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The Fortunate Complaint.

1 As Strephon in a wither'd Cypress Shade,
2 For anxious Thought, and sighing Lovers made
3 Revolving lay upon his wretched State,
4 And the hard Usage of too partial Fate;
5 Thus the sad Youth complain'd, once happy Swain
6 Now the most abject Shepherd of the Plain:
7 Where's that harmonious Consort of Delights,
8 Those peaceful Days, and pleasurable Nights;
9 That generous Mirth, and noble Jollity,
10 Which gayly made the Dancing Minutes flee?
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11 Dispers'd, and banish'd from my troubl'd Breast?
12 Nor leave me one short Interval of Rest.
13 Why do I prosecute a hopeless Flame,
14 And play in Torment, such a losing Game;
15 All things conspire to make my Ruin sure;
16 When Wounds are Mortal they admit no Cure.
17 But Heav'n sometimes does a mirac'lous thing,
18 When our last Hope is just upon the Wing;
19 And in a Moment drives those Clouds away,
20 Whose sullen Darkness hid a glorious Day.
21 Why was I born, or why do I survive,
22 To be made wretched only, kept alive?
23 Fate is too cruel in the harsh Decree,
24 That I must live, yet live in Misery.
25 Are all its pleasing happy Moments gone,
26 Must Strephon be unfortunate alone?
27 On other Swains it lavishly bestows;
28 On them each Nymph neglected Favour throws.
29 They meet Compliance still in ev'ry Face,
30 And lodge their Passions in a kind Embrace:
31 Obtaining from the soft incurious Maid
32 True Love for Counterfeit, and Gold for Lead.
33 Success on Mævius always does attend;
34 Inconstant Fortune, is his constant Friend:
35 He levels blindly, yet the Mark does hit,
36 And owes the Victory to Chance, not Wit.
37 But let him conquer e'er one Blow be struck;
38 I'd not be Mævius to have Maevius' Luck.
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39 Proud of my Fate, I would not change my Chains
40 For all the Trophies purring Maevius gains,
41 But rather still live Delia's Slave, than be
42 Like Maevius silly, and like Maevius free.
43 But he is happy; loves the common Road,
44 And, Pack-horse like, joggs on beneath his Load:
45 If Phyllis peevish, or unkind does prove,
46 It ne'er disturbs his grave mechanick Love.
47 A little Joy his languid Flame contents,
48 And makes him easy under all Events.
49 But when a Passion's noble and sublime,
50 And higher still would every Moment climb;
51 If 'tis accepted with a just Return,
52 The Fire's immortal, will for ever burn;
53 And with such Raptures fills the Lover's Breast,
54 That Saints in Paradise are scarce more blest.
55 But I lament my Miseries in vain,
56 For Delia hears me pityless, complain.
57 Suppose she pities, and believes me true;
58 What Satisfaction can from thence accrue,
59 Unless her Pity, makes her love me too?
60 Perhaps she loves, ('tis but perhaps, I fear,
61 For that's a Blessing can't be bought too dear,)
62 If she has Scruples that oppose her Will,
63 I must alas, be miserable still.
64 Tho' if she loves, those Scruples soon will fly
65 Before the Reas'nings of the Deity.
66 For where Love enters, he will rule alone,
67 And suffer no Copartner in his Throne:
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68 And those false Arguments, that would repel
69 His high Injunctions, teach us to rebel.
70 What Method can poor Strephon then propound,
71 To cure the Bleeding of his fatal Wound:
72 If she, who guided the vexatious Dart
73 Resolves to cherish and increase the Smart?
74 Go Youth, from these unhappy Plains remove,
75 Leave the Pursuit of unsuccessful Love;
76 Go, and to foreign Swains thy Griefs relate;
77 Tell 'em the Cruelty of frowning Fate:
78 Tell 'em the noble Charms of Delia's Mind,
79 Tell 'em how fair, but tell 'em how unkind.
80 And when few Years thou hast in Sorrow spent,
81 (For sure they cannot be of large Extent,)
82 In Prayers for her thou lov'st, resign thy Breath,
83 And bless the Minute gives thee Ease, and Death.
84 Here paus'd the Swain When Delia driving by
85 Her bleating Flocks to some fresh Pasture nigh,
86 By Love directed, did her Steps convey
87 Where Strephon, wrapt in silent Sorrows, lay.
88 As soon as he perceiv'd the beauteous Maid,
89 He rose to meet her, and thus, trembling, said.
90 When humble Suppliants would the Gods appease,
91 And in severe Afflictions beg for Ease;
92 With constant Importunity they sue,
93 And their Petitions ev'ry Day renew;
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94 Grow still more earnest as they are deny'd,
95 Nor one well-weigh'd Expedient leave untry'd,
96 Till Heav'n, those Blessings, they enjoy'd before,
97 Not only does return; but gives 'em more.
