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She look'd on Damian with a lover's eye ;
For oh, 'twas fix'd; she must possess or die!
Nor less impatience vex'd her am'rous Squire,
Wild with delay, and burning with desire. 495
Watch'd as she was, yet could he not refrain
By secret writings to disclose his pain :
The dame by signs reveal'd her kind intent,
Till both were conscious what each other meant.

Ah! gentle Knight, what would thy eyes avail,
Though they could see as far as ships can sail? 501
'Tis better, sure, when blind, deceiv'd to be,
Than be deluded when a man can see!

Argus himself, so cautious and so wise, Was over-watch'd, for all his hundred eyes : 505 So many an honest husband may, 'tis known, Who wisely, never thinks the case his own.

The dame at last, by diligence and care, Procur'd the key her Knight was wont to bear; She took the wards in wax before the fire, 510 And gave th’ impression to the trusty Squire. By means of this some wonder shall appear, Which, in due place and season, you may hear.

Well sung sweet Ovid, in the days of yore, What flight is that which Love will not explore? 515 And Pyramus and Thisbe plainly show The feats true lovers, when they list, can do:

Though watch'd and captive, yet in spite of all,
They found the art of kissing through a wall.

But now no longer from our tale to stray, 520
It happ'd, that once upon a summer day,
Our rev'rend Knight was urg'd to am'rous play:
He raisid his spouse ere matin bell was rung,
And thus his morning canticle he sung.

Awake, my love, disclose thy radiant eyes: 525 Arise, my wife, my beauteous lady rìse! Hear how the doves with pensive notes complain, And in soft murmurs tell the trees their pain : The winter's past; the clouds and tempest fly; The sun adorns the fields and brightens all the sky. Fair without spot, whose ev'ry charming part

531 My bosom wounds, and captivates my heart; Come, and in mutual pleasures let's engage, Joy of my life, and comfort of my age.

This heard, to Damian straight a sign she made To haste before; the gentle Squire obey'd : 536 Secret and undescry'd he took his way, And ambush'd close behind an arbour lay:

It was not long ere January came, And hand in hand with him his lovely dame; 540 Blind as he was, not doubting all was sure, He turn'd the key, and made the gate secure.

Here let us walk, he said, observ'd by none, Conscious of pleasures to the world unknown:

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So may my soul have joy, as thou


wife 545 Art for the dearest solace of my life: And rather would I chuse, by heav'n above, To die this instant, than to lose thy love. Reflect what truth was in my passion shown, When, unendow'd, I took thee for my own, 550 And sought no treasure but thy heart alone. Old as I am, and now depriv'd of sight, Whilst thou art faithful to thy own true Knight, Nor age nor blindness, rob me of delight. Each other loss with patience I can bear, 555 The loss of thee is what I only fear.

Consider then, my lady and my wife,
The solid comforts of a virtuous life.
As first, the love of Christ himself you gain;
Next, your own honour undefil'd maintain; 560
And, lastly, that which sure your mind must move,
My whole estate shall gratify your

Make your own terms, and ere to-morrow's sun
Displays his light, by heav'n it shall be done.
I seal the contract with a holy kiss,

565 And will perform, by this....my dear, and this.... Have comfort, spouse, nor think thy lord unkind; "Tis love, not jealousy, that fires my mind: For when thy charms my sober thoughts engage, And joip'd to them my own unequal age, 570

From thy dear side I have no pow'r to part,
Such secret transports warm my melting heart.
For who that once possess'd those heav'nly charms,
Could live one moment absent from thy arms? 574

He ceas'd, and May with modest grace reply'd;
(Weak was her voice, as while she spoke she cry'd)
Heav'n knows (with that a tender sigh she drew)
I have a soul to save as well as you;
And, what no less you to my charge commend,
My dearest honour, will to death defend. 580
To you in holy church I gave my hand,
And join'd my heart in wedlock's sacred band:
Yet, after this, if you distrust my care,
Then hear, my lord, and witness what I swear:

First may the yawning earth her bosom rend, 585, And let me hence to hell alive descend; Or die the death I dread no less than hell, Sew'd in a sack, and plung'd into a well; Ere I my fame by one lewd act disgrace, Or once renounce the honour of my race. 590 For know, Sir Knight, of gentle blood I came; I loath a whore, and startle at the name. But jealous men on their own erimes reflect, And learu from thence their ladies to suspect: Else why these needless cautions, Sir, to me? 595 These doubts and fears of female constancy?

This chime still rings in ev'ry lady's ear,
The only strain a wife must hope to hear.

Thus while she spoke, a sidelong glance she cast,
Where Damian, kneeling, worshipp'd as she past.
She saw him watch the motions of her eye, 601
And singled out a pear-tree planted nigh:
'Twas charg'd with fruit that made a goodly show,
And hung with dangling pears was ev'ry bough.
Thither th’ obsequious Squire address'd his pace,
And climbing, in the summit took his place: 606
The Knight and lady walk'd beneath in view,
Where let us leave them, and our tale pursue.

'Twas 'now the season when the glorious sun His heav'nly progress thro’ the Twins had run; 610 And Jove, exalted, his mild influence yields, To glad the glebe, and paint the flow'ry fields : Clear was the day, and Phæbus, rising bright, Had streak'd the azure firmament with light; 614 He pierc'd the glittring clouds with golden streams, And warm’d the womb of earth with genial beams.

It so befell, in that fair morning-tide, The fairies sported on the garden-side, And in the midst their monarch and his bride. So featly tripp'd the light-foot ladies round, 620 The knights so nimbly o'er the greensword bound, That scarce they bent the flow'rs, or touch'd the


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