IN life oft ills from self-imprudence spring;
As proof, Candaules' story we will bring;
In folly's scenes the king was truly great:
His vassal, Gyges, had from him a bait,
The like in gallantry was rarely known,
And want of prudence never more was shown.

MY friend, said he, you frequently have seen
The beauteous face and features of the queen;
But these are naught, believe me, to the rest,
Which solely can be viewed when quite undressed.
Some day I'll let you gratify your eyes;
Without her knowledge I'll means devise;
But on condition:--you'll remember well
What you behold, to no one you will tell,
In ev'ry step most cautiously proceed,
And not your mind with silly wishes feed;
No sort of pleasure surely I could take,
To see vain passion you her lover make.
You must propose, this charming form to view,
As if mere marble, though to nature true;
And I'm convinced you'll readily declare,
Beyond nor art can reach, nor thought prepare;
Just now I left her in the bath at ease:
A judge you are, and shall the moment seize;
Come, witness my felicity supreme;
You know her beauties are my constant theme.

AWAY they went, and Gyges much admired;
Still more than that: in truth his breast was fired;
For when she moved astonishment was great,
And ev'ry grace upon her seemed to wait.
Emotion to suppress howe'er he tried,
Since he had promised what he felt to hide;
To hold his tongue he wished, but that might raise
Suspicions of designs and mystick ways.
Exaggeration was the better part,
And from the subject he would never start,
But fully praised each beauty in detail,
Without appearing any thing to veil.
Gods! Gyges cried, how truly, king, you're blessed;
The skin how fair--how charming all the rest!

THIS am'rous conversation by the queen
Was never heard, or she'd enraged have been;
In ancient days of ignorance, we find,
The sex, to show resentment, much inclined;
In diff'rent light at present this appears,
And fulsome praises ne'er offend their ears.

OUR arch observer struggled with his sighs
Those feelings much increased, so fair the prize:
The prince, in doubt, conducted him away;
But in his heart a hundred arrows lay;
Each magick charm directed pointed darts;
To flee were useless: LOVE such pain imparts,
That nothing can at times obstruct its course;
So quick the flight: so truly great the force.

WHILE near the king, much caution Gyges showed;
But soon the belle perceived his bosom glowed;
She learned the cause:--her spouse the tale disclosed,
And laughed and jeered, as he the facts exposed:
A silly blockhead! not to know a queen
Could raillery not bear on such a scene.
But had it pleased her wishes, still 'twere right
(Such honour's dictates) to discover spite;
And this she truly did, while in her mind,
To be revenged she fully was inclined.

FOR once, good reader, I should wish thee wife;
Or otherwise, thou never can'st in life,
Conceive the lengths a woman oft will go,
Whose breast is filled with wrath and secret woe.
A mortal was allowed these charms to view,
Which others' eyes could never dare pursue.
Such treasures were for gods, or rather kings
The privilege of both are beauteous things.

THESE thoughts induced the queen revenge to seek;
Rage moved her breast, and shame possessed her cheek.
E'en Cupid, we are told, assistance gave;
What from his aim effectually can save?
Fair in person was Gyges to behold;
Excuses for her easy 'twere to mould;
To show her charms, what baseness could excel?
And on th' exposer all her hatred fell.
Besides, he was a husband, which is worse
With these each sin receives a double curse.
What more shall I detail?--the facts are plain:
Detested was the king:--beloved the swain;
All was accomplished, and the monarch placed
Among the heroes who with horns are graced;
No doubt a dignity not much desired,
Though in repute, and easily acquired.

SUCH merit had the prince's folly got,
'In petto', Vulcan's brother was his lot;
The distance thence is little to the HAT:
The honour much the same of this or that.

SO far 'twas passing well, but, in the intrigue;
The cruel Parcae now appeared to league;
And soon the lovers, on possession bent,
To black Cocytus' shores the monarch sent;
Too much of certain potions forced to drink,
He quickly viewed the dreary, horrid brink;
While pleasing the objects Gyges' eyes beheld;
And in the palace presently he dwelled,
For, whether love or rage the widow fired,
Her throne and hand she gave, as was required.

T' EXTEND this tale was never my design;
Though known full well, I do not now repine;
The case so thoroughly my purpose served.
Ne'er from the narrative the object swerved;
And scarcely can I fancy, better light
The DOCTOR will afford to what I write.
The scenes that follow I from Rome have drawn;
Not Rome of old, ere manners had their dawn,
When customs were unpleasant and severe
The females, silly, and gallants in fear;
But Rome of modern days, delightful spot!
Where better tastes have into fashion got,
And pleasure solely occupies the mind
To rapture ev'ry bosom seems resigned.
A tempting journey truly it appears,
For youths from twenty on to thirty years.

NOT long ago, then, in the city dwelled,
A master, who in teaching law excelled;
In other matters he, howe'er, was thought
A man that jollity and laughter sought.
He criticised whatever passed around,
And oft, at others' cost, diversion found.

IT happened that our learned doctor had,
Among his many pupils (good and bad)
A Frenchman, less designed to study laws,
Than, in amours, perhaps, to gain applause.
One day, observing him with clouded mien,
My friend, said he, you surely have the spleen,
And, out of college, nothing seem to do;
No law books read:--some object I'd pursue;
A handsome Frenchman should his hours improve;
Seek soft intrigues, or as a lover move;
Talents you have, and gay coquettes are here
Not one, thank heav'n, but numbers oft appear.

THE, student answered, I am new at Rome,
And, save the belles who sell their beauteous bloom,
I can't perceive, gallants much business find,
Each house, like monasteries, is designed,
With double doors, and bolts, and matrons sour,
And husbands Argus-eyed, who'd you devour.
Where can I go to follow up your plan,
And hope, in spots like these, a flame to fan?
'Twere not less difficult to reach the moon,
And with my teeth I'd bite it just as soon.

HA! HA! replied the doctor with delight,
The honour which you do us is not slight;
I pity men quite fresh and raw like you;
Our town, I see, you've hardly travelled through,
You fancy then, such wily snares are set,
'Tis difficult intrigues in Rome to get.
I'd have you know, we've creatures who devise,
To horn their husbands under Argus' eyes.
'Tis very common; only try around,
And soon you'll find, that sly amours abound.
Within the neighb'ring church go take your place,
And, to the dames who pass in search of grace,
Present your fingers dipt in water blessed:--
A sign for those who wish to be caressed.
In case the suppliant's air some lady please,
Who knows her trade, and how to act at ease,
She'll send a message, something to desire:
You'll soon be found, wherever you retire,
Though lodged so secretly, that God alone,
Till then, your place of residence had known.
An aged female will on you attend,
Who, used to this, will full assistance lend,
Arrange an interview with wily art;
No trouble take, you'll have an easy part;
No trouble did I say? why, that's too much;
Some things I would except, their pow'r is such;
And proper 'tis, my friend, that I should hint,
Attentions you at Rome should well imprint,
And be discrete; in France you favours boast:
Of ev'ry moment here you make the most;
The Romans to the greatest lengths proceed.

So best, the spark replied, I like the deed;
And, though no Gascon, I may boldly say;
Superior prowess always I display.