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Poem by John Gay


Part I. Fable 12. Cupid, Hymen, and Plutus


  As Cupid in Cythera's grove
  Employed the lesser powers of love;
  Some shape the bow, or fit the string;
  Some give the taper shaft its wing,
  Or turn the polished quiver's mould,
  Or head the dart with tempered gold.
     Amidst their toil and various care,
  Thus Hymen, with assuming air,
  Addressed the god: 'Thou purblind chit,
  Of awkward and ill-judging wit,

  If matches are not better made,
  At once I must forswear my trade.
  You send me such ill-coupled folks,
  That 'tis a shame to sell them yokes.
  They squabble for a pin, a feather,
  And wonder how they came together.
  The husband's sullen, dogged, shy;
  The wife grows flippant in reply:
  He loves command and due restriction,
  And she as well likes contradiction:

  She never slavishly submits;
  She'll have her will, or have her fits.
  He this way tugs, she t'other draws:
  The man grows jealous, and with cause.
  Nothing can save him but divorce;
  And here the wife complies of course.'
     'When,' says the boy, 'had I to do
  With either your affairs or you?
  I never idly spent my darts;
  You trade in mercenary hearts.

  For settlements the lawyer's fee'd;
  Is my hand witness to the deed?
  If they like cat and dog agree,
  Go, rail at Plutus, not at me.'
     Plutus appeared, and said, УTis true,
  In marriage gold is all their view:
  They seek not beauty, wit, or sense;
  And love is seldom the pretence.
  All offer incense at my shrine,
  And I alone the bargain sign.

  How can Belinda blame her fate?
  She only asked a great estate.
  Doris was rich enough, 'tis true;
  Her lord must give her title too:
  And every man, or rich or poor,
  A fortune asks, and asks no more.'
     Av'rice, whatever shape it bears,
  Must still be coupled with its cares.



                      John Gay


John Gay's other poems:
  1. Part II. Fable 17. Ay and No
  2. Sweet William's Farewell To Black-Ey'd Susan
  3. The Quidnunckis
  4. To A Young Lady, With Some Lampreys
  5. Part II. Fable 13. Plutus, Cupid, and Time


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