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To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard, God saw his Image lively was express'd;
The tempter saw him too with envious eye; He melts, and throws his cumbrous cloak away. And, as on Job, demanded leave to try. Lightning and thunder (Heaven's artillery)
He took the time when Richard was depos'd, As harbingers before th' Almighty fly:
And high and low with happy Harry clos'd. Those but proclaim his style, and disappear ; This prince, though great in arms, the priest The stiller sound succeeds, and God is there.
withstood : The tithes, his parish freely paid, he took ; Near though he was, yet not the next of blood. But never sued, or curs'd with bell and book. Had Richard, unconstrain'd, resign'd the throne, With patience bearing wrong ; but offering none : A king can give no more than is his own : Since every man is free to lose his own.
The title stood entail'd, had Richard had a son. The country churls, according to their kind,
Conquest, an odious name, was laid aside, (Who grudge their dues, and love to be behind,) Where all submitted, nore the battle try'd. The less he sought his offerings, pinch'd the more, The senseless plea of right by Providence And prais'd a priest contented to be poor.
Was, by a flattering priest, invented since; Yet of his little he had some to spare,
And lasts no longer than the present sway; To feed the famish'd, and to clothe the bare : But justifies the next who comes in play. For mortify'd he was to that degree,
The people's right remains ; let those who dare A poorer than himself he would not see.
Dispute the power, when they the judges are. True priests, he said, and preachers of the word, Hejcia'd not in their choice, because he knew Were only stewards of their sovereign lord ; Worse might, and often did, from change ensue. Nothing was theirs; but all the public store: Much to himself he thought; but little spoke ; Intrusted riches, to relieve the poor.
And, undepriv’d, his benefice forsook. (stretch'd : Who, should they steal, for want of his relief, Now, through the land, his cure of souls he He judg'd himself accomplice with the thief. And like a primitive apostle preach'd.
Wide was his parish ; not contracted close Still cheerful; ever constant to his call; In streets, but here and there a straggling house; By many follow'd ; lov'd by most, admir'd by all Yet still he was at hand, without request,
With what he begg'd, his brethren he reliev'd; To serve the sick; to succour the distressid : And gave the charities himself receiv'd. Tempting, on foot, alone, without affright, Gave, while he taught; and edify'd the more, The dangers of a dark tempestuous night.
Because he show'd, by proof, 'twas easy to be poor. All this, the good old man perform'd alone, He went not with the crowd to see a shrine; Nor spar'd his pains; for curate he had none. But fed us, by the way, with food divine Mor durst he trust another with his care;
In deference to his virtues, I forbear Nor rode himself to Paul's, the public fair, To show you what the rest in orders were : To chaffer for preferment with his gold,
This brilliant is so spotless, and so bright, Where bishoprics and sinecures are sold.
He needs no foil, but shines by his own proper But duly watch'd his flock, by night and day ;
The proud he tam’d, the penitent he cheer'd :
THEODORE AND HONORIA.
The foremost place for wealth and honour held, If they be foul on whom the people trust,
And all in feats of chivalry excell'd. Well may the baser brass contract a rust.
This noble youth to madness lov'd a dame The prelate, for his holy life he priz'd;
Of high degree, Honoria was her name ; The worldly pomp of prelacy despis'd.
Fair as the fairest, but of haughty mind,
And fiercer than became so soft a kind.
The rest she scorn'd, but hated him alone;
For she, the more he lov'd, the more disdain'd
At tilts and tournaments obtain'd the prize;
Relentless as a rock, the lofty maid,
Weary'd at length, and wanting remedy, Retiecting, Moses like, lis Maker's face.
He doubted oft, and oft resolv'd to dic.
But Pride stood ready to prevent the blow, Unus'd to fear, he summond all his soul,
And stood collected in himself, and whole; His generous mind disdain'd so mean a fate; Not long : for soon a whirlwind rose around, That pass'd, his next endeavour was to hate. And from afar he heard a screaming sound, But vainer that relief than all the rest,
As of a dame distress'd, who cry'd for aid, The less he hop'd, with more desire possess'd; And fill'd with loud laments the secret shade. Love stood the siege, and would not yield his breast. A thicket close beside the grove there stood, Change was the next, but change deceiv'd his care; With briers and brambles choak'd, and dwarfish He sought a fairer, but found none so fair.
wood; He would have worn her out by slow degrees, From thence the noise, which now, approaching ncar, As men by fasting starve th' untam'd disease : With more distinguish'd notes invades his ear; But present love requir'd a present ease.
