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Dryden. Three miles he went, nor further could retreat;
His travels ended at his country-feat;
To Challi's pleasing plains he took his way,
There pitch'd his tents, and there resolv'd to stay.
The spring was in the prime; the neighb’ring
Supply'd with birds, the choristers of love:
Music unbought, that minister'd delight
To morning walks, and lull'd his cares by night:
There he discharg'd his friends; but not th'ex-
Of frequent treats, and proud magnificence.
He liv'd as kings retire, tho' more at large
From public business, yet with equal charge;
With house, and heart still open to receive;
As well content as love would give him leave:
He would have liv'd more free; but many a guest,
Who could forsake the friend! pursu'd the feast.
It happ'd one morning, as his fancy led,
Before his usual hour he left his bed ;
To walk within a lonely lawn, that stood
On ev'ry side surrounded by a wood:
Alone he walk'd, to please his .pensive mind,
And fought the deepest folitude to find;
'Twas in a grove of spreading pines he stray'd;
The winds within the quiv’ring branches play'd,
And dancing trees a mournful music made.
The place itself was suiting to his care,
Uncouth and savage, as the cruel fair.
He wander'd on, unknowing where he went,
Lost in the wood, and all on love intent:
· The day already half it's race had run,
And summon'd him to due repast at noon;
But love could feel no hunger but his own.ws
Whilst lift'ning to the murm'ring leaves he
More than a mile immers'd witliin the wood,
At once the wind was laid; the whispring found
Was dumb; a rifing earthquake rock'd the ground;
With deeper brown the grove was overspread;
A sudden horror seiz'd his giddy head,
And his ears tinkled, and his colour Aled:
Nature was in alarm; fome danger nigh
Seem'd threaten'd, tho' unseen by mortal eye.
Unus'd to fear, he summond all his soul,
And stood collected in himself, and whole;
Not long: for foon a whirlwind rose around.
And from afar he heard a screeming sound,
As of a dame distress'd, who cry'd for aid,
And fill'd with loud laments the secret shade.
A thicket close beside the grove there stood, With briers and brambles choak’d, and dwarfish
From thence the noise, which now approaching
With more distinguish'd notes invades his ear;
He rais'd his head, and saw a beauteous maid,
With hair dishevelld issuing throʻ the Shade ;
Stripp'd of her clothes, and even those parts rés
Which modest nature keeps from fight conceald.
Her face, her hands, her naked limbs were torn,
With passing thro' the brakes and prickly thorn;
Two mastiffs gaunt and grim her flight pursu'd,
And oft their fasten'd fangs in blood embru'd;
Oft they came up, and pinch'd her tender fide,
Mercy, o Mercy, heav'n, she ran, and cry'd;
When hear'n was nam'd, they loos'd their hold
Then sprung she forth, they follow'd her amain.
Not far behind, a knight of swarthy face
High on a coal-black steed pursu'd the chace ;
With flashing flames his ardent eyes were fill’d,
And in his hand a naked sword he held :
He chear'd the dogs to follow her that fled,
And vow'd revenge on her devoted head.
As Theodore was born of noble kind,
The brutal action rous'd his manly mind;
Moy'd with unworthy usage of the maid,
He, tho' unarm’d, refoly'd to give her aid.
A saplin pine he wrench'd from out the ground,
The readiest weapon that his fury found;
Thus furnishd for offence, he cross'd the way,
Betwixt the graceless villain and his prey.
The knight came thund'ring on, but from
Thus in imperious tone forbad the wars
Cease, Theodore, to proffer vain relief,
Nor stop the vengeance of so just a grief;
But give me leave to seize
And let eternal justice take the way:
I but revenge my fate, dis dain'd, betray'd
And suff'ring death for this ungrateful maid.
He said, at once dismounting from the steed;
For now the hell-hounds with superior speed
Had reach'd the dame, and fast'ning on her fide,
The ground with issuing streams of purple dy'd.
Stood Theodore surpris d in deadly fright,
With chatt'ring teeth, and bristling hairs upright:
Yet arm'd with inborn worth, whate'er, said he,
Thou art, who know'st me better than I thee;
Or prove thy rightful cause, or be defy'd,
The spectre, fiercely staring, thus reply'd:
Know, Theodore, thy ancestry I claim,
And Guido Cavalcanti was my name.
One common fire our fathers did beget,
My name and story some remember yet:
Thee, then a boy, within my arms I laid,
When for my sins I lov'd this haughty maid;
Not less ador'd in life, nor serv'd by me,
Than proud Honoria now is lov'd by thee.
What did I not her stubborn heart to gain?
But all my vows were answer'd with disdain;
She seorn'd my færrows, and despis’d my pain.j
Long time I dragg'd my days in fruitless care;
Then lothing life, and plung'd in deep despair,
To finish my unhappy life, I fell
On this sharp fword, and now am damn'd in hell,
Short was her joy; for foon th' insulting maid
By heav'n's decree in this cold grave was laid.
And as in unrepented sin fhe dy'd,
Doom'd to the same bad place is punilh'd for her
Because she deem'd I well desery'd to die,
And made a merit of her cruelty.
There, then, we met; both try'd, and both were
And this irrevocable sentence pals’d,
That she, whom I so long pursu'd in vain,
Should suffer from my hands a ling'ring pain:
Renew'd to life that she might daily die,
I daily doom'd to follow, she to fie!
No more a lover, but a mortal foe,
I seek her life (for love is none below;)
As often as my dogs with better speed
Arrest her flight, is she to death decreed:
Then with this fatal sword, on which I dy'd,
I pierce her open back, or tender fide,
And tear that harden'd heart from out her breast,
Which with her entrails makes my hungry hounds
Nor lies she long, but as her fates ordain,
Springs up to life, and fresh to second pain,
Is fav’d to-day, to-morrow to be flain.
This, vers'd in death, th' infernalknight rela
And then for proof fulfilld the common fates;
Her heart and bowels to the back he dre. Vi
And fed the hounds that help'd him to pursue,
Stern look d the fiend, as frustrate of his will,
Not half fuffic'd, and greedy yet to kill,
And now the soul expiring through the wound
Had left the body breathless on the ground,
When thus the grisly spectre spoke again:
Behold the fruit of ill rewarded pain:
As many months as I sustain'd her hate,
So many years is she condemn'd by fate
To daily death; and ev'ry sev'ral place,
Conscious of her disdain, and my disgrace,
Must witness her just punifhment; and be
A scene of triumph and revenge to me.
As in this grove I took my last farewel,
As on this very spot of earth I fell,
As Friday saw me die, so she my prey
Becomes ev’n here, on this revolving day.
Thus while he spoke, the virgin from the
Upstarted frel h, already clos'd the wound,
And unconcern'd for all she felt before,
Precipitates her flight along the shore:
The hell-hounds, as'ungorg'd with flesh and blood,
Pursue their prey, and seek their wonted food:
The fiend remounts his courser, mends his
pace; And all the vifion vanish'd from the place.
Long stood the noble youth oppress’d with
And stupid at the wondrous things he saw.
Surpassing common faith, transgressing nature's
He would have been asleep, and wish'd to wake;
But dreams, he knew, no long impression make,
Tho' strong at first; if vifion, to what end,
But such as must his future state portend?
His love the damsel, and himself the fiend.
But yet reflecting that id could not be
From heav'n, which cannot impious acts decree,
Refolv'd within himself to shun the snare,
Which hell for his destruction did prepare;
And as his better genius should direct,
From an ill cause to draw a good effect.