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A falconer Henry is, when Emma hawks : With her of tarfels and of lures he talks. Upon his wrist the towering merlin stands, Practis’d 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 honour'd feather decks her hair. Yet still, as from the sportive field she goes, His down-cast eye reveals his inward woes; And by his look and sorrow is expreft, A nobler game pursued than bird or beast.
A shepherd now along the plain he roves : And, with his jolly pipe, delights the groves. The neighbouring fwains 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 ftrain, With dutiful respect and studious fear; Left any careless sound offend her ear. .
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 beguild; 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 ;
That she shall prove as fortunate as fair ;
And Hymen's choicest gifts are all reservd for her. ;
Now oft' had Henry chang’d his sly disguise,
Unmark’d by all but beauteous Emma's eyes :
Oft had found means alone to see the dame,
And at her feet to breathe his amorous fiame;
And oft' the pangs of absence to remove
By letters, soft interpreters of love :
Till Time and Industry (the mighty two
That bring our wishes nearer to our view)
Made him perceive, that the inclining fair
Receiv'd his vows with no reluctant ear ;
That Venus had confirm’d her equal reign,
And dealt to Emma's heart a share of Henry's pain.
While Cupid smild, by kind occasion bless’d,
And, with the secret kept, the love increas’d;
The amorous youth frequents the filent groves ;
And much he meditates, for much he loves.
He loves, 'tis true; and is belov'd again :
Great are his joys : but will they long remain ?
Emma with smiles receives his present flame;
But, smiling, will she ever be the same?
Beautiful looks are ruld by fickle minds;
And summer seas are turn'd by sudden winds.
Another Love may gain her easy youth :
Time changes thought; and flattery conquers truth. -
O impotent estate of human life !
Where Hope and Fear maintain eternal strife;
Where fleeting joy does lasting doubt inspire ;
And most we question, what we most desire !
Amongst thy various gifts, great Heaven, bestow
Our cup of Love unmix’d; forbear to throw
Bitter ingredients in ; nor pall the draught
With nauseous grief: for our ill-judging thought
Hardly enjoys the pleasurable taste ;
Or deems it not fincere ; or fears it cannot last.
With wishes rais’d, with jealousies opprest,
(Alternate tyrants of the human breast)
By one great trial he resolves to prove
The 'faith of woman, and the force of love.
If scanning Emma’s virtues he may find
That beauteous frame inclose a steady mind,
He'll fix his hope, of future joy secure ;
And live a slave to Hymen's happy power.
But if the fair-one, as he fears, is frail ;
If, pois’d aright in Reason's equal scale,
Light fly her merit, and her faults prevail;
His mind he vows to free from amorous care,
The latent mischief from his heart to tear,
Resume his azure arms, and shine again in war.
South of the castle in a verdant glade
A spreading beech extends her friendly shade: .
Here oft' the Nyinph his breathing vows had heard;
Here oft her filence had her heart declar'd.
As active Spring awak'd her infant buds,
And genial life inform’d the verdant woods ;
Henry, in knots involving Emma's name,
Had half express’d and half conceal'd his flame
Upon this tree: and, as the tender mark
Grew with the year, and widen'd with the bark,
Venus had heard the virgin's foft address,
That, as the wound, the passion might increase.
As potent Nature shed her kindly fhowers,
And deck'd the various mead with opening flowers,
Upon this tree the Nymph’s obliging care
Had left a frequent wreath for Henry's hair ;
Which as with gay delight the lover found,
Pleas’d with his conquest, with her present crown'd,
Glorious through all the plains he oft' had gone,
And to each swain the mystic honour shown ;
The gift ftill prais'd, the giver still unknown.
His secret note the troubled Henry writes:
To the known tree the lovely maid invites :
Imperfect words and dubious terms express,
That unforeseen mischance disturb'd his peace;
That he must fomething to her ear commend,
On which her conduct and his life depend.
Soon as the fair-one had the note receiv'd, The remnant of the day alone she griev'd : For different this from every former note, Which Venus dictated, and Henry wrote ; Which told her all his future hopes were laid On the dear bosom of his Nut-brown Maid ; Which always bless'd her eyes, and own'd her power ; And bid her oft' adieu, yet added more. Now night advanc’d. The house in sleep were laid ; The nurse experienc'd, and the prying maid ; And, last, that sprite, which does inceffant haunt The lover's steps, the ancient maiden-aunt.
To her dear Henry Emma wings her way,
With quicken'd pace repairing forc'd delay;
For Love, fantastic power, that is afraid
To ftir abroad till watchfulness be laid,
Undaunted then o'er cliffs and valleys strays,
And leads his votaries safe through pathless ways,
Not Argus with his hundred eyes shall find
Where Cupid goes ; though he, poor guide ! is blind.
The Maiden first arriving, sent her eye
To ask, if yet its chief delight were nigh:
With fear and with desire, with joy and pain,
She sees, and runs to meet him on the plain.
But oh! his steps proclaim no lover's haite :
On the low ground his fix'd regards are calt;
His artful bosom heaves dissembled fighs;
And tears suborn’d fall copious from his eyes.
With ease, alas ! we credit what we love :
His painted grief does real sorrow move
In the amicted fair; adown her cheek
Trickling the genuine tears their current break;
Attentive stood the mournful Nymph: the Man
Broke silence first : the tale alternate ran.
SINCERE, O tell me, haft thou felt a pain,
Emma, beyond what woman knows to feign?
Has thy uncertain bosom ever strove
With the first tumults of a real love?
Halt thou now dreaded, and now blest his sway, ,
By turns averse, and joyful to obey ?
Vol. XXXIII. " E . ."ti" Thy