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Would you I should be still deform'd and old, Refind himself to soul, to curb the sense ;
Yet, had his aspect nothing of severe,
But such a face as promis'd him sincere. In all I can, contribute to your ease,
Nothing reserv'd or sullen was to see : And not in deed, or word, or thought, displease? But sweet regards, and pleasing sanctity : Or would you rather have me young and fair, Mild was his accent, and his action frec. And take the chance that happens to your share? With eloquence innate his tongue was arm'd ; Temptations are in beauty, and in youth, Though harsh the precept, yet the people charm'd. And how can you depend upon my truth? For, letting down the golden chain from high, Now weigh the danger with the doubtful bliss, He drew his audience upward to the sky: And thank yourself if aught should fall amiss.' And oft with holy hymns he charm'd their ears, “Sore sigh’d the knight, who this long sermon (A music more melodious than the spheres)
For David left him, when he went to rest, At length, considering all, his heart he cheard ; His lyre; and after him he sung the best. And thus reply'd : My lady and my wife, He bore his great commission in his look : To your wise conduct I resign my life:
But sweetly temper'd awe ; and soften'd all he Choose you for me, for well you understand
spoke. The future good and ill, on either hand :
He preach'd the joys of Heaven, and pains of But if an humble husband may request,
Hell, Provide, and order all things for the best; And warn’d the sinner with becoming zeal; Your's be the care to profit, and to please : But on eternal mercy lov'd to dwell, And let your subject servant take his ease.' He taught the gospel rather than the law; ““Then thus in peace,' quoth she, 'concludes And forc'd himself to drive; but lov'd to draw. the strife,
For Fear but freezes minds : but Love, like heat, Since I am turn'd the husband, you the wife : Exhales the soul sublime, to seek her native seat. The matrimonial victory is mine,
To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard, Which, having fairly gain'd, I will resign; Wrapp'd in his crimes, against the storm preForgive if I have said or done amiss,
par'd; And seal the bargain with a friendly kiss : But, when the milder beams of Mercy play, I promis'd you but one content to share,
He melts, and throws his cumbrous cloak away. But now I will become both good and fair, Lightning and thunder (Heaven's artillery) No nuptial quarrel shall disturb your case; As harbingers before th' Almighty ily: The business of my life shall be to please :
Those but proclaim his style, and disappear ; And for my beauty, that, as time shali try; The stiller sound succeeds, and God is there. But draw the curtain first, and cast your eye.' The tithes, his parish freely paid, he took ; He look'd, and saw a creature heavenly fair, But never sued, or curs'd with bell and book. In bloom of vouth, and of a charming air. With patience bearing wrong; but offering none : With joy he turn'd, and seiz'd her ivory arm; Since every man is free to lose his own. And like Pygmalion found the statue warm. The country churls, according to their kind, Small arguments there needed to prevail,
(Whogrudge their dues, and love to be behind) A storm of kisses pour'd as thick as hail. The less he sought his offerings, pinch'd the Thus long in mutual bliss they lay embrac'd,
more, And their first love continued to the last : And prais'd a priest contented to be poor. One shunshine was their life, no cloud between ;
Yet of his little he had some to spare, Nor ever was a kinder couple seen.
To feed the fainish'd, and to clothe the bare : “ And so may all our lives like theirs be led; For mortify'd he was to that degree, Heaven send the maids young husbands fresh in A poorer than himself he would not see.
True priests, he said, and preachers of the word, May widows wed as often as they can,
Were only stewards of their sovereign lord; And ever for the better change their man; Nothing was theirs; but all the public store: And some devouring plagae pursue their lives, Intrusted riches, to relieve the poor. Who will not well be govern'd by their wives.” Who, should they steal, for want of his relief,
He judg'd himself accomplice with the thief.
Wide was his parish ; not contracted close
To serve the sick; to succour the distress'd: CHARACTER OF A GOOD PARSON.
Tempting, on foot, alone, without affright,
The dangers of a dark tempestuous night. A Parisu priest was of the pilgrim-train;
All this, the good old man perform'd alone, An awful, reverend, and religious man.
Nor spar'd his pains; for curate he had none. His eyes difius d a venerable grace,
Nor durst he trust another with bis care;
Nor rode himself to Paul's, the public fair,
Where bishopries and sinccures are sold.
