Page images

Tho' Virtue's awful form my foul approves,
"Tis thine, thine only, Zara, that it loves!
A private lot had made the claim but one,
The prince alone muft love for virtue fhun.
Ah! why diftinguish'd from the happier crowd,
To me the blifs of millions difallow'd?
Why was I fingled for imperial fway,
Since love and duty point a different way?

Fix'd the dread voyage, and the day decreed,
When, duty's victim, love was doom'd to bleed;
Too well my mem'ry can thefe fcenes renew,
We met to figh, to weep our laft adieu.

That confcious palm, beneath whose tow'ring shade
So oft our vows of mutual love were made;
Where hope so oft anticipated joy,

And plann'd, of future years, the best employ ;
That palm was witness to the tears we shed,
When that fond hope, and all those joys were fied.
Thy trembling lips, with trembling lips I prefs'd,
And held thee panting to my panting breast :
Our forrow, grown too mighty to fuftain,
Now fnatch'd us, fainting, from the fenfe of pain.
Together finking in the trance divine,

I caught thy fleeting foul, and gave thee mine!
O blefs'd oblivion of tormenting care!

O why recall'd to life and to defpair!

The dreadful fummons came, to part-and why?
Why not the kinder fummons, but to die?
To die together, were to part no more,
To land in fafety on fome peaceful fhore,
Where love's the business of immortal life,
And happy spirits only guess at ftrife.

as Zara kind

• If in fome diftant land my prince fhould find
Some nymph more fair,' you cry'd,
Mysterious doubt! which could at once impart
Relief to mine, and anguish to thy heart.


Still let me triumph in the fear exprefs'd,

The voice of love that whisper'd in thy breaft:
Nor call me cruel; for my truth fhall prove
'Twas but the vain anxiety of love.

Torn from thy fond embrace, the ftrand I gain,
Where mourning friends inflict fuperfluous pain;
My father there his ftruggling fighs fupprefs'd,
And, in dumb anguish, clafp'd me to his breast;
Then fought (conceal'd the conflict of his mind)
To give the fortitude he could not find;

Each life-taught precept kindly he renew'd,

[ocr errors]

Thy country's good,' said he, be fill purfu'd!
If, when the gracious gods my fon reftore,

• These eyes shall fleep in death, to wake no more;
• If then these limbs, that now in age decay,
• Shall mould'ring mix with earth's parental clay;
Round my green tomb perform the facred rite,
Affume my throne, and let thy yoke be light;
From lands of freedom glorious precepts bring,
And reign at once a father and a king!'
How vainly proud the arrogantly great
Prefume to boaft a monarch's godlike state!
Subject, alike, the peafant and the king,
To life's dark ills, and care's corroding fting,
From guilt and fraud, that strike in filence fure,
No shield can guard us, and no arms fecure :
By thefe, my fair, fubdu'd, thy prince was loft,
A naked captive on a barb'rous coaft!

[ocr errors]

Nurtur'd in eafe, a thousand fervants round,
My wants prevented, and my wishes crown'd,
No painful labours ftretch'd the tedious day,
On downy feet my moments danc'd away.
Where'er I look'd, officious courtiers bow'd,
Where'er I pass'd, a fhouting people croud;
No fears intruded on the joys I knew ;
Each man my friend, my lovely mistress you!


What dreadful change! abandon'd and alone,
The shouted prince is now a flave unknown;
To watch his eye no bending courtiers wait,
No hailing crowds proclaim his regal state;
A flave condemn'd, with unrewarded toil,
To turn, from morn to eve, a búrning foil.
Fainting beneath the fun's meridian heat,

[ocr errors]

Rouz'd by the scourge, the taunting jeft I meet:
Thanks to thy friends,' they cry, whofe care recalls
A prince to life, in whom a nation falls!'

Unwholesome scraps my ftrength but half fustain'd,
From corners glean'd, and e'en by dogs difdain'd;
At night I mingled with a wretched crew,
Who, by long ufe, with woe familiar grew ;

Of manners brutifh, mercilefs, and rade,
They mock'd my fufferings, and my pangs renew'd:
In groans, not fleep, I pafs'd the weary night,
And rofe to labour with the morning light.

