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ITHOUT preamble, to my friend,
These hasty lines I'm bid to send,
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 soon it's high import
Must make you own the matter such,
So delicate, it were too much
To be compos'd in sport.
The moon did shine serenely bright,
And every star did deck the night,
While Zephyr fann'd the trees ;
No more assail'd
mind's repose, Save that yon stream, which murmuring flows,
Did echo to the breeze.
Enrapt in folemn thought, I sate,
Revolving o'er the turns of Fate,
Yet void of hope or fear ;
When, lo! behold an airy throng,
With lightest steps, and jocund song,
Surpriz'd my eye and ear.
A form superior to the rest,
His little voice to me address’d,
And gently thus began :
• I've heard strange 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
so new • I cannot understand.
- To light some flames, and some revive, • To keep some others just alive,
« Full oft I am implor'd ; · But, with peculiar power to please, • To supplicate for nought but ease, 'Tis odd, upon my
• 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 Sense,
• In all my Fairy round,
• I would be generous, as I'm just, • But I obey, as others muft,
"Those laws which Fațe has made : • My tiny kingdom how defend, • And what might be the horrid end
• Should man my state inyade!
• 'Twould put your mind into a rage, • And fuch unequal war to wage
• Suits not my regal daty!
• I dare not change a first 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 sure I am, the little sprite,
These words, before he took his flight,
Imprinted on my mind,
TO A LADY BEFORE MARRIAGE,
H! form'd by Nature, and refin'd by Art,
With charms to win, and sense to fix the heart !
By thousands fought, Clotilda, cam'ft thou free
Thy crowd of captives, and defcend to me!
Content in shades obscure to wake thy life,
A hidden beauty, and a copntry wife !
O liften while thy summers are my theme !
Ah, soothe thy partner in his waking dream!
In fome small hamiet 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 spreads his ample fhade,
Fancy has figur'd out our calm retreat :
Already, round the visionary feat,
Our limes begin to Thoot, onr flow'rs to fpring.
The brooks to marmur, and the birds to fing.
Where doft thou lie, thou thinly-peopled green :
Thou nameless lawn, and village yet unseen;
Where fons, contented with their native ground,
Ne'er travel farther than ten furlongs round;
And the tann'd peasant, and his ruddy bride,
Were born together, and together died !
Where early larks beft tell the morning-light,
And only Philomel difturbs the night!
'Midft gardens here my humble pile fall rise,
With sweets surrounded of ten thousand dyes ;
All favage where th' embroider'd gardens end,
The haụnt of echoes shall my woods ascend ;
And, O! if Heaven th' ambitious thought approve,
A rill shall 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 scents those bord'ring banks exhale !
How loud that heifer lows from yonder vale !
That thruth, how fhrill! his note fo clear, so 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 fies,
Or fetch the Autt'ring partridge from the skies :
Nor shaụ thy hand disdain to crop the vine,
The downy peach, or favour'd nectarine ;
Or rob the bee-hive of it's golden hoard, 1
And bear th' unbought luxuriance to thy board.
Sometimes my books by day shall kill the hours,
While from thy needle rise the filken flow'rs;
And thou, by turns, to ease my feeble sight,
Resume the volume, and deceive the night.
O! when I mark thy, twinkling eyes oppress’d,
Soft whisp'ring, let me warii my love to rest ;
Then watch thee, charm’d, while sleep locks every sense;
And to fweet Heav'n commend thy innocence.
Thus reign'd our fathers o'er the rural fold,
Wise, hale, and honest, in the days of old;
Till courts arose, where substance
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 shame :
This coxcomb's ribband cost him half his land;
And oaks unnumber'd bought that fool a wand.
Fond man, as all his sorrows were too few,
Acquires strange wants that Nature never knew!
By midnight-lamps he emulates the day,
And sleeps, perverse, the chearful funs away ;
From goblets high emboss’d his wine must glide;
Round his clos'd fight the gorgeous curtain flide;
Fruits, ere their time, to grace his pomp, mụst rise,
And three untasted courses glut his eyes.
For this are Nature's gentle calls with tood,
The voice of conscience, and the bonds of blood !
This, Wisdom, thy reward for ev'ry pain !
And this, gay Glory, all thy mighty gain!
Fair phantoms, woo'd and fcoru'd from age to age,
Since bards began to laugh, or priests to rage :
And yet, just curse on man's aspiring kind,
Prone to ambition, ta example blind,