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A POEM, in FOUR CANTO's, Taken from the Spectator, Vol. I. No. xi.


1 WHAT Ills from Want of Education flow,
2 From Avarice what cruel Scenes of Woe;
3 I mean to sing, except the tuneful Maid
4 Neglect my Numbers, and refuse her Aid.
5 Say, Goddess, first, what made the Youth explore
6 A foreign Clime, and quit his native Shore?
7 Say too, how on the barb'rous Isle he came;
8 What mov'd the Kindness of the Negro Dame?
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9 What could provoke a faithless Youth to sell
10 A Friend, whose only Crime was loving well?
11 NOW had AVARO twenty Winters pass'd,
12 His blooming Features ev'ry Beauty grac'd;
13 In silver Rings, his loosely flowing Hair
14 Hung o'er his Shoulders, with a comely Air;
15 Robust his Limbs, and daring was his Soul,
16 And Vigour crown'd the well-proportion'd Whole:
17 His graceful Charms the Ladies oft survey'd,
18 And oft their Eyes an am'rous Signal made;
19 But never could the tender Passion move,
20 The stubborn Youth was still averse to Love;
21 Yet, tho' his Breast was Proof to CUPID's Dart,
22 A more ignoble God enslav'd his Heart.
23 NO Mysteries of Faith disturb'd his Head;
24 For Mysteries of Faith he seldom read;
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25 That moral Law, which Nature had imprest,
26 He blotted from the Volume of his Breast;
27 Yet in his Mind his Father's Precepts bears,
28 Who often rung this Lesson in his Ears:
29 "Would you, my Son, to Happiness aspire,
30 " Know, Gold alone can Happiness acquire;
31 "He that has Gold, is pow'rful as a King,
32 " Has Valour, Virtue, Wisdom, ev'ry thing!
33 "This to obtain, your utmost Skill bestow;
34 " And if you gain it, be not careful how:
35 "If in the Court, or Camp, you take Delight,
36 " Then dare to flatter there, or here to fight:
37 "Or, should the Merchant's Life your Fancy please,
38 " Be bold, and bravely venture on the Seas;
39 "Many by Merchandize have gain'd Renown,
40 " And made the Indies Wealth become their own. "
41 The Youth imbib'd the Precepts of his Tongue,
42 Neglecting ev'ry Law of Right and Wrong;
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43 Taught by his Sire to court destructive Gain,
44 He burns to try his Fortune on the Main.
45 WHILE other Youths, by Wit or Pleasure sway'd,
46 Frequent the Play, the Ball, or Masquerade;
47 AVARO studious in his Chamber stays,
48 Careless of Balls, of Masquerades, and Plays;
49 There adds, subtracts, and, with unweary'd Pain,
50 Learns all the Rules of Int'rest, Loss and Gain.
51 NEXT, from an old Astronomer, he tries
52 To learn the Planets Journey thro' the Skies;
53 With him, at Night, when Heav'n serene appears,
54 He points the Quadrant at the shining Spheres;
55 The HYADES, and frozen Pole surveys,
56 Which guide the Sailor o'er the distant Seas;
57 Then Maps and Models of our Globe prepares,
58 And carefully inspects both Hemispheres;
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59 From East to West he views the spacious Round,
60 Pleas'd with the modern World COLUMBUS found:
61 In Hope elate, the Youth impatient stands,
62 And seems to grasp both Indies in his Hands.
63 This sees the Sire, and hastily provides
64 A Vessel, proof against the Wind and Tides.
65 The Youth embarks, the soft propitious Gales
66 Arise, and soon expand the swelling Sails;
67 The Ship glides swiftly o'er the liquid Plain,
68 And NEPTUNE smiles, and courts him on the Main.
69 BUT see, how Mortals are the Sport of Fate!
70 How oft unhappy, striving to be great!
71 Ere CYNTHIA twice her monthly Race had run,
72 An Omen of the fatal Storm begun:
73 The murm'ring Wind arises by degrees,
74 And rocks the Ship, and sweeps the curling Seas;
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75 Now louder, with impetuous Force, it roars,
