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In the afflicted fair ; adown her cheek
SINCERE, O tell me, hast thou felt a pain, Emma, beyond what woman knows to feign? Has thy uncertain bosom ever strove With the first turnults of a real love? Hast thou now dreaded, and now blest his sway, By turns averse, and joyful to obey ? Thy virgin softness hast thou e'er bewail'd, As Reason yielded, and as Love prevail'J? And wept the potent god's resistless dart, His killing pleasure, his ecstatic smart, And heavenly poison thrilling through thy heart? If so, with pity view my wretched state ; At least deplore, and then forget my fate : To some more happy knight reserve thy charms, By Fortune favour'd, and successful arms; And only, as the Sun's revolving ray Brings back each year this melancholy day, Permit one sigh, and set apart one tear, To an abandon'd exile's endless care. For me, alas ! out-cast of human race, Love's anger only waits, and dire disgrace; For, lo! these hands in murther are imbrued ; These trembling feet by Justice are pursued : Fate calls aloud, and hastens me away; A shameful death attends my longer stay;
And I this night must fly from thee and love, Condemn’d in lonely woods, a banish'd man, to rove.
What is our bliss, that changeth with the Moon ? And day of life, that darkens ere 'tis noon? What is true passion, if unblest it dies ? And where is Emma's joy, if Henry flies ? If love, alas! be pain ; the pain I bear No thought can figure, and no tongue declare. Ne'er faithful woman felt, nor false one feign'd, The flames which long have in my bosom reign'd: The god of love himself inhabits there, With all his rage, and dread, and grief, and care, His complement of stores, and total war.
( ! cease then coldly to suspect my love; And let my deed at least
Let prudence yet obstruct thy venturous way; And take good heed, what men will think and say,
That beauteous Emma vagrant courses took ;
Let Emma's hapless case be falsely told By the rash young, or the ill-natur'd old : Let every tongue its various censures choose; Absolve with coldness, or with spite accuse : Fair Truth, at last, her radiant beams will raise ; And Malice vanquish'd heightens Virtue's praise. Let then thy favour but indulge my fight; 0! let my presence make thy travels light; And potent Venus shall exalt my name Above the rumours of censorious Fame; Nor from that busy demon's restless power Will ever Emma other grace implore, Than that this truth should to the world be known, That I, of all mankind, have lov'd but thee alone.
But canst thou wield the sword, and bend the bow? With active force repel the sturdy foe?
When the loud tumult speaks the battle nigh,
With fatal certainty Thalestris knew
Near thee, mistrust not, constant I'll abide,
thou bleed; To stop the wounds, my finest lawn I'd tear, Wash them with tears, and wipe them with my hair ; Blest, when my dangers and my toils have shown That I, of all mankind, could love but thee alone.
But canst thou, tender maid, canst thou sustain Afflictive want, or hunger's pressing pain ? Those limbs, in lawn and softest silk array'd, From sun-beams guarded, and of winds afraid, Can they bear angry Jove ? can they resist The parching dog-star, and the bleak north-east? When, chill'd by adverse snows and beating rain, We tread with weary steps the longsome plain ; When with hard toil we seek our evening food, Berries and acorns from the neighbouring wood; And find among the cliffs no other house But the thin covert of some gather'd boughs ; Wilt thou not then reluctant send thine eye Around the dreary waste, and, weeping, try (Though then, alas! that trial be too late) To find thy father's hospitable gate, And seats, where ease and plenty brooding sate ? Those seats, whence long excluded, thou must
That gate, for ever barr'd to thy return;
Thy rise of fortune did I only wed,