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Fabricius from their walls repell'd the foe,
Whose noble hands had exercis'd the plow.
From hence, my lord and love, I thus conclude,
That though my homely ancestors were rude,
Mean as I am, yet I may have the grace
To make you father of a generous race:
And noble then am I, when I begin,
In Virtue cloth'd, to cast the rags of Sin.
If poverty be my upbraided crime,
And you believe in Heaven, there was a time
When He, the great controller of our fate,
Deign'd to be man, and liv'd in low estate:
Which he; who had the world at his dispose,
If poverty were vice, would never choose.
Philosophers have said, and poets sing,
That a glad poverty's an honest thing.
Content is wealth, the riches of the mind;
And happy he who can that treasure find.
But the base miser starves amidst his store,
Broods on his gold, and, griping still at more,
Sits sadly pining, and believes he's poor.
The ragged beggar, though he want relief,
Has not to lose, and sings before the thief.
Want is a bitter and a hateful good,
Because its virtues are not understood:
Yet many things, impossible to thought,
Have been by need to full perfection brought:
The daring of the soul proceeds from thence,
Sharpness of wit, and active diligence;
Prudence at once, and fortitude, it gives,
And, if in patience taken, mends our lives;
For ev'n that indigence, that brings me low,
Makes me myself, and Him above, to know.
A good which none would challenge, few would choose,
A fair possession, which mankind refuse.
If we from wealth to poverty descend,
Want gives to know the flatterer from the friend.
If I am old and ugly, well for you,
No lewd adulterer will my love pursue;
Nor jealousy, the bane of married life,
Shall haunt you for a wither'd homely wife;
For age and ugliness, as all agree,
Are the best guards of female chastity.
"Yet since I see your mind is worldly bent,
I'll do my best to further your content.
And therefore of two gifts in my dispose,
Think ere you speak, I grant you leave to choose;
Would you I should be still deform'd and old,
Nauseous to touch, and lothesome to behold;
On this condition to remain for life
A careful, tender, and obedient wife,
In all I can, contribute to your ease,
And not in deed, or word, or thought, displease?
Or would you rather have me young and fair,
And take the chance that happens to your share?
Temptations are in beauty, and in youth,
And how can you depend upon my truth?
Now weigh the danger with the doubtful bliss,
And thank yourself if aught should fall amiss."
Sore sigh'd the knight, who this long sermon
At length, considering all, his heart he cheer'd;
And thus replied: "My lady and my wife,
To your wise conduct I resign my life:
Choose you for me, for well you understand
The future good and ill, on either hand:
But if an humble husband may request,
Provide, and order all things for the best;
Yours be the care to profit, and to please:
And let your subject servant take his ease."
"Then thus in peace," quoth she, "concludes the strife,
Since I am turn'd the husband, you the wife :
The matrimonial victory is mine,
Which, having fairly gain'd, I will resign;
Forgive if I have said or done amiss,
And seal the bargain with a friendly kiss:
I promis'd you but one content to share,
But now I will become both good and fair.
No nuptial quarrel shall disturb your ease;
The business of my life shall be to please:
And for my beauty, that, as time shall try;
But draw the curtain first, and cast your eye."
He look'd, and saw a creature heavenly fair,
In bloom of youth, and of a charming air.
With joy he turn'd, and seiz'd her ivory arm;
And like Pygmalion found the statue warm.
Small arguments there needed to prevail,
A storm of kisses pour'd as thick as hail.
Thus long in mutual bliss they lay embrac'd,
And their first love continued to the last :
One sun-shine was their life, no cloud between;
Nor ever was a kinder couple seen.
And so may all our lives like theirs be led; Heaven send the maids young husbands fresh in bed;
May widows wed as often as they can,
And ever for the better change their man;
And some devouring plague pursue their lives,
Who will not well be govern'd by their wives.
THE CHARACTER OF A GOOD PARSON.
A PARISH priest was of the pilgrim-train ;
An awful, reverend, and religious man.
His eyes diffus'd a venerable grace,
And charity itself was in his face.
