Billeder på siden

Bright as the rifing fun, in fummer's day,
And fresh and blooming as the month of May!
The joyful Knight furvey'd her by his fide,
Nor envy'd Paris with the Spartan bride :
Still as his mind revolv'd with vast delight
Th' entrancing raptures of th' approaching night,
Restless he fate, invoking ev'ry pow'r



To speed his bliss, and haste the happy hour.
Mean time the vig'rous dancers beat the ground,
And fongs were fung, and flowing bowls went round.
With od❜rous fpices they perfum'd the place,
And mirth and pleasure shone in ev'ry face.


Damian alone, of all the menial train,
Sad in the midst of triumphs, figh'd for pain;
Damian alone, the Knight's obfequious Squire,
Confum'd at heart, and fed a fecret fire.
His lovely mistress all his foul poffest,

He look'd, he languish'd, and could take no rest:
His task perform'd, he fadly went his way,
Fell on his bed, and loath'd the light of day.
There let him lie; till his relenting dame
Weep in her turn, and waste in equal flame.
The weary fun, as learned Poets write,
Forfook th' Horizon, and roll'd down the light;
While glitt'ring stars his absent beams supply,
And night's dark mantle overspread the sky.
Then rose the guests; and as the time requir'd,
Each paid his thanks, and decently retir❜d.





The foe once gone, our Knight prepar'd t'undrefs,
So keen he was, and eager to poffefs:
But first thought fit th' affistance to receive,
Which grave Phyficians fcruple not to give;
Satyrion near, with hot Eringos ftood,
Cantharides, to fire the lazy blood,

Whose use old Bards describe in luscious rhymes,
And Critics learn'd explain to modern times,


By this the sheets were spread, the bride undress'd, The room was fprinkled, and the bed was blefs'd. What next enfu'd beseems not me to say; 'Tis fung, he labour'd till the dawning day, Then briskly sprung from bed, with heart fo light, As all were nothing he had done by night; And fipp'd his cordial as he fat upright. He kiss'd his balmy spouse with wanton play, And feebly fung a lufty roundelay: Then on the couch his weary limbs he cast; For ev'ry labour must have rest at last.


But anxious cares the penfive Squire opprefs'd,
Sleep fled his eyes, and peace forfook his breaft;
The raging flames that in his bosom dwell,
He wanted art to hide, and means to tell.
Yet hoping time th' occafion might betray,
Compos'd a fonnet to the lovely May;
Which writ and folded with the niceft art,
He wrapp'd in filk, and laid upon his heart.
When now the fourth revolving day was run,
('Twas June, and Cancer had receiv'd the Sun)






Forth from her chamber came the beauteous bride,
The good old Knight mov'd flowly by her fide.
High mass was fung; they feasted in the hall;
The fervants round stood ready at their call.
The Squire alone was abfent from the board,
And much his ficknefs griev'd his worthy lord,
Who pray'd his spouse, attended with her train,
To vifit Damian, and divert his pain.

Th' obliging dames obey'd with one confent;
They left the hall, and to his lodging went.
The female tribe furround him as he lay,
And close beside him fat the gentle May:
Where, as fhe try'd his pulfe, he foftly drew
A heaving figh, and caft a mournful view!
Then gave his bill, and brib'd the pow'rs divine,
With fecret vows, to favour his defign.

Who ftudies now but discontented May? On her foft couch uneafily fhe lay:

The lumpish husband fnor'd away the night,
Till coughs awak'd him near the morning light.
What then he did, I'll not prefume to tell,
Nor if the thought herself in heav'n or hell:
Honest and dull in nuptial bed they lay,
Till the bell toll'd, and all arose to pray.

Were it by forceful destiny decreed,
Or did from chance, or nature's pow'r proceed;
Or that some star, with afpect kind to love,
Shed its felected influence from above;







Whatever was the cause, the tender dame
Felt the first motions of an infant flame;
Receiv'd th' impreffions of the love-fick Squire,
And wafted in the soft infectious fire.


Ye fair, draw near, let May's example move
Your gentle minds to pity those who love!
Had fome fierce tyrant in her stead been found,
The poor adorer fure had hang'd, or drown'd:
But fhe, your fex's mirrour, free from pride,
Was much too meek to prove a homicide.

But to my tale: Some fages have defin'd
Pleasure the fov'reign blifs of human-kind :
Our Knight (who study'd much, we may suppose)
Deriv'd his high philofophy from thofe ;
For, like a Prince, he bore the vast expence
Of lavish pomp, and proud magnificence:
His house was stately, his retinue gay,
Large was his train, and gorgeous
his array.
His fpacious garden made to yield to none,
Was compafs'd round with walls of folid ftone;
Priapus could not half describe the grace
(Tho' God of Gardens) of this charming place:
A place to tire the rambling wits of France
In long descriptions, and exceed Romance:
Enough to fhame the gentleft bard that fings
Of painted meadows, and of purling fprings.

Full in the centre of the flow'ry ground,
A crystal fountain fpread its ftreams around,
The fruitful banks with verdant laurels crown'd:









About this fpring (if ancient fame fay true)
The dapper Elves their moon-light sports pursue:
Their pigmy king, and little fairy queen,
I.. circling dances gambol'd on the green,
While tuneful sprites a merry concert made,
And airy mufic warbled through the shade.

Hither the noble Knight would oft repair,
(His fcene of pleasure, and peculiar care)
For this he held it dear, and always bore
The filver key that lock'd the garden door.
To this fweet place in fummer's fultry heat,
He us'd from noife and bufinefs to retreat;
And here in dalliance fpend the live-long day,
Solus cum fola, with his sprightly May.
For whate'er work was undifcharg'd a-bed,
The duteous Knight in this fair garden fped.

But ah! what mortal lives of bliss fecure,
How short a space our worldly joys endure ?
O Fortune, fair, like all thy treach'rous kind,
But faithlefs ftill, and wav'ring as the wind!
O painted monster, form'd mankind to cheat,
With pleasing poison, and with foft deceit!
This rich, this am'rous, venerable knight,
Amidft his ease, his folace, and delight,
Struck blind by thee, resigns his days to grief,
And calls on death, the wretch's last relief.








VER. 465. Hither the noble Knight] He has no where copied the free and eafy verfification and the narrative style of Dryden's Fables fo happily as in this pleafant tale.

« ForrigeFortsæt »