Page images

That 'tis too much for human race to know
The bliss of heav'n above, and earth below.
Now fhould the nuptial pleasures prove fo great,
To match the bleffings of the future state,

Thofe endless joys were ill exchang'd for these;
Then clear this doubt, and fet my mind at ease.


This Juftin heard, nor could his fpleen controul, Touch'd to the quick, and tickled at the foul. Sir Knight, he cry'd, if this be all you dread, Heav'n put it past your doubt, whene'er you wed; And to my fervent pray'rs fo far consent, That ere the rites are o'er, you may repent!


Good heav'n, no doubt, the nuptial state approves, Since it chaftifes ftill what beft it loves.

Then be not, Sir, abandon'd to despair;

Seek, and perhaps you'll find among the fair, 285 85 }

One, that may do your bufinefs to a hair;
Not ev'n in wish, your happiness delay,

But prove the fcourge to lash you on your way:
Then to the skies your mounting foul shall go,
Swift as an arrow foaring from the bow!
Provided ftill, you moderate your joy,
Nor in your pleasures all your might employ,
Let reafon's rule your ftrong defires abate,
Nor please too lavishly your gentle mate.


Old wives there are, of judgment most acute,


Who folve thefe questions beyond all dispute;

Confult with thofe, and be of better chear;
Marry, do penance, and difmifs your fear.

So faid, they rofe, nor more the work delay'd;
The match was offer'd, the proposals made.
The parents you may think, would foon comply;
The Old have int'rest ever in their eye.
Nor was it hard to move the Lady's mind ;
When fortune favours, ftill the Fair are kind.
I país each previous fettlement and deed,
Too long for me to write, or you to read;
Nor will with quaint impertinence display
The pomp, the pageantry, the proud array.
The time approach'd, to Church the parties went,
At once with carnal and devout intent:



310 Forth came the Prieft, and bade th' obedient wife Like Sarah or Rebecca lead her life: Then pray'd the pow'rs the fruitful bed to bless, And made all fure enough with holiness.

[ocr errors]

And now the palace-gates are open'd wide, 315 The guests appear in order, fide by fide, And plac'd in state, the bridegroom and the bride. The breathing flute's foft notes are heard around, And the fhrill trumpets mix their silver found; The vaulted roofs with echoing mufic ring, Thefe touch the vocal stops, and those the trembling ftring.

Not thus Amphion tun'd the warbling lyre,

Nor Joab the founding clarion could inspire,


Nor fierce Theodamas, whofe fprightly ftrain, 324
Could fwell the foul to rage, and fire the martial train
Bacchus himself, the nuptial feast to grace,
(So Poets fing) was prefent on the place:
And lovely Venus, Goddess of delight,
Shook high her flaming torch in open fight:
And danc'd around, and fmil'd on ev'ry Knight :
Pleas'd her beft fervant would his courage try, 331
No lefs in wedlock, than in liberty.

Full many an age old Hymen had not spy'd
So kind a bridegroom, or fo bright a bride.
Ye bards! renown'd among the tuneful throng 335
For gentle lays, and joyous nuptial fong;
Think not your fofteft numbers can display
The matchless glories of this blissful day:
The joys are fuch, as far transcend your rage,
When tender youth has wedded ftooping age. 340
The beauteous dame fate fmiling at the board,

And darted am'rous glances at her Lord.
Not Hefter's felf, whofe charms the Hebrews fing,
E'er look'd fo lovely on her Perfian King:

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, 350

Reftlefs he fate, invoking ev'ry pow'r

To speed his blifs, 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 fhone in ev'ry face.

Damian alone, of all the menial train,
Sad in the midft of triumphs, figh'd for pain;
Damian alone, the Knight's obfequious fquire,
Confum'd at heart, and fed a fecret fire.
His lovely mistress all his foul poffefs'd,
He look'd, he languifh'd, and could take no reft:
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 ftars his abfent beams fupply,
And night's dark mantle overspread the sky.
Then rofe 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'affiftance to receive,
Which grave Phyficians fcruple not to give;
Satyrion near, with hot Eringo's stood,
Cantharides, to fire the lazy blood,


Whofe ufe old Bards defcribe in luscious rhymes,
And Critics learn'd explain to modern times.


By this the sheets were spread, the bride undrefs'd, The room was sprinkled, and the bed was blefs'd. What next enfu'd befeems not me to fay; "Tis fung, he labour'd till the dawning day, Then briskly sprung from bed, with heart so light, As all were nothing he had done by night; 386 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 caft;
For ev'ry labour must have reft 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 bofom 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, 400 ('Twas June, and Cancer had receiv'd the Sun) Forth from her chamber came the beauteous bride; The good old Knight mov'd slowly by her fide. High mass was fung; they feafted in the hall; The fervants round stood ready at their call.


« EelmineJätka »