Rich was his soul, though his attire was poor,
As God had cloth'd his own ambassador,
For such, on Earth, his bless'd Redeemer bore.
Of sixty years he seem'd; and well might last
To sixty more, but that he liv'd too fast;
Refin'd himself to soul, to curb the sense;
And made almost a sin of abstinence.
Yet, had his aspect nothing of severe,
But such a face as promis'd him sincere.
Nothing reserv'd or sullen was to see;
But sweet regards, and pleasing sanctity:
Mild was his accent, and his action free.
With eloquence innate his tongue was arm'd;
Though harsh the precept, yet the people charm'd,
For, letting down the golden chain from high,
He drew his audience upward to the sky:
And oft with holy hymns he charm'd their ears,
(A music more melodious than the spheres,)
For David left him, when he went to rest,
His lyre; and after him he sung the best.
He bore his great commission in his look:
But sweetly temper'd awe; and soften'd all he spoke.
He preach'd the joys of Heaven, and pains of Hell,
And warn'd the sinner with becoming zeal;
But on eternal mercy lov'd to dwell.
He taught the gospel rather than the law;
And forc'd himself to drive; but lov'd to draw.
For Fear but freezes minds: but Love, like heat,
Exhales the soul sublime, to seek her native seat.
To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard,
Wrapt in his crimes, against the storm prepar'd;
But when the milder beams of Mercy play,
He melts, and throws his cumbrous cloak away.
Lightning and thunder (Heaven's artillery)
As harbingers before th' Almighty fly:
Those but proclaim his style, and disappear;
The stiller sound succeeds, and God is there.
The tithes, his parish freely paid, he took;
But never sued, or curs'd with bell and book.
With patience bearing wrong; but offering none :
Since every man is free to lose his own.
The country churls, according to their kind,
(Who grudge their dues, and love to be behind,)
The less he sought his offerings, pinch'd the more,
And prais'd a priest contented to be poor.
Yet of his little he had some to spare,
To feed the famish'd, and to clothe the bare:
For mortified he was to that degree,
A poorer than himself he would not see.
True priests, he said, and preachers of the word,
Were only stewards of their sovereign lord;
Nothing was theirs; but all the public store:
Intrusted riches, to relieve the poor.
Who, should they steal, for want of his relief,
He judg'd himself accomplice with the thief.
Wide was his parish; not contracted close
In streets, but here and there a straggling house;
Yet still he was at hand, without request,
To serve the sick; to succor the distress'd:
Tempting, on foot, alone, without affright,
The dangers of a dark tempestuous night.
All this, the good old man perform'd alone,
Nor spar'd his pains; for curate he had none.
Nor durst he trust another with his care;
Nor rode himself to Paul's, the public fair,
To chaffer for preferment with his gold,
Where bishoprics and sinecures are sold.
But duly watch'd his flock, by night and day;
And from the prowling wolf redeem'd the prey :
And hungry sent the wily fox away.
The proud he tam'd, the penitent he cheer'd:
Nor to rebuke the rich offender fear'd.
His preaching much, but more his practice wrought,
(A living sermon of the truths he taught,)
For this by rules severe his life he squar'd:
That all might see the doctrine which they heard.
For priests, he said, are patterns for the rest
God saw his image lively was express'd;
And his own work, as in creation, bless'd.
The tempter saw him too with envious eye;
And, as on Job, demanded leave to try.
He took the time when Richard was depos'd,
And high and low with happy Harry clos'd.
This prince, though great in arms, the priest with-
Near though he was, yet not the next of blood.
Had Richard, unconstrain'd, resign'd the throne,
A king can give no more than is his own:
The title stood entail'd, had Richard had a son.
Conquest, an odious name, was laid aside,
Where all submitted, none the battle tried.
The senseless plea of right by Providence
Was, by a flattering priest, invented since;
And lasts no longer than the present sway;
But justifies the next who comes in play.
The people's right remains; let those who dare
Dispute their power, when they the judges are.
He join'd not in their choice, because he knew
Worse might, and often did, from change ensue.
