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Damian alone, the Knight's obsequious squire,
Consum'd at heart, and fed a secret fire. 360
His lovely mistress all his soul possest;
He look’d, he languish'd, and could take no rest:
His task perform'd, he sadly went his way,
Fell on his bed, and loath'd the light of day.
There let him lie till his relenting dame 365
Weep in her turn, and waste in equal flame.

The weary sun, as learned poets write,
Forsook th' horizon, and roll'd down the light;
While glittring stars his absent beams supply,
And night's dark mantle overspread the sky. 370
Then rose the guests, and as the time requir’d,
Each paid his thanks, and decently retird.

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,
As all were nothing he had done by night,
And sipp'd his cordial as he sat upright.
He kiss'd his balmy spouse with wanton play,
And feebly sung a lusty roundelay:
Then on the couch his weary limbs he cast; 390
For ev'ry labour must have rest at last.

But anxious cares the pensive Squire opprest
Sleep fled his eyes, and peace forsook his breast;
The raging flames that in his bosom dwell,
He wanted art to hide, and means to tell: 395
Yet hoping time th' occasion might betray,
Compos'd a sonnet to the lovely May;
Which, writ and folded with the nicest art,
He wrapt in silk, and laid upon his heart.

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,
And close behind him sat the gentle May:
Where, as she try'd his pulse, he softly drew
A heaving sigh, and cast a mournful view! 415
Theu gave bis bill, and brib'd the pow'rs divine
With secret vows, to favour his design.

Who studies now but discontented May?
On her soft couch uneasily she lay:
The lumpish husband snor'd away the night, 420
Till coughs awak'd him near the morning light.
What then he did, I'll not presume to tell,
Nor if she thought herself in heav'n or hell:
Honest and dull in nuptial bed they lay,
Till the bell toll'd, and all arose to pray.

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;



his array.

But she, your sex's mirror, free from pride,
Was much too meek to prove a homicide.

But to my tale: some sages have defin'd 440
Pleasure the sov'reign bliss of humankind :
Our Knight (who studied much, we may suppose)
Deriv'd his high philosophy from those ;
For, like a prince, he bore the vast expence
Of lavish pomp, and proud magnificence: 445
His house was stately, his retinue gay,
Large was his train, and

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 :

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