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Whilft men of faith approv'd, a chosen crew,
Firm to their trust, and to their mistress true,
With care too punctual my commands obey,
And in one freight my life and thee convey.
The harder task was mine; condemn'd to bear
With brow ferene, my agonizing care ;
To mix in idle talk, to force a smile,
A king and jealous lover to beguile.
Think in that dreadful interval of fate,
All I held dear, thy safety in debate,
Think what I suffer'd, whilst my heart afraid
Suggests a thousand times that all's betray'd.
A thousand times revolving in my mind
The doubtful chance; oh! Love! said I, be kind :
Propitious to my scheme, thy vot’ry, aid,
And be my fondness by success repaid.
Now bolder grown, with fanguine hopes elate,
My fancy represents thy smiling fate ;
The guards deceiv'd, and ev'ry danger o'er,
The winds already waft him from the shore.
These pleasing images anew impart
Life to my eyes, and gladness to my heart;
Difpel the gloomy fears that cloud my face,
And charm the little flutterer to peace.
But now the king, or tasteless to my charms,
of an absent mistress' arms,
His own apartment seeks, and grateful rest;
That courted stranger to the careful breaft.
Whilft I, by hopes and fears alternate sway'd;
Impatient ask the Naves if I'm obey'd.
"Tis done, they cry'd, and struck me with despair ;
For what I long'd to know, I dy'd to hear.
Fantastick turn of a distracted mind;
I blam'd the gods for having been too kind;
Curs'd the success they granted to my vows,
And this assistant hand that fill'd my woes.
Such was my frenzy in that hour of care,
And such th' injustice of my bold despair ;
That even those, ungrateful I upbraid,
Whose fatal diligence my will obey'd.
Scarce, Marius, did thyself escape my rage ;
(Most lov'd of men !) when fears of black prefage
Describe thy heart so fond of liberty,
It never gave one patting throb for me.
At every step you should have turn'd your eyes
Dropt a regretful tear, and heav'd a figh;
The nature of the grace I shew'd was such,
You not deservd it, if it pleas'd too much.
A lover would have linger'd as he fled,
And oft in anguish to himself have said,
Farewel for ever! Ah! yet more he'd done,
A lover never would have fed alone.
To force me from a hated rival's bed,
Why comes not Marius at an army's head
Oh! did thy heart but with to see that day,
"Twould all my past, and future woes o'erpay.
But vain are all these hopes : preserve thy breast
From falfhood only, I forgive the rest :
Too happy, if no envy'd rival boast
Those joys Arisbe for her Marius loft.
From LES LETTRES PERSANNES.
By the Same. Roxana, one of Usbeck's wives, was found (whilft he was
in Europe) in bed with her lover, whom she had privately let into the feraglio. The guardian eunuch who discovered them, had the man murdered on the spot, and her close guarded till be received instructions from his master how to dispose of her. During that interval the swallowed poyson, and is supposed to write the following letter whild The is dying.
HINK not I write my innocence to prove,
To sue for pity, or awake thy love:
No mean defence expect, or abject pray'rs;
Thou know'st no mercy, and I know no tears :
I laugh at all thy vengeance has decreed,
Avow the fact, and glory in the deed.
Yes, tyrant! I deceiv'd thy spies and thee :
Pleas’d in oppression, and in bondage free:
The rigid agents of thy cruel laws
By gold I won to aid my jufter cause:
With dextrous skill eluded all thy care,
And acted more than jealousy could fear:
To wanton bow's this prison-house I turn'd,
And bless’d that absence which you thought I mourn'd.
But short those joys allow'd by niggard Fate,
Yet so refind, so exquisitely great,
That their excess compensated their date.
I die: already in each burning vein
I feel the poys'nous draught, and bless the pain :
For what is life unless its joys we prove?
And where is joy, depriv'd of what we love?
Yet, ere I die, this justice I have paid
To my dear murder'd lover's injur'd shade:
Those facrilegious instruments of power,
Who wrought that ruin these fad eyes deplore,
Already with their blood their crimes attone,
And for his life have facrific'd their own.
Thee, tho' restraint and absence
From my revenge, my curses still attend :
Despair like mine, barbarian! be thy part,
Remorse afflict, and forrow fting thy heart.
Nor think this hate commencing in my breast,
Tho' prudence long its latent force suppress'd;
I knew those wrongs that I was forc'd to bear,
And curs'd those chains Injustice made me wear.
For could't thou hope Roxana to deceive
With idle tales, which only fools believe?
Poor abject souls in superstition bred,
In ign'rance train'd, by prejudice milled;
Whom hireling dervises by proxy teach
From those whose false prerogative they preach.