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HENRY and EMMA, A POEM, Upon the Model of The Nut-brown Maid.


1 Thou, to whose Eyes I bend; at whose Command,
2 (Tho' low my Voice, tho' artless be my Hand)
3 I take the sprightly Reed, and sing, and play;
4 Careless of what the cens'ring World may say:
5 Bright Cloe, Object of my constant Vow,
6 Wilt thou awhile unbend thy serious Brow?
7 Wilt thou with Pleasure hear Thy Lover's Strains,
8 And with one Heav'nly Smile o'erpay His Pains?
9 No longer shall the Nut-brown Maid be old;
10 Tho' since her Youth three hundred Years have roll'd.
11 At Thy Desire, She shall again be rais'd;
12 And her reviving Charms in lasting Verse be prais'd.
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13 No longer Man of Woman shall complain,
14 That He may Love, and not be Lov'd again:
15 That We in vain the fickle Sex pursue,
16 Who change the Constant Lover for the New.
17 Whatever has been writ, whatever said
18 Of Female Passion feign'd, or Faith decay'd;
19 Henceforth shall in my Verse refuted stand,
20 Be said to Winds, or writ upon the Sand.
21 And while my Notes to future Times proclaim
22 Unconquer'd Love, and ever-during Flame;
23 O fairest of the Sex! be Thou my Muse:
24 Deign on my Work thy Influence to diffuse.
25 Let me partake the Blessings I rehearse;
26 And grant me Love, the just Reward of Verse.
27 As Beauty's Potent Queen, with ev'ry Grace
28 That once was Emma's, has adorn'd Thy Face;
29 And as Her Son has to My Bosom dealt
30 That constant Flame, which faithful Henry felt:
31 O let the Story with Thy Life agree;
32 Let Men once more the bright Example see;
33 What Emma was to Him, be Thou to Me.
34 Nor send Me by thy Frown from Her I love,
35 Distant and sad, a banish'd Man to rove.
36 But oh! with Pity long intreated Crown
37 My Pains and Hopes; and when thou say'st that One
38 Of all Mankind thou lov'st; Oh! think on Me alone.
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39 Where beauteous Isis and her Husband Tame
40 With mingl'd Waves, for ever, flow the Same:
41 In Times of Yore, an antient Baron liv'd;
42 Great Gifts bestow'd, and great Respect receiv'd.
43 When dreadful Edward, with successful Care,
44 Led his free Britons to the Gallic War;
45 This Lord had Headed his appointed Bands,
46 In firm Allegiance to his King's Commands.
47 And (all due Honors faithfully discharg'd)
48 Has brought back his Paternal Coat, inlarg'd
49 With a new Mark, the Witness of his Toil;
50 And no inglorious part of Foreign Spoil.
51 From the loud Camp retir'd, and noisy Court,
52 In Honorable Ease and Rural Sport,
53 The Remnant of his Days, He safely past;
54 Nor found they Lagg'd too slow, nor Flew too fast.
55 He made his Wish with his Estate comply;
56 Joyful to Live, yet not afraid to Dye.
57 One Child He had, a Daughter chast and fair;
58 His Age's Comfort, and his Fortune's Heir.
59 They call'd her Emma; for the beauteous Dame
60 Who gave the Virgin Birth, had born the Name.
61 The Name th' indulgent Father doubly lov'd;
62 For in the Child the Mother's Charms improv'd.
63 Yet, as when little, round his Knees She plaid;
64 He call'd her oft, in Sport, His Nut-brown Maid:
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65 The Friends and Tenants took the fondling Word;
66 (As still they please, who imitate their Lord)
67 Usage confirm'd what Fancy had begun:
68 The mutual Terms around the Lands were known;
69 And Emma and the Nut-Brown Maid were One.
70 As with her Stature, still her Charms encreas'd;
71 Thro' all the Isle her Beauty was confess'd.
72 Oh! what Perfections must that Virgin share,
73 Who Fairest is esteem'd, where all are Fair?
74 From distant Shires repair the noble Youth,
75 And find, Report, for once, had lessen'd Truth.
76 By Wonder first, and then by Passion mov'd,
77 They came; they saw; they marvell'd; and they lov'd.
78 By public Praises, and by secret Sighs,
79 Each own'd the gen'ral Pow'r of Emma's Eyes.
80 In Tilts and Turnaments the Valiant strove,
81 By glorious Deeds, to purchase Emma's Love.
82 In gentle Verse, the Witty told their Flame,
83 And grac'd their choicest Songs with Emma's Name.
84 In vain they Combated, in vain they Writ:
85 Useless their Strength, and impotent their Wit.
86 Great Venus only must direct the Dart,
87 Which else will never reach the Fair one's Heart;
88 Spight of th' Attempts of Force, and soft Effects of Art.
89 Great Venus must prefer the happy One:
90 In Henry's Cause Her Favour must be shown:
91 And Emma, of Mankind, must Love but Him alone.
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92 While These, in Public, to the Castle came,
