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Not with less horror pale Loëgria shook.
And now the rumour reach'd, where by the banks
Of that fair stream, whose winding course divides
Loëgria from the lands by. Camber ruld,
In dalliance soft, and unsuspecting ease,
With her bis Scythian spouse, the fair Estrildis,
Acknowledg'd now his queen, the monarch lay,
And all the weighty cares of state resign'd.
Rous’d from his dream of bliss, but not dismay'd,
He bids his warlike chiefs appear in arms;
And now in marshall'd ranks his veteran bands
Innumerable, beat th' extended plain
With sounding footsteps, as they move embattled.
Along the files the mighty Locrine darts
Exulting his experienc'd eye, and glows
With the bright hope of promis'd victory.
· He gives the word. As by one soul inform’d,
The marching myriads halt. Around their king
Advancing from the ranks assemble now
The leaders of his battles. Rising slow,
With look compos’d, speaking deliberate courage,
Firm to sustain, not rashly tempting danger,
The monarch thus : “ Brave partners of my toils,“
And partners of my glory; you, who met
With me the bold invader of our realm,
Th' impetuous Humber, when with spoils adorn'a,
And trophies, torn from bleeding Albany,
He passid our limits, and return'd no more.
'Tis mine to mingle where the battle burns,
And bear the death of thousands on my spear.
Yet not in fierce and savage deeds of arms,
Where blind revenge, or lust of conquest drives,
Your king delights. Mine be the sword of justice;
Nor you shall sully your victorious arms
In an unrighteous cause. Then hear, and judge.
If I have wrong'd the banish'd Guendolen,
Or mov'd by mercy, by affection swayed,
To lightest penance doom'd enormous guilt,
The prince appeals his people. To relate
With what fond care, and unsuspecting kindness
I cherish'd that false serpent; what the toils
1 bore, how oft in hardy battle bled
To fix her father's throne, what now avails ?
Not with domestic broils to shake our peace
Content, the sorceress each factious spirit,
All whom the sense of guilt made desperate,
To join in league, and dark conspiracy,
By promis'd gain allur’d, or hope of safety;
That she might hold in bonds our sovereign state,
And trample on our high, imperial crówn.
Yet more, my son,h the destin'd heir of empire,
Her impious arts have from my side seduc'd,
Plac'd in her father's court, and guarded there,
Hostage of my subjection. This I bore,
Studious of public peace, and slow to vengeance.
At length, by long impunity made bold,
She grasp'd my sceptre with more fierce impatience,
And practis'd cursed spells against my life.
Yet mindful of the love I once had borne her,
The glories of her race, our kindred lineage,
Still mercy temper'd justice. From my throne
And bed divorcid, I spar'd her forfeit head.
Now force must win what fraud in vain essay'd,
And bind Loëgria in Cornubian chains.
Nor mov'd alone by love, but public care,
I led Estrildis to the bridal bed.
She is no princess of a rival nation :
Last of a noble race in arms renown'd,
With lineal heroes she may grace the throne,
But not with faction shake it." Locrine thus,
With fair pretence, and specious gloss of words,
Veil'd the foul breach of faith and holy vows.
Not unapproving heard the chiefs : (to them
Dear was his person, dear his martial ardour :) ::
Nor much solicitous, with nice regard,
To weigh the right, avow'd their prince's cause.
Perhaps the pow'rs of heav'n their partial minds
Sway'd to erroneous judgment; that proud guilt
Hurl'd from his high presumptuous hope, though rais'd
On prudent counsels, and on warlike force,
Their justice might to trembling man proclaim,
Each to his post repair’d, and to his troops
Announc'd determin'd war. At once arose
Their universal shout, that shook the sky.
The monarch hears with joy. Meanwhile he seeks.
His fair Estrildis in the secret bower.
All bath'd in tears the pensive nymph he found,
With sad reflection pale, and anxious fears.
Fondly he strain’d her to his manly breast,
And thus: “ Why weeps my love, my best Estrildis? .
Thy Locrine's arm is not unskill'd in war,
· And Fortune bears my standard to the field.”
“ Oh had Estrildis,” thus the queen replied, “ Cut short ev'n in the blossom of her youth, Perish'd ere yet she lisp'd a mother's name;
Ere she had seen a noble father slain,