[Page [182]]


1 WHERE Nature gives exterior grace,
2 Oh might she inward worth impart!
3 Then safely charm'd the beauteous face;
4 For form'd to bless the virtuous heart.
5 Young William houses had, and land,
6 And shining gold, a plenteous store;
7 But he than house, or fertile land,
8 Or shining gold, lov'd Ellen more.
9 Where Ellen was, love would be there,
10 And his seducing arts employ;
11 He waved the ringlets in her hair,
12 And shone in her resplendent eye.
13 Had other graces been allied,
14 Mingling her many charms among,
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15 Tho' William's suit had been denied,
16 He had not died of grief and wrong.
17 Tho' conquest 'twas her pride to gain,
18 Small her desert true love to have;
19 She frown'd on worth with cold disdain,
20 And triumph'd in the pain she gave.
21 But patient William's gentle love,
22 Tried every winning art to please;
23 And still his constancy would prove,
24 And apt occasions ever seize.
25 If Ellen were at fair or wake,
26 At wake or fair was William too;
27 Still some impression hop'd to make,
28 And lovely Ellen's heart subdue.
29 He treated her with cakes most rare,
30 Rich wine, to please the nicest taste,
31 Gay ribbons to adorn her hair,
32 And shining girdles for her waist.
33 At eve, when village maids return'd,
34 And met around her cottage door,
35 Displaying gifts their conquests earn'd,
36 Ellen's exceeded far their store.
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37 But ah! those gifts with scorn were ta'en,
38 Her hand to him she could refuse;
39 Nor join the dance with such a swain
40 As any other maid would choose.
41 But mighty Love has often sworn
42 To punish those who scorn his pow'r;
43 The pain they gave he will return,
44 And meet them in a fatal hour.
45 She, who would still at William sneer,
46 Could Edward's little merit raise;
47 To him incline a listening ear,
48 And brighten at his scanty praise.
49 Ah Ellen! wert thou rich as fair,
50 The churlish Edward careless cried,
51 Thy riches I should like to share,
52 And take thee, Ellen, for my bride.
53 If riches thou would'st have with me,
54 And rich, I soon should be thy bride;
55 My riches thou shalt quickly see,
56 The cruel Ellen straight replied.
57 On William now her shining eye,
58 Beam'd, soften'd of her wonted scorn;
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59 She feign'd to meet the youth with joy,
60 Who late had deem'd himself forlorn.
61 How rais'd was William's drooping heart,
62 All banish'd his desponding fears;
63 To him her smiles of hours impart,
64 Joy that o'erpaid the scorn of years.
65 She met him at the wake or fair,
66 And with him in the dance would join;
67 Nor seem'd she to have other care,
68 Nor wish to other swain to shine.
69 My charming Ellen what delays,
70 He said, that we join willing hands;
71 What now the happy minute stays,
72 Till we unite in wedlock's bands?
73 Then Ellen forc'd a mimic sigh,
74 On him reclin'd her blushing face;
75 Ah! well if his too partial eye,
76 Had mark'd it not the blush of grace.
77 Can faithful William yet forgive
78 One boon that maiden pride demands?
79 Granted, it shall no more survive;
80 And straight, she said, we'll join our hands.
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81 Whate'er my Ellen shall demand,
82 The rich reward, he cried, outweighs;
83 Where she bestows her charming hand,
84 What favor can have equal praise.
85 Name thy request my lovely maid,
86 And make me happy to bestow;
87 Some noble tribute should be paid,
88 William's unbounded love to show.
89 You, she return'd, I mean to wed;
90 But, highly tho' you rate my charms,
91 Of William it shall ne'er be said,
92 He took a beggar to his arms.
93 Then bring to me a shining dower;
94 'Tis but the whim and pride of youth;
95 One effort of expiring power,
96 To try thy matchless love and truth.
97 Then bring me here thy shining gold;
98 The writings of thy fertile land;
99 And of thy buildings fair and bold:
100 To be return'd with my true hand.
101 For with the morrow's risen sun,
102 When thou hast me so nobly dower'd,
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103 All shall to thee be truly done,
