Cato, a Tragedy/Epilogue



Spoken by Mrs PORTER.

WHAT odd fantastic Things we Women do!
Who wou'd not listen when young Lovers woo,
But die a Maid, yet have the Choice of Two!
Ladies are often cruel to their Cost;
To give you Pain, themselves they punish most.
Vows of Virginity should well be weigh'd:
Too oft they're cancell'd, tho' in Convents made.
Wou'd you revenge such rash Resolves—you may:
Be spiteful———and believe the Thing we say,
We hate you when you're easily said Nay.
How needless, if you knew us, were your Fears?
Let Love have Eyes, and Beauty will have Ears.
Our Hearts are form'd as you yourselves would chuse,
Too proud to ask, too humble to refuse:
We give to Merit, and to Wealth we sell;
He sighs with most Success that settles well.
The Woes of Wedlock with the Joys we mix:
'Tis best repenting in a Coach and Six.

Blame not our Conduct, since we but pursue
Those lovely Lessons we have learn'd from you:
Your Breasts no more the Fire of Beauty warms,
But wicked Wealth usurps the Pow'r of Charms,
What pains to get the gaudy Thing you hate,
To swell in show, and be a Wretch in state!
At plays you ogle, at the Ring you bow;
Ev'n churches are no Sanctuaries now:
There, golden Idols all your Vows receive,
She is no Goddess that has nought to give:
Oh, may once more the happy Age appear,
When Words were artless, and the Thoughts sincere;
When Gold and Grandeur were unenvy'd Things,
And Courts less coveted than Groves and Springs.
Love then shall only mourn when Truth complains,
And Constancy feel Transport in its chains,
Sighs with Success their own soft Anguish tell,
And Eyes shall utter what the Lips conceal;
Virtue again to its bright Station climb,
And Beauty fear no Enemy but Time,
The Fair shall listen to Desert alone,
And every Lucia find a Cato's Son.