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The neighbouring swains around the stranger throng, Here oft the nymph his breathing vows had heard ; Or to admire, or emulate his song :
Here oft her silence had her heart declar'd. While with soft sorrow he renews his lays,
As active Spring awak'd her infant buds, Nor heedful of their envy, nor their praise. And genial life inform'd the verdant woods ; But, soon as Emma's eyes adorn the plain, Henry, in knots involving Emma's name, His notes he raises to a nobler strain,
Had half express'd, and half conceal'd, his flame, With dutiful respect and studious fear;
Upon this tree : and, as the tender mark Lest any careless sound offend her ear.
Grew with the year, and widen'd with the bark, A frantic gipsy now, the house he haunts, Venus had heard the virgin's soft address, And in wild phrases speaks dissembled wants. That, as the wound, the passion might increase. With the fond maids in palmistry he deals : As potent Nature shed her kindly showers, They tell the secret first, which he reveals ;
And deck'd the various mead with opening flowers, Says who shall wed, and who shall be beguil'd; Upon this tree the nymph's obliging care What groom shall get, and squire maintain the child. | Had left a frequent wreath for Henry's hair ; But, when bright Emma would her fortune know, Which, as with gay delight the lover found, A softer look unbends his opening brow;
Pleas'd with his conquest, with her present crown'd, With trembling awe he gazes on her eye,
Glorious through all the plains he oft had gone, And in soft accents forms the kind reply ;
And to each swain the mystic honour shown; That she shall prove as fortunate as fair ;
The gift still prais’d, the giver still unknown. And Hymen's choicest gifts are all reserv'd for her. His secret note the troubled Henry writes :
Now oft had Henry chang'd his sly disguise, To the lone tree the lovely maid invites. Unmark'd by all but beauteous Emma's eyes :. Iniperfect words and dubious terms express, Oft had found means alone to see the dame, That unforeseen mischance disturb'd his peace; And at her feet to breathe his amorous flame; That he must something to her ear commend, And oft, the pangs of absence to remove,
On which her conduct and his life depend. By letters, soft interpreters of love :
Soon as the fair-one had the note receiv'd, Till Time and Industry (the mighty two
The remnant of the day alone she griev'd : That bring our wishes nearer to our view)
For different this from every former note, Made him perceive, that the inclining fair
Which Venus dictated, and Henry wrote ; Receiv'd his vows with no reluctant ear ;
Which told her all his future hopes were laid That Venus had confirm'd her equal reign,
On the dear bosom of his Nut-brown Maid ; And dealt to Emma's heart a share of Henry's pain. Which always bless'd her eyes, and own'd her While Cupid smil'd, by kind occasion bless'd,
power; And, with the secret kept, the love increas'd ; And bid her oft adieu, yet added more. The amorous youth frequents the silent groves ; Now night advanc'd. The house in sleep were laid; And much he meditates, for much he loves. The nurse experienc'd, and the prying maid, He loves, 'tis true; and is belov'd again :
And, last, that sprite, which does incessant haunt Great are his joys; but will they long remain ? The lover's steps, the ancient maiden-aunt. Emma with smiles receives his present flame; To her dear Henry, Enima wings her way, But, smiling, will she ever be the same ?
With quicken'd pace repairing forc'd delay; Beautiful looks are rul'd by fickle minds;
For Love, fantastic power, that is afraid And summer seas are turn'd by sudden winds. To stir abroad till Watchfulness be laid, Another love may gain her easy youth:
Undaunted then o'er cliffs and valleys strays, Time changes thought, and Hattery conquers truth. And leads his votaries safe through pathless ways. O impotent estate of human life!
