Open main menu


IN all I wish, how happy should I be,
Thou grand Deluder, were it not for thee!
So weak thou art, that fools thy power despise;
And yet so strong, thou triumph'st o'er the wise.
Thy traps are laid with such peculiar art,
They catch the cautious, let the rash depart.
Most nets are fill'd by want of thought and care:
But too much thinking brings us to thy snare;
Where, held by thee, in slavery we stay,
And throw the pleasing part of life away.
But, what does most my indignation move,
Discretion! thou wert ne'er a friend to Love:
Thy chief delight is to defeat those arts,
By which he kindles mutual flames in hearts;
While the blind loitering God is at his play,
Thou steal'st his golden pointed darts away:
Those darts which never fail; and in their stead
Convey'st malignant arrows tipt with lead:
The heedless God, suspecting no deceits,
Shoots on, and thinks he has done wondrous feats;
But the poor nymph, who feels her vitals burn,
And from her shepherd can find no return,
Laments, and rages at the power divine,
When, curst Discretion! all the fault was thine:
Cupid and Hymen thou hast set at odds,
And bred such feuds between those kindred gods,
That Venus cannot reconcile her sons;
When one appears, away the other runs.
The former scales, wherein he us'd to poise
Love against love, and equal joys with joys,
Are now fill'd up with avarice and pride,
Where titles, power, and riches, still subside.
Then, gentle Venus, to thy father run,
And tell him, how thy children are undone;
Prepare his bolts to give one fatal blow.
And strike Discretion to the shades below.

  1. Found in miss Vanhomrigh's desk, after her death, in the handwriting of Dr. Swift.