« ZurückWeiter »
Still let me triumph in the fear exprefs'd,
The voice of love that whisper'd in thy breast:
Nor call me cruel; for my truth fhall prove
'Twas but the vain anxiety of love.
Torn from thy fond embrace, the strand I gain,
Where mourning friends inflict fuperfluous pain;
My father there his struggling fighs suppress'd,
And, in dumb anguish, clasp'd me to his breast;
Then fought (conceal'd the conflict of his mind).
To give the fortitude he could not find;
Each life-taught precept kindly he renew'd,
Thy country's good,' faid he, be ftill purfu'd!
If, when the gracious gods my fon restore,
• These eyes shall sleep in death, to wake no more;
If then thefe limbs, that now in age decay,
• Shall mould'ring mix with earth's parental clay;
• Round my green tomb perform the facred rite,
• Affume my throne, and let thy yoke be light;
From lands of freedom glorious precepts bring,
⚫ And reign at once a father and a king !'
How vainly proud the arrogantly great
Prefume to boast a monarch's godlike state!
Subject, alike, the peafant and the king,
To life's dark ills, and care's corroding fting.
From guilt and fraud, that strike in filence sure,
No shield can guard us, and no arms secure :
By thefe, my fair, fubdu'd, thy prince was loft,
A naked captive on a barb'rous coaft!
Nurtur'd in ease, a thousand servants round,
My wants prevented, and my wishes crown'd,
No painful labours ftretch'd the tedious day,
On downy feet my moments danc'd away.
Where'er I look'd, officious courtiers bow'd,
Where'er I pafs'd, a fhouting people croud;
No fears intruded on the joys I knew ;
Each man my friend, my lovely mistress you!
What dreadful change! abandon'd and alone,
The fhouted prince is now a slave unknown;
To watch his eye no bending courtiers wait,
No hailing crowds proclaim his regal state;
A flave condemn'd, with unrewarded toil,
To turn, from morn to eve, a burning foil.
Fainting beneath the fun's meridian heat,
Rouz'd by the fcourge, the taunting jeft I meet:
Thanks to thy friends,' they cry, 'whofe care recalls
A prince to life, in whom a nation falls!?
Unwhole fome scraps my ftrength but half sustain'd,
From corners glean'd, and e'en by dogs disdain'd;
At night I mingled with a wretched crew,
Who, by long ufe, with woe familiar grew;
Of manners brutish, mercilefs, and rude,
They mock'd my fufferings, and my pangs renew'd:
In groans, not fleep, I pafs'd the weary night,
And rofe to labour with the morning light.
Yet, thus of dignity and cafe beguil'd,
Thus fcorn'd and fcourg'd, infulted and revil'd,
If Heav'n with thee my faithful arms had bless'd,
And fill'd with love my intervals of rest,
Short tho' they were, my foul had never known
One fecret wish to glitter on a throne;
The toilfome day had heard no figh of mine,
Nor ftripes, nor fcorn, had urg'd me to repine.
A monarch, ftill beyond a monarch blefs'd,
Thy love my diadem, my throne thy breaft;
My courtiers, watchful of my looks, thy eyes,
Should fhine, perfuade, and flatter, and advise;
Thy voice my mufick, and thy arms fhould be-
Ah! not the prifon of a flave in me!
Could I with infamy content remain,
And wish thy lovely form to fhare my chain?
Could this bring eafe! Forgive th' unworthy thought,
And let the love that finn'd atone the fault.
Could I, a flave, and hopeless to be free,
Crawl, tamely recent from the fcourge, to thee?
Thy blooming beauties could thefe arms embrace?
My guilty joys enslave an infant race?
No! rather blast me lightnings, whirlwinds tear,
And drive these limbs in atoms thro' the air!
Rather than this, O curfe me still with life!
And let my Zara smile a rival's wife!
Be mine alone th' accumulated woe,
Nor let me propagate my curfe below!
But, from this dreadful scene, with joy I turn:
To truft in Heav'n, of me let Zara learn.