Not Argus, with his hundred eyes, shall find Where Hope and Fear maintain eternal strife ; Where Cupid goes; though he, poor guide! is blind. Where fleeting joy does lasting doubt inspire; The maiden first arriving, sent her eye And most we question, what we most desire ! To ask, if yet its chief delight were nigh: Amongst thy various gifts, great Heaven, bestow With fear and with desire, with joy and pain, Our cup of love unmix'd; forbear to throw She sees, and runs to meet him on the plain. Bitter ingredients in; nor pall the draught But, oh! his steps proclaim no lover's haste : With nauseous grief : for our ill-judging thought On the low ground his fix'd regards are cast ; \ Hardly enjoys the pleasurable taste ;
His artful bosom heaves dissembled sighs; Or deems it not sincere; or fears it cannot last. And tears suborn'd fall copious from his eyes.
With wishes rais'd, with jealousies opprest, With ease, alas ! we credit what we love: (Alternate tyrants of the human breast)
His painted grief does real sorrow move By one great trial he resolves to prove
In the afflicted fair ; adown her cheek The faith of woman, and the force of love. Trickling the genuine tears their current break; If, scanning Emma's virtues, he may find
Attentive stood the mournful nymph: the man That beauteous frame enclose a steady mind, Broke silence first : the tale alternate ran. He'll fix his hope, of future joy secure; And live a slave to Hymen's happy power. But if the fair-one, as he fears, is frail ; If, pois'd aright in Reason's equal scale,
SINCERE, O tell me, hast thou felt a pain, Light fly her merit, and her faults prevail; Emma, beyond what woman knows to feign? His mind he vows to free from amorous care, Has thy uncertain bosom ever strove The latent mischief from his heart to tear,
With the first tumults of a real love? Resume his azure arms, and shine again in war. Hast thou now dreaded, and now blest his sway, South of the castle, in a verdant glade,
By turns averse, and joyful to obey ? A spreading beech extends her friendly shade :
Thy virgin softness hast thou e'er bewailid, Fair Truth, at last, her radiant beams will raise ; As Reason yielded, and as Love prevail'd ? And Malice vanquish'd heightens Virtue's praise. And wept the potent god's resistless dart,
Let then thy favour but indulge my flight; His killing pleasure, his ecstatic smart,
0! let my presence make thy travels light; And heavenly poison thrilling through thy heart? And potent Venus shall exalt my name If so, with pity view my wretched state ;
Above the rumours of censorious Fame; At least deplore, and then forget my fate :
Nor from that busy demon's restless power To some more happy knight reserve thy charms, Will ever Emma other grace implore, By Fortune favour'd, and successful arms; Than that this truth should to the world be kron, And only, as the Sun's revolving ray
That I, of all mankind, have lov'd but thee aloue.
But canst thou wield the sword, and bend the box? Love's anger only waits, and dire disgrace ;
With active force repel the sturdy foe? For, lo! these hands in murther are imbrued ;
When the loud tumult speaks the battle nigh, These trembling feet by Justice are pursued :
And winged deaths in whistling arrows fly; Fate calls aloud, and hastens me away;
Wilt thou, though wounded, yet undaunted star, A shameful death attends my longer stay;
Perform thy part, and share the dangerous day? And I this night must fly from thee and love,
Then, as thy strength decays, thy heart will fail, Condemn'd in lonely woods, a banish'd man, to rove. Thy limbs all trembling, and thy cheeks all pale;
With fruitless sorrow, thou, inglorious maid,
Then to thy friend, by foes o'er-charg'd, deny
A banish'd man, condemn’d in lonely woods to rore.
To send the arrow from the twanging yew;
And, great in arms, and foremost in the war, With all his rage, and dread, and grief, and care,
Bonduca brandish'd high the British spear. His coinplement of stores, and total war.
Could thirst of vengeance and desire of fame O! cease then coldly to suspect my love;
Excite the female breast with martial flame? And let my deed at least my faith approve.
And shall not love's diviner power inspire Alas! no youth shall my endearments share ; More hardy virtue, and more generous fire ? Nor day nor night shall interrupt my care;
Near thee, mistrust not, constant I'll abide, No future story shall with truth upbraid
And fall, or vanquish, fighting by thy side. The cold indifference of the Nut-brown Maid; Though my inferior strength may not allow Nor to hard banishment shall Henry run,
That I should bear or draw the warrior bow; While careless Emma sleeps on beds of down.
