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Too sharply, Tancred, by thy pride betray'd,
Hast thou against the laws of kind inveigh’d;
For all the offence is in opinion placed,
Which deems high birth by lowly choice debased.
This thought alone with fury fires thy breast,
(For holy marriage justifies the rest,)
That I have sunk the glories of the state,
And mix'd my blood with a plebeian mate :
In which I wonder thou should'st oversee
Superior causes, or impute to me
The fault of fortune, or the Fates' decree.
Or call it heaven's imperial power alone,
Which moves on springs of justice though unknown;
Yet this we see, though order'd for the best,
The bad exalted and the good oppress'd ;
Permitted laurels grace the lawless brow;
The unworthy raised, the worthy cast below.

But leaving that; search we the secret springs,
And backward trace the principles of things;
There shall we find, that, when the world began,
One common mass composed the mould of man;
One paste of flesh on all degrees bestow'd,
And kneaded up alike with moistening blood.
The same Almighty Power inspired the frame
With kindled life, and form'd the souls the same:
The faculties of intellect and will
Dispensed with equal hand, disposed with equal

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,
To enrich a pimp, or raise à pärasite ;
Theirs is the toil; and he, who well has served
His country, has his country's wealth deserved.
Even mighty monarchs oft are meanly born,
And kings by birth to lowest ranks return;
All subject to the power of giddy chance,
For fortune can depress or can advance :
But true nobility is of the mind,
Not given by chance, and not to chance resign'd.

For the remaining doubt of thy decree,
What to resolve, and how dispose of me;
Be warn'd to cast that useless caré aside,
Myself alone will for myself provide.
If in thy doating and decrepit age,
Thy soul, a stranger in thy youth to rage,
Begins in cruel deeds to take delight,
Gorge with my blood thy barbarous appetite;
For I so little am disposed to pray
For life, I would not cast a wish away.
Such as it is, the offence is all my own;
And what to Guiscard is already done,
Or to be done is doom'd by thy decree,
That, if not executed first by thee,
Shall on my person be perform'd by me.

Away! with women weep, and leave me here,
Fix'd like a man to die without a tear;
Or save or slay us both this present hour,
"Tis all thy fate has left within thy power.

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,
The juice of simples, friendly to despair,
A magazine of death ; and thus prepared,
Secure to die, the fatal message heard :
Then smiled severe ; nor with a troubled look,
Or trembling hand, the funeral present took ;
Even kept her countenance, when the lid, removed,
Disclosed the heart, unfortunately loved.
She needed not be told, within whose breast
It lodged ; the message had explain'd the rest.
Or not amazed, or hiding her surprise,
She sternly on the bearer fix'd her eyes;
Then thus :- Tell Tancred, on his daughter's part,
The gold, though precious, equals not the heart:
But he did well to give his best ; and I,
Who wish'd a worthier urn, forgive his poverty.

At this she curb'd a groan, that else had come,
And, pausing, view'd the present in the tomb;
Then to the heart, adored devoutly, glued
Her lips, and, raising it, her speech renewid :-
Even from my day of birth to this, the bound
Of my unhappy being, I have found
My father's care and tenderness expressid ;
But this last act of love excels the rest :
For this so dear a present, bear him back
The best return that I can live to make.

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.

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