1 THE sun had thrown its noontide ray
2 Amid the flowers, and scorch'd the plains,
3 Which panted for refreshing rains;
4 While gaudy flies their golden wings display,
5 And bees cull'd sweets to chear a wintry day:
6 Each beam that darted down
7 Chas'd lingering shades,
8 Through the thick umbrage of the trees pervades,
9 And universal splendour shed around:
10 The slippery grass, burnt brown with heat,
11 Unkindly scorch'd the traveller's feet.
12 And now, oppress'd,
13 While every creature languid hied to rest,[Page 13]
14 Amid the blaze LYSANDER bounds along,
15 Bold as a lion, scorch'd by many a clime;
16 Far off was heard the echoes of his song,
17 Responsive to his clear and artless rhyme:
18 He seeks no shade, nor grotto's cool retreat,
19 But on, amidst the furzy heath, he press'd;
20 The heart's warm passions through his pulses beat,
21 And native fire inspires his manly breast.
22 He seeks the craggy shore which ocean laves,
23 And, seated on a rock, surveys the swelling waves:
24 The eminence th' horizon's scope commands,
25 The plains surrounding, and the burning strands.
26 O'er the wild scene he threw a happy look,
27 Compares the present pleasure with the past;
28 Gladly he turns each page of Nature's book,
29 And prays the freedom of his soul may last.
30 He roll'd his eyes
31 Across the seas;
32 Now glancing o'er the glassy waves,[Page 14]
33 Now mounting to the skies,
34 Th' immortal prize
35 Of valiant souls who find deep watery graves.
36 Thus as he sat, by strong reflection bound,
37 Up the rough rock ascends a sound,
38 Which piercingly pervades his ears;
39 It seem'd the frantic cry of woe,
40 Which struggling groan'd, without the aid of tears.
41 The sounds like lightening reach'd his heart; and flush'd
42 With quick alarm he made no longer stay,
43 Ardently down the craggy steep he rush'd,
44 Rough heights he leap'd, impatient of delay,
45 And tow'rds the sufferer bent his eager way;
46 Till by the sea he reach'd some rocky caves,
47 Lash'd by the loud-resounding waves.
48 There a wild female rent her golden hair,
49 With raging passions blind;[Page 15]
50 Her sad young bosom bare,
51 And frantic seem'd her stormy mind.
52 Swift tow'rds the sea she flies,
53 With direful cries;
54 Driven on by fierce despair,
55 Mid oozy waves to drown remaining sense of care.
56 Touch'd by each generous thought,
57 By strong humanity impress'd,
58 The damsel in his arms he caught,
59 And held her, struggling, to his breast.
60 "Why trembles thus thy soul, O wretched maid!
61 " O agony! too piercing agony!
62 "Is through thy miserable frame pourtray'd.
63 " O could my breast relieve thy misery!
64 "Just heaven! if thou hast pity, ease her pain!
65 " Her heart will burst! she faints within my arms! -
66 "Upon my bosom she reclines her charms;
67 " My falling tears bedew her cheeks in vain! " [Page 16]
68 He stretch'd her on the shore -
69 He fetch'd cool water from the seas,
70 And sprinkled her all o'er,
71 And fanning her with leaves collects the breeze:
72 Till on the heavens she op'd her azure eyes,
73 And, with returning thought and grief, look'd up -
74 "Ah, wretched me!" she cry'd, with bursting sighs,
75 "I've plenteous drank at sorrow's bitter cup!
76 " To GOD I fly; no help on earth I find,
77 "And from my soul would tear the mortal part;
78 " Such sad disorders fill the human mind,
79 "Such deep afflictions rive my guilty heart.
80 "I far in vice have stray'd;
81 " And, too severe,
82 "The parents who ador'd the maid,
83 " No sighs from my repentant heart would hear:
84 "Till, raging in despair,
85 " I franticly resolv'd to die -[Page 17]
86 "Rather than (sad alternative!) to lie
87 " Amid the streets, and common insults share. "
88 Stung to the heart, she rose;
89 Tears stream'd from her fair eyes;
90 Shame in her cheeks reviv'd the damask rose,
91 And poignant sorrow burst in bitter sighs:
92 She wept all silently:
93 LYSANDER scarce could speak,
94 Though sometimes, "Cruelty! O cruelty!"
95 Forth from his lips would break.
96 With generous passions swell'd his noble breast;
97 Passions too strong and deep to be express'd;
98 Pity and rage with equal strivings beat,
99 And sympathy, wrought high by nat'ral heat:
100 "By my true soul!" at length he cried,
101 "As Nature's my director and my guide,
102 " My heart, chain'd by thy woe,
103 "Shall neither joy nor comfort know,[Page 18]
104 " Till I've reveng'd thy wrongs, and giv'n thee ease,
105 "And, by my love, have set thy troubled soul at peace.
106 " O! let not misery o'erwhelm thy heart,
107 "Nor the fair path of life and joy decline;
108 " Vengeance shall find the authors of thy smart -
109 "O! fearless rest thy drooping soul on mine,
110 " Which, like the oak, round which the ivy strays,
111 "With blessings yet may store thy future days."
112 The damsel's sorrow, like a furious storm,
113 Rack'd her celestial system with its rage;
114 Her desperate passions deadly warfare wage,
115 And the mild radiance of her charms deform.
116 At length the vivid fires rush'd to her heart,
117 Tingled in ev'ry vein, blaz'd from her eyes,
118 While sudden joys before her spirits rise,
119 And o'er her cheeks warm transient colours dart:[Page 19]
120 Fir'd by his zeal,
121 Extatic feelings tinge her frame;
122 Whose glow the passions of her breast reveal
123 Bright blossom of a future ripening flame!