Much to himself he thought; but little spoke;
And, undepriv'd, his benefice forsook.
Now, through the land, his cure of souls he stretch'd
And like a primitive apostle preach'd.
Still cheerful; ever constant to his call;
By many follow'd; lov'd by most, admir'd by all.
With what he begg'd; his brethren he reliev'd;
And gave the charities himself receiv'd:
Gave, while he taught; and edified the more,
Because he show'd, by proof, 'twas easy to be poor.
He went not with the crowd to see a shrine;
But fed us, by the way, with food divine.
In deference to his virtues, I forbear
To show you what the rest in orders were:
This brilliant is so spotless, and so bright,
He needs no foil, but shines by his own proper light.
Or all the cities in Romanian lands,
The chief, and most renown'd, Ravenna stands,
Adorn'd in ancient times with arms and arts,
And rich inhabitants, with generous hearts.
(The gold of Heaven, who bear the God impress'd :) But Theodore the brave, above the rest,
But when the precious coin is kept unclean,
The sovereign's image is no longer seen.
If they be foul on whom the people trust,
Well may the baser brass contract a rust.
The prelate, for his holy life he priz'd;
The worldly pomp of prelacy despis'd.
His Savior came not with a gaudy show;
Nor was his kingdom of the world below.
Patience in want, and poverty of mind,
These marks of church and churchmen he design'd,
And living taught, and dying left behind.
The crown he wore was of the pointed thorn:
In purple he was crucified, not born.
They who contend for place and high degree,
Are not his sons, but those of Zebedee.
Not but he knew the signs of earthly power
Might well become Saint Peter's successor;
The holy father holds a double reign,
The prince may keep his pomp, the fisher must be
Such was the saint; who shone with every grace,
Reflecting, Moses-like, his Maker's face.
With gifts of Fortune and of Nature bless'd,
The foremost place for wealth and honor held,
And all in feats of chivalry excell'd.
This noble youth to madness lov'd a dame
Of high degree, Honoria was her name;
Fair as the fairest, but of haughty mind,
And fiercer than became so soft a kind.
Proud of her birth (for equal she had none;)
The rest she scorn'd, but hated him alone;
His gifts, his constant courtship, nothing gain'd;
For she, the more he lov'd, the more disdain'd.
He liv'd with all the pomp he could devise,
At tilts and tournaments obtain'd the prize;
But found no favor in his lady's eyes:
Relentless as a rock, the lofty maid
Turn'd all to poison, that he did or said:
Nor prayers, nor tears, nor offer'd vows, could move;
The work went backward; and the more he strove
T advance his suit, the farther from her love.
Wearied at length, and wanting remedy,
He doubted oft, and oft resolv'd to die.
But Pride stood ready to prevent the blow,
For who would die to gratify a foe?
His generous mind disdain'd so mean a fate;
That pass'd, his next endeavor was to hate.
But vainer that relief than all the rest,
The less he hop'd, with more desire possess'd;
Love stood the siege, and would not yield his breast.
Change was the next, but change deceiv'd his care;
He sought a fairer, but found none so fair.
He would have worn her out by slow degrees,
As men by fasting starve th' untam'd disease:
But present love requir❜d a present ease.
Looking he feeds alone his famish'd eyes,
Feeds lingering Death, but looking not he dies.
Yet still he chose the longest way to Fate,
Wasting at once his life and his estate.
His friends beheld, and pitied him in vain,
For what advice can ease a lover's pain!
Absence, the best expedient they could find,
Might save the fortune, if not cure the mind:
This means they long propos'd, but little gain'd
Yet, after much pursuit, at length obtain'd.
Hard you may think it was to give consent,
But struggling with his own desires he went,
With large expense. and with a pompous train,
Provided as to visit France and Spain,
Or for some distant voyage o'er the main.
Unus'd to fear, he summon'd all his soul,
And stood collected in himself, and whole;
Not long for soon a whirlwind rose around,
And from afar he heard a screaming sound,
As of a dame distress'd, who cried for aid,
And fill'd with loud laments the secret shade.