But duly watch'd his flock, by night and day; Of sixty years he seem'd; and well might last
And from the prowling wolf redeem'd the prey: To sixty more, but that he liv'd too fast;
And hungry sent the wily fox away.,
The proud he tam'd, the penitent he cheard : He took the time when Richard was depos'd, Nor to rebuke the rich offender fear'd.
And high and low with happy Harry clos'd, His preaching much, but more his practice This prince, though great in arms, the priest wrought,
withstood : (A living sermon of the truths he taught) Near though he was, yet not the next of blood. For this by rules severe his life he squar'd : Had Richard, unconstrain'd, resign'd the throne, That all might see the doctrine which they heard. A king can give no more than is his own : For priests, he said, are patterns for the rest The title stood entail'd, had Richard had a son. (The gold of Heaven, who bear the God im Conquest, an odious name, was laid aside, press'd):
Where all submitted, none the battle try'd. But when the precious coin is kept unclean, The senseless plea of right by Providence The sovereign's image is no longer seen.
Was, by a flattering priest, invented since ; If they be foul on whom the people trust,
And lasts no longer than the present sway; Well may the baser brass contract a rust. But justifies the next who comes in play. [dare The prelate, for his holy life he priz'd;
The people's right remains; let those who The wordly pomp of prelacy despis’d.
Dispute their power, when they the judges are. His Saviour came not with a gaudy show;
He join'd not in their choice, because he knew Nor was his kingdom of the world below.
Worse might, and often did, from change ensue. Patience in want, and poverty of mind,
Much to himself he thought; but little spoke; These marks of church and churchmen he de- And, undepriv'd, his benefice forsook. sign'd,
Now, through the land, his cure of souls he And living taught, and dying left behind.
stretch'd : The crown he wore was of the pointed thorn : And like a primitive apostle preach'd. In purple he was crucified, not born.
Still chearful ; ever constant to his call; They who contend for place and high degree, By many follow'd ; lov'd by most, admir'd by all. Are not his sons, but those of Zebedee.
With what he begg'd, his brethren he reliev'd; Not but he knew the signs of earthly power And gave the charities himself receiv'd. Might well become Saint Peter's successor ; Gave, while he taught; and edify'd the more, The holy father holds a double reign, (plain. Because he show'd, by proof, 'twas easy to be The prince may keep his pomp, the fisher must be
poor. Such was the saint; who shone with every He went not with the crowd to see a shrine; grace,
But fed us, by the way,
with food divine, Peflecting, Moses like, bis Maker's face.
In deference to his virtues, I forbear God saw his image lively was express'd ;
To show you what the rest in orders were : And his own work, as in creation, bless'd. This brilliant is so spotless, and so bright,
The tempter saw him too with envious eye; He needs no foil, but shines by his own proper And, as on Job, demanded leave to try,
TRANSLATIONS FROM BOCCACE.
SIGIS.VONDA AND GUISCARDO.
We Norman Tanered in Salerno reign'd,
The title of a gracious prince he gain'd;
And bless'd he might have been with her alone :
At length, as public decency requir'd,
Much was in little writ; and all convey'd Aud all his vassals eagerly desir'd,
With cautious care, for fear to be betray'd With mind averse, he rather underwent
By some false confident, or favourite maid. His people's will, than gave his own consent. The time, the place, the manner how to meet, So was she torn, as from a lover's side,
Were all in punctual order plainly writ: And made almost in his despite a bride.
But, siuce a trust must be, she thought it best Short were her marriage joys; for in the prime | To put it out of laymen's power at least; Of youth, her lord expir'd before his time; And for their solemn vows prepar'd a priest. And to her father's court in little space
Guiscard (her secret purpose understood) Restor'd anew, she held a higher place;
With joy prepar'd to meet the coming good ; More lov'd, and more exalted into grace.
Nor pains nor danger was resolv'd to spare, This princess, fresh and young, and fair and wise, But use the means appointed by the fair. The worship'd idol of her father's eyes,
Next the proud palace of Salerno stood Did all her sex in every grace exceed,
A mount of rough ascent, and thick with wood, And had more witbeside than women need. [mind, Through this a cave was dug with vast expense:
Youth, health, and ease, and most an amorous The work it seemd of some suspicious prince, To second nuptials had her thoughts inclin'd : Who, when abusing power with lawless might, And former joys had left a secret sting behind. From public justice would secure his flight, But, prodigal in every other grant,
The passage made by many a winding way, Her sire left unsupply'd her only want;
Reach'd ev'n the room in which the tyrant lay. And she, betwixt her modesty and pride,
Fit for his purpose, on a lower floor,
From whence, by stairs descending to the ground,
With brambles, choak'd by time, and now unTo him in holy nuptials to be ty'd,
A rift there was, which from the mountain's height A seeming widow, and a secret bride.
