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No- grief shall swell my fails, and speed me o'er
(Despair 'my pilot) to that quiet shore
Where I can trust, and thou betray no more.
Might I but once again behold thy charms,
Might I but breathe my last in those dear arms,
On that lov'd face but fix my closing eye,
Permitted where I might not live to die,
My soften’d fate I would accuse no more ;
But fate has no such happiness in store.
'Tis past, 'tis done - what gleam of hope behind,
When I can ne'er be false, nor thou be kind ?
Why then this care ? —’tis weak-?tis vain-farewel
At that last word what agonies I feel !
I faint - I die- remember I was true
'Tis all I ask — eternally adieu !
Pompey, when he was very young, fell in love with Flora,
a Roman courtezan, who was so very beautiful that the Romans had her painted to adorn the temple of Castor and Pollux. Geminius (Pompey's friend) afterwards fell in love with her too; but five, prepoljefjed with a passion for Pompey, would not listen to Geminius. Pompey, in compassion to his friend, yielded bim his mistress, which Flora took so much to heart, that he fell dangerously ill upon it, and in that sickness is supposed to write the following letter to Pompey.
RE death these closing eyes for ever shade,
(That death thy cruelties have welcome made) Receive, thou yet lov'd man! this one adieu, This last farewel to happiness and
My eyes o’erflow with tears, my trembling hand
Can scarce the letters form, or pen command:
The dancing paper swims before my sight,
And scarce myself can read the words I write.
Think you behold me in this lost estate,
And think yourself the author of my fate :
How vast the change! your Flora's now become
The gen'ral pity, not the boast of Rome.
This form, a pattern to the sculptor's art,
This face, the idol once of Pompey's heart,
(Whose pictur'd beauties Rome thought fit to place
The sacred temples of her gods to grace)
Are charming now no more; the bloom is filed,
The lillies languid, and the roses dead.
Soon shall fome hand the glorious work deface,
Where Grecian pencils tell what Flora was :
No longer my resemblance they impart,
They lost their likeness, when I lost thy heart.
Oh! that those hours could take their turn again, When Pompey, lab'ring with a jealous pain, His Flora thus bespoke: “Say, my dear love! " Shall all these rivals unsuccessful prove ? “In vain, for ever, shall the Roman youth
Envy my happiness, and tempt thy truth? “ Shall neither tears nor pray’rs thy pity move? “Ah! give not pity, 'tis akin to love. “ Would Flora were not fair in such excess, “ That I might fear, though not adore her lefs.".
Fool that I was, I sought to ease that grief, Nor knew indiff'rence follow'd the relief:
Experience taught the cruel truth too late,
I never dreaded, 'till I found
fate. 'Twas mine to ask if Pompey's self could hear, Unmov'd, his rival's unsuccessful pray'r; To make thee swear he'd not thy pity move; Alas! such pity is no kin to love.
'Twas thou thyself, (ungrateful as thou art)
Bade me unbend the rigour of my heart :
You chid my faith, reproach'd my being true,
(Unnat'ral thought !) and labour'd to subdue
The constancy my foul maintain'd for you;
To other arms your mistress you condemn’d,
Too cool a lover, and too warm a friend.
How could'ft thou thus my lavish heart abuse,
To ask the only thing it could refuse?
Nor yet upbraid me, Pompey, what I say,
For 'tis my merit that I can't obey;
Yet this alledg'd against me as a fault,
Thy rage fomented, and my ruin wrought.
Just gods! what tie, what conduct can prevail
O'er fickle man, when truth like mine can fail ?
Urge not, to gļoss thy crime, the name of friend,
We know how far those sacred laws extend ;
Since other heroes have not blush'd to prove
How weak all passions when oppos'd to love :
Nor boast the virtuous conflict of thy heart
When gen’rous pity took Geminius' part;
'Tis all heroic fraud, and Roman art.
Such Hights of honour might amuse the crowd,
But by a mistress ne'er can be allow'd;
Keep for the senate, and the grave debate,
That infamous hypocrisy of state,
There words are virtue, and your trade deceit.
No riddle is thy change, nor hard t'explain,
Flora was fond, and Pompey was a man :
No longer then a specious tale pretend,
Nor plead fictitious merit to your friend :
By nature false, you follow'd her decree,
Nor gen'rous are to him, but false to me.
You say you melted at Geminius' tears,
You say you felt his agonizing cares :
Gross artifice! that this from him could move,
And not from Flora, whom you say you love:
You could not bear to hear your rival sigh,
Yet bcar unmov'd to see your mistress die.
Inhuman hypocrite ! not thus can he
My wrongs, and my distress, obdurate, fee.
He, who receiv'd, condemns the gift you made,
And joins with me the giver to upbraid,
Forgetting he's oblig'd, and mourning I'm betray’d.