ON HER RETURN FROM THE EAST-INDIE
APRIL 15, 1781.
START not, dear EMMA , at an hapless name,
Veil’d to thy sense in perfidy and shame!
Oh! deep indeed the mists, they long have spread,
To Fancy’s eye, round this devoted head!
While deeper still the shades of anguish lower,
Drear as the Night upon the wint’ry Bower,
When bitter Winds howl fearful o’er the plains,
And the bright Stars are quench’d amid the rains!
So quench’d each smiling Pleasure’s roseate ray,
That once illumin’d lost EUGENIO’S way!
But, e’er his tortur’d Soul’s incessant strife
Burst the dark confines of disastrous Life,
Given, or with-held, by EMMA’S guardian hands,
As her Friend’s peace hereafter best demands,
Will she receive EUGENIO’S last request,
In faithful trust for her LOUISA’S breast,
Hear his sad story–that yet dares appear
To claim her justice, and implore her tear?
If so, let now thy gentle heart incline
To mourn the trials, and the pangs of mine!
No longer shalt thou think I basely sold
My peace, my liberty, my love, for gold:
That gold did purchase them, we know too well;
But Oh! no sordid sacrifice they fell!
Learn then those dire Events, whose tyrant sway
Forc’d me to throw joy’s vital root away,
Yield my LOUISA to their stern controul,
Gem of my youth! and day-star of my soul!
To thee, so long accustom’d to disclose
Whate’er on Life the strengthen’d colour throws,
To thee LOUISA questionless appeal’d!
Revel’d my vows, my broken faith reveal’d;
Taught thee, through scenes, now past and gone, to rove,
And hate the mean apostate to his love.
Veil’d by her native Groves, I left the Maid,
And journey’d onward from that blooming Glade,
With eyes, full oft reverted as I pass’d,
With many a look to Heaven in fervor cast,
T’ implore protection for LOUISA’S peace,
Her health’s dear safety, and our love’s increase.
Ere yet I join’d the animated Train,
Whole full-fraught Vessels seek the ports of Gain,
To that domestic scene I bent my way,
Which far in * Deva’s woodland mazes lay;
A rural kind Retreat from all the cares
Which busy Commerce for her Sons prepares,
Translucent Deva the green Valley laves,
And darkling Alders screen her wandering waves,
Till slow she rises from o’er-hanging Shades,
And, seen at distance, through the opening Glades,
With bank less veil’d, and streams that mildly shine,
Leads round the lonely Hills her silver line.
*The River Deva, celebrated by Milton, and other of our Poets, rises in Merionethshire, and flows through mountains and beautiful scenery, still, as it is said, retaining its original name. In Cheshire it assumes that of Dee, which led some of the Commentators on the first Edition of this Poem to suppose the Villa of Ernesto in that county; but the author meant to place it in Wales, on the banks of the Deva, before it changes its title for one so much less harmonious, and waters a country more fertile, but much less lovely.
In that sweet Dale, and by a Mountain’s side,
Whose sheltering heights the angry North deride,
Abode, so late, of Cheerfulness and Ease,
White gleams the Mansion through the waving Trees!
Tall are the Trees that whisper round its Walls,
And soft the pathway down the Valley falls!
Oh! how each charm, that decks the quiet scene,
Assum’d new grace, and wore a softer mien,
From the blest thought, that soon the nuptial Hour
Would lead LOUISA to my native bower!
‘Twas there my gentle Parents often knew
The calm sweet Night, the Day that lightly flew;
And there the heart-felt pleasure gaily shew’d
EUGENIO’S welcome to the green abode.
A Father’s elevating gladness prov’d
How dear the presence of the Son he lov’d.
My gentle Mother, archly smiling, prest
The love-sick Wanderer to her honor’d breast;
For so she fondly call’d her darling Youth,
Yet lov’d his ardor, and approv’d his truth.
My Sisters, fair, ingenuous, graceful Maids,
Th’ acknowledg’d pride of all the neighbouring Shades,
Met me with with bounding step, and joyous mien,
And rays of transport brighten’d all the scene.
Nor wilt thou, mighty Love! upbraid my Heart,
For bearing in their joys so warm a part;
Since no ambition gloom’d my Father’s brow,
No thirst of wealth reproach’d my plighted vow;
He scorn’d to name LOUISA’S want of gold,
But gladly listen’d while her worth I told.