Convey'd a glimmering and malignant light,
Was now th' apartment of the royal dame;
Till Love recall'd it to her labouring breast, Yet hitherto she kept her love conceal'd, And hinted as the way by Heaven design'd And with those graces every day beheld
The teacher, by the means he taught, to blind. The graceful youth; and every day increas'd What will not women do, when need inspires The raging fires that burn'd within her breast; Their wit, or love their inclination fires! Some secret charm did all her acts attend, Though jealousy of state th' invention found, And what his fortune wanted, hers could mend; Yet love refin'd upon the former ground. 'Till, as the fire will force its outward way, That way, the tyrant had reserv'd, to fly [nigh. Or, in the prison pent, consume the prey ; Pursuing heat, now serv'd to bring two lovers So long her earnest eyes on his were set, The dame, who long in vain had kept the key, At length their twisted rays together met ;
Bold by desire, explor'd the secret way; And he, surpris'd with hunble joy, survey'd Now try'd the stairs, and, wading through the One sweet regard, shot by the royal maid :
night, Not well assurd, while doubtful hopes he nars'd, Search'd all the deep recess, and issued into light. A second glance came gliding like the first; All this her letter bad so well explain'd, And he, who saw the sharpness of the dart, Th’ instructed youth might compass what reWithout defence receiv'd it in his heart.
main'd; In public, though their passion wanted speech, The cavern's mouth alone was hard to find, Yet mutual looks interpreted for each;
Because the path, disus'd, was out of mind : Time, ways, and means of meeting were deny'd; But in what quarter of the copse it lay, But all those wants ingenious Love supply'd. His eye by certain level could survey : Th’inventive god, who never fails his part, Yet (for the wood perplex'd with thorns he knew) Inspires the wit, when once he warms the heart. A frock of leather o'er his limbs he drew;
When Guiscard next was in the circle seen, And, thus provided, search'd the brake around, Where Sigismonda held the place of queen, Till the choak'd entry of the cave he found. A hollow cane within her hand she brought, Thus, all prepard, the promis'd hour arriv'd Bu n the concave had enclos'd a note;
So long expected, and so well contrivd: With this she seem'd to play, and, as in sport, With Love to friend, th' impatient lover went, Toss'd to her love, in presence of the court; Fenc'd from the thorns, and trod the deep descent. "Takeit,” she said, “and when your needs require, | The conscious priest, who was suborn'd before, This little brand will serve to light your fire.” Stood ready posted at the postern door; He took it with a bow, and soon divin'd
The maids in distant rooms were sent to rest, The seemiög toy was not for nought design'd: And nothing wanted but th’invited guest. But when retird, so long with curious eyes He came, and knocking thrice without delay, He view'd his present, that he found the prize, The longing lady beard, and turn'd the key;
At once invaded him with all her charms, Attending Guiscard, in his leathern frock,
The door unlock'd, to known delight they haste,
Rush to the conscious bed, a mutual freight, Made haste to sanctify the bliss by law;
And heedless press it with their wonted weight. And mutter'd fast the matriinony o'er,
The sudden bound awak'd the sleeping sire, For fear committed sin should get before.
And show'd a sight no parent can desire; His work perforin'd, he left the pair alone, His opening eyes at once with odious view Because he knew he could not go too soon; The love discover'd, and the lover knew : His presence odious, when his task was done. He would have cry'd; but hoping that he dreamt, What thoughts he had beseems me not to say; Amazement tyd his tongue, and stopp'd th' Though some surmise he went to fast and pray,
atteinpt. And needed both to drive the tempting thoughts Th'ensuing moment all the truth declard, away.
But now he stood collected, and prepard, The foe once gone, they took their full de- For malice and revenge had put him on his light:
guard. 'Twas restless rage, and tempest all the night; So like a lion, that unheeded lay, For greedy Love each moment would employ, Dissembling sleep, and watchful to betray, And grudg'd the shortest pauses of their joy.
