Lines On Receiving From The Eight Hon. The Lady Frances Shirley A Standish And Two Pens.

A poem by Alexander Pope

1 Yes, I beheld the Athenian queen
Descend in all her sober charms;
'And take,' she said, and smiled serene,
'Take at this hand celestial arms:

2 'Secure the radiant weapons wield;
This golden lance shall guard desert;
And if a vice dares keep the field,
This steel shall stab it to the heart.'

3 Awed, on my bended knees I fell,
Received the weapons of the sky;
And dipp'd them in the sable well,
The fount of fame or infamy.

4 'What well? what weapon?' Flavia cries--
'A standish, steel, and golden pen!
It came from Bertrand's,[64] not the skies;
I gave it you to write again.

5 'But, friend, take heed whom you attack;
You'll bring a house (I mean of peers)
Red, blue, and green, nay, white and black,
L---- and all about your ears.

6 'You'd write as smooth again on glass,
And run, on ivory, so glib,
As not to stick at fool or ass,[65]
Nor stop at flattery or fib.[66]

7 'Athenian queen! and sober charms!
I tell ye, fool, there's nothing in't:
'Tis Venus, Venus gives these arms;[67]
In Dryden's Virgil see the print.[68]

8 'Come, if you'll be a quiet soul,
That dares tell neither truth nor lies,[69]
I'll list you in the harmless roll
Of those that sing of these poor eyes.'

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