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Yet in his empire o'er thy abje& breaft,
His fames and torments only are expreft:
His rage can in my finiles alone relent;
And all his joys folicit my confent.
Soft love, fpontaneous tree, its parted root
Muft from two hearts with equal vigour fhoot :
Whilft each delighted, and delighting gives
The pleafing ecftacy, which each receives:
Cherifh'd with hope, and fed with joy, it grows:
Its chearful buds their opening bloom difclofe; 3
And round the happy foil difFufive odoür flows.
Ifangry fate that mutual care denies;
The fading plant bewails its due fupplies; 3
Wild with defpair, or fick with grief, it dies.
By force beafts a&t, and are by force reftrain'd:
The human mind by gentle means is gain'd.
Thy ufelefs ftrength, miftaken king, employ:
Sated with rage, and ignorant ofjoy,
Thou fhalt not gain what I deny to yield;
Nor reap the harveft, though thou fpoil'ft the field.
Know, Solomon, thy poor extent offway ;
Contra& thy brow, and Ifrael [hall obey :
But wiiful Love thou muft with fmiles appeafe;
Approach his awful throne by juft degrees;
And, ifthou would'ft be happy, learn to pleafe. }
Not that thofe arts can here fuccefsful prove;
For I am deftin'd for another's love.
Beyond the cruel bounds of thy command,
To my dear equal in my native land,
D 4 My
My plighted vow I gave : I his receiv'd:
Each fwore with truth, with pleafure each believ'd.
The mutual contra&t was to Heaven convey'd :
In equal fcales the bufy angels weigh'd
Its folemn force, and clap'd their wings, and fpread
The lafting roll, recording what we faid.
Now in my heart behold thy poniard ftain'd ;
Take the fad life which I have long difdain*d;
End, in a dying virgin's wretched fate,
Thy ill-ftar'd paffion, and my ftedfaft hate.
For longas blood informs thefe circling veins,
Or fieeting breath its lateft power retains;
Hear me to Egypt's vengeful Gods declare.
Hate is my part : be thine, O King, defpair.
Now ftrike, fhe faid, and open'd bare her breaft ;
Stand it in Judah's chronicles confeft,
That David's fon, by impious paflion mov'd,
Smote a fhe-flave, and murder'd what he lov'd !
Afham'd, confus'd, I ftarted from the bed,
And to my foul yet uncolle&ted, faid :
Into thyfejf, fond Solomon, return ;
Refle& again, and thou again fhalt mourn.
When Ithrough number'd years have Pleafure fought,
Andin vain hope the wanton phantom caught;
To mock my fenfe, and mortify my pride,
*Tis in another's power, and is deny*d.
Am I a king, great Heaven! does life or death
Hang on the wrath, or mercy of my breath ;
While kneeling I my fervant's fmiles implore ;
And one mad damfel dares difpute my power ? > To
To ravifh her! that thought was foon deprefs'd,
Which muft debafe the monarch to the beaft.
To fend hcr back! O whither, and to whom ?
To lands where Solomon muft never come ?
To that infulting rival's happy arms,
For whom, diflaining me, fhe keeps her charms ?
Fantaftic tyrant of the amorous heart ;
How hard thy yoke ! how cruel is thy dart !
Thofe 'fcape thy anger, who refufe thy fway ;
And thofe are punifh'd moft, who moft obey.
See Judah's king revere thy greater power:
What canft thou covet, or how triumph more?
Why then, O Love, with an obdurate ear
Does this proud nymph reje&t a monarch's prayer ?
Why to fome fimple fhepherd does fhe run,
From the fond arms of David's favourite fon ?
Why fiies fhe from the glories of a court,
Where wealth and pleafure may thy reign fupport,
To fome poor cottage on the mountain's brow,
Now bleak with winds, and cover'd now with fnow;
Where pinching want muft curb her warm defires,
And houfhold cares fupprefs thy genial fires?
Too aptly the affli&ted heathens prove
Thy force, while they ere&t the fhrines of Love,
His myftic form the artizans of Greece
In wounded ftone, or molten gold, exprefs: ,
And Cyprus to his godhead pays her vow:
Faft in his hand the idol holds his bow:
A quiver by his fide fuftains his flore
OfPointed darts; fad emblems ofhis power:
A pair of wings he has, which he extends }
Except thou turn'ft thy courfe, refolv'd to bring
The damfel back, and fave the love-fick king !
My foul thus ftruggling in the fatal net, |
lUnable to enjoy, or to forget;
I reafon'd much, alas! but more I lov'd;
Sent and recall'd, ordain'd, and difapprov'd; -
*Till, hopelefs, plung'd in an abyfs ofgrief, 1.
I from neceffity receiv'd relief: |
Time gently aided to affwage my pain ;
And Wifdom took once more the flacken'd rein. i
But O how fhort my interval of woe ! 1 Our griefs how fwift ! our remedies how flow! Another nymph (for fo did Heaven ordain, To change the manner, but renew the pain) Another nymph, amongft the many fair, That made my fofter hours their folemn care, Before the reft affe&ted well to ftand; And watch'd my eye, preventing my command.
Abra, fhe fo was call'd, did fooneft hafle
To grace my prefence; Abra went the laft:
Abra was ready ere I call'd her name ;
And, though I call'd another, Abra came.
Her equals firft obferv'd her growing zeal;
And laughing glofs'd, that Abra ferv*d fo well.
To me her a&tions did unheeded die,
Or were remark'd but with a common eye;
'Till, more appriz'd of what the rumour faid,
More I obferv*d peculiar in the maid.
The fun declin'd had fhot his weftern ray;
When, tir'd with bufinefs of the folemn day,
I purpos'd to unbend the evening hours,
And banquet private in the women's bowers.
I call'd before I fat to wafh my hands:
(For fo the precept of the law commands):
Love had ordain'd, that it was Abra*s turn
To mix the fweets, and minifter the urn.
With awful homage, and fubmiffive dread,
The maid approach'd, on my declining head
To pour the oils : fhe trembled as fhe pour'd;
With an unguarded look fhe now devour'd
My nearer face ; and now recall'd her eye,
And heav'd, and ftrove to hide a fudden figh.
And whence, faid I, canft thou have dread, or pain ?
What can thy imagery of forrow mean?
Secluded from the world, and all its care,
Haft thou to grieve or joy, to hope or fear?
For fure, I added, fure thy little heart