π1r

The
Death of Amnon.

A Poem.

With An
Appendix:
Containing
Pastorals,
and Other
Poetical Pieces.

By Elizabeth Hands.

Printed for the author,
by N. Rollason, Coventry.
1789M,DCCLXXXIX.

π1v A1r

To
Bertie Greatheed, Esq.


Sir,

The difficulties which an Author,
under my circumstances, has to contend
with—born in obscurity, and
never emerging beyond the lower
stations in life—must have been an
insurmountable bar to the publication
of the following poems, had
not the approbation and zeal of some
particular friends to serve me, been
exerted in a manner which demands
my most thankful acknowledgments,
and with a success which I had little
reason to expect. Nothing could A have A1v
have added more to the satisfaction
which I have felt from their flattering
efforts, than the permission which
I have obtained of prefixing your
name to them. This honour from
a Gentleman so distinguished for
literary, as well as every other polite
accomplishment, will, I trust, ensure
me the candour, if not the attention
of the Public.


I am,
With the greatest respect,
Your most obedient,
And obliged
Humble servant,

Eliz. Hands.

A2r

List of Subscribers.


Those marked with an Asterisk thus [*] are Subscribers
to the Copies printed on fine large Paper.

  • A

    • *Aylesford, Right Hon. the Earl of
    • *Aylesford, Right Hon. the Countess of
    • *Archer, Right Hon. Lady
    • *Alston, Sir Rowland, Bart.
    • *Abington, Mrs.
    • *Abney, Mrs.
    • Adams, Simon, Esq.
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    • Adams, Mr. Poyntz, Daventry
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    • Adams, Miss, Welton
    • Adderley, Mrs. Hams-hall
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    • *Akehurst, Rev. Mr. P.
    • Allen, Mr. Trinity College, Oxon
    • Andrews, Charles, Esq.
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    • Anstey, ——, Esq. Bath
    • Arden, John, Esq.
    • Ash, John, M.D. London
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    • Aston, Miss Elizabeth, London
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    • *Beaufort, his Grace the Duke of
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    • Boultbee, Joseph, Esq.
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    • Bowdler, Mrs. Bath. Two copies
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    • Bree, Mrs. Stratford-upon-Avon Brettal, A4r
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    • Broadhead, ——, jun. Esq.
    • Bromby, Mr. Sidney College, Cambridge
    • Bromfield, Mr. Trinity College, Oxon
    • Bromfield, Mrs. Dunchurch
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    • *Bromley, William Davenport, Esq.
    • Brooks, Rev. Mr. Coventry
    • Brothers, Mr. Hungerley
    • Brothers, Mrs. Ryton
    • Brown, Mr.
    • Brown, Mr. Frankton
    • Browne, Mr.
    • Browne, Mr. Bartholomew, London
    • Bruckfield, Mr. T.B. Coventry
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    • Bucknill, Mrs. Rugby
    • Bucknill, Mrs. S. ditto
    • Buffery, Mr. Rowington
    • Bunning, Rev. Mr.
    • *Burgh, Richard, Esq.
    • Burrough, Rev. Dr. Magdalen College, Oxon
    • Burrough, Rev. Mr. Sapcote
    • Burrows, Miss, Coventry
    • Bush, Mr. Frankton
    • Bush, Miss, ditto
    • Butlin, Mrs. Rugby
    • Butt, Rev. Mr. Trentham
    • Bach, Mr. J. Norwich
    • Barrett, Robert, Esq. Horstea
    • Bell, Mrs. Norwich
    • Bircham, Mrs. ditto
    • Bircham, Miss, ditto A4 Bowyer, A4v
    • Bowyer, Miss, London
    • Book Society, Nuneaton
  • C

    • *Cremorne, Right Hon. Lord Viscount. Two copies
    • *Cremorne, Right Hon. Lady Viscountess. Two copies
    • *Conway, Hon. General
    • Caldecott, Thomas, Esq. New College, Oxon
    • Caldecott, Mrs. Warwick
    • Caldecott, Mr. Samuel, Warwick
    • Caldecott, Mrs. Rugby
    • Cantley, Rev. Mr. Molsoe
    • Cantley, Miss Lucy, ditto
    • Capel, Mr. Floore
    • *Capper, Rev. Mr.
    • Carpenter, Mr. Henry
    • Carr, Mr. Coventry
    • Carter, Mr. John, Willey
    • Cartwright, Charles, Esq. London
    • Castel, Mr. Bilton
    • Cattel, Rev. Mr. Snitterfield
    • Chambers, Mr. Coventry
    • Chambers, Rev. Mr. Worcester College, Oxon
    • Champagne, Rev. Mr. Nuneaton
    • *Chaplin, Miss. Two copies
    • Chapman, Rev. Dr. President of Trinity College, Oxon
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    • Chater, Mr. John, ditto
    • Cheslyn, Mr. Allesley
    • *Churton, Rev. Mr. Brazen-Nose College, Oxon
    • Clare, Rev. Mr. Atherstone
    • Clare, Mr. Claphill
    • Clare, Mrs. Rugby
    • Clare, Miss, ditto
    • *Clarke, Mrs. Sawbridge
    • *Clark, Miss, Welton
    • *Clark, Miss M. ditto *Clay, A5r
    • *Clay, Thomas, Esq. Coventry
    • Clay, Mr. St. John’s-street, London
    • Clay, Mrs. Bilton
    • Cleaver, Mr. Hardwick
    • Clew, Mr. Upper-Boddington
    • Cockburn, Mrs. London
    • Colborne, Mr. Trinity College, Oxon
    • Cole, Mr. Coventry
    • Cole, Mr. Stretton
    • Coleman, Rev. Dr. Master of Bennet College, Cambridge
    • Coleman, Mrs. Nuneaton
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    • Collins, Rev. Mr. Claverdon
    • Collins, Mr. Thomas, Nuneaton
    • Congreve, Miss, Coventry
    • Congreve, Miss Ann, ditto
    • Coomb, Mrs. Bloomsbury-square, London
    • Coomb, Miss, ditto
    • Coomb, Mr.
    • Coney, Mr. Oriel College, Oxon
    • Conyers, Mrs. Astley
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    • Cox, Mr. Abraham, Offchurch
    • *Cox, Mr. Edward, London
    • *Crachrode, Rev. Mr.
    • Crew, Miss, Bilton
    • Cross, Mr. John, London
    • Crossfield, Miss, Rugby Crofts, A5v
    • Crofts, Mr. Mount-Pleasant
    • Crump, Mr. Coventry
    • *Currie, Mr.
    • *Currie, Mr. Isaac
    • *Currie, Mr. John
    • *Currie, Mr. Mark
    • *Currie, Mrs. Mark
    • *Curson, P. Ashton, Esq.
    • *Curson, Mrs.
    • Curtiss, Rev. Mr. Rector, Birmingham
    • C. Mr. J.
    • Candler, Mrs. Norfolk
  • D

    • *Damer, Hon. Mrs.
    • *Drake, William, Esq. M.P.
    • Dadford, Mr. jun.
    • Dadley, Mr. Edward, London
    • Dadley, Mr. John Birmingham
    • Dallaway, Miss S. ditto
    • Dalton, Mrs. Rugby
    • Dalton, Mr.
    • Dalton, Miss
    • *Daniel, Rev. Mr. Warwick
    • Daniel, Mrs. Bilton
    • Daniel, Mrs. S. ditto
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    • Davie, Rev. Dr. Trinity College, Oxon
    • Davie, Rev. C. Sherwell
    • Davie, Miss, Bristol
    • Davie, Miss Eustachia, ditto
    • Davie, Miss Jul. ditto
    • Davies, Rev. Mr. Newport-Pagnell
    • *Davis, Rev. Mr. Cranfield
    • Davis, Mr. Magdalen College, Oxon
    • Davison, Miss A. Reading
    • Dawes, Mrs. Warwick
    • Day, Mr. Magdalen College, Oxon De-Castro, A6r
    • De-Castro, Mrs. Rugby
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    • Downing, Mrs. S.
    • Drace, R.A. Esq. London
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    • Dudley, Mr. John, Coventry
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    • Dyson, Mrs. ditto
    • Davison, Mr. John, London. Two copies.
    • Davison, Mr. James, ditto
    • Decker, Rev. Thomas, Norwich
  • E

    • *Edgecumbe, Right Hon. Lord Viscount
    • *Edgecumbe, Right Hon. Lady Viscountess
    • *Edgecumbe, Hon. R.
    • *Edgecumbe, Hon. Lady Sophia
    • Eagle, Mr. Allesley
    • Edkins, Mrs. Coleshill
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    • Elliott, William, Esq.
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    • Ely, Mrs. Newington
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    • England, Miss, ditto
    • Evans, Mr. sen. Christ College, Cambridge
    • Evans, Mr. jun. ditto
    • Ewins, Mr. Great-Houghton
    • Eyre, Rev. Mr. Solihull
  • F

    • Fox, Right Hon. Charles, M.P.
    • *Fox, Hon Miss
    • Fallowfield, Rev. Mr. Daventry
    • Farborough, Miss, Warwick
    • *Farmer, Rev. Dr. Master of Emanual College, Cambridge
    • Farmer, Captain
    • Farmer, Mr. Berkeswell
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    • Farrer, Miss, Warmington
    • Faulkner, Rev. Dr. Lichfield
    • *Fauquier, Francis, Esq.
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    • Favre, Mr. London
    • Fell, Mrs. Rugby
    • *Fisher, Mr. Magdalen College, Oxon
    • Fisher, Mr. William, Cambridge
    • Fitzherbert, Mrs.
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    • Flavel, Mr. Joseph, Thurlaston
    • *Foley, Mrs.
    • Folliot, John, Esq. Trinity College, Oxon
    • Fombelle, Mr. Henry, London
    • Fombelle, Mr. Peter, ditto
    • Ford, Mr. Samuel, Birmingham *Forsteen, A7r
    • *Forsteen, William, Esq. London
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    • Frances, Mrs. Stretton
    • *Freeman, Thomas, Esq. Daventry
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    • Friend, Mr. William, Dunchurch
    • Frost, Peter, Esq. London
    • Frost, Mr. J. Lower-Boddington
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  • G

    • *Gill, W. Right Hon. Lord Mayor of London
    • *Gideon, Sir Sampson, Bart. M.P.
    • *Gideon, S.E. Esq.
    • *Glynne, Sir Stephen, Bart.
    • *Glynne, Lady
    • *Glynne, Francis, Esq.
    • *Glynne, Miss
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    • Geast, Mr. Richard, Birmingham
    • Geast, Miss Ann, ditto
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  • H

    • *Hautford, Marquis de
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    • Hands, Mrs. Susannah, Napton
    • Hands, Mr. Josiah, Stoneley
    • Harding, Miss
    • Hardwick, Mrs.
    • Hardy, Mrs. Isabella, London
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    • Harris, Mr. Milk-street, London
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    • *Harris, Mrs. Honingham
    • Harris, Mrs. Rugby
    • Harris, Mrs. S. ditto
    • Harris, Mrs. Twyford
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    • Hassal, Miss Mary, Rugby
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    • Herbert, Mr. T. Rowington
    • Herbert, Mrs.
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    • Homer, Rev. Henry, sen.
    • *Homer, Rev. Henry, jun.
    • Homer, Mr. Edward, Birmingham
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    • *Horne, Rev. Dr. Dean of Canterbury
    • Horne, Mrs. Frankton
    • *Horsley, Miss
    • Herwood, Mr. Trentham
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    • Howkins, Captain, Rugby
    • Howlett, Mr. Thomas, Rowington
    • *Huddesford, Rev. John
    • *Huddesford, Rev. George
    • Huddesford, Miss, Allesley. Two copies
    • Huddesford, Miss Rebecca, ditto
    • Huddesford, Miss Elizabeth, ditto. Two copies
    • Huddesford, Mr. ditto
    • Huddesford, Mrs. Oxon
    • Hughes, Rev. Mr. Skennington
    • Hughes, Rev. Mr. Worcester College, Oxon
    • Hughes, Mr. Wellesburne
    • Huish, Mr. Nottingham
    • Hume, Miss, Rugby
    • Hunt, Rev. Mr. King’s College, Cambridge
    • *Hunt, Mr.
    • *Hunter, Mrs.
    • Hurlock, Mr. Philip, London
    • *Hurst, Rev. Mr. Magdalen College, Oxon a2 Hurst, a2v
    • Hurst, Rev. Mr. Worcester College, Oxon
    • Husbands, Mr. Coventry
    • Hutchins, Mrs. Ansley
    • Hyde, Mr. James, London
  • I

    • *Johnston, Right Hon. Lady Cecilia
    • *Johnston, General
    • Jackson, John, Esq.
    • Jackson, Mr. William, Granborough
    • Jackson, Miss, Bedworth
    • James, Rev. Dr. Rugby
    • James, Mrs.
    • James, Mr. John, Cambridge
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    • Jeacock, Mr. Bubbenhall
    • Jemson, Mr. S. Daventry
    • Jenner, Rev. Mr. Worcester College, Oxon
    • Jennet, Miss, Coventry
    • Jephcote, Mr. Richard, Willoughby
    • *Jervoise, J.C. jun. Esq. M.P.
    • Jesse, Rev. J. Compton
    • Ilett, Miss, Kineton
    • Iliffe, Mr. Hillmorton
    • Inde, Mr. Cambridge
    • *Inge, Rev. Mr. Lichfield
    • *Inge, Rev. Mr. Rugeley
    • Inge, Rev. Mr. Christ College, Oxon
    • *Inge, Miss, Lichfield
    • Inge, Mrs. Coventry
    • Innis, Rev. Mr. Rugby
    • Innis, Mrs.
    • Johnson, Rev. N.P. Emanual College, Cambridge
    • Johnson, Thomas, Esq. Leeds
    • Johnson, Mrs. Rebecca, Dunchurch
    • Johnson, Mrs. Elizabeth, ditto Jones, a3r
    • Jones, Mr. St. John’s College, Cambridge
    • Jordan, Mr. John, London
    • Isaacson, Mr. Christ College, Cambridge
    • Judd, Mr. William, Stretton
  • K

    • Keen, Mr. Thomas, Stretton
    • Kellam, Mr. Edward, Ryton
    • Kelly, Miss, Bedworth
    • Kening, Rev. Mr. Rugby
    • Kenwrick, Rev. Dr. Atherstone
    • Kett, Rev. Mr. Trinity College, Oxon
    • Key, Rev. Mr.
    • Kimbell, Mrs. Dean-street, London
    • Kinderley, John, Esq. London
    • Kipling, Rev. Mr.
    • Knibb, Mr. Charlcote
    • Knight, Mrs. Rugby
    • Knight, Mrs. Ann, Stretton
    • Knighton, Lieutenant
    • *Knightley, John, Esq.
    • Knightley, Mrs.
    • Knightley, Rev. Mr. Byfield
    • Knightley, Rev. Mr. Charlton
    • Knipe, Mr. Queen’s College, Oxon
  • L

    • *Lansdown, Right Hon. Marquis of. Two copies
    • *Landaff, Right Rev. Lord Bishop of
    • Lichfield and Coventry, Right Rev. Lord Bishop of
    • *Legge, Hon. Mr. Edward, Christ College, Oxon
    • *Legge, Hon. Augustus
    • *Legge, Heneage, Esq.
    • *Legge, Mrs.
    • *Ladbroke, Robert, Esq. M.P.
    • Ladbroke, Mr. John, Rugby
    • Lander, Mr. Wishaw
    • Landon, Rev. Mr. Worcester College, Oxon
    • Lant, Mr. Allesley Lane, a3v
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Con- b7r The b8r

The
Death of Amnon.