76 And shoves the swelling Surges to the Shores;
77 Till rapid Rain, and Flakes of bick'ring Flame,
78 With dreadful Thunder, vex th'ethereal Frame.
79 Struck with Surprize, the tim'rous Merchant stands,
80 Nor knows what he forbids, or what commands:
81 Nor safely back, nor can he forwards go;
82 But trembling waits, and fears the fatal Blow.
83 LONG time the Sailers work against the Wind,
84 With fruitless Toil, to gain the Port assign'd;
85 Till Courage, Hope, and all Provisions fail'd,
86 And Fear, Despair, and Want their Souls assail'd.
87 Forc'd by the Storm into a winding Bay,
88 Their joyful Eyes an Indian Isle survey;
89 When straight they quit their Ship, and gain the Shore,
90 And for Recruits the Savage Land explore.
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91 ADJOINING to the dreary Beach, there stood
92 Wild Shrubs and Trees, that form'd a gloomy Wood;
93 Where, close obscur'd, the crafty Natives lay,
94 And watch'd the wand'ring Crew, remote from Sea:
95 Then forth they rush, and strait their Bows prepare;
96 Too late the Sailers see th'approaching War:
97 In vain the Brave engage, or Tim'rous fly;
98 The Tim'rous, and the Brave, promiscuous die;
99 The barb'rous Fields are stain'd with purple Gore.
100 And dreadful Groanings echo to the Shore.
101 Our youthful Merchant 'scapes, and flies alone;
102 His Fear impels, and Safety prompts him on;
103 Thro' dusky Woods he takes his trembling Flight,
104 The dusky Woods conceal him from their Sight;
105 Till in the devious Wilds, remote from Foes,
106 Then, on the Ground, he weeping vents his Woes,
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107 Oft curs'd his hapless Fate, and often thought
108 On what the hoary Star-monger had taught;
109 How, at our Birth, as diff'rent Planets rule,
110 They form a Wit, or constitute a Fool;
111 How, in the Maze of Life, we act as they
112 Attract, retard, or force us in the Way.
113 And, as he these uncertain Censures made,
114 Against the Stars he thus exclaiming said:
115 THE Planets sure some noxious Pow'r display,
116 And rule my Life with arbitrary Sway;
117 Else had I ne'er forsook my native Home,
118 Nor in this baleful Desert met my Doom
119 And yet, when I reflect, I cannot see,
120 How Globes insensible should influence me!
121 I chuse my Actions; when the Choice is made.
122 I nor invoke, nor yet consult their Aid.
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123 When Mortals act according to their Will,
124 Can Heav'n be call'd the Author of their Ill?
125 Too late I find, the Stars are not in Fault;
126 But 'tis that golden Wish my Sire has taught:
127 Enticing Gold, that damn'd deceiving Guide,
128 Induc'd me first to stem the foaming Tide;
129 Fallacious Charm, that led me from Repose,
130 Now leaves me in a Labyrinth of Woes.
131 SO, when compacted Vapours, in the Night,
132 Skim o'er the Fields, with a delusive Light,
133 The injudicious Traveller surveys
134 Th'alluring Scene, and courts the glist'ring Blaze;
135 Till, tempted o'er a Rock's impending Brow,
136 He falls to some tremendous Gulph below.
137 THUS the unhappy Youth laments his Fate,
138 Conscious of all the Ills, that round him wait;
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139 Till setting PHOEBUS leaves the blushing Sky,
140 And glimm'ring Stars a feeble Light supply:
141 The Shades of Night increase his anxious Care,
142 And add a greater Horror to Despair.
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1 ALL Night in Tears the pensive Merchant lay,
2 And often wish'd, and fear'd the coming Day;
3 Till, on the Hills, the rising Sun display'd
4 His golden Beams, and chas'd away the Shade:
5 Harmonious Birds salute his chearful Rays,
6 And hail the rosy Morn with joyful Lays;
7 While, stretch'd upon the Ground, AVARO moans,
8 Answ'ring their tuneful Songs with piercing Groans.
9 NOT distant far from where the Youth was laid,
10 A purling Stream, in pleasing Murmurs, play'd;
11 And, by the Margin of the crystal Flood,
12 Two Rows of Trees in beautcous Order stood;
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13 Whose Branches form'd a pendent Arch above,
