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Cried one and all, the suppliant should have right, Make gentlemen, and that your high degree
In vain he sigh'd, and oft with tears desir'd, Know this, my lord, nobility of blood
Is but a glittering and fallacious good : But still the crone was constant to her note : | The nobleman is he whose noble mind The more he spoke, the more she stretch'd her throat. Is fill'd with inborn worth, unborrow'd from his kind. In vain he proffer'd all his goods, to save
The King of Heaven was in a manger laid; His body destin'd to that living grave.
And took his earth but from an humble maid; . The liquorish hag rejects the pelf with scorn; Then what can birth, or mortal men, bestow ? And nothing but the man would serve her turn. Since floods no higher than their fountains flow. “Not all the wealth of eastern kings," said she, We, who for name and empty honor strive, “Have power to part my plighted love and me : Our true nobility from him derive. And, old and ugly as I am, and poor,
Your ancestors, who puff your mind with pride, Yet never will I break the faith I swore;
| And vast estates to mighty titles tied, For mine thou art by promise, during life,
Did not your honor, but their own, advance;
For virtue comes not by inheritance.
No father can infuse or wit or grace;
Were virtue by descent, a noble name
Could never villanize his father's fame : And all day after hid him as an owl,
But, as the first, the last of all the line Not able to sustain a sight so foul.
Would like the Sun even in descending shine ; Perhaps the reader thinks I do him wrong,
Take fire, and bear it to the darkest house,
And the bright blaze enlighten all the plain :
By Nature form’d on things combustible to prey. Restless he toss'd, and tumbled to and fro,
Such is not man, who, mixing better seed
The bad corrupts the good, and leaves behind
The father sinks within his son, we see,
Chance gave us being, and by chance we live. Are all round-table knights of such a sort?
Such as our atoms were, even such are we, Remember I am she who sav'd your life,
Or call it chance, or strong necessity : Your loving, lawful, and complying wife :
Thus loaded with dead weight, the will is free. Not thus you swore in your unhappy hour, And thus it needs must be : for seed conjoin'd Nor I for this return employ'd my power.
Lets into Nature's work th' imperfect kind; In time of need, I was your faithful friend; But fire, th' enlivener of the general frame, Nor did I since, nor ever will offend.
Is one, its operation still the same. Believe me, my lov'd lord, tis much unkind; Its principle is in itself: while ours What Fury has possess'd your alter'd mind ? Works, as confederates war, with mingled powers; Thus on my wedding-night without pretence Or man or woman, whichsoever fails : Come turn this way, or tell me my offence. And, oft, the vigor of the worse prevails. If not your wife, let reason's rule persuade:
Ether with sulphur blended alters hue, Name but my fault, amends shall soon be made.” And casts a dusky gleam of Sodom blue. “Amends! nay that's impossible," said he ;
Thus, in a brute, their ancient honor ends, “ What change of age or ugliness can be ?
And the fair mermaid in a fish descends : Or, could Medea's magic mend thy face,
The line is gone ; no longer duke or earl;
But, by himself degraded, turns a churl.
Of thy great fathers by their virtue known,
And a long trail of light, to thee descending down " And is this all that troubles you so sore ?"
If in thy smoke it ends, their glories shine ; * And what the devil couldst thou wish me more ?" But infamy and villanage are thine. “Ah, Benedicite," replied the crone :
Then what I said before is plainly show'd,
Nor left us by inheritance, but given
Thus from a captive Servius Tullius rose,
Fabricius from their walls repellid the foe,
“ Then thus in peace," quoth she, “ concludes the Whose noble hands had exercis'd the plow.
strife, From hence, my lord and love, I thus conclude, Since I am turn'd the husband, you the wife :
That though my homely ancestors were rude, The matrimonial victory is mine,
Which, having fairly gain'd, I will resign;
Forgive if I have said or done amiss, And noble then am I, when I begin,
And seal the bargain with a friendly kiss : In Virtue cloth'd, to cast the rags of Sin.
I promis'd you but one content to share, If poverty be my upbraided crime,
But now I will become both good and fair. And you believe in Heaven, there was a time No nuptial quarrel shall disturb your ease; When He, the great controller of our fate,
The business of my life shall be to please : Deign'd to be man, and liv'd in low estate : And for my beauty, that, as time shall try; Which he, who had the world at his dispose, But draw the curtain first, and cast your eye." If poverty were vice, would never choose. He look'd, and saw a creature heavenly fair, Philosophers have said, and poets sing,
In bloom of youth, and of a charming air. That a glad poverty's an honest thing.
