« PrécédentContinuer »
With her, affociate, Pleasure came, Gay Pleasure, frolic-loving dame! Her mien all fwimming in delight,
Her beauties half reveal'd to fight;
Loofe flow'd her garments from the ground, And caught the kiffing winds around,
As erft Medufa's looks were known
To turn beholders into ftone,
A dire reverfion here they felt,
And in the eye of Pleasure melt.
Her glance with fweet perfuafion charm'd,
Unnerv'd the strong, the steel'd disarm'd;
No fafety e'en the flying find,
Who, vent'rous, look but once behind.
Thus was the much-admiring Maid,
While diftant, more than half betray'd.
With fmiles and adulation bland,
They join'd her fide, and feiz'd her hand:
Their touch envenom'd sweets inftill'd,
Her frame with new pulfations thrill'd;
While half confenting, half denying,
and now complying,
Amidft a war of hopes and fears,
Of trembling wishes, fmiling tears,
Still down, and down, the winning pair
Compell'd the ftruggling, yielding Fair.
As when fome stately veffel, bound
To blefs'd Arabia's diftant ground,
Borne from her courfes, haply lights
Where Barca's flow'ry clime invites,
Conceal'd around whose treach'rous land
Lurk the dire rock and dang'rous fand;
The pilot warns, with fail and oar,
To shun the much-fuspected shore,
In vain; the tide, too fubtly strong,
Still bears the wrestling bark along,
Till, found'ring, the refigns to fate,
And finks, o'erwhelm'd, with all her freight.
So, baffling ev'ry bar to fin,
And Heaven's own pilot, plac'd within,
Along the devious, smooth descent,
With pow'rs increasing as they went,
The dames, accuftom'd to fubdue,
As with a rapid current drew,
And o'er the fatal bounds convey'd
The loft, the long-reluctant Maid.
Here ftop, ye fair ones! and beware,
Nor fend your fond affections there;
Yet, yet your darling, now deplor'd,
May turn, to you and heav'n reftor'd:
Till then, with weeping Honour wait,
The fervant of her better fate;
With Honour, left upon the fhore,
Her friend and handmaid now no more;
Nor, with the guilty world, upbraid
The fortunes of a wretch betray'd;
But o'er her failing caft a veil,
Rememb'ring-you yourselves are frail. from all-enquiring light,
Faft fled the conscious fhades of night;
The Damfel, from a fhort repose,
Confounded at her plight, arofe.
As when, with flumb'rous weight oppress'd, Some wealthy miser finks to reft,
Where felons eye the glitt'ring prey,
And fteal his hoard of joys away ;
He, borne where golden Indus streams,
Of pearl and quarry'd di'mond dreams;
Like Midas, turns the glebe to ore,
And ftands all rapt amidst his ftore;
But wakens, naked, and defpoil'd
Of that for which his years had toil'd.
So far'd the Nymph, her treasure flown,
And turn'd, like Niobe, to ftone;
Within, without, obscure and void,
She felt all ravag'd, all destroy'd.
And, O thou curft, infidious coast!
Are these the bleffings thou canst boast ?
Thefe, Virtue! these the joys they find,
Who leave thy heaven-topt hills behind?
Shade me, ye pines! ye caverns, hide!
Ye mountains, cover me! fhe cry'd.
Her trumpet Slander rais'd on high,
And told the tidings to the fky;
Contempt discharg'd a living dart,
A fidelong viper to her heart;
Reproach breath'd poifons o'er her face,
And foil'd and blafted ev'ry grace;
Officious Shame, her handmaid new,
Still turn'd the mirror to her view;
While thofe in crimes the deepest dy'd,
Approach'd, to whiten at her fide.
And ev'ry lew'd infulting dame
Upon her folly rose to fame.
What should fhe do? Attempt once more
To gain the late-deferted shore?
So trufting, back the mourner flew,
As faft the train of fiends purfue.
Again the farther shore's attain'd,
Again the land of virtue gain'd;
But echo gathers in the wind,
And fhews her inftant foes behind.
Amaz'd with headlong speed she tends,
Where late she left an hoft of friends:
Alas! those shrinking friends decline,
Nor longer own that form divine:
With fear they mark the following cry,
And from the lonely trembler fly,
Or backward drive her on the coaft,
Where peace was wreck'd and honour loft.
From earth, thus hoping aid in vain,
To heav'n not daring to complain;
No truce by hoftile clamour given,
And from the face of friendship driven,
The Nymph funk proftrate on the ground,
With all her weight of woes around.
Enthron'd within a circling fky,
Upon a mount, o'er mountains high,
All radiant fat, as in a fhrine,
Virtue, firft effluence divine!
Far, far above the fcenes of woe,
That shut this cloud-wrapt world below; Superior goddess, effence bright,
Beauty of uncreated light,
Whom should mortality furvey,
As doom'd upon a certain day,
The breath of frailty must expire,
The world diffolve in living fire,
The gems of heav'n and solar flame
Be quench'd by her eternal beam,
And Nature, quick'ning in her eye,
To rife a new-born phoenix, die.
Hence, unreveal'd to mortal view,
A veil around her form fhe threw,
Which three fad fifters of the fhade,
Pain, Care, and Melancholy, made.
Through this, her all-enquiring eye,
Attentive from her station high,
Beheld, abandon'd to despair,
The ruins of her fav'rite fair;
And with a voice, whofe awful found
Appal'd the guilty world around,
Bid the tumultuous winds be ftill,
To numbers bow'd each lift'ning hill,
Uncurl'd the furging of the main,
And fmooth'd the thorny bed of pain;
The golden harp of heav'n fhe ftrung,
And thus the tuneful goddess fung:-
Lovely Penitent, arife!
Come, and claim thy kindred skies;
Come! thy fifter angels fay
Thou haft wept thy ftains away.
Let experience now decide
"Twixt the good and evil try'd;
In the fmooth, enchanted ground,
Say, unfold the treasures found.
Structures, rais'd by morning dreams;
Sands, that trip the fitting ftreams;