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At length he wak’d, and with a feeble cry,
The word he first pronounc'd was Emily.
Mean time the king, tho' inwardly he mourn'd,
In pomp triumphant to the town return’d,
Attended by the chiefs, who fought the field;
(Now friendly mix'd, and in one troop compellid.)
Compos'd his looks to counterfeited cheer,
And bade them not for Arcite's life to fear.
But that which gladded all the warrior train,
Tho’most were sorely wounded, none were Nain.
The surgeons foon despoil'd 'em of their arms,
And some with salves they cure, and some with charms;
Foment the bruises, and the pains afswage,
And heal theirinward hurts with sov'reigndraughts of sage
The king in person visits all around,
Comforts the sick, congratulates the found:
Honours the princely chiefs, rewards the rest,
And holds for thrice three
a royal feast.
None was disgrac'd; for falling is no shame;
And cowardice alone is loss of fame.
The vent'rous knight is from the saddle thrown;
But 'tis the fault of fortune, not his own,
If crowds and palms the conqu’ring fide adorn.
The victor under better stars was born:
The brave man seeks not popular applause,
Nor overpower'd with arms deserts his cause;
Unsham'd, tho' foild, he does the best he can;
Force is of brutes, but honour is of man.
Thus Theseus smild on all with equal grace;
And each was set according to his place,
With ease were reconcild the diff'ring parts,
For envy never dwells in noble hearts.
At length they took their leave, the time expir'd;
Well pleas’d, and to their sev’ral homes retir’d.
Mean while the health of Arcite still impairs;
From bad proceeds to worse, and mocks the leeches cares;
Swoln is his breast; his inward pains increase,
All means are us'd, and all without fuccess.
The clotted blood lies heavy on his heart,
Corrupts and there remains in spite of art :
Nor breathing veins, nor cupping will prevail ;
All outward remedies and inward fail:
The mold of nature's fabric is destroy'd,
Her vessels discompos'd, her virtue void:
The bellows of his lungs begin to swell:
All out of frame is ev'ry secret cell,
Nor can the good receive, nor bad expel.
Those breathing organs thus within opprest,
With venom foon diftend the finews of his breast.
Nought profits him to save abandon'd life,
Nor vomit's upward aid, nor downward laxative.
The midmost region batter'd and destroy'd,
When nature cannot work, th' effect of art is void.
For physic can but mend our crazy state,
Patch an old building, not a new create.
Arcite is doom'd to die in all his pride,
Must leave his youth, and yield his beauteous bride,
Gain'd hardly, against right, and unenjoy’d.
When 'twas declar'd all hope of life was past,
Conscience (that of all physic works the last)
Caus'd him to send for Emily in haste.
With her, at his desire, came Palamon;
Then on his pillow rais’d, he thus begun.
No language can express the smallest part
Of what I feel, and suffer in my
For you, whom best I love and value most;
But to your service I bequeath my ghoit;
Which from this mortal body when unty'd,
Unseen, unheard, shall hover at your side;
Nor fright you waking, nor your sleep offend,
But wait officious, and your steps attend :
How I have lov'd, excuse my fal'tring tongue,
My spirits feeble, and my pains are strong:
This I may say, I only grieve to die
Because I lose my charming Emily:
To die, when Heav'n had put you in my pow'r,
Fate could not chuse a more malicious hour!
What greater curse could envious fortune give,
Than just to die, when I began to live !
Vain men, how. vanishing a bliss we crave,
Now warm in love, now with’ring in the grave!
Never, O never more to see the sun!
Still dark, in a damp vault, and ftill alone!
This fate is common; but I lose my breath
Near bliss, and yet not bless'd before my death.
Farewel; but take me dying in your arms,
'Tis all I can enjoy of all your charms:
This hand I cannot but in death resign;
Ah! could I live! but while I live 'tis mine,
I feel my end approach, and thus embrac'd,
Am pleas’d to die; but hear me speak my laft,
Ah! my sweet foe, for you, and you alone,
my faith with injur'd Palamon.
But love the sense of right and wrong confounds,
Strong love and proud ambition have no bounds.
And much I doubt should Heav'n my life prolong,
I should return to justify my wrong:
For while my former flames remain within,
Repentance is but want of pow'r to fin.
With mortal hatred I pursu'd his life,
Nor he, nor you, were guilty of the strife;
Nor I, but as I lov’d; yet all combin'd,
Your beauty, and my impotence of mind;
And his concurrent flame, that blew my fire: ,
For still our kindred souls had one desire.
He had a moment's right in point of time;
Had I seen first, then his had been the crime.
Fate made it mine, and justify'd his right;
Nor holds this earth a more deserving knight,
For virtue, valour, and for noble blood,
Truth, honour, all that is compriz'd in good;
So help me Heav'n, in all the world is none
So worthy to be lov'd as Palamon.
He loves you too, with such an holy fire,
As will not, cannot but with life expire :
Our vow'd affections both have often try'd,
yours could ours divide.
Then by my love's inviolable band,
By my long suff'ring, and my short command,
If e'er you plight your vows when I am gone,
Have pity on the faithful Palamon.
This was his last; for death came on amain,
And exercis'd below his iron reign;
Then upward to the seat of life he goes:
Sense fled before him, what he touch'd he froze;
Yet could he not his clofing eyes withdraw,
Though less and less of Emily he saw;
So, speechless, for a little space he lay ;
Then grasp'd the hand he held, and figh'd his soul away.
But whither went his soul, let such relate
Who search the secrets of the future state:
Divines can say but what themselves believe ;
Strong proofs they have, but not demonstrative:
For, were all plain, then all sides must agree,
And faith itself be loft in certainty.
To live uprightly then is sure the best,
To save ourselves, and not to damn the reft.
The foul of Arcite went where heathens
go, Who better live than we, tho’ less they know.
In Palamon a manly grief appears;
Silent, he wept, alham’d to fhew his tears:
Emilia fhriek'd but once, and then, oppress'd
With sorrow, funk upon her lover's breast :
Till Theseus in his arms convey'd with care,
Far from so fad a fight, the swooning fair.
'Twere loss of time her sorrow to relate;
Ill bears the sex a youthful lover's fate,
When just approaching to the nuptial state.
But like a low-hung cloud, it rains fo faft,
That all at once it falls, and cannot last,
The face of things is chang’d, and Athens now,
That laugh'd so late, becomes the scene of woe:
Matrons and maids, both sexes, ev'ry itate,
With tears lament the knight's untimely fate.
Nor greater grief in falling Troy was seen
For Hector's death; but Hector was not then,
Old men with dust deform’d their hoary hair,
The women beat their breasts, their cheeks they tare.
Why wou’dst thou go, with one consent they cry
When thou hadft gold enough, and Emily.
Theseus himself, who should have cheer'd the grief
Of others, wanted now the same relief,
Old Egeus only could revive his son,
Who various changes of the world had known;
And strange viciffitudes of human fate,
Still alt'ring, never in a steady state;
Good after ill, and after pain, delight;
Alternate like the scenes of day and night:
Since ev'ry man, who lives, is born to die,
And none can boaft sincere felicity,
With equal mind, what happens, let us bear,
Nor joy, nor grieve too much for things beyond our care,
Like pilgrims to th' appointed place we tend;
The world's an inn, and death the journey's end.
Ev'n kings but play; and when their part is done,
Some other, worse or better, mount the throne.
With words like these the crowd was satisfy'd,
And so they would have been, had Theseus dy'd.