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His ball is but a jury, to decide
Upon the merit of his fancied bride.
If sweet Serena, on this signal night,
Shines the first idol of the public fight ;
If gallantry's fixt eyes pronounce her fair,
By the sure sign of one unceasing ftare ;
And if, prophetic of her nobler doom,
Each rival beauty shudders at her bloom ;
The die is caft-he weds—the point is clear ;
She cannot fight the vows of such a Peer.
Thus argued in his mind the festive Earl,
And, left he lightly choose an aukward girl,
Wisely conven'd on this important case,
Each fashionable judge of female grace.
Here Beaux-Esprits in various figures lurk,
Of Jew and Gentile, Bramin, Tartar, Turk,
But of the manly malks, a youthful Bard
Seem'd most to challenge Beauty's soft regard :
Adorn'd with native elegance, he wore,
In simplest form, the minstrel dress of
They call him Edwin, who around him throng,
Edwin, immortaliz'd in Beattie's song ;
And, footh to say, within a comely frame,
He bore a heart that answer'd to the name.
For this neat habit deck'd a generous youth,
Of gentlest manners, and sincereft truth.
Tho' on his birth propitious fortune smild,
No proud parental folly spoil'd the child;
And genius, more beneficently kind,
Bleft with superior wealth his manly mind.
Of years he barely counted twenty-one ;
But, like a brilliant morn, his opening life begun.
Mean while the Earl, his puny love to raise,
Hunted the circling whisper of her praise;
Heard envy own her lively charms, tho' loth,
Heard taste atteft them with a modish oath
And, nuptial projects thickening in his mind,
Now his fair partner in the dance rejoin’d.
As now the sprightly music paus’d, my Lord
Eager resolv'd to touch a fofter chord;
Secure of all repulse, he vainly meant
Half to display, half bide his fond intent,
And, in diffembled paffion's flowery tropes,
To sport at leisure with the Virgin's hopes :
For this he fram'd a motley speech, replete
With amorous compliment and vaiu conceit.
The labour'd nothing with complacent pride
He spoke ; but to his speech no Nymph replied :
For in the moment, the loft Fair devotes
Her willing ear to more attractive notes.
The minstrel happen'd near the nymph to walk,
Rapt with a bofom-friend in secret talk,
And, at the instant when the Earl began
Half to unfold his matrimonial plan,
Edwin, in whispers, from the crowd retir’d,
Chanc'd to repeat the fonnet she inspir'd:
The sounds tho' faint her recollection caught,
Drew her quick eye, and fixt her wondering thought.
Lost in this sweet surprise, she could not hear
A single accent of the amorous Peer.
Spleen saw the moment that she fought to gain,
And perch'd triumphant on the Noble's brain.
With jealous envy ftung, and baffled pride,
“ Contemptuous girl!" with sudden rage he cried,
“ If here to happier youths thy views incline,
“ I want not fairer nymphs who challenge mine.
Thy breast in vain with penitence may burn ;
“ But, once neglected, I no more return.”
Thus loudly speaking, with distemper'd heat,
Rudely he turn'd, with rancorous scorn replete.
Serena, startled at th' injurious sound,
Survey'd th’insulting Peer, who sternly frown'd;
Shame and resentment thro’ her bofom rush,
Swell every vein, and raise the burning blush.
Love, new-born love, but in its birth conceal’d,
Nor to the nymph herself as yet reveal'd,
And just disdain, and anger's honest flame,
With complicated power convulse her frame :
Contending passions every thought confound,
And in tumultuous doubt her soul is drown'd.
EDWIN COMPLETES SERENA'S FELICITY.
'HE disappointed Earl, with fullen air,
On happier Edwin, who approach'd the Fair,
Darts such a glance of rage and envious hate,
As Satan cast on Eden's blissful state,
When on our Parents first he fixt his fight,
And undelighted gaz'd on all delight:
So doom'd to look, and doom'd such pangs to feel,
Scornful he turn’d on his elastic heel.
“ O lovely mildness! oh angelic maid !
“ Deserving homage, tho' to scorn betray'd;
"Rife fill, sweet spirit, rise these wrongs above,
"Turn from injurious pride to faithful love;
" Tho' on my brow no coronet may shine,
“ Wealth I can offer at thy beauty's shrine,
“And, worthier thee, a heart that worships thine."
Thus with new-kindled love's aspiring flame
Spoke the fond youth conceal'd by Edwin's name,
The gallant Falkland, rich in inborn worth,
By fortune blest, and not of abject birth.
Warmly he spoke, with that indignant heat,
With which the generous heart ne'er fails to beat,
When worth insulted wakens virtuous ire,
And injur'd beauty sets the soul on fire.
Quick to his voice the startled virgin turn'da
With wonder, hope, and joy, her bosom burn'd;
With sweet confufion, flurried and amaz'd,
On his attractive form the wildl, gaz’d.
Full on her thought the friendly visions rul’d;
Blushing she view'd him, view'd him ftill and blush'd;
And, foft affection quickening at the fight,
Perchance had swoon'd with fulness of delight,
But that her father's voice with quick controul,
Recall'd the functions of her fainting foul.
When Ou the distant feat, where, fondly fixt,
He view'd the nymph as in the dance she mixt,
He indistinctly heard, with wounded ear,
The spleenful outrage of the angry Peer.
Swift at th' imperfect found, with choler wild,
He sprung to succour his insulted child ;
But ere his fury into language broke,
Love calm’d the storm that arrogance awoke.
The sudden burst of Falkland's tender flame,
His winning manners, his distinguish'd name.
His liberal soul, by fortune's smile carest,
All join’d to harmonize the father's breast.
His fiery thoughts subside in glad surprise,
And to the generous youth he warmly cries :
“ Ingenuous Falkland ! by thy frankness won,
“ My willing heart would own thee as my son ;
“ But on thy hopes Serena muft decide :-
“ Hafte we together from this house of pride."
So spoke the Sire ; for, to her votary kind,
Sophrofyne infpir'd his foften'd mind,
Speaking, he smil'd, to see that on his word
The lover hung, and bleft the founds he heard ;.
That his embarrafs’d child his sentence canght,
With each tumultuous fign of tender thouglit;
Whose blushes, fpringing from the heart, declare
The dawn of fondness in the modest Fair.
Th’enchanted Youth with ecstacy convey'd
Forth from the troubled feast the trembling Maid.
As the keen sailor, whom his daring foul
Has drawn, too vent'rous, near the freezing pole ;
Who, having flighted Caution's tame advice,
Seems wedg'd within impervious worlds of ice;
If, from each chilling form of peril frié,
At length he reach the unincumkür'd fea,
With joy superior to his trapment pain,
Rushes exulting o'er th' expanfive main :
Such strong delight Serena's bofom shar'd,
When sweet reflection to her heart declar'd,