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John Logan

(1748-1788 / Scotland)

Ode to Women


Ye virgins! fond to be admired,
With mighty rage of conquest fired,
And universal sway;
Who heave th' uncover'd bosom high,
And roll a fond, inviting eye,
On all the circle gay!

You miss the fine and secret art
To win the castle of the heart,
For which you all contend;
The coxcomb tribe may crowd your train,
But you will never, never gain
A lover, or a friend.

If this is your passion, this your praise,
To shine, to dazzle, and to blaze,
You may be call'd divine:
But not a youth beneath the sky
Will say in secret, with a sigh,
'O were that maiden mine!'

You marshal, brilliant, from the box,
Fans, feathers, diamonds, castled locks,
Your magazine of arms;
But 'tis the sweet sequester'd walk,
The whispering hour, the tender talk,
That gives you genuine charms.

The nymph-like robe, the natural grace,
The smile, the native of the face,
Refinement without art;
They eye where pure affection beams,
The tear from tenderness that streams;
The accents of the heart;

The trembling frame, the living cheek,
Where, like the morning, blushes break
To crimson o'er the breast;
The look where sentiment is seen,
Fine passion moving o'er the mien,
And all the soul express'd:

Your beauties these; with these you shine,
And reign on high by right divine,
The sovereigns of the world;
Then to your court the nations flow:
The muse with flowers the path will strew,
Where Venus' car is hurl'd.

From dazzling deluges of snow,
From summer noon's meridian glow,
We turn our aching eye,
To nature's robe of vernal green,
To the blue curtain all serene,
Of an autumnal sky.

The favourite tree of beauty's queen,
Behold the myrtle's modest green,
The virgin of the grove!
Soft from the circlet of her star,
The tender turtles draw the car
Of Venus and of Love.

The growing charm invites the eye;
See morning gradual paint the sky
With purple and with gold!
See spring approach with sweet delay!
See rose-buds open to the ray,
And leaf by leaf unfold!

We love th' alluring line of grace
That leads the eye of wanton chase,
And lets the fancy rove;
The walk of beauty ever beds,
And still begins, but never ends
The labyrinth of love.

At times, to veil is to reveal,
And to display is to conceal,
Mysterious are your laws!
The vision finer than the view;
Her landscape nature never drew
So fair as fancy draws.

A beauty, carelessly betray'd,
Enamours more, than if display'd
All woman's charms were given;
And, o'er the bosom's vestal white,
The gauze appears a robe of light,
That veils, yet opens, heaven.

See virgin Eve, with graces bland
Fresh blooming from her Maker's hand,
In orient beauty beam!
Fair on the river-margin laid,
She knew not that her image made
The angel in the stream.

Still ancient Eden blooms your own;
But artless innocence alone
Secures the heavenly post;
For if, beneath an angel's mien,
The serpent's tortuous train is seen,
Our paradise is lost.

O nature, nature, thine the charm!
Thy colours woo, thy features warm,
Thy accents win the heart!
Parisian paint of every kind
That stains the body or the mind,
Proclaims the harlot's art.

The midnight minstrel of the grove,
Who still renews the hymn of love,
And woos the wood to hear;
Knows not the sweetness of his strain,
Nor that, above the tuneful train,
He charms the lover's ear.

The zone of Venus, heavenly fine,
Is nature's handy-work divine,
And not the web of art;
And they who wear it never know
To what enchanting charm they owe
The empire of the heart.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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