Pleas’d has he seen her in this melting eye,
Pleas’d with her name, half whisper’d in a sigh;
Then would I grasp his hand, and ardent say,
“Oft shall my Parents bless our bridal Day,
“Since, from that Soul of sweetness, they shall share
“A Daughter’s tenderness, an Angel’s care;
“For hers each Virtue, and each Grace refin’d,
“That breathe on Loveliness the glow of Mind,
“And, with assiduous Duty’s cheering pow’r,
“Strew Life’s worn path with ev’ry filial flow’r.”
One Eve, as on the shady bank I rode,
Where through new Dales the beauteous Deva flow’d,
Loitering I listen to the Red-breast clear,
The last, lone Songster of the waning Year.
Light o’er the leaves sweet Autumn breathes serene,
And tips with gold their yet unfaded green.
Now many a vapor grey the stream exhales,
And Twilight steels unheeded on the Vales;
O’er the hill-top the lines of crimson run,
The glowing raiments of the vanish’d Sun;
Nor yet the deep’ning shades of Night impede
My roving course, which pensive musings lead,
What time the * Moon of Ceres mildly throws
Her shadowy grace, and breathes her soft repose
O’er the dark Shrubs, that clothe the rocky Steeps,
Shelve from their tops, and fringe the crystal Deeps;
While, as around those Rocks the River glides,
White moon-beams, tremble in the glancing tides.
*Moon of Ceres , the Harvest Moon.
Sudden, wild sounds are borne along the gales!
The piercing shriek my startled ear assails!
But scarce a moment, with check’d rein, I stand,
Th’ uplifted cane grasp’d sternly in my hand,
Ere bending forward o’er my eager Horse,
Urging, with needless spur, his rapid course,
And plunging through the deep, opposing flood,
I pierce the tangled mazes of the Wood.
On fibrous Oaks, that roughen all the ground,
My Steed’s fleet hoofs, with hollow noise, resound;
And, doubled by the echos from the caves,
Appal a guilty band of desperate Slaves;
For soon, in ruthless, felon-gripe, I found
A beauteous Female, screaming on the ground;
Dragg’d from her Horse, that graz’d unconscious near,
Her tresses torn, and frantic with her fear.
Two livery’d Youths, attendant on the Maid,
At the first onset in that gloomy Glade,
Had, or seduc’d by Gold, or wing’d by dread,
From danger, and from duty, coward fled.
Alarm’d, the Villains quit their struggling Prey,
And two, with terror struck, speed fast away.
Fiercer the third, the arm of blood extends;
The levell’d tube, in dire direction, bends!
Yet no cold fear arrests my vengeful force,
And his wing’d death-ball flies with erring course;
But not descends my nervous blow in vain,
The hidden lead indents the Murderer’s brain;
With one demoniac glance, as down he fell,
The Soul starts furious from its vital cell.
Then tender pity, and assiduous care,
Conduct me swiftly to the swooning Fair.
The light, cool drops, scoop’d from the neighbouring spring,
O’er her pale brow solicitous I fling;
Till Life’s warm tide, which long the Heart detains,
Returns, flow purpling the forsaken veins.
In one deep sigh, as Recollection came,
It wakens Gratitude’s impetuous flame.
“For more than Life,” exclaims the trembling Maid,
“I stand indebted to thy generous aid.”
‘Cease, Fair-One, cease.–Well might this arm deserve
‘That deadliest Palsies wither ev’ry nerve,
‘Had it refus’d the aid to thee it gave,
‘Or coward shunn’d the duty of the Brave!
‘But let me now, since danger haunts delay,
‘To safer scenes my lovely Charge convey.
‘Deep in yon vale, ERNESTO’S modest Dome
‘Lifts its fair head–my tranquil, happy home!
‘There ev’ry welcome shall her steps receive,
‘That hospitable affluence knows to give.’
This said, her trembling Form, with anxious haste,
My twining arms on her light Courser plac’d;
Then, as emerging from the darkling Wood,
Along the moon-bright Dales we slowly rode,
Surpris’d his gorgeous trappings I behold,
The net of Silver, and the thongs of Gold;
While all the vestments of the lovely Dame
The pride of elevated rank proclaim.
