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Where, loft to love, how often has she stray'd!
When the fond lover led his blufhing maid,
When his foft lips, too eloquent his art,
Pour'd the warm wish, and breath'd out all his heart!
Ah, once lov'd feats! your pleasing scenes are o'er,
Nor can you charm, fince he can love no more;
Tho' smile your lawns with vernal glories crown'd,
In vain gay Nature paints th' enamell'd ground;
While thro' your folitary paths I rove,
A prey to grief, to fickness, and to love.
Tho' gentle zephyrs fan the bending bowers,
Tho' breathes the incenfe of your opening flowers,
Nor opening flowers, nor gentle zephyrs charm,
Nor beauteous fcenes a grief like mine difarm :
Fade every flower, and languifh ev'ry sense,
Ye have no fweets for fallen innocence !
Torn by remorse, fad victim of despair,
Where fhall I turn ? or where address my prayer?
Far as the morn it's early beam displays,
Or where the ftar of evening darts it's rays;
Far as wide earth is ftretch'd, or oceans roll,
Where blow the winds, or heaven invefts the pole,
In vain my fluttering foul would 'wing it's way;
Stern Care pursues, where'er the wretched ftray.
Soft God of Sleep, whose ever-peaceful reign
Lulls earth, and heav'n, and all th' extended main,
Powerful to give the labouring heart to reft,
To wipe the tear, and heal the wounded breast,
Say, by what crime offended, flies from me,
Invok'd, thy unpropitious deity?
Or dooms, on racks of wildest Fancy torn,
In dreams, my agonizing foul to mourn ?
Why am I oft on angry billows tofs'd,
Now in fome wide and dreary defart loft?
Why yet in life infernal tortures feel,
Bound by fierce demons to fome rapid wheel?
Now feem to climb, while hills on hills arife,
In vain; or fall in tempefts from the skies:
Tread burning plains, or swim in seas of fire,
Juft reach the fhore, then fee the fhore retire!
As oft, dear youth! thy pleafing form appears;
I stretch my arms, and wake diffolv'd in tears;
Yet waking Fancy all that lofs fupplies,
And ftill I view thee with a lover's eyes ;
Entranc'd in thought, o'er all thy charms I gaze,
See thy bright eyes diffuse their softest rays,
Hang on thy hand, and on thy breast reclin'd,
Play with thy locks that waver with the wind;
Joy in thy joy, or in thy forrows join,
And on thy lips my spirit mix with thine.
Now o'er dark wilds or rugged rocks we stray,
Love lights the gloom, and fmooths the dreary way;
Now on foft banks our weary limbs repose,
Where every flower of vernal beauty glows;
But light as air, each pleasing vifion flew,
Swift as the fun difpels the morning dew;
While with the day returns the fenfe of woe:
We wake more wretched when the cheat we know.
Imagination! miftrefs of the foul,
What powers unfeen the active mind controul?
And fill the waving thought, or bufy fleep?
Where not a breeze difturbs the tranquil deep,
Nor lofty pines thro' all the forest move,
Why ftir the motions of refiftless love?
Urg'd by the golden morn, the night recedes,
And year to year in changeful courfe fucceeds;
Nor night, nor morn, nor years to me restore
The peace which Laura's heart poffefs'd before;
Involv'd in clouds one darksome scene I view;
Bleed the fame wounds, and all my pains renew.
O boaft of Laura's long-forgotten praise !
Paft are the triumphs of my happier days,
When plac'd fupreme on Beauty's radiant throne,
I faw with confcious pride each heart my own;
Where'er I turn'd, a thousand nymphs admir'd;
Whene'er I fmil'd, a thoufand fwains expir'd:
I spoke, 'twas mufick dwelt upon my tongue;
I mov'd a goddess, and an angel sung.
My careless steps in joys were taught to rove;
Each voice was flattery, and each look was love;
But Beauty's power, too mighty long to last,
Fled on the wings of rapid time, is past.
As fome proud veffel to the profperous gale
Her ftreamer waves, and spreads the filken fail,
While filver oars, to flutes foft breathing, fweep,
With measur'd ftrokes, the scarcely heaving deep;
But foon tempeftuous clouds the scene deform,
And the loud furge remurmurs to the storm:
Thus big with hope, from dark fufpicion free,
I fail'd with transport on Life's fummer fea;
The gay attendants of my happy state,
The Smiles, the Graces round were feen to wait,
And all the moments, as they fwiftly flew,
Shower'd down foft joys, and pleasures ever new.