With inward rage he meditates his prey. Thus were their loves auspiciously begun, The thoughtless pair, indulging their desires; And thus with secret care were carried on. Alternate, kindled, and then quench'd their fires; The stealth itself did appetite restore,
Nor thinking in the shades of death they play'd, And look'd so like a sin, it pleas'd the more. Full of themselves, themselves alone survey'd,
The cave was now become a common way, And, too secure, were by themselves betray'd. The wicket, often open'd, knew the key:
Long time dissolv'd in pleasure thus they lay, Lore rioted secure, and, long enjoy'd,
Till nature could no more suffice their play; Was ever eager, and was never cloy'd.
Then rose the youth, and through the cave again Bat as extremes are short, of ill and good, Return'd; the princess mingled with her train. And rides at highest mark regorge their flood; Piesolv'd his unripe vengeance to defer, So Fate, that could no more improve their joy, The royal spy, when now the coast was clear, Took a malicious pleasure to destroy.
Sought not the garden, but retir'd unseen, Tancred, who fondly lov'd, and whose delight To brood in secret on his gather'd spleen, Was plac'd in his fair daughter's daily sight, And methodize revenge: to death he griev'd; Of custom, when his state affairs were done, And, but he saw the crime, had scarce believ'd. Would pass his pleasing hours with her alone; Th’appointment for th' ensuing night he heard; And, as a father's privilege allow'd,
And therefore in the cavern had prepard
It happen'd once, that when in heat of day Scarce had unwary Guiscard set his foot
Within the foremost entrance of the grot, je balmy slumber fled his wakeful eyes,
When these in secret ambush ready lay; And forc'd him, in bis own despite, to rise : And rushing on the sudden seiz'd the prey: Of sleep forsaken, to relieve his care,
Encumber'd with his frock, without delence, He sought the conversation of the fair;
An easy prize, they led the prisoner thence, But with her train of damsels she was gone, And, as commanded, brought before the prince. In shady walks the scorching heat to shun: The gloomy sire, too sensible of wrong, He would not violate that sweet recess,
To vent his rage in words, restrain'd his tongue, And found besides a welcome heaviness,
And only said, “ Thus servants are preferr'd, That seiz'd his eyes; and slumber, which forgot And, trusted, thus their sovereigns they reward. When call'd before to come, now came unsought. Had I not seen, had not these eyes receir'd From light retir'd, behind his daughter's bed, Too clear a proof, I could not have believid.” He for approaching sleep compos’d his head; He paus'd, and choak'd the rest. The youth, A chair was ready, for that use design'd,
His forfeit life abandon'd to the law, (who saw So quilted, that he lay at ease reclin'd;
The judge the accuser, and th' offence to bim The curtains closely drawn, the light to skreen, Who had both power and will t'avenge the crime, As if he had contriv'd to lie unseen:
No vain defence prepar'd; but thus reply'd : Thus cover'd with an artificial night,
“ The faults of love by Love are justify’d: Sleep, did his ofħice soon, and seal'd his sight. With unresisted might the monarch reigns,
With Heaven averse, in this ill-omen'd hour He levels mountains, and he raises plains;
This bold return with seeming patience heard,
The sullen tyrant slept not all the night, The garden, seated on the level floor,
But, lonely walking by a winking light, She left behind, and, locking every door,
Sobb’d, wept, and groan'd, and beat his wither'd Thought all secure; but little did she know,
breast, Blind to her fate, she had enclus’d her foe. But would not violate his daughter's rest;
Who long expecting lay, for bliss prepard, Fain would I choose a middle course to steer; Listening for noise, and griev'd that none she Nature's too kind, and Justice too severe; heard;
Speak for us both, and to the balance bring
Heaven knows, my heart is bent to favour thee; And pass'd the tedious hours in anxious thoughts Make itbut scanty weight, and leave the rest to me.” away.