He rais'd his head, and saw a beauteous maid, Looking he feeds alone his famish'd eyes,
With hair dishevell’d, issuing through the shade ; Feeds lingering Death, but looking not he dies. Stripp'd of her clothes, and ev'n those parts reveald, Yet still he chose the longest way to Fate,
Which modest Nature keeps from sight conceal’d. Wasting at once his life and his estate.
Her face, her hands, her naked limbs were torn, His friends beheld, and pity'd him in vain, With passing through the brakes, and prickly thorn; For what advice can ease a lover's pain !
Two mastiffs gaunt and grim her flight pursu'd, Absence, the best expedient they could find, And oft their fasten'd fangs in blood embru’d; Might save the fortune, if not cure the mind : Oft they came up, and pinch'd her tender side, This means they long propos'd, but little gain'd, “ Mercy, O mercy Heaven !" she ran, and cry'd. Yet, after much pursuit, at length obtain'd. When Heaven was nam'd, they loos’d their hold Hard you may think it was to give consent,
again, But struggling with his own desires he went, Then sprang she forth, they follow'd her amain. With large expense, and with a pompous train, Not far behind, a knight of swarthy face, Provided as to visit France and Spain,
High on a coal-black steed pursu'd the chase: Or for some distant voyage o'er the main.
With flashing flames his ardent eyes were fillid, But Love had clipp'd his wings, and cut him short, And in his hand a naked sword he held : Confin'd within the purlieus of the court.
He cheer'd the dogs to follow her who fled, Three miles he went, nor farther could retreat ; And vow'd revenge on her devoted head. His travels ended at his country seat :
As Theodore was born of noble kind, To Chassis' pleasing plains he took his way, The brutal action rous'd his manly mind; There pitch'd his tents, and there resolv'd to stay. Mov'd with unworthy usage of the maid, The spring was in the prime ; the neighbouring He, though unarm’d, resolv'd to give her aid, grove
A saplin pine he wrench'd from out the ground, Supply'd with birds, the choristers of Love: The readiest weapon that his fury found. Music unbought, that minister'd delight
Thus furnish'd for offence, he cross'd the way To morning walks, and lull’d his cares by night: Betwixt the graceless villain and his prey. There he discharg'd his friends : but not th' expense The knight came thundering on, but, from afar, Of frequent treats, and proud magnificence. Thus in imperious tone forbade the war : He liv'd as kings retire, though more at large “ Cease, Theodore, to proffer vain relief, From public business, yet with equal charge ; Nor stop the vengeance of so just a grief; With house and heart still open to receive :
But give me leave to seize my destin'd prey, As well content as Love would give him leave : And let Eternal Justice take the way : He would have liv'd more free; but many a guest, I but revenge my fate, disdain'd, betray'd, Who could forsake the friend, pursued the feast. And suffering death for this ungrateful maid." It hapt one morning, as his fancy led,
He said, at once dismounting from the steed; Before his usual hour he left his bed ;
For now the hell-hounds with superior speed . To walk within a lonely lawn, that stood
Had reach'd the dame, and, fastening on her side, On every side surrounded by a wood:
The ground with issuing streams of purple dy'd, Alone he walk’d, to please his pensive mind, Stood Theodore surpris'd in deadly fright, And sought the deepest solitude to find;
With chattering teeth, and bristling hair upright; 'Twas in a grove of spreading pines he stray'd; Yet arm'd with inborn worth, “ Whate'er,” said he, The winds within the quivering branches play'd, “ Thou art, who know'st me better than I thee; And dancing trees a mournful music made. Or prove thy rightful cause, or be defy'd ;" The place itself was suiting to his care,
The spectre, fiercely staring, thus reply'd : Uncouth and savage, as the cruel fair.
“ Know, Theodore, thy ancestry I claim, He wander'd on, unknowing where he went And Guido Cavalcanti was my name. Lost in the wood, and all on love intent:
One common sire our fathers did beget, The Day already half his race had run,
My name and story some remember yet: And summon'd him to due repast at noon, Thee, then a boy, within my arms I laid, But Love could feel no hunger but his own. When for my sins I lov'd this haughty maid ;
Whilst listening to the murmuring leaves he stood, Not less ador'd in life, nor serv'd by me, More than a mile immers’d within the wood, Than proud Honoria now is loved by thee. At once the wind was laid ; the whispering sound What did I not her stubborn heart to gain ? Was dumb; a rising earthquake rock'd the ground; But all my vows were answer'd with disdain : With deeper brown the grove was overspread ; She scorn'd my sorrows, and despis'd my pain. A sudden horrour seized his giddy head,
Long time I dragg'd my days in fruitless care ; And his ears tinkled, and his colour Aed.
