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CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS.
OH tyrant Love! hast thou possest
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But ent'ring learns to be sincere.
Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
Why, Virtue, dost thou blame desire
Which Nature hath imprest?
Why, Nature, dost thou soonest fire
The mild and gen❜rous breast?
Love's purer flames the gods approve ;
The gods and Brutus bend to love:
Brutus for absent Porcia sighs,
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia's eyes.
What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
A vapour fed from wild desire,
A wand'ring, self-consuming fire.
But Hymen's kinder flames unite,
And burn for ever one;
Chaste as cold Cynthia's virgin light,
Productive as the sun.
Oh, source of ev'ry social tie,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother, husband, friend!
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
While thousand grateful thoughts arise;
Or meets his spouse's fonder eye,
Or views his smiling progeny;
What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move!
His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
With rev'rence, hope, and love.
Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
Hence false tears, deceits, disguises,
Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises,
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine.
Purest love's unwasting treasure,
Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure,
Days of ease, and nights of pleasure;
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
WHAT beck'ning ghost along the moon-light shade Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
'Tis she!....but why that bleeding bosom gor'd?
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in heaven, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye Pow'rs, her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire ?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes,
The glorious fault of angels and of gods :
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen pris'ners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
From these, perhaps, ere Nature bade her die,
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And sep❜rate from their kindred dregs below,
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of death:
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates;
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long funʼrals blacken all the way,) 40
Lo! these were they whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.