93 And by their Grandeur justify'd their Flame:
94 More secret Ways the careful Henry takes;
95 His Squires, his Arms, and Equipage forsakes.
96 In borrow'd Name, and false Attire, array'd,
97 Oft He finds Means to see the beauteous Maid.
98 When Emma hunts, in Huntsman's Habit drest,
99 Henry on Foot pursues the bounding Beast.
100 In his right Hand his beachen Pole he bears:
101 And graceful at his Side his Horn he wears.
102 Still to the Glade, where She has bent her Way,
103 With knowing Skill he drives the future Prey.
104 Bids her decline the Hill, and shun the Brake;
105 And shews the Path her Steed may safest take.
106 Directs her Spear to fix the glorious Wound;
107 Pleas'd, in his Toils, to have her Triumph Crown'd:
108 And blows her Praises in no common Sound.
109 A Falc'ner Henry is, when Emma Hawks:
110 With her of Tarsels, and of Lures he talks.
111 Upon his Wrist the tow'ring Merlin stands;
112 Practis'd to rise, and stoop, at her Commands.
113 And when Superior now the Bird has flown,
114 And headlong brought the tumbling Quarry down:
115 With humble Rev'rence he accosts the Fair;
116 And with the honor'd Feather decks her Hair.
117 Yet still, as from the sportive Field She goes,
118 His down-cast Eye reveals his inward Woes.
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119 And by his Look and Sorrow is exprest,
120 A nobler Game pursu'd, than Bird or Beast.
121 A Shepherd now along the Plain he roves;
122 And, with his jolly Pipe, delights the Groves.
123 The neighb'ring Swains around the Stranger throng,
124 Or to admire, or emulate his Song:
125 While, with soft Sorrow, he renews his Lays,
126 Nor heedful of their Envy, nor their Praise.
127 But soon as Emma's Eyes adorn the Plain,
128 His Notes he raises to a nobler Strain;
129 With dutiful Respect, and studious Fear,
130 Lest any careless Sound offend her Ear.
131 A frantick Gipsey, now the House He haunts,
132 And in wild Phrases, speaks dissembled Wants.
133 With the fond Maids in Palmistry he deals:
134 They Tell the Secret first, which he Reveals:
135 Says who shall Wed, and who shall be Beguil'd;
136 What Groom shall Get, and Squire maintain the Child.
137 But when bright Emma wou'd her Fortune know;
138 A softer Look unbends his op'ning Brow.
139 With trembling Awe, he gazes on her Eye;
140 And in soft Accents, forms the kind Reply;
141 That She shall prove as Fortunate as Fair,
142 And Hymen's choicest Gifts are All reserv'd for Her.
143 Now oft had Henry chang'd his sly Disguise;
144 Unmark'd by all, but beauteous Emma's Eyes.
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145 Oft had found Means alone to see the Dame,
146 And at her Feet to breath his am'rous Flame;
147 And oft, the Pangs of Absence to remove
148 By Letters, soft Interpreters of Love:
149 'Till Time and Industry (the mighty Two
150 That bring our Wishes nearer to our View)
151 Made him perceive, that the inclining Fair
152 Receiv'd his Vows with no reluctant Ear;
153 That Venus had confirm'd her equal Reign,
154 And dealt to Emma's Heart a share of Henry's Pain.
155 While Cupid smil'd, by kind Occasion bless'd,
156 And, with the Secret kept, the Love increas'd;
157 The am'rous Youth frequents the silent Groves;
158 And much He meditates; for much He loves.
159 He loves: 'tis true; and is belov'd again:
160 Great are his Joys: but will they long remain?
161 Emma with Smiles receives his present Flame;
162 But smiling, will She ever be the same?
163 Beautiful Looks are rul'd by fickle Minds;
164 And Summer Seas are turn'd by sudden Winds.
165 Another Love may gain her easie Youth:
166 Time changes Thought; and Flatt'ry conquers Truth.
167 O impotent Estate of human Life!
168 Where Hope and Fear maintain eternal Strife:
169 Where fleeting Joy does lasting Doubt inspire;
170 And most We Question, what We most Desire.
171 Amongst thy various Gifts, great Heav'n, bestow
172 Our Cup of Love unmix'd; forbear to throw
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173 Bitter Ingredients in; nor pall the Draught
174 With nauseous Grief: for our ill-judging Thought
175 Hardly injoys the pleasurable Taste;
176 Or deems it not sincere; or fears it cannot last.
177 With Wishes rais'd, with Jealousies opprest
178 (Alternate Tyrants of the Human Breast)