With joy he turn'd, and seiz'd her ivory arm ; Content is wealth, the riches of the mind; And like Pygmalion found the statue warm. And happy he who can that treasure find. Small arguments there needed to prevail, But the base miser starves amidst his store, A storm of kisses pour'd as thick as hail. Broods on his gold, and, griping still at more, Thus long in mutual bliss they lay embrac'd, Sits sadly pining, and believes he's poor.
And their first love continued to the last : The ragged beggar, though he want relief, One sun-shine was their life, no cloud between; Has not to lose, and sings before the thief.
Nor ever was a kinder couple seen. Want is a bitter and a hateful good,
And so may all our lives like theirs be led; Because its virtues are not understood :
Heaven send the maids young husbands fresh in Yet many things, impossible to thought, I lave been by need to full perfection brought: May widows wed as often as they can, The daring of the soul proceeds from thence, And ever for the better change their man; Sharpness of wit, and active diligence ;
And some devouring plague pursue their lives, Prudence at once, and fortitude, it gives,
Who will not well be govern'd by their wives. And, if in patience taken, mends our lives; For ev'n that indigence, that brings me low, Makes me myself, and Him above, to know. A good which none would challenge, few would
choose, A fair possession, which mankind refuse. If we from wealth to poverty descend,
THE CHARACTER OF A GOOD PARSON. Want gives to know the flatterer from the friend. If I am old and ugly, well for you,
A Parish priest was of the pilgrim-train; No lewd adulterer will my love pursue ;
An awful, reverend, and religious man. Nor jealousy, the bane of married life,
His eyes diffus'd a venerable grace, Shall haunt you for a wither'd homely wife ; And charity itself was in his face. For age and ugliness, as all agree,
Rich was his soul, though his attire was poor, Are the best guards of female chastity.
As God had cloth'd his own ambassador, " Yet since I see your mind is worldly bent, For such, on Earth, his bless'd Redeemer bore. I'll do my best to further your content.
of sixty years he seem'd; and well might last And therefore of two gifts in my dispose,
To sixty more, but that he liv'd too fast;
But such a face as promis'd him sincere.
Nothing reserv'd or sullen was to see; In all I can, contribute to your ease,
But sweet regards, and pleasing sanctity : And not in deed, or word, or thought, displease? Mild was his accent, and his action free. Or would you rather have me young and fair, With eloquence innate his tongue was arm'd; And take the chance that happens to your share ? Though harsh the precept, yet the people charm'd, Temptations are in beauty, and in youth,
For, letting down the golden chain from high, And how can you depend upon my truth?
He drew his audience upward to the sky: Now weigh the danger with the doubtful bliss, And oft with holy hymns he charm'd their ears, And thank yourself if aught should fall amiss." |(A music more melodious than the spheres,) Sore sigh'd the knight, who this long sermon For David left him, when he went to rest, heard;
His lyre ; and after him he sung the best. At length, considering all, his heart he cheerd; He bore his great commission in his look: And thus replied : “My lady and my wife, But sweetly temper'd awe; and soften'd all he spoke. To your wise conduct I resign my life:
He preach'd the joys of Heaven, and pains of Hell, Choose you for me, for well you understand And warn'd the sinner with becoming zeal; The future good and ill, on either hand :
But on eternal mercy lov'd to dwell. But if an humble husband may request,
He taught the gospel rather than the law; Provide, and order all things for the best ;
And forc'd himself to drive; but lov'd to draw. Yours be the care to profit, and to please :
| For Fear but freezes minds: but Love, like heat, And let your subject servant take his ease." Exhales the soul sublime, to seek her native seat.
To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard,
God saw his image lively was express'd; Wrapt in his crimes, against the storm prepar'd ; And his own work, as in creation, bless'd. But when the milder beams of Mercy play,
The tempter saw him too with envious eye; He melts, and throws his cumbrous cloak away. And, as on Job, demanded leave to try. Lightning and thunder (Heaven's artillery) He took the time when Richard was depos'd, As harbingers before th' Almighty fly:
And high and low with happy Harry clos d. Those but proclaim his style, and disappear;
This prince, though great in arms, the priest with The stiller sound succeeds, and God is there.
stood : The tithes, his parish freely paid, he took ; Near though he was, yet not the next of blood. But never sued, or curs'd with bell and book. Had Richard, unconstrain'd, resign'd the throne, With patience bearing wrong ; but offering none : A king can give no more than is his own : Since every man is free to lose his own.
The title stood entail'd, had Richard had a son. The country churls, according to their kind,
Conquest, an odious name, was laid aside, (Who grudge their dues, and love to be behind,) Where all submitted, none the battle tried. The less he sought his offerings, pinch'd the more, The senseless plea of right by Providence And prais'd a priest contented to be poor.