With ready hand I will the shaft supply, View me resolv'd, where'er thou lead'st, to go,
And joy to see thy victor arrows fly. Friend to thy pain, and partner of thy woe;
Touch'd in the battle by the hostile reed, For I attest, fair Venus and her son,
Should'st thou, (but Heaven avert it!) should's That I, of all mankind, will love but thee alone.
thou bleed; To stop the wounds, my finest lawn I'd tear, Wash them with tears, and wipe them with my hair;
Blest, when my dangers and my toils have shown Let prudence yet obstruct thy venturous way; That I, of all mankind, could love but thee alone. And take good heed, what men will think and say ; That beauteous Emma vagrant courses took ; Her father's house and civil life forsook ;
HENRY. That, full of youthful blood, and fond of man, But canst thou, tender maid, canst thou sustain She to the wood-land with an exile ran.
Afflictive want, or hunger's pressing pain ? Reflect, that lessen'd fame is ne'er regaind, Those limbs, in lawn and softest silk array'd, And virgin honour, once, is always stain'd:
From sun-beams guarded, and of winds afraid, Timely advis’d, the coming evil shun :
Can they bear angry Jove? can they resist Better not do the deed, than weep it done. The parching dog-star, and the bleak north-east? No penance can absolve our guilty fame;
When, chill'd by adverse snows and beating rain, Nor tears, that wash out sin, can wash out shame. We tread with weary steps the longsome plain; Then fly the sad effects of desperate love,
When with hard toil we seek our evening food, And leave a banish'd man through lonely woods to Berries and acorns from the neighbouring wood;
And find among the cliffs no other house
Wilt thou not then reluctant send thine eye
And seats, where ease and plenty brooding sate!
Truse seats, whence long excluded, thou must , 'Tis long since Cynthia and her train were there,
Or guardian gods made innocence their care. That gate, for ever barr'd to thy return :
Vagrants and outlaws shall offend thy view: Wilt thou not then bewail ill-fated love, (rove? For such must be my friends, a hideous crew And hate a banish'd man, condemn’d in woods to By adverse fortune mix'd in social ill,
Train'd to assault, and disciplin'd to kill ;
Their common loves, a lewd abandon'd pack,
The beadle's lash still flagrant on their back :
By sloth corrupted, by disorder fed,
Made bold by want, and prostitute for bread :
With such must Emma hunt the tedious day,
Assist their violence, and divide their prey: And Fortune's favour fills the swelling sails;
With such she must return at setting light, But would forsake the ship, and make the shore,
Though not partaker, witness of their night. When the winds whistle, and the tempests roar ?
Thy ear, inur'd to charitable sounds No, Henry, no : one sacred oath has tied
And pitying love, must feel the hateful wounds Our loves : one destiny our life shall guide ;
Of jest obscene and vulgar ribaldry, Nor wild nor deep our common way divide.
The ill-bred question, and the lewd reply; When from the cave thou risest with the day,
Brought by long habitude from bad to worse, To beat the woods, and rouse the bounding prey ;
Must hear the frequent oath, the direful curse, The cave with moss and branches I'll adorn,
That latest weapon of the wretches' war, • And cheerful sit, to wait my lord's return :
And blasphemy, sad comrade of despair. And, when thou frequent bring'st the smitten deer, What thou would'st follow, what thou must forsake:
Now, Emma, now the last reflection make, (For seldom, archers say, thy arrows err) I'll fetch quick fuel from the neighbouring wood,
By our ill-omen'd stars, and adverse Heaven, And strike the sparkling flint, and dress the food;
No middle object to thy choice is given. With humble duty, and officious haste,
Or yield thy virtue, to attain thy love; I'll cull the furthest mead for thy repast;
Or leave a banish 'd man, condemn'd in woods to The choicest herbs I to thy board will bring, And draw thy water from the freshest spring : And, when at night with weary toil opprest, Soft slumbers thou enjoy'st, and wholesome rest,
O grief of heart! that our unhappy fates Watchful I'll guard thee, and with midnight prayer Mix thee amongst the bad; or make thee run
Force thee to suffer what thy honour hates:
Too near the paths which Virtue bids thee shun.. If thou hast health, and I may bless the day.