179 By one great Tryal He resolves to prove
180 The Faith of Woman, and the Force of Love.
181 If scanning Emma's Virtues, He may find
182 That beauteous Frame inclose a steady Mind;
183 He'll fix his Hope, of future Joy secure;
184 And live a Slave to Hymen's happy Pow'r.
185 But if the Fair one, as he fears, is frail;
186 If pois'd aright in Reason's equal Scale,
187 Light fly her Merits, and her Faults prevail;
188 His Mind He vows to free from am'rous Care,
189 The latent Mischief from his Heart to tear,
190 Resume his Azure Arms, and shine again in War.
191 South of the Castle, in a verdant Glade,
192 A spreading Beach extends her friendly Shade:
193 Here oft the Nymph His breathing Vows had heard:
194 Here oft Her Silence had Her Heart declar'd.
195 As active Spring awak'd her Infant Buds;
196 And genial Life inform'd the verdant Woods;
197 Henry, in Knots involving Emma's Name,
198 Had half express'd, and half conceal'd his Flame
199 Upon This Tree: and as the tender Mark
200 Grew with the Year, and widen'd with the Bark:
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201 Venus had heard the Virgin's soft Address,
202 That, as the Wound, the Passion might increase.
203 As potent Nature shed her kindly Show'rs,
204 And deck'd the various Mead with op'ning Flow'rs;
205 Upon This Tree the Nymph's obliging Care
206 Had left a frequent Wreath for Henry's Hair:
207 Which as with gay Delight the Lover found;
208 Pleas'd with his Conquest, with her Present crown'd,
209 Glorious thro' all the Plains He oft had gone,
210 And to each Swain the Mystic Honor shown;
211 The Gift still prais'd, the Giver still unknown.
212 His secret Note the troubled Henry writes,
213 To the known Tree the Lovely Maid invites:
214 Imperfect Words and dubious Terms express,
215 That unforeseen Mischance disturb'd his Peace;
216 That He must something to Her Ear commend,
217 On which Her Conduct, and His Life depend.
218 Soon as the Fair one had the Note receiv'd;
219 The remnant of the Day alone She griev'd:
220 For diff'rent This from ev'ry former Note,
221 Which Venus dictated, and Henry wrote;
222 Which told her all his future Hopes were laid
223 On the dear Bosom of his Nut-brown Maid;
224 Which always bless'd her Eyes, and own'd her Pow'r;
225 And bid her oft Adieu, yet added more.
226 Now Night advanc'd. The House in Sleep were laid,
227 The Nurse experienc'd, and the prying Maid;
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228 And last That Sprite, which does incessant haunt
229 The Lover's Steps, the ancient Maiden Aunt.
230 To her dear Henry Emma wings her Way,
231 With quicken'd Pace repairing forc'd Delay.
232 For Love, fantastic Pow'r, that is afraid
233 To stir abroad 'till Watchfulness be laid;
234 Undaunted then, o'er Cliffs and Valleys strays;
235 And leads his Vot'ries safe thro' pathless Ways.
236 Not Argus with his hundred Eyes shall find,
237 Where Cupid goes; tho' He poor Guide is blind.
238 The Maiden first arriving, sent her Eye,
239 To ask, if yet it's Chief Delight were nigh:
240 With Fear, and with Desire, with Joy, and Pain
241 She sees, and runs to meet Him on the Plain.
242 But oh! his Steps proclaim no Lover's Haste:
243 On the low Ground his fix'd Regards are cast:
244 His artful Bosom heaves dissembl'd Sighs;
245 And Tears suborn'd fall copious from his Eyes.
246 With Ease, alas! we Credit what we Love:
247 His painted Grief does real Sorrow move
248 In the afflicted Fair; Adown her Cheek
249 Trickling the genuine Tears their Current break.
250 Attentive stood the mournful Nymph: the Man
251 Broke Silence first: the Tale alternate ran.
252 Sincere O tell me, hast thou felt a Pain,
253 Emma, beyond what Woman knows to feign?
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254 Has Thy uncertain Bosom ever strove
255 With the first Tumults of a real Love?
256 Hast Thou now dreaded, and now blest his Sway;
257 By turns averse, and joyful to obey?
258 Thy Virgin Softness hast Thou e'er bewail'd,
259 As Reason yielded, and as Love prevail'd?
260 And wept the potent God's resistless Dart,
261 His killing Pleasure, his Ecstatic Smart,
262 And heav'nly Poison thrilling thro' thy Heart?
263 If so, with Pity view my wretched State;
264 At least deplore, and then forget my Fate:
265 To some more happy Knight reserve thy Charms,
266 By Fortune favor'd, and successful Arms:
267 And only, as the Sun's revolving Ray
268 Brings back each Year this melancholy Day;
269 Permit one Sigh, and set apart one Tear,
270 To an abandon'd Exile's endless Care.
271 For Me, alas! Out-cast of Human Race,
272 Love's Anger only waits, and dire Disgrace:
273 For lo! these Hands in Murther are imbru'd;
274 These trembling Feet by Justice are pursu'd:
275 Fate calls aloud, and hastens me away;
276 A shameful Death attends my longer Stay;
277 And I this Night must fly from Thee and Love,
278 Condemn'd in lonely Woods a banish'd Man to rove.
279 What is our Bliss, that changeth with the Moon;
280 And Day of Life, that darkens e'er 'tis Noon?
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281 What is true Passion, if unblest it dies?
