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3 Pursue me with satire: what harm is there in 't?
But from all viva voce reflection forbear;
There can be no danger from what thou shalt print:
There may be a little from what thou mayest swear.
ON THE SAME PERSON.
WHILE, faster than his costive brain indites,
Philo's quick hand in flowing letters writes;
His case appears to me like honest Teague's,
When he was run away with, by his legs.
Phoebus, give Philo o'er himself command;
Quicken his senses, or restrain his hand;
Let him be kept from paper, pen, and ink:
So may he cease to write, and learn to think.
“QUID SIT FUTURUM CRAS FUGE
For what to-morrow shall disclose,
May spoil what you to-night propose:
England may change; or Cloe stray:
Love and life are for to-day.
FOUNDED ON THE ANCIENT BALLAD OF THE NUT-BROWN MAID."
TO CLOE. THOU, to whose eyes I bend, at whose command (Though low my voice, though artless be my hand) I take the sprightly reed, and sing, and play, Careless of what the censuring world may say:
Bright Cloe, object of my constant vow, 5
Wilt thou awhile unbend thy serious brow;
Wilt thou with pleasure hearthy lover's strains,
And with one heavenly smile o'erpay his pains?
No longer shall the Nut-brown Maid be old;
Though since her youth three hundred years have roll'd:
At thy desire she shall again be raised; 11
And her reviving charms in lasting verse be praised.
No longer man of woman shall complain,
That he may love, and not be loved again;
That we in vain the fickle sex pursue,
Who change the constant lover for the new.
Whatever has been writ, whatever said,
Of female passion feigned, or faith decayed:
Henceforth shall in my verse refuted stand,
Be said to winds, or writ upon the sand. 20
And, while my notes to future times proclaim
Unconquered love, and ever-during flame;
O fairest of the sex! be thou my Muse:
Deign on my work thy influence to diffuse;
Let me partake the blessings I rehearse,
And grant me, love, the just reward of verse!
As beauty's potent queen, with every grace
That once was Emma's, has adorned thy face;
And as her son has to my bosom dealt
That constant flame, which faithful Henry felt; 30
O let the story with thy life agree,
Let men once more the bright example see;
What Emma was to him, be thou to me.
Nor send me by thy frown from her I love,
Distant and sad, a banished man to rove.
But oh with pity, long-entreated, crown
My pains and hopes; and when thou say'st that one
Of all mankind thou lov'st, oh! think on me alone.
Where beauteous Isis and her husband Tame 89 With mingled waves for ever flow the same, In times of yore an ancient baron lived; Great gifts bestowed, and great respect received. When dreadful Edward with successful care Led his free Britons to the Gallic war, This lord had headed his appointed bands, In firm allegiance to his king's commands; And (all due honours faithfully discharged) Had brought back his paternal coat enlarged With a new mark, the witness of his toil, And no inglorious part of foreign spoil. 50 From the loud camp retired and noisy court, In honourable ease and rural sport, The remnant of his days he safely passed; Nor found they lagged too slow, nor flew too fast. He made his wish with his estate comply, Joyful to live, yet not afraid to die. One child he had, a daughter chaste and fair, His age's comfort, and his fortune's heir; They called her Emma; for the beauteous dame, Who gave the virgin birth, had borne the name; 60 The name the indulgent father doubly loved; For in the child the mother's charms improved. Yet as, when little, round his knees she played, He called her oft in sport his Nut-brown Maid, The friends and tenants took the fondling word (As still they please, who imitate their lord); Usage confirmed what fancy had begun; The mutual terms around the lands were known; And Emma and the Nut-brown Maid were one. As with her stature, still her charms increased; 70 Through all the isle her beauty was confessed. Oh! what perfection must that virgin share,
Who fairest is esteemed, where all are fair! 73
From distant shires repair the noble youth,
And find report for once had lessened truth.
By wonder first, and then by passion moved,
They came, they saw, they marvelled, and they loved.
By public praises, and by secret sighs,
Each owned the general power of Emma's eyes.
In tilts and tournaments the valiant strove, 80
By glorious deeds to purchase Emma's love.
In gentle verse the witty told their flame,
And graced their choicest songs with Emma's name.
In vain they combated, in vain they writ:
Useless their strength, and impotent their wit.
Great Venus only must direct the dart,
Which else will never reach the fair one's heart,
Spite of the attempts of force, and soft effects of art.
Great Venus must prefer the happy one;
In Henry's cause her favour must be shown; 90
And Emma, of mankind, must love but him alone.
While these in public to the castle came,
And by their grandeur justified their flame;
More secret ways the careful Henry takes;
His squires, his arms, and equipage forsakes,
In borrowed name and false attire arrayed,
Oft he finds means to see the beauteous maid.
When Emma hunts, in huntsman's habit dressed, Henry on foot pursues the bounding beast; In his right hand his beechen pole he bears, 100 And graceful at his side his horn he wears. Still to the glade, where she has bent her way, With knowing skill he drives the future prey; Bids her decline the hill, and shun the brake, And shows the path her steed may safest take; Directs her spear to fix the glorious wound,
Pleased in his toils to have her triumph crowned; 107
And blows her praises in no common sound.
A falconer Henry is, when Emma hawks;
With her of tarsels and of lures he talks;
Upon his wrist the towering merlin stands,
Practised to rise, and stoop at her commands.
And when superior now the bird has flown,
And headlong brought the tumbling quarry down;
With humble reverence he accosts the fair,
And with the honoured feather decks her hair.
Yet still, as from the sportive field she goes
His downcast eye reveals his inward woes;
And by his look and sorrow is expressed,
A nobler game pursued than bird or beast. 120
A shepherd now along the plain he roves,
And, with his jolly pipe, delights the groves.
The neighbouring swains around the stranger throng,
Or to admire, or emulate his song;
While with soft sorrow he renews his lays,
Nor heedful of their envy, nor their praise.
But, soon as Emma's eyes adorn the plain,
His notes he raises to a nobler strain,
With dutiful respect, and studious fear;
Lest any careless sound offend her ear. 130
A frantic gipsy now, the house he haunts,
And in wild phrases speaks dissembled wants.
With the fond maids in palmistry he deals:
They tell the secret first, which he reveals;
Says who shall wed, and who shall be beguiled;
What groom shall get, and 'squire maintain the child.
But, when bright Emma would her fortune know,
A softer look unbends his opening brow;
With trembling awe he gazes on her eye,
And in soft accents forms the kind reply; 140