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And to my fervent pray’rs so far consent, 280
That ere the rites are o'er, you may repent !
Good Heav'n, no doubt, the nuptial state approves,
Since it chatises still what best it loves.
Then be not, Sir, abandon'd to despair ;
Seek, and perhaps you'll find among the fair,
One that may do your bus’ness to a hair; 286
Not e’en in wish your happiness delay,
But
prove

the scourge to lash you on your way:
Then to the skies your mounting soul shall go,
Swift as an arrow soaring from the bow ! 290
Provided still, you moderate your joy,
Nor in your pleasures all your might employ,
Let Reason's rule your strong desires abate,
Nor please too lavishly your gentle mate.
Old wives there are, of judgment most acute,
Who solve these questions beyond all dispute;
Consult with those, and be of better cheer;
Marry, do penance, and dismiss

your

fear.
So said, they rose, nor more the work delay'd ;
The match was offer'd, the proposals made. 300
The parents, you may think, would soon comply ;
The old have inter'st ever in their eye.
Nor was it hard to move the lady's mind;
When fortune favours, still the fair are kind.
I

pass each previous settlenient and deed, 305 Too long for me to write, or you to read ;

295

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Nor will with quaint impertinence display

7 The pomp, the pageantry, the proud array. The time approach’d, to church the parties went, At once with carnal and devout intent:

310 Forth came the priest, and bade th' obedient wife Like Sarah or Rebecca lead her life : Then pray'd the Pow'rs the fruitful bed to bless, And made all sure enough with holiness.

And now the palace-gates are open’d wide, 315 The guests appear in order, side by side, And, plac'd in state, the bridegroom and the bride. The breathing flute's soft notes are heard around, And the shrill trumpets mix their silver sound; The vaulted roofs with echoing music ring, 320 These touch the vocal stops, and those the trembling Not thus Amphion tun'd the warbling lyre, (string. Nor Joab the sounding clarion could inspire, Nor fierce Theodomas, whose sprightly strain Could swell the soul to rage, and fire the martial train.

Bacchus himself, the nuptial feast to grace, 326 (So poets singo) was present on the place: And lovely Venus, goddess of delight, Shook high her flaming torch in open sight, And danc'd around, and smil'd on ev'ry knight: Pleas'd her best servant would his courage try, 331 No less in wedlock than in liberty.

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Full many an age old Hymen had not spy'd
So kind a bridegroom, or so bright a bride.
Ye Bards ! renown'd among the tuneful throng 335
For gentle lays, and joyous nuptial song,
Think not your softest numbers can display
The matchless glories of this blissful day;
The joys are such as far transcend your rage,
When tender youth has wedded stooping age. 340

The beauteous dame sate smiling at the board,
And darted am'rous glances at her lord.
Not Hester's self, whose charms the Hebrews sing,
E'er look'd so lovely on her Persian king:
Bright as the rising sun in summer's day, 345
And fresh and blooming as the month of May ;
The joyful Knight survey'd her by his side,
Nor envy'd Paris with the Spartan bride :
Still as his mind revolv'd, with vast delight,
Th' entrancing raptures of th' approaching night, 350
Restless he sate, invoking ev'ry pow'r
To speed his bliss, and haste the happy hour.
Mean-time the vig'rous dancers beat the ground,
And songs were sung, and flowing bowls went round.
With od'rous spices they perfum'd the place,
And mirth and pleasure shone in ev'ry face.

Damian alone, of all the menial train,
Sad in the midst of triumphs, sigh'd for pain :

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 glitt'ring 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 retir’d.

The foe once gone, our Knight prepar'd tundress, 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 undress’d, The room was sprinkled, and the bed was bless'd. What next ensu'd beseems not me to say ; "Tis sung, he labourd till the dawning day, 384

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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 Jodging went.

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