282 And where is Emma's Joy, if Henry flies?
283 If Love, alas! be Pain; the Pain I bear,
284 No Thought can figure, and no Tongue declare.
285 Ne'er faithful Woman felt, nor false one feign'd
286 The Flames, which long have in my Bosom reign'd:
287 The God of Love himself inhabits there,
288 With all his Rage, and Dread, and Grief, and Care,
289 His Complement of Stores, and total War.
290 O! cease then coldly to suspect my Love;
291 And let my Deed, at least, my Faith approve.
292 Alas! no Youth shall my Endearments share;
293 Nor Day nor Night shall interrupt my Care:
294 No future Story shall with Truth upbraid
295 The cold Indiff'rence of the Nut-brown Maid:
296 Nor to hard Banishment shall Henry run;
297 While careless Emma sleeps on Beds of Down.
298 View Me resolv'd, where-e'er Thou lead'st, to go,
299 Friend to thy Pain, and Partner of thy Woe:
300 For I attest fair Venus, and her Son,
301 That I, of all Mankind, will love but Thee alone.
302 Let Prudence yet obstruct Thy vent'rous Way;
303 And take good heed, what Men will think and say;
304 That Beauteous Emma vagrant Courses took;
305 Her Father's House and civil Life forsook;
306 That full of youthful Blood, and fond of Man,
307 She to the Wood-land with an Exile ran.
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308 Reflect, that lessen'd Fame is ne'er regain'd;
309 And Virgin Honor once, is always stain'd:
310 Timely advis'd, the coming Evil shun:
311 Better not do the Deed, than weep it done.
312 No Penance can absolve our guilty Fame;
313 Nor Tears, that wash out Sin, can wash out Shame.
314 Then fly the sad Effects of desp'rate Love;
315 And leave a banish'd Man thro' lonely Woods to rove.
316 Let Emma's hapless Case be falsely told
317 By the rash Young, or the ill-natur'd Old:
318 Let ev'ry Tongue it's various Censures chuse,
319 Absolve with Coldness, or with Spight accuse:
320 Fair Truth, at last, her radiant Beams will raise;
321 And Malice vanquish'd heightens Virtue's Praise.
322 Let then thy Favour but indulge my Flight;
323 O! let my Presence make thy Travels light;
324 And potent Venus shall exalt my Name
325 Above the Rumors of censorious Fame:
326 Nor from that busie Demon's restless Pow'r
327 Will ever Emma other Grace implore,
328 Than that this Truth should to the World be known,
329 That I, of all Mankind, have lov'd but Thee alone.
330 But canst Thou wield the Sword, and bend the Bow?
331 With active Force repel the sturdy Foe?
332 When the loud Tumult speaks the Battel nigh,
333 And winged Deaths in whistling Arrows fly;
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334 Wilt Thou, tho' wounded, yet undaunted stay,
335 Perform thy Part, and share the dangerous Day?
336 Then, as thy Strength decays, thy Heart will fail;
337 Thy Limbs all trembling, and thy Cheeks all pale:
338 With fruitless Sorrow Thou, inglorious Maid,
339 Wilt weep thy Safety by thy Love betray'd:
340 Then to thy Friend, by Foes o'er-charg'd, deny
341 Thy little useless Aid, and Coward fly:
342 Then wilt thou curse the Chance that made Thee love
343 A banish'd Man, condemn'd in lonely Woods to rove.
344 With fatal Certainty Thalestris knew
345 To send the Arrow from the twanging Yew:
346 And great in Arms, and foremost in the War,
347 Bonduca brandished high the British Spear.
348 Could Thirst of Vengeance, and Desire of Fame
349 Excite the Female Breast with Martial Flame?
350 And shall not Love's diviner Pow'r inspire
351 More hardy Virtue, and more gen'rous Fire?
352 Near Thee, mistrust not, constant I'll abide,
353 And fall, or vanquish, fighting by thy Side.
354 Tho' my Inferior Strength may not allow,
355 That I should bear, or draw the Warrior Bow;
356 With ready Hand I will the Shaft supply,
357 And joy to see thy Victor Arrows fly.
358 Touch'd in the Battel by the Hostile Reed,
359 Should'st Thou (but Heav'n avert it!) should'st Thou bleed;
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360 To stop the Wounds my finest Lawn I'd tear;
361 Wash them with Tears, and wipe them with my Hair:
362 Blest, when my Dangers and my Toils have shown,
363 That I, of all Mankind, could love but Thee alone.
364 But canst Thou, tender Maid, canst Thou sustain
365 Afflictive Want, or Hunger's pressing Pain?
366 Those Limbs, in Lawn and softest Silk array'd,
367 From Sun-beams guarded, and of Winds afraid;
368 Can they bear angry Jove? Can they resist
369 The parching Dog-star, and the bleak North-East?
370 When chill'd by adverse Snows, and beating Rain,
371 We tread with weary Steps the longsome Plain;
372 When with hard Toil We seek our Ev'ning Food,
373 Berries and Acorns, from the neighb'ring Wood;
374 And find among the Cliffs no other House,
375 But the thin Covert of some gather'd Boughs;
376 Wilt Thou not then reluctant send thine Eye
377 Around the dreary Waste; and weeping try
378 (Tho' then, alas! that Tryal be too late)