14 Diffusing gloomy Verdure o'er the Grove.
15 An Indian Princess hither daily came,
16 Pleas'd with the grateful Shade, and cooling Stream:
17 She now was walking to her lov'd Retreat,
18 And heard the mourning Youth lament his Fate:
19 Fix'd in Amaze, a-while she list'ning stood;
20 Then swift approach'd him, rushing thro' the Wood.
21 Th' affrighted Merchant rose with gazing Eyes,
22 And tim'rous Looks, that testify'd Surprize:
23 Backward he starts; the Dame, with equal Fears,
24 Recedes as fast, and wonders what appears:
25 Yet, bolder grown, she soon advanc'd again,
26 Smit with the Beauty of the godlike Man:
27 His Dress, and fair Complexion, charm'd her Sight;
28 Each glowing Feature gave her new Delight;
29 While Love and Pity both arose within,
30 And kindled in her Soul a Flame unseen.
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31 With equal Joy AVARO now survey'd
32 The native Graces of the Negro Maid:
33 He view'd her Arms, with various Ribbands bound;
34 Her downy Head, with painted Feathers crown'd;
35 With Bredes, and lucid Shells, in Circles strung,
36 Which shone refulgent, as they round her hung.
37 AS when, in splendid Robes, a courtly Maid
38 Begins the Dance at Ball or Masquerade;
39 The Pearls and Di'monds shine with mingled Light,
40 And glitt'ring Pendants blaze against the Sight.
41 SO shone the beauteous Shells around her Waist,
42 And sparkling Gems, that deck'd her jetty Breast;
43 All which AVARO's gazing Eyes pursue,
44 Charm'd with her lovely Shape, disclos'd to View:
45 Each Limb appears in just Proportion made,
46 With Elegance thro' ev'ry Part display'd:
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47 And now his Cares dissolve, new Passions move;
48 And Nature intimates, the Change is LOVE.
49 NOT far remote, a cooling Grot was made,
50 In which the Virgin often sought a Shade:
51 Thick Shrubs, and fruitful Vines, around it grew;
52 And none, except herself, the Mansion knew.
53 To this obscure Recess the Royal Dame,
54 Rejoicing, with her lovely Captive came:
55 Then, from the Branches, with officious Haste,
56 She plucks the Fruits, which yield a sweet Repast:
57 That done, she, with her Bow, explores the Wood;
58 Pierc'd with her Shaft, the Fowl resigns his Blood.
59 Then back she hastens to her cool Retreat,
60 And for AVARO dress'd the grateful Meat:
61 To slake his Thirst, she next directs his Way,
62 Where crystal Streams in wild Meanders stray:
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63 Nor lets him there, expos'd to Foes, remain;
64 But to the Cave conducts him safe again.
65 SO doats AMANDA on the Merchant, while
66 She scorns the Lovers of her native Isle:
67 For all the Heroes of her Country strove,
68 With Emulation, to attract her Love;
69 And, when they could the painted Fowls insnare,
70 Or pierce the savage Beast in sylvan War,
71 The Skins and Feathers, Trophies of their Fame,
72 They gave for Presents to the Royal Dame;
73 All which she to her lov'd AVARO brought,
74 And with them gaily deck'd his shining Grot:
75 The spotted Panther here she hung; and there,
76 With Paws extended, frown'd the shaggy Bear;
77 Here gaudy Plumes appear, in Lustre bright;
78 There Shells and Pearls diffuse a sparkling Light.
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79 AS when, to grace some Royal Prince's Hall,
80 The skilful Painter animates the Wall;
81 Here warlike Heroes frown in Martial Arms,
82 There a soft Nymph displays her blushing Charms
83 A pleasing Landscape next invites our Eye,
84 And the Room glows with sweet Variety.
85 YET, still to give her Lover more Delight,
86 (Lest what he daily saw, should pall the Sight)
87 When SOL with Purple cloath'd the Western Sky,
88 And Shades extended shew'd the Ev'ning nigh,
89 She to some verdant Grove the Youth convey'd,
90 Where Nightingales harmonious Music made:
91 Soft Flow'rets were their Couch; and, all around,
92 Diffusive Sweets perfum'd the fragrant Ground.
93 There oft she would his snowy Bosom bare,
94 Oft round her Fingers wind his silver Hair;
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95 Charm'd with the Contrast, which their Colours made,
96 More pleasing than the Tulip's Light and Shade.
97 Nor was the Youth insensible; but soon
98 Repaid her Love, by shewing of his own:
99 Oft would his Bosom heave with speaking Sighs;
100 Oft would he gaze, and languish with his Eyes:
101 Now on her panting Breast his Head repose,
102 To meet his Head her panting Breast arose;
103 While in her Soul ecstatic Raptures glow'd,
104 And her fond Arms believ'd they clasp'd a God.
105 SO liv'd the happy Pair, observ'd by none,
106 Till both had learnt a Language of their own;
107 In which the Youth, one Ev'ning, in the Shade,
108 Beguiles the harmless unsuspicious Maid;
109 Leans on her Breast, and, with a Kiss, betrays;
110 Then vents his specious Fraud in Words like these;
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111 WITNESS, ye Gods, and all ye Blest above,
112 (For Ye can witness best, how well I love)