Here stopping with a sigh, he pour'd a flood The murrow came; and at his usual hour Of tears, to make his last expression good. Old Tanerid visited his daughter's bower; She, who had heard him speak, nor saw alone Her cheek (for such his custom was) he kiss'd, The secret conduct of her love was known, Theo bless'd her kneeing, and her maids dis But he was taken who her soul possess'd, The royal digniiy thus far maintain d, (miss'd. Felt all the pangs of sorrow in her breast, Now left in private, he no longer teiga'd; And little wanted, but a woman's heart, But all at once his grief and rage appear'd, With cries and tears had testify'd her smart; And floods of tears ran trichiing down his beard. But inborn Worth, that Fortune can control, “ () Sigismonda,” he began to say:
New strung and stiffer bent her softer soul; Thrice he began, and thrice was forc'd to stay, The heroine assum'd the woman's place, 'Till words with often trying found their way: Confirm'd her mind, and fortify'd her face : “ I thought, O Sigismunda, (but how blind Why should she beg, or what could sbe pretend, Are parents' eyes, their children's faults to find!) When her stern father had condemn'd ber friend Thy virtue, birth, and breeding were above Her life she might have had; but ber despair A mean desire, and vulgar sense of love :
Of saving his, had put it past her care ; Nor less than sight and hearing cou d convince Resolv'd on fate, she would not lose her breath, So und a father, and so just a prince,
But, rather than nut die, solicit death. Ot such an unforeseen and unberiev'd offence, Fix'd on this thought, she, not as women use, Ther. what indignant surrow must I have
Her fault by common frailty would excuse; To see thee lie subjected to my slave!
But boldly justify'd her innocence, A man so smeiing of the people's lee,
And while the fact was own'd, deny'd th' offence: The court receir'd him first for charity;
Then with dry eyes, and with an open look, And since with no degree of honour giac'd, She met his glance mid-way, and thus undaunted But only suffer'd, where he first nas piacd. “ Tancred, I neither am dispos’d to make [spoke: A grovelling insect still, and so design'd
Request for life,,nor offer'd life to take; By Nature's hand, nor born of nobie kind : Much less deny the deed; but least of all A thing, by neither man nor woman priz'd, Beneath pretended justice weakly fall. And scarcely known enough to be despıs'd. My words to sacred truth shall be confin'd, To what has Heaven reserv'd my age? Ah! why My decus shall show the greatness of my mind. Should man, when Nature calls, not choose to die, That I have lor'd, I own; that still I love, Rather than stretch the span of life, to find I call to witness all the powers above: Such ills as fate tas wiseiy cast behind,
Yet more I own: to Guiscard's love I give For those to frel, whom fond desire to live The small remaining time I have to live; Makes covetous of more than life can give! And if beyond this life desire can be, Each has his share of yood; and when 'tis gone, Not Fate itself shall set my passion frec. The guest, though hungry, cannot risc too soon. This first avow'd; nor folly warp'd my mind, But I, expecting more, in my own wrong
Nor the frail texture of the female kind Protracting life, have liv'd a day too long. Betray'd my virtue : for, too well I knew If yesterday could be recall'd again,
What honour was, and Honour had his due: Er'n now would I couc ude my happy reign; Before the holy priest my vows were tyd, But 'tis too late, my glorious race is run,
So came I not a strumpet, but a bride.
Which had they not, the first election thine, This little comfort bad reliev'd my mind, That bond dissolv'd, the next is freely mine; 'Twas frailty, not unusual to thy kind :
Or grant I err’d, (which yet I must deny) But thy low fali beneath thy royal blood
Had parents pow'r ev'n second vows to tie, Shows downward appetite to mix with mud: Thy little caic to mend my widow'd nights, Thus not the least excuse is left for the.',
Has forc'd me to recourse of marriage rites, Nor the least refuge for unhappy me.
To fill an empty side, and follow knowu delights, “ For him I have resolvid: whom by surprise What have I done in this, deserving blame? I took, and scarce can call it, in disguise; State-laws may alter: Nature's are the same; For such was his attire, as, with intent
Those are usurp'd on helpless woman-kind, Of Nature, suited to his mean descent:
Made without our consent, and wanting power The harder question yet remains behind,
to bind. What pains a par nt and a prince can find
"Thou, Tancred, better should have understood, To punish an offence of this degenerate kind.
That as thy father gave thee flesh and blood, “ As I have lov'd, and yet I love thee more So gar'st thou me: not from the quarry hew'd, Than ever father loved a child before;
But of a softer mould, with sense endu'd; Su tbat indulgence draws me to forgive;
Ev'n softer than thy own, of suppler kind, Nature, that gave thee life, would have thee live; More exquisite of taste, and more than man refin'd. But, as a public parent of the state,
Nor need'st thou by thy daughter to be told, My justice, and thy crime, requires thy fate.
Though now thy spritely blood with age be cold,