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Yet if I should behold my love awake,
Ah, frail resolves, ah whither will ye fly? Full well I know I shall not silence break,
But struck with awe almost with fear shall die.
Oh no, I will not trust a faltering speech
In broken phrase an awkward tale to tell, A tale whose tenderness no tongue can reach,
Nor softest melody can utter well.
But my meek eye, best herald of my heart,
I will compose to soft and downcast look, And at one humble glance it shall impart
My love, nor fear the language be mistook.
For she shall read (apt scholar at this lore)
With what fond passion my true bosom glows, How hopeless of return I still adore,
Nor dare the boldness of my wish disclose.
Should she then smile,—yet ah! she smiles on all,
Her gentle temper pities all distress;
Alike all nature grateful owns the boon,
The universal ray to all is free;
Because among the rest she shines on me ?
Hope, vain presumer, keep, oh, keep away;
Even if my woe her gentle bosom move, Pity some look of kindness may display;
But each soft glance is not a look of love.
Yet, heavenly visitant, thou dost not quit
Those bowers where angels sweet division sing, Nor deignest thou on mortal shrine to sit
Alone, for round thee ever on the wing Glad choirs of loves attend, and hovering wait
Thy mild command; of these thy blooming train, Oh, bid some sylph in morning dreams relate, Ere yet my love awake, my secret pain.
HIS FALLING IN LOVE WITH NEARA.
FAREWELL that liberty our fathers gave;
In vain they gave, their sons received in vain: I saw Neæra, and, her instant slave,
Though born a Briton, hugg’d the servile chain. Her usage well repays my coward heart;
Meanly she triumphs in her lover's shame: No healing joy relieves his constant smart,
No smile of love rewards the loss of fame.
Oh! that, to feel these killing pangs no more,
On Scythian hills I lay a senseless stone, Was fix'd a rock amidst the watery roar,
And in the vast Atlantic stood alone.
Adieu, ye Muses ! or my passion aid;
Why should I loiter by your idle spring ? My humble voice would move one only maid,
And she contemns the trifles which I sing.
I do not ask the lofty epic strain,
Nor strive to paint the wonders of the sphere; I only sing one cruel maid to gain ;
Adieu, ye Muses! if she will not hear, No more in useless innocence I'll pine;
Since guilty presents win the greedy fair, I'll tear its honours from the broken shrine,
But chiefly thine, O Venus! will I tear, Deceived by thee, I loved a beauteous maid,
Who bends on sordid gold her low desires ; Nor worth nor passion can her heart persuade,
But love must act what avarice requires.
Unwise who first, the charm of nature lost,
With Tyrian purple soild the snowy sheep; Unwiser still who seas and mountains cross'd,
To dig the rock and search the pearly deep. These costly toys our silly fair surprise;
The shining follies cheat their feeble sight; Their hearts, secure in trifles, love despise :
'Tis vain to court them, but more vain to write. Why did the gods conceal the little mind
And earthly thoughts beneath a heavenly face; Forget the worth that dignifies mankind,
Yet smooth and polish so each outward grace? Hence all the blame that Love and Venus bear;
Hence pleasure short, and anguish ever long; Hence tears and sighs; and hence the peevish fair, The froward lover-Hence this angry song.
TO FORTUNE, SUGGESTING HIS MOTIVES FOR REPINING AT HER
Ask not the cause why this rebellious tongue
Loads with fresh curses thy detested sway; Ask not, thus branded in my softest song,
Why stands the flatter'd name which all obey ? 'Tis not that in my shed I lurk forlorn,
Nor see my roof on Parian columns rise ; That on this breast no mimic star is borne
Revered,ah! more than those that light the skies. 'Tis not that, on the turf supinely laid,
I sing or pipe but to the flocks that graze; And, all inglorious, in the lonesome shade
My finger stiffens, and my voice decays. Not that my fancy mourns thy stern command,
When many an embryo dome is lost in air; While guardian Prudence checks my eager hand,
And, ere the turf is broken, cries, “ Forbear! 'Forbear, vain youth! be cautious, weigh thy gold,
Nor let yon rising column more aspire; Ah! better dwell in ruins than behold
Thy fortunes mouldering, and thy domes entire. · Honorio built, but dared my laws defy;
He planted, scornful of my sage commands; The peach's vernal bud regaled his eye,
The fruitage ripen'd for more frugal hands.
"See the small stream that pours its murmuring tide O’er some rough rock that would its wealth
display, Displays it aught but penury and pride?
Ah! construe wisely what such murmurs say. How would some flood, with ampler treasures
bless’d, Disdainful view the scantling drops distill! How must Velino * shake his reedy crest!
How every cygnet mock the boastive rill!' Fortune! I yield: and see, I give the sign;
At noon the poor mechanic wanders home, Collects the square, the level, and the line,
And with retorted eye forsakes the dome.
Can unrepining leave the rising wall;
And my warm hopes in full pursuit recall.
Loosed be the whirlwind's unremitting sway; Contented I, although the gazer smile,
To see it scarce survive a winter's day. Let some dull dotard bask in thy gay shrine,
As in the sun regales his wanton herd ; Guiltless of envy, why should I repine
That his rude voice, his grating reed's preferr'd ? Let him exult, with boundless wealth supplied,
Mine and the swain's reluctant homage share; But, ah! his tawdry shepherdess's pride,
Gods! must my Delia, must my Delia bear?
* A river in Italy that falls 100 yards perpendicular.