113 If e'er, among our blooming Nymphs, I knew
114 Such Pleasures, as my Soul receives from you!
115 O dear AMANDA! could I but, with thee,
116 Once more my happy native Country see,
117 You should not there in lonely Caves retreat,
118 Nor trace the burning Sands with naked Feet;
119 Your Limbs, which now the Sun and Wind invade,
120 Should neatly be in softest Silks array'd;
121 In gilded Houses gaily should you ride,
122 By Horses drawn, which prancing Side by Side,
123 Neigh, foam, and champ the Bit with graceful Pride;
124 Our Time, in Pomp and Peace, should slide away,
125 And blooming Pleasures crown the smiling Day;
126 And, when the setting Sun forsook the Skies,
127 Approaching Night should but increase our Joys:
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128 We would not on the chilling Ground embrace,
129 Nor Foes, as now, should interrupt our Peace;
130 But both reposing on some easy Bed,
131 Soft, as the fleecy Down, that decks thy Head,
132 The sportive God of Love should round us play,
133 While we, in Raptures, pass'd the Night away:
134 Then let us carefully, my Dear, explore
135 The Haven, where I first approach'd the Shore.
136 Perhaps we shall some floating Ship survey,
137 Safe to conduct us o'er the watry Way:
138 Nor let the foaming Waves your Steps retard;
139 I'll guard you o'er, and be a faithful Guard.
140 How oft, alas! is Innocence betray'd,
141 When Love invites, and Flatterers persuade?
142 How could the Dame, a Stranger to Deceit,
143 Imagine such a heav'nly Form a Cheat?
144 She paus'd, she sigh'd; then, with a pensive Look,
145 Half loth, and half consenting, thus she spoke:
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146 ONCE has AVARO scap'd the raging Main:
147 Why would you tempt the fickle Seas again?
148 To seek new Dangers, when in Safety here,
149 Would but provoke the Deities you fear
150 Sometimes, I own, we've been surpriz'd by Foes,
151 Whose nightly Walks have wak'd you from Repose:
152 Yet still I guard your sacred Life secure,
153 And always will What can AMANDA more?
154 THUS said, she clasp'd him in her loving Arms,
155 Embrac'd his Neck, and doated on his Charms:
156 And now both shew their Passions in their Look,
157 And now Connubial HYMEN both invoke;
158 In sportive Joys they clos'd the genial Day,
159 While PHILOMELA sung the Nuptial Lay;
160 Till soon the Youth reclin'd upon her Breast,
161 And golden Slumbers seal'd their Eyes to Rest.
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1 SOON as the Sun began to gild the Day,
2 And on the Hills emit a trembling Ray;
3 AMANDA, from her flow'ry Bed, awoke;
4 Sad was her Heart, and discompos'd her Look;
5 The briny Torrent flows adown her Cheeks,
6 While thus she to her dear AVARO speaks:
7 O Thou, on whom my Life and Love depend,
8 If e'er AMANDA claim'd the Name of Friend;
9 If e'er I gave thy troubled Mind Repose,
10 Or hid thee, when pursu'd with furious Foes;
11 Explain this Dream, that terrifies my Breast;
12 The strangest, Fear, or Fancy, e'er imprest!
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13 METHOUGHT a God descended from the Skies;
14 Celestial Beauty sparkled in his Eyes;
15 Like Rays of PHOEBUS shone his radiant Hair,
16 His Shape like thine, like thine his graceful Air;
17 A Robe was neatly girt about his Waist,
18 Fine as my lov'd AVARO's silken Vest;
19 His shining Lips upon my Breast he laid,
20 And softly press'd my Hand, and smiling said:
21 "ARISE, my Dear, my lov'd AMANDA, rise;
22 " An easier Lodging waits thee in the Skies:
23 "I am descended from the blest Abodes,
24 " To bear thee hence to Heav'n among the Gods:
25 "No Enemies shall there disturb thy Rest;
26 " There, with thy Lover, live for ever blest. "
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27 THUS said, he rais'd me from the dewy Plain,
