ZARA, AT THE COURT OF ANAMABOE, TO THE AFRICAN PRINCE WHEN IN ENGLAND.
1 SHOULD I the language of my heart conceal,
2 Nor warmly paint the passion that I feel;
3 My rising wish should groundless fears confine,
4 And doubts ungenerous chill the glowing line;
5 Would not my prince, with nobler warmth, disdain
6 That love, as languid, which could stoop to feign?
7 Let guilt dissemble — in my faithful breast
8 Love reigns unblam'd, and be that love confest.
9 I give my bosom naked to thy view,
10 For, what has shame with innocence to do?
11 In fancy, now, I clasp thee to my heart,
12 Exchange my vows, and all my joys impart. [Page 215]
13 I catch new transport from thy speaking eye; —
14 But whence this sad involuntary sigh?
15 Why pants my bosom with intruding fears?
16 Why, from my eyes, distil unbidden tears?
17 Why do my hands thus tremble as I write?
18 Why fades thy lov'd idea from my sight?
19 O! art thou safe on Britain's happy shore,
20 From winds that bellow, and from seas that roar?
21 And has my prince — (Oh, more than mortal pain!)
22 Betray'd by ruffians, felt the captive's chain?
23 Bound were those limbs, ordain'd alone to prove
24 The toils of empire, and the sweets of love?
25 Hold, hold! Barbarians of the fiercest kind!
26 Fear Heaven's red lightning — 'tis a prince ye bind;
27 A prince, whom no indignities could hide,
28 They knew, presumptuous! and the gods defied.
29 Where-e'er he moves, let love-join'd reverence rise,
30 And all mankind behold with Zara's eyes!
31 Thy breast alone, when bounding o'er the waves
32 To Freedom's climes, from slavery and slaves;
33 Thy breast alone the pleasing thought could frame
34 Of what I felt, when thy dear letters came:
35 A thousand times I held them to my breast,
36 A thousand times my lips the paper prest:
37 My full heart panted with a joy too strong,
38 And "Oh, my prince!" died faultering on my tongue:
39 Fainting I sunk, unequal to the strife,
40 And milder joys sustain'd returning life.
41 Hope, sweet enchantress, round my love-sick head
42 Delightful scenes of blest delusion spread.
43 "Come, come, my prince! my charmer! haste away;
44 " Come, come, I cried, thy Zara blames thy stay.
45 "For thee, the shrubs their richest sweets retain;
46 " For thee, new colours wait to paint the plain;
47 "For thee, cool breezes linger in the grove,
48 " The birds expect thee in the green alcove;
49 "Till thy return, the rills sorget to fall,
50 " Till thy return, the sun, the soul of all! —
51 "He comes, my maids, in his meridian charms,
52 " He comes refulgent to his Zara's arms:
53 "With jocund songs proclaim my love's return;
54 " With jocund hearts his nuptial bed adorn.
55 "Bright as the sun, yet gentle as the dove,
56 " He comes, uniting majesty and love. "—
57 Too soon, alas! the blest delusion flies;
58 Care swells my breast, and sorrow fills my eyes.
59 Ah! why do thy fond words suggest a fear —
60 Too vast, too numerous, those already here!
61 Ah! why with doubts torment my bleeding breast,
62 Of seas which storms controul, and foes insest!
63 My heart, in all this tedious absence, knows
64 No thoughts but those of seas, and storms, and foes.
65 Each joyless morning, with the rising sun,
66 Quick to the strand my feet spontaneous run:
67 "Where, where's my prince! what tidings have ye brought!"
68 Of each I met, with pleading tears I sought.
69 In vain I sought, some, conscious of my pain,
70 With horrid silence pointed to the main.
71 Some with a sneer the brutal thought exprest,
72 And plung'd the dagger of a barbarous jest. [Page 217]
73 Day follow'd day, and still I wish'd the next,
74 New hopes still flatter'd, and new doubts perplex'd;
75 Day follow'd day, the wish'd to-morrow came,
76 My hopes, doubts, fears, anxieties the same.
77 At length — "O Power Supreme! whoe'er thou art,
78 " Thy shrine the sky, the sea, the earth, or heart;
79 "Since every clime, and all th' unbounded main,
80 " And hostile barks, and storms, are thy domain,
81 "If faithful passion can thy bounty move,
82 " And goodness sure must be the friend of love,
83 "Safe to these arms my lovely prince restore,
84 " Safe to his Zara's arms, to part no more.
