« ZurückWeiter »
But what adventures more befel 'em,
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR
WHEN THE RIGHTS OF SEPULTURE WERE SO FREQUENTLY VIOLATED.
BY W. SHENSTONE, ESQ.
AY, gentle Sleep! that lov'ft the gloom of night ;
Parent of ! thou great magician ! fay, Whence
late vision thus endures the light, Thus haunts my fancy thro' the glare of day.
The filent moon had scal'd the vaulted skies,
And anxious care resign'd my limbs to rest ; A sudden luftre ftruck my wond'ring eyes,
And Silvia stood before my couch confess’d.
Ah! not the nymph, so blooming and so gay,
That led the dance beneath the festive shade'; But she that, in the morning of her day,
Entomb'd beneath the grass-green fod was laid.
No more her eyes their wonted radiance cast;
No more her breast inspir'd the lover's flame; No more her cheek the Pæftan rose surpafs’d;
Yet seem'd her lip's ethereal smile the fame.
Nor such her hair, as deck'd her living face;
Nor such her voice, as charm’d the list’ning crowd Nor such her dress, as heighten'd ev'ry,grace ;
Alas! all vanish'd for the mournful shroud !
Yet seem'd her lip's ethereal charm the same ;
That dear distinction ev'ry doubt remov'd : Perih the lover, whose imperfect flame
Forgets one feature of the nymph he lov'd!
Damon,” she said, ' mine hour allotted fies ;
« Oh! do not waste it with a fruitless tear! • Tho' griev'd to see thy Silvia’s pale disguise;
. Suspend thy forrow, and attentive hear.
. So may thy Muse with virtuous fame be bless'd!
• So be thy love with mutual love repaid ! • So may thy bones in sacred silence reft
• Fast by the reliques of some happier maid !
- Thou know'ft how, ling'ring on a distant fore,
• Disease invidious nipp'd my flow'ry prime ;
No friend was near to raise my drooping head,
+ Tho' now dębarr'd of each domestick tear,
“ Unknown, forgot, I meet the fatal blow ; “ There many a friend shall grace my woeful bier,
• And many a figh fhall rise, and tear shall flow."
• I spoke; nor Fate forebore his trembling spoil:
• Some venal mourner lent his careless aid; • And soon they bore me to my native foil, ( Where
fond parents dear remains were laid.
• 'Twas then the youths, from ev'ry plain and grove,
Adorn’d with mournful verse thy Silvia's bier ; "'Twas then the nymphs their votive garlands wove,
• And strew'd the fragrance of the youthful year.
• But why, alas ! the tender scene display?
« Could Damon's foot the pious path decline ?
Thus was I bofom'd in the peaceful grave,
My placid ghoft no longer wept it's doom; When favage robbers ev'ry sanction brave, . And with outrageous guilt defraud the tomb !
• Or, in
Shall my poor corse, from hostile realms convey'd,
kindred's dear embraces laid,
Say, would thy breast no death-like torture feel,
limbs the felon’s gripe obey ? * To see them gafh'd beneath the daring steel?
• To crowds a spectre, and to dogs a prey?
• If Pæan's fons these horrid rites require,
If Health's fair science be by these refin'd; · Let guilty convicts for their use expire,
• And let their breathlefs corse avail mankind.
" Yet hard it seems, when Guilt's last fine is paid,
« To see the victim's corse deny'd repose; • Now, more severe, the poor
offenceless maid • Dreads the dire outrage of inhuman foes.
• Where is the faith of ancient Pagans fed?
• Where the fond care the wand'ring manes claim ? • Nature, instinctive, cries, '“ Protect the dead;
“ And sacred be their ashes and their fame!”
· Arise, dear youth ! e'en now the danger calls;
« E'en now the villain snuffs his wonted prey: • See! see! I lead thee to yon facred walls
• Oh, fly to chase these human wolves away!'