A Poem.

b8v B1r

The
Death of Amnon.

Canto the First.

The Royal youth I sing, whose sister’s charms

Inspir’d his heart with love; a latent love

That prey’d upon his health; he droop’d; so droops

A beauteous flow’r, when in the stalk some vile

Opprobrious insect ’bides. In conscious pain

He pass’d the hapless hours, while in his breast

Th’ aspiring passion, yet by virtue sway’d

It’s proper limits knew. I love, said he,

Whom do I love? my sister—ah; my sister;

Can I my misplac’d passion gratify,

And bring disgrace on her? No, sweetest maid,

I am thy brother; ’tis a brother’s part

Thy honour to protect and not destroy.

When Shechem burning with untam’d desire

B Dis- B1v [ 2 ]

Dishonour’d Dinah, how her brethren rag’d!

Each took his sword, the princely ravisher,

And every citizen a victim fell

To their just fury. I’m an Isra’lite;

Shall I forego this high prerogative,

And plunge myself and sister into ruin?

An act that ev’n an heathen would degrade.

No; sooner shall my passion unreveal’d

Lie cank’ring in my bosom, till it taints

My very blood, and stops my panting breath.

Better my lov’d companions pass my grave,

And shed a tear to think I died so young,

Than shun me living as a vile reproach

To nature, royalty, and Israel.

Already I perceive my strength to fail,

The ruddy bloom of health forsakes my cheeks;

Perhaps death’s not far off.—O welcome guest,

Hasten thy tardy steps, why linger’st thou,

Or wait’st on those, who wish thee far away?

O thou, that hast the pow’rs of life and death,

Take hence my life, and end my wretchedness.

A spacious land I see on ev’ry side

Bless’d with fertility; the cultured vales

Yield plenteous crops; the rising hills are rich,

With verdant pasture mantled, crown’d with trees;

My B2r [ 3 ]

My father’s kingdom this.—What is’t to me?

It fires not my ambition, all I ask

Is one small spot of earth to lay me down

Beneath the turf, forgetting and forgot,

A small request, and yet though small, denied.

Methinks I feel my strength renew’d; ’tis so;

Struggling with life I sigh for death in vain.

Again my passions rise, again rebel;

I still must live and live in misery.

But I’ve a thought, that stings me yet more deep;

Doubtless some happy rival will be crown’d

With Tamar’s love; O tort’ring thought, must I

Behold her deck’d in bridal robes to bless

A rival; ’tis too much;—I cannot bear

E’en to suppose it, I’ll from court retire;

My gay companions now are irksome grown,

And all my pleasures are transform’d to pains.

My sister’s cheering smiles, that once convey’d

Soft raptures to my heart, awake such pangs,

As I can scarce endure. Again I feel

My spirits sink; Oh! welcome fading sickness!

I’ll cherish thee and aid thee with my sighs,

To still this heart, that now rebellious beats

Against my reason’s strongest argument.

Though Tamar’s beauty prompts my warmest wish,

B2 Her B2v [ 4 ]

Her fairer virtues keep me still in awe,

Forbidding my aspir’ing love to soar.

With sweet simplicity she smiles, secure

In innocence, commanding my respect,

And this command I must—I will obey;

But fly her presence, lest some hapless smile

Inflame my soul, and I in passions phrensy

Should act against my final resolution

To bear my griefs untold, and secret pine

Till sadd’ning sorrow sinks me to the grave.

Thus, to himself complaining, he resolv’d,

Nor sought a confidant to share his grief.

A friend he had, the son of Shimlah,

Nam’d Jonadab; a man by nature subtle,

Proud and ambitious; yet would meanly stoop

To the most base and most ignoble acts,

To serve his private ends. The artless youth

Oft to its plausibilities gave ear,

Not e’en suspecting, that beneath the cloak

Of formal flatt’ries self-int’rest hides

It’s serpent head. Yet still the youth from him

His wayward passion labour’d to conceal,

By forcing smiles to veil his grief; nor knew,

How little they resemble those, that spring

From gentle impulses of hearts at ease.

For B3r [ 5 ]

For Jonadab, with penetrating eye,

Quickly discern’d the grief, he strove to hide.

What cause, said he, can Amnon have to mourn?

A King’s son now,—a King in time may be.

Was it in probability, that I

Should be a King, the very contemplation

Would shut my soul to sorrow. Oh! the thought

Swells my imagination. Did but Amnon

Aspire as much to greatness, I could plot

Surprizing stratagems. But he poor Prince

Has long imbib’d such close contracted notions,

As bar his path to honour. Like a maid

He talks of virtue, weeps at others woes,

Yet talks of greatness too; ’tis in the soul,

He says, all greatness dwells; ’tis not the crown,

That makes his father great, but ’tis his virtues;

And those alone he wishes to inherit,

Thereby to gain dominion o’er himself,

And reign unenvi’d; but perchance there now

Springs in his soul some change of sentiment;

And he his principles, so long retain’d,

Loth to renounce, may want a friend to prompt,

And urge him to the attainment of his will.

Then who so fit for such a task as I?

I’m great in his esteem, have free access

B3 To B3v [ 6 ]

To him at all times; but, if now I’m slack,

Perhaps I may be rivall’d in his favour

By some more forward to promote his wish.

I’ll to him straight, in these cool ev’ning hours

Into his private garden he retires,

Sighs to the winds, and to the moon complains.

But I must him approach with seeming awe,

As fearful to disturb his solitude,

And with a gentle flow of soothing words

Insinuate myself into his soul,

Then guide him as I please. The love-sick youth

Beneath the thickest solitary shade

Was wand’ring, lost in melancholy mood,

So deep in thought, he ne’er perciev’d th’ approach

Of Jonadab, till startled by his voice;

Then smil’d, as usual, as his friend drew near,

Who thus the Royal youth address’d—Oh! why

Dost thou, a King’s son, pine in discontent?

Can there be ought, that’s unattainable

To crown thy soul with peace? Thy father’s kind,

Too fond and too indulgent to refuse

A son’s request, be what it will methinks.

But why from me conceal thy griefs? am I

A friend, unworthy of thy confidence?

Have I e’er been unfaithful to my trust?

Or B4r [ 7 ]

Or has some jealous whisperer impos’d

Upon my Royal friend’s credulity,

To vilify his faithful Jonadab?

Half lost in thought, the Prince made no reply,

And Jonadab a while suspended stood;

But, recollecting, took his hand and said;

Why weeps my Prince? what sorrow wounds thy heart?

I love, says Amnon; and his hand withdrew

To wipe his tears, and turn’d from Jonadab:

Then seems returning, then he onward goes

In pensive sadness. Jonadab pursues,

Resolv’d to urge his full confession, lest

Some other should be made his confidant,

And he discarded, lose the Prince’s favour.

Amnon return’d, as ready to confess

As he to hear, and thus his speech began.

O friend, I love—I love thee as my friend,

And such thou art, the sharer of my joys;

All my delights were doubled, shar’d with thee.

But now a strange dilemma has befall’n me;

I would not speak it to an ear but thine;

I love my sister Tamar; tell it not,

My reason almost fails to be my guide.

This passion, Oh! this wild rebellious passion,

If cherish’d, fast it grows as noisome weeds,

B4 And, B4v [ 8 ]

And, if suppress’d, still strengthens in the stalk.

So let it strengthen, till, too strong for me,

I sink beneath its weight. But Jonadab,

Ne’er let the secret pass thy lips, for I

So much respect and honour her I love,

That for the richest diadem on earth

I would not give her pain; her heart’s so prone

To pity, it would burst in grief for me,

Did she but know the half I feel for her.

Then Jonadab, with seeming kind affection,

And tears of sympathy reply’d; kind Prince,

Distrust me not, thy confidence I claim;

Thou know’st the feelings of my friendly heart

Admit no rest, if Amnon is unhappy;

Shall David’s meanest subjects smile secure

Beneath his prudent equitable sway,

Their least complaints regarded? and his son

Repine without redress? It must not be.

Amnon reply’d, I cannot thee distrust,

And if thou know’st a way to ease my heart,

Discover it my friend, for I despair.

Dispel those useless tears, says Jonadab:

Think not to drown it in those briny floods;

Love is a flame those waters cannot quench;

Nor is there any cure short of enjoyment.

Then B5r [ 9 ]

Then there’s no hope for me, the Prince reply’d,

Till the kind earth receive me; for can I?

I cannot—Oh! I cannot injure her.

Droop not, my gentle friend, says Jonadab;

This tim’rous tenderness but ill becomes

A Royal Prince, the hope of Israel,

The son of David; think but who thou art,

The eldest son of Israel’s mighty King;

Whose dreaded name thro’ all the nations round

Strikes terror to his enemies, and fills

The grateful hearts of all his friends with joy;

Whose tongues with pleasure tell his mighty deeds,

And virgins celebrate his fame in songs;

While Amnon thus effeminately weeps,

Like some fair captive maid, snatch’d from the arms

Of her fond lover. O my royal friend,

Better ten thousand injur’d virgins mourn,

Than David’s son thus live inglorious.

There is a sort of viand she prepares,

Unparallel’d, of which none other knows

The just proportion of ingredients us’d.

A sickness feign’d might veil the deep design,

And put her in thy power; by this excuse

That thou canst take nought else; nor fear but she

Will keep the secret, to preserve her fame.

After B5v [ 10 ]

After a little pause the youth reply’d,

It shall be so;—but yet I doubt—I fear—

If I—I’ll think no more of consequences,

I am determin’d—yes, it shall be so.

To-morrow be it done, said Jonadab.

Amnon reply’d—to-morrow is the day.

So parted they that night; and Jonadab

In conscious pride of self-sufficiency,

Thus to himself his Royal friend derides.

Poor thing, how easily he’s wrought upon?

In time the kingdom will be his, and I,

In fact, shall reign, though he the title bears.

That time might be anticipated, but

Amnon wants courage for so bold a stroke.

He’s unambitious, nor has resolution

To seize a tempting crown within his reach;

But should it gently fall upon his head,

Perhaps he’ll wear it, if some bolder hand

Don’t snatch it off. But this Amour may prove

A clew to guide to greater enterprizes.

When these precise ones once extend beyond

The bounds their narrow minds have circumscrib’d,

From step to step insensibly they go,

Till so familiariz’d by custom, they

With calmness will transact the very things,

Which B6r [ 11 ]

Which but to mention, ere they launch’d so far,

They’d shudder at. But I must wait th’ event.

So saying, he retir’d to take repose,

The common blessing graciously diffus’d

Through Nature, to refresh her wearied sons;

That with new strength and vigour they may hail

The rising day, rejoicing in the light.

Can- B6v [ 12 ]

Canto II.

From Amnon’s wasted cities, with the crown

Of Hanun, their proud contumacious King,

Whose insolence had caus’d his overthrow,

The conquering King of Israel return’d

In glorious triumph to Jerusalem;

There from exhausting toils of bloody war

In safety to repose his wearied soul,

And taste the sweets of calm domestic bliss.

But ere the tumults of triumphal joy

Subsided, and the sacred rites perform’d

Of general praises with the harp and song,

The King’s long-wish’d tranquility’s disturb’d

By the sad news, that Amnon, his dear son,

A captive now to dang’rous sickness lies,

While life and death dispute their doubtful right.

The pious King laid down his harp, the song

Unfinish’d, and with anxious haste repair’d

To Amnon, whose dissimulation pass’d

Quite unsuspected. How could he suspect

A fraud of such sort in a virtuous son?

Full oft a partial parent overlooks

An obvious fault, or by affection blind

Dis- B7r [ 13 ]

Discerns it not; but here no cause appear’d

T’ awake suspicion, for his languid eyes

And palid cheeks gave signals of disease.

While thus the son in feeble tone complain’d,

The tender father stooping low to hear,—

I’m very sick, and whatsoever food

My servants here prepare, gives me disgust.

My sister Tamar, with superior skill,

Prepares a cake delicious to my taste;

This I could eat methinks from her kind hand,

Was she permitted to attend me here.

The King with fond solicitude retir’d,

And speedily dispatch’d a messenger

To Tamar, saying, ’twas his royal will,

That she should go direct to Amnon’s house,

And there administer, with friendly aid,

Whate’er his sickly appetite demands.

The hour had pass’d, at which the royal maid

Came from her closet, splendidly attir’d;

Her hair with precious sparkling gems beset,

Faint mimicks of her more illustrious eyes.

About her neck a shining golden chain,

And o’er her loosely thrown, in careless folds,

A various colour’d robe, which, as she mov’d,

Trail’d on the ground, or flutter’d in the wind.

Thus B7v [ 14 ]

Thus all the virgin daughters of the King

In splendid raiment shone; but none so bright

In beauty, as the daughter of Maacah.

Soon as the sun had drank the morning dew,

Into her garden walk’d the lovely fair;

Not like a proud imperious haughty Queen,

With tossing head and scornful eyes, that glar’d

Malignant, scattering discontent around,

And vain in fancied greatness. Greater she

In inoffensive modesty, and bright

In virtue, as the rays that gild the morn,

Warming the flow’rs to ripeness, and exhaling

Their various sweets to fill the garden air.

Pleas’d with the grateful smell, she skips about

From flow’r to flow’r, and cautiously selects

The sweetest in a wreath, to deck that breast,

Which never yet inflam’d by vicious thought,

Or by unreasonable rebukes depress’d,

Had felt a secret pang, or learn’d to sigh.

But oh! how happy for the mortal race,

That from their eyes the future is obscur’d;

Did we but know the secret ills that wait

In darkness to surprize us, what would be

Our life, but one sad scene of misery?

All present pleasures would be bitter made

By B8r [ 15 ]

By aggravating thoughts of ills to come.

But blind to future things the present bless.

When peace and plenty smile auspiciously,

The heart with sense of Providence impress’d

O’erflows with gratitude, and conscious joy.

