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Yes, partial gods ! inflicters of my care !
Be witness what I felt, what grief, what fear!
When full of stifled woes the night he fled,
No sigh I dar'd to breathe, no tear to shed.
Whilst 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 serene, 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! faid 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 every 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;
Dispel 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 seçks, and grateful rest;
That courted stranger to the careful breast.
Whilft I, by hopes and fears alternate fway'd,
Impatient ask the slaves 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.
Fantastic 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 affiftant hand that fill's 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’dof men !) when fears of black presage
Describe thy heart so fond of liberty,
It never gave one parting throb for me.
At every step you should have turn’d your eye,
Dropt a regretful tear, and heav'd a sigh;
The nature of the grace I shew'd was such,
You not deferv'd 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 Aed 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.
Roxana, one of Ulbeck's wives, was found (rhilft be
was in Europe) in bed with her lover, whom she had privately let into the seraglio. The guardian eunuch who discovered them, bad the man murdered on the Spot, and her close guarded 'till be received instru£tions from his master how to dispose of her. During that interval she swallowed poyson, and is supposed to write the following letter whilft sbe 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 juster cause:
With dextrous skill eluded all thy care,
And acted more than jealousy could fear:
To wanton bow'rs 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 refin'd, fo 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 injurd shade :
Those facrilegious instruments of power,
Who wrought that ruin these fad eyes deplore,
Already with their blood their crimes atone,
And for his life have facrific'd their own.
Thee, though restraint and absence may defend
From my revenge, my curses still attend :