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Each neighb'ring youth aspir'd to gain her hand,
And many a fuitor came from many a land,
But all in vain each neighb'ring youth aspird,
And distant fuitors all in rain admir'd.
Averse to hear, yet fearful to offend,
The lover the refus'd she made a friend :
Her meek reje&tion wore so mild a face,
More like acceptance seem'd it than disgrace.
Young POLYDORE, the pride of rural swains,
Was wont to visit Belmont's blooming plains.
Who has not heard how Polydore cou'd throw
Th' unerring dart to wound the Aying doe?
How leave the swiftest at the race behind,
How mount the courser, and outstrip the wind ?
With melting sweetness, or with magic fire,
Breathe the loft flute, or ftrike the louder lyre?
From thar fam'd lyre no vulgar music sprung,
The Graces tun'd it and Apollo Atrung,
Apollo too was once a shepherd swain,
And fed the flock, and grac'd the rustic plain,
He taught what charms to rural life belong,
The social sweetness, and the fylvan fong:
He taught fair Wisdom in her
Her joys how precious and her wants how few!
The favage herds in mute attention stood,
And ravith'd Eche fill'd the vocal wood
The facred Sisters, stooping from their sphere,
Forgot their golden harps, intent to hear.
Heaven the scene survey'd with jealous eyes,
And Jove in envy, call'd him to the skies.
Young Polydore was rich in large domains, In smiling pastures, and in flowery plains : With these he boafted each exterior charm, To win the prudeat, and the cold to warm ;
To act the tenderness he never felt,
In forrow foften, and in anguilh melt.
The figh elaborate, the fraudful tear,
The joy dissembled, and the well-feign'd fear,
All these were his; and his the treacherous art
That Ateals the guileless and unpractis'd heart.
Too soon he heard of Lindamira's fame, 'Twas each enamour'd Shepherd's fav’rite theme: Return'd the rising, and the setting fun, The Shepherd's fav'rite theme was never done. They prais'd her wit, her worth, her shape, her air! And even inferior beauties thought her fair.
Such sweet perfection all his wonder mov'd;
He faw, admir'd, nay fancied that he lov d:
But Polydore no real paffion knew,
Loft to all truth in feigning to be true.
No sense of tenderness could warm a heart,
Too proud to feel, too felfish to impart.
Cold as the snows of Rhodope defcend,
And with the chilling waves of Hebrus blend;
So cold the breaft where Vanity prefides,
And mean felf-love the bosom-feelings guides,
Too well he knew to make his conqueit surę,
Win her soft heart, yet keep his own secure.
So oft he told the well imagin'd tale.
So oft he sworem-how should he not prevail ?
Too unsuspecting not to be deceiv'd,
The well-imagined tale the nymph believ'd;
She lov'd the youth, she thought herself belov'd
Nor blush'd to praise whom every maid approv'd.
Alas! that youth from Lindamira far
For newer conquests wages
With other nymphs on other plains he roams,
Where injur'd Lindamira never comes ;
Laughs at her easy faith, insults her woe,
Nor pities tears himself had taught to flow.
And now her eye's soft radiance feem'd to fail, And now the crimson of her cheek grew pale ; The lilly there, in faded beauty, shews Its fickly empire o'er the ranquilh'd rose. Devouring forrow marks her for his prey, And flow and certain mines his filent way. Yet, as apace her ebbing life declin'd, Increafing strength sustain'd her firmer mind. “ O had my heart been, hard as his," she cried, ". An hapless vi&im thus I had not died : " If there be gods, and gods there furely are, * Insulted virtue doubtless is their care. « Then hasten righteous Heaven! my tedious fate, “ Shorten my woes, and end my mortal date : “ Quick let your power transform this failing frame, “ Let me be any thing but what I am! * And fince the cruel woes I'm doom'd to feel, “ Proceed, alas ! from having lov'd too well ; " Grant me fome form where love can have no part, " Nor human weakness reach my guarded heart. “ If pity has not left your blest abodes, " Change me to flinty adamant, ye Gods ; “ To hardest rock, or monumental stone, • Rather than let me know the pangs I've known, 1. So shall I thus no farther torments prove, ** Nor taunting rivals say, 'The died for love.' " For sure if aught can aggravate our fate, " 'Tis scorn, or pity from the breast we hate." She said, the Gods accord the sad request ; For when were pious pray’rs in vain addrest?
Now, strange to tell ! if rural folks say true,
To harden'd Rock the stiffening damfel grew;
No more her shapeless features can be known,
Stone is her body, and her limbs are ftone ;
The growing rock invades her beauteous face,
And quickly petrifies each living grace ;
The stone her ftature nor her shape retains,
The nymph is vanish'd, but the rock remains.
Yet wou'd her heart its vital spirits keep,
And scorn to mingle with the marble heap:
When babbling Fame the fatal tidings bore,
Grief seiz'd the soul of perjur'd Polydore ;
Despair and horror rob'd his soul of relt,
And deep compunction wrung his tortur'd breaft,
Then to the fatal spot in hatte he hied,
And plung'd a deadly poinard in his fide :
He bent his dying eyes upon the stone,
And, " Take sweet maid” he cried, “ my parting
Fainting, the steel he grasp'd, and as he fell,
The weapon pierc'd the Rock he lov'd so well;
The guiltless steel assail'd the mortal part,
And Itabid the vital, vulnerable heart.
The life-blood issuing from the wounded stone,
Blends with the crimson current of his own,
And tho' revolving ages since have past,
The meeting torrents undiminish'd last ;
Still gushes out the fanguine stream amain,
The itanding wonder of the stranger swain.
Now once a year, so rustic records tell,
When o'er the heath resounds the midnight bell;
On eve of Midsummer that foe to sleep,
What time young maids their annual vigils keep.
The * tell-tale Shrub freh gather'd to declare
The swains who false, from those who constant are ;
When ghosts in clanking chains the church-yard walk,
And to the wondering ear of fancy talk:
When the scar'd maid steals trembling thro' the grove,
To kiss the tomb of him who died for love.
When with long watchings, Care, at length oppreft,
Steals broken pauses of uncertain reft ;
Nay Grief short snatches of repose can take,
And nothing but Despair is quite awake,
Then, at that hour, fo ftill, so full of fear,
When all things horrible to thought appear,
Is perjur'd Polydore observ’d to rove
A ghaitly spectre thro' the gloomy grove;
Then to the Rock, the Bleeding Rock repair,
Where sadly fighing, it diffolves to air.
Still when the hour of folemn rites return,
The village train in sad procession mourn ;
Pluck every weed which might the spot disgrace,
And plant the faireft field fow'rs in their place.
Around no poxious plant, or floweret grows,
But the first daffodil, and earlieft rofe :
The snow-drop spreads its whiteft bofom here,
And golden cowslips grace the vernal year ;
Here the pale primrose takes a fairer hue,
And every violet boasts a brighter blue.
Here builds the woodlark, here the faithful dove
Laments her loft, or woods her living love.
Secure from harm is every hallowed nest,
The spot is sacred where true lovers reft.
* Midsummer-men, consulted as oracles by village maids.