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And broken splendour. Dost thou ask his crime?
FOR THE BANKS OF The HAMPSHIRE Avon.
A little while, O traveller, linger here,
UNDER AN oAk.
Here, Traveller! pause awhile. This ancient Oak
Hark to the warblings of some wretched bird
INSCRIPTION FOR A MONUMENT AT old SARUMr.
READER, if thou canst boast the noble name
Time and the world, whose magnitude and weight
. On yon wild waste of ruin thron'd, what form
Ah! fly her dreadful reign, For desolation rules o'er all the lifeless plain; For deadliest nightshade forms her secret bower; For oft the ill-omen'd owl Yells loud the dreadful howl, And the night spectres shriek amid the midnight hour.
Pale spectre, Grief: thy dull abodes I know,
I know the dreadful force of woe,
There never may the pensive pilgrim go, Nor future minstrel drop the tear of woe, For all would fail to wake the slumbering earth below.
Be mine, whilst journeying life's rough road along O'er hill and dale the wandering bard shall go, To hail the hour of pleasure with the song, Or soothe with sorrowing strains the hour of woe; The song each passing moment shall beguile; Perchance too, partial friendship deigns to smile: Let fame reject the lay, I sleep secure the while.
Be mine to taste the humbler joys of life, Lull'd in oblivion's lap to wear away, And flee from grandeur's scenes of vice and strife, And flee from fickle fashion's empty sway: Be mine, in age's drooping hour, to see The lisping children climb their grandsire's knee, And train the future race to live and act like me.
Then, when the inexorable hour shall come To tell my death, let no deep requiem toll, No hireling sexton dig the venal tomb, Nor priest be paid to hymn my parted soul; But let my children, near their little cot, Lay my old bones beneath the turfy spot: So let me live unknown, so let me die forgot,
ROSAMUND TO HENRY. WRITTEN AFTER she had TAKEN THE Weil.
HENRY, "t is past! each painful effort o'er, Thy love, thy Rosa MUND, exists no more: She lives, but lives no longer now for you; Slue writes, but writes to bid the last adieu.
Why bursts the big tear from my guilty eye? Why heaves my love-lorn breast the impious sigh: Down, bosom down, and learn to heave in prayer; Flow, flow, my tears, and wash away despair: Ah, no' still, still the lurking sin I see, My heart will heave, my tears will fall for thee. Yes, HENRY through the vestal's guilty veins, With burning sway the furious passion reigns; For thee, seducer, still the tear will fall, And Love torment in Godstow's hallow’d wall.
Yet virtue from her deathlike sleep awakes, Remorse comes on, and rears her whip of snakes. Ah, HENRY' fled are all those fatal charms That led their victim to the monarch's arms; No more responsive to the evening air In wanton ringlets waves my golden hair; No more amid the dance my footsteps move, No more the languid eye dissolves with love; Fades on the cheek of Rosa Mund the rose, And penitence awakes from sin's repose.
Harlot! adultress! HENRY can I bear Such aggravated guilt, such full despair! By me the marriage-bed defil'd, by me The laws of heaven forsook, defied for thee! Dishonour fix'd on Clifford's ancient name, A father sinking to the grave with shame;
These are the crimes that harrow up my heart,
Yes, even here amid the sacred pile, The echoing cloister, and the long-drawn aisle; Even here, when pausing on the silent air, The midnight bell awakes and calls to prayer; As on the stone I bend my clay-cold knee, Love heaves the sigh, and drops the tear for thee: All day the penitent but wakes to weep, Till nature and the woman sink in sleep; Nightly to thee the guilty dreams repair, And morning wakes to sorrow and despair! Lov'd of my heart, the conflict soon must cease, Soon must this harrow'd bosom rest in peace; Soon must it heave the last soul-rending breath, And sink to slumber in the arms of death.
To slumber! oh, that I might slumber there! Oh, that that dreadful thought might lull despair! That death's chill dews might quench this vital flame, And life lie mouldering with this lifeless frame! Then would I strike with joy the friendly blow, Then rush to mingle with the dead below. Oh, agonizing hour ! when round my head Dark-browd despair his shadowing wings shall spread; When conscience from herself shall seek to fly, And, loathing life, still more shall loath to die! Already vengeance lifts his iron rod, Already conscience sees an angry God! No virtue now to shield my soul I boast, No hope protects, for innocence is lost!
Oh, I was cheerful as the lark, whose lay Trills through the ether, and awakes the day! Mine was the heartfelt smile, when earliest light Shot through the fading curtain of the night; Mine was the peaceful heart, the modest eye That met the glance, or turn'd it knew not why. At evening hour I struck the melting lyre, Whilst partial wonder sill'd my doating sire, Till he would press me to his aged breast, And cry, “My child, in thee my age is blest! Oh! may kind heaven protract my span of life To see my lovely Rosamund a wife; To view her children climb their grandsire's knee, To see her husband love, and love like me! Then, gracious heaven, decree old Clifford's end, Let his grey hairs in peace to death descend.”
