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The Editor prefents to his Fair Patroneffes this little piece, rather as a speci men of that species of poetry he wishes to fee cultivated by perfons of fuperior genius and learning, than as a production in itself compleat: he is fully fenfible he has much to fear, if judged by the ftrict rules of fevere criti cifm; though he cannot relinquish the flattering hope, that this little Story, and it's intended Moral, may in fome degree contribute to the entertainment of his kind Friends-the only idea under which he will attempt to juf tify the infertion of any performance of his own, in a Collection fo truly refpectable.
The Editor begs leave to add, that his Story has, at least, the claim of NOVELTY-and, if it should be found to meet with the general approbation of his numerous friends, he means to lay before them, at the commencement of each future volume, fomewhat of a different kind, the best he may be able to produce.
E British Fair, whofe gentle bofoms know
To fhare luxurious in another's woe;
Whose radiant orbs, when black misfortunes lour,
Refresh with Pity's dew the drooping flow'r ;
And, Phoebus like, thro' wat'ry clouds lament
The wafteful tempeft which ye can't prevent:
Approach your Poet-fain would he relate,
(To guard from ills like her's) Albina's fate.
And O ye British Youths, unfkill'd to rove
In the dark lab'rinths of illicit love;
Whofe gen'rous fouls permit not to defpife
The pearly drops that glide from Pity's eyes;
Ye too, draw near-and, plac'd by Virtue's fide,
Dare to indulge thofe griefs fhe fcorns to hide :
Nor let the moral tale my mufe fupplies,
No more inftru&t when Time hath wip'd your eyes;
But, to compleat the purpose of these rhymes,
And fhun Lothario's woes-avoid his crimes!
-Not far remov'd from that fequefter'd bow'r,
Where once fecurely dwelt earth's faire ft flow'r;
Till the vindictive queen with rage purfu'd,
And drench'd her cruel hands in injur'd blood;
High on a hill Earl Elwin's mansion flood,
In part fecreted by a neighb'ring wood,
Which down the flope thro' fecret mazes leads,
To where the Ifis laves her fav'rite meads:
Hither the earl would oft at dawn repair,
To breathe the fragrance of the vernal air;
To hear the warblers of the vocal grove,
And join their ftrains of gratitude and love.
It chanc'd, one morning, while the earl thus ftray'd,
A wretched fair at diftance he furvey'd;
Whofe careless treffes floating in the wind,
And various geftures, spoke her anguish'd mind.
Sometimes the ftepp'd with hafte among the trees,
Look'd wildly round, and dropp'd upon her knees-
Now rofe again; and, with uplifted eyes,
Seem'd to implore compaffion from the fkies-
Then downward bent them, fmote her heaving breast,
And with her fnowy hand her temples prefs'd-
Thus, in defpair, a moment's fpace the flood,
Then rush'd impetuous tow'rds the chryftal flood:
But ever as fhe reach'd the river's fide,
Sudden fhe stopp'd, and gaz'd upon the tide ;
Glancing from thence, quick ey'd the little grove,
And backward flew, as on the wings of Love.
This scene the earl beheld her twice repeat;
And wonder'd much the cause of her retreat.
When now, approaching fecretly behind,
He faw Albina on the ground reclin'd;
And inftant knew her for the daughter fair
Of old Ernefto, tutor to his heir:
But O how high Earl Elwin's wonder rose,
To fee her circling arms a babe inclose!
Down her pale cheeks unnumber'd ftreams defcend,
And broken fighs her lab'ring bofom rend:
In vain she stops the torrent of her eyes,
Her beating breaft continues it's fupplies!
The tender infant, delug'd o'er with woe,
Bids with her tears his ftreams of forrow flow:
As if to heal her poignant grief he strove,
And felt, instinctively, maternal love!
The anxious mother wip'd his cherub face,
And closely strain'd him in a fond embrace:
Then, while fhe lull'd his infant griefs to reft,
Her own fad tale in words like these express'd.
Ah, loft Albina! wretched, ruin'd fair!—
Happ❜ly, my babe, thou know'ft not her defpair;
• Elfe wouldft thou mix, indeed, thy tears with mine,
And let a mother's woes be truly thine!
For fure thy form angelick beauty wears,
And human woes are wept with angels tears!• But thou art man-and might, unmov'd, survey • The faddeft fcene misfortune can display!⚫ Yet have I known-too foon to be renew'd !A father's feeling heart by grief fubdu'd; ⚫ Yet have I known an husband's streaming eyes Mock the vain pomp which pageantry fupplies : A 2
• When noble Elwin mourn'd his Ella's doom,
• And follow'd weeping to her filent tomb;
• When good Ernefto fear'd Albina's fate,
And on her bed of fickness mournful fate!-
O cruel death, to plunge thy keenest dart
In happy Ella's breaft, nor touch Albina's heart!"
A pause of woe here stopp'd the pow'rs of fpeech,
But ftill her fighs the earl's foft bosom reach :
The casual mention of his Ella's name,
Ernefto's daughter's obvious lofs of fame,
Join'd with the great refpect he bore her fire,
Firft fwell his breast with sorrow-then with ire;
Nor does he mourn her ills with idle grief,
But bends his thoughts, how heft to bring relief:
Refolves th' accurfed cause with speed to find,
And let refentment follow close behind;
Till his bafe heart, who dar'd her honour stain,
Should make a large amends, or fuffer equal pain.
And now, while gen'rous Elwin penfive ftands,
He hears Albina clafp her iv'ry hands;
A deep-drawn figh's unwelcome found fucceeds,
Follow'd by words-at which his bofom bleeds.
• How vainly once, Albina, didft thou dream,
• That thou shouldst bask in Fortune's brightest beam
Enjoy each pleasure of exalted life,
And be-O fatal charm-Lothario's wife!
Alas! perfidious youth, he only ftrove
To veil his purpose in the garb of love!
Each fpecious art too well the faithless knew,
Practis'd by falfe ones to enfnare the true:
Too well he knew the pow'r affection gave,
And bafely ruin'd her he swore to fave!
And thou, unhappy offspring of my shame,
Thou too must feel a mother's lofs of fame !
For foon too foon !-thy blighted youth fhall know,
The child of Nature-is the child of Woe!