104 Which thou hast generously empower'd.
105 For when our guests, sat round our board,
106 Are viewing me, a beauteous bride,
107 I'll spread thy gold, a shining hoard,
108 And say, to love I gold confide.
109 And there I'll spread thy writings fair,
110 And say, my William take my land;
111 I give thee too my houses rare;
112 For with myself my all command.
113 Then all our guests, with high applause,
114 Shall say, Fair Ellen, nobly done;
115 A just reward crowns William's cause;
116 For he a generous maid has won.
117 And be it so, true William cried;
118 Soon shalt thou have the generous power,
119 A splendid fortune to confide,
120 And, with thyself, bestow a dower.
121 To her he counted out his gold;
122 To her he made his fertile land;
123 All his fair houses strong and bold:
124 To be return'd with her true hand.
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125 And now, he said, to-morrow's sun,
126 Shall not behold a happier swain;
127 That charming maid shall then be won,
128 For whom I fear'd to sigh in vain.
129 William, she said, remember then,
130 That holy church shall make us one;
131 To-morrow, at the hour of ten,
132 There meet the maid thou well hast won.
133 But never rose the morrow's sun,
134 On a more false or perjur'd maid;
135 A maid was surely ne'er so won,
136 Or lover with such wrong repaid.
137 Nor was there at the hour of ten,
138 A youth so overwhelm'd with woe;
139 To holy church went William then;
140 And learnt what rent his heart to know.
141 At nine, false Ellen there had been,
142 And Edward met to give her hand;
143 So wrong'd, what youth was ever seen,
144 Of love, of gold, of house and land!
145 William, a wretched wanderer goes,
146 And begs in bitterness each meal;
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147 That Ellen wrought his wrongs and woes,
148 Doubles the pangs he's doom'd to feel.
149 Long years he wander'd thus in woe,
150 Ere death would bring its kind relief;
151 Or wretched William was laid low,
152 By want, and slow consuming grief.
153 Oft marriage may a veil remove,
154 Which passion waits not to unfold:
155 Ellen soon found that Edward's love,
156 Was but the love of William's gold.
157 Then conscience rent her bleeding heart,
158 For wrong to generous William wrought;
159 And to return some little part,
160 She Edward tenderly besought.
161 Oh! of his own to William give,
162 She said, and soothe my heart with peace;
163 Oh! grant him but the means to live,
164 My tongue to bless thee shall not cease.
165 Unequal as the sunny beam,
166 The hard unfeeling rock to melt,
167 Did Ellen's words on Edward seem;
168 His flinty heart as little felt.
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169 Yet ever thro' each mournful year,
170 To Edward she made fruitless prayer,
171 That he would to be just appear,
172 And hapless William something spare.
173 A wreck of sorrow, all but trace
174 Where dazzling charms were lov'd so well;
175 But deadlier paleness spread her face,
176 When hollow sounded William's bell.
177 At night when all were gone to rest,
178 But she whose sorrow spared no room,
179 Dead William, in his grave-clothes drest,
180 To Ellen came, or seem'd to come.
181 Cold was the hand which touch'd her thrice;
182 And pale the face she seem'd to see;
183 And hollow was the trembling voice,
184 Which said, My Ellen come to me.
185 Not thy disdain my love could daunt;
186 For years of scorn I well lov'd thee;
187 Thro' years of wrong, and years of want;
188 And now, my Ellen, come to me.
189 Oh William! thou art pale and cold,
190 She said; and murder'd art by me;
[Page 191]
191 I cannot give thee back thy gold;
192 But, William, I will go with thee.
193 Thrice then he kiss'd her trembling hand;
194 And thrice, with clay-cold lips, her cheek;
195 Then forth he drew a silken band,
196 And bound it round her lily neck.
197 Upon her pillow, sunk her head;
198 She spoke no word, she heav'd no sigh;
199 She stretch'd herself upon her bed;
200 And so did hapless Ellen die.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): WILLIAM AND ELLEN.
Author: Eliza Day
Genres: tale

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Daye, Eliza, b. ca. 1734. Poems, on Various Subjects. Liverpool: Printed by J. M'Creery, 1798, pp. [182]-191. [2],x,[4],258p.; 8° (ESTC T132359) (Page images digitized by University of California Libraries.)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Eliza Day