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Or, when the mournful tale her mother told,
Of what her faithless fortune promis'd once,
Thrill'd in her thought, they, like the dewy star
Of evening, shone in tears.
A native grace
Sat fair-proportion'd on her polish'd limbs,
Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is, when unadorn'd, adorn’d the most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,
Recluse amid the close-embowering woods.
As in the hollow breast of Appenine,
Beneath the shelter of encircling hills,
A myrtle rises, far from human eye,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild;
So flourish'd, blooming, and unseen by all,
The sweet Lavinia; till at length compelld
By strong Necessity's supreme command,
With smiling patience in her looks, she went
To glean Palemon's fields. The pride of swains
Palemon was, the generous and the rich;
Who led the rural life in all its joy
And elegance, such as Arcadian song
Transmits from ancient uncorrupted times,
When tyrant custom had not shackled man,
But free to follow Nature was the mode.
He then his fancy with autumnal scenes
Amusing, chanc'd beside his reaper-train
To walk, when poor Lavinia drew his eye,
Unconscious of her power, and turning quick
· With unaffected blushes from his gaze:
He saw her charming, but he saw not half
The charms her downcast modesty conceal'd.
That very moment love and chaste desire
Sprung in his bosom, to himself unknown;
For still the world prevail’d, and its dread laugh,
Which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn,
Should his heart own a gleaner in the field;
And thus in secret to his soul he sigh’d:
“What pity, that so delicate a form, By beauty kindled, where enlivening sense
And more than vulgar goodness seem to dwell,
Should be devoted to the rude embrace
Of some indecent clown! She looks, methinks,
Of old Acasto's line; and to my mind
Recals that patron of my happy life,
From whom my liberal fortune took its rise;
Now to the dust gone down; his houses, lands,
And once fair-spreading family, dissolv'd!
'Tis said that in some lone obscure retreat,
Urg'd by remembrance sad, and decent pride,
Far from those scenes which knew their better days,
His aged widow and his daughter live,
Whom yet my fruitless search could never find:
Romantic wish! would this the daughter were!”
When, strict inquiring, from herself he found
She was the same, the daughter of his friend,
Of bountiful Acasto! who can speak
The mingled passions that surpris’d his heart,
And through his nerves in shivering transport ran!
Then blaz'd his smother'd flame, avow'd, and bold;
And as he view'd her, ardent, o'er and o'er,
Love, gratitude, and pity, wept at once.
Confus’d, and frighten'd at his sudden tears,
Her rising beauties flush'd a higher bloom,
As thus Palemon, passionate and just,
Pour'd out the pious rapture of his soul:
"And art thou then Acasto's dear remains? She, whom my restless gratitude has sought So long in vain?
O heavens! the very same, The soften' image of my noble friend, Alive his every look, his every feature, More elegantly touch'd. Sweeter than Spring! Thou sole-surviving blossom from the root That nourish'd up my fortune! say, ah! where, In what sequester'd desert, hast thou drawn The kindest aspect of delighted Heaven, Into such beauty spread, and blown so fair, Though poverty's cold wind, and crushing rain, Beat keen and heavy on thy tender years? Oh, let me now into a richer soil Transplant thee safe! where vernal suns, and showers,
Diffuse their warmest, largest influence;
And of my garden be the pride and joy!
Ill it befits thee, oh it ill befits
Acasto's daughter-his, whose open stores,
Though vast, were little to his ampler heart-
The father of a country! thus to pick
The very refuse of those harvest fields
Which from his bounteous friendship I enjoy.
Then throw that shameful pittance from thy hand,
But ill-applied to such a rugged task;
The fields, the master, all, my fair, are thine;
If to the various blessings which thy house
Has on me lavish'd, thou wilt add that bliss,
That dearest bliss, the power of blessing thee!”
Here ceas'd the youth: yet still his speaking eye
Express’d the sacred triumph of his soul,
With conscious virtue, gratitude, and love,
Above the vulgar joy divinely rais’d.
Nor waited he reply. Won by the charm
Of goodness irresistible, and all
In sweet disorder lost, she blush'd consent-
The news immediate to her mother brought,
While pierc’d with anxious thought, she pin’d away
The lonely moments for Lavinia's fate.
Amaz'd, and scarce believing what she heard,
Joy seiz'd her wither'd veins, and one bright gleam
Of setting life shone on her evening hours:
Not less enraptur'd than the happy pair;
Who flourish'd long in tender bliss, and rear’d
A numerous offspring, lovely like themselves,
And good, the grace of all the country round.
ON THE BEING OF A GOD.
RETIRE;—the world shut out;-thy thoughts call
Imagination's airy wing repress;
Lock up thy senses;-let no passion stir;-
Wake all to Reason;-let her reign alone:
Then, in thy soul's deep silence, and the depth
Of Nature's silence, midnight, thus inquire,
As I have done; and shall inquire no more.
In Nature's channel, thus the questions run.
What am I? and from whence?-I nothing know,
But that I am; and, since I am, conclude
Something eternal: had there e'er been nought,
Nought still had been: eternal there must be.
But what eternal?—Why not human race,
And Adam's ancestors without an end?
That's hard to be conceiv'd; since every link
Of that long-chain'd succession is so frail;
Can every part depend, and not the whole?
Yet grant it true, new difficulties rise;
I'm still quite out at sea, nor see the shore.
Whence earth and these bright orbs?-eternal too!--
Grant matter was eternal; still these orbs
Would want some other father; much design
Is seen in all their motions, all their makes;
Design implies intelligence, and art:
That can't be from themselves—or man; that art
Man scarce can comprehend could man bestow?
And nothing greater, yet allow'd, than man.--
Who, motion, foreign to the smallest grain,
Shot through vast masses of enormous weight?
Who bade brute matter's restive lump assume
Such various forms and gave it wings to fly?
Has matter innate motion ? then each atom,
Asserting its indisputable right
To dance, would form a universe of dust:
Has matter none? Then whence these glorious forms,
And boundless flights, from shapeless, and repos’d?
Has matter more than motion? Has it thought,
Judgment and genius? Is it deeply learned
In mathematics; Has it fram'd such laws,
Which, but to guess, a Newton made immortal?-
If art, to form, and counsel, to conduct-
And that with greater far than human skill,
Resides not in each block;-a Godhead reigns.
And, if a God there is, that God how great!
THE TENT SCENE BETWEEN BRUTUS
have wronged me,
appear in this: You have condemned and noted Lucius Pella, For taking bribes here of the Sardians; Wherein, my letters (praying on his side, Because I knew the man) were slighted of.
Brutus. You wronged yourself, to write in such a
Cas. At such a time as this, it is not meet
That every nice offence, should bear its comment.
Bru. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself
Are much condemned to have an itching palm;
To sell and mart your offices for gold,
Cas. I an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus that speak this,
Or, by the gods, this speech were else your last.
Brú. The name of Cassius honours this corruption, And chastisement doth therefore hide its head.
Bru. Remember March, the ides of March re-
Did not great Julius bleed for justice sake?
What villain touched his body, that did stab,
And not for justice?-What, shall one of us,
That struck the foremost man of all this world,
But for supporting robbers:-shall we now
Contaminate our fingers with base bribes?
And sell the mighty space of our large honours,
For so much trash as may be grasped thus?
I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.
Cas. Brutus, bay not me:
I'll not endure it. You forget yourself,
To hedge me in: I am a soldier, I,
Older in practice, abler than yourself
To make conditions.
Bru. Go to! you're not, Cassius.
Cas. I am.