379 To find thy Father's Hospitable Gate,
380 And Seats, where Ease and Plenty brooding sate?
381 Those Seats, whence long excluded Thou must mourn:
382 That Gate, for ever barr'd to thy Return:
383 Wilt Thou not then bewail ill-fated Love,
384 And hate a banish'd Man, condemn'd in Woods to rove?
385 Thy Rise of Fortune did I only wed,
386 From it's Decline determin'd to recede?
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387 Did I but purpose to embark with Thee,
388 On the smooth Surface of a Summer's Sea;
389 While gentle Zephyrs play in prosp'rous Gales;
390 And Fortune's Favour fills the swelling Sails:
391 But would forsake the Ship, and make the Shoar,
392 When the Winds whistle, and the Tempests roar?
393 No, Henry, no: One Sacred Oath has ty'd
394 Our Loves; One Destiny our Life shall guide;
395 Nor Wild, nor Deep our common Way divide.
396 When from the Cave Thou risest with the Day,
397 To beat the Woods, and rouse the bounding Prey;
398 The Cave with Moss and Branches I'll adorn,
399 And chearful sit, to wait my Lord's Return.
400 And when Thou frequent bring'st the smitten Deer;
401 (For seldom, Archers say, Thy Arrows err)
402 I'll fetch quick Fewel from the neighb'ring Wood,
403 And strike the sparkling Flint, and dress the Food:
404 With humble Duty and officious Haste,
405 I'll cull the furthest Mead for Thy Repast:
406 The choicest Herbs I to Thy Board will bring;
407 And draw Thy Water from the freshest Spring:
408 And when at Night with weary Toil opprest,
409 Soft Slumbers Thou injoy'st, and wholesome Rest;
410 Watchful I'll guard Thee, and with Midnight Pray'r
411 Weary the Gods to keep Thee in their Care;
412 And joyous ask, at Morn's returning Ray,
413 If Thou hast Health, and I may bless the Day.
414 My Thought shall fix, my latest Wish depend
415 On Thee, Guide, Guardian, Kinsman, Father, Friend:
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416 By all these sacred Names be Henry known
417 To Emma's Heart: and grateful let Him own,
418 That She, of all Mankind, could love but Him alone.
419 Vainly thou tell'st Me, what the Woman's Care
420 Shall in the Wildness of the Wood prepare:
421 Thou, e'er thou goest, unhapp'yest of thy Kind,
422 Must leave the Habit, and the Sex behind.
423 No longer shall thy comely Tresses break
424 In flowing Ringlets on thy snowy Neck;
425 Or sit behind thy Head, an ample Round,
426 In graceful Breeds with various Ribbon bound:
427 No longer shall the Boddice, aptly lac'd,
428 From thy full Bosome to thy slender Waste,
429 That Air and Harmony of Shape express,
430 Fine by Degrees, and beautifully less:
431 Nor shall thy lower Garments artful Pleat,
432 From thy fair Side dependent to thy Feet,
433 Arm their chaste Beauties with a modest Pride,
434 And double ev'ry Charm they seek to hide.
435 Th'Ambrosial Plenty of Thy shining Hair
436 Cropt off and lost, scarce lower than Thy Ear
437 Shall stand uncouth: a Horse-man's Coat shall hide
438 Thy taper Shape, and Comeliness of Side:
439 The short Trunk-Hose shall show Thy Foot and Knee
440 Licentious, and to common Eye-sight free:
441 And with a bolder Stride, and looser Air,
442 Mingl'd with Men, a Man Thou must appear.
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443 Nor Solitude, nor gentle Peace of Mind,
444 Mistaken Maid, shalt Thou in Forests find:
445 'Tis long, since Cynthia and her Train were there;
446 Or Guardian Gods made Innocence their Care.
447 Vagrants and Out-laws shall offend Thy View;
448 For such must be my Friends; a hideous Crew,
449 By adverse Fortune mix'd in Social Ill,
450 Train'd to assault, and disciplin'd to kill:
451 Their common Loves, a lewd abandon'd Pack,
452 The Beadle's Lash still flagrant on their Back;
453 By Sloth corrupted, by Disorder fed,
454 Made bold by Want, and prostitute for Bread:
455 With such must Emma hunt the tedious Day,
456 Assist their Violence, and divide their Prey:
457 With such She must return at setting Light,
458 Tho' not Partaker, Witness of their Night.
459 Thy Ear, inur'd to charitable Sounds,
460 And pitying Love, must feel the hateful Wounds
461 Of Jest obscene, and vulgar Ribaldry,
462 The ill-bred Question, and the lewd Reply;
463 Brought by long Habitude from Bad to Worse,
464 Must hear the frequent Oath, the direful Curse,
465 That latest Weapon of the Wretches War,
466 And Blasphemy, sad Comrade of Despair.
467 Now, Emma, now the last Reflection make,
468 What Thou would'st follow, what Thou must forsake:
469 By our ill-omen'd Stars, and adverse Heav'n,
470 No middle Object to thy Choice is given.
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471 Or yield thy Virtue, to attain thy Love;