A thicket close beside the grove there stood, With briers and brambles chok'd, and dwarfish wood;
From thence the noise, which now, approaching near
With more distinguish'd notes invades his ear;
He rais'd his head, and saw a beauteous maid,
With hair dishevell'd, issuing through the shade;
Stripp'd of her clothes, and ev'n those parts reveal'd
Which modest Nature keeps from sight conceal'd.
Her face, her hands, her naked limbs were torn,
With passing through the brakes, and prickly thorn
Two mastiffs gaunt and grim her flight pursu'd,
And oft their fasten'd fangs in blood embru'd;
Oft they came up, and pinch'd her tender side,
Mercy, O mercy, Heaven!" she ran, and cried.
When Heaven was nam'd, they loos'd their hold
Then sprang she forth, they follow'd her amain. Not far behind, a knight of swarthy face, High on a coal-black steed pursu'd the chase: With flashing flames his ardent eyes were fill'd,
He cheer'd the dogs to follow her who fled, And vow'd revenge on her devoted head.
But Love had clipp'd his wings, and cut him short, And in his hand a naked sword he held:
Confin'd within the purlieus of the court.
Three miles he went, nor farther could retreat;
His travels ended at his country-seat:
To Chassis' pleasing plains he took his way,
There pitch'd his tents, and there resolv'd to stay.
The spring was in the prime; the neighboring
Supplied with birds, the choristers of Love:
Music unbought, that minister'd delight
To morning walks, and lull'd his cares by night:
There he discharg'd his friends: but not th' expense
Of frequent treats, and proud magnificence:
He liv'd as kings retire, though more at large
From public business, yet with equal charge;
With house and heart still open to receive:
As well content as Love would give him leave:
He would have liv'd more free; but many a guest,
Who could forsake the friend, pursued the feast.
It hapt one morning, as his fancy led,
Before his usual hour he left his bed;
To walk within a lonely lawn, that stood
On every side surrounded by a wood:
Alone he walk'd, to please his pensive mind,
And sought the deepest solitude to find;
"Twas in a grove of spreading pines he stray'd;
The winds within the quivering branches play'd,
And dancing trees a mournful music made.
The place itself was suiting to his care,
Uncouth and savage, as the cruel fair.
He wander'd on, unknowing where he went,
Lost in the wood, and all on love intent:
The Day already half his race had run,
And summon'd him to due repast at noon,
But Love could feel no hunger but his own.
Whilst listening to the murmuring leaves he stood,
More than a mile immers'd within the wood,
At once the wind was laid; the whispering sound
Was dumb; a rising earthquake rock'd the ground;
With deeper brown the grove was overspread;
A sudden horror seiz'd his giddy head,
And his ears tinkled, and his color fled.
Nature was in alarm; some danger nigh
Seem'd threaten'd, though unseen to mortal eye.
As Theodore was born of noble kind, The brutal action rous'd his manly mind; Mov'd with unworthy usage of the maid, He, though unarm'd, resolv'd to give her aid, A sapling pine he wrench'd from out the ground, The readiest weapon that his fury found. Thus furnish'd for offence, he cross'd the way Betwixt the graceless villain and his prey.
The knight came thundering on, but, from afar, Thus in imperious tone forbade the war: "Cease, Theodore, to proffer vain relief, Nor stop the vengeance of so just a grief; But give me leave to seize my destin'd prey. And let Eternal Justice take the way: I but revenge my fate, disdain'd, betray'd, And suffering death for this ungrateful maid."
He said, at once dismounting from the steed;
For now the hell-hounds with superior speed
Had reach'd the dame, and, fastening on her side,
The ground with issuing streams of purple dyed.
Stood Theodore surpris'd in deadly fright,
With chattering teeth, and bristling hair upright;
Yet arm'd with inborn worth, "Whate'er," said he,
"Thou art, who know'st me better than I thee;
Or prove thy rightful cause, or be defied;"
The spectre, fiercely staring, thus replied:
"Know, Theodore, thy ancestry I claim,
And Guido Cavalcanti was my name.