28 And bore, or seem'd to bear me, o'er the Main:
29 But soon he led me to a distant Isle,
30 Where Horrors reign, and Comforts never smile:
31 Thick Brakes and Brambles choak'd the dreary Coast,
32 The only Product, which the Land could boast;
33 Till a dejected, servile Race arose,
34 With gloomy Sadness brooding on their Brows:
35 This Crowd, promiscuous, with incessant Toil,
36 Or rooted up the Wood, or plough'd the Soil:
37 How each perform'd his Task, a Tyrant view'd;
38 And sternly shook his Whip, and menac'd, as he stood.
39 Sometimes, to shun the direful Lash, they fled;
40 Th'insulting Lord pursu'd with greater Speed:
41 Sure not so fearful fly the trembling Bears,
42 To shun our Hunters Darts, and missive Spears;
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43 Sure not so swift our Hunters e'er pursu'd
44 The trembling Bears, when flying thro' the Wood;
45 As from the Tyrant's Wrath they swiftly run,
46 Or, as the Tyrant, swifter, urg'd 'em on.
47 Each to his wonted Task he drove again,
48 And made me mix among the servile Train;
49 Doom'd with the rest to groan beneath the Yoke,
50 Alike I felt the dire correcting Stroke.
51 But, O! what added most to my Despair,
52 My Godlike Guide was false, and left me there
53 As thus she spake, confus'd her Looks appear'd;
54 For still her Soul the dreadful Vision fear'd:
55 Deciding Reason from her Seat withdrew,
56 And Fancy painted all the Scene anew.
57 The Youth to chear the drooping Dame essay'd,
58 When straight a Boar came rushing thro' the Shade;
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59 The crashing Woods proclaim'd his rapid Force,
60 While two fleet Youths pursu'd the sylvan Course:
61 The Lovers started from their flow'ry Seats,
62 Surpriz'd, and each a diff'rent Way retreats.
63 As when some Musquet's Thunder has expell'd
64 Two loving Turtles from the verdant Field;
65 Both, diverse, thro' the wide ethereal Plain
66 Fly swift; and flying, fear their Mate is slain.
67 So parting, devious fled th'affrighted Pair;
68 Such was AVARO's, such AMANDA's Fear.
69 The foaming Boar between 'em swiftly past,
70 The nimble Coursers urge the Chace as fast;
71 Till soon they pierce him with a mortal Wound;
72 He falls, and purple Gore distains the Ground:
73 Then, from the savage War, they take their Way;
74 And to their Cave, triumphant, bear the Prey.
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75 SOON as the sportive Hunters left the Wood,
76 The loving Pair conceal'd no longer stood;
77 But trembling both forsook the dusky Shade,
78 Both trembling met upon the op'ning Glade:
79 Mute with Surprize a-while they stood; the Man
80 Broke Silence first, and thus his Tale began:
81 O dear AMANDA! soon we have survey'd
82 This mystic Vision of the Night display'd:
83 These are the frowning Tyrants in thy Dream,
84 That chas'd the Slaves, and we their flying Game.
85 SOME Part, said she, resembled this, I own;
86 And some remains a Riddle yet unknown:
87 What meant that God, which still, methinks, I view?
88 That radiant Deity! so much like You!
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89 And what the Fields above, which he propos'd?
90 Say, if the Mystery can be disclos'd.
91 To whom the Youth: Our active Fancy seems
92 For ever roving, roving most in Dreams:
93 For then the Soul, disburden'd of her Load,
94 Soars high, and grows prophetic, like a God;
95 Minds Things when past, as present to our View;
96 And, by Allusion, knows the future too.
97 Thus, when to Sleep your musing Head reclin'd,
98 She kept our Ev'ning Converse in her Mind;
99 Reflected on the Joys my Country yields,
100 Joys, sweet as those in yonder azure Fields;
101 Till, soaring higher, striving to discern
102 Her hidden Fate, and future Fortune learn,
103 Heav'n shew'd her something like this Morning Chace,
104 By trembling Slaves, who fled their Tyrant's Face;
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105 Perhaps, to warn us timely from our Bed;
106 For, O my dear AMANDA! had we stay'd,
107 I had not liv'd to tell this mystic Tale,
108 Nor you, to hear the Secrets I reveal
109 But let us to my happy Country steer,
110 Nor longer wait impending Ruin here.
111 So spake the Youth; and, with a gracious Look,
112 He seem'd to sanctify the Words he spoke.
113 Go, she reply'd; go where you are inclin'd;
114 Your faithful Lover will not stay behind.
115 If o'er the Seas you shall attempt your Way,
116 The Seas shall not compel me here to stay;
117 Nor will I fear the Surges of the Deep;
118 (For Surges oft, you say, assail the Ship)
119 Calm and compos'd, intrepid, will I stand,
120 Till you conduct me to your native Land.
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121 Or, if you would some other Clime pursue,