472 Or leave a banish'd Man, condemn'd in Woods to rove.
473 O Grief of Heart! that our unhappy Fates
474 Force Thee to suffer what thy Honor hates:
475 Mix Thee amongst the Bad; or make Thee run
476 Too near the Paths, which Virtue bids Thee shun.
477 Yet with her Henry still let Emma go;
478 With Him abhor the Vice, but share the Woe:
479 And sure My little Heart can never err
480 Amidst the worst; if Henry still be there.
481 Our outward Act is prompted from within;
482 And from the Sinner's Mind proceeds the Sin:
483 By her own Choice free Virtue is approv'd;
484 Nor by the Force of outward Objects mov'd.
485 Who has assay'd no Danger, gains no Praise.
486 In a small Isle, amidst the widest Seas,
487 Triumphant Constancy has fix'd her Seat:
488 In vain the Syrens sing, the Tempests beat:
489 Their Flatt'ry She rejects, nor fears their Threat.
490 For Thee alone these little Charms I drest;
491 Condemn'd them, or absolv'd them by thy Test.
492 In comely Figure rang'd, my Jewels shone,
493 Or negligently plac'd, for Thee alone:
494 For Thee again they shall be laid aside:
495 The Woman, Henry, shall put off her Pride
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496 For Thee: my Cloaths, my Sex exchang'd for Thee,
497 I'll mingle with the People's wretched Lee;
498 O Line extream of human Infamy!
499 Wanting the Scissors, with these Hands I'll tear
500 (If that obstructs my Flight) this load of Hair.
501 Black Soot, or yellow Walnut shall disgrace
502 This little Red and White of Emma's Face.
503 These Nails with Scratches shall deform my Breast,
504 Lest by my Look, or Color be express'd
505 The Mark of ought High-born, or ever better dress'd.
506 Yet in this Commerce, under this Disguise,
507 Let Me be grateful still to Henry's Eyes.
508 Lost to the World, let Me to Him be known:
509 My Fate I can absolve; if He shall own,
510 That leaving all Mankind, I love but Him alone.
511 O wildest Thought of an abandon'd Mind!
512 Name, Habit, Parents, Woman left behind,
513 Ev'n Honor dubious, Thou preferr'st to go
514 Wild to the Woods with Me: Said Emma so?
515 Or did I dream what Emma never said?
516 O guilty Error! and O wretched Maid!
517 Whose roving Fancy would resolve the same
518 With Him, who next should tempt her easie Fame;
519 And blow with empty Words the susceptible Flame.
520 Now why should doubtful Terms thy Mind perplex?
521 Confess thy Frailty, and avow the Sex:
522 No longer loose Desire for constant Love
523 Mistake; but say, 'tis Man, with whom Thou long'st to rove.
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524 Are there not Poisons, Racks, and Flames, and Swords;
525 That Emma thus must die by Henry's Words?
526 Yet what could Swords or Poison, Racks or Flame,
527 But mangle and disjoint this brittle Frame?
528 More fatal Henry's Words; they murder Emma's Fame.
529 And fall these Sayings from that gentle Tongue,
530 Where civil Speech, and soft Persuasion hung;
531 Whose artful Sweetness and harmonious Strain,
532 Courting my Grace, yet courting it in vain,
533 Call'd Sighs, and Tears, and Wishes to it's Aid;
534 And, whilst it Henry's glowing Flame convey'd,
535 Still blam'd the Coldness of the Nut-brown Maid?
536 Let envious Jealousie, and canker'd Spight
537 Produce my Action to severest Light,
538 And tax my open Day, or secret Night.
539 Did e'er my Tongue speak my unguarded Heart
540 The least inclin'd to play the Wanton's Part?
541 Did e'er my Eye One inward Thought reveal,
542 Which Angels might not hear, and Virgins tell?
543 And hast Thou, Henry, in my Conduct known
544 One Fault, but That which I must ever own,
545 That I, of all Mankind, have lov'd but Thee alone?
546 Vainly thou talk'st of loving Me alone:
547 Each Man is Man; and all Our Sex is One.
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548 False are our Words; and fickle is our Mind:
549 Nor in Love's Ritual can We ever find
550 Vows made to last, or Promises to bind.
551 By Nature prompted, and for Empire made,
552 Alike by Strength or Cunning We invade:
553 When arm'd with Rage We march against the Foe;
554 We lift the Battel-Ax, and draw the Bow:
555 When fir'd with Passion We attack the Fair;
556 Delusive Sighs and brittle Vows We bear:
557 Our Falshood and our Arms have equal Use;
558 As they our Conquest, or Delight produce.
559 The foolish Heart Thou gav'st, again receive,
560 The only Boon departing Love can give.
561 To be less Wretched, be no longer True:
562 What strives to fly Thee, why should'st Thou pursue?
563 Forget the Present Flame, indulge a New.
564 Single the loveliest of the am'rous Youth;
565 Ask for his Vow; but hope not for his Truth.
566 The next Man (and the next Thou shalt believe)
567 Will pawn his Gods, intending to deceive;
568 Will kneel, implore, persist, o'ercome, and leave.
569 Hence let Thy Cupid aim his Arrows right;
570 Be Wise and False, shun Trouble, seek Delight,
571 Change Thou the first, nor wait Thy Lover's Flight.
572 Why should'st Thou weep? let Nature judge our Case:
573 I saw Thee Young, and Fair; pursu'd the Chase
[Page 237]
