"In fancy's mirror dreadful scenes appear, / Design'd by doubt, and magnified by fear, / There some gay female, frivolous and vain, / Artfully forms the captivating chain; / Makes him the slave of passion and caprice, / Perverts his principles, and wounds his peace."
— Burrell [née Raymond, later Clay], Sophia, Lady Burrell (1750-1802)
For weak is reason, when oppos'd to love;
Doubt o'er her mind a chequer'd mantle flings,
And a dark train of strange conjectures brings.
Then jealous fears and strange suspicions rise,
While from her breast impartial candour flies.
In fancy's mirror dreadful scenes appear,
Design'd by doubt, and magnified by fear,
There some gay female, frivolous and vain,
Artfully forms the captivating chain;
Makes him the slave of passion and caprice,
Perverts his principles, and wounds his peace.
At Fortune's altar he appears to bow,
Prepar'd the fascinating dice to throw,
On one flight chance his destiny to reft,
And barter all the comfort of his breast;
She fees him with a dangerous fet engage,
Slaves to low cunning or demoniac rage,
Whose hands are practis'd ev'ry fraud to try,
Whose hearts are void of any moral tie,
Unprincipled and daring in their crimes,
But licens'd by the custom of the times:
They tempt him to the gay convivial board
Where noise and wine fictitious joys afford;
Deists and duellists alike contend
Who most shall seem to be his steady friend;
Lisbonia's orange groves and myrtle bowers
Behold him waste unprofitable hours,
With such as these companions of his way,
(A subtle tribe who flatter to betray,)
Whilst pleasure like a glittering serpent lies,
Fraud in her bosom, mischief in her eyes,
And in the folds of her embroider'd skin,
Conceals the poisonous bane that lurks within.
(I, pp. 237-238)
Poems. Dedicated to the Right Honourable the Earl of Mansfield, 2 vols. (London: Printed by J. Cooper, 1793). <Link to Hathi Trust>