Eugenio and Eliza,
FOUNDED ON FACT.
1 THE rising Sun had ting'd the east with gold,
2 And scarce a cloud obscur'd his azure reign —
3 (That Sun, whose fatal beams did first unfold
4 The dreadful scene of Naseby's sanguine plain;
5 Where Charles, misguided monarch, wise too late,
6 Saw the last efforts of his party fail;
7 Saw Rupert's luckless triumph*
* Prince Rupert lost this battle by pursuing the enemy too far. urge his fate,
8 And Cromwell's rising destiny prevail) —
9 When young Eliza left her lonely shed,
10 And wander'd pensive amid heaps of slain,
11 Not by a base desire of plunder led,
12 But hope to sooth some dying Warrior's pain.
13 Though mean her parents, and obscure her lot,
14 Each nobler feeling to her heart was known;
15 And, though the humble inmate of a cot,
16 Her form and mind had grac'd the proudest throne.
17 But hopeless passion o'er each opening grace
18 Had cast a tender, melancholy air;
19 Eliza lov'd a youth of noble race,
20 And from the first she languish'd in despair.
21 Twelve months had pass'd since o'er Eugenio's form
22 With fond surprise her wondering eyes had stray'd;
23 But, while his charms her artless bosom warm,
24 By him unnoted pass'd the blooming maid.
25 From that sad hour a stranger to repose,
26 She shunn'd the wake, she shunn'd the festive green;
27 And still where'er Affliction calls she goes,
28 A pale attendant at each mournful scene.
29 At every step with horror she recoil'd,
30 While her moist eyes the dreadful carnage view'd
31 Of hostile kindred upon kindred pil'd,
32 And British fields with British blood imbu'd.
33 But as, advancing o'er the dismal field,
34 Where devastation sadden'd all around,
35 She view'd those lids in endless darkness seal'd,
36 And heard of dying groans the plaintive sound —
37 A form of grace superior drew her eyes,
38 Bending to view the Warrior's face she stood;
39 O fatal sight! her lov'd Eugenio lies
40 On earth extended, and deform'd with blood.
41 Struck at the view, awhile in silent grief
42 She stood, nor yet a sigh confess'd her pain;
43 Nor yet her bursting tears could bring relief,
44 While her chill blood ran cold through ev'ry vein.
45 At length, adown her cheek and snowy breast
46 The pearly tears in quick succession ran;
47 And with a voice by sorrow half suppress'd,
48 In broken accents, thus the fair began:
49 "O thou, whom lovely and belov'd in vain,
50 " Unpitying Fate has snatch'd in early bloom,
51 "Is this the meed thy patriot virtues gain?
52 " Dearer than life, is this thy hapless doom?
53 "When last I saw thee, o'er thy manly cheek
54 " Health's orient glow a mantling lustre cast;
55 "Enamour'd Glory seem'd thy paths to seek,
56 " Fortune in thee her favourite child embrac'd.
57 "Now cold on earth thou liest — no weeping friend
58 " With pious tears receiv'd thy parting breath;
59 "No kindred round thy bleeding corse attend,
60 " With grief like mine to mourn thy early death.
61 "Ah! what avail'd the virtues of thy youth,
62 " The mind that dar'd Rebellion's fury brave,
63 "Thy constant loyalty, thy matchless truth?
64 " Those very virtues sunk thee to the grave. "
65 Kneeling as thus she spoke, his hand she press'd,
66 And view'd his form with ev'ry charm replete;
67 But what emotions fill'd her raptur'd breast
68 When still she found his languid pulses beat!
69 Some neighbouring peasants led by chance that way,
70 Touch'd by the sorrows of the weeping fair,
71 With pitying eyes the fainting youth survey,
72 And to Eliza's well-known cottage bear.
73 There, with a Leech's care, her hands applied
74 Some lenient herbs to every rankling wound;
75 Herbs, by the test of long experience tried,
76 Of sovereign virtue in each trial found.
77 While anxious Love its lavish care supplies,
78 Eugenio's face resumes a fresher hue;
79 And on the maid he fix'd his opening eyes,
80 While tears of joy her polish'd cheeks bedew.
81 The dawn of gratitude, and wonder join'd,
82 With varying thoughts distract his labouring breast;
83 And, anxious to relieve his dubious mind,
84 In faltering words he thus the fair address'd:
85 "O say, what friend, solicitous to save,
86 " Procur'd for me your hospitable care?