574 Of Youth, and Beauty: I another saw
575 Fairer, and Younger: yielding to the Law
576 Of our all-ruling Mother, I pursu'd
577 More Youth, more Beauty: Blest Vicissitude!
578 My active Heart still keeps it's pristine Flame;
579 The Object alter'd, the Desire the same.
580 This Younger Fairer pleads her rightful Charms:
581 With present Power compels me to her Arms.
582 And much I fear, from my subjected Mind
583 (If Beauty's Force to constant Love can bind)
584 That Years may roll, e'er in Her turn the Maid
585 Shall weep the Fury of my Love decay'd;
586 And weeping follow Me, as Thou dost now,
587 With idle Clamours of a broken Vow.
588 Nor can the wildness of thy Wishes err
589 So wide, to hope that Thou may'st live with Her.
590 Love, well Thou know'st, no Partnership allows:
591 Cupid averse rejects divided Vows.
592 Then from thy foolish Heart, vain Maid, remove
593 A useless Sorrow, and an ill-starr'd Love;
594 And leave me, with the Fair, at large in Woods to rove.
595 Are we in Life thro' one great Error led?
596 Is each Man perjur'd, and each Nymph betray'd?
597 Of the Superior Sex art Thou the worst?
598 Am I of Mine the most compleatly Curst?
[Page 238]
599 Yet let me go with Thee; and going prove,
600 From what I will endure, how much I love.
601 This potent Beauty, this Triumphant Fair,
602 This happy Object of our diff'rent Care,
603 Her let me follow; Her let me attend,
604 A Servant: (She may scorn the Name of Friend.)
605 What She demands, incessant I'll prepare:
606 I'll weave Her Garlands; and I'll pleat Her Hair:
607 My busie Diligence shall deck Her Board;
608 (For there, at least, I may approach my Lord.)
609 And when Her Henry's softer Hours advise
610 His Servant's Absence; with dejected Eyes
611 Far I'll recede, and Sighs forbid to rise.
612 Yet when encreasing Grief brings slow Disease;
613 And ebbing Life, on Terms severe as these,
614 Will have it's little Lamp no longer fed;
615 When Henry's Mistress shows him Emma dead;
616 Rescue my poor Remains from vile Neglect:
617 With Virgin Honors let my Herse be deckt,
618 And decent Emblem; and at least persuade
619 This happy Nymph, that Emma may be laid,
620 Where Thou, dear Author of my Death, where She
621 With frequent Eye my Sepulchre may see.
622 The Nymph amidst her Joys may haply breath
623 One pious Sigh, reflecting on my Death,
624 And the sad Fate which She may one Day prove,
625 Who hopes from Henry's Vows Eternal Love.
[Page 239]
626 And Thou forsworn, Thou cruel, as Thou art,
627 If Emma's Image ever touch'd thy Heart;
628 Thou sure must give one Thought, and drop one Tear
629 To Her, whom Love abandon'd to Despair;
630 To Her, who dying, on the wounded Stone
631 Bid it in lasting Characters be known,
632 That, of Mankind, She lov'd but Thee alone.
633 Hear, solemn Jove; and, conscious Venus, hear;
634 And Thou, bright Maid, believe Me, whilst I swear;
635 No Time, no Change, no future Flame shall move
636 The well-plac'd Basis of my lasting Love.
637 O Powerful Virtue! O Victorious Fair!
638 At least excuse a Tryal too severe:
639 Receive the Triumph, and forget the War.
640 No banish'd Man, condemn'd in Woods to rove,
641 Intreats thy Pardon, and implores thy Love:
642 No perjur'd Knight desires to quit thy Arms,
643 Fairest Collection of thy Sexe's Charms,
644 Crown of my Love, and Honor of my Youth:
645 Henry, thy Henry with Eternal Truth,
646 As Thou may'st wish, shall all his Life imploy,
647 And found his Glory in his Emma's Joy.
648 In Me behold the Potent Edgar's Heir,
649 Illustrious Earl: Him terrible in War
650 Let Loyre confess; for She has felt His Sword,
651 And trembling fled before the British Lord.
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652 Him great in Peace and Wealth fair Deva knows;
653 For she amidst his spacious Meadows flows;
654 Inclines her Urn upon his fatten'd Lands;
655 And sees his num'rous Herd imprint her Sands.
656 And Thou, my Fair, my Dove, shalt raise thy Thought
657 To Greatness next to Empire; shalt be brought
658 With solemn Pomp to my Paternal Seat;
659 Where Peace and Plenty on Thy Word shall wait.
660 Music and Song shall wake the Marriage-Day:
661 And while the Priests accuse the Bride's Delay;
662 Myrtles and Roses shall obstruct Her Way.
663 Friendship shall still Thy Evening Feasts adorn;
664 And blooming Peace shall ever bless Thy Morn.
665 Succeeding Years their happy Race shall run;
666 And Age unheeded by Delight come on;
667 While yet Superior Love shall mock his Pow'r:
668 And when old Time shall turn the fated Hour,
669 Which only can our well-ty'd Knot unfold,
670 What rests of Both, One Sepulchre shall hold.
671 Hence then, for ever, from my Emma's Breast
672 (That Heav'n of Softness, and that Seat of Rest)
