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Condemn'd eternal changes to purfue,
Tir'd with the laft, and eager of the new.
I bad the virgins and the youth advance,
To temper mufic with the fprightly dance.
l m vain ! too low the mimic-motions feem ;
What takes our heart, muft merit our efteem.
Nature, I thought, perform'd too mean a part,
Forming her movements to the rules of art ;
And vex'd I found, that the mufician's hand .
Had o'ef the dancer's mind too great command.
I dramk; I lik'd it not: *twas rage ; 'twas moife;
An airy fcene of tranfitory joys.
In vain I trufted, that the flowing bowl
Would banifh forrow, and enlarge the foul.
To the late revel, and protra&ted feaft
Wild dreams fucceeded, and diforder*d reft ;
And, as at dawn of morn fair reafon's light
Broke through the fumes and phantoms of the night ;
What had been faid, I afk'd my foul, what done ;
How fiow'd our mirth, and whence the fource begun ?
Perhaps the jeft that charmod the fprightly croud,
And made the jovial table laugh fo loud,
To fome falfe notion ow'd its poor pretence,
To an ambiguous word's perverted fenfe,
To a wild fonnet, or a wanton air, -
Offence and torture to the fober ear:
Perhaps, alas! the pleafing ftream was brought
From this man's error, from another's fault;
From topics which good-nature would forget,
And prudence mention with the laft regret.
Add yet unnumber'd ills, that lie unfeen In the pernicious draught; the word obfcene, Or harfh, which once elanc'd muft ever fly Irrevocable; the too prompt reply, p. Seed of fevere diftruft, and fierce debate; What we fhould fhun, and what we ought to hate. Add too the blood impoverifh'd, and the courfe Of health fuppref$'d, by wine's continu'd force. Unhappy man! whom forrow thus and rage To different ills alternately engage ; Who drinks, alas! but to forget; nor fees, That melancholy floth, fevere difeafe, Μemory confus'd, and interrupted thought, Death's harbingers, lie latent in the draught: And in the flowers that wreath the fparkling bowl. Fell adders hifs, and poifonous ferpents roll. Remains there ought untry'd, that may remove Sicknefs of mind, and heal the bofom ?—Love, Love yet remains: indulge his genial fire, Cherifh fair hope, folicit young defire, And boldly bid thy anxious foul explore This laft great remedy's myfterious power. Why therefore hefitates my doubtful breaft ? Why ceafes it one moment to be bleft? Fly fwift, my friends ; my fervants, fiy; employ Your inftant pains to bring your mafter joy. Let all my wives and concubines be drefs'd; Let them to-night attend the royal feaft ; All Ifrael's beauty, all the foreign fair ; The gifts of princes, or the fpoils of war : ID z Before
Before their monarch they fhall fingly pafs ;
And the moft worthy fhall obtain the grace.
I faid: the feaft was ferv'd; the bowl was crown'd;
To the king's pleafure went the mirthful round:
The women came: as cuftom wills, they paft:
On one, (O that diftinguifh'd one!) I caft
The favourite glance ! O ! yet my mind retains
That fond beginning of my infant pains,
Mature the virgin was, of Egypt's race ; -
Grace fhap'd her limbs, and beauty deck'd her face:
Eafy her motion feem'd, ferene her air ;
Full, though unzon'd, her bofom rofe: her hair
Unty'd, and ignorant of artful aid,
Adown her fhoulders loofely lay difplay'd; . }
And in the jetty curls ten thoufand Cupids play'd,
Fix'd on hercharms, and pleas'd that I could love,
Aid me, my friemds, contribute to approve
Your monarch's blifs, I faid; frefh rofes bring
To ftrew my bed ; *till the impoverifh'd Spring
Confefs her want ; around my amorous head
Be dropping myrrh, and liquid amber fhed,
*Till Arab has no more. From the fòft lyre,
Sweet flute, and ten-ftring'd inflrument, require
Sounds of delight: and thou fair nymph draw nigh ;
Thou in whofe graceful form, and potent eye
Thy mater's joy long fought at length is found ;
And, as thy brow, let my defires be crown'd;.
O favourite virgin, that haft warm'd the breaft, '
Whofe fovereign diétates fubjugate the Eaft!
- I faid ;
I faid; and fudden from the golden throne With a fubmiffive ftep I hafted down, The glowing garland from myhair I took, Love in my heart, obedience in my look ; Prepar'd to place it on her comely head: O favourite virgin! (yet again I faid) Receive the honours deftin'd to thy brow; And O above thy fellows happy thou ! Their duty muft thy fovereign word obey : Rife up, my love, my fair one, come away. What pang, alas! what ecftafy of fmart Tore up my fenfes, and transfix'd my heart ; When fhe with modeft fcorn the wreath return'd, Reclin'd her beauteous neck, and inward mourn'd! Forc'd by my pride, I my concern fupprefs'd, Pretended drowfinefs, and wifh ofreft ; } And fullen I forfook th' imperfe& feaft: Ordering the eunuchs, to whofe proper care Our eaftern grandeur gives th' imprifon'd fair, To lead her forth to a diftinguifh'd bower, And bid her drefs the bed, and wait the hour. Reftlefs I follow'd this obdurate maid (Swift are the fteps that love and anger tread); Approach'd her perfon, courted her embrace, Renew'd my fame, repeated my difgrace; By turns put on the fuppliant, and the lord: Threaten'd this moment, and the next implor'd; Offer'd again the unaccepted wreath, And choice of happy love, or inftant death. D 3 Averfe
Averfe to all her amorous king defir'd,
Far as fhe might, fhe decently retir'd:
And, darting fcorn and forrow from her eyes,
What means, faid fhe, king Solomon the wife ?
This wretched body trembles at your power:
Thus far could fortune, but fhe can no more.
Free to herfelf my potent mind remains; '
Nor fears the viétor's rage, nor feels his chains,
*Tis faid, that thou canft plaufibly difpute,
Supreme of feers ! of angel, man, and brute;
Can*ft plead with fubtle wit and fair difcourfe,
Of paffion's folly, and of reafon's force ;
That to the tribes attentive, thou canft fhow,
Whence their misfortunes, or their bleffings flow ;
That thou in fcience, as in power art great;
And truth and honour on thy edi&ts wait.
Where is that knowledge now, that regal thought,
With juft advice, and timely counfel fraught?
Where now, O judge of Ifrael! does it rove ?—
What in one moment doft thou offer ? Love—-
Love! why 'tis joy or forrow, peace or ftrife ;
*Tis all the colour of remaining life:
And human mifery muft begin or end,
As he becomes a tyrant, or a friend.
Would David's fon, religious, juft, and grave,
To the firft bride-bed of the world receive, ?
A foreigner, a heathen, and a flave ?
Or grant, thy paffion has thefe names deftroy'd ;
That love, like death, makes all diftin&tions void ;