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And Emma and the Nut-brown Maid were one.
As with her stature, still her charms increas'd; Through all the isle her beauty was confess'd. Oh! what perfection must that virgin share, Who fairest is esteem’d, where all are fair! From distant shires repair the noble youth, And find report for once had lessen'd truth. By wonder first, and then by passion mov’d, They came; they saw; they marvell’d; and they
lov’d. By public praises, and by secret sighs, Each own’d the general power of Emma's eyes. In tilts and tournaments the valiant strove, By glorious deeds to purchase Emma's love. In gentle verse the witty told their flame, And grac'd their choicest songs with Emma's
In vain they combated, in vain they writ:
While these in public to the castle came, And by their grandeur justified their flame; More secret ways the careful Henry takes ; His squires, his arms, and equipage forsakes : VOL. I.
In borrow'd name and false attire array'd,
When Emma hunts, in huntsman's habit drest,
A falconer Henry is, when Emma hawks : With her of tarsels 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 downcast eye reveals his inward woes ; And by his look and sorrow is express'd, 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 swains around the stranger
throng, Or to admire, or emulate his song:
While with soft sorrow he renews his lays,
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 reserv’d 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 flame; 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 silent groves ; And much he meditates, for much he loves. He loves : 'tis true; and is beloved 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 ruled 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!
With wishes rais'd, with jealousies opprest,
find That beauteous frame enclose a steady mind, He'll fix his hope, of future joy secure,
And live a slave to Hymen's happy power.
South of the castle, in a verdant glade,
His secret note the troubled Henry writes; To the known tree the lovely maid invites :