Yet with her Henry still let Emma go;
With him abhor the vice, but share the woe :
Amidst the worst, if Henry still be there.
Our outward act is prompted from within ; That she, of all mankind, could love but him alone! And from the sinner's mind proceeds the sin:
By her own choice free Virtue is approv'd;
Nor by the force of outward objects mov'd.
Who has assay'd no danger, gains no praise. Vainly thou tell'st me, what the woman's care In a small isle, amidst the wildest seas, Shall in the wildness of the wood prepare :
Triumphant Constancy has fix'd her seat : Thou, ere thou goest, unhappiest of thy kind, In vain the Syrens sing, the tempests beat : Must leave the habit and the sex behind.
Their flattery she rejects, nor fears their threat. No longer shall thy comely tresses break
For thee alone these little charms I drest: In flowing ringlets on thy snowy neck;
Condemn'd them, or absolv'd them by thy test. Or sit behind thy head, an ample round,
In comely figure rang'd my jewels shone,
For thee again they shall be laid aside;
The woman, Henry, shall put off her pride That air and harmony of shape express,
For thee: my clothes, my sex, exchang'd for thee, Fine by degrees, and beautifully less :
I'll mingle with the people's wretched lee : Nor shall thy lower garments' artful plait,
O line extreme of human infamy! From thy fair side dependent to thy feet,
Wanting the scissars, with these hands I'll tear Arm their chaste beauties with a modest pride, (If that obstructs my flight) this load of hair. And double every charm they seek to hide. Black soot, or yellow walnut, shall disgrace Th' ambrosial plenty of thy shining hair,
This little red and white of Emma's face. Cropt off and lost, scarce lower than thy car These nails with scratches shall deform my breast, Shall stand uncouth : a horseman's coat shall hide Lest by my look or colour be express'd Thy taper shape, and comeliness of side :
The mark of aught high-born, or ever better dress’d. The short trunk-hose shall show thy foot and knee Yet in this commerce, under this disguise, Licentious, and to common eye-sight free : Let me be grateful still to Henry's eyes ; And, with a bolder stride and looser air,
Lost to the world, let me to him be known : Mingled with men, a man thou must appear. My fate I can absolve, if he shall own Nor solitude, nor gentle peace of mind,
That, leaving all mankind, I love but him alone. Mistaken maid, shalt thou in forests fiod :
Why should'st thou weep? let Nature judge car
I saw thee young and fair ; pursued the chase O wildest thoughts of an abandon'd mind!
Of Youth and Beauty: I another saw Name, habit, parents, woman, left behind,
Fairer and younger : yielding to the law Ev'n honour dubious, thou preferr'st to go
Of our all-ruling mother, I pursued Wild to the woods with me : said Emma so ?
More youth, more beauty: blest vicissitude! Or did I dream what Emma never said ?
My active heart still keeps its pristine flame; O guilty errour! and O wretched maid!
The object alter'd, the desire the same. Whose roving fancy would resolve the same
This younger, fairer, pleads her rightful charms; With him, who next should tempt her easy farne ;
With present power compels me to her arms. And blow with empty words the susceptible flame.
And much I fear, from my subjected mind, Now why should doubtful terms thy mind perplex? (If Beauty's force to constant love can bind,) Confess thy frailty, and avow the sex :
That years may roll, ere in her turn the maid No longer loose desire for constant love (to rove.
Shall weep the fury of my love decay'd; Mistake: but say, 'tis man with whom thou long'st And weeping follow me, as thou dost now,
With idle clamours of a broken vow.
Nor can the wildness of thy wishes err Are there not poisons, racks, and flames, and So wide, to hope that thou may'st live with her.
Love, well thou know'st, no partnership allows: swords,
Cupid averse rejects divided vows : That Emma thus must die by Henry's words?
