Sivut kuvina

Who in the garden, with his lovely May,
Sung merrier than the Cuckoo or the Jay:
This was his fong; "Oh kind and conftant be,
"Conftant and kind I'll ever prove to thee."
Thus finging as he went, at laft he drew
By eafy steps, to where the Pear-tree grew;
The longing dame look'd up, and spy'd her Love,
Full fairly perch'd among the boughs above.
She stopp'd, and fighing: Oh good Gods, fhe cry'd,
What pangs, what fudden shoots diftend my fide?
O for that tempting fruit, so fresh, so green ; 721
Help, for the love of Heav'n's immortal Queen;
Help, deareft lord, and fave at once the life
Of thy poor infant, and thy longing wife!

Sore figh'd the Knight to hear his Lady's cry, 725
But could not climb, and had no fervant nigh:
Old as he was, and void of eye-fight too,
What could, alas! a helpless husband do?
And must I languish then, she said, and die,
Yet view the lovely fruit before my eye?
At least, kind Sir, for charity's fweet fake,
Vouchsafe the trunk between your arms to take
Then from your back I might afcend the tree;
Do you but stoop, and leave the rest to me.


With all my foul, he thus reply'd again,
I'd spend my deareft blood to eafe thy pain.
With that, his back against the trunk he bent,
She feiz'd a twig, and up the tree she went.

L 2





Now prove your patience, gentle Ladies all!
Nor let on me your heavy anger fall :
'Tis truth I tell, tho' not in phrase refin'd;
Tho' blunt my tale, yet honeft is my mind.
What feats the lady in the tree might do,
I país, as gambols never known to you;
But fure it was a merrier fit, fhe fwore,
Than in her life fhe ever felt before.



In that nice moment, lo! the wond'ring Knight Look'd out, and ftood reftor'd to fudden fight. Straight on the tree his eager eyes he bent, As one whofe thoughts were on his spouse intent; But when he faw his bofom-wife fo drefs'd, His rage was such as cannot be express'd: Not frantic mothers when their infants die, With louder clamours rend the vaulted sky: He cry'd, he roar'd, he ftorm'd, he tore his hair; Death! hell! and furies! what doft thou do there!



What ails my Lord? the trembling dame reply'd; I thought your patience had been better try'd; Is this your love, ungrateful and unkind, This my reward for having cur'd the blind? Why was I taught to make. my husband fee, By struggling with a man upon a Tree? Did I for this the pow'r of Magic prove? Unhappy wife, whofe crime was too much love!



If this be struggling, by this holy light, 'Tis ftruggling with a vengeance (quoth the Knight);

So Heav'n preserve the fight it has reftor'd,
As with these eyes I plainly faw thee whor❜d;
Whor'd by my flave-perfidious wretch! may
As furely feize thee, as I faw too well.



Guard me, good angels! cry'd the gentle May, Pray Heav'n, this magic work the proper way! Alas, my love! 'tis certain, could you fee, You ne'er had us'd thefe killing words to me: So help me, fates, as 'tis no perfect fight, But fome faint glimm'ring of a doubtful light. What I have faid (quoth he) I must maintain, For by th' immortal pow'rs it seem'd too plain— By all those pow'rs, fome frenzy feiz'd your mind,



(Reply'd the dame) are these the thanks I find?
Wretch that I am, that e'er I was fo kind!
She faid; a rifing figh exprefs'd her woe,
The ready tears apace began to flow,
And as they fell fhe wip'd from either eye
The drops (for women, when they lift, can cry).
The Knight was touch'd; and in his looks appear'd
Signs of remorse, while thus his spouse he chear'd:
Madam, 'tis paft, and my fhort anger o'er!
Come down, and vex your tender heart no more;
Excuse me, dear, if aught amiss was faid,
For, on my foul, amends fhall foon be made :
Let my repentance your forgiveness draw,
By Heav'n, I fwore but what I thought I faw.




Ah, my lov'd lord! 'twas much unkind (fhe cry'd)
On bare fufpicion thus to treat your bride.
But till your sight's establish'd, for a while,
Imperfect objects may your fenfe beguile.
Thus when from fleep we firft our eyes difplay,
The balls are wounded with the piercing ray,
And dusky vapours rife, and intercept the day: 800
So just recov❜ring from the fhades of night,
Your fwimming eyes are drunk with fudden light,
Strange phantoms dance around, and skim before
your fight.

Then, Sir, be cautious, nor too rafhly deem;
Heav'n knows how feldom things are what they feem!
Confult your reason, and you foon shall find 806
'Twas you were jealous, not your wife unkind :
Jove ne'er spoke oracle more true than this,
None judge fo wrong as those who think amifs.

With that she leap'd into her Lord's embrace 810 With well-diffembled virtue in her face.

He hugg'd her clofe, and kifs'd her o'er and o'er,
Disturb'd with doubts and jealoufies no more:
Both, pleas'd and blefs'd, renew'd their mutual vows,
A fruitful wife and a believing spouse.


Thus ends our tale, whose moral next to make,
Let all wife husbands hence example take;
And pray, to crown the pleasure of their lives,
To be fo well deluded by their wives.

THE first dawnings of polite literature in Italy are found in tale-writing and fables.

To produce, and carry on with probability and decorum, a feries of events, is the most difficult work of invention; and if we were minutely to examine the popular stories of every nation, we fhould be amazed to find how few circumftances have been ever invented. Facts and events have been indeed varied and modified; but totally new facts have not been created. The writers of the old romances, from whom Ariofto and Spenfer have borrowed fo largely, are fuppofed to have had copious imaginations; but may they not be indebted, for their invulnerable heroes, their monsters, their enchantments, their gardens of pleasure, their winged steeds, and the like, to the Echidna, to the Circe, to the Medea, to the Achilles, to the Syrens, to the Harpies, to the Phryxus, and the Bellerophon, of the ancients? The cave of Polypheme might furnish out the ideas of their giants, and Andromeda might give occafion for ftories of diftreffed damfels on the point of being devoured by dragons, and delivered at fuch a critical feafon by their favourite Knights. Some faint traditions of the ancients might have been kept glimmering and alive during the whole barbarous ages, as they are called; and it is not impoffible but these have been the parents of the Genii in the Eastern and the Fairies in the Western world. To fay that Amadis and Sir Tristan have a claffical foundation, may, at firft fight, appear parodoxical; but if the subject were examined to the bottom, I am inclined to think, that the wildeft chimeras in those books of chivalry, with which Don Quixote's library was furnished, would be found to have a close connection with ancient mythology.

We of this nation have been remarkably barren in our inventions of facts; we have been chiefly borrowers in this species of compofition, as the plots of our most applauded tragedies and comedies may witness, which have generally been taken from the novels of the Italians and Spaniards. WARTON.

In the art of telling a story in verfe, Pope is peculiarly happy; we almoft forget the groffnefs of the fubject of this tale, while

« EdellinenJatka »