« AnteriorContinuar »
And still false-warbling in his cheated ear,
Her siren voice, enchanting, draws him on
To guileful shores, and meads of fatal joy.
Ev'n present, in the very lap of love
Inglorious laid ; while music flows around,
Perfumes, and oils, and wine, and wanton bours;
Amid the roses fierce Repentance rears
Her snaky crest: a quick-returning pang [still,
Shoots through the conscious heart; where honour
And great design, against the oppressive load
Of luxury, by fits, impatient heave.
But absent, what fantastic woes, arous'd, Rage in each thought, by restless musing fed, Chill the warm cheek, and blast the bloom of life? Neglected fortune flies; and sliding swift, Probe into ruin, fall his scorn'd affairs. 'Tis nought but gloom around: the darken'd sun Loses his light. The rosy-bosom'd Spring To weeping Fancy pines; and yon bright arch, Contracted, bends into a dusky vault. All Nature fades extinct; and she alone Heard, felt, and seen, possesses every thought, Fills every sense, and pants in every vein. Books are but formal dulness, tedious friends; And sad amid the social band he sits, Lonely, and unattentive. From his tongue The' unfinish'd period falls: while, borne away On swelling thought, his wafted spirit flies To the vain bosom of his distant fair; And leaves the semblance of a lover, fix'd In melancholy site, with head declin'd, And love-dejected eyes. Sudden he starts, Shook from his tender trance, and restless runs To glimmering shades, and sympathetic glooms;
Where the dun umbrage o'er the falling stream,
Romantic, hangs; there through the pensive dusk
Strays, in heart-thrilling meditation lost,
Indulging all to love : or on the bank
Thrown, amid drooping lilies, swells the breeze
With sighs unceasing, and the brook with tears.
Thus in soft anguishi he consumes the day,
Nor quits his deep retirement, till the Moon
Peeps through the chambers of the fleecy east,
Enlightened by degrees, and in her train
Leads on the gentle Hours; then forth he walks,
Beneath the trembling languish of her beam,
With soften'd soul, and wooes the bird of eve
To mingle woes with his; or, while the world
*And all the sons of Care lie hush'd in sleep,
Associates with the midnight shadows drear;
And, sighing to the lonely taper, pours
His idly-tortur'd heart into the page,
Meant for the moving messenger of love;
Where rapture burns on rapture, every line
With rising frenzy fir'd. But if on bed
Delirious flung, sleep from his pillow flies.
All night he tosses, nor the balmy power
In any posture finds; till the grey Morn
Lifts her pale lustre on the paler wretch,
Exanimate by love: and then perhaps
Exhausted Nature sinks a while to rest,
Still interrupted by distracted dreams,
That o'er the sick imagination rise,
And in black colours paint the mimic scene.
Oft with the enchantress of bis soul he talks ;
Sometimes in crowds distress'd; or if retird
To secret winding flower-enwoven bowers,
Far from the dull impertinence of Man,
Just as he, credulous, his endless cares
Begins to lose in blind oblivious love,
Snatch'd from her yielded hand, he knows not how,
Through forests huge, and long untravel'd heaths
With desolation brown, he wanders waste,
In night and tempest wrapt: or shrinks aghast,
Back, from the bending precipice; or wades
The turbid stream below, and strives to reach
The farther shore; where succourless, and sad,
She with extended arms his aid implores;
But strives in vain; borne by the outrageous flood
To distance down, he rides the ridgy wave,
Or whelm'd beneath the boiling eddy sinks.
These are the charming agonies of love,
Whose misery delights. But through the heart
Shonld jealousy its venom once diffuse,
'Tis then delightful misery no more,
But agony unmix'd, incessant gall,
Corroding every thought, and blasting all
Love's paradise. Ye fairy prospects, then,
Ye beds of roses, and ye bowers of joy,
Farewell! ye gleamings of departed peace,
Shine out your last ! the yellow-tinging plague
Internal vision taints, and in a night
Of livid gloom imagination wraps.
Ah then! instead of love-enliven'd cheeks,
Of sunny features, and of ardent eyes
With flowing rapture bright, dark looks succeed,
Suffus’d and glaring with untender fire ;
A clouded aspect, and a burning check,
Where the whole poison'd soul, malignant, sits,
And frightens love away. Ten thousand fears
Juvented wild, ten thousand frantic views
Of horrid rivals, banging on the charms
For which he melts in fondness, eat him up
With fervent anguish, and consuming rage.
In vain reproaches lend their idle aid,
Deceitful pride, and resolution frail,
Giving false peace a moment. Fancy pours,
Afresh, her beauties on his busy thought,
Her first endearments twining round the soul,
With all the witchcraft of ensnaring love.
Straight the fierce storm involves his mind anew,
Flames through the nerves,and boils along the veins ;
While anxious doubt distracts the torturd heart:
For ev'o the sad assurance of his fears
Were ease to what he feels. Thus the warm youth,
Whom love deludes into his thorny wilds,
Through flowery-tempting paths, or leads a life
Of fever'd rapture, or of cruel care;
His brightest aims extinguish'd all, and all
His lively moments running down to waste.
But happy they! the happiest of their kind!
Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings blend.
'T'is not the coarser tie of human laws,
Unnatural oft and foreign to the mind,
That binds their peace, but harmony itself,
Attuning all their passions into love ;
Where friendship full-exerts her softest power,
Perfect esteem enlivened by desire
Ineffable, and sympathy of soul;
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will,
With boundless confidence: for nought but love
Can answer love, and render bliss secure.
Let him, ungenerous, who, alone intent
To bless himself, from sordid parents buys
The loathing virgin, in eternal care,
Well-merited, consume his nights and days:
Let barbarous nations, whose inhuman love
Is wild desire, fierce as the suns they feel;
Let eastern tyrants, from the light of Heaven
Seclude their bosom-slaves, meanly possessid
Of a mere lifeless, violated form:
While those whom love cements in holy faith,
And equal transport, free as Nature live,
Disdaining fear. What is the world to them,
Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all !
Who in each other clasp whatever fair
High fancy forms, and lavish hearts can wish;
Something than beauty dearer, should they look
Or on the mind, or mind-illumin'd face;
Truth, goodness, honour, harmony, and love,
The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven.
Meantime a smiling offspring rises round,
And mingles both their graces. By degrees,
The human blossom blows; and every day,
Soft as it rolls along, shews some new charm,
The father's lustre, and the mother's bloom.
Then infant reason grows apace, and calls
For the kind hand of an assiduous care.
Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot,
To ponr the fresh instruction o'er the mind,
To breathe the' enlivening spirit, and to fix
The generous purpose in the glowing breast.
Oh, speak the joy! ye, whom the sudden tear
Surprises often, while you look around,
And nothing strikes your eye but sights of bliss,
All various Nature pressing on the heart:
An elegant sufficiency, content,
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books,