Was, by a flattering priest, invented since; Yet of his little he had some to spare,
And lasts no longer than the present sway; To feed the famish'd, and to clothe the bare : But justifies the next who comes in play. For mortified he was to that degree,
The people's right remains; let those who dare A poorer than himself he would not see.
Dispute their power, when they the judges are. True priests, he said, and preachers of the word, He join'd not in their choice, because he knew Were only stewards of their sovereign lord; Worse might, and often did, from change ensue. Nothing was theirs; but all the public store : Much to himself he thought; but little spoke ; Intrusted riches, to relieve the poor.
And, undepriv'd, his benefice forsook. Who, should they steal, for want of his relief, Now, through the land, his cure of souls he stretch'd He judg'd himself accomplice with the thief. And like a primitive apostle preach'd.
Wide was his parish ; not contracted close Still cheerful ; ever constant to his call; In streets, but here and there a straggling house; By many follow'd; lov'd by most, admir'd by all. Yet still he was at hand, without request,
With what he begg’d, his brethren he reliev'd ; To serve the sick; to succor the distress'd : And gave the charities himself receir'd: Tempting, on foot, alone, without affright,
Gave, while he taught ; and edified the more, The dangers of a dark tempestuous night.
Because he show'd, by proof, 'twas easy to be poor. All this, the good old man perform'd alone,
He went not with the crowd to see a shrine; Nor spar'd his pains ; for curate he had none. But fed us, by the way, with food divine. Nor durst he trust another with his care;
In deference to his virtues, I forbear Nor rode himself to Paul's, the public fair,
To show you what the rest in orders were : To chaffer for preferment with his gold,
This brilliant is so spotless, and so bright. Where bishoprics and sinecures are sold.
He needs no foil, but shines by his own proper light. But duly watch'd his flock, by night and day; And from the prowling wolf redeem'd the prey : And hungry sent the wily fox away.
The proud he tam'd, the penitent he cheer'd : Nor to rebuke the rich oflender fear d.
THEODORE AND HONORIA. His preaching much, but more his practice wrought, (A living sermon of the truths he taught,)
Of all the cities in Romanian lands, For this by rules severe his life he squar'd:
The chief, and most renown'd, Ravenna stands, That all might see the doctrine which they heard. | Adorn'd in ancient times with arms and arts, For priesis, he said, are patterns for the rest
And rich inhabitants, with generous hearts.
The foremost place for wealth and honor held, If they be foul on whom the people trust,
And all in feats of chivalry excell'd. Well may the baser brass contract a rust.
This noble youth to madness lov'd a dame The prelate, for his holy life he priz'd;
Of high degree, Honoria was her name; The worldly pomp of prelacy despis’d.
Fair as the fairest, but of haughty mind, His Savior came not with a gaudy show;
And fiercer than became so sofi a kind. Nor was his kingdom of the world below.
Proud of her birth (for equal she had none :) Patience in want, and poverty of mind,
The rest she scorn'd, but hated him alone; These marks of church and churchmen he design'd, His gifis, his constant courtship, nothing gain'd; And living taught, and dying left behind.
For she, the more he lov'd, the more disdain'd.
At tilts and tournaments obtain'd the prize;
Relentless as a rock, the lofty maid
Such was the saint; who shone with every grace, Wearied at length, and wanting remedy, Reflecting, Moses-like, bis Maker's face.
Ile doubted ofi, and oft resolvid to die.
But Pride stood ready to prevent the blow, Unus'd to fear, he summon'd all his soul,
And stood collected in himself, and whole ;
And from afar he heard a screaming sound, But vainer that relief than all the rest,
As of a dame distress'd, who cried for aid, The less he hop'd, with more desire possess'd; And fillid with loud laments the secret shade. Love stood the siege, and would not yield his breast. A thicket close beside the grove there stood, Change was the next, but change deceiv'd his care; With briers and brambles chok'd, and dwarfish He sought a fairer, but found none so fair.
wood; He would have worn her out by slow degrees, From thence the noise, which now, approaching near As men by fasting starve th' untam'd disease : With more distinguish'd notes invades his ear; But present love requir'd a present ease.
He rais'd his head, and saw a beauteous maid, Looking he feeds alone his famish'd eyes,
With hair dishevellid, issuing through the shade ; Feeds lingering Death, but looking not he dies. Stripp'd of her clothes, and ev’n those parts reveald Yet still he chose the longest way to Fate,
Which modest Nature keeps from sight conceal’d. Wasting at once his life and his estate.