One common sire our fathers did beget,
My name and story some remember yet:
Thee, then a boy, within my arms I laid,
When for my sins I lov'd this haughty maid;
Not less ador'd in life, nor serv'd by me,
Than proud Honoria now is loved by thee.
What did I not her stubborn heart to gain?
But all my vows were answer'd with disdain :
She scorn'd my sorrows, and despis'd my pain
Long time I dragg'd my days in fruitless care;
Then, lothing life, and plung'd in deep despair,
To finish my unhappy life, I fell
On this sharp sword, and now am damn'd in Hell.
"Short was her joy; for soon th' insulting maid By Heaven's decree in this cold grave was laid. And as in unrepented sin she died,
They came, and, usual salutations paid,
With words premeditated thus he said:
[pride: "What you have often counsell'd, to remove Doom'd to the same bad place is punish'd for her My vain pursuit of unregarded love; Because she deem'd I well deserv'd to die,
And made a merit of her cruelty.
By thrift my sinking fortune to repair,
Though late yet is at last become my care:
Reduc'd to bounds, by timely providence:
This only I require; invite for me
Honoria, with her father's family,
There, then, we met; both tried, and both were cast, My heart shall be my own; my vast expense
And this irrevocable sentence pass'd;
That she, whom I so long pursu'd in vain,
Should suffer from my hands a lingering pain:
Renew'd to life that she might daily die,
I daily doom'd to follow, she to fly;
No more a lover, but a mortal foe,
I seek her life (for love is none below ;)
As often as my dogs with better speed
Arrest her flight, is she to death decreed:
Then with this fatal sword, on which I died,
I pierce her open back, or tender side,
And tear that harden'd heart from out her breast, Which, with her entrails, makes my hungry hounds a feast.
Nor lies she long, but, as her Fates ordain,
Springs up to life, and fresh to second pain,
Is sav'd to-day, to-morrow to be slain."
This, vers'd in death, th' infernal knight relates,
And then for proof fulfill'd the common fates;
Her heart and bowels through her back he drew,
And fed the hounds that help'd him to pursue :
Stern look'd the fiend, as frustrate of his will,
Not half suffic'd, and greedy yet to kill.
And now the soul, expiring through the wound,
Had left the body breathless on the ground,
When thus the grisly spectre spoke again:
"Behold the fruit of ill-rewarded pain:
As many months as I sustain'd her hate,
So many years is she condemned by Fate
To daily death; and every several place,
Conscious of her disdain and my disgrace,
Must witness her just punishment; and be
A scene of triumph and revenge to me!
As in this grove I took my last farewell,
As on this very spot of earth I fell,
As Friday saw me die, so she my prey
Becomes ev'n here, on this revolving day."
Thus while he spoke the virgin from the ground Upstarted fresh, already clos'd the wound, And, unconcern'd for all she felt before, Precipitates her flight along the shore: The hell-hounds, as ungorg'd with flesh and blood, Pursue their prey, and seek their wonted food: The fiend remounts his courser, mends his pace; And all the vision vanish'd from the place.
Long stood the noble youth, oppress'd with awe And stupid at the wondrous things he saw, Surpassing common faith, transgressing Nature's law. He would have been asleep, and wish'd to wake, But dreams, he knew, no long impression make, Though strong at first; if vision, to what end, But such as must his future state portend? His love the damsel, and himself the fiend. But yet, reflecting that it could not be From Heaven, which cannot impious acts decree, Resolv'd within himself to shun the snare, Which Hell for his destruction did prepare; And, as his better genius should direct, From an ill cause to draw a good effect.
Inspir'd from Heaven he homeward took his way, Nor pall'd his new design with long delay: But of his train a trusty servant sent, To call his friends together at his tent.
Her friends, and mine; the cause I shall display,
On Friday next; for that's th' appointed day."
Well pleas'd were all his friends, the task was light,
The father, mother, daughter, they invite;
Hardly the dame was drawn to this repast;
But yet resolv'd, because it was the last.