Then, loathing life, and plung'd in deep despair, Nature was in alarm ; some danger nigh
To finish my unhappy life, I fell Seem'd threaten'd, though unseen to mortal eye. On this sharp sword, and now am damn'd in Hell
“ Short was hier joy'; for soon th' insulting maid They came, and, usual salutations paid, By Heaven's decree in this cold grave was laid. With words premeditated thus be said : And as in unrepented sin she dy'd, (pride :
“ What you have often counsell’d, to remove
(cast, Though late yet is at last become my care : There, then, we met ; both try'd, and both were My heart shall be my own; my vast expense And this irrevocable sentence pass'd;
Reduc'd to bounds, by timely providence : That she, whom I so long pursu'd in vain,
This only I require; invite for me Should suffer from my hands a lingering pain : Honoria, with her father's family, Renew'd to life that she might daily die,
Her friends, and mine; the cause I shall display, I daily doom'd to follow, she to fly;
On Friday next; for that's th' appointed day." No more a lover, but a mortal foe,
Well pleas'd were all his friends, the task was light, I seek her life (for love is none below);
The father, mother, daughter, they invite ; As often as my dogs with better speed
Hardly the dame was drawn to this repast ; Arrest her fight, is she to death decreed :
But yet resolv’d, because it was the last. Then with this fatal sword, on which I dy'd, The day was come, the guests invited cane, I pierce her open back, or tender side,
And, with the rest, th' inexorable dame : And tear that harden'd heart from out her breast, A feast prepar'd with riotous expense, Which, with her entrails, makes my hungry hounds Much cost, more care, and most magnificence. a feast.
The place ordain'd was in that haunted grove, Nor lies she long, but, as her Fates ordain, Where the revenging ghost pursu'd his love : Springs up to life, and fresh to second pain, The tables in a proud pavilion spread, Is sav'd to-day, to-morrow to be slain.
With flowers below, and tissue overhead : This, vers’d in death, th' infernal knight relates, The rest in rank, Honoria, chief in place, And then for proof fulfill’d the common fates ; Was artfully contriv'd to set her face Her heart and bowels through her back he drew, To front the thicket, and behold the chase. And fed the hounds that help'd him to pursue, The feast was serv'd, the time so well forecast, Stern look'd the fiend, as frustrate of his will, That just when the desert and fruits were plac'd, Not half suffic'd, and greedy yet to kill.
The fiend's alarm began ; the hollow sound And now the soul, expiring through the wound, Sung in the leaves, the forest shook around. Had left the body breathless on the ground, Airblacken'd, rolld the thunder, groan'd the When thus the grisly spectre spoke again :
ground. “ Behold the fruit of ill-rewarded pain :
Nor long before the loud laments arise, As many months as I sustain'd her hate,
Of one distress'd, and mastiffs' mingled cries; So many years is she condemned by Fate
And first the dame came rushing through the wood, To daily death ; and every several place,
And next the famish'd hounds that sought their food, Conscious of her disdain and my disgrace,
And grip'd her flanks, and oft essay'd their jaws in Must witness her just punishment; and be
blood. A scene of triumph and revenge to me!
Last came the felon, on his sable steed, (speed. As in this grove I took my last farewell,
Arm'd with his naked sword, and urg'd his dogs to As on this very spot of earth I fell,
She ran, and cry'd, her flight directly bent As Friday saw me die, so she my prey,
(A guest unbidden) to the fatal tent, (ment. Becomes ev’n here, on this revolving day."
The scene of death, and place ordain'd for punishThus while he spoke the virgin from the ground Loud was the noise, aghast was every guest, Upstarted fresh, already clos’d the wound,
The women shriek'd, the men forsook the feast; And, unconcern'd for all she felt before,
The hounds at nearer distance hoarsely bay'd; Precipitates her fight along the shore :
The hunter close pursu'd the visionary maid, said. The hell-hounds, as ungorg'd with flesh and blood, She rent the Heaven with loud laments, imploring Pursue their prey, and seek their wonted food : The gallants, to protect the lady's right, The tiend remounts his courser, mends his pace; Their faulchions brandish'd at the grisly sprite ; And all the vision vanish'd from the place.