How chang'd this fleeting image of a day!
How fets in awful gloom the ev'ning ray!
While, fix'd on earth her eye in fad fufpenfe,
Pours the deep figh, inceffant Penitence.
If youthful charms decay with age or pain, Beauty, thy crouded worshippers how vain! Why then fuch crowds of incense round afcend?
Why proftrate monarchs at thy altars bend?
Why earth's and ocean's mighty bounds explore
At once to win thee, and increase thy power?
Let fad example Reason's dictates aid!
Here fee what ruin grief and love have made;
E'en Love, who lives by Beauty's fmiles carefs'd,
Bafks in her eyes, and wantons on her breast,
With cruel force the fatal shaft employs,
And fooneft what he most adores destroys.
How cold I feel life's idle current flow,
Where once the dancing fpirits lov'd to glow!
No more thefe eyes with youthful rapture shine,
Nor cheeks foft blushing speak a warmth divine;
Graceful no more amid the festive dance
My fteps with eafy dignity advance,
And all the gloffy locks, whofe ringlets spread,
O'er my fair neck, the honours of my head,
Cease the neat labours of my hand to know;
III fuits the care of elegance with woe!
Why did not Nature, when fhe gave to charm
With unrelenting pride my bofom arm?
Why was my foul it's tender pity taught,
Each foft affection, and each generous thought?
Hence fpring my forrows, hence with fighs I prove
How feeble woman, and how fierce is love!
In unavailing ftreams my tears are shed ;
Sad Laura's blifs is with Lorenzo fled.
For thee, falfe youth, was every joy refign'd,
Young health, fweet peace, and innocence of mind;
Are these the conftant vows thy tongue profefs'd,
When first thy arms my yielding beauties prefs'd?
Thus did thy kifs difpel my empty fears,
Or winning voice delight my raptur'd ears;
Thus fwore thy lips, by ocean, earth, and sky;
By hell's dread powers, and Heaven's all-piercing eye?
Yawns not the grave for thee? why fleeps the ftorm
To blaft thy limbs, and rend thy perjur'd form?
Unmov'd, O faithlefs! canft thou hear my pain,
Like the proud rocks which brave th' unwearied main ?
Sooner the fhipwreck'd pilot shall appease
With fighs and howling winds, with tears the feas,
Than Laura's prayers thy heart unfeeling move,
Oloft to fame, to honour, and to love!
Nurs'd in dark caverns, on fome mountain wild,
To cruel manhood grew the daring child,
No female breast supply'd thy infant food,
But tygers growling o'er their savage brood.
Curs'd be that fatal hour thy charms were seen,
While yet this mind was guiltless and ferene!
With thee, falfe man, I urg'd my hafty flight,
And dar'd the horrors of tempeftuous night,
Nor fear'd with thee thro' plains unknown to rove,
Deaf to the dictates of paternal love.
In vain for me a parent's tears were shed,
And to the grave defcends his hoary head! /
When at my feet entranc'd my lover lay,
And pour'd in tender fighs his foul away,
Fond, foolish heart! to think the tale divine;
Why started not my hands when prefs'd in thine?
Too well remembrance paints the fatal hour
When Love, great conqueror, fummon'd all his power;
When bolder grown, your glances flash'd with fire,
And your pale lips all trembled with defire;
Back to my heart my blood tumultuous flew,
From every pore distill'd the chilling dew,
When Shame presaging spoke each future pain,
And struggling Virtue arm'd my foul in vain!
But, O let filence all my weakness veil,
And burning blufhes only tell the tale!
Ah, faithless man! and thou more wretched maid!
To guilt, and grief, and misery betray'd !
Far flies thy lover: to fome diftant plain
Now cleaves it's bounding bark the peaceful main;
Avenging Heaven, that heard the vows he swore,
Bid howl the blackening ftorm, and thunder roar,
Till waves on waves in tumbling mountains roll,
Now fink to hell, and now afcend the pole ;
Then on some plank o'er foaming billows borne,
Trembling, his perjur'd faith the wretch shall mourn;