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Imperfect words and dubious terms express, That unforeseen mischance disturb'd his peace ; That he must something to her ear commend, On which her conduct and his life depend.
Soon as the fair one had the note receiv'd,
On the low ground his fix'd regards are cast ;
With ease, alas ! we credit what we love :
Sincere, O tell me, hast thou felt a pain, Emma, beyond what woman knows to feign ? Has thy uncertain bosom ever strove With the first tumults of a real love? Hast thou now dreaded, and now blest his sway, By turns averse, and joyful to obey ? Thy virgin softness hast thou e'er bewail'd; As Reason yielded, and as Love prevail'd ? And wept the potent god's resistless dart, His killing pleasure, his ecstatic smart, And heavenly poison thrilling through thy heart? If so, with pity view my wretched state ; At least deplore, and then forget my fate : To some more happy knight reserve thy charms By Fortune favour’d, and successful arms : And only, as the sun's revolving ray Brings back each year this melancholy day, Permit one sigh, and set apart one tear, To an abandon’d exile's endless care.
For me, alas ! outcast of human race,
What is our bliss, that changeth with the moon ; And day of life, that darkens ere 'tis noon? What is true passion, if unblest it dies ? And where is Emma's joy, if Henry flies? If love, alas! be pain ; the pain I bear No thought can figure, and no tongue declare. Ne’er faithful woman felt, nor false one feign’d, The flames which long have in my bosom reign’d: The god of love himself inhabits there, With all his rage, and dread, and grief, and care, His complement of stores, and total war.
O! cease then coldly to suspect my love; And let my deed at least my faith approve. Alas! no youth shall my endearments share; Nor day nor night shall interrupt my care ; No future story shall with truth upbraid The cold indifference of the Nut-brown Maid : Nor to hard banishment shall Henry run, While careless Emma sleeps on beds of down. View me resolv'd, where'er thou leadst, to go,
Friend to thy pain, and partner of thy woe;
Let prudence yet obstruct thy venturous way; And take good heed, what men will think and
say: That beauteous Emma vagrant courses took ; Her father's house and civil life forsook ; That, full of youthful blood, and fond of man, She to the woodland with an exile ran. Reflect, that lessen'd fame is ne'er regain'd ; And virgin honour, once, is always stain’d : Timely advis'd, the coming evil shun: Better not do the deed, than weep it done. No penance can absolve our guilty fame ; Nor tears, that wash out sin, can wash out shame. Then fly the sad effects of desperate love: And leave a banish'd man through lonely woods
Let Emma's hapless case be falsely told By the rash young, or the ill-natur’d old : Let every tongue its various censures choose ; Absolve with coldness, or with spite accuse : Fair truth at last her radiant beams will raise; And malice vanquish'd heightens virtue's praise. Let then thy favour but indulge my flight; O ! let my presence make thy travels light;
And potent Venus shall exalt my name,
But canst thou wield the sword, and bend the bow?
With fatal certainty Thalestris knew