Such joy now fill’d the royal fair one’s breast,

Intent on the formation of her wreath;

When lo! her handmaid came to her in haste,

With tidings, that a message had arriv’d

Straight from the King, declaring his desire,

That she to Amnon’s house immediately

Would go, and dress him cakes, for he is sick.

The King’s command she instantly obey’d;

Down dropt the unfinish’d wreath; she skimm’d along

O’er the parterres, nor stay’d to find the path.

Her sweeping garments gently brush’d the flow’rs;

The ripest shedding, strew’d the way she went

With variegated fragments. So the breeze

Whisks o’er the forest, and some shatt’ring leaves

Fall gently rustling thro’ the shrubs beneath.

Then, gath’ring up her robe, she onward sprang,

And sisterly affection urg’d her haste.

Amnon in highest expectation lyes

Counting the slow-pac’d moments as they pass’d;

Now thinks his scheme’s discover’d—he’s betray’d—

Or B8v [ 16 ]

Or some curs’d intervening accident

Delays, perhaps prevents her coming. Thus

Doubts, fears, and wild impatience in his breast

Tumultuously contended, till she came,

With all the feelings of a tender sister;

But not a thought of vile licentious love

Profan’d her breast; to see him thus she wept,

But turning, wip’d her tears, suppress’d her grief,

And with officious haste the cakes prepar’d.

Wisdom has pow’r, like the meridian sun,

To hide all other brightness in its glare;

But virgin modesty, with winning smiles,

Shines a perpetual morning. So she shone

Serenely mild, nor knew her pow’r to please.

But oh! the graceful dignity of virtue

Unthinking captivates the worthy soul,

The feebly good with emulation fires,

And strikes the very libertines with awe.

So Amnon, aw’d to see her lovely form,

Became irresolute; and recantation

Stagger’d his purpose.—First he paus’d; then thus

Expostulating with himself he lay;

Oh! how can I despoil this lovely maid,

This fairest of the fair? I cannot—no—

I’ll let her go untouch’d. But then must I

Still C1r [ 17 ]

Still pine in languishment, as heretofore;

And Jonadab will at my weakness laugh.

At last some wine he snatch’d, and eager drank

To drown his scruples, and to fire his soul.

Such aid the most abandoned oft require,

When unsuspecting innocence at once

Tempts and forbids, more pow’rfully forbids,

Than the persuasive eloquence of speech.

But the defence, which innocence can boast

With tears and mild intreaties, is but weak,

When love and wine unite their frantick pow’rs,

And leaving virtue fainting in the rear,

Rush on impetuous.—Hapless Tamar thus

To lawless outrage falls th’ unwilling prey.

C Can- C1v [ 18 ]

Canto III.

Heav’n gave to man superior strength, that he

The weaker sex might succour and defend;

But he that dares pervert this giv’n blessing,

To ruin and destroy their innocence,

Shall feel pursuing vengeance, nor escape

Her rod uplifted, nor avert the stroke.

Conviction’s sword shall pierce him, and remorse

With all the tortures of the mind assail,

Till he a victim falls to grim despair;

Except repentance timely to his aid

Come with her tears, to sooth, to mitigate;

While her attendant hope extends a ray,

To point where mercy spreads her healing wings.

Nor e’en with this is vengeance satisfied,

She’ll still pursue with some external ills,

Exhausted health and spirits;—drooping—drear,

An outcast of society he roams,

Alike discarded by his friends and foes;

Perhaps assassination proves his end.

The hapless Amnon from his couch arose,

Inflam’d with hatred more than once with love.

Frantick with keen remorse and conscious guilt,

He C2r [ 19 ]

He rav’d—he stamp’d—when to him Jonadab

Came to congratulate him; but the Prince

Shot from his eyes a keen malignant glance,

That spoke displeasure, and with threat’ning hand

Upheld, thus in an angry tone began:

Hence from my sight, thou basest worst of fiends

Nor ever dare approach my presence more.

Struck with this strange reception, Jonadab

Step’d back, and bowing with respectful awe,

Said,—O my Prince, why am I thus discarded?

I still remain thy well affected friend,

Ready to——prompt me,(interrupts the Prince)

To do some greater crime than I have done.

Curse on thy instigations; to my heart,

To my unexperienc’d heart thou drilld’st a way

T’ infuse licentiousness; and thou a friend?

Ere thou presum’st to take that sacred name,

Abandon thy base principles, and learn

’Tis virtue only constitutes a friend.

He paus’d—th’ astonish’d Jonadab approach’d

Nearer to Amnon; beg’d him to resume

His wonted calmness, but to hear him speak.

I’ll hear no more of thee, reply’d the Prince;

I’m lost, I’m irrecoverably lost:

What were the pains I felt to those I feel?

C2 An C2v [ 20 ]

An hell within me burns, and deep remorse,

That never dying worm, now gnaws my soul;

And thou, my instigator. Villain, flee,

Lest this my crime I complicate with murder.

Then Jonadab withdrew chagrin’d, and full

Of ran’crous malice; mutt’ring as he went,

Shall murder crown thy crime young man —it shall;

But thou the murder’d,—not the murderer.

I’ll hence to Absalom, the brother kind

Of this fair injur’d maid; he doubtless will

Avenge her wrongs, and shew himself a brother.

He has a noble, calm, undaunted spirit;

Deliberately resolute, and fit

For such an enterprize; and Jonadab

Shall not be slack to aggravate the crime,

And urge him on, or aid him, if requir’d.

But I must veil my real sentiments

With counterfeited sorrow, and observe

Each secret movement of his varying soul,

And sympathise with him. Young Absalom

Returning from the fields, where he had been

To view his teeming flocks, jocund and gay,

In all the sprightliness of youth and beauty,

Upon his slow-pac’d mule rode gently on

In careless attitude, and smil’d to see

All C3r [ 21 ]

All nature smile around; when Jonadab,

With solitary gait, approach’d, then turn’d

Aside, as if to shun the Royal youth;

Which Absalom percieving, stopp’d his mule,

And leaning on his neck, with courteous air

Thus Jonadab in gentlest tone address’d:

What mean those solemn looks, that down-cast eye?

Now peace and plenty bless our happy land:

Joy should methinks extend its cheering ray

To ev’ry individual; but thou

Look’st half dejected, wand’ring in the fields

At this late hour; the day is in decline;

The shepherds to their folds have led their flocks,

And to their peaceful homes are hast’ning. Come,

Return with me, my friend, nor farther go;

If ought distress thee, hide it not from me,

I have an heart to feel for the distress’d;

An hand too ever ready to revenge

The wrongs impos’d by violence and injustice

Smile and be happy, said the Royal youth;

And rising from his leaning posture, look’d

So gracefully endearing and so kind,

That Jonadab thus ventur’d to begin:—

’Tis not for me to smile, most noble Prince,

While inconsolable and unredress’d,

C3 Dis- C3v [ 22 ]

Dishonour’d Tamar weeps in bitter woe.

Dishonour’d, and by whom? says Absalom,

Name but the villain, vengeance on his head

Shall instant fall; this hand shall strike the blow.

Earth, canst thou bear the wretch’s feet to touch

Thy surface, and not groan? Whoe’er he be,

The miscreant shall not see to-morrow’ sun.

Too hasty, Prince, says Jonadab; be calm;

Recall the fatal sentence; tis too much

To raise thine hand against a brother’s life,

Thine elder brother——Brother, said the Prince,

And is it possible my brother thus

SouldShould be deprav’d? my brother Amnon too?

O virtue, where dost thou reside, if not

In Amnon? but if he’s thus lost to shame,

It cancels all the duty that I owe him;

Henceforth shall intercourse between us cease,

Till I have form’d a scheme to be reveng’d;

Amnon shall die, and die by Absalom.

Go Jonadab, go home, and secret keep

This purpose of my soul;—I’ll be thy friend,

Said Absalom.—Then, onward as he pass’d,

Thus Jonadab congratulates himself:

Oh! happy I, no sooner have I lost

The favour of one Prince, but I have gain’d

Ano- C4r [ 23 ]

Another; Absalom is more aspiring;

Not cool and passive, like the silly Amnon,

But pants to rule; he has a kingly spirit.

Once in his garden, as I lay conceal’d,

I heard him in soliloquy, “Oh! to reign—

To wield a sceptre and establish laws;

Oh! did the people seek to me for judgment,

And Princes wait for my decisive voice,

Ere they the cause determin’d; could I hear

The loud applauding multitude exclaim,

Long live King Absalom.”—He’s fit to rule.

When Amnon is dispatch’d, perhaps he may

Assume the kingdom—Be it so, and I

Will be his ready agent, if he please,

To aid his plots, or form them. Oh! how sweet

The counsel that is fram’d to please our wills,

How readily adopted; how despis’d

That which is adverse, be it e’er so good.

But dear, dear self stands first in the account

Of friends, and that’s the friend I’ll ever serve:

Whether to Amnon or to Absalom

I pay external homage. If to me

This Absalom proves too imperious,

I’ll aid the King, and keep myself secure.

Ay—that’s the centre to which I must point

C4 All C4v [ 24 ]

All schemes and plots; then smiling as he went,

With eager pace he hasten’d to his home.

Grief and revenge now labour’d in the breast

Of Absalom; but artfully he hides

The struggling passions; a composure feign’d,

Sits on his countenance with placid ease;

And he in seeming gaiety rode home.

His servants there in readiness attend,

Each anxious to receive the first command;

Nor fear unjust reproofs, nor angry frowns,

Th’ unwelcome greetings of imperious Lords.

Too oft do masters, void of judgment, check,

By frowardforward peevishness and discontent,

The many little assiduities,

Which otherwise a servant’s zeal would mark,

Nor make distinction between good and bad;

But Absalom, with nicest judgment, scans

Their merits and defects; he in reproof

Is slowly cautious, and exactly just;

No clam’rous oaths re-eccho thro’ his hall,

Nor mutt’ring servants whisper imprecations;

Tho’ affable and courteous, yet he ne’er

To low familiarity descends;

But with great dignity is nobly kind,

Reigns in their hearts, and by enliv’ning smiles

En- C5r [ 25 ]

Encourag’d, they spontaneously attend,

And love completes their servitude with joy.

So now, as always at their lord’s approach,

A secret transport thrill’d thro’ ev’ry heart.

The gate one open’d, one receiv’d the mule,

Whilst he dismounting with a sprightly bound,

Tripp’d lightly o’er the pavement; and those eyes

Which ever spread serenity around,

Sparkled with seeming pleasure till he came,

Ent’ring his mansion, to where Tamar sat

In the most striking attitude of woe;

Her head, bestrew’d with ashes and reclin’d,

One trembling hand supported; th’ other hid

Among the fragments of her robe, which she

In the first agonies of her grief had torn.

He stopp’d, turn’d pale; then in his changing face

Resentment flush’d, and sorrow swell’d his heart,

Which lab’ring to suppress he trembling stood;

But like a torrent, which breaks down a bank

New rais’d to stop its course, so burst his grief

Thro’ all his feign’d composure. In his arms

He clasp’d the grieving fair, and mutual tears

Proclaim’d the anguish of their burden’d hearts.

But tho’ his sorrow thus had burst its bounds,

Revenge in ambush lurk’d, while thus the Prince

With C5v [ 26 ]

With soothing words his sister thus address’d,—

I know the sad occasion of thy woe;

But he’s thy brother; silent bear thy wrongs,

Nor by immod’rate grief enhance the ill

Which cannot be redress’d. No blame is thine;

My sister still in heart is undefil’d.

Tamar attempts reply; but from their springs

In swifter currents flow’d the briny pearls;

At length the pow’r of speech return’d, the fair

Heav’d a deep sigh, and thus her moan began,—

O injury unparallel’d! O deed

More cruel than the murd’rers deadly blow!

He takes our life, ’twas lent but for a time;

Perhaps some years—perhaps a day—an hour:

But he that robs a woman of her honour,

Robs her of more than life;—a brother too

Still aggravates the guilt.—O purity,

Thou first of female charms, to thee we owe

Our dignity; which, if in meekness clad,

Gives us insuperable pow’r; but, if

Of this depriv’d, our most presumpt’ous claim

Is cool compassion. O dejected state!

That humble homage we receive from men,

In such proportion as our virtue fails,

Diminishes. Th’ inestimable gem,

More C6r [ 27 ]

More precious than fine gold or rubies,—far

Outvies the dazzling rays of beaut’ous forms,

Which like gay meteors but excite our gaze,

Then fade away. But this pre-eminence

No more I boast; now stamp’d with infamy,

That due respect, that def’rence ever paid

To my exalted state shall hence be chang’d

To scorn: tho’ by the dignity of birth

Protected from low insult, can I ’scape

The meaning leer, the vain contemptuous smile,

Or the more humbling pity of the proud?

Such moving strains in Absalom call’d forth

All the fond raptures of fraternal love;

Who thus consol’d her grief,—thou ne’er shall be

Abandon’d to the scorn of taunting dames,

Who triumph in the downfaldownfall of the fair.

My home be ever thine; in me behold

Thy guardian, brother, friend, companion kind.

’T shall be my earliest and my latest care,

With chearful converse to enliv’n thy hours;

All thou canst wish, which I have pow’r to grant,

Expect from me. His sister gave her hand,

An earnest of conformity—he press’d

The giv’n pledge; her grateful heart reply’d,—

O brother, always kind, now doubly so,

To C6v [ 28 ]

To ope thy friendly arms in this distress,

And take me to protection: I accept

Thy offer’d boon. Farewell, ye courtly scenes;

No more shall Tamar shine in your resorts;

But here recluse and tranquil ever ’bide;

Regaling in that never-cloying feast,

Th’internal calm of an untainted mind.

This none can ravish from me; this is life.

That God which rais’d my father to the throne,

And still protects him with his pow’rful arm,

Shall be my all in all. To him I’ll pray

Incessant, and the great Jehovah’s name

Shall fire my theme, and fill my heav’nly song.

Can- C7r [ 29 ]

Canto IV.

Now solemn evening drew her silent veil

O’er smiling nature, and the pious King

In supplication spent the sacred hour

With special fervour, making intercession

To the great sole dispenser of all good

To bless his son, and soon restore his health.

He scarce had ended prayer, when tidings came

That Jonadab beg’d audience.—The King

Eager to learn, thus instantly reply’d,

Go send him hither; welcome to my soul

Is Jonadab, my Amnon’s social friend;

He doubtless comes to bring me news of him.

He enters.—Thus the King,—O Jonadab,

How does thy friend, my son, my Amnon now?

Amnon is well, O King, says Jonadab.

Is well! return’d the astonish’d King, is well!