Yet, thus of dignity and ease beguild,
Thus fcorn'd and fcourg'd, infulted and revil'd,
If Heav'n with thee my faithful arms had bless'd,
And fill'd with love my intervals of rest,
Short tho' they were, my foul had never known
One fecret wish to glitter on a throne;
The toilfome day had heard no figh of mine,
Nor stripes, nor scorn, had urg'd me to repine.
A monarch, ftill beyond a monarch bless'd,
Thy love my diadem, my throne thy breaft;
My courtiers, watchful of my looks, thy eyes,
Should thine, perfuade, and Hatter, and advise;
Thy voice my mufick, and thy arms fhould be-
Ah! not the prison of a flave in me!

Could I with infamy content remain,

And wish thy lovely form to fhare my chain?

Could this bring eafe!. Forgive th' unworthy thought,
And let the love that finn'd atone the fault.


Could I, a flave, and hopeless to be free,
Crawl, tamely recent from the fcourge, to thee?
Thy blooming beauties could these arms embrace?
My guilty joys enflave an infant race?
No! rather blaft me lightnings, whirlwinds tear,
And drive these limbs in atoms thro' the air!
Rather than this, O curfe me ftill with life!
And let my Zara fmile a rival's wife!
Be mine alone th' accumulated woe,
Nor let me propagate my curfe below!

But, from this dreadful fcene, with joy I turn:
To truft in Heav'n, of me let Zara learn.
The wretch, the fordid hypocrite, who fold
His charge, an unfufpecting prince, for gold,
That Juftice mark'd, whofe eyes can never fleep,
And death commiffion'd, fmote him on the deep.
The gen'rous crew their port in fafety gain,
And tell my mournful tale, nor tell in vain ;
The king with horror of th' atrocious deed,
In hafte commanded, and the flave was freed..
No more Britannia's cheek, the blush of fhame,
Burns for my wrongs, her king restores her fame!
Propitious gales, to Freedom's happy shore
Waft me triumphant, and the prince reftore;
Whate'er is great and gay around me shine,
And all the splendor of a court is mine!
Here Knowledge, too, by piety refin'd,

Sheds a bright radiance o'er my bright'ning mind;
From earth I travel upward to the sky;

[ocr errors]

I learn to live, to reign, yet more-to die.
O! I have tales to tell of Love Divine;
Such blissful tidings! they fhall foon be thine.
I long to tell thée, what, amaz'd, I fee,
What habits, buildings, trades, and polity!
How art and nature vie to entertain

In publick fhows, and mix delight with pain.

[blocks in formation]

O Zara! here, a ftory like my own *,

With mimick skill, in borrow'd names, was shown
An Indian chief, like me, by fraud betray'd,
And partner in his woes an Indian maid.
I can't recal the scenes, 'tis pain too great;
And, if recall'd, fhould fhudder to relate!

To write the wonders here, I strive in vain ;
Each word would ask a thousand to explain.
The time shall come, O fpeed the lingering hour!
When Zara's charms fhall lend defcription pow'r;
When plac❜d beside thee in the cool alcove,
Or thro' the green favannahs as we rove,'
The frequent kifs fhall interrupt the tale,
And looks shall speak my sense, tho' language fail.
Then fhall the prodigies that round me rife,
Fill thy dear bofom with a sweet furprize ;
Then all my knowledge to thy faithful heart,
With danger gain'd, fecurely F'll'impart,
Methinks I fee thy changing looks exprefs
Th' alternate fenfe of pleafure and distress;
As all the windings of my fate I trace,
And wing thy fancy fwift from place to place.
Yet where, alas! has flatt'ring thought convey'd
The ravish'd lover with his darling maid?
Between us ftill unmeafür'd ocean's roll,

Which hoftile barks infest, and ftorms controul.
Be calm, my bofom, fince th' unmeafur'd main,
And hostile barks, and storms, are God's domain:
He rules refiftlefs, and his pow'r fhall guide
My life in fafety o'er the roaring tide;

Shall blefs the love that's built on Virtue's base,
And spare me to evangelize my race.

Farewel thy prince ftill lives, and ftill is free:
Farewel! hope all things, and remember me.

He alludes to the play of Oroonoko; at which he was prefent, and fo affected as to be unable to continue, during it's performance, in the house.


« PreviousContinue »