An Epistle to Delia.
1 As those, who hope hereafter Heaven to share,
2 A rig'rous Exile here, can calmly bear;
3 And with collected Spirits undergo
4 The sad variety of Pain below:
5 Yet with intense Reflections antedate,
6 The mighty Raptures of a future State:
7 While the bright Prospect of approaching Joy,
8 Creates a Bliss no Trouble can destroy. [Page 43]
9 So, tho' I'm toss'd by giddy Fortunes Hand,
10 Ev'n to the Confines of my native Land;
11 Where I can hear the stormy Ocean roar,
12 And break its Waves upon the foaming Shore:
13 Tho' from my Delia banish'd, all that's dear,
14 That's good, or beautiful, or charming here;
15 Yet flatt'ring Hopes encourage me to live,
16 And tell me Fate will kinder Minutes give.
17 That the dark Treasury of Time contains
18 A glorious Day, will finish all my Pains;
19 And while I contemplate on Joys to come,
20 My Griefs are silent, and my Sorrows dumb.
21 Believe me, Nymph, believe me charming Fair,
22 (When Truth's conspicuous, we need not swear;
23 Oaths would suppose a diffidence in you,
24 That I am false, my Flame fictitious too,)
25 Were I condemn'd by Fate's imperial Pow'r,
26 Ne'er to return to your Embraces more,
27 I'd scorn whate'er the busy World could give,
28 'Twould be the worst of Miseries to live:
29 For all my Wishes, and Desires pursue,
30 All I admire, or covet here, is you.
31 Were I possess'd of your surprizing Charms,
32 And lodg'd again within my Delia's Arms,
33 Then would my Joys ascend to that degree,
34 Could Angels envy, they would envy me.
35 Oft as I wander in a silent Shade,
36 When bold Vexation would my Soul invade,[Page 44]
37 I banish the rough Thought, and none pursue,
38 But what inclines my willing Mind to you.
39 The soft Reflections on your sacred Love,
40 Like Sov'reign Antidotes, all Cares remove;
41 Composing ev'ry Faculty to rest,
42 They leave a grateful Flavour in my Breast.
43 Retir'd sometimes into a lonely Grove,
44 I think o'er all the Stories of our Love.
45 What mighty Pleasure have I oft possess'd,
46 When in a Masculine Embrace I prest,
47 The lovely Delia to my heaving Breast?
48 Then I remember, and with vast delight,
49 The kind Expressions of the parting Night:
50 Methought, the Sun too quick return'd again,
51 And Day was ne'er impertinent till then.
52 Strong and contracted was our eager Bliss,
53 An Age's Pleasure in each generous Kiss;
54 Years of delight, in moments we compriz'd,
55 And Heaven it self was there epitomiz'd.
56 But when the Glories of the eastern Light,
57 O'erflow'd the twinkling Tapers of the Night,
58 Farewel my Delia, O farewel, said I,
59 The utmost Period of my time is nigh:
60 Too cruel Fate forbids my longer stay,
61 And wretched Strephon is compell'd away.
62 But tho' I must my native Plains forego,
63 Forsake these Fields, forsake my Delia too,[Page 45]
64 No change of Fortune shall for ever move,
65 The settled Base of my immortal Love.
66 And must my Strephon, must my faithful Swain,
67 Be forc'd, you cry'd, to a remoter Plain!
68 The Darling of my Soul so soon remov'd?
69 The only valu'd, and the best belov'd.
70 Tho' other Swains to me themselves address'd,
71 Strephon was still distinguish'd from the rest:
72 Flat and insipid all their Courtship seem'd,
73 Little themselves, their Passions less esteem'd.
74 For my aversion with their Flames increas'd,
75 And none but Strephon partial Delia pleas'd.
76 Tho' I'm depriv'd of my kind Shepherd's sight,
77 Joy of the Day, and Blessing of the Night;
78 Yet will you Strephon, will you love me still?
79 However flatter me, and say you will.
80 For should you entertain a Rival Love,
81 Should you unkind to me, or faithless prove,
82 No Mortal e'er could half so wretched be,
83 For sure no Mortal ever lov'd like me.
84 Your Beauty, Nymph, said I, my Faith secures;
85 Those you once conquer, must be always yours:
86 For Hearts subdu'd by your victorious Eyes,
87 No Force can storm, no Stratagem surprize,
88 Nor can I of Captivity complain,
89 While lovely Delia holds the glorious Chain.
90 The Cyprian Queen in young Adonis' Arms,
91 Might fear, at last he would despise her Charms. [Page 46]
92 But I can never such a Monster prove,
93 To slight the Blessings of my Delia's Love.
94 Would those, who at Celestial Tables sit,
95 Blest with immortal Wine, immortal Wit:
96 Chuse to descend to some inferior Board,
97 Which nought but Stum, and Nonsense, can afford?
98 Nor can I e'er to those gay Nymphs address,
99 Whose Pride is greater, and whose Charms are less.
100 Their Tinsel Beauty may perhaps subdue
101 A gaudy Coxcomb, or a fulsom Beau;
102 But seem at best indifferent to me,
103 Who none but you with admiration see.
104 Now would the rowling Orbs obey my Will,
105 I'd make the Sun a second time stand still;
106 And to the lower World their Light repay,
107 When conqu'ring Joshua robb'd 'em of a Day,
108 Tho' our two Souls would diff'rent Passions prove,
109 His was a Thirst of Glory, mine is Love.
110 It will not be; the Sun makes haste to rise,
111 And takes Possession of the Eastern Skies:
112 Yet one Kiss more, tho' Millions are too few,
113 And Delia since we must, must part, Adieu.
114 As Adam by an injur'd Maker driven
115 From Eden's Groves, the Visinage of Heaven;
116 Compell'd to wander, and oblig'd to bear
117 The harsh Impressions of a ruder Air,
118 With mighty Sorrow, and with weeping Eyes,
119 Look'd back, and mourn'd the loss of Paradise. [Page 47]
120 With a concern like his, did I review
121 My native Plains, my charming Delia too;
122 For I left Paradise in leaving you.
123 If, as I walk, a pleasant Shade I find,
124 It brings your fair Idea to my Mind.
125 Such was the happy place, I sighing say;
126 Where I, and Delia, lovely Delia lay;
127 When first I did my tender Thoughts impart.
128 And made a grateful Present of my Heart.
129 Or if my Friend in his Apartment, shows
130 Some Piece of Vandyke's, or of Angelo's;
131 In which the Artist has with wond'rous Care,
132 Describ'd the Face of one exceeding fair;
133 Tho', at first sight, it may my Passion raise,
134 And ev'ry Feature I admire, and praise;
135 Yet still, methinks, upon a second View,
136 'Tis not so beautiful, so fair as you,
137 If I converse with those, whom most admit,
138 To have a ready, gay, vivacious Wit,
139 They want some amiable, moving Grace,
140 Some Turn of Fancy that my Delia has.
141 For ten good Thoughts, amongst the Crowd they vent,
142 Methinks ten Thousand are impertinant.
143 Let other Shepherds, that are prone to range,
144 With each Caprice, their giddy Humours change.
145 They from variety less Joys receive,
146 Than you alone are capable to give.
147 Nor will I envy those ill-judging Swains,
148 What they enjoy's the refuse of the Plains;[Page 48]
149 If for my share of Happiness below,
150 Kind Heaven upon me, Delia would bestow:
151 Whatever Blessings it can give beside,
152 Let all Mankind among themselves divide.