’Tis but few hours since I myself him saw,

And saw him sick,—and say’st thou now he’s well;

Thou know’st it not, which much I wonder at,

Because I know he loves thee; go now to him,

Go act a friendly part, go comfort him,

I tell thee he is sick.—Says Jonadab,

I can C7v [ 30 ]

I can inform thee of the whole device

Of his pretended sickness. Then the King,—

Say’st thou pretended sickness? If there is

Dissimulation in my son, declare it;

I’ll hear thee;—but take heed thou slander not,

Nor censure him unjustly, on thy life.

Amnon has not been sick, says Jonadab;

’Twas but a feint to lure his sister there

To his embraces, and he has succeeded.

What do I hear? reply’d the King; my son

Defil’d my daughter! Rising as he spoke,

With indignation flashing from his eyes:

Forth from his house he rush’d with hasty steps

To Amnon, who was unprepar’d to see

This unexpected visitant: The youth

Already self-convicted, now abash’d,

Ne’er ventur’d once to raise his down-cast eyes,

But speechless and confounded stood to hear

His sharp rebuke; when thus the King began:—

O son, thou shameful troubler of my house;

What hast thou done? Where are thy princely virtues

Inculcated so long? Now blasted all.

My elder-born, my first, my greatest joy,

Thus to debase thyself, thou that should’st be

The first in virtue, as the first in birth.

How C8r [ 31 ]

How can a Prince, himself debas’d with crimes,

Aspire to judge and punish wicked men?

In which of all my sons can I confide,

Now Amnon fails, whom I have faultless deem’d?

Thou bitter herb,—thou blemish of my honour;

How can I brook this foul disgrace? Must I

For ever bear confusion in my face,

And blush for thee, thou worse than enemy?

Amnon, no longer able to support

Such just reproof, in silence turn’d away,

And bursting into tears withdrew.—The King

Return’d with anger burning in his breast,

Mingled with sorrow for his daughter’s wrongs;

My daughter! Oh! my daugher! he exclaim’d,

I would avenge thy wrongs; but oh! if I

Avenge my daughter, I destroy my son.

Then, all a father’s tenderness prevail’d,

He wept,—his wrath subsided and he paus’d,

His own past failings rising in his mind;

His guilty love for Bathsheba—he sigh’d

Her murder’d husband; shudd’ring at the thought,

He saw no way to sooth the present ills

But suff’ring and forbearance.—Then the King,

As if the stroke came from the hand of Heav’n,

Fell prostrate to the earth, submitting thus:

Right- C8v [ 32 ]

Righteous art thou, O Lord, and all thy judgments just.

Amnon mean while, with piercing grief oppress’d,

Doubled by th’ sore displeasure of the King,

Sat down and wept, while tears supply’d their streams.

Then rising, walk’d about with restless steps,

And thus in bitter agonies complain’d:

What am I now, and where? Of late I pin’d

In hopeless love, yet then I had some stay,

An heart-felt innocence, that could support

And cheer the drooping spirits. But alas!

Virtue has left me now, and I’m expos’d;

Expos’d to what? to what, alas! I know not;

’Tis Hell itself bursts in upon my soul,

And pours forth all its torments.—Terrors! Death!

O irrecoverable innocence!

Where art thou gone? for ever banish’d hence.

Arise ye thickest mists, ye darkest clouds

O’er-cast those twinkling stars. O sable night,

Wrap me in deepest shades, nor let a beam

Of penetrating light expose me more;

Darkness is fitted to the guilty mind

That shrinks and starts at ev’ry glimmering ray.

But oh! it is not in the pow’r of darkness

To hide the hated self from self; within

A sacred light perpetually shines,

Ex- D1r [ 33 ]

Exposing ev’ry failure to the sense,

That vainly struggles to compose the mind,

And hush her sad inquietudes to peace.

But peace, the guest of innocence alone,

Takes an eternal leave when guilt intrudes,

And now has took eternal leave of me.

Ah! wretched me! Oh! curse on vicious friends!

Had Jonadab advis’d me virtuously,

I’d still been innocent, and Tamar pure;

My father still had smil’d on me with joy,

Nor had I trembled at his chiding frowns;

Absalom would have call’d me brother still,

But now he’ll own me not.—This slight is just,

And this the least part of my punishment;

For inward guilt has yet severer pangs.

So wander’d he, complaining half the night,

Then sought for rest in sleep, but sought in vain:

Terrific dreams invade his wish’d repose;

He sleeps, starts, wakes;—then sleeps and starts again;

And rises soon, but not to meet the morn

With joy as heretofore; but to bewail

The loss of that sweet calm that ever dwells

Within the guiltless breast; and in the world

Dwells no one more entitled to the bliss

That waits on virtue, than was Amnon once:

D He D1v [ 34 ]

He therefore more severely feels the loss

For having tasted in its first degree

Its sov’reign blessedness.—Who’d then forsake

The peaceful path of virtue to pursue

Alluring vice through folly’s labyrinth,

Grasping at shadows of felicity,

’Till overtaken by her evil train

Of shame, remorse, confusion, and despair?

Such evils now the hapless Amnon haunt,

While in th’ avenging hand of Absalom

Death lurking lies.—Th’ ambitious Prince, resolv’d

At once t’ avenge his sister, and remove

An obstacle betwixt him and the crown,

With unremitting vigilance attends

The silent shades and unfrequented paths

Where Amnon used to walk, and meditate,

Hoping to meet defenceless and alone

The destin’d youth, and steal away his life.

But Amnon now as cautiously avoids

His dreaded presence; not with dread of death;

Such fear ne’er fill’d his unsuspicious breast;

But conscious guilt, that daunter of the soul,

That few can brave, deter’d the timid youth.

Two years within the breast of Absalom

Revenge in ambush lurk’d, while in his face

The D2r [ 35 ]

The mildest gentleness and sweetness play’d:

Thus secret burns the subterraneous fire,

While on earth’s teeming surface gaily smiles

The verdant herbage strew’d with various flowers,

Till, bursting from beneath, the sulph’rous fumes

O’erturn the mountains, and the crumbling mould

Buries the blooming beauties that it bore:

So he unable longer to contain

The hidden rancour burning in his breast

Determin’d by some bold and desp’rate stroke

T’ effect his purpose; and with Jonadab

Consulted, who thus readily advis’d:—

Assume the friend,—entice him to thine house;

The cred’lous youth will ne’er suspect a fraud.

Now is the time, now comes the yearly feast

When shepherds fleece their flocks: make him thy guest

With all thy brothers: when with mirth and wine

His heart’s elate, how easy will it be

To give the final blow. With lowring brow

Revengeful Absalom the rash advice

Adopted, and a sullen gloom o’ercast

His lively features. Stern as that grim Lord

That through the forest takes his fearless way,

With high deportment Absalom retir’d.

D2 Can- D2v [ 36 ]

Canto V.

Returning summer now came smiling on,

Exciting ev’ry peaceful breast to mirth;

But Amnon meets with tears the fatal season:

This sad remembrancer of his past crime

Awoke his grief, and from his couch he rose

Ere yet th’ approaching day began to dawn,

While the full moon reign’d mistress of the night.

Sleep on, ye sons of innocence and ease,

(The restless Amnon with a sigh exclaim’d,

As from his window high he cast a look

Over the silent streets, for not a voice

Disturb’d the solemn hour) sleep on—sleep on:

So was I wont to sleep away the night,

Rise with the morn, and in the day rejoice:

But now in morn or night, or sleep or ’wake,

I feel no joy. Oh that I could forget

I once was happy! Oh that this one step,

One erring step, should kill my peace for ever.

O moon, I blush beneath thy silver beams;

I’ve oft beheld thee with exulting heart,

But now I shrink at ev’ry thing that’s pure:

A modest virgin, innocent and fair,

Strikes D3r [ 37 ]

Strikes terror to my soul: to me she seems

Exalted high above my fallen state:

If such an one I venture to approach,

I instantly recoil, and justly pay

A secret adoration to the breast

Of innocence; for Oh! what parity

Can there subsist ’twixt innocence and guilt?

The world’s reproaches and censorious sneers

Harrow the heart and aggravate the sense:

But yet that aggravation poiz’d against

The pangs of guilt, is of but little weight:

The world offended may again be won,

Or all its vain reproaches set at nought,

When the heart, firmly steel’d with innocence,

Shrinks not, but rises with true nobleness,

Superior to the grov’ling sons of vice,

And smiles at pow’rless envy.—But alas!

To me returns, whether of day or night,

Aid sharp reflection and new point its spears.

Now waking birds in chearful concert join

Their ev’ry note proclaims them innocent.

The sun arises and the world awakes;

The Prince retires with melancholy steps

Into his garden, where recluse and still

Beneath the arching boughs of shady trees,

D3 With D3v [ 38 ]

With head declin’d and arms lock’d round his breast,

He sigh’d the heavy slow-pac’d hours away;

’Till interrupted by a messenger,

Who, with due deference approaching near,

Thus spake: O Prince, I come from Absalom,

His sheep he shears to-morrow, and intreats

Thee, with thy Royal brothers, to partake

The feast, and spend with him the day in mirth.

Surprize and pleasure rush’d into his heart

At such an unexpected invitation,

Which he accepted, nor did hesitate

One moment to resolve; for Amnon still

Was unsuspicious as an infant child,

That fearless trusts itself to ev’ry arm

That opens to receive it. With quick step

He paces to and fro; his bosom glows,

And thus anticipates th’ expected bliss.

O joyful day when I again shall meet

My dear offended brother, whom so long

I’ve cautiously avoided: his good will

Greatly exceeds my most advent’rous hope:

Forgetful of my faults, he kindly now

Invites me to his house, without reproach

Or intimation of my late misdeeds.

Yes, my good brother, I will be thy guest—

My D4r [ 39 ]

My grateful heart o’erflows; I now could fall

Down at thy feet, and from thy hand receive

The death I do deserve. Thus Amnon still,

In humble strain and true repentant heart,

Pour’d forth his soul in such soliloquies

All day and night, till in the morning fair,

The foremost of the princely cavalcade,

He gladly hasted to the fatal feast.

Now Absalom with secret pleasure sees

The long wish’d day arrive, and in the morn

Assiduously in comely dress array’d

His lovely person, lovely in extreme:

Not in all Israel’s num’rous tribes was found

His peer in beauty; for from head to foot

No blemish, no deformity was seen,

But well proportion’d limbs, and features fair,

With ev’ry natural, ev’ry borrow’d grace

That gives to beauty power. The conscious Prince

Omitted no external ornament

That might, if possible, such gifts improve:

But looking at his spotless hands, he said,—

Must these be dy’d in blood? a brother’s blood?

No, I have servants, they shall give the blow.

Then to and fro he through his chamber stalk’d,

D4 Re- D4v [ 40 ]

Revolving in his mind the consequence

Of op’ning his design. He paus’d, he thought

His servants might refuse—or worse, betray.

At length he says,—I’m wrong to censure them;

Great proofs I’ve had of their fidelity;

I’ll trust them now. Then call’d he those he lov’d:

They came. He says, You have done all things well

According to my order for this feast,

But on your cares I can so well depend,

That whatsoever is given to your charge

I think no more of, for I’ve always found

You true and faithful; therefore I make choice

Of you for my accomplices this day:

’Tis not intended for a day of mirth,

As it appears, and must as yet appear

Till I’ve fulfill’d the purpose of my soul.

Our guests must sumptuously be entertain’d:

But when they have partook the rich repast,

And wine exhilerates and mirth prevails,

Be you prepar’d, and when I give the word,

Pierce Amnon to the heart, for he must die.

His servants tremble at the dire command.

Why tremble ye? said Absalom, fear not,

’Tis I command you—all the deed is mine;

Ye D5r [ 41 ]

Ye are but instruments within my grasp,

And of his blood are spotless: if there’s guilt

In taking vengeance for the atrocious crime,

Let all that guilt be mine: since justice sleeps

In his fond father’s hand, ’tis right that I

Assume the pow’r, and on his impious head

Hurl vengeance. But observe, it next behoves

Us to evade the storm that will ensue:

In Geshur we shall find a safe retreat:

My fleetest horses for the flight prepare:

Soon as the wound is given, we’ll mount and flee;

Swift as the sweeping winds we’ll o’er the hills,

And leave the King to bury him, and mourn.

His servants, more by love than duty bound,

All bow’d obedient to his sov’reign will.

Now came the Royal guests, and Amnon first

Dismounting from his mule, with conscious blush

And fault’ring voice thus ventur’d to address

Th’ offended brother:—O my Absalom,

Forgive, he said—and interrupting tears

Pleading more pow’rfully than eloquence,

Stagger’d the purpose of Maacah’s son,

And in his feeling soul a conflict rais’d

Betwixt his brother’s life and sister’s fame:

He D5v [ 42 ]

He silent paus’d; but in his breast revenge

Was too deep rooted by a two year’s growth

For one soft moment to eradicate:

He therefore wip’d away a piteous tear,

And made to Amnon this compos’d reply:

I did not send for thee to weep and mourn;

To-day I have a feast; this prosp’rous year

Increasing flocks increase the shepherds joy:

Rejoice with me, my brother, and be glad.

Then did he warmly press his hand, and point

The chiefest place. The Prince shed tears of joy,

Then sat him down, forgot his grief and smil’d.

Wine in profusion sparkled in the bowls,

Inspiring social mirth; they freely quaff’d;

But Absalom th’ emolient draught evades,

Lest it relax his stern determination;

But quick replenishes the sinking bowls,

Pressing on all the intoxicating cup,

’Till mirth predominates, and ev’ry heart

Expands with social freedom; Absalom

Then gives the fatal word; his servants plunge

The destin’d dart, and from the Prince’s side

Gush’d forth life’s reeking stream—he fell—uprose

In consternation those whom vengeance spar’d,

Each D6r [ 43 ]

Each trembling for his life; confus’d they fled:

Mingling with gore, the wine in currents flow’d;

While, rolling in the flood, the murder’d Prince

Alone, in all the agonies of woe,

Groan’d out his soul, and clos’d his eyes in death.

Finis.

D6v D7r

Appendix.
Containing
Pastorals, &c.

D7v D8r

A Poem,


On the Supposition of an Advertisement appearing
in a Morning Paper, of the Publication of a
Volume of Poems, by a Servant Maid.

The tea-kettle bubbled, the tea things were set,

The candles were lighted, the ladies were met;

The how d’ye’s were over, and entering bustle,

The company seated, and silks ceas’d to rustle:

The great Mrs. Consequence open’d her fan;

And thus the discourse in an instant began:

(All affected reserve, and formality scorning,)

I suppose you all saw in the paper this morning,

A Volume of Poems advertis’d—’tis said

They’re produc’d by the pen of a poor Servant Maid.

