The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
Cupid Sharpening His Arrows
Cupid Sharpening His Arrows.
How now gentle Cupid, for war thus preparing?
You seem as, like mortals, in earth’s sorrows sharing;
What great preparations, I see at a glance!—
Do you favour Prusia, or vote ye for France?—
We thought your commission, as sent from above,
Was not one of warfare, but rather of love!
Why, surely you have not resign’d your commission,
Or, from Heaven’s service obtain’d your dismission;
And thus have descended from good, into evil,
Betaking thyself to the work of the Divel?
So cobbler-like, bent o’er your work; and ye look
So full of despatch, and such haste, you can’t brook
To spare ev’n a moment from plying your hone,
Rub, rubbing that arrow, whose point appears gone!
Your round chubby cheeks greatly flush,d, and that moan,
Bespeak the hard toil of the task you are on:
Look here; what a sight!--Sure, these arrows betoken
Some sevice they’ve seen, as they’re blunted & broken.
At length he look’d up, thro’ hard work out of breath,
The flush of his cheek turn’d to paleness of death:
Through half-parted lips as he breathed a deep sigh,
A roguish leer shone through a tear in his eye!—
No doubt he half smiled at the questions I put,
Though vex’d he was truly beyond all dispute;
Then pointing around, he said “Look at these arrows,
And say if I have not great cause for my sorrows!”
page 203 He, in the one hand, held a sadly worn hone;
In th’ other an arrow, with point of it gone,
Which he had been rubbing to bring to an edge;—
“No wonder (he added) than you might allege
I’m fitting for warfare, at seeing me busy;
For, look at this arrow, enough to drive crazy
The best of good tempers!—and so of the rest
You see lie about, all once reckon’d the best;
While through all the work they have formerly done,
They ne’er were so out of good order;—Not one!
I never dreamt that I should o’er them deplore,
As never have they needed sharp’ning before;
They’re pledged the best weapons for work such as mine,
That ever came from Heaven’s arm’ry devine:
Now, see how they ’re blunted, and damaged; not one
Is fit for good service, in work to be done,
All through that rock heart of misogamist Dyon!
To me a commission had lately been sent,
To vanquish his Bach’lorship. Thither I went.
With no other thought than he’s like other folk;—
But, I might as well have tried adamant rock:
For each arrow sent, no effect had, it on
But bounced from the heart of misogamist Dyon:
Which makes me think he is, on this side earth’s planet
The only one having a heart of hard granite:
So, witness these weapons, thus honestly tried,
With all the fair play, which, good use, may betide,
How greatly they’re damaged o’er such a vile rock,
Enough the best temper in life to provoke!
page 204 Perhaps by that wizardcraft, some say his trade is,
The mischief is done, as he’d mesmerise ladies;
So hard is his heart, mocking all who would wed,
Honest true-love he hates, he’s so very ill bred;
His nature’s hypocricy, and quite defies
All honour and truth; while in friendship’s disguise
He blandly would gain on one’s confidence good,
Then such would betray, with a Judas-like mood!
If Death of old Hornbook had cause to complain?
I too have been grieved as these arrows maintain!
There’s much work to do; but pray how can I do it
With tools out of order?—My trade, to pursue it,
Is matter of thought, and concern the most deep,
Destroying my rest, when I seek it in sleep;
For, then often musing on mine abused arrows,
With little to hope, in th’ of sorrows;
Then this would occur to me,—How would it do,
With modern inventions my trade to pursue;
As on such utilities much I have ponder’d
To seek out results; so, as much have I wonder’d
If powder and shot be of Heaven’s inventions
That such I might use with the best of intentions:
Especially to aid what concern hearts of stone,
Like that I have found in misogamist Dyon.
There’s much work to do, and but short time to do it,
Which puzzles me greatly how I may get through it,
Especially with such tools as these, and no other
Appointed me yet, putting me in a bother:—
page 205 For instance, yon youth who rules lord o’er his mother,
May soon be commanded to bow to some other!
But somehow I fear he’s infected with stone,
If true what some say, that he chums with sir Dyon;
As one sheep another infects with its scab,
So will the old wretch make the young quite the dab
For wizard-deceit, that he might have a marrow,
As, not to be odd in resisting Love’s arrow!
Besides, yonder student engross’d with his books
He’ll need my assistance too, if by his looks
Correctly I judge:—unless he may get smit
With Dyon’s foul contagion, which ill can befit
The virtuous and good; nor will make them approved
By others of good sense, as honour’d and loved;—
As no good can come from communion with Dyon,
Who mocks at all worth, thro’ his heart of hard stone!
How many are anxious mine aid to receive,
Whose truth is their motto, all bliss to achieve!
In fact there’s a host of such, whom I could mention!
Of all grades and classes deserving attention:
Love; SocietyBesides, what a lot of young Ladies, who’d prove
Good partners to many young Gents, could they love!
So, see many Marys, and Janes, and Susannahs,
Preparing for husbands upon their pianos:
Besides, other spirits, as eager to please,
Would practise the mysteries of butter and cheese:
All in their spheres willing good partners to be,
When call’d on, for pleasure, or life’s industry!—
page 206 But, how can I serve them according to rules?—
Confound that stone heart for thus wasting my tools!”
If such be your trouble with hard hearted men,—
And, no doubt there’s much beyond aught of my ken;-
Pray what about Ladies? those precious heart-teasers,
Whom Heaven ordain’d our companions and pleasers,
—I ask’d interested,—Are none like sir Dyon?
Whose hearts too have caused so much waste to your hone;
It strikes me that they are part cause of your sorrows,
In damaging some of the best of your arrows!
At this, my bold question, he turn’d me an eye,
Which spoke indignati n: then gave this reply:—
Love; Poetry“All are not alike with the men: I can shew it;
For instance, this blunt one’s enough for a Poet:
His heart is so tender,—so very impressible,
That he is, to True-love, at all times accessible:
While that of the counterfeit treating with scorn,
As he is, of Nature’s first noblemen, born!—
And as for all others one middling sharp arrow
Would serve—aye, ten thousand, to-day and tomorrow:
Aye; after a life’s work, not worse for the wear,
As these are, which grieve me akin to despair!—
But, as for the Ladies—”
Thus, as he began
T’ expound, a dark something came over the plan;
A cramp in my leg interfered with the theme,
And roused me in haste from this whimsical dream!