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, 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,
Nor stop at flattery or fib.
7 'Athenian queen! and sober charms!
I tell ye, fool, there's nothing in't:
'Tis Venus, Venus gives these arms;
In Dryden's Virgil see the print.
8 'Come, if you'll be a quiet soul,
That dares tell neither truth nor lies,
I'll list you in the harmless roll
Of those that sing of these poor eyes.'