122 Then shall some other Climate please me too.
123 And when the happy destin'd Land we meet,
124 Where Providence shall fix our wand'ring Feet;
125 With joyful Servitude, I'll still attend
126 On you, my nuptial Lord, and dearest Friend.
127 Soon as AURORA spreads her purple Ray,
128 When you awake, to chase the nimble Prey,
129 I'll also rise; and, with an equal Art,
130 Display the Net, or speed the pointed Dart;
131 Or search the Plains, and tasteful Herbs provide;
132 Or strip the Vines, and press their juicy Pride:
133 Each Ev'ning will I fondly deck your Bed
134 With sweetest Flow'rets, gather'd from the Mead
135 And when, dissolv'd in downy Sleep, you lie,
136 I'll wake, and watch if Foes approach too nigh:
137 To guard your Life, all Hazards will I run;
138 And, for your Safety, sacrifice my own.
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139 TO whom the Youth: No Hazards shall you run;
140 Nor, for my Safety, sacrifice your own;
141 Nor yet at Ev'ning fondly deck my Bed
142 With sweetest Flow'rets, gather'd from the Mead;
143 Nor shall AMANDA tasteful Herbs explore;
144 Nor shall AVARO chase the savage Boar:
145 A softer Bed, than Flow'rs, shall give you Rest;
146 A choicer Meat, than Fruits, indulge your Taste.
147 Ten thousand Things my grateful Soul shall find,
148 To charm your Fancy, and delight your Mind;
149 I'll vary Love a hundred diff'rent Ways,
150 And institute new Arts to make it please:
151 So shall our future Race of Children see
152 A constant Proverb made of you and me:
153 When British Youths shall court the doubting Dame,
154 And want Expressions equal to their Flame;
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155 Then, strongly to attest it, shall be said,
156 "True, as AVARO to the Indian Maid."
157 To whom AMANDA, (pausing at the Name)
158 What meant AVARO by the doubting Dame?
159 Has any of your British Damsels made
160 A Doubt of what such godlike Beings said?
161 Or is it customary to your Clime?
162 Has ever Youth committed such a Crime,
163 As base Ingratitude? Has any there
164 Deluded first, and then forsook, the Fair?
165 I cannot think, your Love will e'er decline,
166 Nor can my radiant Angel question mine.
167 By yon bright Beams, which paint the rising Day;
168 By thy bright Charms, as beautiful as they;
169 By all our pleasing Hours of Love, I vow
170 To share your Fate thro' ev'ry Scene of Woe;
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171 Content, with you, to yield my vital Breath;
172 For Life, without you, would but lengthen Death.
173 WITH such sweet Talk their Moments they beguile;
174 Both seem impatient for the destin'd Isle:
175 He daily vows, and daily is believ'd;
176 She daily hears, and daily is deceiv'd.
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1 FAREWEL, bright Goddess of th' Idalian Grove!
2 Farewel, ye sportive Deities of LOVE!
3 No longer I your pleasing Joys rehearse;
4 A rougher Theme demands my pensive Verse;
5 A Scene of Woes remains to be display'd,
6 Indulgent Love with Slavery repaid:
7 Ingratitude, and broken Vows, and Lies,
8 The mighty Ills, that spring from Avarice,
9 Provoke my Lays: Your Aid, ye Muses, bring;
10 Assist my Tragic Numbers, while I sing.
11 Say, what ensu'd, when, on the briny Deep,
12 The watchful Dame beheld a floating Ship?
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13 She call'd, and beckon'd to it from the Shore;
14 Then to the Youth the grateful Tidings bore;
15 And said, I something see, like winged Trees,
16 (Strange to behold!) fly swiftly o'er the Seas;
17 Their bulky Roots upon the Billows float:
18 Say, is not this the Ship, you long have sought?
19 Or I mistake, or, by the Gods Command,
20 This comes to bear us to your native Land:
21 Then hasten, see the Partner of your Heart,
22 With You, her Guide, is ready to depart;
23 My Father, Mother, Friends, I bid Adieu,
24 Friends, Father, Mother, not so dear as You.
25 To whom the Youth, with smiling Brow, reply'd:
26 O thou true Pattern of a faithful Bride!
27 Who dar'st thy Father, Mother, Friends resign;
28 And risque thy own dear Life, to rescue mine!
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29 If I forget the Debt I owe to Thee,