The costly lace had golden leaves imprest
Light on the borders of the pearly vest;
Her taper waist the broider’d zone entwines,
Clasp’d by a Gem, the boast of Orient Mines;
On as we pass, on ev’ry side it gleams,
And to the Moon, in trembling lustre, streams!
Dear EMMA , that the splendid garb could gain,
E’en in an hour exempt from grief and pain,
Th’ attentive gaze, proves my devoted heart
From eyes so bright met no resistless dart;
For when the Maid Love’s potent cestus wears,
The jealous God no glance dividual bears.
Ah! in those halcyon days, a Mind at ease
Empower’d slight things to interest, and to please;
That Memory should their faded tints relume,
When Deprivation’s deepest shadows gloom,
Perhaps seems strange!—- that full, and free,
My long imprison’d Spirit springs to thee,
Friend of my Love! to whom I dare reveal
All that my Soul has felt, or knows to feel,
So soften’d seem th’ asperities of Grief,
My Senses anchor on the kind relief;
With trivial circumstance retard the pen,
Ere languid Solitude shall lower again;
For oh! when, lost in woes of lengthen’d date,
Alone we’ve lean’d upon the thorn of Fate,
Seeking, at last, the kind assuasive rest,
Found only on Compassion’s downy breast,
We feel, as soft th’ imparted Sorrows flow,
Almost discharg’d the bitterness of Woe.
Within ERNESTO’S hospitable gates,
Alarm’d at my delay, Affection waits;
But as I lead the bright distinguish’d Maid,
Explain her danger, and my prosperous aid,
The dear Inhabitants around her move,
With deep respect, kind care, and generous love.
And soon we learn, our peaceful walls contain
The splendid Heiress of a vast Domain,
EMIRA , she, whose wealth, and charms inspire,
The crowd of titled Youth with amorous fire;
While Rumour paints her, ‘midst th’ obsequious Train,
Though frolic, insolent; though haughty, vain.
But to our eyes, these wild and wandering fires
Are screen’d by rising Hopes, and gay Desires;
For still, the parting Hour with care delay’d,
EMIRA loiters in ERNESTO’S shade;
The noon-tide Sun, the Evening’s softer ray
Beholds the Fair-One through the Valley stray;
Thus, on * MATILDA leaning, fondly own
Her Heart’s new choice in Passion’s warmest tone.
“Lost to the World, for ever could I dwell
“In the dear precincts of this sylvan Cell;
“Renounce each vain, though once ador’d delight,
“That dissipates the Day, or gilds the Night;
“That can each gay seducing art employ,
“To flatter Beauty, and inspirit Joy.”
Thus the proud Maid, of all her scorn disarm’d,
By strange, and partial preference strongly charm’d,
Feels a new Eden steal upon the bowers,
And chides with sighs the swiftly fleeting Hours;
Still at the cheerful Board, or as she roves
Along the Plain, or lingers in the Groves,
Each glowing wish, from new-born Passion sprung,
Each soft disorder, on her eye-lids hung,
At my approach reveal, though much in vain,
What words are little wanted to explain.
Vain! had I never seen the matchless grace,
The touching sweetness of LOUISA’S face;
Where from each feature beams, or mildly plays,
Refin’d intelligence, with varying rays;
Where native dignity, with air serene,
Conscious, not arrogant, adorns her mien;
While from those eyes, in scorn of artful wiles,
The tender spotless Soul looks out, and smiles.–
There unbeheld, yet still EMIRA’S charms
Had ne’er allur’d EUGENIO to her arms;
For oh! the fever’d languor of the eye,
The restless blushes, the voluptuous sigh,
Th’ impatient haughtiness, but half conceal’d,
The rage of pleasure in each glance reveal’d,
Though, in youth’s fervid hours, perchance they fire
The kindling ardors of unaw’d Desire,
Quench, while the transient flames their force impart,
The torch of Passion, ere it reach the Heart.
‘Twas thus the youthful Ithacan survey’d
The Goddess Nymph, beneath her magic Shade;
While Eucharis’ mild beauties foil’d the sway
Of charms, that deck’d the Daughter of the Day;
By Love protected, when the Princely Boy
Beheld the Dame her wonted lures employ;
Saw her fine Form, by all the Graces drest,
The glowing purple of the floating vest,
And on her blooming cheek the tresses bright,
That play’d in wavy wreaths of golden light,
Or on her snowy bosom, shining fell,
Like a warm Sun-beam on a Lily’s bell.