The day was come, the guests invited came,
And, with the rest, th' inexorable dame:
A feast prepar'd with riotous expense,
Much cost, more care, and most magnificence.
The place ordain'd was in that haunted grove,
Where the revenging ghost pursu'd his love:
The tables in a proud pavilion spread,
With flowers below, and tissue over-head:
The rest in rank, Honoria, chief in place,
Was artfully contriv'd to set her face
To front the thicket, and behold the chase.
The feast was serv'd, the time so well forecast,
That just when the dessert and fruits were plac'd,
The fiend's alarm began; the hollow sound
Sung in the leaves, the forest shook around,
Air blacken'd, roll'd the thunder, groan'd the ground.
Nor long before the loud laments arise,
Of one distress'd, and mastiffs' mingled cries;
And first the dame came rushing through the wood,
And next the famish'd hounds that sought their food,
And grip'd her flanks, and oft essay'd their jaws in
Last came the felon, on his sable steed,
Arm'd with his naked sword, and urg'd his dogs to
She ran, and cried, her flight directly bent
(A guest unbidden) to the fatal tent,
The scene of death, and place ordain'd for punish
Loud was the noise, aghast was every guest,
The women shriek'd, the men forsook the feast;
The hounds at nearer distance hoarsely bay'd;
The hunter close pursu'd the visionary maid,
She rent the Heaven with loud laments, imploring aid
The gallants, to protect the lady's right,
Their falchions brandish'd at the grisly sprite;
High on his stirrups he provok'd the fight,
Then on the crowd he cast a furious look,
And wither'd all their strength before he spoke :
"Back on your lives! let be," said he, "my prey,
And let my vengeance take the destin'd way:
Vain are your arms, and vainer your defence,
Against th' eternal doom of Providence:
Mine is th' ungrateful maid by Heaven design'd:
Mercy she would not give, nor mercy shall she find."
At this the former tale again he told
With thundering tone, and dreadful to behold:
Sunk were their hearts with horror of the crime,
Nor needed to be warn'd a second time,
But bore each other back: some knew the face,
And all had heard the much-lamented case
Of him who fell for love, and this the fatal place
And now th' infernal minister advanc'd,
Seiz'd the due victim, and with fury lanc'd
Her back, and, piercing through her inmost heart,
Drew backward as before th' offending part;
The reeking entrails next he tore away,
And to his meagre mastiffs made a prey.
The pale assistants on each other star'd,
With gaping mouths for issuing words prepar'd;
The still-born sounds upon the palate hung,
And died imperfect on the faltering tongue.
The fright was general; but the female band
(A helpless train) in more confusion stand:
With horror shuddering, on a heap they run,
Sick at the sight of hateful justice done; [own.
For conscience rung th' alarm, and made the case their
So, spread upon a lake, with upward eye,
A plump of fowl behold their foe on high;
They close their trembling troop; and all attend
On whom the sowsing eagle will descend.
But most the proud Honoria fear'd th' event,
And thought to her alone the vision sent.
Her guilt presents to her distracted mind
Heaven's justice, Theodore's revengeful kind,
And the same fate to the same sin assign'd.
Already sees herself the monster's prey,
And feels her heart and entrails torn away.
Twas a mute scene of sorrow, mix'd with fear;
Still on the table lay th' unfinish'd cheer:
The knight and hungry mastiffs stood around,
The mangled dame lay breathless on the ground;
When on a sudden, reinspir'd with breath,
Again she rose, again to suffer death';
Nor staid the hell-hounds, nor the hunter staid,
But follow'd, as before, the flying maid:
Th' avenger took from earth th' avenging sword,
And mounting light as air, his sable steed he spurr'd:
The clouds dispell'd, the sky resum'd her light,
And Nature stood recover'd of her fright.
But fear, the last of ills, remain'd behind,
And horror heavy sat on every mind.
