תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

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,
The remnant of the day alone she griev’d:
For different this from every former note,
Which Venus dictated, and IIenry wrote;
'Which told her all his future hopes were laid
On the dear bosom of his Nut-brown Maid;
Which always bless'd her eyes, and own’d her power,
And bid her oft adieu, yet added more.
Now night advanced. The house in sleep were laid:
The nurse experienc'd, and the prying maid ;
At last that sprite, which does incessant haunt
The lover's steps, the ancient maiden-aunt.
To her dear Henry Emma wings her way,
With quicken'd pace repairing forc'd delay;
For love, fantastic power, that is afraid
To stir abroad till watchfulness be laid,
Undaunted then o'er cliffs and valleys strays,
And leads his votaries safe through pathless ways
Not Argus with his hundred eyes shall find
Where Cupid goes: though he, poor guide! is

blind.
The maiden first arriving, sent her eye
To ask, if yet its chief delight were nigh:
With fear and with desire, with joy and pain,
She sees, and runs to meet him on the plain.
But oh! his steps proclaim no lover's haste:

On the low ground his fix'd regards are cast ;
His artful bosom heaves dissembled sighs ;
And tears suborn’d fall copious from his eyes.

With ease, alas ! we credit what we love :
His painted grief does real sorrow move
In the afflicted fair ; adown her cheek
Trickling the genuine tears their current-break;
Attentive stood the mournful nymph : the man
Broke silence iirst: the tale alternate ran.

HENRY

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,
Love's anger only waits, and dire disgrace ;
For lo ! these hands in murther are imbrued ;
These trembling feet by justice are pursued :
Fate calls aloud, and hastens me away ;
A shameful death attends my longer stay ;
And I this night must fly from thee and love,
Condemn’d in lonely woods, a banish'd man, to

rove.

EMMA.

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;
For I attest fair Venus and her son,
That I, of all mankind, will love but thee alone.

HENRY.

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

to rove.

EMMA.

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,
Above the rumours of censorious Fame;
Nor from that busy demon's restless power
Will ever Emma other grace implore,
Than that this truth should to the world be known,
That I, of all mankind, have lov'd but thee alone.

HENRY.

[ocr errors]

But canst thou wield the sword, and bend the bow?
With active force repel the sturdy foe?
When the loud tumult speaks the battle nigh,
And winged deaths in whistling arrows fly ;
Wilt thou, though wounded, yet undaunted stay,
Perform thy part, and share the dangerous day?
Then, as thy strength decays, thy heart will fail,
Thy limbs all trembling, and thy cheeks all pale;
With fruitless sorrow, thou, inglorious maid,
Wilt weep thy safety by thy love betray'd :
Then to thy friend, by foes o'ercharg'd, deny
Thy little useless aid, and coward fly : [love
Then wilt thou curse the chance that made thee
A banish'd man, condemn’d in lonely woods to rove.

EMI MIA.

With fatal certainty Thalestris knew
To send the arrow from the twanging yew ;
And, great in arms, and foremost in the war,
Bonduca brandish'd high the British spear.
Could thirst of vengeance and desire of fame
Excite the female breast with martial flame ?

« הקודםהמשך »