« ZurückWeiter »
For O! that nature on my birth had frown'd!
Or fortune fix'd me to some lowly cell!
Then had my bosom 'scap'd this fatal wound,
Nor had I bid these vernal sweets farewel.
But led by fortune's hand, her darling child,
My youth her vain licentious bliss admir'd; In fortune's train the syren flatt'ry smil'd, And rashly hallow'd all her queen inspir'd.
Of folly studious, ev'n of vices vain,
Ah! vices, gilded by the rich and gay!
I chas'd the guileless daughters of the plain!
Nor dropp'd the chase till Jessy was my prey.
Poor artless maid! to stain thy spotless name,
Expense, and art, and toil, united strove ;
To lure a breast that felt the purest flame,
Sustain❜d by virtue, but betray'd by love.
School'd in the science of love's mazy wiles,
I cloth'd each feature with affected scorn;
I spoke of jealous doubts, and fickle smiles,
And feigning, left her anxious and forlorn.
Then, while the fancy'd rage alarm'd her care,
Warm to deny, and zealous to disprove;
I bade my words their wonted softness wear,
And seiz'd the minute of returning love.
To thee, my Damon, dare I paint the rest?
Will yet thy love a candid ear incline?
Assur'd that virtue, by misfortune press'd,
Feels not the sharpness of a pang like mine.
Nine envious moons matur'd her growing shame!
Ere while to flaunt it in the face of day;
When scorn'd of virtue, stigmatiz'd by fame,
Low at my feet desponding Jessy lay.
"Henry," she said, " by thy dear form subdu'd, See the sad relics of a nymph undone ;
I find, I find this rising sob renew❜d:
I sigh in shades, and sicken at the sun.
Amid the dreary gloom of night I cry,
When will the morn's once pleasing scenes return? Yet what can morn's returning ray supply,
But foes that triumph, or but friends that mourn?
Alas! no more the joyous morn appears
That led the tranquil hours of spotless fame!
For I have steep'd a father's couch in tears,
And ting'd a mother's glowing cheek with shame.
The vocal birds that raise their matin strain,
The sportive lambs increase my pensive moan;
All seem to chase me from the cheerful plain,
And talk of truth and innocence alone.
If through the garden's flow'ry tribes I stray,
Where bloom the jes'mins that could once allure,
Hope not to find delight in us, they say,
For we are spotless, Jessy, we are pure.
Ye flow'rs! that well reproach a nymph so frail,
Say, could you with my virgin fame compare?
The brightest bud that scents the vernal gale,
Was not so fragrant, and was not so fair.
Now the grave old alarm the gentler young;
And all my fame's abborr'd contagion flee; Trembles each lip and faulters every tongue, That bids the morn propitious smile on me.
Thus for sake I shun each human eye; your
I bid the sweets of blooming youth adieu; To die I languish but I dread to die,
Lest my sad fate should nourish pangs
Raise me from earth; the pains of want remove,
And let me silent seek some friendly shore; There, only banish'd from the form I love, My weeping virtues shall relapse no more.
Be but my friend! I ask no dearer name ;
Be such the meed of some more artful fair: Nor could it heal my peace, or chase my shame, That pity gave what love refus'd to share.
Force not my tongue to ask its scanty bread,
Nor hurl thy Jessy to the vulgar crew:
Not so the parent's board at which I fed!
Not such the precept from his lips I drew!
Haply when age has silver'd o'er my hair,
Malice may learn to scorn so mean a spoil:
Envy may slight a face no longer fair;
And pity welcome to my native soil."
-nor was I born of savage race; Nor could these hands a niggard boon assign; Grateful she clasp'd me in a last embrace,
And vow'd to waste her life in pray'rs for mine.
I saw her foot the lofty bark ascend;
I saw her breast with ev'ry passion heave; I left her torn from ev'ry earthly friend;
O! hard my bosom, which could bear to leave.
Brief let me be; the fatal storm arose ;
The billows rag'd; the pilot's art was vain :
O'er the tall mast the circling surges close;
My Jessy floats upon the wat❜ry plain!
And see my youth's impetuous fires decay;
Seek not to stop reflection's bitter tear;
But warn the frolic, and instruct the gay,
From Jessy floating on her wat'ry bier!
FAR in a wild unknown to public view,
From youth to age a rev'rend Hermit grew ;
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well:
Remote from man, with GOD he pass'd his days,
Pray'r all his business, all his pleasure praise.
A life so sacred, such serene repose,
Seem'd heaven itself, till one suggestion rose;
That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey,
This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway :
His hopes no more a certain prospect boast,
And all the tenor of his soul is lost:
So when a smooth expanse receives imprest
Calm nature's image on its wat'ry breast,
Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow,
And skies beneath with answ'ring colours glow :
But if a stone the gentle scene divide,
Swift ruffling circles curl on ev'ry side,
And glimm❜ring fragments of a broken sun,
Banks, trees, and skies, in thick disorder run.