The dreams of bliss are vanish'd from his view, The buds of hope are blasted all by you; Thy child, O Cliffoad bears a mother's name, A mother's anguish, and a harlot's shame; Even when her darling children climb her knee, Feels the full force of guilt and infamy! Wretch, most unhappy! thus condemn'd to know, Even in her dearest bliss, her keenest woe— Curst be this form, accurst these fatal charms That buried virtue in seduction's arms; Or rather curst that sad, that fatal hour, When HENRY first beheld and felt their power; When my too partial brother's doating tongue On each perfection of a sister hung;
Told of the graceful form, the rose-red cheek,
Thine, HENRY, is the crime!’t is mine to bear The aggravated weight of full despair; To wear the day in woe, the night in tears, And pass in penitence the joyless years: Guiltless in ignorance, my love-led eyes Knew not the monarch in the knight's disguise; Fraught with deceit th' insidious monarch came To blast his faithful subject's spotless name; To pay each service of old Clifford's race With all the keenest anguish of disgrace! of love he talk'd; abash'd my down-cast eye Nor seem'd to seek, nor yet had power to sly; Still, as he urg'd his suit, his wily art Told not his rank till victor o'er my heart: Ah, known too late! in vain my reason strove, Fame, honour, reason, all were lost in love.
How heav'd thine artful breast the deep-drawn sight How spoke thy looks? how glow'd thine ardent eye? When skill'd in guile, that soft seductive tongue Talk'd of its truth, and Cliffond was undone. Oh, cursed hour of passion's maddening sway, Guilt which a life of tears must wash away! Gay as the morning lark no more I rose, No more each evening sunk to calm repose; No more in fearless innocence mine eye Or met the giance, or turn'd it knew not why; No more my fingers struck the trembling lyre, No more I ran with joy to meet my sire; But guilt's deep poison ran through every vein, But stern reflection claim'd his ruthless reign; Still vainly seeking from myself to sly, In anxious guilt I shunn'd each friendly eye; A thousand torments still my steps pursue, And guilt, still lovely, haunts my soul with you. Harlot, adultress, each detested name, Stamps everlasting blots on Cliffond's fame! How can this wretch prefer the prayer to heaven? How, self-condemn'd, expect to be forgiven?
And yet, fond Hope, with self-deluding art, Still sheds her opiate poison o'er my heart; Paints thee most wretched in domestic strife, Curst with a kingdom, and a royal wife; And vainly whispers comfort to my breast— « I curst myself that Ilenny might be blest.” Too fond deluder! impotent thy power To whisper comfort in the mournful hour; Weak, vain seducer, Hope! thy balmy breath To soothe Reflection on the bed of death; To calm stern Conscience self-afflicting care, Or ease the raging pangs of wild Despair.
Why, nature, didst thou give this fatal face? Why heap with charms to load me with disgrace? Why bid mine eyes two stars of beauty move? why form the melting soul too apt for love? Thy last best blessing meant, the feeling breast, Gave way to guilt, and poison'd all the rest: Now bound in sin's indissoluble chains, Fled are the charms, the guilt alone remains!
Oh! had fate plac'd amidst Earl Clifford's hall Of menial vassals, me most mean of all; Low in my hopes, and homely rude my face, Nor form, nor wishes, rais d above my place; How happy, Rosamund, had been thy lot, In peace to live unknown, and die forgot! Guilt had not then infix'd her piercing sting, Nor scorn revil'd the harlot of a king; Contempt had not revil'd my fallen fame, Nor infamy debas'd a Cliffond's name.
Oh, Clifford! oh! my sire! thy honours now Thy child has blasted on thine ancient brow; Fallen is that darling child from virtue's name, And thy grey hairs sink to the grave with shame? Still busy fancy bids the scene arise, Still paints the father to these wretched eyes. Methinks I see him now, with folded arms, Think of his child, and curse her fatal charms; Those charms, her ruin! that in happier days, With all a father's love, he lov'd to praise: Unkempt his hoary locks, his head hung low In all the silent energy of woe; Yet still the same kind parent, still all mild, He prays forgiveness for his sinful child. And yet I live! if this be life, to know The agonizing weight of hopeless woe: Thus far, remote from every friendly eye, To drop the tear, and heave the ceaseless sigh, Each dreadful pang remorse inflicts to prove, To weep and pray, yet still to weep and love: Scorn'd by the virgins of this holy dome, A living victim in the cloister'd tomb, To pray, though hopeless, justice should forgive, Scorn'd by inyself-if this be life—I live!
Oft will remembrance, in her painful hour, Cast the keen glance to Woodstock's lovely bower; Recal each sinful scene of bliss to view, And give the soul again to guilt and you. Oh! I have seen thee trace the bower around, And heard the forest echo Rosa Mux D ; Have seen thy frantic looks, thy wildering eye, Heard the deep groan and bosom-rending sigh'