The Lost Muse

Miss Vardill

Venus, of harness’d sparrows tir’d
Her turtle’s downy coat admir’d,
And wish’d another of the race
Her Paphian equipage to grace.
Hers is a widow’d dove — but where
Shall one be found to make a pair?
One for her airy harness fit
Of gossamer and cobwebs knit.
The Teian Sage had such a one
Bought with a song to bribe her son.

First to Anacreon’s heirs she sent
They knew not what her message meant!
The dove that lov’d their rosy Sire
Had left in scorn his shatter’d lyre
Nor stoop’d its polish’d beak to stain
In nectar spilt by hands profane.
Back to its native skies it flew
To sip the Graces’ honied dew;
Yet oft the priests of Bacchus bring
A light down-feather from its wing:
One flutters yet on Albion’s shore — 
The parent-bird is seen no more.

A gentle Muse, the friend of Love,
Went forth to match the faithful dove.
In groves and camps and courts she stray’d
Nor miss’d the academic shade:
She tapp’d at cottage-doors, but then
Saw a mere tame domestic hen:
In pompous courts she only found
The painted bird for prate renown’d;
The rev’rend own, sedate and sage
Dwelt in the collage-parsonage;
In camps the pert flamingo star’d
With scarlet coat and borrow’d beard,
But the true turtle, meek and kind
On earth the Muse could never find:
And she herself, whose tender lay
Was Love’s own voice, has gone astray;
Her place is vacant and her lyre
Unstrung amidst th’ Aonian quire;
But let the lovely dames who prize her
In mirthful numbers advertise her;
Send Momus forth with three O yesses
For Wit can find what Beauty misses.

March 17th