good.
27 Venus alone sat all the while
28 Silent, nor deign'd a single smile.
29 All were surpriz'd: some thought her stupid:
30 Not so her confident 'squire Cupid;
31 For well the little rogue discern'd
32 At what his mother was concern'd,
33 Yet not a word the urchin said,
34 But hid in Hebe's lap his head.
35 At length the rising choler broke
36 From Venus' lips, — and thus she spoke,
37 That poetry so cram'd with wit,
38 Minerva, shou'd your palate hit,
39 I wonder not, nor that some prudes
40 (For such there are above the clouds)
41 Shou'd wish the prize of beauty torn
42 From her they view with envious scorn.
43 Me poets never please, but when
44 Justice and truth direct their pen.
45 This Dalston — formerly I've known him;
46 Henceforth for ever I disown him;
47 For Homer's wit shall I despise
48 In him who writes with Homer's eyes.[Page 304]
49 A poem on the fairest fair
50 At Bath, and Betty's name not there!
51 Hath not this poet seen those glances
52 In which my wicked urchin dances?
53 Nor that dear dimple, where he treats
54 Himself with all Arabia's sweets;
55 In whose soft down while he reposes
56 In vain the lillies bloom, or roses,
57 To tempt him from a sweeter bed
58 Of fairer white or livelier red?
59 Hath he not seen, when some kind gale
60 Has blown aside the cambric veil,
61 That seat of paradise, where Jove
62 Might pamper his almighty love?
63 Our milky way less fair does shew:
64 There summer's seen 'twixt hills of snow.
65 From her lov'd voice whene'er she speaks,
66 What softness in each accent breaks!
67 And when her dimpled smiles arise,
68 What sweetness sparkles in her eyes!
69 Can I then bear, enrag'd she said,
70 Slights offer'd to my fav'rite maid,
71 The nymph whom I decreed to be
72 The representative of me?
73 The Goddess ceas'd — the Gods all bow'd,
74 Nor one the wicked bard avow'd,
75 Who, while in beauty's praise he writ,
76 Dar'd Beauty's Goddess to omit:[Page 305]
77 For now their godships recollected,
78 'Twas Venus' self he had neglected,
79 Who in her visits to this place
80 Had still worn Betty Dalston's face.