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-On Rover: A Lady's Spaniel

INSTRUCTIONS TO A PAINTER[1]


Happiest of the spaniel race,
Painter, with thy colours grace:
Draw his forehead large and high,
Draw his blue and humid eye;
Draw his neck so smooth and round,
Little neck with ribbons bound!
And the muscly swelling breast,
Where the Loves and Graces rest;
And the spreading even back,
Soft, and sleek, and glossy black;
And the tail that gently twines,
Like the tendrils of the vines;
And the silky twisted hair,
Shadowing thick the velvet ear;
Velvet ears, which, hanging low,
O'er the veiny temples flow.

With a proper light and shade, Let the winding hoop be laid; And within that arching bower, (Secret circle, mystic power,) In a downy slumber place Happiest of the spaniel race; While the soft respiring dame, Glowing with the softest flame, On the ravish'd favourite pours Balmy dews, ambrosial showers.

With thy utmost skill express Nature in her richest dress, Limpid rivers smoothly flowing, Orchards by those rivers blowing; Curling woodbine, myrtle shade, And the gay enamell'd mead; Where the linnets sit and sing, Little sportlings of the spring; Where the breathing field and grove Soothe the heart and kindle love. Here for me, and for the Muse, Colours of resemblance choose, Make of lineaments divine, Daply female spaniels shine, Pretty fondlings of the fair, Gentle damsels' gentle care; But to one alone impart All the flattery of thy art. Crowd each feature, crowd each grace, Which complete the desperate face; Let the spotted wanton dame Feel a new resistless flame! Let the happiest of his race Win the fair to his embrace. But in shade the rest conceal, Nor to sight their joys reveal, Lest the pencil and the Muse Loose desires and thoughts infuse.


[Footnote 1: A parody of Ambrose Phillips's poem on Miss Carteret, daughter of the Lord Lieutenant. Phillips stood high in Archbishop Boulter's regard. Hence the parody. "Does not," says Pope, "still to one Bishop Phillips seem a wit?" It is to the infantine style of some of Phillips' verse that we owe the term, Namby Pamby.--W. E. B.]


Jonathan Swift

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