1 YE nymphs, that from Diana's sport retir'd,
2 Yon forest leave awhile, and love to haunt
3 The bord'ring vallies; saw ye, as they pass'd,
4 A chosen pair, the glory of your plains,
5 Array'd in youth's full bloom, and nature's prime?
6 Saw ye the glance of beauty, when the fair,
7 Quiver'd with charms, and by the Graces dress'd,
8 March'd on: with joy the bridegroom flush'd, beyond
9 What liveliest fancy, unpossess'd, can dream?
10 Heard ye the music of the groves around
11 Warbling, while choirs of gratulation rung
12 From ev'ry spray; and nightingales, soft tun'd,
13 In notes peculiar thrill'd the nuptial song!
14 Such as in neighb'ring Windsor's fav'rite shade
15 They chaunt; and, if their Handel's ear be true,
16 No where on silence steal with lay so sweet.
17 Auspicious omens brood on the fair hour!
18 Did ever Hymen's look more fresh appear,
19 Or his bright vest with deeper yellow flow?
20 The vest that on occasions high and rare[Page 103]
21 Pontifical he wears, when hearts sincere
22 Combine; of healthy cheek, and sparkling eye
23 As in the state of nature, ere his shafts
24 By gold were blunted. How the blazing torch,
25 Fann'd by love's pinion, sheds unusual fire!
26 Lo! by the trail of light, he left behind,
27 As from the shrine his jubilee return'd,
28 The Muse, invited guest, attends her theme
29 Right to the nuptial bow'r. There ent'ring, thrice
30 She hemm'd, thrice blest the threshold with a sneeze,
31 Prelude of happiness to come. Her lyre
32 She strung, — a friendly, voluntary strain.
33 "Hail (she began) distinguish'd pair! how fit
34 To join in wedded love, each other's choice!
35 Bridegroom, thy taste is elegant indeed,
36 And fingers nice, that on some sunny bank
37 In beauty's garden cull'd so fair a flow'r,
38 To thine transplanted from her native soil.
39 Cherish besure thy blooming charge; keep off
40 Each blast unkind, and Zephyr's gale alone
41 Blow there, and genial suns for ever smile.
42 Who not applaud thy vow? hereafter who
43 Dispute thy palate, judging and exact,
44 Owner of curious bliss? — Nor thou, fair bride,
45 Repine, nor homeward cast thy longing eye;
46 'Twas time to sever from the virgin choir.
47 What joy in loneliness to waste the hours
48 Unfruitful? see, hard by, Loddona's stream[Page 104]
49 Cold and inactive creep along; her face
50 Shaded with pensive willow, — till anon
51 Married to jovial Thames, briskly she glides
52 O'er many a laughing mead. — 'Tis nature wills
53 Such union: blest society! where souls
54 Move, as in dance, to melody divine
55 Fit partners. (How unlike the noisy broils
56 Of wedded strife!) Hence friendship's gen'rous glow
57 At love's high noon; and hence the sober flame
58 Steady, as life declines. — All comforts hence
59 Of child and parent, strongest, dearest ties!
60 Think not the fair original design'd
61 To flourish and be lost. The world expects
62 Some copies to adorn another age. —
63 Thank the kind gods; be happy, live and love.