Not more EMIRA’S charms my Soul engage,
The fair Calypso of a sensual age;
And than licentious Beauty less, the stores
That splendid Fortune on EMIRA pours;
Or the proud boast of lineal Blood, allied
To Rank, and Pow’r, could wake that senseless Pride,
Which quenches the soft warmth that Love inspires,
And lights the nuptial torch with rayless fires.
To save the Fair-One from the thorny smart
Of hopeless Passion, rankling in her heart,
I urge my gentle Sisters to reveal
All my charm’d senses for LOUISA feel;
The worth, the graces, which around her wait,
And all the smiling prospect of our fate.
EMIRA listens with impassion’d scorn,
Of wounded Pride, and rival Anger born.
Unwish’d, unwelcome, as the theme arose,
Her clouded cheek in deep sussusion glows,
Proudly exclaiming,–“Can EUGENIO prove
“Cold, and obdurate to my lavish Love?
“Has Beauty’s magic zone my bosom bound,
“Does Rank exalt me, and has Fortune crown’d,
“That faint attractions in a Village Maid
“Should shield the Passions which these eyes invade?
“Impossible!–but oh! thy lips impart
“The sting of jealousy, that goads my heart.
“MATILDA , all my waking dreams divine
“Thy charming Brother shall at length be mine!
“This groveling flame was but ordain’d to prove
“Thy Friend’s wish’d triumph at the shrine of Love,
“And, by comparison of brighter charms,
“To light EUGENIO to EMIRA’S arms.”
Thus, while self-flatt’ring Pride her Mind assures,
The artful Fair-One spreads her varied lures;
Sometimes, with archness laughing in her eyes,
Hangs on my arm, and ridicules my sighs;
And oft with coyer tenderness appears,
While Love’s warm glances steal through shining tears;
Now, with arch’d brow, and supercilious stare,
Affects the empress-dignity of air;
And now, as reasoning with a wayward Heart,
In trances, broken by the frequent start,
With pausing step she wanders through the Grove,
A female Proteus in the wiles of Love!
To muse at leisure on my lovely Maid,
And woo her image in the lonely Glade,
Where no EMIRA , by the rigid laws
Politeness dictates, my attention draws,
Far in the Wilds I wander through the Day,
And to a lowly Cot at midnight stray;
There taste the sweetness of that deep repose,
Which from applauding Conscience gently flows,
When Health, and Hope, their downy pinions spread,
And scatter roses on the youthful bed.
Light with the Dawn disperse my tender dreams;
And now the Sun looks golden on the streams!–
O Morn! the last for me that gaily rose,
On Memory’s tablet still thy beauty glows.
Charm’d, as I wander’d through the dewy Vale,
And drank the spirit of the Mountain-gale,
How little did my unconscious heart divine,
The joys thou gav’st should ne’er again be mine!
On as I rov’d along the winding Glades,
A Youth in haste the sylvan Copse pervades!
Says, his commission instantly recalls
My devious step to the paternal walls.
Upon the rustic countenance appears
A fix’d solemnity, that wakes my fears.
“Oh! is all well?”–with breathless haste I cry.
“Thy Friends are well,” –his faltering lips reply;
Then dread, lest sad intelligence invade
The precious quiet of my native Shade,
Sickens my heart;–and swiftly as I go,
From my pale lip disorder’d accents flow;
Each moment, for LOUISA’S Life, arise
Prayers, that implore the mercies of the Skies.
And now my quick, unequal steps are led,
A Day of gladness where they us’d to spread;
But ah! no silver tones EUGENIO call!
No bounding foot-step meets me in the hall!
Suspense, with all its heavy heart-ach, teems,
And palpable the solemn, stillness seems!
So, when returning from the well-fought plain,
As near thy Castle-walls thou led’st thy Train,
O Hardiknute! such pangs as there opprest,
In Hope’s warm hour, thy brave, and veteran breast.
Along the midnight glooms, that thick impend,
While howls the Storm, the beating Rains descend,
Thou see’st no Guard upon the turrets height,
Whose streaming torches us’d to gild the night!