Her face, her hands, her naked limbs were torn, His friends beheld, and pitied him in vain, With passing through the brakes, and prickly thorn For what advice can ease a lover's pain!
Two mastiffs gaunt and grim her flight pursu'd, Absence, the best expedient they could find, And oft their fasten’d fangs in blood embru'd ; Might save the fortune, if not cure the mind : Oft they came up, and pinch'd her tender side, This means they long propos’d, but little gain'd “ Mercy, O mercy, Heaven!” she ran, and cried. Yet, after much pursuit, at length obtain'd.
When Heaven was nam'd, they loos’d their hold Hard you may think it was to give consent,
again, But struggling with his own desires he went, Then sprang she forth, they follow'd her amain. With large expense, and with a pompous train, Not far behind, a knight of swarthy face, Provided as to visit France and Spain,
High on a coal-black steed pursu'd the chase : Or for some distant voyage o'er the main.
With flashing flames his ardent eyes were filled, But Love had clipp'd his wings, and cut him short, And in his hand a naked sword he held : Confind within the purlieus of the court.
He cheer'd the dogs to follow her who fled, Three miles be went, nor farther could retreat; And vow'd revenge on her devoted head. His travels ended at his country-seat :
| As Theodore was born of noble kind, To Chassis' pleasing plains he took his way, The brutal action rous'd his manly mind; There pitch'd his tents, and there resolv'd to stay. Mov'd with unworthy usage of the maid, The spring was in the prime; the neighboring He, though unarm’d, resolv'd to give her aid,
A sapling pine he wrench'd from out the ground, Supplied with birds, the choristers of Love: The readiest weapon that his fury found. Music unbought, that minister'd delight
Thus furnish'd for offence, he cross'd the way To morning walks, and lull’d his cares by night: Betwixt the graceless villain and his prey. There he discharg'd his friends : but not th' expense The knight came thundering on, but, from afar, Of frequent treats, and proud magnificence.
Thus in imperious tone forbade the war: He liv'd as kings retire, though more at large * Cease, Theodore, to proffer vain relief, From public business, yet with equal charge; Nor stop the vengeance of so just a grief; With house and heart still open to receive:
But give me leave to seize my destin'd prey, As well content as Love would give him leave: And let Eternal Justice take the way: He would have liv'd more free; but many a guest, I but revenge my fate, disdain'd, betray'd, Who could forsake the friend, pursued the feast. And suffering death for this ungrateful maid.” It hapt one morning, as his fancy led,
He said, at once dismounting from the steed; Before his usual hour he left his bed :
For now the hell-hounds with superior speed To walk within a lonely lawn, that stood
Had reach'd the dame, and, fastening on her side. On every side surrounded by a wood :
The ground with issuing streams of purple dyed. Alone he walk’d, to please his pensive mind, Stood Theodore surpris'd in deadly fright, And sought the deepest solitude to find;
With chattering teeth, and bristling hair upright; "Twas in a grove of spreading pines he stray'd; Yet arm’d with inborn worth, "Whate'er," said he, The winds within the quivering branches play'd, " Thou art, who know'st me better than I thee; And dancing trees a mournful music made.
Or prove thy rightful cause, or be defied;" The place itself was suiting to his care,
The spectre, fiercely staring, thus replied : Uncouth and savage, as the cruel fair.
“Know, Theodore, thy ancestry I claim, He wander'd on, unknowing where he went, And Guido Cavalcanti was my name. Lost in the wood, and all on love intent:
One common sire our fathers did beget, The Day already half his race had run,
My name and story some remember yet: And summon'd him to due repast at noon
Thee, then a boy, within my arms I laid, But Love could feel no hunger but his own. When for my sins I lov'd this haughty maid;
Whilst listening to the murinuring leaves he stood, Not less ador'd in life, nor serv'd by me, More than a mile immers'd within the wood, Than proud Honoria now is loved by thee. At once the wind was laid ; the whispering sound What did I not her stubborn heart to gain? Was dumb; a rising carthquake rock'd the ground; But all my vows were answer'd with disdain : With deeper brown the grove was overspread; She scorn'd my sorrows, and despis'd my pain. A sudden horror seiz'd his giddy head,
Long time I dragg‘d my days in fruitless care; And his ears tinkled, and his color fled.