Then, from thy foolish heart, vain nraid, remore Yet what could swords or poison, racks or flame, But mangle and disjoint this brittle frame ! (fame. And leave me, with the fair, at large in woods to
An useless sorrow, and an ill-starr'd love; More fatal Henry's words; they murde, Emma's
And fall these sayings from that gentle tongue, Where civil speech and soft persuasion hung; Whose artful sweetness and harmonious strain, Courting my grace, yet courting it in vain,
Are we in life through one great errour led? Callid sighs, and tears, and wishes, to its aid; Is each man perjur'd, and each nymph betray'd? And, whilst it Henry's glowing flame convey'd, Of the superior sex art thou the worst ? Still blam'd the coldness of the Nut-brown Maid ? Am I of mine the most completely curst? Let envious Jealousy and canker'd Spite
Yet let me go with thec; and going prove, Produce my actions to severest light,
From what I will endure, how much I love. And tax my open day, or secret night.
This potent beauty, this triumphant fair, Did e'er my tongue speak my unguarded heart This happy object of our different care, The least inclin'd to play the wanton's part ? Her let me follow ; her let me attend Did e'er my eye one inward thought reveal, A servant (she may scorn the name of friend). Which angels might not hear, and virgins tell ?
What she demands, incessant I'll prepare : And hast thou, Henry, in my conduct known I'll weave her garlands; and I'll plait her hair : One fault, but that which I must never own, My busy diligence shall deck her board, That I, of all mankind, have lov'd but thee alone? (For there at least I may approach my lord,)
And, when her Henry's softer hours advise
His servant's absence, with dejected eyes
Far I'll recede, and sighs forbid to rise.
Yet, when increasing grief brings slow disease, Each man is man; and all our sex is one.
And ebbing life, on terms severe as these, False are our words, and fickle is our mind : Will have its little lamp no longer fed; Nor in Love's ritual can we ever find
When Henry's mistress shows him Emma dead; Vows made to last, or promises to bind.
Rescue my poor remains from vile neglect, By Nature prompted, and for empire made, With virgin honours let my hearse be deckt, Alike by strength or cunning we invade :
And decent emblem ; and at least persuade When, arm'd with rage, we march against the foe, This happy nymph, that Emma may be laid We lift the battle-axe, and draw the bow :
Where thou, dear author of my death, where she, When, fir’d with passion, we attack the fair, With frequent eye my sepulchre may see. Delusive sighs and brittle vows we bear;
The nymph amidst her joys may haply breathe Our falsehood and our arms have equal use ; One pious sigh, reflecting on my death, As they our conquest or delight produce.
And the sad fate which she may one day prove, The foolish heart thou gav'st, again receive, Who hopes from Henry's vows eternal love. The only boon departing love can give.
And thou forsworn, thou cruel, as thou art, To be less wretched, be no longer true;
If Emma's image ever touch'd thy heart; What strives to fly thee, why should'st thou pursue? | Thou sure must give one thought, and drop or Forget the present flame, indulge a new;
To her, whom love abandon'd to despair ;
To her, who, dying, on the wounded slone
Hear, solemn Jove ; and conscious Venus, hear;
thou bricht maid believe me whilst ) sweat:
No time, no change, no future flame, shall move Nor happiness can I, nor misery feel,
From any turn of her fantastic wheel :
Friendship's great laws, and Love's superior powers, At least, excuse a trial too severe :
Must mark the colour of my future hours. Receive the triumph, and forget the war.
From the events which thy commands create No banish'd man, condemn'd in woods to rove, I must my blessings or my sorrows date; Entreats thy pardon, and implores thy love : And Henry's will must dictate Emma's fate. No perjur'd knight desires to quit thy arms,
Yet, while with close delight and inward pride Fairest collection of thy sex's charms,
(Which from the world my careful soul shall hide) Crown of my love, and honour of my youth ! I see thee, lord and end of my desire, Henry, thy Henry, with eternal truth,
Exalted high as virtue can require ; As thou may'st wish, shall all his life employ, With power invested, and with pleasure cheer'd; And found his glory in his Emma's joy.
