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Of false mankind tho' you may be the best,
Ye all have robb’d poor women of their rest.
I see your pain, and see it too with grief,
Because I would, yet must not give relief.
Thus, for a husband's sake, as well as yours,
My fcrup'lous foul divided pain endures;
Guilty, alas! to both; for thus I do
Too much for him, yet not enough for you.
Give over then, give over, hapless swain,
A passion moving, but a passion vain.
Not chance, nor time shall ever change my thought:
'Tis better much to die, than do a fault.
Oh, worse than ever! Is it then my
Just to see Heav'n, where I must never come?
Your soft compassion, if not something more;
Yet I remain as wretched as before :
The wind, indeed, is fair, but ah! no sight of shore.
Farewell, too scrup'lous fair-one; oh! farewell.
What torments I endure, no tongue can tell;
Thank Heav'n, my fate transports me now, where I
Your martyr may with ease and safety die.
With that I kneel'd, and seiz'd her trembling hand, While the impos'd this cruel kind command : Live and love on; you will be true, I know; But live then, and come back to tell me so: For tho' I blush at this last guilty breath, I can endure that better than your death.
Tormențing kindness! Barbarous reprieve! Condemn'd to die, and yet compellid to live!
This tender scene my dream repeated o'er, Just as it pass’d in real truth before,
Methought I then fell grov'ling to the ground, 'Till on a sudden rais’d, I wond’ring found A strange appearance all in taintless white; His form gave rev'rence, and his face delight : Goodness and greatness in his eyes were seen ; Gentle his look, and affable bis mien. A kindly notice of me thus he took : " What mean these flowing eyes, this ghastly look! “ These trembling joints, this loose disheveld hair, " And this cold dew, the drops of deep despair?"
With grief and wonder first my spirits faint, But thus, at last, I vented my complaint. Behold a wretch whom cruel fate has found, And in the depth of all misfortune drown'd. There shines a nymph, to whom an envy'd fwain Is ty’d in Hymen's ceremonious chain; But cloy'd with charms of such a marriage-bed, And fed with manna, yet he longs for bread; And will, most husband-like, not only range For love perhaps of nothing else but change; But to inferior beauty proftrate lies, And courts her love, in scorn of FLAVIA's eyes.
All this I knew (the form divine reply'd) And did but ask to have thy temper try'd, Which prove sincere. Of both I know the mind; She is too scrupulous, and thou too kind: But since thy fatal love's for ever fix’d: Whatever time or absence come betwixt; Since thy fond heart ey'n her disdain prefers To others love, I'll something soften hers. Else in the search of virtue she may stray: Wel meaning mortals should not lose their way.
She now indeed fins on the safer fide,
For hearts too loose are never to be tyd ;
But no extremes are either good or wise,
And in the midst alone true viroue lies.
When marriage vows unite an equal pair,
'Tis a mere contract, made by human care,
By which they both are for convenience tyd,
The bridegroom yet more strictly than the bride:
For circumstances alter ev'ry ill,
And woman meets with most temptation still;
She a forsaken bed must often bear,
While he can never fail to find here there,
And therefore less excus'd to range elsewhere.
Yet this she ought to suffer and submit :
But when no longer for each other fit,
If usage base shall just resentment move,
Or, what is worse, affronts of wand'ring love;
No obligation after that remains.
'Tis mean, not just, to wear a rival's chains.
Yet decency requires the wonted cares
of int’relt, children, and remote affairs;
But in her love, that dear concern of life,
She all the while may be another's wife :
Heav'n that beholds her wrong'd and widow'd bed,
Permits a lover in her husband's stead.
I flung me at his feet, his robes would kiss, And cry'd,
-Ev'n our base world is just in this ; Amidst our censures, love we gently blame; And love sometimes preserves a female fame. What tie less strong can woman's will restrain ? When honour, checks, and conscience plead in vain;
When parents threats, and friends persuasions fail,
When int'rest and ambition scarce prevail,
To bound that sex when nothing else can move;
They'll live reserv'd to please the man they love!
The spirit then reply'd to all I said,
She may be kind, but not till thou art dead;
Bewail thy memory, bemoan thy fate:
Then she will love, when 'tis, alas ! too late :
Of all thy pains she will no pity have,
Till fad despair has sent thee to the grave.
Amaz'd, I wak'd in haste,
All trembling at my doom ;
Dreams oft repeat adventures past,
And tell our ills to come,
HE N loose epistles violate chaste eyes,
She half confents, who silently denies:
How dares a stranger, with designs fo vain,
Marriage and hospitable rights profane?
Was it for this your fate did shelter find
From swelling seas, and ev'ry faithless wind?
(For tho'a distant country brought you forth,
Your usage here was equal to your worth.)
Does this deserve to be rewarded so?
you come here a stranger, or a foe?
Your partial judgment may perhaps complain,
And think me barb'rous for my just disdain;
Ill-bred then let me be, but not unchaste,
Nor my clear fame with any spot defac'd.
Tho' in my face there's no affected frown,
Nor in my carriage a feign'd niceness shown,