Black, as a mourning weed, they silent stand,
And daunt the stoutest heart in Scotia’s Land!
Appall’d, like him, I felt the stillness dire;
Eager to learn–not daring to enquire,
As one transfix’d, a few dread minutes wait,
While silent Horror shrouds impending Fate!
My Father enter’d–with a cheek how pale!
And oh! that look!–it told an awful tale!
‘Twas mournful!–supplicating!–“Heavenly Powers!
“In that dim gaze how deep an anguish lowers!
“LOUSIA ! lives she?”–dreading the reply,
My Soul hung trembling in my straining eye.
“My Son, the sweet LOUISA lives,–and knows,
“I hope, the peace that Innocence bestows;
“Oh! may it long be hers!–but now remains
“A task for me, replete with sharpest pains!–
“EUGENIO !–Penury’s dire blasts assail,
“And Hope is frozen in the bitter gale!
“Yes,–BELMOR has deceiv’d my boundless trust,
“To Friendship treacherous, and to Faith unjust!
“Unhappy Hour, when Confidence intire
“Lur’d me to follow that misleading fire,
“Those gay commercial visions, false, and vain,
“The glittering meteors of his artful brain!
“Too well he knew no genuine light they gave,
“And now they sink in Ruin’s whelming wave!
“Oh! great, and numberless the Ills, that spread
“Their mingled horrors round this aged head!
“The pang of seeing thy sweet Sisters, born
“To fairest hopes, from ease and affluence torn!
“Expos’d to all those guileful snares, that wait
“The beauteous Indigent’s disastrous fate!
“Ills, whose bare dread a Father’s bosom tears,
“And blends with agony his anxious cares.
“Thy dearer Mother!”–Here he turn’d his head,
And pausing wept;–at length, resuming, said,
“These hovering woes, that o’er our house impend,
“Thou, my dear Son, e’er their dread weight descend,
“Thou canst avert!–but oh! at what a price!
“Persuasion shall not urge–nor prayers intice.
“Two hours ere thy return, EMIRA found
“Thy Sisters eyes in streaming torrents drown’d;
“Learn’d, from their trembling lips, the cruel Cause,
“Which the dark cloud of consternation draws
“Wide o’er my Roof–that yesterday survey’d,
“Domestic Comfort’s fair, and favorite shade.
“We know that Fortune on EMIRA pours
“Her golden treasures in unstinted showers.–
“EUGENIO ! she stands ready to replace
“Thy Father’s comforts on a lasting base!
“Rescue his falling Fame!–the numbers save,
“Whose hopes in his destruction find a grave;
“And light, while Woe’s dark cloud her wealth removes,
“Joy’s living spark in many an eye he loves!
“But at the price–Great God!–thy Father’s fears
“Shrink from the sound, and whelm it with his tears!
“By sharp Distress at last to name it driven!–
“Thy hand to her,–e’en at the ALTAR given!–
“Alas! th’ impossibility e’en now
“Glooms in the grief, the horror of thy brow!–
“Oh! for myself –I could not wish to gain
“Exemption from the sharpest earthly pain,
“By banishing each hope, his Love had won,
“From the kind, duteous bosom of my Son!
“But for their dearer sakes who fall with me,
“Perhaps I dare–to hope e’en this from thee.
“Thou know’st, when Peace, and Plenty’s jocund Powers
“Hung their ripe clusters round our blooming bowers,
“The joys that Love, not those which Wealth impart,
“Form’d the warm wish for thee, that fill’d my heart;
“But now–EUGENIO , listen! could’st thou bear
“LOUISA’S breast this weight of woes should share?
“Would’st thou the blossoms of her youth transplant
“Into the blasting soil of worldly Want?
“Whose pangs, though ne’er her soft complaints reveal,
“She will not therefore less severely feel;
“Since, when a breast, far dearer than our own,
“Receives the darts by that fell Demon thrown,
“Fast wasting health, and spirits broke, will prove,
“Far from extracted, they are barb’d by Love.”
