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Let smiling love from wife or maiden try
575 With gifts to bend, what virtue would deny? To please the sex what lover will refusc, Or stop his ear when charming woman sues ? And oft, I fear, from some injurious cause, The fair are led t’intringe the nuptial laws : 580 Perchance, their beanly view'd with sated eye, They see their lords to foreizn beauties fly: Love claims return---what we to others give, We claim in equal measure to receive. Could I a statute frame, each guilty wife,
583 In sinful commerce found, should yield her life, Unless she cleuly to the world could prove, Her consort had indulg'd unlawful love; But this once prov'd, the dame absolv'd should be, From courts, and from her lord's resentment free: 590 For Christ has taught---" To others never do, That which yourselves would wish undone to you.” Yet still incontinence, if this we call Weak woman's crime is not the crime of all. But even in this our sex's guilt is most,
595 Since not a man of chastity can boast : All crimes are his, and crimes of deepest dye, Usurious griping, pillaye, blasphemy, And crimson murder ;---crimes, though rarely known To woman's sex, familiar to our own.
Ver. 591. For Christ has taught-.-] The custom of introducing religions aphorisms, or allusions to texts of scripture, in compositions even of the familiar kind, was common with the writers of the carly ages. Our Chancer abounds with such instances, and many may be found in Shakespeare; which passages were not then deemed exceptionable, nor, it is probable, gave offence to the nicest ear,
Here the just sage his weighty reasons clos’d; And many a fair example ha:l propos’d, Of virtuous dames; but with averted car The Paga king, who loaih'd thic tratli to hear, Aw'd him with threatening glance and brow severe. Yet while in dread the sige from speech refrain’d, 606 The truth unshaken in his soul remain'd.
The Sarzan prince here bade the contest cease, Then left the board, and hop'd to rest in peace Till dawn of diy: but all the sleepless night, 610 Ile mourn’d his changeful mistress' cruel flight; And thence departing with the morning ray, Resolv'd by ship to take his future way; Yet, like a champion, who with prudent hced O’erwatches all, attentive for his steed,
615 That steed so good, so fair, which late he bore, From Sacripant and from Rogero's power: And conscious, that for two whole days he press’d Too far the mettle of the generous beast; lic fix'l corn sonna's stream a bark to take, 620 Fúr speel, or case, and for Frontino's sake.
Ile badle the really hoaiman from the shore The cable luose, and stretch the dashing var : Before the wind the vessel lightly glides, And the swift stream with swifter prow divides : 025 But Rolomont in rain, on land or wave, From cruel care his anxious breast would save: Ile mounts his steed, it follows close behind, He sails the lark, it breathes in every wind ! Now in his soul the fatal inmate dwells,
630 And every hope or comfort thence expels;
While he, alas ! with cruel anguish pain’d,
010 While the fierce fever throbs in every vein ; From side to side, he shifts his place by turns, But unremitting still the fever burns.
Tir’d with the stream, again he sought the strand, And pass'd Vienna and Valenza's land.
613 The walls of Lyons next the Pagan view'd, And where Avignon's bridge stupendous stood. These towns, and more, of semblance rich and gay, That 'twixt th’ Iberian hills and river lay, Paid to the Monarch-Moor * and king of Spain 650 Allegiance due, as lords of that domain, Won by their bands from Gallia's shrinking reign. Thence on the right to Acquamort he bends, And strait for Afric's realm his course intends; Till near a river he a town survey'd,
655 Which Ceres once and purple Bacchus sway'd;
Ver. 648. These towns, and more, &c.] By the river, he means the Rlodan; by the Iberian hills, he means the hill Jubaldo in Spain, by which he would infer that Agramant and Marsilius, after the last defeat of Charles, had made themselves masters of Catalonia, and from Narbona (Narbonne) to Paris.
Compell'd their favourite dwelling to forego
673 The town with stores for every veed supply'd.
One day, while deep immers'd in pensive mooi!, The king, as wont, a thousand thoughts pursu'd; Along a path-way through th' enamellid green, Approaching nigh, a lovely dame was scen: An aged monk, with beard descending low, Beside her came, with solemn steps and slow; A warrior-steed he led, that proudly bore A weighty bier with sable cover'd o'er : Bilt who the monk, and who th' afflicted fair, 683 Or what the load, 'twere useless to declare : All knew 'twas Isabella, hapless maid, Who lovil Zerbino's breathless corse convey’d:
Iler in Provence I left, and at her side
Soon as the Saracen the mourner view'd,
705 The peerless object of his second love; And from his breast expunge Granada's dame, As pity yields to pity, flame to fame, The Pagan saw, and kindling at the view, With eager step to meet the virgin drew;
710 And with demeanour fair and mild address, Enquire the cause that wrought her deep distress. She told the sorrows of her secret breast, And, how deny'd on earth a place of rest, Her soul had fix'd to bid the world farewel,
715 And with her God in holy mansions dwell. Loud laugh'd the Pagan, who nor God would know, Nor own his laws, to every faith a foe! He blam'd her erring zeal, to keep confind Such beauty, form'd but to delight mankind: 720