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ITHOUT preamble, to my friend,
These hafty lines I'm bid to fend,
Or give, if I am able;
I dare not hesitate to say,
Tho' I have trembled all the day,
It looks fo like a fable.
Last night's adventure is my theme,
And should it strike you as a dream,
Yet foon it's high import
Must make you own the matter fuch,
So delicate, it were too much
To be compos'd in fport.
The moon did shine ferenely bright,
And every ftar did deck the night,
While Zephyr fann'd the trees;
No more affail'd my mind's repofe,
Save that yon ftream, which murmuring flows,
Did echo to the breeze.
Enrapt in folemn thought, I fate,
Revolving o'er the turns of Fate,
Yet void of hope or fear;
When, lo! behold an airy throng,
With lighteft fteps, and jocund fong,
Surpriz'd my eye and ear.
A form fuperior to the reft,
His little voice to me addrefs'd,
And gently thus began:
I've heard ftrange things from one of you,
Pray tell me if you think 'tis true,
Explain it if you can.
• Such incenfe has perfum'd my throne,
• Such eloquence my heart has won,
I think I guess the hand!
I know her wit and beauty too,
But why she fends a prayer fo new
I cannot understand.
To light fome flames, and fome revive,
To keep fome others juft alive,
• Full oft I am implor'd;
But, with peculiar power to please,
To fupplicate for nought but eafe, 'Tis odd, upon my word!
Tell her, with fruitless care I've fought;
And tho' my realms, with wonders fraught,
In remedies abound,
No grain of cold Indifference
Was ever yet ally'd to Senfe,
In all my Fairy round,
The regions of the sky I'd trace,
I'd ranfack every earthly place,
Each leaf, each herb, each flower,
To mitigate the pangs of Fear,
Difpel the clouds of black Defpair,
Or lull the reftless hour!
• I would be generous, as I'm just,
But I obey, as others muft,
Thofe laws which Fate has made :
My tiny kingdom how defend,
And what might be the horrid end
• Should man my state invade!
"Twould put your mind into a rage,
And fuch unequal war to wage
• Suits not my regal duty!--
I dare not change a firft decree,
She's doom'd to please, nor can be free!
Such is the lot of Beauty."
This faid, he darted o'er the plain,
And after follow'd all his train;
No glimpse of him I find:
But fure I am, the little fprite,
These words, before he took his flight,
Imprinted on my mind,
TO A LADY BEFORE MARRIAGE.
OH! form'd by Nature, and refin'd by Art,
With charms to win, and fenfe to fix the heart!
By thousands fought, Clotilda, can't thou free
Thy crowd of captives, and defcend to me?
Content in fhades obfcure to waste thy life,
A hidden beauty, and a country wife!
O liften while thy fummers are my theme!
Ah, foothe thy partner in his waking dream!
In fome small hamlet on the lonely plain,
Where Thames, thro' meadows, rolls his mazy train;
Or where high Windfor, thick with greens array'd,
Waves his old oaks, and fpreads his ample shade,
Fancy has figur'd out our calm retreat :
Already, round the visionary feat,
Our limes begin to fhoot, our flow'rs to fpring,
The brooks to murmur, and the birds to fing.
Where doft thou lie, thou thinly-peopled green;
Thou nameless lawn, and village yet unfeen;
Where fons, contented with their native ground,
Ne'er travel farther than ten furlongs round;
And the tann'd peafant, and his ruddy bride,
Were born together, and together died!
Where early larks best tell the morning-light,
And only Philomel disturbs the night!
'Midft gardens here my humble pile shall rife,
With fweets furrounded of ten thousand dyes;
All favage where th' embroider'd gardens end,
The haunt of echoes shall my woods ascend ;
And, Q! if Heaven th' ambitious thought approve,
A rill fhall warble cross the gloomy grove;
A little rill, o'er pebbly beds convey'd,
Gush down the steep, and glitter thro' the glade !
What chearing fcents those bord'ring banks exhale!
How loud that heifer lows from yonder vale!
That thrush, how fhrill! his note fo clear, fo high,
He drowns each feather'd minstrel of the sky.
Here let me trace, beneath the purpled morn,
The deep-mouth'd beagle, and the sprightly horn;
Or lure the trout with well-diffembled flies,
Or fetch the flutt'ring partridge from the fkies:
Nor fhall thy hand difdain to crop the vine,
The downy peach, or flavour'd nectarine ;
Or rob the bee-hive of it's golden hoard,
And bear th' unbought luxuriance to thy board.
Sometimes my books by day fhall kill the hours,"
While from thy needle rife the filken flow'rs;
And thou, by turns, to ease my feeble fight,
Refume the volume, and deceive the night.
O! when I mark thy twinkling eyes opprefs'd,
Soft whifp'ring, let me waru my love to reft;
Then watch thee, charm'd, while fleep locks every sense,
And to fweet Heav'n commend thy innocence.
Thus reign'd our fathers o'er the rural fold,
Wife, hale, and honeft, in the days of old;
Till courts arofe, where substance pays for fhow,
And fpecious jays are bought with real woe.
See Flavia's pendants, large, well spread, and right;
The ear that wears them hears a fool each night:
Mark how th' embroider'd col'nel sneaks away,
To fhun the with'ring dame that made him gay.
That knave, to gain a title, loft his fame;
That rais'd his credit by a daughter's fhame :
This coxcomb's ribband coft him half his land;
And oaks unnumber'd bought that fool a wand.
Fond man, as all his forrows were too few,
Acquires ftrange wants that Nature never knew!
By midnight-lamps he emulates the day, -
And fleeps, perverfe, the chearful funs away;
From goblets high emboss'd his wine muft glide;
Round his clos'd fight the gorgeous curtain flide;
Fruits, ere their time, to grace his pomp, must rife,
And three untafted courfes glut his eyes.
For this are Nature's gentle calls withstood,
The voice of confcience, and the bonds of blood!
This, Wifdom, thy reward for ev'ry pain!
And this, gay Glory, all thy mighty gain!
Fair phantoms, woo'd and fcorn'd from age to age,
Since bards began to laugh, or priests to rage:
And yet, juft curfe on man's afpiring kind,
Prone to ambition, to example blind,.