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TO MY LORD BUCKHURST.1

10

VERY YOUNG, PLAYING WITH A CAT.
The amorous youth, whose tender breast
Was by his darling cat possest,
Obtained of Venus his desire,
Howe'er irregular his fire.
Nature the power of love obeyed;
The cat became a blushing maid;
And, on the happy change, the boy
Employed his wonder, and his joy.

Take care, O beauteous child, take care,
Lest thou prefer so rash a prayer:
Nor vainly hope, the queen of love
Will e'er thy favourite's charms improve.
O quickly from her shrine retreat;
Or tremble for thy darling's fate.

The queen of love, who soon will see
Her own Adonis live in thee,
Will lightly her first loss deplore;
Will easily forgive the boar:
Her eyes with tears no more will flow;
With jealous rage her breast will glow;
And on her tabby rival's face
She deep will mark her new disgrace.

20

AN ODE. 1 While from our looks, fair nymph, you guess

The secret passions of our mind,
My heavy eyes, you say, confess

A heart to love and grief inclined. 1 Lionel, Duke of Dorset, to whom Prior dedicated the first edition of his pocms.

2 There needs, alas! but little art,

To have this fatal secret found;
With the same ease you threw the dart,

'Tis certain you may show the wound.

3 How can I see you, and not love,

While you as opening east are fair? While cold as northern blasts you prove,

How can I love, and not despair!

4 The wretch in double fetters bound

Your potent mercy may release;
Soon, if my love but once were crowned,

Fair prophetess, my grief would cease.

A SONG.

In vain you tell your parting lover,
You wish fair winds may waft him over.
Alas! what winds can happy prove,
That bear me far from what I love!
Alas! what dangers on the main
Can equal those that I sustain,
From slighted vows, and cold disdain!

Be gentle, and in pity choose
To wish the wildest tempests loose:
That, thrown again upon the coast,
Where first my shipwrecked heart was lost,
I may once more repeat my pain;
Once more in dying notes complain
Of slighted vows, and cold disdain.

10

THE DESPAIRING SHEPHERD. 1 Alexis shunned his fellow swains, Their rural sports, and jocund strains,

(Heaven guard us all from Cupid's bow !) He lost his crook, he left his flocks; And wandering through the lonely rocks,

He nourished endless woe.

2 The nymphs and shepherds round him came: His grief some pity, others blame,

The fatal cause all kindly seek;
He mingled his concern with theirs,
He gave them back their friendly tears,

He sighed, but would not speak.

3 Clorinda came among the rest;
And she too kind concern expressed,

And asked the reason of his woe;
She asked, but with an air and mien,
That made it easily foreseen,

She feared too much to know.

4 The shepherd raised his mournful head; And will you pardon me, he said,

While I the cruel truth reveal; Which nothing from my breast should tear, Which never should offend your ear, But that

you

bid me tell ?

5 'Tis thus I rove, 'tis thus complain, Since you appeared upon the plain;

You are the cause of all my care:

Your eyes ten thousand dangers dart,
Ten thousand torments vex my heart,

I love and I despair.

6 Too much, Alexis, I have heard;
'Tis what I thought; ’tis what I feared:
And yet I pardon you,

I pardon you, she cried;
But

you shall promise ne'er again To breathe your vows, or speak your pain :

He bowed, obeyed, and died !

TO THE HONOURABLE CHARLES

MONTAGUE.1

1 Howe’ER, 'tis well, that while mankind

Through Fate's perverse meander errs, He can imagined pleasures find,

To combat against real cares.

2 Fancies and notions he pursues,

Which ne'er had being but in thought; Each, like the Grecian artist,? woos

The image he himself has wrought.

3 Against experience he believes;

He argues against demonstration;
Pleased, when his reason he deceives;

And sets his judgment by his passion.

4 The hoary fool, who many days

Has struggled with continued sorrow,
Renews his hope, and blindly lays
The desperate bet upon to-morrow.

1 Afterwards Earl of Halifax. - Apelles.

5 To-morrow comes; 'tis noon, 'tis night;
This day like all the former flies:
Yet on he runs, to seek delight
To-morrow, till to-night he dies.

6 Our hopes, like towering falcons, aim
At objects in an airy height;
The little pleasure of the game
Is from afar to view the flight.

7 Our anxious pains we, all the day,
In search of what we like, employ;
Scorning at night the worthless prey,

We find the labour gave the joy.

8 At distance through an artful glass
To the mind's eye things well appear;
They lose their forms, and make a mass
Confused and black if brought too near.

9 If we see right, we see our woes;
Then what avails it to have eyes;
From ignorance our comfort flows.
The only wretched are the wise.

10 We wearied should lie down in death; This cheat of life would take no more; If you thought fame but empty breath; I, Phillis, but a perjured whore.

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