On the Ridotto al Fresco, in Vauxhall Garden

  Published first in Memoirs of the Society of Grub Street, vol. II (London: J. Wilford, 1737), p.302

Ye Nymphs and Swains who love the Sport,
And value Reputation;
Come boldly all to Venus' Court,
There no prim Justices resort;
Or none for Reformation.

For now so pious are we grown,
A Girl that's common civil,
Dares hardly shew her Face in Town,
But skulks in Corners up and down,
As tho' her Deeds were evil.

Then Thanks to those of gen'rous Soul,
Who prompted by good Reason;
Have found a Way without Controul,
The Ardour of the Blood to cool,
So heighten'd by the Season.

But still the Virtue of the Age
Appears, ev'n in our Leudness;
For, tutor'd, by the modest Stage,
At least we keep from bare-fac'd Rage,
Because 'tis reckon'd Rudeness.

In Town this Trick has long got Ground
Of amorous Masquerading:
The Reason's good, for all around
Was nought but Masquerading found,
In every other Trading.

Nay, this is not the first (Folks say,)
Has been beyond the Water;
For there, Fame tells us, ev'ry Day
Some Masques are seen, tho' not so gay,
And of more canting Nature.

Then you, who wisely right and wrong
By Fashion always measure,
To save your Credit, join the Throng;
And you, who for that Same may long,
Come for the sake of Pleasure.

Of something new we here can't fail,
If you'll defy all Dangers;
For tho' perhaps the Face be stale,
Man may find his Spouse's Tail,
As new, as any Stranger's.

So in the Bow'rs of Ida, Jove
Once met his Wife and Sister,
In Masquerade; and tho' her Love
Had long since ceas'd his Heart to move
He could not then resist her. (1)

O State of Bliss, by Laws not chain'd !
Which all the World wou'd share in,
Had Eve but from the Fruit restrain'd
Who rove in this fam'd Garden.

(1) ends here in 1737 version




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