Here sighs, that seem’d to shake his frame, betray’d
How deep he felt the sorrows he pourtray’d;
But yet, though still his heart with anguish bled,
Fail’d speech recovering soon, again he said,
“It is not much my waining Life’s remains
“Should shorten’d sink by Penury’s cruel pains;
“Ah! rather could I bear their utmost strife,
“Than wish to quench the torch that gilds thy Life,
“Sweet Possibility! which yet appears,
“Borne on th’ eventful flight of days, and years,
“Whose chance propitious might each bar remove,
“Or Industry restore the joys of Love;
“Though sharp the consciousness, that BELMOR’S art
“Must to my Fame the deadliest wound impart!
“For oh! the Many, who their ruin owe
“To my rash hopes unhappy overthrow,
“Will, without scruple, think by fraud I won
“The confidence, which drew that ruin on.
“Hard to resign, for such opprobrious blame,
“The honest triumph of a spotless name;
“E’en when the Heart dares to itself appeal
“From blind Injustice, and misguided Zeal!
“Their torrent Reason strives to stem in vain;
“Truth pleads to Air, if Prejudice arraign.
“Her censures daily level with the Base
“A thousand names, no actual crimes disgrace;
“Pull down the fame a Life of virtue built,
“And stamp Imprudence with the brand of Guilt.
“And yet, I would not ask my Child to save
“From Pains, that seem to rob of rest the Grave ,
“My hapless Spirit, at a price so great,
“To shade perchance with deeper gloom his fate!
“But, oh! my lov’d EUGENIO !–from a woe,
“Sharper, I trust, than thou wilt ever know,
“My Sense recoils!–my Wife!–my dearest Wife!
“The sweet Companion of my lengthen’d Life!
“Thy Mother!–for whose peace, and health, my cares,
“My fond attention, my incessant prayers,
“The Day and Night beheld!–Oh! must I see
“That dear One pine in helpless Poverty?
“While pale, and trembling, sinks the vital flame,
“Must her soft, delicate, and feeble Frame,
“To Charity’s donation, cold, and scant,
“Owe its exemption from extremest want?
“Can I see this–unable to obtain
“Those common comforts the Laborious gain,
“Conscious, my own infatuated rashness shed
“This bitter phial on her gentle head?
“My Son!–my Son!”–Then, on my shoulder thrown,
Heart-smote, and wan, he heav’d the bitter groan.
Oh! while these arms their honour’d Burden prest,
As his sunk cheek felt cold upon my breast,
What words can paint the deep distress I bore,
What Horror smote me, and what Anguish tore?
Could I behold the Author of my birth
Thus bend in woe the hoary head to Earth;
Round his weak Frame such whelming anguish rage,
Nor snatch from the dread storm his failing age,
Because my Hopes–my Peace–perhaps my Life
Were doom’d to perish in the filial strife?
Impossible!–the softer Passions fly,
Nor dare dissolve great Nature’s primal tie.
“Be comforted, my Father!–Could thy Son,
“Oh! could he live to see thee thus undone,
“Endure the knowledge, that when Fortune gave
“The power to save thee, he refus’d to save?
“The torturing self-reproach must rend his brain,
“And wake to phrenzy the remorseful pain.
“But O my Love!–yet pardon me!–I go
“Alone to stem conflicting tides of woe!
“I go, to teach my soul her arduous task,
“And gain by prayer the fortitude I ask!”
So saying, to his couch my Sire I led,
And smooth’d the pillow for his languid head.
With softer tears his trembling eye-balls shone,
And faltering accents ardent blest his Son.
Then up the Mountain’s steep and craggy side,
With step precipitate, I wildly stride;
Now stung with tortures of the last despair;
Now sunk in grief;–now energiz’ed by prayer;
Nor yet in vain th’ heart-rending efforts prove,
Warm Duty rises over bleeding Love!
The struggle past!–my peace!–my freedom given!
Thy anchor Hope, on shoreless oceans driven!
What then to Justice, or to Love remain’d,
But to restore the heart, my vows had gain’d?
Wrench from LOUISA’S breast its cherish’d bane,
And nobly the last sacrifice sustain?
Renounce her pity, and inspire her hate,
In tenfold gloom, though it involve my fate?
Teach her to think the Villain-baseness mine,
That bows the venal Heart at Fortune’s shrine?
So might th’ indignant sense of barter’d Truth
Quench the disastrous Passion of my Youth;
Now doom’d to darken every Hope, that cheers,
With shining promises, the rising years!