High on his stirrups he provok’d the fight. Long stood the noble youth oppress'd with awe Then on the crowd he cast a furious look, And stupid at the wondrous things he saw, (law. And wither'd all their strength before he spoke : Surpassing common faith, transgressing Nature's “ Back on your lives ; let be," said he, “my prey, He would have been asleep, and wish'd to wake, And let my vengeance take the destin'd way: But dreams, he knew, no long impression make, Vain are your arms, and vainer your defence, Though strong at first ; if vision, to what end, Against th' eternal doom of Providence : But such as must his future state portend ? Mine is th' ungrateful maid by Heaven design'd: His love the damsel, and himself the fiend, Mercy she would not give, nor merey shall she find.' But yet, reflecting that it could not be
At this the former tale again he told From Heaven, which cannot impious acts decree, With thundering tone, and dreadful to bebold : Resolv'd within himself to shun the snare,
Sunk were their hearts with horrour of the crime, Which Hell for his destruction did prepare ; Nor needed to be warn’d a second time, And, as his better genius should direct,
But bure each other back : some knew the face, From an ill cause to draw a good effect.
And all had heard the much-lamented case Inspir’d from Heaven he homeward took his way, of him who fell for love, and this the fatal place. Nor pallid his new design with long delay :
And now th' infernal minister advanc'd, But of his train a trusty servant sent,
Seiz'd the due victim, and with fury lanc'd
Her back, and, piercing through her inmost heart,
The reeking entrails next he tore away,
Darkling and desperate, with a staggering pace, And to his meagre mastiffs made a prey.
Of death afraid, and conscious of disgrace; The pale assistants on each other star'd,
Fear, Pride, Remorse, at once her heart assail'd, With gaping mouths for issuing words prepar'd; Pride put Remorse to flight, but Fear prevail'd. The still-born sounds upon the palate hung, Friday, the fatal day, when next it came, (game, And dy'd imperfect on the faultering tongue. Her soul forethought the fiend would change his The fright was general; but the female band And her pursue, or Theodore be slain, (plain. (A helpless train) in more confusion stand : And two ghosts join their packs to hunt her o'er the With horrour shuddering, on a heap they run,
This dreadful image so possess'd her mind,
So, spread upon a lake with upward eye, To make reflection on th' unhappy man.
Of all the men respected and admir'd,
Why not of her ? preferr'd above the rest
By him with knightly deeds, and open love profess’d? Heaven's justice, Theodore's revengeful kind, So had another been, where he his vows addressid. And the same fate to the same sin assign'd. This quell'd her pride, yet other doubts remain'd, Already sees herself the monster's prey,
That, once disdaining, she might be disdain'd. And feels her heart and entrails torn away. The fear was just, but greater fear prevail'd, 'Twas a mute scene of sorrow, mix'd with fear; Fear of her life by hellish hounds assail'd: Still on the table lay th' unfinish'd cheer :
He took a lowering leave ; but who can tell,
Here hope began to dawn; resolv'd to try,
Death was behind, but hard it was to die.
One maid she had, belov'd above the rest; But fear, the last of ills, remain'd behind,
Secure of her, the secret she confess'd; And horrour heavy sat on every mind.
And now the cheerful light her fears dispell’d, Nor Theodore encourag'd more the feast,
She with no winding turns the truth conceal'd, But sternly look’d, as hatching in his breast But put the woman off, and stood revealid: Some deep designs; which when Honoria view'd, With faults confess'd commission'd her to go, The fresh impulse her former fright renew'd; If pity yet had place, and reconcile her foe. She thought herself the trembling dame who fled, The welcome message made, was soon receiv'd; And him the grisly ghost that spurr'd th' infernal 'Twas to be wish'd, and hop'd, but scarce believ'd; steed :
Fate seem'd a fair occasion to present; The more dismay'd, for when the guests withdrew, He knew the sex, and fear'd she might repent, Their courteous host, saluting all the crew, (adieu ; Shou'd he delay the moment of consent. Regardless pass'd her o'er; nor grac'd with kind There yet remain’d to gain her friends (a care That sting infix'd within her haughty mind The modesty of maidens well might spare); The downfall of her empire she divin'd ;
But she with such a zeal the cause embrac'd, And her proud heart with secret sorrow pin'd. (As women, where they will, are all in haste) Home as they went, the sad discourse renew'd The father, mother, and the kin beside, Of the relentless dame to death pursu'd,
Were overborne by fury of the tide ; And of the sight obscene so lately view’d.
With full consent of all she chang'd her state ; None durst arraign the righteous doom she bore, Resistless in her love, as in her hate. Ev'o they who pity'd most, yet blam'd her more: By her example warn'd, the rest beware : The parallel they needed not to name,
More easy, less imperious, were the fair ;
For one fair female, lost him half the kind.
