[Page 192]


1 BENEATH a Mountain's solitary Shade
2 Liv'd Catharina, then an ancient Maid,
3 An useful Dame that ev'ry Simple knew,
4 And from choice Herbs exhal'd a cordial Dew.
5 Rude was her Dome, and hid from prying Eyes,
6 By lofty Hills that seem'd to reach the Skies;
7 Deep in a Rock the winding Cavern run,
8 A bending Cypress skreen'd it from the Sun:
9 From its rude Side a Fountain us'd to flow,
10 That pour'd incessant on the Stones below:
[Page 193]
11 This Musick lull'd the pensive Dame to Rest,
12 And drew soft Slumbers on her aching Breast:
13 No Sun was there, nor scarce a dawning Gleam,
14 No twinkling Stars, nor Cynthia's silver Beam.
15 There naked Elms and sapless Oaks appear'd,
16 With Age grown rotten, and by Light'ning sear'd;
17 There perch'd the Raven and the gray-ey'd Owl,
18 With his wise Visage and his serious Scowl;
19 No Flow'rets there bedeck the mossy Ground,
20 But a thick Forest spread its Shade around,
21 Where the smooth Box and browner Hasel grew,
22 The solemn Pine-tree and the baleful Yew:
23 Here no glad Sound was heard nor human Tongue,
24 Not Colin's Flute nor Blouzelinda's Song:
25 These gloomy Shades for Grief were only made,
26 And howling Wolves that scamper'd thro' the Glade.
27 Here Catharina spent her irksom Days,
28 Secluded both from Envy and from Praise.
29 Not so her laughing Moments us'd to run,
30 When her bright Eyes were like a Morning Sun:
31 When to her Flock repair'd the gazing Swains,
32 Her Flock was then the fairest of the Plains:
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33 And she no less with Veins of sprightly Blue,
34 And Cheeks like Roses wrap'd in Morning Dew,
35 The Loves and Graces round her Features flew.
36 Her Mind was chearful as the rising Day,
37 Mature as Summer and as April gay;
38 Yet Fate too soon eclips'd her early Joy,
39 She fell the Victim of the winged Boy,
40 The winged Boy that bears the fatal Darts:
41 Henceforth may Virgins better guard their Hearts.
42 'Twas Celadon, 'twas he that caus'd her Pain,
43 The fairest Shepherd of the rural Train;
44 Whose careless Beauty made her Heart his Prize,
45 And stole the Slumbers from her wakeful Eyes.
46 Long time her Pride and cooler Reason strove
47 Against the Power of encroaching Love,
48 In vain her Cheeks and mournful Eyes declare
49 The smother'd Passion and the secret Care,
50 While the dull Youth, whom Beauty ne'er cou'd please,
51 Who sought no more than Indolence and Ease,
52 Rang'd o'er the Vallies with his darling Tray,
53 Or near some Fountain slumber'd out the Day:
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54 All Nymphs he strove (but mostly her) to shun,
55 And to thick Shades and distant Pastures run:
56 There the soft Flute his nimble Fingers ply'd,
57 While his lov'd Dog sat list'ning by his Side.
58 Then wept the Fair with Grief and Rage oppress'd;
59 Strange Passions labour'd in her pensive Breast;
60 She lost her Crook her Flocks no more were told,
61 And her Lambs wander'd from their nightly Fold,
62 Till to these Shades she took her desp'rate Way,
63 And vow'd no more to see the Beams of Day:
64 Here the gay Roses on her Cheek expir'd,
65 And from her Eyes the laughing Loves retir'd:
66 No flow'ry Wreaths her faded Temples knew,
67 Her Locks uncomb'd upon her Shoulders flew;
68 No silken Vestments on her Limbs were roll'd,
69 A russet Mantle sav'd her from the Cold;
70 A simple Cordage round her Waste she ty'd,
71 And a rude Staff her better Hand supply'd.
72 Here learn'd the Dame the Physick of the Field,
73 And what the Woods and what the Mountains yield
74 Of sov'reign Balm, to heal a rankling Wound,
75 Or ripen Swellings where no Sores are found;
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76 To strengthen Sinews, and Catarrhs expel,
77 And none for Colicks cou'd her Art excel.
78 With magick Herbs she drew out fest'ring Thorns;
79 Her Charms cou'd banish Tooth-ach, Cramps, and Corns.
80 To her repair'd from all the neighb'ring Plains,
81 The sickly Matrons and the wounded Swains:
82 Nor to one Species was her Art confin'd;
83 Her Skill was known amongst the fleecy Kind,
84 Her Cordials strengthen'd the declining Ewe,
85 And limping Calves her healing Plaisters knew.


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Title (in Source Edition): CATHARINA's CAVE.
Author: Mary Leapor
Genres: heroic couplet

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Source edition

Leapor, Mrs. (Mary), 1722-1746. Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor of Brackley in Northamptonshire. London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 192-196. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413; OTA K101776.000) (Page images digitized from a copy at University of California Libraries.)

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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.

Other works by Mary Leapor