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ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING LINES.
By LORD HERVEY.
TOO well these lines that fatal truth declare, Which long I've known, yet now I blush to hear. But say, what hopes thy fond ill-fated love? What can it hope, though mutual it should prove? This little form is fair in vain for you, In vain for me thy honest heart is true; For would'st thou fix dishonour on my name, And give me up to penitence and shame? Or gild my ruin with the name of wife, And make me a poor virtuous wretch for life? Could'st thou submit to wear the marriage chain, (Too sure a cure for all thy present pain), . No saffron robe for us the godhead wears, His torch inverted, and his face in tears.
Though every softer wish were amply crown’d, Love soon would cease to smile, where Fortune
frown'd: Then would thy soul my fond consent deplore, And blame what it solicited before; Thy own exhausted would reproach my truth, And say I had undone thy blinded youth ; That I had damp'd AMBITION's nobler flame, Eclips'd thy talents, and obscur'd thy fame; To madrigals and odes that wit confin’d, That would in senates or in courts have shin'd, Gloriously active in thy country's cause, Asserting freedom, and enacting laws.
Or say, at best, that negatively kind
106 ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING LINES.
When they shall cry, whose harsh reproof I dread,
These scenes my prudence ushers to my mind, Of all the storms and quicksands I must find, If I embark upon this summer sea, [way. Where Flatt'ry smooths, and Pleasure gilds the Had our ill fate ne'er blown thy dang’rous flame Beyond the limits of a friend's cold name, I might upon that score thy heart receive, And with that guiltless name my own deceive: That commerce now in vain you recommend, I dread the latent lover in the friend; Of ignorance I want the poor excuse, And know, I both must take, or both refuse.
Hear then the safe, the firm resolve I make, Ne'er to encourage one I must forsake. Whilst other maids a shameless path pursue, Neither to int’rest nor to honour true, And, proud to swell the triumph of their eyes, Exult in love from lovers they despise : Their maxims all revers’d I mean to prove, And though I like the lover, quit the love.
ON LADY HAMILTON'S DEPARTURE
. 4 Sicilian Pastoral Song.
O SWAINS of fair Sicily, mourn; .
In fancy, the riv'let appears .
To wander lamenting along;
Sweet ZEPHYRS that wanton'd around,
And eagerly sought for her strains, Now robb’d of the musical sound, Waft only the sigh of the swains.
O swains, &c.