30 May all the Gods forget their Care of Me!
31 In more wild Deserts let me rove again;
32 Nor find a Friend, like Thee, to ease my Pain!
33 There let the Vulturs, Wolves, and Tigers tear
34 This Body, Thou hast kindly nourish'd here!
35 So saying, to the Beach he straight descends;
36 And, by the Flag, discerns the Crew his Friends:
37 And now his Heart exults within his Breast;
38 His loving Mate an equal Joy confest;
39 She, with him, gladly ventures on the Main,
40 Unthinking of her future Toil and Pain.
41 So, to the Plough, the Heifer, yet unbroke,
42 Walks chearful on, nor dreads th'impending Yoke;
43 Till, in the Fields, urg'd with the piercing Goad,
44 She groans, and writhes, reluctant with her Load.
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45 THE British Bark was to Barbados bound:
46 Th'expected Shore the Sailers quickly found;
47 Where, safe from Danger, now the perjur'd Youth,
48 False to his former Vows of sacred Truth,
49 Reflecting, counts the Int'rest he had lost,
50 While Fate detain'd him on the Indian Coast:
51 The frugal Thoughts suppress his am'rous Flame,
52 And prompt him to betray the faithful Dame.
53 Yet scarce he can the cursed Fact pursue;
54 But hesitates at what he fain would do:
55 For, tho' his Av'rice moves him to the Ill,
56 His Gratitude within him struggles still;
57 And, 'twixt two Passions, neither guides his Will.
58 AS when two Scales, which equal Loads suspend,
59 Sway to and fro; alternate both descend,
[Page 121]
60 Till undeclining each aloft abides,
61 Nor this, nor that, the doubtful Weight decides.
62 SO stood the doubtful Youth a-while; nor wou'd
63 Forsake the Evil, nor pursue the Good;
64 Till, as the Sailers in the Haven stay,
65 To purchase Slaves, the Planters croud the Key:
66 One asks, for what the Negro may be sold;
67 Then bids a Price, and shews the tempting Gold:
68 Which when AVARO views with greedy Eyes,
69 He soon resolves to gain th'alluring Prize;
70 Nor Oaths, nor Gratitude, can longer bind;
71 Her Fate he thus determines in his Mind:
72 "SUPPOSE I should conduct this Indian o'er;
73 " And thus, instead of Gold, import a Moor
74 "Would not my Sire, with stern contracted Brows,
75 " Condemn my Choice, and curse my nuptial Vows?
[Page 122]
76 "Was it for this I learn'd the Merchant's Art?
77 " Only to gain a doating Negro's Heart!
78 "Was it for this the raging Seas I crost?
79 " No; Gold induc'd me to the Indian Coast;
80 "And Gold is offer'd for this simple Dame;
81 " Shall I refuse it, or renounce my Flame?
82 "Let am'rous Fools their tiresome Joys renew,
83 " And doat on Love, while Int'rest I pursue. "
84 He added not; for now, intent on Gold,
85 And dead to all Remorse, the Dame he sold.
86 AMANDA stood confounded with Surprize,
87 And silently reproach'd him with her Eyes:
88 She often try'd to speak; but when she try'd,
89 Her Heart swell'd full, her Voice its Aid deny'd;
90 And, when she made her fault'ring Tongue obey,
91 These Words, commix'd with Sighs, found out their Way.
[Page 123]
92 "WHO can the mystic Ways of Fate explain?
93 " Am I awake, or do I dream again?
94 "Is this the sad Reward of all my Care?
95 " Was it for this I chear'd thee in Despair?
96 "The Gods above (if any Gods there be)
97 " Witness what I have done to succour thee!
98 "Yet, if my Kindness can't thy Pity move,
99 " Pity the Fruits of our unhappy Love:
100 "O let the Infant, in my pregnant Womb,
101 " Excite thee to revoke my threaten'd Doom;
102 "Think how the future Slave, in Climes remote,
103 " Shall curse the treach'rous Sire, that him begot. "
104 SO spake the mourning Dame, but spake in vain;
105 Th'obdurate Youth insults her with Disdain;
106 Not all her Kindness could his Pity move,
107 Nor yet the Fruits of their unhappy Love.
[Page 124]
108 But, as the Flames, which soften Wax, display
109 The same warm Force to harden sordid Clay;
110 That Motive, which would melt another Heart,
111 More harden'd his, and made him act a double Villain's Part.
112 He, for the Child, demands a larger Sum;
113 And sells it, while an Embryo in the Womb.
114 AND now he sternly takes her by the Hand,
115 Then drags her on, reluctant, to the Land;
116 While, as she walks, her dismal Fate she moans,
117 The Rocks around her echo to her Groans:
118 "O base, ungrateful Youth!" she loudly cries;
119 "O base, ungrateful Youth!" the Shore replies:
120 "And canst thou, cruel, perjur'd Villain! leave
121 " Thy tender Infant too, an abject Slave,
122 "To toil, and groan, and bleed beneath the Rod?
