« AnteriorContinuar »
Damian alone, the Knight's obsequious squire,
The weary sun, as learned poets write,
The foe once gone, our Knight prepard t' undress, So keen he was, and eager to possess; But first thought fit th' assistance to receive, 375 Which grave physicians scruple not to give; Satyrion near, with hot eringoes stood, Cantharides, to fire the lazy blood, Whose use old bards describe in luscious rhymes, And critics learn'd explain to modern times. 380
By this the sheets were spread, the bride undressid, The room was sprinkled, and the bed was bless'd. What next ensu'd beseems not me to say; "Tis sung, he labour'd till the dawning day. 384
Then briskly sprung from bed, with heart so light,
But anxious cares the pensive Squire opprest
When now the fourth revolving day was run, 400 ('Twas June, and Cancer had receiv'd the sun,) Forth from her chamber came the beauteous bride, The good old Knight mov'd slowly by her side. High mass was sung; they feasted in the hall; The servants round stood ready at their call. 405 The Squire alone was absent from the board, And much his sickness griev'd his worthy lord, Who pray'd his spouse,
attended with her train, To visit Damian, and divert his pain. Th' obliging dames obey'd with one consent; 410 They left the hall, and to his lodging went.
The female tribe surround him as he lay,
Who studies now but discontented May?
425 Were it by forceful destiny decreed, Or did from Chance, or Nature's pow'r proceed; Or that some star, with aspect kind to love, Shed its selected influence from above ; Whatever was the cause, the tender dame 430 Felt the first motions of an infant flame; Receiv'd th’ impressions of the love-sick Squire, And wasted in the soft infectious fire.
Ye Fair, draw near, let May's example move Your gentle minds to pity those who love! 435 Had some fierce tyrant in her stead been found, The poor adorer sure had hang'd or drown'd;
But she, your sex's mirror, free from pride,
But to my tale: some sages have defin'd 440
gorgeous His spacious garden, made to yield to none, Was compass'd round with walls of solid stone; Priapus could not half describe the grace 450 (Though god of gardens) of this charming place: A place to tire the rambling wits of France In long descriptions, and exceed romance: Enough to shame the gentlest bard that sings of painted meadows, and of purling springs. 455
Full in the centre of the flow'ry ground A crystal fountain spread its streams around, The fruitful banks with verdant laurels crown'd; About this spring (if ancient fame say true) The dapper elves their midnight sports pursue: 460 Their pigmy king, and little fairy queen, In circling dances gambold on the green, While tuneful sprites a merry concert made, And airy music warbled through the shade.
Hither the noble Knight would oft repair, 465 (His scene of pleasure, and peculiar care;) For this he held it dear, and always bore The silver key that lock'd the garden-door. To this sweet place in summer's sultry heat, He us’d from noise and bus'ness to retreat; 470 And here in dalliance spend the live-long day, Solus cum sola, with his lovely May: For whate'er work was undischarg'd a-bed, The duteous Knight in this fair garden sped.
But ah! what mortal lives of bliss secure! 475 How short a space our worldly joys endure! O Fortune, fair, like all thy treach'rous kind, But faithless still, and wav'ring as the wind! O painted monster, form'd mankind to cheat, With pleasing poison, and with soft deceit! 480 This rich, this am'rous, venerable Knight, Amidst his ease, his solace, and delight, Struck blind by thee, resigns his days to grief, And calls on Death, the wretch's last relief.
The rage of jealousy then seiz'd his mind, 485 For much he fear'd the faith of womankind. His wife not suffer'd from his side to stray, Was captive kept; he watch'd her night and day, Abridg'd her pleasures, and confin’d her sway. Full oft in tears did hapless May complain,
490 And sigh'd full oft; but sigh'd and wept in vain :