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Condemn’d them, or absolv'd them by thy test.
In comely figure rang'd my jewels shone,
Or negligently plac'd for thee alone:
For thee again they shall be laid aside;
The woman, Henry, shall put off her pride
For thee: my clothes, my sex, exchang'd for thee,
I'll mingle with the people's wretched lee;
O line extreme of human infamy!
Wanting the scissors, with these hands I'll tear
(If that obstructs my flight) this load of hair.
Black soot, or yellow walnut, shall disgrace
This little red and white of Emma's face.
These nails with scratches shall deform my breast,
Lest by my look or colour be express'd
The mark of aught high-born, orever better dress’d.
Yet in this commerce, under this disguise,
Let me be grateful still to Henry's eyes ;
Lost to the world, let me to him be known:
My fate I can absolve, if he shall own,
That, leaving all mankind, I love but him alo:

HENRY.

O wildest thoughts of an abandon'd mind! Name, habit, parents, woman, left behind, E’en honour dubious, thou preferr'st to go Wild to the woods with me: said Emma so? Or did I dream what Emma never said ? O guilty error! and ( wretched maid ! Whose roving fancy would resolve the same With him, who next shall tempt her easy fame; And blow with empty words the susceptible flame.

Now why should doubtful terms thy mind perplex?
Confess thy frailty, and avow the sex :
No longer loose desire for constant love
Mistake; but

say, ’tis man with whom thou long'st to rove.

EMMA.

Are there not poisons, racks, and flames, and

swords, That Emma thus must die by Henry's words? Yet what could swords or poison, racks or flame, But mangle and disjoint this brittle frame! More fatal Henry's words; they murder Emma's

fame. And fall these sayings from that gentle tongue, Where civil speech and soft persuasion hung; Whose artful sweetness and harmonious strain, Courting my grace, yet courting it in vain, Calld sighs, and tears, and wishes, to its aid ; And, whilst it Henry's glowing flame convey'd, Still blame the coldness of the Nut-brown Maid?

Let envious jealousy and canker'd spite Produce my actions to severest light, And tax my open day, or secret night. Did e'er my tongue speak my unguarded heart The least inclin'd to play the wanton's part? Did e'er my eye one inward thought reveal, Which angels might not hear, and virgins tell? And hast thou, Henry, in my conduct known One fault, but that which I must never own, That I, of all mankind, have lov’d but thee alone?

19

VOL. I.

HENRY.

Vainly thou talk'st of loving me alone :
Each man is man; and all our sex is one.
False are our words, and tickle is our mind :
Nor in love's ritual can we ever find
Vows made to last, or promises to bind.

By nature prompted, and for empire made,
Alike by strength or cunning we invade:
When arm’d with rage we march against the foe,
We lift the battle-axe, and draw the bow:
When, fir’d with passion, we attack the fair,
Delusive sighs and brittle vows we bear;
Our falsehood and our arms have equal use;
As they our conquest or delight produce.
The foolish heart thou gavist, again receive,
The only boon departing love can give.
To be less wretched, be no longer true;
What strives to fly thee, why shouldst thou pursue?
Forget the present flame, indulge a new;
Single the loveliest of the amorous youth ;
Ask for his vow; but hope not for his truth.
The next man (and the next thou shalt believe)
Will pawn his gods, intending to deceive;
Will kneel, implore, persist, o'ercome, and leave.
Ilence let thy Cupid aim his arrows right;
Be wise and false, shun trouble, seek delight;
Change thou the first, nor wait thy lover's flight.
Why shouldst thou weep? let nature judge our

case ; I saw thee young and fair; pursued the chase

Of youth and beauty : I another saw
Fairer and younger: yielding to the law
Of our all-ruling mother, I pursued
More youth, more beauty : blest vicissitude!
My active heart still keeps its pristine flame;
The object alter'd, the desire the same.

This younger, fairer, pleads her rightful charms;
With present power compels me to her arms.
And much I fear, from my subjected mind
(If beauty's force to constant love can bind),
That years may roll, ere her turn the maid
Shall weep the fury of my love decay'd ;
And weeping follow me, as thou dost now,
With idle clamours of a broken Vow.

Nor can the wildness of thy wishes err So wide, to hope that thou mayst live with her. Love, well thou know’st, no partnership allows: Cupid averse rejects divided vows : Then from thy foolish heart, vain maid, remove An useless sorrow, and an ill-starr'd love; And leave me, with the fair, at large in woods to

rove.

EMMA.

Are we in life through one great error led ? Is each man perjur’d, and each nymph betray'd i Of the superior sex art thou the worst? Am I of mine the most completely curst ? Yet let me go with thee; and going prove, From what I will endure, how much I love.

This potent beauty, this triumphant fair,

This happy object of our different care,
Iler let me follow; her let me attend
A servant (she may scorn the name of friend).
What she demands, incessant I'll prepare :
I'll weave her garlands; and I'll plait her hair :
My busy diligence shall deck her board
(For there at least I may approach my lord);
And, when her Henry's softer hours advise
His servant's absence, with dejected eyes
Far I'll recede, and sighs forbid to rise.

Yet, when increasing grief brings slow disease ;
And ebbing life, on terms severe as these,
Will have its little lamp no longer fed ;
When Henry's mistress shews him Emma dead ;
Rescue my poor remains from vile neglect :
With virgin honours let my hearse be deckt,
And decent emblem; and at least persuade
This happy nymph, that Emma may be laid
Where thou, dear author of my death, where she,
With frequent eye my sepulchre may see.
The nymph amidst her joys may haply breathe
One pious sigh, reflecting on my death,
And the sad fate which she may one day prove,
Who hopes from Henry's vows eternal love.
And thou forsworn, thou cruel, as thou art,
If Emma's image ever touch'd thy heart ;
Thou sure must give one thought, and drop one

tear To her, whom love abandon'd to despair ; To her, who, dying, on the wounded stone

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