A servant write verses! says Madam Du Bloom;

Pray what is the subject?—a Mop, or a Broom?

He, he, he,—says Miss Flounce; I suppose we shall see

An Ode on a Dishclout—what else can it be?

Says D8v [ 48 ]

Says Miss Coquettilla, why ladies so tart?

Perhaps Tom the Footman has fired her heart;

And she’ll tell us how charming he looks in new
clothes,

And how nimble his hand moves in brushing the

shoes;

Or how the last time that he went to May-Fair,

He bought her some sweethearts of ginger-bread
ware.

For my part I think, says old lady Marr-joy,

A servant might find herself other employ:

Was she mine I’d employ her as long as ’twas light,

And send her to bed without candle at night.

Why so? says Miss Rhymer, displeas’d; I protest

’Tis pity a genius should be so deprest!

What ideas can such low-bred creatures conceive,

Says Mrs. Noworthy, and laught in her sleeve.

Says old Miss Prudella, if servants can tell

How to write to their mothers, to say they are well,

And read of a Sunday the Duty of Man;

Which is more I believe than one half of them can;

I think ’tis much properer they should rest there,

Than be reaching at things so much out of their
sphere.

Says old Mrs. Candour, I’ve now got a maid

That’s E1r [ 49 ]

That’s the plague of my life—a young gossipping
jade;

There’s no end of the people that after her come,

And whenever I’m out, she is never at home;

I’d rather ten times she would sit down and write,

Than gossip all over the town ev’ry night.

Some whimsical trollop most like, says Miss Prim,

Has been scribbling of nonsense, just out of a whim,

And conscious it neither is witty or pretty,

Conceals her true name, and ascribes it to Betty.

I once had a servant myself, says Miss Pines,

That wrote on a Wedding, some very good lines:

Says Mrs. Domestic, and when they were done,

I can’t see for my part, what use they were on;

Had she wrote a receipt, to’ve instructed you how

To warm a cold breast of veal, like a ragou,

Or to make cowslip wine, that would pass for

Champaign;

It might have been useful, again and again.

On the sofa was old lady Pedigree plac’d,

She own’d that for poetry she had no taste,

That the study of heraldry was more in fashion,

And boasted she knew all the crests in the nation.

Says Mrs. Routella,—Tom, take out the urn,

And stir up the fire, you see it don’t burn.

E The E1v [ 50 ]

The tea things remov’d, and the tea-table gone,

The card-tables brought, and the cards laid thereon,

The ladies ambitious for each others crown,

Like courtiers contending for honours sat down.

A Poem,

On the Supposition of the Book having been published
and read.

The dinner was over, the table-cloth gone,

The bottles of wine and the glasses brought on,

The gentlemen fill’d up the sparkling glasses,

To drink to their king, to their country and lasses:

The ladies a glass or two only requir’d,

To th’drawing-room then in due order retir’d;

The gentlemen likewise that chose to drink tea;

And, after discussing the news of the day,

What wife was suspected, what daughter elop’d,

What thief was detected, that ’twas to be hop’d,

The rascals would all be convicted, and rop’d;

What chambermaid kiss’d when her lady was out;

Who won, and who lost, the last night at the rout;

What E2r [ 51 ]

What lord gone to France, and what tradesman
unpaid,

And who and who danc’d at the last masquerade;

What banker stopt payment with evil intention,

And twenty more things much too tedious to
mention.

Miss Rhymer says, Mrs. Routella, ma’am, pray

Have you seen the new book (that we talk’d of
that day,

At your house you remember) of Poems, ’twas said

Produc’d by the pen of a poor Servant Maid?

The company silent, the answer expected;

Says Mrs. Routella, when she’d recollected;

Why, ma’am, I have bought it for Charlotte; the
child

Is so fond of a book, I’m afraid it is spoil’d:

I thought to have read it myself, but forgat it;

In short, I have never had time to look at it.

Perhaps I may look it o’er some other day;

Is there any thing in it worth reading, I pray?

For your nice attention, there’s nothing can ’scape.

She answer’d,—There’s one piece, whose subject’s
a Rape.

A Rape! interrupted the Captain Bonair,

A delicate theme for a female I swear;

E2 Then E2v [ 52 ]

Then smerk’d at the ladies, they simper’d all round,

Touch’d their lips with their fans,—Mrs. Consequence
frown’d.

The simper subsided, for she with her nods,

Awes these lower assemblies, as Jove awes the gods.

She smil’d on Miss Rhymer, and bad her proceed—

Says she, there are various subjects indeed:

With some little pleasure I read all the rest,

But the Murder of Amnon’s the longest and best.

Of Amnon, of Amnon, Miss Rhymer, who’s he?

His name, says Miss Gaiety’s quite new to me:—

’Tis a Scripture tale, ma’am,—he’s the son of
King David,

Says a Reverend old Rector: quoth madam, I
have it;

A Scripture tale?—ay—I remember it—true;

Pray is it i’th’ old Testament or the new?

If I thought I could readily find it, I’d borrow

My house-keeper’s Bible, and read it to-morrow.

’Tis in Samuel, ma’am, says the Rector:—Miss
Gaiety

Bow’d, and the Reverend blush’d for the laity.

You’ve read it, I find, says Miss Harriot Anderson;

Pray, sir, is it any thing like Sir Charles Grandison?

How you talk, says Miss Belle, how should such a
girl write

A novel, E3r [ 53 ]

A novel, or any thing else that’s polite?

You’ll know better in time, Miss:—She was but
fifteen:

Her mamma was confus’d—with a little chagrin,

Says,—Where’s your attention, child? did not
you hear

Miss Rhymer say, that it was poems, my dear?

Says Sir Timothy Turtle, my daughters ne’er look

In any thing else but a cookery book:

The properest study for women design’d;

Says Mrs. Domestic, I’m quite of your mind.

Your haricoes, ma’am, are the best I e’er eat,

Says the Knight, may I venture to beg a receipt.

’Tis much at your service, says madam, and bow’d,

Then flutter’d her fan, of the compliment proud.

Says Lady Jane Rational, the bill of fare

Is th’ utmost extent of my cookery care:

Most servants can cook for the palate I find,

But very few of them can cook for the mind.

Who, says Lady Pedigree, can this girl be;

Perhaps she’s descended of some family:—

Of family, doubtless, says Captain Bonair,

She’s descended from Adam, I’d venture to swear.

Her Ladyship drew herself up in her chair,

And twitching her fan-sticks, affected a sneer.

E3 I know E3v [ 54 ]

I know something of her, says Mrs. Devoir,

She liv’d with my friend, Jacky Faddle, Esq.

’Tis sometime ago though; her mistress said then,

The girl was excessively fond of a pen;

I saw her, but never convers’d with her—though

One can’t make acquaintance with servants, you
know.

’Tis pity the girl was not bred in high life,

Says Mr. Fribbello:—yes,—then, says his wife,

She doubtless might have wrote something worth
notice:

’Tis pity, says one,—says another, and so ’tis.

O law! says young Seagram, I’ve seen the book, now

I remember, there’s something about a mad cow.

A mad cow!—ha, ha, ha, ha, return’d half the room;

What can y’ expect better, says Madam Du Bloom?

They look at each other,—a general pause—

And Miss Coquettella adjusted her gauze.

The Rector reclin’d himself back in his chair,

And open’d his snuff-box with indolent air;

This book, says he,(snift, snift) has in the beginning,

(The ladies give audience to hear his opinion)

Some pieces, I think, that are pretty correct;

A stile elevated you cannot expect:

To some of her equals they may be a treasure,

And E4r [ 55 ]

And country lasses may read ’em with pleasure.

That Amnon, you can’t call it poetry neither,

There’s no flights of fancy, or imagery either;

You may stile it prosaic, blank-verse at the best;

Some pointed reflections, indeed, are exprest;

The narrative lines are exceedingly poor:

Her Jonadab is a —— the drawing-room door

Was open’d, the gentlemen came from below,

And gave the discourse a definitive blow.

E4 Wit E4v [ 56 ]

Wit and Beauty.
A Pastoral.

Celia.

Our shepherds are gone o’er the hill,

To sport on the neighbouring plain;

Let’s sit by this murmuring rill,

And sing till they come back again.

Sylvia.

We’ll sing of our favourite swains,

By whom our fond hearts are possest;

And Daphne shall judge of the strains,

Which sings of her shepherd the best.

Daphne.

Come sing then, and Daphne will hear,

Nor linger the time to prolong;

And this wreath of roses I wear,

Shall crown the fair victor in song.

Celia.

My Thirsis is airy and gay,

His pride is in pleasing the fair;

He sings and drives the sorrow away,

His humour will banish all care.

Syl- E5r [ 57 ]

Sylvia.

To Daphnis the pride of my lay,

The merits of beauty belong;

His smiles will chase sorrow away,

As well as your shepherd’s fine song.

Celia.

When piping my Thirsis is seen,

The virgins assemble around;

And all the blithe swains of the green,

Approve, while they envy the sound.

Sylvia.

When Daphnis approaches the plains,

The virgins all blush with surprise;

With negligence treating their swains,

And fix on my Daphnis their eyes.

Celia.

If e’er I am pensive and sad,

Or sigh to the evening gale;

I’m cheer’d by the voice of my lad,

Who tells me a humorous tale.

Sylvia.

When I am perplexed with fears,

And nothing can give me delight;

As soon as my Daphnis appears,

I languish away at the sight.

Daph- E5v [ 58 ]

Daphne.

Now cease to contend, my dear lasses,

My wreath I’ll acknowledge your due;

Nor yet can I tell which surpasses,

Your merits you equally shew.

’Twas Strephon that gave me the treasure,

Which now I to you shall impart;

(That name! O, I speak it with pleasure!

It ever enraptures my heart.)

Nor Sylvia, nor Celia, shall have it,

I’ll justly divide it in two;

Believe me, my Strephon, that gave it,

Is beautiful, witty, and—true.

Absence E6r [ 59 ]

Absence and Death.
A Pastoral.

When ev’ry eye that knew no cause to weep,

And peaceful minds were hush’d in pleasing sleep,

Two virgin nymphs, whom Love had left forlorn,

Ne’er clos’d their weeping eyes, from eve to morn:

For Strephon’s absence, Daphne’s tears were shed,

And Hebe mourn’d her faithful Collin dead;

Their sorrows were not to each other known,

Alike they mourn’d, and silent was their moan;

Awhile they wept, ’till one the silence broke;

Thus Hebe answer’d, and thus Daphne spoke.

Daphne.

Say, gentle maid, whence spring thy anxious fears?

What inward sorrows prompt thy gushing tears?

Thy case thou safely may’st to me impart,

True to my trust, and faithful from the heart;

My grief, I will suspend awhile to hear

Thy tale, and shed a sympathetic tear.

Hebe.

And will not Daphne then her grief impart?

To tell the sorrow, is to ease the heart.

Say E6v [ 60 ]

Say first, why heaves thy breast that lab’ring sigh,

And Hebe will alternately reply;

The plaintive sounds shall die along the vales,

And neighb’ring hills resound the moving tales.

Daphne.

A shepherd’s absence I am doom’d to mourn,

While rigid fate forbids him to return;

Perhaps, like me, he mourns his forc’d delay,

Perhaps some fairer maid may tempt his stay;

Awhile, with flattering gales of hope I steer,

Then, dash’d and shipwreck’d on the rock of fear.

Hebe.

Young Collin did my yielding heart subdue,

A forester he was, and he was true;

He vow’d his heart from me should never rove;

I heard with joy, and gave him love for love:

But my dear swain, my Collin’s dead, and I

Now live, but only to despair, and die.

Daphne.

My shepherd is the choicest of the swains,

That climb the hills, or traverse o’er the plains;

His radiant eyes beam forth a milder ray,

Than the fair star, that leads the dawning day;

Nor are the flocks, that graze the plains, so fair

As the dear swain that makes those flocks his care.

Hebe. E7r [ 61 ]

Hebe.

My forester was comely to behold,

His looks were pleasing as the tale he told;

The frock he wore, was of a fresher green

Than the gay forests, where he oft was seen;

And stately he, among his fellow swains,

As the tall fir, that o’er the forest reigns.

Daphne.

How swift the seasons fly throughout the year,

How oft the spring returns without my dear;

Yet should some blissful hour, some distant spring,

My long-mourn’d Strephon to his Daphne bring;

One happy hour with him, wou’d far o’er-pay

All I have suffer’d by his long delay.

Hebe.

No gloomy phantom has my joys o’er-cast,

My hopes are wither’d by a deadly blast;

See the surrounding woods, how ev’ry tree

Has dropp’d its leaves, and seems to mourn with me;

Though spring will quickly re-adorn the grove,

Yet I can never hope to see my love.

A Pas- E7v [ 62 ]

A Pastoral.

Young Damon gay, a faithful-hearted swain,

Long sought fair Daphne’s love, but sought in vain;

He often told her how sincere he lov’d,

As oft the nymph his ardent flame reprov’d;

While yet his passion labour’d in his mind,

He walk’d abroad his straying steeds to find;

Just then fair Laura went across the green,

Long time this nymph fair Daphne’s friend had been;

The swain to meet her stept across the way;

She stopt to hear what Damon had to say.

Damon.

Say, friendly maid, why wand’ring here alone?

Where is thy friend, the lovely Daphne gone?

Ah! has some rival led her to the grove?

And may I never hope for Daphne’s love?

Laura.

A shepherd’s fav’rite dog long lost has been,

Fair Daphne found him wand’ring on the green;

Much does the shepherd-swain his loss deplore,

The nymph is gone the wand’rer to restore.

Damon. E8r [ 63 ]

Damon.

Ah, wretched Damon! doom’d to love in vain,

She loves the dog, she loves the shepherd-swain;

Oh Daphne! I’ll to death thy loss deplore,

These lips shall ne’er salute a virgin more.

Laura.

Despair not, Damon, of fair Daphne’s love,

Thy vows repeated, may her pity move;

See, up yon hill ascends the maiden gay,

Thou may’st o’ertake her, Damon, haste away.

She said, and Damon turn’d his eyes around,

And saw the maid ascend the rising ground;

Swift are the feet of messengers, that bring

Glad news of conquests to their sov’reign King;

But up the steep more swiftly Damon came,

Love, urg’d by fear, has swifter wings than fame.

The lovely Daphne smil’d to see him run,

And thus the swain in humble suit begun:

Damon.

Why Daphne here, from ev’ry friend apart?

What on this hill can charm thy virgin heart?

If down the other side thou would’st descend,

My lovely maid, permit me to attend.

Daphne. E8v [ 64 ]

Daphne.

Now spring with verdure ev’ry field adorns,

And birds are singing on the bloomy thorns,

Can such things fail to charm? but Damon say,

How did you know that I was come this way?

