Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

760

770

The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool.
What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Morn?
There was another meaning in these gifts,
Think what, and be advised :-—you are but young yet.

La. I had not thought to have unlocked my lips
In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler
Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,
Obtruding false rules pranked in Reason's garb.
I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments,
And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride.
Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature,
As if she would her children should be riotous
With her abundance ; she-good cateress--
Means her provision only to the good,
That live according to her sober laws,
And holy dictate of spare temperance :
If every just man, that now pines with want,
Had but a moderate and beseeming share
Of that which lewdly-pampered luxury
Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed
In unsuperfluous even proportion,
And she no whit encumbered with her store,
And then the Giver would be better thanked, -
His praise due paid ; for swinish Gluttony
Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast,
But with besotted base ingratitude
Crams, and blasphemes his feeder.—Shall I go on?
Or have I said enough? To him that dares
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
Against the sun-clad power of Chastity,
Fain would I something say, -yet to what end?
Thou hast nor ear, nor soul to apprehend
The súblime notion, and high mystery,
That must be uttered to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of Virginity;
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
More happiness than this thy present lot.
Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,

780

790

800

That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence,
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced ;
Yet should I try, the uncontrolled worth
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
That dumb things would be moved to sympathize,
And the brute earth would lend her nerves, and shake,
Till all thy magic structures reared so high,
Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head.

Com. She fables not; I feel that I do fear
Her words set off by some superior power ;
And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove
Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus,
To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble,
And try her yet more strongly.—Come, no more;
This is mere moral babble, and direct
Against the canon laws of our foundation ;
I must not suffer this; yet ’tis but the lees
And settlings of a melancholy blood :
But this will cure all straight, one sip of this
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight,
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste. -

810

The BROTHERS rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass out of

his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make sign of resistance, but are all driven in : the ATTENDANT SPIRIT comes in.

Spi. What, have you let the false enchanter scape ?
Oh! ye mistook; ye should have snatched his wand
And bound him fast: without his rod reversed,
And backward mutters of dissevering power,
We cannot free the Lady that sits here
In stony fetters fixed, and motionless :
Yet stay; be not disturbed ; now I bethink me,
Some other means I have which may be used,
Which once of Meliboeus old I learnt,
The soothest shepherd that ere piped on plains.

There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream,
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure ;

820 830

840

Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
That had the sceptre from his father Brute.
She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit
Of her enraged stepdame Guendolen,
Commended her fair innocence to the flood,
That stayed her flight with his cross-flowing course.
The water-nymphs that in the bottom played,
Held up their pearlèd wrists and took her in,
Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall,
Who, piteous of her woes, reared her lank head,
And gave her to his daughters to imbathe
In nectared lavers strewed with asphodel ;
And, through the porch and inlet of each sense,
Dropt in ambrosial oils till she revived,
And underwent a quick immortal change,-
Made Goddess of the river ; still she retains
Her maiden gentleness, and oft at eve
Visits the herds along the twilight meadows,
Helping all urchin-blasts, and ill-luck signs
That the shrewd, meddling elf delights to make ;
Which she with precious, vialed liquors heals;
For which the shepherds, at their festivals,
Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays,
And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream
Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils.
And, as the old swain said she can unlock
The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing spell,
If she be right invoked in warbled song :
For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift
To aid a virgin, such as was herself,
In hard besetting need ;-this will I try,
And add the power of some adjuring verse.

850

SONG,

860

Sabrina fair!

Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,

In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair ;

870

Listen for dear Honour's sake;
Goddess of the Silver lake,

Listen and save!
Listen, and appear to us
In name of great Oceanus;
By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
And Tethys' grave majestic pace;
By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look,
And the Carpathian wizard's hook ;
By scaly Triton's winding shell,
And old soothsaying Glaucus' spell ;
By Leucothea's lovely hands,
And her son that rules the strands;
By Thetis' tinsel-slippered feet,
And the songs of Sirens sweet;
By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
And fair Ligea's golden comb,
Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks,
Sleeking her soft-alluring locks;
By all the nymphs that nightly dance
Upon thy streams with wily glance ;
Rise! rise! and heave thy rosy head
From thy coral-paven bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have :

Listen and save!

880

890

SABRINA rises, attended by water-nymphs, and sings.

By the rushy-fringed bank,
Where grows the willow, and the osier dank,

My sliding chariot stays,
Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen

Of turkois blue, and emerald green,

That in the channel strays;
Whilst from off the waters fleet
Thus I set my printless feet
O'er the cowslip's velvet head,

That bends not as I tread;
Gentle Swain! at thy request

I am here.

900

910

Spi. Goddess dear!
We implore thy powerful hand
To undo the charmed band
Of true Virgin here distressed,
Through the force, and through the wile
Of unblest enchanter vile.

Sab. Shepherd ! 'tis my office best
To help insnarèd chastity:
Brightest Lady, look on me!
Thus I sprinkle on thy breast
Drops, that from my fountain pure
I have kept, of precious cure;
Thrice upon thy finger's tip,
Thrice upon thy rubied lip;
Next, this marble venomed seat,
Smeared with gums of glutinous heat,
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold :-
Now the spell hath lost his hold ;
And I must haste, ere morning hour,
To wait in Amphitritè's bower.

920

SABRINA descends, and the LADY rises out of her seat.

Spi. Virgin! daughter of Locrine,
Sprung from old Anchises' line,
May thy brimmed waves, for this,
Their full tribute never miss
From a thousand petty rills,
That tumble down the snowy hills:
Summer drought, or singèd air
Never scorch thy tresses fair,
Nor wet October's torrent flood
Thy molten crystal fill with mud:
May thy billows roll ashore
The beryl, and the golden ore;
May thy lofty head be crowned
With many a tower and terrace round,
And here and there, thy banks upon,
With groves of myrrh, and cinnamon !

Come, Lady! while Heaven lends us grace,
Let us fly this cursed place,

930

« AnteriorContinuar »