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So ladies in romance assist their knight,
Present the spear, and arm him for the fight.
He takes the gift with rev'rence, and extends
The little engine on his fingers' ends ;
This just behind Belinda's neck he spread,
As o'er the fragrant steams she bends her head.
Swift to the lock a thousand sprites repair,
A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair ;
And thrice they twitch'd the diamond in her ear ;
Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew near.
Just in that instant, anxious Ariel sought
The close recesses of the virgin's thought ;
As on the nosegay in her breast reclin'd,
He watch'd th' ideas rising in her mind,
Sudden he view'd, in spite of all her art,
An earthly lover lurking at her heart.
Amaz'd, confus'd, he found his pow'r expir'd,
Resign’d to fate, and with a sigh retir’d.
The peer now spreads the glitt'ring forfex wide,
T'inclose the lock; now joins it, to divide.
Ev'n then, before the fatal engine clos’d,
A wretched sylph too fondly interpos’d;
Fate urg'd the shears, and cut the sylph in twain,
(But airy substance soon unites again)
The meeting points the sacred hair dissever
From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!
Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies.
Not louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast,
When husbands, or when lapdogs, breathe their last;
Or when rich China vessels fall’n from high,
In glittring dust and painted fragments lie !
Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine,
(The victor cried) the glorious prize is mine!
While fish in streams, or birds delight in air,
Or in a coach and six the British fair,
As long as Atalantis shall be read,
Or the small pillow grace a lady's bed,
While visits shall be paid on solemn days,
When num'rous wax-lights in bright order blaze,
While nymphs take treats, or assignations give,
So long my honour, name, and praise shall live!
What time would spare, from steel receives its date,
And monuments, like men, submit to fate !
Steel could the labour of the gods destroy,
And strike to dust th’ imperial tow'rs of Troy ;
Steel could the works of mortal pride confound,
And hew triumphal arches to the ground.
What wonder then, fair nymph! thy hairs should feel,
The conqu’ring force of unresisted steel?
FROM THE ILIAD. BOOK VIII.
The troops exulting sat in order round,
And beaming fires illumin'd all the ground.
As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night!
O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene ;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole,
O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed,
And tip with silver every mountain's head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies :
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light.
So many flames before proud Ilion blaze,
And lighten glimmering Xanthus with their rays :
The long reflections of the distant fires
Gleam on the walls, and tremble on the spires.
A thousand piles the dusky horrors gild,
And shoot a shady lustre o'er the field.
Full fifty guards each flaming pile attend,
Whose umber'd arms, by fits, thick flashes send.
Loud neigh the coursers o'er their heaps of corn,
And ardent warriors wait the rising morn.
ELEGY TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
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 the 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 fun'rals blacken all the way),
Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steeld,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn’d to glow
For others good, or melt at others woe.
What can atone (oh ever-injur'd shade !)
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier.
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos’d,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos’d,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn’d,
By strangers honour'd and by strangers mourn'd!
What tho' no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What tho' no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face,
What tho no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb,
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of thy year shall blow ;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground, now sacred by thy relics made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How lov'd, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot ;
| A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be !
Poets themselves must fall like those they sung,
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the gen'rous tear he pays ;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart,
Life's idle business at one gasp be o’er,
The muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more !
Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate, All but the page prescrib'd, their present state : From brutes what men, from men what spirits know: Or who could suffer being here below? The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play? Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food, And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood. Oh blindness to the future ! kindly giv'n, That each may fill the circle mark’d by Heav'n : Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow fall. Atoms or systems into ruin hurld, And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then ; with trembling pinions soar ; Wait the great teacher death, and God adore. What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, But gives that hope to be thy blessing now. Hope springs eternal in the human breast : Man never is, but always to be blest. The soul (uneasy, and confin'd) from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.