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In Iphigene I claim my rightful due,
Robb'd by my rival, and detain'd by you:
Your Pasimond a lawless bargain drove,
The parent could not sell the daughter's love;
Or, if he could, my Love disdains the laws,
And like a king by conquest gains his cause:
Where arms take place, all other pleas are vain,
Love taught me force, and Force shall love maintain,
You, what by strength you could not keep, release,
And at an easy ransom buy your peace."
Fear on the conquer'd side soon sign'd th' accord, And Iphigene to Cymon was restor❜d:
While to his arms the blushing bride he took,
To seeming sadness she compos'd her look;
As if by force subjected to his will,
Though pleas'd, dissembling, and a woman still.
And, for she wept, he wip'd her falling tears,
And pray'd her to dismiss her empty fears;
"For yours I am," he said, " and have deserv'd
Your love much better whom so long I serv'd,
Than he to whom your formal father ty'd
Your vows, and sold a slave, not sent a bride."
Thus while he spoke, he seiz'd the willing prey,
As Paris bore the Spartan spouse away.
Faintly she scream'd, and ev'n her eyes confess'a
She rather would be thought, than was distress'd.
Who now exults but Cymon in his mind?
Vain hopes and empty joys of human kind,
Proud of the present, to the future blind!
Secure of Fate, while Cymon plows the sea,
And steers to Candy with his conquer'd prey,
Scarce the third glass of measur'd hours was run,
When, like a fiery meteor, sunk the Sun;
The promise of a storm; the shifting gales
Forsake by fits, and fill the flagging sails;
Hoarse murmurs of the main from far were heard,
And night came on, not by degrees prepar'd,
But all at once; at once the winds arise,
The thunders roll, the forky lightning flies.
In vain the master issues out commands,
In vain the trembling sailors ply their hands:
The tempest unforeseen prevents their care,
And from the first they labour in despair.
The giddy ship betwixt the winds and tides,
Forc'd back, and forwards, in a circle rides,
Stunn'd with the different blows; then shoots amain,
Till, counterbuff'd, she stops, and sleeps again.
Not more aghast the proud archangel fell,
Plung'd from the height of Heaven to deepest Hell,
Than stood the lover of his love possess'd,
Now curs'd the more, the more he had been bless'd;
More anxious for her danger than his own,
Death he defies; but would be lost alone.
Sad Iphigene to womanish complaints
Adds pious prayers, and wearies all the saints;
Ev'n if she could, her love she would repent,
But, since she cannot, dreads the punishment:
Her forfeit faith, and Pasimond betray'd,
Are ever present, and her crime upbraid.
She blames herself, nor blames her lover less,
Augments her anger, as her fears increase :
From her own back the burthen would remove,
And lays the load on his ungovern'd love,
Which, interposing, durst, in Heaven's despite,
Invade, and violate another's right:
The powers incens'd awhile deferr'd his pain,
And made him master of his vows in vain :
But soon they punish'd his presumptuous pride;
That for his daring enterprize she dy'd;
Who rather not resisted, than comply'd.
Then, impotent of mind, with alter'd sense, She hugg'd th' offender, and forgave th' offence, Sex to the last: meantime with sails declin'd The wandering vessel drove before the wind: Toss'd and retoss'd, aloft, and then below, Nor port they seek, nor certain course they know, But every moment wait the coming blow. Thus blindly driven, by breaking day they view'd The land before them, and their fears renew'd; The land was welcome, but the tempest bore The threaten'd ship against a rocky shore.
A winding bay was near; to this they bent, And just escap'd; their force already spent: 'Secure from storms, and panting from the sea, The land unknown at leisure they survey; And saw (but soon their sickly sight withdrew) The rising towers of Rhodes at distant view; And curs'd the hostile shore of Pasimond, Sav'd from the seas, and shipwreck'd on the ground.
The frighted sailors try'd their strength in vain To turn the stern, and tempt the stormy main; But the stiff wind withstood the labouring oar, And forc'd them forward on the fatal shore ! The crooked keel now bites the Rhodian strand, And the ship moor'd constrains the crew to land:
Yet still they might be safe, because unknown,
But, as ill fortune seldom comes alone,
The vessel they dismiss'd was driven before,
Already shelter'd on their native shore;
Known each, they know; but each with change of cheer;
The vanquish'd side exults; the victors fear;
Not them, but theirs, made prisoners ere they fight,
Despairing conquest, and depriv'd of flight.
The country rings around with loud alarms,
And raw in fields the rude militia swarms;
Mouths without hands; maintain'd at vast expense,
In peace a charge, in war a weak defence:
Stout once a month they march, a blustering band,
And ever, but in times of need, at hand;
This was the morn when, issuing on the guard,
Drawn up in rank and file they stood prepar'd
Of seeming arms to make a short essay,
Then hasten to be drunk, the business of the day.
The cowards would have fled, but that they knew Themselves so many, and their foes so few: But, crowding on, the last the first impel: Till overborn with weight the Cyprians fell. Cymon enslav'd, who first the war begun, And Iphigene once more is lost and won.
Deep in a dungeon was the captive cast, Depriv'd of day, and held in fetters fast: His life was only spar'd at their request, Whom taken he so nobly had releas'd: But Iphigenia was the ladies' care,
Each in their turn address'd to treat the fair;
While Pasimond and his the nuptial feast prepare.
Her secret soul to Cymon was inclin'd, But she must suffer what her Fates assign'd; So passive is the church of woman-kind.
What worse to Cymon could his fortune deal,
Roll'd to the lowest spoke of all her wheel?
It rested to dismiss the downward weight,
Or raise him upward to his former height;
The latter pleas'd; and Love (concern'd the most)
Prepar'd th' amends, for what by love he lost.
The sire of Pasimond had left a son,
Though younger, yet for courage early known,
Ormisda call'd, to whom, by promise ty'd,
A Rhodian beauty was the destin'd bride;
Cassandra was her name, above the rest
Renown'd for birth, with fortune amply bless'd.
Lysimachus, who rul'd the Rhodian state,
Was then by choice their annual magistrate :
He lov'd Cassandra too with equal fire,
But Fortune had not favour'd his desire;
Cross'd by her friends, by her not disapprov'd,
Nor yet preferr'd, or like Ormisda lov'd:
So stood th' affair: some little hope remain'd,
That, should his rival chance to lose, he gain'd.
Meantime young Pasimond his marriage press'd,
Ordain'd the nuptial day, prepar'd, the feast;
And frugally resolv'd (the charge to shun,
Which would be double should he wed alone)
To join his brother's bridal with his own.
Lysimachus, oppress'd with mortal grief,
Receiv'd the news, and study'd quick relief:
The fatal day approach'd; if force were us'd,
The magistrate his public trust abus'd;