Damon.

I walk’d abroad, my straying steeds to see;

But my fond heart was still pursuing thee;

They were my small, but thou my greater care,

O happy chance, that led me to my fair.

Daphne.

A shepherd’s dog has long been gone astray,

I found him on the green the other day;

This fav’rite dog, the swain does much lament,

I’ll lead him home, and give the swain content.

Damon.

Why in such haste! the sun, my fair one, see,

Is yet as high as yonder lofty tree;

Those verdant meadows, where fresh daisies grow,

Invite our steps, my Daphne, shall we go?

The maid consented, making no reply;

What maid could such a small request deny?

A chrystal stream, in gentle murmurs glides

Along the valley, and the meads divides;

Along F1r [ 65 ]

Along the banks the verdant alders grow,

Their branches bending to the stream below;

The tender leaves that hung on ev’ry spray,

And hawthorn blossoms shew’d the month was May;

Flow’rs, of various hue, bedeck’d the shade,

And there young Damon led the tender maid:

Her slender waist no gaudy ribband bound,

But Damon’s arm did form a circle round;

Soft were the whisp’rings of the western gale,

But with more softness Damon told his tale;

The pleasing tale the maid in silence heard,

But in her heart the gentle swain preferr’d;

Thus o’er one meadow they were quickly gone,

Yet still by pleasant meadows tempted on,

How soon the lovers moments pass away,

How soon, how soon, approach’d the close of day,

The sun departed, and the plains grew damp,

And rising Cynthia trimm’d her silver lamp;

No more birds to charm the year aspir’d,

And wand’ring lovers from the plain retir’d;

The swain ne’er thought to go, his steeds to find,

The nymph forgot to leave her dog behind.

F Love F1v [ 66 ]

Love and Friendship.
A Pastoral.

Two nymphs to whom the pow’rs of verse belong,

Alike ambitious to excel in song,

With equal sweetness sang alternate strains,

And courteous echo told the list’ning plains;

That of her lover sung, this of her friend;

Ye rural nymphs and village swains attend.

Celia.

O Love, soft sov’reign, ruler of the heart!

Deep are thy wounds, and pleasing is the smart;

When Strephon smiles the wint’ry fields look gay,

Cold hearts are warm’d, and hard ones melt away.

Sylvia.

Through ev’ry scene of temp’ral bliss is there

A greater blessing than a friend sincere?

’Tis Corydon that bears that tender name,

And Sylvia’s breast returns the gen’rous flame.

Celia.

When happy I survey my Strephon’s charms,

His beauty holds me faster than his arms,

My F2r [ 67 ]

My heart is in a flood of pleasures toss’d,

I faint, I die, and am in raptures lost.

Sylvia.

And what are all these tumults of the heart,

But certain omens of a future smart?

In friendship we more solid comforts find,

It cheers the heart, nor leaves a sting behind.

Celia.

Surely no lark in spring was e’er so glad

To see the morn, as I to see my lad;

At his approach all anxious griefs remove,

And ev’ry other joy gives place to love.

Sylvia.

O happy I! with such a friend to live!

Our joys united double pleasure give;

Our inmost thoughts with freedom we unfold,

And grief’s no longer grief, when once ’tis told.

Celia.

All that is lovely in my swain I find,

But am to all his imperfections blind;

What have I said? I surely do him wrong,

No imperfections can to him belong.

F2 Sylvia. F2v [ 68 ]

Sylvia.

The faithful friend sees with impartial eyes,

Nor scorns reproof, but speaks without disguise;

Blind to all faults, the eager lover sues,

Friends see aright, and ev’ry fault excuse.

Then Daphne from beneath a hawthorn sprung,

Where she attentive sat to hear the song;

Her breast was conscious of the tenser glow,

That faithful friends, in mutual friendship know;

Her tender heart, by love’s impulses mov’d,

With ardour beat to sing the swain she lov’d;

With emulation fir’s, the conscious maid

Thus to the fair contending virgins said.

Daphne.

Blest Celia, happy in a love dear;

Blest Sylvia, happy in a friend sincere;

But surely I am doubly blest to find,

At once a friend sincere, and lover kind;

My Thirsis is my friend, my friend I say

And who in lvoe can bear a greater sway

Strephon must his superior power own,

Nor is he less sincere than Corydon

F3 A Pas- F3r [ 69 ]

A Pastoral.

Young Corydon,a blithesome swain,

As ever tended sheep,

Upon the verdant banks of Leam,

Was wont his flock to keep.

One ev’ning when the rising Moon

Was peeping in the slood,

And ev’ry bird that sings by day,

Sat silent in the wood.

With dog and staff he took his way,

And Whistled as he went;

To gather up his straying ewes,

Was all the shepherd meant.

And while he sought the meadows round,

Where they were wont to stray,

A maid more lovely than his ewes,

Came tripping o’er the way.

The sheep no longer fill’d his thoughts,

The nymph was all his care;

And thus the gentle shepherd-swain,

Addressed the tender fair.

F3 Corydon F3v [ 70 ]

Corydon

Why comes my nymph so late abroad,

To wander in the vale;

To hear the murmuring of the flood,

And see the moon shine pale?

Or is it an appointed hour

To meet some happy swain?

For maids are seldom seen alone

So late upon the plain.

Pastora.

I’ve been to visit a friend,

That lives by yonder grove,

Where shepherds tell their tender tales,

And list’ning virgins rove:

I with my friend conversing stood,

Abstracted from all care,

The sun went down, and night drew on

Before I was aware.

Corydon.

The swains were surely all unkind,

That such a maid as you

Should e’er be seen to walk alone,

And in the ev’ning too:

Now F4r [ 71 ]

Now Corydon most gladly will

Attend you if he may;

You see the moon is hasting on,

Then why should we delay?

He said, and took her by the hand;

O happy shepherd he!

Pastora too was pleas’d as well

As shepherdess could be.

The swain no longer sought around,

His straying ewes to find:

O happy nymphs that live in plains,

Where shepherds are so kind.

F4 A Pas- F4v [ 72 ]

A Pastoral.

As Thirsis and Daphne, upon the new hay

Were seated, surveying the plain;

No guilt in their bosoms their joys to allay,

Or give them a moment of pain.

Not Venus, but Virtue had made them her care,

She taught them her innocent skill;

The swain knew no art, but to pleasure the fair

That Nature had form’d to his will.

Inspired by love, on his pipe he did play;

O Virtue! how happy the swain!

While sweet Robin-red-breast that perch’d on the
spray,

And Daphne was pleas’d with the strain.

How pleasing the prospect, how cooling the breeze;

The sun shone delightfully ’round;

And apples half ripe, grew so thick on the trees,

The boughs almost bent to the ground.

Thus happily seated, by sympathy bound,

How pleasing the mutual chain;

When either is absent, the prospects around

Display all their beauties in vain.

They F5r [ 73 ]

They sat till the mist that arose from the brook,

Inform’d them the ev’ning was nigh;

The swain shook his head with a languishing look,

And ’rose from his seat with a sigh.

His flute he disjointed, and silent a while

He gaz’d on his maid with delight;

Then gave her his hand, she arose with a smile,

He kiss’d her, and bid her good night.

Observation.

Let the vain avaricious with oaths safely bind,

Lest either forgetfully rove;

The band of affection secureth the mind,

When the wishes are centered in love.

If virtue alone is the guide of the will,

Distrust has no right to be there;

The swain has no reason to doubt of his skill,

And the fair one has nothing to fear.

A Pas- F5v [ 74 ]

A Pastoral Dialogue.

Damon.

O Theron, say what means that down-cast eye,

What new found grief has taught thy breast to sigh?

Has some intruding swain thy purpose crost?

Or has some favourite ewe her lambkin lost?

Assume thy wonted cheerfulness dear lad,

Or tell thy Damon why thou look’st so sad.

Theron.

Fresh as the spring, and fair as op’ning day,

My Jessy smil’d, and stole my heart away;

But when of love I did to her complain,

She scarcely smil’d, nor answer’d me again:

None e’er could think, but those that feel the smart,

So fair a form could hide so hard a heart.

Damon.

Ah, silly swain! and was thy beauty made,

For the cool frowns of one false nymph to fade?

O Theron, Theron, scorn the power of love,

Forbid the tender impulses to move:

See how that bee forsakes the blooming may,

And leaves it for the next that comes this way.

Theron. F6r [ 75 ]

Theron.

Must I, like fickle Jessy, learn to slight?

Yes,—what my Damon says is always right.

See’st thou that nymph, beneath the shady tree?

She looks this way; I wish she look’d at me:

If e’er thy Theron should his heart transfer

From his lost Jessy, it must go to her.

Damon.

O say no more—no more of her, my friend;

For she is mine—my Doris!—O suspend—

Suspend thy choice, my swain, till thou hast seen

The village maids assemble on the green;

And if you would your fickle heart transfer,

Then take your choice of all the rest but her.

Theron.

Why are you angry now, my friend, my swain!

Your own advice I’ll give you back again:

O Damon, Damon, scorn the power of love;

Forego your nymph, your simile to prove:

Forsake her, as the bee forsakes the may,

And I will be the next that comes this way.

Thirsis F6v [ 76 ]

Thirsisand Daphne.
A Poem.

My muse of Thirsis sings, and of the shade,

Where he, poor shepherd, with his Daphne stray’d:

On Dunsmore waste, there stands a shady grove,

The sweet recess of solitude and love;

Hazles on this, on that side elms are seen,

To shade the verdant path that leads between.

A rose, less lovely than young Thirsis gay,

Adorns the sprig that bends across the way;

The way that does with various flow’rs abound,

The gentle shepherd cast his eyes around;

He sought a flower with Daphne to compare,

And thought the drooping lily seem’d less fair:

A flame as pure as that fair sacred light,

That shines between the hazle boughs at night,

Inspires the am’rous Thirsis’ tender breast,

Which, by that light, has often been confess’d:

Soft was his speech, and languishing his eye,

When he approach’d his Daphne with a sigh;

No dark deceit did to his heart belong,

And flatt’ry was as foreign to his tongue;

I love, F7r [ 77 ]

“I love, says he, (and took her by the hand)

And my poor wounded heart’s at your command;

For you I’m doom’d in love’s fierce flames to burn;

Be kind, my dear, and love me in return.”

Thus said the swain, and paus’d a little while;

The fair one’s answer was a silent smile:

To see her smile, he smil’d amidst his pain,

And thus pursu’d his gentle suit again.

“How long must I be toss’d ’twixt hope and fear,

And tell my pain to your regardless ear?

No more in silence hear me thus complain,

Nor force those flatt’ring smiles, to hide disdain;

But say you love, and end my anxious care,

Or frown, and let me die in sad despair.”

To hear him thus his ardent flame express,

Poor swain! she pity’d him; what could she less?

Her love, perhaps, at length may be attain’d,

By the dear swain that has her pity gain’d.

Per- F7v [ 78 ]

Perplexity.
A Poem.

Ye tender young virgins attend to my lay,

My heart is divided in twain;

My Collin is beautiful, witty, and gay,

And Damon’s a kind-hearted swain.

Whenever my lovely young Collin I meet,

What pleasures arise in my breast;

The dear gentle swain looks so charming and sweet,

I fancy I love him the best.

But when my dear Damon does to me complain,

So tender, so loving and kind,

My bosom is soften’d to hear the fond swain,

And Collin slips out of my mind.

Whenever my Damon repeats his soft tale,

My heart overflows with delight;

But when my dear Collin appears in the vale,

I languish away at the sight.

’Tis Collin alone shall possess my fond heart,

Now Damon for ever adieu;

But F8r [ 79 ]

But can I?—I cannot from Damon thus part!

He’s lov’d me so long, and so true.

My heart to my Damon I’ll instantly bind,

And on him will fix all my care;

But, O should I be to my Collin unkind,

He surely will die with despair.

How happy, how happy with Damon I’d been,

If Collin I never had knew;

As happy with Collin, if I’d never seen

My Damon, so tender and true.

A Pas- F8v [ 80 ]

A Pastoral Song.

One ev’ning in May, the sweet season of love,

Amintor, with heart light as air;

And his hat on one side, ran in haste to the grove,

To meet his dear Delia there.

He waited a little, impatient no doubt,

A minute to lovers is long;

Then snapping his fingers, he saunter’d about,

And thus of his Delia sung.

My Delia is mild as an April morn,

And fair as the blossoms in May

That sweeten the air, and enamel the thorn;

She’s fairer, she’s sweeter than they!

So chearful and sprightly, good humour’d and gay,

No passions e’er ruffle her breast;

In innocent frolicks she passes the day,

Till ev’ning invites her to rest.

Let prudes and coquets to their artfulness trust,

They ne’er shall have place in my arms;

Their wits and their arts do but give me disgust,

’Tis virgin simplicity charms.

My G1r [ 81 ]

My lovely dear Delia’s unskill’d in their wiles,

And all the coquetry of love:

She thoughtlessly meets me, with innocent smiles,

And trips with me into the grove.

Just then the fair Delia came tripping along,

Displaying her innocent charms;

Amintor no longer continued his song,

But clasp’d the dear maid in his arms.

G The G1v [ 82 ]

The Favourite Swain.

My generous muse, assistance lend;

Ye simple village-swains attend;

I mean not to complain:

I’ll tell you what the youth must be,

That hopes to gain the love of me,

And be my Fav’rite Swain.

I ne’er can love the silly swain,

That quits the village and the plain,

To flutter round the state;

Nor fool that leaves the woodbine bower,

To fix on that uncertain flower,

The favour of the great:

But I some artless youth must find,

That knows not how to veil his mind,

But speaks without disguise;

His count’nance cheering as the dawn,

That smiles upon the flowery lawn,

And bids the sky-lark rise:

His eyes like dew drops on the thorn,

When daisies opening to the morn,

Bespeak G2r [ 83 ]

Bespeak that morning fair;

His breath as sweet as western breeze,

That sweeps the sweetest smelling trees,

To scent the evening air.

And when he pipes upon the plain,

He must all approbation gain,

In spite of envious pride;

And force his rival swains to say,

His matchless skill must bear the sway,

It cannot be denied.

No passions like the northern wind,

Must discompose his steady mind,

By seriousness possest;

Yet sadness be as far away,

As darkest midnight from noon-day,

Or point of east from west.

His temper mild as April rain,

Whose gentle shower bedews the plain,

And gems the budding spray;

In manners like the lowly rill,

That creeps beneath the grassy hill,

Where shining fishes play.

G2 No G2v [ 84 ]

No headstrong passion must incline

Him to my arms, or make him mine,

But reason must approve;

To nicest honour be consign’d,

While virtue rules his generous mind,

And friendship crowns his love.

