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Bright as the rising sun in summer's day,
And fresh and blooming as the month of May.
The joyful knight survey'd her by his side;
Nor envied Paris with the Spartan bride :
Still as his mind revolved with vast delight
The entrancing raptures of the approaching night,
Restless he sair, invoking every power
To speed his bliss, and haste the happy hour.
Meantiine the vigorous dancers beat the ground,
And songs were sung, and flowing bowls went round;
With odorous spices they perfumed the place,
And mirth and pleasure shone in every face.
Damian alone of all the menial train,
Sad in the midst of triumphs, sigh'd for pain;
Dainian alone, the knight's obsequious 'squire,
Consumed at heart, and sed a secret fire.
Ilis lovely mistress all his soul possess'd;
He look'd, he languish'd, and could take no rest
His task performd, he sadly went his way,
Fell on his bed, and loathed the light of day.
There let him lie, till his relenting dame
Weep in her turn, and waste in equal flame.
The wearied sun, as learned poets write,
Forsook the horizon, and rollid down the light;
While glittering stars his absent beams supply,
And night's dark mantle overspread the sky.
Then rose the guests : and, as the time required,
Each paid his thanks, and decently retired.
The foe once gone, our knight prepared to undress So keen he was, and eager to possess : But first thought fit the assistance to receive, Which grave physicians scruple not to give: Satyrion near, with hot eringos stood, Cantharides, to fire the lazy blood, Whose use old bards describe in luscious rhymes, And critics learn'd expla to modern times. By this the shects were spread, the bride undressid, The room was sprinkled, and the bed was bless'do
What next ensued beseems not me to say ;
"Tis sung, 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;
And sipp'd his cordial as he sat upright.
He kiss'd his balmy spouse with wanton play,
And feebly sung a lusty roundelay :
Then on the couch his weary limbs he cast :
For every labour must have rest at last.
But anxious cares the pensive 'squire oppress'd,
Sleep fled his eyes, and peace forsook his breast •
The raging flames that in his bosom dwell,
He wanted art to hide, and means to tell;
Yet hoping time the occasion might betray,
Composed a sonnet to the lovely May;
Which, writ and folded with the nicest art,
He wrapp'd in silk, and laid upon his heart.
When now the fourth revolving day was run,
,'Twas June, and Cancer had received the sun,)
Forth from her chamber came the beauteous bride
The good old knight moved slowly by her side.
High mass was sung; they feasted in the hall;
The servants round stood ready at their call.
The 'squire alone was absent from the board,
And much his sickness grieved his worthy lord,
Who pray'd his spouse, attended with her train.
To visit Damian, and divert his pain.
The obliging dames obey'd with one consent.
They left the hall, and to his lodging went.
The female tribe surround him as he lay,
And close beside him sate the gentle May:
Where, as she tried his pulse, he softly drew
A heaving sigh, and cast a mournful view !
Then gave his bill, and bribed the powers divine
With secret vows, to favour his design.
Who studies now but discontented May?
On her soft couch uneasily she lay;
The lumpish husband snored away the night,
Till coughs awaked him near the morning light
What then he did, I'll not presume to tell,
Nor if she thought hersell in heaven 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 power proceed;
Or that some star, with aspect kind to love,
Shed its selectest influence from above;
Whatever was the cause, the tender dame
Felt the first motions of an infant fame;
Received the impressions of the love-sick 'squire,
And wasted in the soft infectious fire.
Ye fair, draw near, let May's example move Your gentle minds to pity those who love! Had some fierce tyrant, in her stead been found, The poor adorer sure had hang'd or drown'd: But she, your sex's mirror, free from pride, Was much too meek to prove a homicide.
But to my tale: Some sages have defined, Pleasure the sovereign bliss of human-kind : Our knight (who studied much, we may suppose, Derived his high philosophy from those ! For, like a prince, he bore the vast expense Of lavish pomp, and proud magnificence: His house was stately, his retinue gay; Large was his train, and gorgeous his
array. His spacious garden, made to yield to none, Was compass'd round with walls of solid stone; Priapus could not half describe the grace Though god of gardens) of this charming place A place to tire the rambling wits of France In long descriptions, and exceed romance ; Enough to shame the gentlest bard that sings Of painted meadows, and of purling springs.
Full in the centre of the flowery ground, A crystal fountain spread its streams around The fruitful banks with verdant laurels crown'd; About this spring (if ancient fame say true) The dapper elves their moon-light sports pursue;
Their pigiay king, and little fairy queen,
In circling dances gambol'd on the green,
While tuneful sprites a merry concert made,
And airy music warbled through the shade.
Hither the noble knight would oft repair
His scene of pleasure, and peculiar care.)
For this he held it dear, and always bore
The silver key that lock'd the garden door.
To this sweet place, in summer's sultry heat,
He used from noise and business to retreat ;
And here in dalliance spend the live-long day
Solus cum sola, with his sprightly May:
For whate'er work was undischarged a-bed,
The duteous knight in this fair garden sped.
But ah! what mortal lives of bliss secure ?
How short a space our worldly joys endure !
O Fortune, fair, like all :hy treacherous kind,
But faithless still, and wavering as the wind !
O painted monster, form'd mankind to cheat
With pleasing poison, and with soft deceit!
This rich, this amorous, venerable knight,
Amidst his ease, his solace, and delight,
Struck blind by thee, resigns his days to grief,
And calls on death, the wretch's last relief.
The rage of jealousy then seized his mind, For much he fear'd the faith of womankind. His wife, not suffered from his side to stray, Was captive kept; he watch'd her night and day Abridged her pleasures, and confin'd her sway. Full oft in tears did hapless May complain, And sigh'd full oft; but sigh'd and wept in vain: She look'd on Damian with a lover's eye; For, oh! 'twas fix'd, she must possess or die! Nor less impatience vex'd her amorous 'squirc, Wild with delay, and burning with desire. Watch'd as she was, yet could he not refrain By secret writing to disclose his pain : The dame by sighs reveal'd her kind intent, Till both were conscious what each other meant.
Ah! gentle knight, what could thy eyes avail, Though they could see as far as ships can sail ? Tis better, sure, when blind, deceiv'd to be, Than be deluded when a man can see!
Argus himself, so cautious and so wise,
Was over-watch'd, for all his hundred eyes :
So many an honest husband may, 'tis known,
Who, wisely, ncver thinks the case his own.
The dame at last, by diligence and care,
Procured the key her knight was wont to bear :
She took the wards in wax before the fire,
And gave the impression to the trusty 'squire.
By means of this, some wonder shall appear,
Which, in due place and season, you may bear.
Well sung sweet Ovid, in the days of yore,
What slight is that which love will not explore ?
And Pyramus and Thisbe plainly show
The feats true lovers, when they list, can do:
Though watch'd and captive, yet in spite of all,
They found the art of kissing through a wall.
But now no longer from our tale to stray:
It happ'd, that once upon a summer's day,
Our reverend knight was urged to amorous play.
He raised his spouse ere matin bell was rung,
And thus his morning canticle he sung;
Awake, my love, disclose thy radiant eyes :
Arise, my wife, my beauteous lady, rise !
Hear how the doves with pensive notes complain,
And in soft murmurs tell the trees their pain ;
The winter 's past; the clouds and tempests fly;
The sun adorns the fields, and brightens all the
Fair without spot, whose every charming part
My bosom 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 straight a sign she mado, To haste before; the mortlo 'squire obey'd :