Sought by the good, by the oppressor fear'd; In me behold the potent Edgar's heir,
Loaded and blest with all the affluent store, Illustrious earl : him terrible in war
Which human vows at smoking shrines implore ; Let Loyre confess, for she has felt his sword, Grateful and humble grant me to employ And trembling fled before the British lord. My life subservient only to thy joy ; Him great in peace and wealth fair Deva knows; And at my death to bless thy kindness shown For she amidst his spacious meadows flows; To her, who of mankind could love but thee alone. Inclines her urn upon his fatten'd lands; And sees bis numerous herds imprint her sands. While thus the constant pair alternate said, And thou, my fair, my dove, shalt raise thy Joyful above them and around them play'd thought
Angels and sportive Loves, a numerous crowd; To greatness next to empire : shalt be brought Smiling they clapt their wings, and low they boud: With solemn pomp to my paternal seat;
They tumbled all their little quivers o'er, Where peace and plenty on thy word shall wait. To choose propitious shafts, a precious store; Music and song shall wake the marriage-day: That, when their god should take his future darts, And, whilst the priests accuse the bride's delay, To strike (however rarely) constant hearts, Myrtles and roses shall obstruct her way.
His happy skill might proper arms employ, Friendship shall
still thy evening feasts adorn; All tipt with pleasure, and all wing'd with joy : And blooming Peace shall ever bless thy morn. And those, they vow'd, whose lives should imitate Succeeding years their happy race shall run, These lovers' constancy, should share their fate. And Age, unheeded, by delight come on :
The queen of beauty stopt her bridled doves; While yet superior Love shall mock his power : Approv'd the little labour of the Loves ; And when old Time shall turn the fated hour, Was proud and pleas'd the mutual vow to lear; Which only can our well-tied knot unfold, And to the triumph call'd the god of war : What rests of both, one sepulchre shall hold. Soon as she calls, the god is always near.
Hence then for ever from my Emma's breast, “ Now, Mars," she said, “ let Fame exdit her (That heaven of softness, and that seat of rest,)
voice: Ye doubts and fears, and all that know to move Nor let thy conquests only be her choice : Tormenting grief, and all that trouble love, But, when she sings great Edward from the field Scatter'd by winds recede, and wild ile forests rove. Return'd, the hostile spear and captive shield
In Concord's temple hung, and Gallia taught to
And when as prudent Saturn shall complete
To sing her favourite Anna's wondrous reign
The British soldier from his high command
Glorious, and Gaul thrice vanquish'd by his hand : Will he be ever kind, and just, and good ?
Let her, at least, perform what I desire ;
With second breath the vocal brass inspire;
What wars I manage, and what wreaths I gain. Doubt shall for ever quit my strengthen'd heart, And, when thy tumults, and thy fights are past; And anxious jealousy's corroding smart;
And when thy laurels at my feet are cast ; Nor other inmate shall inhabit there,
Faithful mayst thou, like British Henry, prove But soft Belief, young Joy, and pleasing Care. And, Emma-like, let me return thy love. Hence let the tides of plenty ebb and How,
“ Renown'd for truth, let all thy sons appear ; And Fortune's various gale unheeded blow. And constant beauty shall reward their care. If at my feet the suppliant goddess stands,
Mars smil'd, and bow'd : the Cyprian deity And sheds her treasure with unweary'd hands; Turn'd to the glorious ruler of the sky; Her present favour cautious I'll embrace, “ And thou," she smiling said, “ great god of days And not unthankful use the proffer'd grace : And verse, behold my deed, and sing my praise; If she reclaims the temporary boon,
As on the British earth, my favourite isle, und tries her pinions, fluttering to be gone ; Thy gentle rays and kindest influence smile, secure of mind, I'll obviate her intent,
Throigh all her laughing fields and verdant groves, And unconcern'd return the goods she lent. Proclaim with joy these membol, loves.