The Beau to the Virtuosos

William Shenstone

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Hail curious wights, to whom so fair
The form of mortal flies is!
Who deem those grubs beyond compare,
Which common sense despises.

Whether o'er hill, morass or mound,
You make your sportsman sallies;
Or that your prey in gardens found
Is urg'd thro' walks and alleys,

Yet, in the fury of the chase,
No slope could e'er retard you;
Blest, if one fly repay the race,
Or painted wing reward you.

Fierce as Camilla, o'er the plain,
Pursu'd the glittering stranger;
Still ey'd the purple's pleasing stain,
And knew not fear nor danger.

'Tis you dispense the fav'rite meat
To nature's filmy people;
Know what conserves they choose to eat,
And what liquers, to tipple.

And, if her brood of insects dies,
You sage assistance lend her;
Can stoop to pimp for am'rous flies,
And help 'em to engender.

'Tis you protect their pregnant hour;
And when the birth's at hand,
Exerting your obstetric pow'r,
Prevent a mothless land.

Yet oh! howe'er your tow'ring view
Above gross objects rises;
Whate'er refinements you pursue,
Hear, what a friend advises.

A friend, who, weigh'd with yours, must prize
Domitian's idle passion;
That wrought the death of teasing flies,
But ne'er their propagation.

Let Flavia's eyes more deeply warm,
Nor thus your hearts determine,
To slight dame Nature's fairest form,
And sigh for Nature's vermin.

And speak with some respect of beaux;
No more, as triflers, treat 'em;
'Tis better learn to save one's clothes,
Than cherish moths that eat 'em.

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