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"Thus for your sake I shun each human eye,
I bid the sweets of blooming youth adieu ;
"Raise me from earth; the pains of want remove,
And let me, silent, seek some friendly shore;
“Be but my friend ; I ask no dearer name;
Be such the meed of some more artful fair;
That Pity gave what Love refus'd to share.
“Force not my tongue to ask its scanty bread,
Nor hurl thy Jessy to the vulgar crew ;
Not such the precept from his lips I drew!
“Haply, when age has silver'd o'er my hair,
Malice may learn to scorn so mean a spoil :
She spoke--nor was I born of savage race;
Nor could these hands a niggard boon assign: Grateful she clasp'd me in a last embrace,
And vow'd to waste her life in prayers for mine.
"I saw her foot the lofty bark ascend,
I saw her breast with every passion heave:
Oh! my hard bosom! which could bear to leave! Brief let me be ; the fatal storm arose ;
The billows rag'd, the pilot's art was vain; O'er the tall mast the circling surges close;
My Jessy_floats upon the watery plain! -And-see my youth's impetuous fires decay;
Seek not to stop Reflection's bitter tear; But warn the frolic, and instruct the gay, From Jessy floating on her watery bier !!
THE NUN: AN ELEGY.
With each perfection dawning on her mind,
All beauty's treasure opening on her cheek, Each flatt'ring hope subdu’d, each wish resign'd,
Does gay OPHELIA this lone mansion seek. Say, genile maid, what prompts thee to forsake The paths, thy birth and fortune strew with
· flowers ? Through nature's kind endearing ties to break,
And waste in cloister'd walls thy pensive hours? Let sober thought restrain thine erring zeal,
That guides thy footsteps to the vestal gate, Lest thy soft heart, (this friendship bids reveal) Like mine unbless’d, should mourn like mine too
late. Does some angelic lonely-whisp'ring voice,
Some sacred impulse, or some dream divine, Approve the dictates of thy early choice? • Approach with confidence the awful shrine.
There kneeling at your altar's marble base (steal,
(While streams of rapture from thine eye-lid And smiling heaven illumes thy soul with grace)
Pronounce the vow thou never can’st repeal.
Yet if misled by false-entitled friends,
Who say, That Peace, with all her comely train,
Smoothes every frown, and softens every pain :
Approv'd of Innocence, by Health caress'd :
Suspect their siren song and artful style, fconceal;
Their pleasing sounds some treach'rous thought Full oft does Pride with sainted voice beguile,
And sordid Int’rest wear the mask of Zeal.
A tyrant-abbess here perchance may reign,
Who, fond of power, affects th' imperial nod,
And rules the cloister with an iron rod.
Reflection sickens at the life-long tie,
Back-glancing Memory acts her busy part,
And sheds allurement on the wishful heart.
Lo! Discord enters at the sacred porch,
Rage in her frown, and terror on her crest :
And holds it flaming to each virgin breast.
But since the legends of monastic bliss
By fraud are fabled, and by youth believ'd, Unbought experience learn from my distress,
Oh! mark my lot, and be no more deceiv'd.
Three lustres scarce with hasty wing were fled,
When I was torn from every weeping friend, A thoughtless victim to the temple led,
And (blush ye parents !) by a father's hand.
Yet then, what solemn scenes deceiv'd my choice!
The pealing organ's animating sound, The coral virgin's captivating voice,
The blazing altar, and the priests around :
The train of youths array'd in purest white,
Who scatter'd myrtles as I pass'd along; The thousand lamps that pour'd a flood of light,
The kiss of peace from all the vestal throng:
The golden censers toss'd with graceful hand,
Whose fragrant breath Arabian odour shed: Of meek-eye'd novices the circling band,
With blooming chaplets wove around their head.
My willing soul was caught in rapture's flame,
While sacred ardour glow'd in every vein: Methought applauding angels sung my name,
And heaven's unsullied glories gilt the fane.
This temporary transport soon expir'd,
My drooping heart confess'd a dreadful void : E’er since, alas! abandon'd, uninspir'd,
I tread this dome to misery allied.
No wakening joy informs my sullen breast,
Through opening skies no radiant seraph smiles, No saint descends to sooth my soul to rest,
No dream of bliss the dreary night beguiles.
Here haggard discontent still haunts my view;
The sombre genius reigns in every place,
Chills every prayer, and cancels every grace.
I meet her ever in the cheerless cell,
The gloomy grotto and unsocial wood:
The hollow gale, and hoarse resounding flood,
This caus'd a mother's tender tears to flow,
The sad remembrance time shall ne'er erase) When having seal'd th' irrevocable vow,
I hasten'd to receive her last embrace.
Full well she then presag'd my wretched fate,
Th' unhappy moments of each future day: When lock'd within this terror-shedding grate, My joy-deserted soul would pine away.
Yet ne'er did her maternal voice unfold
This cloister'd scene in all its horror dress'd; Nor did she then my trembling steps withhold · When here I enter'd a reluctant guest.
Ah! could she view her only child betray'd,
And let submission o'er her love prevail?
Forbid the vow, and rend the hoy’ring veil?