98 O, do not blame me, Delia! if I press
99 So much, and with Impatience, for Redress.
100 My pond'rous Griefs no Ease my Soul allow,
101 For they are next t'intolerable now;
102 How shall I then support 'em, when they grow
103 To an Excess, to a distracting Woe?
104 Since you're endow'd with a Celestial Mind,
105 Relieve like Heaven, and like the Gods be kind.
106 Did you perceive the Torments, I endure,
107 Which you first caus'd, and you alone can cure:
108 They would your Virgin Soul to Pity move;
109 And pity may at last be chang'd to Love.
110 Some Swains, I own, impose upon the Fair,
111 And lead th' incautious Maid into a Snare.
112 But let them suffer for their Perjury,
113 And do not punish others Crimes in me,
114 If there's so many of our Sex untrue;
115 Yours should more kindly use the faithful few
116 Tho' Innocence too oft incurs the Fate
117 Of Guilt, and clears it self sometimes too late.
118 Your Nature is to Tenderness inclin'd;
119 And why to me, to me alone unkind?
120 A common Love, by other Persons shown,
121 Meets with a full Return, but mine has none:
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122 Nay scarce believ'd: tho' from Deceit as free,
123 As Angels Flames, can for Archangels be.
124 A Passion feign'd at no Repulse is griev'd;
125 And values little if it ben't receiv'd;
126 But Love sincere, resents the smallest Scorn,
127 And the Unkindness does in secret mourn.
128 Sometimes I please my self, and think you are
129 Too good, to make me wretched by Despair.
130 That Tenderness, which in your Soul is plac'd,
131 Will move you to Compassion sure at last.
132 But when I come to take a serious View
133 Of my own Merits, I despond of you,
134 For what can Delia, beauteous Delia see,
135 To raise in her the least Esteem of me?
136 I've nought that can encourage my Address,
137 My Fortune's little; and my Worth is less.
138 But if a Love of the sublimest Kind
139 Can make Impressions on a gen'rous Mind:
140 If all has real Value, that's Divine,
141 There cannot be a nobler Flame than mine.
142 Perhaps you pity me: I know you must,
143 And my Affection can no more distrust:
144 But what, Alas! will helpless Pity do?
145 You pity, but you may despise me too.
146 Still I am wretched, if no more you give,
147 The starving Orphan can't on Pity live,
148 He must receive the Food for which he cries,
149 Or he consumes; and tho' much pity'd, dies.
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150 My Torments still do with my Passion grow,
151 The more I love, the more I undergo.
152 But suffer me no longer to remain
153 Beneath the Pressures of so vast a Pain.
154 My Wound requires some speedy Remedy:
155 Delays are fatal, when Despair's so nigh.
156 Much I've endur'd, much more than I can tell;
157 Too much, indeed, for one that loves so well.
158 When will the end of all my Sorrows be?
159 Can you not love, I'm sure, you pity me?
160 But if I must new Miseries sustain,
161 And be condemn'd to more, and stronger Pain;
162 I'll not accuse you, since my Fate is such,
163 I please too little, and I love too much,
164 Strephon no more, the blushing Delia said,
165 Excuse the Conduct of a tim'rous Maid:
166 Now I'm convinc'd your Love's sublime and true,
167 Such as I always wish'd to find in you.
168 Each kind Expression, ev'ry tender Thought
169 A mighty Transport in my Bosom wrought:
170 And tho' in secret I your Flame approv'd,
171 I sigh'd and griev'd, but durst not own I lov'd;
172 Tho' now O Strephon: be so kind to guess,
173 What Shame will not allow me to confess.
174 The Youth encompass'd with a Joy so bright,
175 Had hardly Strength to bear the vast Delight;
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176 By too sublime an Extasy possest,
177 He trembled, gaz'd, and clasp'd her to his Breast:
178 Ador'd the Nymph that did his Pain remove,
179 Vow'd endless Truth, and everlasting Love.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The Fortunate Complaint.
Author: John Pomfret
Themes: love
Genres: heroic couplet

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Source edition

Pomfret, John, 1667-1702. Poems upon Several Occasions. By the Reverend Mr. John Pomfret [poems only]. The Sixth Edition, Corrected. With some Account Of his Life and Writings. To which are added, His Remains. London: printed for D. Brown without Temple Bar, J. Walthoe in the Temple Cloysters, A. Bettesworth, and E. Taylor, in Pater-Noster-Row, and J. Hooke in Fleetstreet, 1724, pp. 30-37. [12], 132, vi, 17p. (ESTC N21233)

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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.