Now forc'd to wake, because afraid to sleep, Those rolling fires discover but the sky, Her blood all fever'd, with a furious leap
Not light us here; so Reason's glimmering ray She sprang from bed, distracted in her mind, Was lent, not to assure our doubtful way, And fear'd, at every step, a twitching sprite behind. But guide us upward to a better day.
And as those nightly tapers disappear
Canst thou by reason more of godhead know When day's bright lord ascends our hemisphere; Than Plutarch, Seneca, or Cicero ? So pale grows Reason at Religion's sight; Those giant wits in happier ages born, So dies, and so dissolves in supernatural light. When arms and arts did Greece and Rome adorn, Some few, whose lamp shone brighter, have been led Knew no such system : no such piles could raise From cause to cause, to Nature's secret head; Of natural worship, built on prayer and praise And found, that one first principle must be : To one sole God. But what, or who, that universal He;
Nor did remorse to expiate sin prescribe : Whether some soul encompassing this ball
But slew their fellow-creatures for a bribe : Unmade, unmov'd; yet making, moving all ; The guiltless victim groan'd for their offence: Or various atoms, interfering dance,
And cruelty and blood was penitence. Leap'd into form, the noble work of chance ; If sheep and oxen could atone for men, Or this great all was from eternity;
Ah! at how cheap a rate the rich might sin! Not ev'n the Stagirite himself could see;
And great oppressors might Heaven's wrath beguile, And Epicurus guess'd as well as he ;
By offering his own creatures for a spoil ! As blindly grop'd they for a future state ;
Dar’st thou, poor worm, offend Infinity? As rashly judg'd of providence and fate :
And must the terms of peace be given by thee ? But least of all could their endeavours find
Then thou art Justice in the last appeal ; What most concern'd the good of human kind: Thy easy God instructs thee to rebel : For happiness was never to be found;
And, like a king remote and weak, must take But vanish'd from them like enchanted ground. What satisfaction thou art pleas'd to make. One thought content the good to be enjoy'd; But if there be a power too just and strong, This every little accident destroy'd :
To wink at crimes, and bear unpunish'd wrong; The wiser madmen did for virtue toil;
Look humbly upward, see his will disclose A thorny, or at best a barren soil :
The forfeit first, and then the fine impose:
See God descending in thy human frame;
All thy misdeeds to him imputed see,
And all his righteousness devolv'd on thee. For what could fathom God were more than He. For, granting we have sinn'd, and that th' offence
The deist thinks he stands on firmer ground; Of man is made against Omnipotence, Cries supsxa, the mighty secret's found:
Some price that bears proportion must be paid;
What farther means can reason now direct,
If then Heaven's will must needs be understood, And when frail Nature slides into offence,
Which must, if we want cure, and Heaven be good, The sacrifice for crimes is penitence.
Let all records of will reveal'd be shown; Yet, since the effects of providence, we find, With Scripture all in equal balance thrown, Are variously dispens’d to human kind;
And our one sacred book will be that one. That Vice triumphs, and Virtue suffers here,
Proof needs not here ; for whether we compare A brand that sovereign justice cannot bear; That impious, idle, superstitious ware Our reason prompts us to a future state :
Of rites, lustrations, offerings, which before, The last appeal from fortune and from fate : In various ages, various countries bore, Where God's all-righteous ways will be declar'd; With Christian faith and virtues, we shall find The bad meet punishment, the good reward. None answering the great ends of human kind Thus man by his own strength to Heaven would But this one rule of life, that shows us best soar :
How God may be appeasd, and mortals blest. And would not be oblig'd to God for more. Whether from length of time its worth we draw, Vain wretched creature, how art thou misled The word is scarce more ancient than the law : To think thy wit these god-like notions bred ! Heaven's early care prescrib'd for every age; These truths are not the product of thy mind, First, in the soul, and after, in the page. But dropt from Heaven, and of a nobler kind. Or, whether more abstractedly we look, Reveal'd religion first inform'd thy sight,
Or on the writers, or the written book, And reason saw not till faith sprung the light. Whence, but from Heaven, could men unskilld in Hence all thy natural worship takes the source :
arts, 'Tis revelation what thou think'st discourse. In several ages born, in several parts, Else how com'st thou to see these truths so clear, Weave such agreeing truths ? or bow, or why, Which so obscure to heathens did appear?
Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie ? Not Plato these, nor Aristotle found :
Unask'd their pains, ungrateful their advice, Nor he whose wisdom oracles renown'd.
Starving their gain, and martyrdom their price. Hast thou a wit so deep, or so sublime,
If on the book itself we cast our view, Or canst thou lower dive, or higher climb ? Concurrent heathens prove the story true :