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Nor he, I trust, will bear them long,
But choose an arrow sure and strong ;
The shaft thy stubborn heart shall gore,
And thou in turn my love implore.”
“ That dreadful lot far distant be,"
She cried affectedly, " from me!
Go on, vain youth, persist to please
Your pride with such conceits as these;
And wait till your superior beauty
Compels my love-sick heart to sue t'ye;
And till avenging Cupid draws
His bow, to vanquish in your cause.
Meantime, still haunt my court in vain,
And chaunt, and watch, and chaunt again :
On Love's tempestuous billows tost,
Too weak to keep or quit your post;
Forbidden aught to touch that's mine,
And left with hopeless cares to pine,
And not a kiss your
repayYet have not strength to get away.”
EPISTLE XXVIII.* THE RIVAL FRIENDS.
NICOSTRATUS TO TIMOCRATES.
TYRANT o' the heart ! inconstant, faithless boy !
Source of these tears-- as once dear source of joy !
Inhuman trifler! whose delusive smile
Charms to ensnare, and soothes but to beguile-
Hence ! tyrant, I renounce thy sway.—And thou,
False goddess, who prepar'st the stripling's bow,
Whose skill marks out the soft, the yielding heart,
Guides the boy's arm, and barbs the madd’ning dart,-
Thou shalt no more my midnight vows receive,
To thee no more the votive fruits I'll give,
No more for thee the festive altar raise,
Nor ever tune another note of praise.
This I have done.-Witness, each sacred grove !
Where wand'ring lovers sing the maid they love;
Ye awful fanes ! to this false goddess raised,
Fanes that have oft with my free incense blazed ;
Epistle XXVIII.] From a lover, resigning his mistress to his friend
And chiefly thou, sweet solitary bird,
Bear witness to my vows, --for thou hast heard ;
And many a night hast braved the dewy wind,
To soothe, with thy soft notes, my pensive mind :
But when the churlish blast has hush'd thy lays,
Have I not filled the interval with praise
With praise still varied to the Cyprian queen,
And sighs, the heart's best tribute, breathed between ;
Till slumb'ring Echo started from her cave,
Admiring at the late response she gave;
And thou, best warbler of the feather'd throng,
With double sweetness didst renew thy song.
-Nor were ye slow, ye gentle gales of night,
To catch such notes, and stop your silent flight,
Till on your dewy wings, with morrow's
rays, To Cypria's queen ye waft the song of praise.
-In vain ! officious gales ;-she heeds you not;
My vows are scorn'd, and all my gifts forgot :
A happier rival must her power defend ;-
And in that rival I have lost a friend !
Thee, then, my friend—if yet a wretch may claim A last attention by that once dear name Thee I address :-the cause you must approve; I yield you-what I cannot cease to love. Be thine the blissful lot, the nymph be thine : I yield my love-sure friendship may be mine. Yet must no thought of me torment thy breast ;Forget me, if my griefs disturb thy rest, Whilst still I'll pray that thou may'st never know The pangs of baffled love, or feel my woe. But sure to thee, dear charming-fatal maid ! (For me thou'st charm’d, and me thou hast betray'd,) This last request I need not recommendForget the lover thou, as he the friend. Bootless such charge! for ne'er did pity move A heart that mock'd the suit of humble love.Yet in some thoughtful hour, if such can be Where Love, Timocrates, is join'd with thee, In some lone pause of joy, when pleasure's pall, And fancy broods o'er joys it can't recall, Haply a thought of me, (for thou, my friend, May'st then have taught thy stubborn heart to bend) A thought of him, whose passion was not weak, May dash one ransient blush upon her cheek;
Haply a tear-(for I shall surely then
Be past all power to raise her scorn again)
Haply, I say, one self-dried tear may fall :
One tear she'll give,-for whom I yielded all !
Then wanton on thy neck for comfort hang,
And soon forget the momentary pang ;
Whilst thy fond arms—Oh down, my jealous soul !
What racking thoughts within my bosom roll!
How busy fancy kindles every vein,
Tears my burst heart, and fires my madd’ning brain. -
Hush'd be the ill-timed storm-for what hast thou,
Poor outcast wretch, to do with passion now?
I will be calm ;—'tis Reason's voice commands,
And injured Friendship shakes her recent bands.
I will be calm ;-but thou, sweet peace of mind,
That rock'd my pillow to the whistling wind;
Thou flatt'rer, Hope ! thyself a cure for sorrow,
Who never show'd'st the wretch a sad to-morrow,
Thou coz'ner, ever whisp’ring at my ear
What vanity was ever pleased to hear
Whither, ye faithless phantoms, whither flown !
-Alas! these tears bear witness ye are gone.
Return !-In vain the call ! ye cannot find
One blissful seat within the sullen mind;
Ye cannot mix with Pride and Surly Care ;
Ye cannot brood with Envy and Despair.
My life has lost its aim ! that fatal fair
Was all its object, all its hope or care ;
She was the goal to which my course was bent,
Where every wish, where every thought was sent ;
A secret influence darted from her eyes,-
Each look, attraction, and herself the prize.
Concentred there, I lived for her alone,-
To make her glad, and to be blest, was one.
Her I have lost !-and can I blame this poor
Forsaken heart-sad heart that joys no more !
That faintly beats against my aching breast,
Conscious it wants the animating guest :
Then senseless droops, nor yields a sign of pain,
Save the sad sigh it breathes, to search in vain.
Adieu, my friend, --nor blame this sad adieu, -
Though sorrow guides my pen, it blames not you.
Forget me—'tis my prayer; nor seek to know
The fate of him whose portion must be woe,
Till the cold earth outstretch her friendly arms,
And Death convince me that he can have charms.
E'en when I write, with desert views around,
An emblem of my state has sorrow found :
I saw a little stream full briskly glide,
Whilst some near spring renewd its infant tide ;
But when a churlish hand disturb'd its source,
How soon the panting riv'let flagg'd its course !
Awhile it skulk'd sad murm’ring
through the grass, Whilst whisp'ring rushes mock'd its lazy pace; Then sunk its head, by the first hillock's side, And sought the covert earth, it once supplied
VERSES TO THE MEMORY OF GARRICK,
SPOKEN AS A MONODY, AT THE THEATRE ROYAL IN DRURY LANE.
To the right honourable Countess SPENCER, whose approbation and esteem was justly considered by MR. GARRICK as the highest panegyric his talents or conduct could acquire, this imperfect tribute to his memory is, with great deference, inscribed by her ladyship's most obedient humble servant, March 25th, 1779.
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN, IF dying excellence deserves a tear, If fond remembrance still is cherished here, Can we persist to bid your sorrows flow For fabled suft'rers and delusive woe? Or with quaint smiles dismiss the plaintive strain, Point the quick jest-indulge the comic veinEre yet to buried Roscius we assign One kind regret-one tributary line !
His fame requires we act a tenderer part :
His memory claims the tear you gave his art !
The general voice, the meed of mournsul verse,
The splendid sorrows that adorn'd his hearse,
The throng that mourn’d as their dead favourite passed,
The graced respect that claim'd him to the last,
While Shakespeare's image from its hallow'd base
Seem'd to prescribe the grave, and point the place,
Nor these,—nor all the sad regrets that flow
From fond fidelity's domestic woe,-
So much are Garrick's praise—so much his due-
As on this spot-one tear bestow'd by you.
Amid the hearts which seek ingenious fame,
Our toil attempts the most precarious claim !
To him whose mimic pencil wins the prize,
Obedient Fame immortal wreaths supplies :
Whate'er of wonder Reynolds now may raise,
Raphael still boasts contemporary praise :