Methinks the envious youths around,

Say such a one was never found,

And all my search is vain:

Mistaken swains know this my song,

Does to my Thirsis all belong,

For he’s my Fav’rite Swain.

On G3r [ 85 ]

On a Wedding.

Hark! hark! how the bells ring, how happy
the day,

Now Thirsis makes Daphne his bride;

See cheerful birds chirping on ev’ry green spray,

And summer shines forth in its pride.

The lads and the lasses, so jocund and gay,

Their happiness hail with a song;

And Thirsis enchantingly pipes to their lay,

Inspiring with mirth all the throng.

The bride and the bride-groom then join in the dance

And smiling trip nimbly around;

The sprightly gay bride’s-maids as nimbly advance,

And answer their smiles with a bound.

With all marriage articles pen’d on the heart,

The parties so sweetly agreed;

They needed no lawyer, with quibbling art,

Or parchment to draw up a deed.

For Love, the first blessing of blessings below,

That Heaven to mortals can give,

Was all the kind shepherdess had to bestow,

And all that she wish’d to receive.

G3 Lob’s G3v [ 86 ]

Lob’s Courtship.

As Lob among his cows one day,

Was filling of their cribs with hay;

As he to th’ crib the hay did carry,

It came into his head to marry;

Says he, there’s little merry Nell,

I think I like her very well;

But she, perhaps, at me will scoff,

Besides, she lives a great way off:

He mus’d a while, then judg’d it better,

The courtship to begin by letter;

So he a bit of paper found,

’Twas neither long, nor square, nor round;

It was the best that he could find,

And on it thus, he wrote his mind:

Dear Nelly, I make bold to send

My love to you, and am your friend;

I think you are a pretty maid,

And wonder much that you don’t wed;

If you can like a country man,

I’ll come and see you, if I can,

When roads are good, and weather fine,

But first I hope you’ll send a line.

Then he in haste this letter sent,

Also G4r [ 87 ]

Also two apples did present,

Which Nell receiv’d, and read the letter,

(But she lik’d the apples better);

When read she into the fire threw it,

And never sent an answer to it.

When spring drew on, the cuckow sung,

The roads were dry, and days were long,

The cows were all turn’d out to grass,

Then Lob set out to see his lass;

He oil’d his shoes, and comb’d his hair,

As if a going to a fair:

He was a very clever clown,

His frock was of the fustian brown,

His stick was bended like a bow,

His handkerchief too made a show,

His hat stood like the pot-lid round,

So on he went, and Nell he found.

What Nelly! how dost do? says he,

Come, will you go along with me

O’er yonder stile, a little way

Along that close; Nell, what dost say?

Me go with you o’er yonder stile?

Says Nell, indeed I can’t a-while;

So she stept in, and shut the door,

And he shabb’d off, and said no more.

G4 The G4v [ 88 ]

The Rural Maid in London,
To her Friend in the Country.
An Epistle.

Rejoice, dear nymph! enjoy your happy
grove,

Where birds and shepherds warble strains of love,

While banish’d I, alas! can nothing hear,

But sounds too harsh to sooth a tender ear.

Here gilded beaux fine painted belles pursue,

But how unlike to village-swains and you;

At twelve o’clock they rub their slumb’ring eyes,

And, seeing day-light, from their pillows rise;

To the dear looking-glass due homage pay,

Look o’er the play-bills while they sip their tea;

Then order John the chariot to prepare,

And drive to th’ Park, to take the morning air.

When dusky ev’ning spreads her gloomy shade,

And rural nymphs are in soft slumbers laid,

Then coaches rattle to the ladies rout,

With belles within, and mimic beaux without;

The vulgar way of counting time they scorn,

Their noon is evening, and their evening morn.

But G5r [ 89 ]

But what is yet more wonderful than all,

These strange disorders they do pleasures call:

Such tinsel joys shall ne’er my heart obtain,

Give me the real pleasures of the plain,

Where unmov’d constancy has fix’d her seat,

And love, and friendship, make their sweet retreat.

There lives my friend, my dear Belinda gay,

Could I with her the fresh’ning vales survey;

To make a wreath, I’d gather flow’rs full blown,

But spare the tender buds, till riper grown:

If I should see a black-bird, or a thrush,

Sit on her nest within the hawthorn bush,

She undisturb’d should hatch her little brood;

Who fright her thence has not a heart that’s good;

It surely is a pity to molest,

A little bird, when sitting on her nest.

Should love by chance invite your friend to rove,

I’d take a trip into the silent grove;

There if my swain should pipe, then I would sing,

And be as happy as the birds in spring;

No title but a nymph I’d wish to know,

Nor e’er commence a belle, to win a beau.

Corinna G5v [ 90 ]

Corinna to Lycidas.

Where’er my Lycidas shall turn his eyes,

May pleasures spring, and lovely prospects ’rise;

While your Corinna, on the banks of Stower,

In pensive sadness views each ripening flower:

Why am I pensive? all things else are gay,

Fawns dance around, and harmless lambkins play;

Surrounding groves invite my steps to rove,

Resembling that in which I learn’d to love;

They each returning morn, grow fresher still,

And happy birds their leafy branches fill;

O lovely scenes! but what are these to me?

Joy is no joy without society.

If I a friend like Lycidas could find,

To share my joys, or sooth my anxious mind;

Then morn and night, I’d tune my cheerful lay,

Sing with the birds, and be more glad than they;

But while your absence I am doom’d to bear,

Your fancied presence in my thoughts shall share;

I’ll bless the hour in which our love began,

And ever be as constant as I can.

An G6r [ 91 ]

An Epistle.

My dear Maria, my long absent friend,

If you can spare one moment to attend,

The plaintive strains of your Belinda hear,

Who is your friend, and as yourself sincere.

Let love-sick nymphs their faithful shepherds prove,

Maria’s friendship’s more to me than love;

When you were here, I smil’d throughout the day,

No rustic shepherdess was half so gay;

But now, alas! I can no pleasure know,

The tedious hours of absence move so slow;

I secret mourn, not daring to complain,

Still seeking for relief, but seek in vain.

When I walk forth to take the morning air,

I quickly to some rising hill repair,

From whence I may survey your village spire,

Then sigh to you, and languish with desire.

At sultry noon retiring to the groves,

In search of you, my wand’ring fancy roves,

From shade to shade, pleas’d with the vain delight,

Imagination brings you to my sight;

Fatigu’d G6v [ 92 ]

Fatigu’d I sink into my painted chair,

And your ideal form attends me there.

My garden claims one solitary hour,

When sober ev’ning closes ev’ry flow’r;

The drooping lily my resemblance bears,

Each pensive bloom a shining dew-drop wears;

Such shining drops my closing eyes bedew,

While I am absent from the sight of you.

When on my couch reclin’d my eyes I close,

The God of Sleep refuses me repose;

I ’rise half dress’d, and wander to and fro

Along my room, or to my window go:

Enraptur’d I behold the moon shine clear,

While falling waters murmur in my ear;

My thoughts to you then in a moment fly,

The moon shines misty, and my raptures die.

Thus ev’ry scene a gloomy prospect wears,

And ev’ry object prompts Belinda’s tears:

’Tis you, Maria, and ’tis only you,

That can the wonted face of things renew:

Come to my groves; command the birds to sing,

And o’er the meadows bid fresh daisies spring:

No! rather come and chase my gloom away,

That I may sing like birds, and look like daisies gay.

Leander G7r [ 93 ]

Leander and Belinda.

A Tale.

Belinda is the loveliest fair,

Of all the rural train,

That dance upon the flow’ry lawn,

Or trip across the plain.

Her pleasing air, and winning grace,

The village swains admire;

But not a youth in all that place,

To court her durst aspire.

Her robes were of the whitest lawn,

As spotless as her fame;

And all the blushing virgin train,

Rever’d Belinda’s name.

At last her fame Leander hears,

Who in the city dwells;

And he, for this fair village-maid,

Forsook the city belles.

His G7v [ 94 ]

His coat was of the crimson dye,

His spurs were silver bright;

And thus equip’d away he rode,

To court this nymph in white.

With each acquir’d accomplishment

Endow’d, and on his tongue

The pow’rful art of flattery,

In full persuasion hung.

He told to her such pleasing tales,

As anxious lovers tell;

Such as he’d often told before,

To many a shining belle.

Into the garden walk’d this pair,

To view the flowers gay;

Belinda look’d like lilies fair,

That grew about the way.

By her fair hand Leander took,

This lovely charming maid;

Like Strephon’s flocks at summer’s noon,

From shade to shade they stray’d.

They walk’d ’till drooping dewy flow’rs,

Proclaim’d the ev’ning nigh;

And that sweet bird that sings i’ th’ air,

Descended from the sky.

Lean- G8r [ 95 ]

Leander seeing nature’s pride,

The tales of ev’ning tell,

He with reluctancy retir’d,

And bade his nymph farewell.

But vow’d he quickly would return,

And make the fair one his;

Then with an oath his promise bound,

And seal’d it with a kiss.

Yet the next news Belinda hears,

Is that Leander’s wed;

A wealthier, not a fairer dame,

He to the church had led.

But ere the honey-moon was past,

A fever seiz’d his bride;

And though he left nor pains, nor cost,

Nor medicine untry’d.

Not all the skill’d physician’s art,

Could heal his sicken’d spouse;

Cosmelia died, a just reward

For all his broken vows.

Observa- G8v [ 96 ]

Observation,
On an Evening.

Sweet and refreshing are the dews,

That deck the ev’ning shade;

Sweet are the winds that sweep the plains,

And whisper through the glade.

We faint beneath the sultry sun,

But when the day is o’er,

We gladly meet the ev’ning shade,

And think of toil no more.

Reflection.

So when the dew of heav’nly grace,

Falls gently on the soul,

It cheers the fainting, drooping heart,

And bids new pleasures roll:

To ev’ry doubt, and ev’ry fear,

This brings a sweet relief;

Superior joy! compar’d with this,

All other joy is grief.

Written H1r [ 97 ]

Written while the Author sat on a
Cock of Hay.

Fair Daphne to the meadow went,

To teddtend the new mown hay;

She went alone,

For well ’twas known,

No shepherd went that way.

And when she to the meadow came,

And cast her eyes around,

She saw green hills,

And purling rills,

The fertile spot surround.

The alders and the poplars tall,

Did form a circling shade;

The cooling breeze,

Stole by the trees,

Along the open glade.

Beneath the shade a murm’ring brook,

Pursues its crooked way;

H There H1v [ 98 ]

There fishes glide,

In conscious pride,

And shining scales display.

The beauteous blooming gifts of spring,

Are fallen from the thorn;

But the wild rose,

More beauteous grows,

The willow tree t’ adorn.

The sun that o’er Arabian fields,

Bids spicy odours play;

By the same pow’r,

Doth in an hour,

Raise sweetness from the hay.

The choristers from ev’ry grove,

In num’rous bands appear;

From spray to spray,

Tune forth their lay,

To charm the virgin’s ear.

But yet amidst this pleasing scene,

Our nymph doth sullen prove;

Such things says she,

Might pleasure me,

If I was not in love.

To H2r [ 99 ]

To cheerful strains I’ll not aspire,

Since fate that led me here,

Forbids my swain,

To tread this plain,

I’ll drop a silent tear.

H2 On H2v [ 100 ]

On Contemplative Ease.

Rejoice ye jovial sons of mirth,

By sparkling wine inspir’d;

A joy of more intrinsic worth

I feel, while thus retir’d.

Excluded from the ranting crew,

Amongst these fragrant trees

I walk, the twinkling stars to view,

In solitary ease.

Half wrap’d in clouds, the half-form’d moon

Beams forth a cheering ray,

Surpassing all the pride of noon,

Or charms of early day.

The birds are hush’d, and not a breeze

Disturbs the pendant leaves;

My passion’s hush’d as calm as these,

No sigh my bosom heaves.

While great ones make a splendid show,

In equipage or dress,

I’m happy here, nor wish below

For greater happiness.

Written H3r [ 101 ]

Written on Their Majesties
coming to Kew.

He comes, he comes, our sacred King,

Now bids the town adieu;

And all the bells at Richmond ring,

To welcome him to Kew.

The air serene, the ev’ning clear,

The moon so fair to view;

Sweet emblem of our gracious Queen,

That came to day to Kew.

Now softly blows the western gale,

To waft the joyful strains,

Along the lowly winding vale,

And tell the distant plains.

In Spring’s fresh robes the trees are clad,

The fields are fair to view;

And every loyal heart is glad

The King is come to Kew.

Ye lovers of inconstancy,

Now blush and take a view;

H3 A bright H3v [ 102 ]

A bright example you may see,

The royal pair at Kew.

May God continue still to give

Them pleasures ever new;

And many summers may they live

To reign and visit Kew.

Con- H4r [ 103 ]

Contentment.

Whilst I beneath this silent shade,

Contented sit and sing,

I envy not the great their joys,

That from their riches spring.

Let those who have in courts been bred,

There still in splendor shine;

Their lot of bliss may not surpass,

Perhaps not equal mine,

While no unwelcome visitants,

My solitude invade;

The monarch is not more secure,

Than I beneath this shade.

These friendly trees on either side,

From heat a shelter stand;

The white rose on the brier hangs,

And seems t’ invite my hand.

Ah! rose, no longer to my eyes

Thy pow’rful charms display,

For I’ve a sweeter flow’r than you,

And one that looks more gay.

H4 The H4v [ 104 ]

The Widower’s Courtship.

Roger a doleful widower,

Full eighteen weeks had been,

When he, to meet the milk-maid Nell,

Came smiling o’er the green.

Blithe as a lad of seventeen,

He thus accosted Nell;

Give me your pail, I’ll carry it

For you, if you think well.

Says Nell, indeed my milking-pail

You shall not touch, I vow;

I’ve carried it myself before,

And I can carry it now.

So side by side they walk’d a-while,

Then he at last did say;

My inclination is to come

And see you, if I may.

Nell understood his meaning well,

And briskly answer’d she;

You may see me at any time,

If you look where I be.

Says H5r [ 105 ]

Says he, but hear me yet a-while,

I’ve something more to tell;

I gladly wou’d a sweetheart be

Unto you, Mistress Nell.

A sweetheart I don’t want, says Nell,

Kind Sir, and if you do,

Another you may seek, for I

Am not the lass for you.

When she had made him this reply,

He’d nothing more to say

But—Nelly, a good night to you,

And homeward went his way.

Observa- H5v [ 106 ]

Observation
on the
Works of Nature.

Now night submits to the encroaching day,

And groves, and fields, put on their spring array;

Now various flowers of various hues display’d,

Adorn the green, or deck the lonely shade.

These show the pow’r of the Almighty’s hand;

They spring, they blow, they fade at his command:

United Nature does his word fulfil,

’Tis Man alone rejects his Maker’s will.