Had I the dread necessity explain’d,
That with resistless force my freedom chain’d;
Tore the sweet bands, by virtuous Passion tied,
And stamp’d our Constancy with Parricide;
Then had LOUISA fortified my Soul,
And urg’d my ling’ring step to Duty’s goal;
Had given me back, with Pity’s softest brow,
Of Love so ruinous, the ill-starr’d vow;
A self-devoted Exile fled my arms,
But sorrowing fled them, and resign’d her charms
To fruitless Constancy, and fond Regret;
Ordain’d to mourn–unable to forget;
That pine in Solitude the live-long Day,
Feed on the heart, and steal the life away.
LOUISA’S pity had my sufferings found,
Somewhat it sure had balm’d th’ embosom’d wound;
But since e’en her dear sympathy was weak,
Of Fate’s dread shaft th’ envenom’d point to break,
I strove t’ avert the slow-consuming pain,
And, for the conflict, arm’d her with disdain;
That cruel conflict, which the Passions prove,
Ere high-soul’d Scorn subdues a rooted Love.
Still, to my Being’s latest verge, be borne
The dear, mistaken Maid’s unceasing scorn;
Oh! be they borne in this unhappy breast,
To the cold bed of its eternal rest!
Near seems that rest my wearied Life desires,
Pain breaks her springs, and Sickness dims her fires;
And Hope, who comes in sable vest array’d,
Points, with pale hand, to Death’s eternal shade!
But yet,–when past the expiatory doom,
When Misery’s shafts lie broken on my tomb,
Th’ exploring gaze, sweet EMMA , kindly bend
On the dear bosom of thy beauteous Friend;
If thou shalt mark, that cold contempt sustains
That seat of softness from assaulting Pains;
That no dim tears her cheek’s warm roses pale,
No sighs of anguish swell the lonely gale,
Whose murmurs o’er the grass-green sod shall rise,
Where, cold, and peaceful, lost EUGENIO lies,
Then, that thou name me not , my Soul implores,
Nor snatch the peace away Disdain restores;
The cruel change thy tenderness will fear,
Of Pride’s stern frown, for Pity’s heart-wrung tear.
Oh! shall one selfish wish her peace invade,
That Love so agoniz’d may sooth my shade?
No, EMMA , no!–my Soul for hers shall wait,
Till soft it pass the everlasting Gate;
From those dear Eyes till Light Divine shall clear
The film, that mortal Chance had darken’d there;
Fond Memory’s deep reproach for aye remove,
And pleading Seraphs reunite our Love!
But Oh! should Pity, with intrusive sway,
Range her sad Images in dire array,
And to LOUISA’S mental fight disclose
The bed of Death–the agonizing throes;
Oh! should she think she sees in struggles rise
That breath, which wak’d for her the fondest sighs!
Those Eyes, whose softness shall no more betray,
Throw their last glances on the final day!–
In such an hour, should Scorn, and Anger prove
Weak to dispell the grief-awaken’d Love;
Sorrowing for him, who could her hopes deceive,
Should she, in bitterness of Spirit, grieve
For Guilt, which, unextenuated, rears
Barriers to last beyond this Vale of tears;
Then, EMMA , then, the sad events relate,
That wove the sable texture of our fate.
My dear LOUISA !–pardon him, who strove,
By means so seeming harsh, to quench thy Love!
Hard was the task, that kindness to resign,
Which my torn bosom could demand of thine;
Esteem, that might have borne eternal date,
Since plac’d, by Virtue, past the reach of Fate;
That bless’d compassion, my sad lot had won,
A Wretch by Fortune, not by Crimes undone;
These to renounce!–with my own hand to throw
In her dark chalice added dregs of woe;
To pierce my Soul with voluntary pains,
A Suicide on Comfort’s last remains,
Was hard!–but generous Love the effort made,
Thy quiet ask’d;–I trembled–and obey’d!
When to that purer World our Souls are borne,
Where every veil from every breast is torn,
My willing Spirit, in the Realms above,
Shall meet the searching Eye of wounded Love;
To thee, LOUISA , my past woes impart,
And hear thy Angel Voice ABSOLVE MY HEART.
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Based on Keywords: allur, solicitous, attractions, absolve, heart-rending, demoniac, perfidy, arrests, transfix, rov, proteus