Nor Theodore encourag'd more the feast,
But sternly look'd, as hatching in his breast
Some deep designs; which when Honoria view'd,
The fresh impulse her former fright renew'd;
She thought herself the trembling dame who fled,
And him the grisly ghost that spurr'd th' infernal
The more dismay'd, for when the guests withdrew,
Their courteous host, saluting all the crew,
Regardless pass'd her o'er, nor grac'd with kind adieu;
That sting infix'd within her haughty mind,
The downfall of her empire she divin'd;
And her proud heart with secret sorrow pin'd.
Home as they went, the sad discourse renew'd
Of the relentless dame to death pursu'd,
And of the sight obscene so lately view'd.
None durst arraign the righteous doom she bore,
Ev'n they who pitied most, yet blam'd her more:
The parallel they needed not to name,
But in the dead they damn'd the living dame.
At every little noise she look'd behind,
For still the knight was present to her mind:
And anxious oft she started on the way,
And thought the horseman-ghost came thundering
for his prey.
Return'd, she took her bed with little rest,
But in short slumbers dreamt the funeral feast.
Awak'd, she turn'd her side, and slept again;
The same black vapors mounted in her brain,
And the same dreams return'd with double pain.
Now forc'd to wake, because afraid to sleep,
Her blood all fever'd, with a furious leap
She sprang from bed, distracted in her mind,
And fear'd, at every step, a twitching sprite behind.
Darkling and desperate, with a staggering pace,
Of death afraid, and conscious of disgrace;
Fear, Pride, Remorse, at once her heart assail'd,
Pride put Remorse to flight, but Fear prevail'd.
Friday, the fatal day, when next it came,
Her soul forethought the fiend would change his game,
And her pursue, or Theodore be slain, [plain.
And two ghosts join their packs to hunt her o'er the
This dreadful image so possess'd her mind,
That, desperate any succor else to find,
She ceas'd all farther hope; and now began
To make reflection on th' unhappy man,
Rich, brave, and young, who past expression lov'd,
Proof to disdain, and not to be remov'd:
Of all the men respected and admir'd,
Of all the dames, except herself, desir'd:
Why not of her? preferr'd above the rest
By him with knightly deeds and open love profess'd?
So had another been, where he his vows address'd.
This quell'd her pride, yet other doubts remain'd,
That, once disdaining, she might be disdain'd.
The fear was just, but greater fear prevail'd,
Fear of her life by hellish hounds assail'd:
He took a lowering leave; but who can tell,
What outward hate might inward love conceal?
Her sex's arts she knew; and why not, then,
Might deep dissembling have a place in men?
Here hope began to dawn; resolv'd to try,
She fix'd on this her utmost remedy:
Death was behind, but hard it was to die.
'Twas time enough at last on Death to call,
The precipice in sight: a shrub was all,
That kindly stood betwixt to break the fatal fall.
One maid she had, belov'd above the rest;
Secure of her, the secret she confess'd;
And now the cheerful light her fears dispell'a,
She with no winding turns the truth conceal'd,
But put the woman off, and stood reveal'd:
With faults confess'd commission'd her to go,
If pity yet had place, and reconcile her foe.
The welcome message made, was soon receiv'd;
'Twas to be wish'd, and hop'd, but scarce believ'd;
Fate seem'd a fair occasion to present;
He knew the sex, and fear'd she might repent,
Should he delay the moment of consent.
There yet remain'd to gain her friends (a care
The modesty of maidens well might spare ;)
But she with such a zeal the cause embrac'd,
(As women, where they will, are all in haste)
The father, mother, and the kin beside,
Were overborne by fury of the tide ;
With full consent of all, she chang'd her state;
Resistless in her love, as in her hate.
By her example warn'd, the rest beware:
More easy, less imperious, were the fair;
And that one hunting, which the Devil design'd
For one fair female, lost him half the kind.
DIM as the borrow'd beams of Moon and stars
To lonely, weary, wandering travellers,
Is Reason to the soul: and as on high,
Those rolling fires discover but the sky,
Not light us here; so Reason's glimmering ray
Was lent, not to assure our doubtful way,
But guide us upward to a better day.