Then, lothing life, and plung'd in deep despair, Nature was in alarm; some danger nigh
To finish my unhappy life, I fell Seem'd threaten'd, though unseen to mortal eye. On this sharp sword, and now am damnd in Hell. “ Short was her joy; for soon th' insulting maid They came, and, usual salutations paid, By Heaven's decree in this cold grave was laid. With words premeditated thus he said : And as in unrepented sin she died,
(pride : " What you have often counsellid, to remove Doom'd to the same bad place is punish'd for her My vain pursuit of unregarded love; Because she deem'd I well deserv'd to die,
By thrift my sinking fortune to repair, And made a merit of her cruelty.
Though late yet is at last become my care: There, then, we met; both tried, and both were cast, My heart shall be my own; my vast expense And this irrevocable sentence pass'd ;
Reduc'd to bounds, by timely providence: That she, whom I so long pursu'd in vain,
This only I require; invite for me Should suffer from my hands a lingering pain: Honoria, with her father's family, Renew'd to life that she might daily die,
Her friends, and mine; the cause I shall display, I daily doom'd to follow, she to fly;
On Friday next; for that's th'appointed day." No more a lover, but a mortal foe,
Well pleas'd were all his friends, the task was ligbt, I seek her life (for love is none below ;)
The father, mother, daughter, they invite; As often as my dogs with better speed
Hardly the dame was drawn to this repast; Arrest her fight, is she to death decreed :
But yet resoly'd, because it was the last.
And, with the rest, th' inexorable dame :
The place ordain'd was in that haunted grove,
Where the revenging ghost pursu'd his love :
With flowers below, and tissue over-head:
The fiend's alarm began ; the hollow sound And now the soul, expiring through the wound, Sung in the leaves, the forest shook around, Had left the body breathless on the ground, Air blacken'd, roll'd the thunder, groan'd the ground. When thus the grisly spectre spoke again:
Nor long before the loud laments arise, * Behold the fruit of ill-rewarded pain :
Of one distress'd, and mastills' mingled cries; As many months as I sustain'd her hate,
And first the dame came rushing through the wood, So many years is she condemned by Fate
And next the famish'd hounds that sought their food, To daily death; and every several place,
And grip'd her flanks, and oft essay'd their jaws in Conscious of her disdain and my disgrace,
blood. Must witness her just punishment; and be
Last came the felon, on his sable steed, (speed. A scene of triumph and revenge to me!
Arm'd with his naked sword, and urg'd his dogs to As in this grove I took my last farewell,
She ran, and cried, her flight directly bent As on this very spot of earth I fell,
|(A guest unbidden) to the fatal tent,
(meni. Is Friday saw me die, so she my prey
The scene of death, and place ordain'd for punish Becomes ev'n here, on this revolving day."
Loud was the noise, aghast was every guest, Thus while he spoke the virgin from the ground The women shriek'd, the men forsook the feast; Upstarted fresh, already clos'd the wound,
The hounds at nearer distance hoarsely bay'd ; And, unconcern'd for all she felt before,
The hunter close pursu'd the visionary maid, Precipitates her flight along the shore:
She rent the Heaven with loud laments, imploring aid The hell-hounds, as ungorg'd with flesh and blood, | The gallants, to protect the lady's right, Pursue their prey, and seek their wonted food: Their falchions brandish'd at the grisly sprite ; The fiend remounts his courser, mends his pace; High on his stirrups he provok'd the fighi, And all the vision vanish'd from the place.
Then on the crowd he cast a furious look, Long stood the noble youth, oppress'd with awe And wither'd all their strength before he spoke : And stupid at the wondrous things he saw, “ Back on your lives! let be,” said he, “ my prey, Surpassing common faith, transgressing Nature's law. And let my vengeance take the destind way: He would have been asleep, and wish'd to wake, Vain are your arms, and vainer your defence, But dreams, he knew, no long impression make, Against th' eternal doom of Providence : Though strong at first; if vision, to what end, Mine is th'ungrateful maid by Heaven design'd: But such as must his future state portend?
Mercy she would not give, nor niercy shall she find." His love the damsel, and himself the fiend.
At this the former tale again he told But yet, reflecting that it could not be
With thundering tone, and dreadful to behold: From Heaven, which cannot impious acts decree, Sunk were their hearts with horror of the crime, Resolv'd within himself to shun the snare,
Nor needed to be warn'd a second time, Which Hell for his destruction did prepare; But bore each other back : some knew the face, And, as his better genius should direct,
And all had heard the much-lamented case From an ill cause to draw a good effect.
Of him who fell for love, and this the fatal place Inspir'd from Heaven he homeward took his way, And now th' infernal minister advanc'd, Nor pall'd his new design with long delay : Seiz'd the due victim, and with fury lanc'd But of his train a trusty servant sent,
Her back, and, piercing through her inmost heart, To call his friends together at his tent.
Drew backward as before th' offending part;