ADDRESSED TO MRS. CREWE, WITH THE COMEDY OF THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL.
BY R.B. SHERIDAN, ESQ.
Tell me, ye prim adepts in Scandals school,
Who rail by precept, and detract by rule,
Lives there no character,
so tried, so known,
So deckd with grace, and so unlike your own,
That even you assist her fame to raise,
by envy, and by silence praise!
Attend!a model shall attract your view
Daughters of calumny, I summon
You shall decide if this a portrait prove,
Or fond creation of the Muse and Love.
Attend, ye virgin critics,
shrewd and sage,
Ye matron censors of this childish age,
Whose peering eye and wrinkled front declare
fixd antipathy to young and fair;
By cunning, cautious; or by nature, cold,
In maiden madness, virulently
Attend, ye skilld to coin the precious tale,
Creating proof, where innuendos fail!
memories, cruelly exact,
Omit no circumstance, except the fact!
Attend, all ye who boast,or old or
The living libel of a slanderous tongue!
So shall my theme, as far contrasted be,
As saints by
fiends or hymns by calumny.
Come, gentle Amoret (for neath that name
In worthier verse is sung thy
Comefor but thee who seek the Muse? and while
Celestial blushes check thy conscious
With timid grace and hesitating eye,
The perfect model which I boast supply:
Vain Muse! couldst
thou the humblest sketch create
Of her, or slightest charm couldst imitate
Could thy blest strain in kindred
The faintest wonder of her form and face
Poets would study the immortal line,
own his art subdued by thine;
That art, which well might added lustre give
To natures best and heavens
On Granbys cheek might bid new glories rise.
Or point a purer beam from Devons eyes!
is the task to shape that beautys praise,
Whose judgment scorns the homage flattery pays?
Amoret we cannot err,
No tongue oervalues Heaven, or flatters her!
Yet she by fates perversenessshe
Would doubt our truth, nor deem such praise her own!
Adorning fashion, unadornd by dress,
from taste, and not from carelessness;
Discreet in gesture, in deportment mild,
Not stiff with prudence,
nor uncouthly wild:
No state has Amoret; no studied mien;
She frowns no gooddess, and she moves no
The softer charm that in her manner lies
Is framed to captivate, yet not surprise;
It justly suits the
expression of her face,
Tis less than dignity, and more than grace!
On her pure cheek the native hue is
That, formd by Heaven to be admired so much,
The hand divine, with a less partial care,
have fixd a fainter crimson there,
And bade the gentle inmate of her breast
But who the peril of her lips shall paint?
Strip them of smilesstill, still all words are faint!
moving Love himself appears to teach
Their action, though denied to rule her speech;
And thou who seest
her speak, and dost not hear,
Mourn not her distant accents scape thine ear;
Viewing those lips, thou
still mayst make pretence
To judge of what she says, and swear tis sense:
Clothed with such grace, with
such expression fraught,
They move in meaning, and they pause in thought!
But dost thou farther watch,
with charmd surprise,
The mild irresolution of her eyes,
Curious to mark how frequent they repose,
eclipse and momentary close
Ah! seest thou not an ambushd Cupid there,
Too timrous of his charge,
with jealous care
Veils and unveils those beams of heavenly light,
Too full, too fatal else, for mortal sight?
yet, such pleasing vengeance fond to meet,
In pardning dimples hope a safe retreat.
What though her
peaceful breast should neer allow
Subduing frowns to arm her altered brow,
By Love, I swear, and by
his gentle wiles,
More fatal still the mercy of her smiles!
Thus lovely, thus adornd, possessing all
or fair that can to woman fall,
The height of vanity might well be thought
Prerogative in her, and Natures
Yet gentle Amoret, in mind supreme
As well as charms, rejects the vainer theme;
And, half mistrustful
of her beautys store,
She barbs with wit those darts too keen before:
Read in all knowledge that her
sex should reach,
Though Greville, or the Muse, should deign to teach,
Fond to improve, nor timorous to
How far it is a womans grace to learn;
In Millars dialect she would not prove
but Apollos love,
Graced by those signs which truth delights to own,
The timid blush, and mild submitted
Whateer she says, though sense appear throughout,
Displays the tender hue of female doubt;
with that charm, how lovely wit appears,
How graceful science, when that robe she wears!
Such too her
talents, and her bent of mind,
As speak a sprightly heart by thought refined:
A taste for mirth, by contemplation
A turn for ridicule, by candour ruled,
A scorn of folly, which she tries to hide;
An awe of talent,
which she owns with pride!
Peace, idle Muse! no more thy strain prolong,
But yield a theme, thy warmest
Just to her merit, though thou canst not raise
Thy feeble verse, behold th acknowledged
Has spread conviction through the envious train,
And cast a fatal gloom oer Scandals reign!