673 Ye Doubts and Fears, and All that know to move
674 Tormenting Grief, and All that trouble Love,
675 Scatter'd by Winds recede, and wild in Forests rove.
676 O Day the fairest sure that ever rose!
677 Period and End of anxious Emma's Woes!
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678 Sire of her Joy, and Source of her Delight;
679 O! wing'd with Pleasure take thy happy Flight,
680 And give each future Morn a Tincture of thy White.
681 Yet tell thy Votary, potent Queen of Love,
682 Henry, my Henry, will He never rove?
683 Will He be ever Kind, and Just, and Good?
684 And is there yet no Mistress in the Wood?
685 None, none there is: The Thought was rash and vain;
686 A false Idea, and a fancy'd Pain.
687 Doubt shall for ever quit my strengthen'd Heart,
688 And anxious Jealousie's corroding Smart;
689 Nor other Inmate shall inhabit there,
690 But soft Belief, young Joy, and pleasing Care.
691 Hence let the Tides of Plenty ebb and flow,
692 And Fortune's various Gale unheeded blow.
693 If at my Feet the Suppliant Goddess stands,
694 And sheds her Treasure with unweary'd Hands;
695 Her present Favor cautious I'll embrace,
696 And not unthankful use the proffer'd Grace:
697 If She reclaims the Temporary Boon,
698 And tries her Pinions, flutt'ring to be gone;
699 Secure of Mind I'll obviate her Intent,
700 And unconcern'd return the Goods She lent.
701 Nor Happiness can I, nor Misery feel,
702 From any Turn of her Fantastic Wheel:
703 Friendship's great Laws, and Love's superior Pow'rs
704 Must mark the Colour of my future Hours.
705 From the Events which Thy Commands create
706 I must my Blessings or my Sorrows date;
707 And Henry's Will must dictate Emma's Fate.
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708 Yet while with close Delight and inward Pride
709 (Which from the World my careful Soul shall hide)
710 I see Thee, Lord and End of my Desire,
711 Exalted high as Virtue can require;
712 With Pow'r invested, and with Pleasure chear'd;
713 Sought by the Good, by the Oppressor fear'd;
714 Loaded and blest with all the affluent Store,
715 Which human Vows at smoaking Shrines implore;
716 Grateful and humble grant Me to employ
717 My Life, subservient only to thy Joy;
718 And at my Death to bless thy Kindness shown
719 To Her, who of Mankind could love but Thee alone.
720 While thus the constant Pair alternate said,
721 Joyful above them and around them play'd
722 Angels and sportive Loves, a numerous Crowd;
723 Smiling They clapt their Wings, and low They bow'd:
724 They tumbled all their little Quivers o'er,
725 To chuse propitious Shafts; a precious Store:
726 That when their God should take his future Darts,
727 To strike (however rarely) constant Hearts,
728 His happy Skill might proper Arms imploy,
729 All tipt with Pleasure, and all wing'd with Joy:
730 And Those, They vow'd, whose Lives should imitate
731 These Lovers Constancy, should share their Fate.
732 The Queen of Beauty stop'd her bridled Doves;
733 Approv'd the little Labour of the Loves;
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734 Was proud and pleas'd the mutual Vow to hear;
735 And to the Triumph call'd the God of War:
736 Soon as She calls, the God is always near.
737 Now Mars, she said, let Fame exalt her Voice;
738 Nor let thy Conquests only be her Choice:
739 But when She sings great Edward from the Field
740 Return'd, the Hostile Spear and Captive Shield
741 In Concord's Temple hung, and Gallia taught to yield.
742 And when, as prudent Saturn shall compleat
743 The Years design'd to perfect Britain's State,
744 The swift-wing'd Power shall take her Trump again,
745 To sing Her Fav'rite Anna's wond'rous Reign;
746 To recollect unweary'd Marlbrô's Toils,
747 Old Rufus' Hall unequal to his Spoils;
748 The British Soldier from his high Command
749 Glorious, and Gaul thrice Vanquish'd by his Hand:
750 Let Her at least perform what I desire;
751 With second Breath the Vocal Brass inspire:
752 And tell the Nations in no Vulgar Strain,
753 What Wars I manage, and what Wreaths I gain.
754 And when Thy Tumults and Thy Fights are past,
755 And when Thy Lawrels at my Feet are cast;
756 Faithful may'st Thou like British Henry prove,
757 And Emma-like let me return Thy Love.
758 Renown'd for Truth let all Thy Sons appear;
759 And constant Beauty shall reward their Care.
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760 Mars smil'd, and bow'd; the Cyprian Deity
761 Turn'd to the glorious Ruler of the Sky:
762 And Thou, She smiling said, Great God of Days
763 And Verse, behold my Deed; and sing my Praise.
764 As on the British Earth, my Fav'rite Isle,
765 Thy gentle Rays and kindest Influence smile,
766 Thro' all her laughing Fields and verdant Groves,
767 Proclaim with Joy these memorable Loves.
768 From ev'ry annual Course let One great Day,
769 To celebrated Sports and Floral Play
770 Be set aside; and, in the softest Lays
771 Of Thy Poetic Sons, be solemn Praise,
772 And everlasting Marks of Honour paid,
773 To the true Lover, and the Nut-brown Maid.


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Title (in Source Edition): HENRY and EMMA, A POEM, Upon the Model of The Nut-brown Maid. To CLOE.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: narrative verse

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Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. 215-244. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. 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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