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Too sharply, Tancred, by thy pride betray'd,
But leaving that; search we the secret springs,
skill, Like liberty indulged, with choice of good or ill. Thus born alike, from virtue first began The difference that distinguish'd man from man : He claim'd no title from descent of blood, But that which made him noble made him good. Warm’d with more particles of heavenly flame, He wing’d' his upward flight, and soard to fame; The rest remain'd below, a tribe without a name.
This law, though custom now diverts the course, As nature's institute, is yet in force; Uncancell'd, though disused: and he, whose mind Is virtuous, is alone of noble kind; Though poor in fortune, of celestial race; And he commits the crime, who calls him base.
Now lay the line, and measure all thy court By inward virtue, not external port, And find whom justly to prefer above The man on whoin my judgment placed my love; So shalt thou see his parts and person shine, And, thus compared, the rest a base degenerate line. Nor took I, when I first survey'd thy court, His valour or his virtues on report; But trusted what I ought to trust alone, Relying on thy eyes, and not my own; Thy praise (and thine was then the public voice) First recommended Guiscard to my choice: Directed thus by thee; I look'd, and found A man I thought deserving to be crown'd; First by my father pointed to my sight, Nor less conspicuous by his native light; His mind, his mien, the features of his face, Excelling all the rest of human race: These were thy thoughts, and thou could'st judge
aright, Till interest made a jaundice in thy sight. O should I grant thou didst not rightly see, Then thou wertfirstdeceived, and I deceived by thee, But if thou shalt allege, through pride of mind. Thy blood with one of base condition joind, 'Tis false; for 'tis not baseness to be poor : His poverty augments thy crime the more; Upbraids thy justice with the scant regard Of worth; whom princès praise, they should reward, Are these the kings entrusted by the crowd With wealth, to be dispensed for common good ?
The people sweat not for their king's delight,
For the remaining doubt of thy decree,
Away! with women weep, and leave me here,
She said ; nor did her father fail to find, In all she spoke, the greatness of her mind; Yet thought she was not obstinate to die, Nor deem'd the death she promised was so nigh. Secure in this belief, he left the dame, Resolved to spare her life, and save her shame But that detested object to remove, To wreck his vengeance, and to cure her love.
Intent on this, a secret order sign'd The death of Guiscard to his guards enjoin'd; Strangling was chosen, and the night the time; A mute revenge, and blind as was the crime. His faithful heart, a bloody sacrifice, Torn from his breast, to glut the tyrant's eyes, Closed the severe command; for (slaves to pay) What kings decree, the soldier must obey : Waged against foes; and when the wars are o'er, Fit only to maintain despotic power; Dangerous to freedom, and desired alone By kings, who seek an arbitrary throne.* Such were these guards; as ready to have slain The prince himself, allured with greater gain : So was the charge perform'd with better will, By men inured to blood, and exercised in ill.
Now, though the sullen sire had eased his mind, The pomp of his revenge was yet behind, , A pomp prepared tograce the present he design'd. A goblet rich with gems, and rough with gold, Of depth and breadth the precious pledge to hold, With cruel care he chose ; the hollow part Inclosed, the lid conceal'd the lover's heart. Then of his trusted mischiefs one he sent, And bade him, with these words, the gift present:
Thy father sends thee this to cheer thy breast, “ And glad thy sight with what thou lov'st the best; “ As thou hast pleased his eyes, and joy'd his mind, “ With what he loved the most of human kind."
Ere this, the royal dame, who well had weigh'd The consequence of what her sire had said, Fix'd on her fate, against the expected hour, Procured the means to have it in her power:
* The dispute between William and his Parliament about his favourite Dutch guards, was obviously in Dryden's recollection.
For this, she had distilld, with early care,
At this she curb'd a groan, that else had come,
The messenger despatch'd, again she view'd The loved remains, and, sighing, thus pursued :Source of my life, and lord of my desires, In whom I lived, with whom my soul expires !
, Poor heart ! no more the spring of vital heat; Cursed be the hands that tore thee from thy seat ! The course is finish'd which thy fates decreed, And thou from thy corporeal prison freed : Soon hast thou reach'd the goal with mended pace : A world of woes despatch'd in little space.