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Fantomina: A Fantasia in Verse

—To Eliza Haywood


A YOUNG Lady of distinguished Birth, Beauty, Wit, and Spirit, happened to be in a Box one Night at the Playhouse; where, though there were a great Number of celebrated Toasts, she perceived several Gentlemen extremely pleased themselves with entertaining a Woman who sat in a Corner of the Pit, and, by her Air and Manner of receiving them, might easily be known to be one of those who come there for no other Purpose, than to create Acquaintance with as many as seem desirous of it.
—For tonight, Slippers of Satin
and a Breadth of Taffeta, fine
Stockings being in order—

The Spring
of the Heart will
be betrayed, flushed
rosy against a cream
Complexion and the white
Sheen which swaddles it.

But this makes a hearty Trinket
and a good Purchase.
—We know less how we will speak
than act, though Conversation
between the Sexes be among
the most precious of Pleasures.

Call the Carriage and away;
we while the Time,
and in the Dark
—I wonder that they fuss
and fawn, who should have such
Tastes cultivated for the Play,
and not for this.

But to this, in fine,
and in every Point
of Comportment and Dress
shall I play, and so make a Box
of a Box.


She saw the accomplish’d Beauplaisir was making his Way thro’ the Crowd as fast as he was able, to reach the Bench she sat on. She had often seen him in the Drawing-Room, had talk’d with him; but then her Quality and reputed Virtue kept him from using her with that Freedom she now expected he wou’d do, and had discover’d something in him, which had made her often think she shou’d not be displeas’d, if he wou’d abate some Part of his Reserve.
—There is one for a plucked
Bud of Evening. Even now her fair
Cheek shines with an incessant
Incandescence of Moon;
and O, that her Eye,
so fine, should light
on every Point
but mine own.

I will like a graying Moth
wing to the Air and deliver
such perfumed Solicitations
as should prove necessary, or else

a Purse
and Gold Tatters.

But mark! She looks on us now;
Courage and Conceit, draw forth,
ask her,

Are you engag’d, Madam?
—With a fine Mouth formed
around as many fine Words, he is come.

The slender Column
rises firm in its Pluming of Fabrics,
Throat a first Indication
of the Voice which Tenders;

A broad Shirt and a Jacket

What if I should bit
the Buttons off


In fine, they were infinitely charm’d with each other: He was transported to find so much Beauty and Wit in a Woman, who he doubted not but on very easy Terms he might enjoy; and she found a vast deal of Pleasure in conversing with him in this free and unrestrain’d Manner.
—Discourse and every Wit,
but O, even more that she were

and such a fine Turn
of Ankle; O that I were
an Anklet of Pearl
to lie atop this Lady
Feet. O—

In what nacreous Ardours
should my Spheres rough
her Skin

Madam, you must come
with me, away.—They say,
gaher ye Rosebuds, 
ye Skirts, my Cheek
in your Rosey
—Now puffs out his
Learning and Cleverness, near fit
to burst the Buttons of his


Speak, run your Voice over
your Lips awhile longer;
if only this Conversation 
without Conclusion.—This night, Sir

I’ll not descend.


All the Charms of Beauplaisir came fresh into her Mind; she languish’d, she almost dy’d for another Opportunity of conversing with him; and not all the Admonitions of her Discretion were effectual to oblige her to deny laying hold of that which offer’d itself the next Night.


The appointed Hour being arriv’d, she had the Satisfaction to find his Love in his Assiduity: he was there before her; and nothing cou’d be more tender than the Manner in which he accosted her:
I lust to sail the swelling Sea,
to shoot at Ships with Guns.
Is no such Sailor brave as me?
Avant! Man the Holes that need
manning and give o’er your bardy

O. Quick
Woman! The Key
for your Lock, your Strongbox,
your Hold.

Dally not, dally not, dall
O, o


Is it always so?


Her Tears and the Destraction she appeared in, after the ruinous Extasy was past, as it heighten’d his Wonder, so it abated his Satisfaction:—He could not imagine for what Reason a Woman, who has taken so much Pain to engage him, should lament a Consequence which she could not but expect.
—O wantonly wanton and wondrous
fair the Tear
upon your tender Lip.

But wilt thou plaint now, Posey,
my Pidgeon, my Pip and Bundle,
my pintucked Darling nestled in Silks—

Wilt thou not? Did not thou …
O, false! More wanton still,
the O’erblush of your bare Breast.

Wilt she not? But what
Wantonness in her; Nay, plain, ’tis
the Pleasure kill’d her.

—Dullard, Dolt, and Fiend, the more
shall you endeavour to please and finally pleasing seem, else I am deceiv’d, nay, 
discover’d, in vain.


He should not have it in his Power to touch her Character: She therefore said that she was the Daughter of a Country Gentleman, who was come to Town to buy Cloaths, and that she was call’d
—This lazy Love lying, blanketed
in a Chamber, encapuslated
as it were, enshrouded, enraptured—

Named, its sweet Plaints and Destractions
are assur’d, and its Lady Lock’d;

Only a Name, soft—
now I woo her for it.

Lady, say how you are call’d



She preserved an OEconomy in the Management of this Intreague, beyond what almost any Woman but herself ever did: The Business of her Love has engross’d her till Six in the Evening, and before Seven she had been dress’d in a different Habit, and in another Place.—Slippers, and a Night-Gown loosely flowing, has been the Garb in which he has left the languishing Fantomina;—Lac’d, and adorn’d with all the Blaze of Jewels, has he, in less than an Hour after, beheld at the Royal Chapel, the Palace Gardens, Drawing-Room, Opera, or Play, the Haughty Awe-inspiring Lady—

Now the Affair is settled
may I make a Puff
of myself;

O Lady
I am your Powder
Dust awhile, buff me
at your Cheek, and

Dally o dally Lady
O dally Lady
do dally

why gather you your Gowns?
—Look where he lazes, a most
beautiful Cock preening

The Time, Sir, and your Mouth run
Slack with Manna. Compose
your Self and Pieces.

And now to Court, to ghost you,
and me, my Self.