85 "O! grant to virtue thy protecting care,
86 " And grant thy love to love's availing prayer,
87 "Together then, and emulous to praise,
88 " A flowery altar to thy name we'll raise;
89 "There, first and last, on each returning day,
90 " To thee our vows of gratitude we'll pay. "
91 Fool that I was, to all my comfort blind,
92 Why, when thou went'st, did Zara stay behind?
93 How could I fondly hope one joy to prove,
94 'Midst all the wild anxieties of love?
95 Had fate in other mold, thy Zara form'd,
96 And my bold breast in manly friendship warm'd,
97 How had I glow'd exulting at thy side!
98 How all the shafts of adverse fate defied!
99 Or yet a woman, and not nerv'd for toil,
100 With thee, O! had I turn'd a burning soil!
101 In the cold prison had I lain with thee,
102 In love still happy, we had still been free;[Page 218]
103 Then fortune brav'd, had own'd superior might,
104 And pin'd with envy, while we forc'd delight.
105 Why shouldst thou bid thy love remember thee?
106 Thine all my thoughts have been, and still shall be.
107 Each night the cool Savannahs have I sought,
108 And breath'd the fondness of enamour'd thought;
109 The curling breezes murmur'd as I sigh'd,
110 And hoarse, at distance, roar'd my soe the tide:
111 My breast still haunted by a motly train,
112 Now doubts, now hopes prevail'd, now joy, now pain,
113 Now fix'd I stand, my spirit fled to thine,
114 Nor note the time, nor see the sun decline;
115 Now rouz'd I start, and wing'd with fear I run,
116 In vain, alas! for 'tis myself I shun.
117 When kindly sleep its lenient balm supplied,
118 And gave that comfort waking thought denied.
119 Last night — but why, ah Zara! why impart,
120 The fond, fond fancies of a love-sick heart?
121 Yet true delights on fancy's wings are brought,
122 And love's soft raptures realiz'd in thought —
123 Last night I saw, methinks I see it now —
124 Heaven's awful concave round thy Zara bow;
125 When sudden thence a flaming chariot flew,
126 Which earth receiv'd, and six white coursers drew.
127 Then — quick transition — did thy Zara ride,
128 Borne to the chariot — wonderous — by thy side:
129 All glorious both, from clime to clime we flew,
130 Each happy clime with sweet surprize we view. [Page 219]
131 A thousand voices sung — "All bliss betide
132 " The prince of Lybia, and his faithful bride. "
133 " 'Tis done, 'tis done, "resounded thro' the skies.
134 And quick aloft the car began to rise;
135 Ten thousand beauties crowded on my sight,
136 Ten thousand glories beam'd a dazzling light.
137 My thoughts could bear no more, the vision fled,
138 And wretched Zara view'd her lonely bed. —
139 Come, sweet interpreter, and ease my soul;
140 Come to my bosom, and explain the whole.
141 Alas! my prince — yet hold, my struggling breast!
142 Sure we shall meet again, again be blest.
143 " Hope all, thou say'st, I live, and still am free; "
144 O! then prevent those hopes, and haste to me.
145 Ease all the doubts thy Zara's bosom knows,
146 And kindly stop the torrent of her woes.
147 But, that I know too well thy generous heart,
148 One doubt, than all, more torment would impart:
149 'Tis this, in Britain's happy courts to shine,
150 Amidst a thousand blooming maids, is thine —
151 But thou, a thousand blooming maids among,
152 Art still thyself, incapable of wrong;
153 No outward charm can captivate thy mind,
154 Thy love is friendship heighten'd and refin'd;
155 'Tis what my soul, and not my form inspires,
156 And burns with spotless and immortal fires.
157 Thy joys, like mine, from conscious truth arise,
158 And, known these joys, what others canst thou prize? [Page 220]
159 Be jealous doubts the curse of sordid minds;
160 Hence, jealous doubts, I give ye to the winds. —
161 Once more, O come! and snatch me to thy arms!
162 Come, shield my beating heart from vain alarms!
163 Come, let me hang enamour'd on thy breast,
164 Weep pleasing tears, and be with joy distrest!
165 Let me still hear, and still demand thy tale,
166 And, oft renew'd, still let my suit prevail!
167 Much still remains to tell and to enquire,
168 My hand still writes, and writing prompts desire;
169 My pen denies my last farewell to write,
170 Still, still, "return," my wishful thoughts indite:
171 O! hear, my prince, thy love, thy mistress call,
172 Think o'er each tender name, and hear by all.
173 O! pleasing intercourse of soul with soul,
174 Thus, while I write, I see, I clasp thee whole;
175 And these kind letters trembling Zara drew,
176 In every line shall bring her to thy view.
177 Return, return, in love and truth excell;
178 Return, I write; I cannot add — Farewell.