An H6r [ 107 ]

An Elegy.

Oh where, Oh where are all those joys,

That in ten thousand forms arise,

T’ elude the wand’ring eye,

When youth its vigorous charms displays,

And beauty sheds its softening rays

To move the wishful sigh.

Ah! youth is but a summer’s morn,

When shining drops the fields adorn,

Their twinkling soon is o’er:

So beauty by encroaching years

Exhilarates and disappears,

And youth returns no more.

What happiness attends the pair,

Whose bliss no low intruding care,

Or adverse fates destroy;

When youth and beauty disappears,

Their virtues, ripening with their years,

Increase their mutual joy.

But how, Oh! how can I relate

The heart-felt tale—the hapless fate?

Where H6v [ 108 ]

Where are you gone, my tears?

O come and give my heart relief,

For Collin’s dead, alas! and grief

Embitters Hebe’s years.

When health sat blooming on his face,

And beauty with resplendent grace,

In every feature shone;

Voracious death seiz’d on his prey,

No warning sickness mark’d his way;

He died—alas, he’s gone!

When rosy health, with flattering smiles,

Th’ unwary thoughtless youth beguiles,

He counts his coming years;

Presumptuous man! by Collin’s fate,

Learn to contract the doubtful date,

And pity Hebe’s tears.

Friend- H7r [ 109 ]

Friendship.
An Ode.

Friendship inspires;

The sacred lay

My bosom fires;

Let friendly virgins tune their lyres,

In concert join, angelic choirs,

Due rites to pay.

Let envy shrink away,

As darkness flies approaching day;

Her serpent crest in vain she rears,

And her curst sting prepares;

She counteracts herself; for see

Her blast,

Binds fast

The knot of friendship ty’d,

In virtuous pride,

And firm sincerity.

O friendship, first of blessings here below,

The best gift Heaven can bestow!

Thou H7v [ 110 ]

Thou secret balm,

Serene and calm;

O stream of bliss, in gentlest currents flow!

Calm, humble bliss of friendship rise,

Superior to the splendid joys,

That glitter round the world;

Temptations so profusely spread,

With dazzling glares mislead

The feet that heedless tread,

And all those joys are in confusion hurl’d.

But Oh! ’tis friendship’s rite,

To give and take delight,

Dividing care:

Fly hence, despair,

Nor more annoy;

Firm friendship’s joy

Shines undiminish’d in distress,

The wretched and the blest to bless;

Its sweet and sovereign power let every tongue
confess.

Phillis H8r [ 111 ]

Phillis to Damon.
A Song.

Remember, false Damon, how often you’ve said,

You lov’d me as well as a man could a maid;

Though you slight me at last, and I cannot tell why,

Yet, trust me, I never with sorrow shall die.

In my bosom so tender, your power to prove,

You planted the fair blooming flow’ret of love;

But for its destruction a frown you prepar’d,

To blast at your pleasure the flowret you rear’d.

Yet boast not your conquest, tho’ from me you part,

Nor think yourself wholly possess’d of my heart;

Your smiles are not summer to melt the cold snow,

And your frowns are not winter, I’d have you to
know.

Go seek for a maid that has money in store,

And amuse yourself often in counting it o’er;

Yet, Damon, believe me, your bliss will be small,

If counting your gold and your silver be all.

He H8v [ 112 ]

He that sets his heart riches and honour to find,

Will learn that a kingdom’s too small for his mind;

He hoards up his treasures, and thinks himself scant,

While the poor that’s contented ne’er feels any want.

The joys of the wealthy are joys of a day,

For riches have wings and do oft fly away;

And when they are flying we generally find,

A long train of sorrow’s impending behind.

May all pleasures attend you, that treasures can bring,

May you find of your joys a perpetual spring;

Yet I’ll envy her not, that has money in store,

Nor think myself wretched, although I am poor.

Perhaps I the truth of some shepherd may prove,

Whose treasure’s contentment, whose pleasure is
love;

The I without wealth shall be happy as you,

So Damon, false Damon, for ever adieu.

On I1r [ 113 ]

On an Unsociable Family.

O What a strange parcel of creatures are we,

Scarce ever to quarrel, or ever agree;

We all are alone, though at home altogether,

Except to the fire constrain’d by the weather;

Then one says, ’tis cold, which we all of us know,

And with unanimity answer, ’tis so:

With shrugs and with shivers all look at the fire,

And shuffle ourselves and our chairs a bit nigher;

Then quickly, preceded by silence profound,

A yawn epidemical catches around:

Like social companions we never fall out,

Nor ever care what one another’s about;

To comfort each other is never our plan,

For to please ourselves, truly, is more than we can.

Reflection on Meditation.

To earth it bows the knees, but lifts the soul

So high above all sublunary things,

That this low world shews like a fleeting dream

Already past away.

On I1v [ 114 ]

On Reading Pope’s Eloiza to Abelard.

Sure, hapless Fair, no hearts can ever know,

But banish’d lovers, banish’d lovers’ woe!

Ah! Eloiza, ever exil’d maid,

I read thy sorrows, sorrowing as I read:

My sympathetic heart now shares thy grief,

Repeats thy sighs, and wishes thy relief:

But when I hear thee unrelenting boast

Thy tainted virtue, and thy honour lost,

All sense of pity in my bosom dies,

And direful tumults of reproaches rise:

No passions soft, or sadly-pleasing pain,

But rage and madness in thy bosom reign;

Ah! must thy Abelard exalted be,

Above the Maker of himself and thee!

And darest thou thus explode the wedded dame,

Disclaim her virtues, and disdain her fame:

Blush, Eloiza, at a thought so vain,

Thy face with crimson let confusion stain;

And while thy bosom glows with guilty fire,

Let every hope of happiness expire;

But if again thou would’st my pity move,

Lament at once thy honour and thy love.

Written, I2r [ 115 ]

Written, originally extempore, on seeing a Mad
Heifer run through the Village where
the Author lives.

When summer smil’d, and birds on ev’ry spray,

In joyous warblings tun’d their vocal lay,

Nature on all sides shew’d a lovely scene,

And people’s minds were, like the air, serene;

Sudden from th’ herd we saw an heifer stray,

And to our peaceful village bend her way.

She spurns the ground with madness as she flies,

And clouds of dust, like autumn mists, arise;

Then bellows loud: the villagers alarm’d,

Come rushing forth, with various weapons arm’d:

Some run with pieces of old broken rakes,

And some from hedges pluck the rotten stakes;

Here one in haste, with hand-staff of his flail,

And there another comes with half a rail:

Whips, without lashes, sturdy plough-boys bring,

While clods of dirt and pebbles others fling:

Voices tumultuous rend the listening ear;

Stop her—one cries; another—turn her there:

But furiously she rushes by them all,

And some huzza, and some to cursing fall:

I2 A mo- I2v [ 116 ]

A mother snatch’d her infant off the road,

Close to the spot of ground where next she trod;

Camilla walking, trembled and turn’d pale;

See o’er her gentle heart what fears prevail!

At last the beast, unable to withstand

Such force united, leapt into a pond:

The water quickly cool’d her madden’d rage;

No more she’ll fright our village, I presage.

A SONG. I3r [ 117 ]

A Song.

Ye swains cease to flatter, our hearts to obtain,

If your persons plead not, what your tongues say
is vain;

Though fickle you call us, believe me you’re wrong,

We’re fixt as a rock, as a rock too are strong.

Though sometimes, when suddenly struck with
your charms,

We melt into softness, and sink in your arms,

Or breathe a soft sigh, when you from us depart;

That shakes not the purpose that’s firm in the heart.

Too vainly ye boast we are easily won;

If on you, as on all, we should smile like the sun,

You laugh in your sleeves, when you from us retire,

And think that we love, when we only admire.

We are not so easily led by the nose,

Though with coxcombs we chatter, and flirt with
the beaux;

Yet seldom or never our hearts they command,

Though sometimes through pity we give them our
hand.

I3 A tony, I3v [ 118 ]

A tony, a coxcomb, a beau, or a clown,

Well season’d with money, may sometimes go down;

But these in our hearts we can never revere;

The worthy man only can hold a place there.

A Song.

Far from the woods, alas, I rove,

Far from the swain I dearly love:

Sure some ill star did rule the day,

When first my heedless feet did stray,

From my dear swain so far away.

’Tis now the morning of the spring,

And larks and linnets sweetly sing;

I might have sung as well as they,

If I had never learnt to stray,

From my dear swain so far away.

Oh! that I had ne’er left the plain,

Oh! that I could return again;

But here I mourn my abject state,

Like a poor dove that’s lost her mate,

And sigh, alas! but sigh too late.

A Song. I4r [ 119 ]

A Song.

When Chloe, smiling, gave consent,

To be Philander’s bride,

Name but the time, and I’m content,

Th’ enraptur’d shepherd cry’d.

Next Sunday morn, says Doris soon,

Shall be the happy hour;

And I, with all the flow’rs of June,

Will deck the nuptial bow’r.

But Doris counteracts the plan,

How sly the artful maid;

She smil’d, and won the am’rous man,

And Chloe was betray’d.

With joy the swain produc’d the ring,

For Chloe once design’d;

And Doris, cheerful as the spring,

Was to Philander join’d.

No nuptial bow’r on Sunday morn,

For Chloe deck’d shall be;

The slighted maid may sigh forlorn,

Beneath the willow tree.

I4 Absence. I4v [ 120 ]

Absence.

When Collin’s tuneful pipe with soft’ning strains,

Fill’d with melodious sounds the neighb’ring plains;

The nightingale responsive, in the grove

Sung her sweet lay, and tun’d my heart to love:

But absent now from all that’s to me dear,

A charm in Music I no longer hear.

Where are the joys the early seasons bring?

For herds the grass, for bees the flowers spring;

The black-birds sing on ev’ry blooming thorn,

And fresh’ning daisies ev’ry vale adorn:

In vain the spring for me adorns the plains,

While in my heart so cold a winter reigns.

The herds in Summer seek the cooling streams,

Where shady trees exclude the sultry beams;

The shepherds to some op’ning glade repair,

Where gentle breezes temperate the air:

But no cool breeze can fan my flame away,

Nor cooler streams the latent fire allay.

Rich Autumn now adds profit to delight,

And rip’ning apples ev’ry hand invite;

Each I5r [ 121 ]

Each swain divides his apple with his fair,

So I with Collin once was wont to share:

But now no fruits to please my taste have pow’r,

Not gather’d by his hand, all fruits are sour.

Winter a-while each growing herb restrains,

And locks all nature in his icy chains;

His reign but for a season doth endure,

Spring smiles, and nature feels the pow’rful cure:

But ah! my heart’s in faster fetters bound,

Which still grow stronger as the years go round.

To I5v [ 122 ]

To Thirsis,
On his signifying his intention to lay aside his
Hautboy.

What spurious offspring of low-thoughted care

Assumes the graceful muses winning air,

And bids my Thirsis lay aside his reed,

That dulness may serenity succeed;

This step still onward her dark purpose brings,

For out of dulness, melancholy springs;

Nor here the gloomy phantom ends her care,

For next to melancholy, comes despair:

When fainting virtue makes her slow retreat,

Vice ready stands, to fill the vacant seat.

Oft have I seen the swains assembled round,

With silent awe, till Thirsis led the sound:

Still, as your breath, the cheering pipe inspires,

Conduct the voices of the hymning choirs:

If thou, their leader and support should’st fail,

Slack negligence will o’er the rest prevail;

No more the evenings of the holy-days,

Shall send to Heav’n their well-accepted lays;

But giddy youths to vanities shall run,

Nay, well if darker scenes of vice they shun.

On I6r [ 123 ]

On the Author’s Lying-In,
1785-08August, 1785.

O God, the giver of all joy,

Whose gifts no mortal can destroy,

Accept my grateful lays:

My tongue did almost ask for death,

But thou did’st spare my lab’ring breath,

To sing thy future praise.

I live! my God be prais’d, I live,

And do most thankfully receive,

The bounty of my life:

I live, still longer to improve,

The fondest husband’s tender love,

To the most happy wife.

I live within my arms to clasp,

My infant with endearing grasp,

And feel my fondness grow:

O God endow her with thy grace,

And heav’nly gifts, to hold a place

Among thy Saints below.

May I6v [ 124 ]

May she in duty, as she ought,

By thy unerring precepts taught,

To us a blessing prove:

And thus prepar’d for greater joys,

May she, with thine elect arise

To taste the joys above.

An I7r [ 125 ]

An Enigma.

I come, a friend to man, I’m ne’er his foe

But when he indiscreetly makes me so.

My name is——Stop tho’——what am I about?

They that would know my name may find it out.

I’m seen in Summer in the shady grove,

Where pensive speculating maidens rove;

And when the verdure of the forest flies

Before th’ Autumnal winds, that blust’ring rise

To waft the yellow fragments o’er the plain,

Firm and unshaken still my leaves remain;

But in the Winter I some covert crave,

Nor dare the rigour of that season brave:

Yet if too near the fire I take my stand,

My rind contracts, and leaves too much expand;

Doctors extract my essence and apply’t

To stop disorders, and to give delight;

And some that would my properties define,

Declare I am essentially divine:

Nay some, by arrant superstition taught,

Say I immediately from Heav’n was brought;

But that I am in Heav’n, let none deny,

The Scripture says it, can the Scripture lye?

Cri- I7v [ 126 ]

Critical Fragments,
On Some of the
English Poets.

Milton, in pond’rous verse, moves greatly on,

Weilding his massy theme; with wond’rous strength

He labours forward.

Shakespear gently glides,

And, like a polish’d mirror, as he passes

Reflects all nature.

Young, in thought profound,

Muses, contemplates, sees, and feels the woes

That clog the soul; yet with aspiring wing

Behold him ’rise majestically slow,

And like an eagle soar, and soar aloft:

But Swift delights as much to rout

I’th’ dirt, and then to throw’t about.

Pope sings a soft and sweet harmonious lay,

So mellow flutes in pleasant concert play.

Matt. [ 127 ]

Matt. Prior, like an easy horse,

Keeps ambling on, ne’er out of course:

But trotting Butler beats him hollow,

He leads a way that none can follow;

He dashes on through thick and thin,

Nor for the criticks cares a pin;

From censure he’s receiv’d acquittal,

And grammar, metre, rhyme submit all.

Finis.

Errata.


  • Page 4, line 13, for Shimlah, read Shimeah.
  • —Page 4, line 18,
    for its, read his.
  • —Page 12, line 1, for Amnon’s, read Ammon’s.

  • —Page 19, line 15, for To my iunexperienced, read My inexperienced.
  • —Page 20, line 7,add a Note of Interrogation after
    young man?
  • —Page 27, line 14, for shall, read shalt.