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But faithlefs ftill, and wav'ring as the wind!
O painted monster, form'd mankind to cheat,
With pleafing poison, and with foft deceit !
This rich, this am'rous, venerable knight,
Amidst his ease, his folace, and delight,
Struck blind by thee, refigns his days to grief,
And calls on death, the wretch's laft relief.

The rage of jealousy then feiz'd his mind,
For much he fear'd the faith of womankind.
His wife not fuffer'd from his fide to stray,
Was captive kept, he watch'd her night and day,
Abridg'd her pleasures and confin'd her sway.
Full oft in tears did hapless May complain,
And figh'd full oft; but figh'd and wept in vain ;
She look'd on Damian with a lover's eye;
For oh, 'twas fixt; fhe muft poffefs or die!
Nor lefs impatience vex'd her am'rous Squire,
Wild with delay, and burning with defire.
Watch'd as fhe was, yet could he not refrain
By fecret writing to disclose his pain:

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The dame by figns reveal'd her kind intent,
Till both were conscious what each other meant.
Ah, gentle knight, what would thy eyes avail, 500

Tho' they could fee as far as fhips can fail ?
'Tis better, fure, when blind, deceiv'd to be,

Than be deluded when a man can fee!

Argus himself, fo cautious and fo wife, Was over-watch'd, for all his hundred eyes:

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So many an honeft husband may, 'tis known,
Who, wifely, never thinks the case his own.

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The dame at last, by diligence and care,
Procur'd the key her knight was wont to bear;
She took the wards in wax before the fire,
And gave th'impreffion to the trufty Squire.
By means of this, fome wonder fhall appear,
Which, in due place and season, you may hear.'
Well fung fweet Ovid, in the days of yore,
What flight is that, which love will not explore? 515
And Pyramus and Thisbe plainly fhow

The feats true lovers, when they lift, can do:
Tho' watch'd and captive, yet in fpite of all,
They found the art of kiffing thro' a wall.
But now no longer from our tale to stray;

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It happ'd, that once upon a fummer's day,
Our rev'rend Knight was urg'd to am'rous play:
He rais'd his spouse e'er Matin-bell was rung,
And thus his morning canticle he fung.

Awake, my love, difclofe thy radiant eyes;

Arife, my wife, my beauteous lady, rise !
Hear how the doves with penfive notes complain,

And in soft murmurs tell the trees their pain:
The winter's paft; the clouds and tempest fly;

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The fun adorns the fields, and brightens all the fky.

Fair without fpot, whofe ev'ry charming part

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My bofom wounds, and captivates my heart;

Come, and in mutual pleasures let's engage,

Joy of my life, and comfort of my age.

This heard, to Damian strait a sign she made,535 To hafte before; the gentle Squire obey'd: Secret, and undefcry'd he took his way,

And ambufh'd close behind an arbour lay.

It was not long ere January came,
And hand in hand with him his lovely dame;
Blind as he was, not doubting all was fure,
He turn'd the key, and made the gate fecure.
Here let us walk, he faid, obferv'd by none,
Conscious of pleasures to the world unknown:
So may my foul have joy, as thou, my wife,
Art far the dearest folace of my life;
And rather would I chufe, by heav'n above,
To die this inftant, than to lose thy love.
Reflect what truth was in my paffion fhewn,
When unendow'd, I took thee for my own,
And fought no treasure but thy heart alone.
Old as I am, and now depriv'd of fight,
Whilft thou art faithful to thy own true Knight,

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Nor age, nor blindness rob me of delight.

Each other lofs with patience I can bear,

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The lofs of thee is what I only fear.

Confider then, my lady and my wife,

The folid comforts of a virtuous life.
As first, the love of Chrift himself you gain;
Next, your own honour undefil'd maintain ;

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And lastly, that which fure your mind must move,
My whole estate shall gratify your love:
Make your own terms, and ere to-morrow's fun
Displays his light, by heav'n it shall be done.

I feal the contract with a holy kifs,

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And will perform, by this-my dear, and this—
Have comfort, spouse, nor think thy Lord unkind;
'Tis love, not jealousy that fires my mind.
For when thy charms my fober thoughts engage,
And join'd to them my own unequal age,
From thy dear fide I have no pow'r to part,
Such fecret tranfports warm my melting heart.
For who that once poffeft thofe heav'nly charms,
Could live one moment abfent from thy arms?

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He ceas'd, and May with modeft grace reply'd;
(Weak was her voice, as while she spoke she cry'd :)
Heav'n knows (with that a tender figh she drew)
I have a foul to fave as well as you;

And, what no less you to my charge commend,
My dearest honour, will to death defend.

To you

in

holy Church I gave my hand,

And join'd my heart in wedlock's facred band:
Yet after this, if you diftruft my care,

Then hear, my Lord, and witness what I swear:

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First may the yawning earth her bofom rend, 585

And let me hence to hell alive defcend;

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Or die the death I dread no less than hell,
Sew'd in a fack, and plung'd into a well:
Ere I my fame by one lewd act difgrace,
Or once renounce the honour of
For know, Sir Knight, of gentle blood I came,
I loath a whore, and startle at the name.
But jealous men on their own crimes reflect,
And learn from thence their ladies to fufpect:

my race.

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Elfe why these needlefs cautions, Sir, to me?
These doubts and fears of female constancy!
This chime still rings in ev'ry lady's ear,
The only ftrain a wife muft hope to hear.

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Thus while fhe spoke a fidelong glance she cast,
Where Damian kneeling, worshipp'd as she past. 600
She faw him watch the motions of her eye,
And fingled out a pear-tree planted nigh:

'Twas charg'd with fruit that made a goodly show,
And hung with dangling pears was ev'ry bough.
Thither th❜obfequious Squire addrefs'd his pace, 605
And climbing, in the summit took his place;
The Knight and Lady walk'd beneath in view,
Where let us leave them, and our tale purfue.

'Twas now the feafon when the glorious fun His heav'nly progrefs thro' the Twins had run; 615 And Jove, exalted, his mild influence yields,

To glad the glebe, and paint the flow'ry fields,
Clear was the day, and Phœbus rifing bright,

Had ftreak'd the azure firmament with light; 619

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