123 " Fool that I was, to think thou wert a God!
[Page 125]
124 "Sure from some savage Tyger art thou sprung
125 " No: Tygers feed, and fawn upon their Young:
126 "But thou despisest all paternal Cares,
127 " The Fate of Infants, and their Mother's Pray'rs. "
128 IN vain she does her wretched State deplore;
129 Pleas'd with the Gold, he gladly quits the Shore;
130 The ruffling Winds dilate the Sails, the Ship
131 Divides the Waves, and skims along the Deep.
132 Three Days the bellying Canvas gently swells,
133 Clear shines the Sun, and friendly blow the Gales;
134 Then frowning Clouds invest the vaulted Sky,
135 And hollow Winds proclaim a Tempest nigh:
136 Fierce BOREAS loudly o'er the Ocean roars,
137 Smoke the white Waves, and sound the adverse Shores;
138 While, to increase the Horrors of the Main,
139 Descends a Deluge of impetuous Rain.
[Page 126]
140 The giddy Ship on circling Eddies rides,
141 Toss'd, and retoss'd, the Sport of Winds and Tides.
142 Redoubled Peals of roaring Thunder roll,
143 And Flames, conflicting, flash from Pole to Pole,
144 While guilty Thoughts distract AVARO's Soul.
145 Of Life despairing, tho' afraid to die,
146 One fatal Effort yet he means to try:
147 While all the busy Crew, with panting Breath,
148 Were lab'ring to repel the liquid Death;
149 AVARO from the Stern the Boat divides,
150 And yields up to the Fury of the Tides:
151 Toss'd on the boist'rous Wave, the Vessel flies,
152 Now sinking low, now mounting to the Skies;
153 Till soon the Storm decreas'd, and, by degrees,
154 Hush'd were the Winds, and calm the ruffled Seas;
155 The Sailers safely steer their Course again,
156 And leave AVARO floating on the Main;
157 Who landed quickly on a lonely Isle,
158 Where human Feet ne'er print the baleful Soil;
[Page 127]
159 A dreary Wilderness was all appear'd,
160 And howling Wolves the only Sound he heard;
161 A thousand Deaths he views before his Eyes,
162 A thousand Guilt-created Fiends arise;
163 A conscious Hell within his Bosom burns,
164 And racks his tortur'd Soul, while thus he mourns:
165 "CURS'D be the Precepts of my selfish Sire,
166 " Who bad me after fatal Gold aspire!
167 "Curs'd be myself, and doubly curs'd, who sold
168 " A faithful Friend, to gain that fatal Gold!
169 "O! could these gloomy Woods my Sin conceal,
170 " Or in my Bosom quench this firy Hell;
171 "Here would I pine my wretched Life away,
172 " Or to the hungry Savage fall a Prey
173 "But can the gloomy Woods conceal my Sin,
174 " Or cooling Shadows quench the Hell within?
[Page 128]
175 "No; like some Spirit banish'd Heav'n, I find
176 " Terrors in ev'ry Place, to rack my Mind;
177 "Tormenting conscious Plagues increase my Care,
178 " And guilty Thoughts indulge my just Despair
179 "O! where shall I that piercing Eye evade,
180 " That scans the Depths of Hell's tremendous Shade? "
181 SO saying, straight he gave a hideous Glare,
182 With rolling Eyes, that witness'd strong Despair:
183 Then drew his pointed Weapon from the Sheath,
184 Confus'dly wild, and all his Thoughts on Death;
185 To pierce his trembling Heart he thrice essay'd,
186 And thrice his coward Arm deny'd its Aid:
187 Meanwhile a howling Wolf, with Hunger prest,
188 Leap'd on the Wretch, and seiz'd him by the Breast;
189 Tore out his Heart, and lick'd the purple Flood;
190 For Earth refus'd to drink the Villain's Blood.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): AVARO and AMANDA. A POEM, in FOUR CANTO's, Taken from the Spectator, Vol. I. No. xi.
Author: Stephen Duck
Themes: love; death
Genres: heroic couplet; narrative verse

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Source edition

Duck, Stephen, 1705-1756. Poems on several occasions: By Stephen Duck. London: printed for the author, 1736, pp. 85-128. xl,334,[2]p. ; 4⁰. (ESTC T90234; OTA K073280.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, 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.

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