87 "For, when at Naseby the last sigh I gave,
88 " Nor Friendship nor Humanity was there. "
89 Blushing, the maid with down-cast looks replied,
90 "To Heaven alone thy gratitude is due:
91 " That God, whose angels round the good preside,
92 "To thy relief my feeble succour drew.
93 "I found thee senseless 'mid a heap of slain;
94 " I bore thee here, and Heaven thy life has spar'd:
95 "That life restor'd, I ask nor thanks nor gain;
96 " A virtuous action is its own reward. "
97 With mute surprise th' attentive youth admir'd,
98 'Mid scenes so rude, a form so passing fair;
99 But more he wonder'd, when, by Heaven inspir'd,
100 Her words bespoke a guardian angel's care,
101 And every day new beauties caught his view,
102 And every hour new virtues charm'd his mind,
103 Till admiration into passion grew,
104 By pure esteem and gratitude refin'd.
105 In vain, to change the purpose of his heart,
106 Ambition frown'd contemptuous on the maid;
107 Pride urg'd him from her humble cot to part,
108 And martial ardour call'd him from the shade.
109 He saw his country, in subjection led,
110 Pay servile homage to a zealot's nod,
111 Who sternly claim'd his captive Sovereign's head,
112 And thought by anarchy to serve his God.
113 He knew his single efforts would be vain,
114 His Prince from factious thousands to support,
115 And scorn'd to mingle with the abject train
116 Who, led by interest, swell'd a guilty Court.
117 Since Virtue's cause no more his arms could claim,
118 And hope of conquest could no longer move,
119 Fix'd, he resolves to wed the beauteous dame,
120 And consecrate his future life to love.
121 Fast by the cot a spreading linden grew,
122 Whose boughs o'ershadow'd a fantastic seat,
123 Where the pale primrose and the violet blue
124 Breath'd from the verdant turf a mingled sweet.
125 There, with Eliza often by his side,
126 Eugenio shunn'd the scorching heats of noon;
127 Amid night's stillness there he often hied,
128 And solitary watch'd the silver moon.
129 Perusing there the philosophic page,
130 Untir'd the livelong day he would remain,
131 Or for the Poet quit the graver Sage,
132 And raptur'd glance through Fancy's airy reign.
133 Beneath the branches of this silent shade,
134 By hours of past tranquillity endear'd,
135 He vow'd his passion to the blushing maid,
136 Whose timid love his loss each moment fear'd.
137 Untaught in the pernicious schools of Art,
138 Which curb the genuine feelings as they rise,
139 She own'd the sentiments that fill'd a heart
140 Whose conscious purity contemn'd disguise.
141 The sacred rites perform'd, with festive state
142 To his high dome Eugenio led the fair:
143 'Mid lofty woods, arose the ancient seat,
144 Whose solid, grandeur time could not impair.
145 There unperceiv'd life's current flow'd away,
146 Nor could old age their constant love destroy;
147 And often they deplor'd, yet bless'd that day,
148 To others source of grief, to them of joy.
149 They liv'd to see the artful Cromwell die,
150 And from their transient power his offspring driven,
151 And then beheld th' imperial dignity
152 Once more to the inglorious Stuarts given.
153 Charles they survey'd, in luxury, and ease,
154 And sensual pleasures, pass life's ill-spent day;
155 And bigot James an injur'd nation raise,
156 Then coward shun the battle's dread array.
157 Next Nassau, crown'd by policy and arms,
158 In early youth for matchless prudence known,
159 Unmov'd in dangers, fearless in alarms,
160 With royal Mary shar'd the British throne.
161 Last Anna's prosperous reign in age they view'd,
162 And Marlborough glorious from Germania's war —
163 Marlborough, for councils as for fight endued,
164 Who with his own spread England's fame afar:
165 Then, pleas'd their country's triumphs to behold,
166 In youthful verdure while her laurels bloom,
167 Their aged lids in Death's soft sleep they fold,
168 And not unwilling sink into the tomb.