Page images
PDF
EPUB

From morn to noon, from noon to silent eve,

He toileth without interval or pause, *
His monumental trophy to achieve,
And his sepulchral sheet of silk resplendent weave!

XXXV.
Approach, and view thy artisans at work ;

At thy wee spinners take a parting glance ; . For soon each puny labourer will lurk

Under his silken canopy's expanse

Tastefiul alcove! boudoir of elegance ? There will the weary worm in peace repose,

And languid lethargy his limbs entrance ;
There his career of usefulness will close ;
Who would not live the life and die the death of those !t

XXXVI.
Mostly they spin their solitary shroud

Single, apart, like ancient anchoret ;
Ye: oft a loving pair will, I if allow'd,
In the same sepulchre of silk well met,

Nestle like ROMEO and JULIET.
From such communing be they not debarred,

Mindful of her who hallow'd Paraclet;
Even in their silken cenotaph 'twere hard
To part a HELOISE from her loved ABELARD.

XXXVII.
The task is done, the work is now complete ;

A stilly silence reigns throughout the room !
Sleep on, blest beings! be your slumbers sweet.

And calmly rest within your golden tomb

Rest, till restored to renovated bloom. Bursting the trammels of that dark sojourn, Forth

ye

shall issue, and rejoiced, resume,
A glorified appearance, and return
To life a wingèd thing from monumental urn.

XXXVIII.
Fain would I pause, and of my tuneful text

Reserve the remnant for a fitter time;
Another song remains. The summit next

Of double-peak'd Parnassus when I clim',
Grant me, ye gods! the radiant wings of rhyme !

Query, without paws ?—P. Devil.
+ Mille legunt releguntque vias, atque orbibus orbre

Agglomerant, donec cæco se carcere condant
Sponte suâ. Tanta est edendi gloria fili!
Quin et nonnullæ paribus communia curis
Associant opera, et nebulâ clauduntur eâdem.

[ocr errors]

This may I bear me up th’adventurous road

That winds aloft-an argument sublime !
But of didactic poems 'tis the mode,
No canto should conclude without an episode.

XXXIX.
Venus it was who first invented SILK-

Linen had long, by CERES patronised,
Supplied Olympus : ladies of that ilk

No better sort of clothing had devieed

Linen alone their garde de robe comprised. Hence at her cambric loom the “suitors" found

PENELOPK, whom hath immortalised
The blind man eloquent: nor less renown'd
Were “ Troy's proud dames,” whose robes of linen “swept the
.ground.”

XL,
Thus the first female fashion was for flax ;

A linen tunic was the garb that graced
Exclusively the primitive “ Almack's.”

Simplicity's costume! too soon effaced

By vain inventions of more modern taste.
Then was the reign of modesty and sense.

Fair ones were not, I ween, more prude and chaste,
Girt in hoop-petticoats' circumference
Or stays-Honi soi the rogue qui mal y pense.

XLI.
Wool, by MINERVA manufactured, met

With blithe encouragement and brisk demand ;
Her loom by constant buyers was beset,

“Orders from foreign houses” kept her band
Busy supplying many a distant land.
She was of woollen stuffs the sole provider,

Till some were introduced by contraband:
A female called ARACHNÉ thus defied her,
Put soon gave up the trade, being turned into a spider.

XLII.
Thus a complete monopoly in wool,

“Almost amounting to a prohibition,” Enabled her to satisfy in full

The darling object of her life's ambition,

And gratify her spitefui disposition.
VENUS* she had determined should not be

Suffer'd to purchase stuffs on no condition ;
While every naked Naiad nymph was free
To buy her serge, moreen, and woollen drapperie.
• Tantùm nuda Venus merebat muneris expers

Egregiam ob formam textrici invisa Minerv..

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

XLIII.
Albeit " when unadorned adorned the most,"

The goddess could not brook to be outwitted
How could she bear her rival's bitter boast,

If to this taunt she quietly submitted !

OLYMPUS (robeless as she was) she quitted, Fully determined to bring back as fine a

Dress as was ever woven, spun, or knitted ;
Europe she searched, consulted the CZARINA,
And, taking good advice, cross'd o'er “ the wall” to CHINA

XLIV.
Long before Europeans, the Chinese

Possess'd the compass, silkworms, and gunpowder,
And types, and tea, and other rarities.

China (with gifts since Nature hath endowed her)

Is proud; what land hath reason to be prouder?
Her let the dull “ Barbarian Eye” respect,

And be her privileges all allowed her ;
She is the WIDOW (please to recollect)
Of ONE the Deluge drown'd, PRIMORDIAL INTELLECT!

XLV.
The good inhabitants of PEKIN, when

They saw the dame in downright dishabille,
Were shock'd. Such sight was far beyond the kon

Of their CONFUCIAN potions. Full of zeal

To guard the morals of the commonweal,
They straight deputed SYLK, a mandarin,

Humbly before the visitant to kneel
With downcast eye, and offer Beauty's queen
A rich resplendent robe of gorgeous bombazin.

XLVI.
Venus received the vesture nothing loath,

And much its gloss, its softness much admired,
And praised that specimen of foreign growth,

So splendid, and so cheaply too acquired !

Quick in the robe her graceful limbs attired,
She seeks a mirror, there delighted dallies ;

So rich a dress was all could be desired.
How she rejoiced to disappoint the malice
Of her unfeeling foe, the vile, vindictive PALLAS !*

XLVII.
But while she praised the gift and thank'd the girer

Of spinner-worms she sued for a supply.
Forthwith the good Chinese fill’d Cupid's quiver

With the cocoons in which each worm doth lie

Snug, until changed into a butterfly.
The light cocoons wild Cupid shower'd o'er Greece,

And o'er the isles, and over Italy,
Into the lap of industry and peace ;
And the glad nations hail the long-sought "Golden Fleece.",

• Rettulit insignes tunicas, nihil indiga lanæ.
+ Gratiam opus Ausoniis dum volvunt fila puellis.

« PreviousContinue »