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The cave with moss and branches I'll adorn,
And cheerful sit, to wait my lord's return :
And, when thou frequent bring'st the smitten deer
(For feldom, archers say, thy arrows err),
I'll fetch quick fuel from the neighbouring wood,
And strike the sparkling flint, and dress the food;
With humble duty, and officious haste,
I'll cull the furthest mead for thy repast;
The choicest herbs I to thy board will bring,
And draw thy water from the freshest spring :
And, when at night with weary toil opprest,
Soft slumbers thou enjoy'st, and wholesome rest ;
Watchful I'll guard thee, and with midnight prayer
Weary the Gods to keep thee in their care ;
And joyous ask, at morn's returning ray,
If thou hast health, and I may bless the day.
My thoughts shall fix, my latest with depend,
On thee, guide, guardian, kinsman, father, friend:
By all these facred names be Henry known
To Emma's heart'; and grateful let him own
That she, of all mankind, could love but him alone!)
Vainly thou tell’st me, what the woman's care
Shall in the wildness of the wood prepare :
Thou, ere thou goeft, unhappiest of thy kind,
Must leave the habit and the sex behind.
No longer shall thy comely tresses break
In flowing ringlets on thy snowy neck ;
Or sit behind thy head, an ample round,
In graceful braids with various ribbon bound:
No longer shall the bodice aptly lac'd,
From thy full bosom to thy slender waist,
That air and harmony of shape express,
Fine by degrees, and beautifully less :
Nor shall thy lower garments artful plait,
From thy fair fide dependent to thy feet,
Arm their chaste beauties with a modest pride,
And double every charm they seek to hide.
Th’ ambrosial plenty of thy shining air,
Cropt off and lost, scarce lower than thy ear
Shall stand uncouth: a horseman's coat shall hide
Thy taper shape, and comeliness of fide :
The short trunk-hose shall shew thy foot and knee
Licentious, and to common eye-light free:
And, with a bolder stride and looser air,
Mingled with men, a man thou must appear.
Nor solitude, nor gentle peace of mind,
Mistaken maid, shalt thou in forests find :
"Tis long since Cynthia and her train were there,
Or guardian Gods made innocence their care.
Vagrants and outlaws shall offend thy view :
For such muit be my friends, a hideous crew
By adverse fortune mix'd in social ill,
Train’d to assault, and disciplin'd to kill:
Their common loves, a lewd abandon'd pack,
The beadle's lash still flagrant on their back :
By foth corrupted, by disorder fed,
Made bold by want, and prostitute for bread:
With such must Emma hunt the tedious day,
Allift their violence, and divide their prey:
With such she must return at setting light,
Though not partaker, witness of their night.
Thy ear, inur'd to charitable sounds
And pitying love, muft feel the hateful wounds
Of jest obscene and vulgar ribaldry,
The ill-bred question, and the lewd reply ;
Brought by long habitude from bad to worse,
Must hear the frequent oath, the direful curse,
That latest weapon of the wretches' war,
And blasphemy, fad comrade of despair.
Now, Emma, now the last reflection make,
What thou would'st follow, what thou must forsake :
By our ill-omen'd stars, and adverse Heaven,
No middle object to thy choice is given.
Or yield -thy virtue, to attain thy love ;
Or leave a banilh'd man, condemn’d in woods to rove.
Ε Μ Μ Α.
O grief of heart ! that our unhappy fates
Force thee to suffer what thy honour hates :
Mix thee amongst the bad ; or make thee run
Too near the paths which Virtue bids thee fhun.
Yet with her Henry still let Emma go;
With him abhor the vice, but share the woe :
And fure my little heart can never err
Amidst the worst, if Henry still be there.
Our outward act is prompted from within ;
And from the finner's mind proceeds the fin:
By her own choice free Virtue is approv'd;
Nor by the force of outward objects mov'de
Who has affay'd no danger, gains no praise.
In a small isle, amidst the widest seas,
Triumphant Constancy has fix'd her seat:
In vain the Syrens fing, the tempests beat :
Their flattery she rejects, nor fears their threat.
For thee alone these little charms I drest :
Condemn’d them, or abfolv'd them by thy test.
In comely figure rang'd my jewels shone,
Or negligently plac'd for thee alone :
For thee again they shall be laid aside ;
The woman, Henry, shall put off her pride
For thee: my clothes, my sex, exchang’d for thee, 2
I'll mingle with the people's wretched lee;
O line extreme of human infamy!
Wanting the scissars, with these hands I'll tear
(If that obstructs my flight) this load of hair.
Black foot, or yellow walnut, shall disgrace
This little red and white of Emma's face.
These nails with scratches shall deform my breast,
Left by my look or colour be express'd
The mark of aught high-born, or ever better dress’d. J.
Yet in this commerce, under this disguise,
Let me be grateful ftill to Henry's eyes ;
Loft to the world, let me to him be known:
My fate I can absolve, if he shall own
That, leaving all mankind, I love but him alone.
O wildest thought of an abandon'd mind !
Name, habit, parents, woman, left behind,
Ev'n honour dubious, thou preferr'st to go
Wild to the woods with me : said Emma fo?
Or did I dream what Emma never faid ?
O guilty error! and O wretched maid !
Whose roving fancy would resolve the same
With him, who next should tempt her easy fame ;
And blow with empty words the susceptible flame.
Now why should doubtful terms thy mind perplex ?
Confess thy frailty, and avow the sex :
No longer loose desire for constant love
Mistake ; but say, 'tis Man with whom thou long'st to
Are there not poisons, racks, and flames, and swords ;
That Emma thus muft die by Henry's words ?
Yet what could swords or poison, racks or flame,
But mangle and disjoint this brittle frame !
More fatal Henry's words; they murder Emma's
And fall these fayings from that gentle tongue,
Where civil speech and soft persuasion hung;
Whose artful sweetness and harmonious strain,
Courting my grace, yet courting it in vain,
Call'd fighs, and tears, and wishes, to its aid;
And, whilst it Henry's glowing flame convey'd,
Still blam'd the coldness of the Nut-brown Maid?
Let envious jealousy and canker'd spite
Produce my actions to severest light,
And tax my open day, or secret night.