Page images

Soon will resume the empire which he gave,
And soon the tyrant shall become the slave.

Blest is the maid, and worthy to be blest,
Whose' soul, entire by him she loves possest,
Feels every vanity in fondness lost,
And asks no power, but that of pleasing most:
Her's is the bliss, in just return, to prove
The honest warmth of undissembled love;
For her, inconstant man might cease to range,
And gratitude forbid desire to change.

But, lest harsh care the lover's peace destroy,
And roughly blight the tender buds of joy,
Let Reason teach what Passion fain would hide,
That Hymen's bands by Prudence should be tied,
Venus in vain the wedded pair would crown,
If angry Fortune on their union frown :
Soon will the flattering dream of bliss be o'er,
And cloy'd Imagination cheat no more.
Then, waking to the sense of lasting pain,
With mutual tears the nuptial couch they stain;
And that fond love, which should afford relief,
Does but increase the anguish of their grief:
While both could easier their own sorrows bear,
Than the sad knowledge of each other's care.

Yet may you rather feel that virtuous pain, Than sell your violated charms for gain ; Than wed the wretch whom you despise or hate, For the vain glare of useless wealth or state. The most abandon'd prostitutes are they, Who not to love, but avarice, fall a prey : Nor aught avails the specious name of wife; A maid so wedded is a whore for life. E'en in the happiest choice, where favouring

Heaven Has equal love, and easy fortune given, Think not, the husband gain'd, that all is dones The prize of happiness must still be won: And oft, the careless find it to their cost, The lover in the husband may be lost;

The Graçes might alone his heart allure ;
They and the Virtues meeting must secure.

Let e'en your Prudence wear the pleasing dress
Of care for Him, and anxious tenderness.
From kind concern about his weal or woe,
Let each domestic duty seem to flow.
The household sceptre if he bids you bear,
Make it your pride his servant to appear:
Endearing thus the common acts of life,
The mistress still shall charm him in the wife;
And wrinkled age shall unobserv'd come on,
Before his eye perceives one beauty gone :
E'en o'er your cold, your ever-sacred urn,
His constant flame shall unextinguish'd burn.

Thus I, Belinda, would your charms improve,
And form your heart to all the arts of love.
The task were harder, to secure my own
Against the power of those already known :
For well you twist the secret chains that bind
With gentle force the captivated mind,
Skill'd every soft attraction to employ,
Each flattering hope, and each alluring joy;
I own your genius, and from you receive
The rules of pleasing, which to you I give.

To the Memory of Lady Lyttelton. 1747.

Ipse cava solans ægrum testudine amorem,
Te dulcis conjux, te solo in littore secum,
Te veniente die, te decedente capebat,

[ocr errors]


T length escap'd from every human eye,

From every duty, every care, That in my mournful thoughts might claim a sharc, Or force my tears their flowing stream to dry ; Beneath the gloom of this embowering shade, This lone retreat, for tender sorrow made,

I now may give my burden'd heart relief,

And pour forth all my stores of grief;
Of grief surpassing every other woe,
Far as the purest bliss, the happiest love

Can on the ennobled mind bestow,

Exceeds the vulgar joys that move Our gross desires, inelegant and low.

Ye tufted groves, ye gently-falling rills,

Ye high o'ershadowing hills,
Ye lawns gay-smiling with eternal green,'

Oft have you my Lucy seen!
But never shall you now behold her more:

Nor will she now with fond delight,
And taste refin'd your rural charms explore.
Clos'd are those beauteous eyes in endless night,
Those beauteous eyes where beaming us'd to shine
Reason's pure light, and Virtue's spark divine.

Oft would the dryads of these woods rejoice

To hear her heavenly voice ;
For her despising, when she deign'd to sing,

The sweetest songsters of the spring :
The woodlark and the linnet pleas'd no more ;

The nightingale was mute,

And every shepherd's flute
Was cast in silent scorn away,
While all attended to her sweeter lay.
Ye larks and linnets, now resume your song;

And thou, melodious Philomel,

Again thy plaintive story tell; For Death has stopt that tuneful tongue, Whose music could alone your warbling notes excel.'

In yain I look around

O'er all the well-known ground,
My Lucy's wonted footsteps to descry!

Where oft we us'd to walk,

Where oft in tender talk
We saw the summer sun go down the sky;

Nor by yon fountain's side,

Nor where its waters glide
Along the valley, can she now be found :
In all the wide-stretch'd prospect's ample bound

No more my mournful eye

Can aught of her" espy, But the sad sacred earth where her dear relics lie.

O shades of Hagley! where is now your boast?

Your bright inhabitant is lost.
You she preferr'd to all the gay resorts
Where female vanity might wish to shine,
The pomp of cities and the pride of courts.
Her modest beauties shunn'd the public eye:

To your sequester'd dales

And flower-embroider'd vales
From an admiring world she chose to fly :
With Nature there retir'd, and Nature's God,

The silent paths of wisdom trod,
And banish'd every passion from her breast,

But those, the gentlest and the best,
Whose holy flames with energy divine

The virtuous heart enliven and improve, The conjugal and the maternal love.

Sweet babes, who, like the little playful fawns, Were wont to trip along these verdant lawns

By your delighted mother's side,

Who now your infant steps shall guide ? Ah! where is now the hand whose tender care To every virtue would have form’d your youth, And strew'd with flowers the thorny ways of truth?

O loss beyond repair! O wretched father ! left alone, To weep their dire misfortune, and thy own! How shall thy weaken'd mind, oppress'd with woe,

And drooping o'er thy Lucy's grave, Perform the duties that you doubly owe!

Now she, alas! is gone From folly and from vice their helpless age to save?

Where were ye, Muses, when relentless Fate
From these fond arms your fair disciple tore ;

From these fond arms, that vainly strove

With hapless ineffectual love
To guard her bosom from the mortal blow?

Could not your favouring power, Aonian maids, Could not, alas ! your power prolong her date,

For whom so oft in these inspiring shades,
Or under Campden's moss-clad mountains hoar,

You open'd all your sacred store,
Whate'er your ancient sages taught,

Your ancient bards sublimely thought,
And bade her raptur'd breast with all your spirit glow?

Nor then did Pindus or Castalia's plain,
Or Aganippe's fount, your steps detain,
Nor in the Thespian vallies did you play ;

Nor then on Mincio's bank

Beset with osiers dank,
Nor where Clitumnus rolls his gentle stream,

Nor where, through hanging woods,
Steep Anio pours his floods,
Nor yet where Meles or Ilissus stray.
Ill does it now beseem,

That, of your guardian care bereft,
To dire disease and death your darling should be left.

Now what avails it that in early bloom,

When light fantastic toys

Are all her sex's joys, With you she search'd the wit of Greece and Rome;

And all that in her latter days,

To emulate her ancient praise, Italia's happy genius could produce;

Or what the Gallic fire

Bright sparkling could inspire,
By all the Graces temper'd and refin'd;

Or what in Britain's isle,

Most favour'd with your smile,
The powers of Reason and of Fancy join'd


« PreviousContinue »