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Fresh blooming Hope, gay daughter of the sky!
And Faith, our early immortality!
Enter each mild, each amicable guest;
Receive, and wrap me in eternal rest!
See in her cell sad Eloïsa spread,
Propt on some tomb, a neighbour of the dead.
In each low wind methinks a spirit calls,
And more than echoes talk along the walls.
Here, as I watch'd the dying lamps around,
From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound:
“Come, sister, come! (it said, or seem'd to say)
Thy place is here, sad sister, come away;
Once like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray'd,
Love's victim then, though now a sainted maid:
But all is calm in this eternal sleep:
Here grief forgets to groan, and love to weep;
Even superstition loses every fear:
For God, not man, absolves our frailties here."
I come, I come! prepare your roseate bowers,
Celestial palms, and ever-blowing flowers.
Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go,
Where Blames refin'd in breasts seraphic glow:
Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay,
And smooth my passage to the realms of day:
See my lips tremble, and my eye-balls roll,
Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul!
Ah, no-in sacred vestments mayst thou stand, 325
The hallow'd taper trembling in thy hand,
Present the cross before my lifted eye,
Teach me at once, and learn of me to die.
Ah then, thy once-lov'd Eloïsa see!
It will be then no crime to gaze on me;
See from my cheek the transient roses fly!
See the last sparkle languish in my eye!
Till every motion, pulse, and breath be o'er;
And ev'n my Abelard be lov'd no more.
O Death, all-eloquent! you only prove
What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love.
Then too, when fate shall thy fair frame destroy
(That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy,)
In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd,
Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee
From opening skies may streaming glories shine,
And saints embrace thee with a love like mine,
May one kind grave unite each hapless name,
And graft my love immortal on thy fame!
Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er,
When this rebellious heart shall beat no more;
If ever chance two wandering lovers brings
To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs,
O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads,
And drink the falling tears each other sheds;
Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov'd,
"Oh may we never love as these have lov'd!"
From the full choir when loud hosannas rise,
And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice,
Amid that scene if some relenting eye
Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie,
Devotion's self shall steal a thought from Heav'n,
One human tear shall drop, and be forgiv'n.
And sure if fate some future bard shall join,
In sad similitude of griefs to mine,
Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore,
And image charms he must behold no more;
Such if there be, who loves so long, so well,
Let him our sad, our tender story tell;
The well-sung woes will sooth my pensive ghost;
He best can paint 'em who shall feel 'em most; 366
MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
WHAT beck'ning ghost along the moon-light shade
Invites my steps and points to yonder glade?
'Tis she-but why that bleeding boson gor'd!
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in Heav'n, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye pow'rs, her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes,
The glorious faults of angels and of gods:
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
From these, perhaps, (ere Nature bade her die,)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And separate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of death;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball.
Thus shall your wives and thus your children fall;
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates;
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say
(While the long funerals blacken all the way,)
Lo! these were they whose souls the furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow 45 For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
What can atone, (oh, ever injur'd shade!) Thy fate unpity'd, and thy rites unpaid? No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear, Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier. By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd, By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd, By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd, By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd! What though no friends in sable weeds appear, Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year, And bear about the mockery of woe To midnight dances, and the public show? What though no weeping loves thy ashes grace, Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face? What though no sacred earth allow thee room, Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb? Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress'd, And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast: There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow, There the first roses of the year shall blow; While angels with their silver wings o'ershade The ground, now sacred by thy relics made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. 70
How lov'd, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall like those they sung, Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart; 80 Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!
CARDELIA, SMILINDA, LOvet.
Card. THE Basset-table spread, the tallier come,
Why stays Smilinda in the dressing-room?
Rise, pensive nymph! the tallier waits for you.
Smil. Ah, madam! since my Sharper is untrue,
I joyless make my once ador'd Alpeu.
I saw him stand behind Ombrelia's chair,
And whisper with that soft deluding air
And those feign'd sighs which cheat the listening.
Card. Is this the cause of your romantic strains?
A mightier grief my heavy heart sustains;
As you by love, so I by fortune crost;
One, one bad deal, three septlevas have lost.
Smil. Is that the grief which you compare with mine?
With ease the smiles of fortune I resign:
Would all my gold in one bad deal were gone, 15
Were lovely Sharper mine, and mine alone.
Card. A lover lost is but a common care,
And prudent nymphs against that change prepare:
The knave of clubs thrice lost; oh! who could guess
This fatal stroke, this unforeseen distress?
Smil. See Betty Lovet! very à propos.
She all the cares of love and play does know:
Dear Betty shall th' important point decide;
Betty! who oft the pain of each has tried;
Impartial, she shall say who suffers most,
By cards' ill usage, or by lovers lost.
Lov. Tell, tell your griefs, attentive will I stay,
Though time is precious, and I want some tea.
Card. Behold this equipage, by Mathers wrought,
With fifty guineas (a great penn'worth) bought. 30
Sce on the toothpick Mars and Cupid strive,
And both the struggling figures seem alive.
Upon the bottom shines the queen's bright face;
A myrtle foliage round the thimble case,