The wretch, the fordid hypocrite, who fold
His charge, an unfufpecting prince, for gold,
That Juftice mark'd, whose eyes can never fleep,
And death commiffion'd, fmote him on the deep.
The gen'rous crew their port in fafety gain,
And tell my mournful tale, nor tell in vain ;
The king with horror of th' atrocious deed,
In haste commanded, and the slave was freed.
No more Britannia's cheek, the blush of fhame,
Burns for my wrongs, her king reftores her fame!
Propitious gales, to Freedom's happy fhore
Waft me triumphant, and the prince reftore;
Whate'er is great and gay around me shine,
And all the splendor of a court is mine!
Here Knowledge, too, by piety refin'd,
Sheds a bright radiance o'er my bright'ning mind;
From earth I travel upward to the sky;
I learn to live, to reign, yet more-to die.
O! I have tales to tell of Love Divine ;
Such blissful tidings! they fhall foon be thine.
I long to tell thee, what, amaz'd, I fee,
What habits, buildings, trades, and polity!
How art and nature vie to entertain
In publick shows, and mix delight with pain.
O Zara! here, a ftory like my own *,
With mimick skill, in borrow'd names, was shown;
An Indian chief, like me, by fraud betray'd,
And partner in his woes an Indian maid.
I can't recal the fcenes, 'tis pain too great;
And, if recall'd, fhould fhudder to relate!
To write the wonders here, I ftrive in vain ;
Each word would afk a thousand to explain.
The time shall come, O speed the lingering hour!
When Zara's charms fhall lend description pow'r;
When plac'd beside thee in the cool alcove,
Or thro' the green favannahs as we rove,
The frequent kiss shall interrupt the tale,
And looks shall speak my fenfe, tho' language fail.
Then shall the prodigies that round me rise,
Fill thy dear bofom with a fweet furprize;
Then all my knowledge to thy faithful heart,
With danger gain'd, fecurely. I'll impart.
Methinks I fee thy changing looks exprefs
Th' alternate fenfe of pleasure and distress;
As all the windings of my fate I trace,
And wing thy fancy swift from place to place.
Yet where, alas! has flatt'ring thought convey'd
The ravish'd lover with his darling maid?
Between us ftill unmeafur'd oceans roll,
Which hoftile barks infeft, and ftorms controul.
Be calm, my bofom, fince th' unmeasur'd main,
And hoftile barks, and forms, are God's domain:
He rules refiftlefs, and his pow'r fhall guide
My life in fafety o'er the roaring tide;
Shall blefs the love that's built on Virtue's base,
And spare me to evangelize my race.
Farewel! thy prince ftill lives, and ftill is free;
Farewel! hope all things, and remember me.
He alludes to the play of Oroonoko; at which he was present, and so affected as to be unable to continue, during it's performance, in the house.
AT THE COURT OF ANAMABOE, TO THE AFRICAN PRINCE
Nor warmly paint the paffion that I feel;
My rifing wish should groundless fears confine,
And doubts ungen'rous chill the glowing line;
Would not my prince, with nobler warmth, difdain
That love, as languid, which could ftoop to feign?
Let guilt diffemble-in my faithful breaft
Love reigns unblam'd, and be that love confefs'd.
I give my bofom naked to thy view,
For what has shame with innocence to do?
In fancy now I clafp thee to my heart,
Exchange my vows, and all my joys impart.
I catch new transport from thy speaking eye-
But whence this-fad involuntary figh?
Why pants my bofom with intruding fears?
Why from my eyes diftil unbidden tears?
Why do my hands thus tremble as I write?
Why fades thy lov'd idea from my fight?
O art thou fafe on Britain's happy fhore,
From winds that bellow, and from feas that roar?
And has my prince-(oh, more than mortal pain!)
Betray'd by ruffians, felt the captive's chain?
Bound were thofe limbs, ordain'd alone to prove
The toils of empire, and the fweets of love?
Hold, hold! barbarians of the fiercest kind!
Fear Heav'n's red lightning-'tis a prince ye bind!
A prince whom no indignities could hide,
They knew, prefumptuous! and the gods defy'd.