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Unwillingly, and hides his face in tears,
A difmal vale lies in a defert ifle
On which indulgent heaven did never smile.
There a thick grove of aged cypress trees,
Which none without an awful horror fees,
Into its wither'd arms, depriv'd of leaves,
Whole flocks of ill-prefaging birds receives :
Poifons are all the plants that foil will bear,
And winter is the only feafon there :
Millions of graves o'erfpread the fpacious field,
And fprings of blood a thousand rivers yield;
Whofe ftreams, opprefs'd with carcaffes and bones,
Instead of gentle murmurs, pour forth groans.
Within this vale a famous temple stands,
Old as the world itself, which it commands;
Round is its figure, and four iron gates
Divide mankind, by order of the Fates :
Thither in crowds come to one common grave
The young, the old, the monarch, and the slave.
Old age and pains, thofe evils man deplores,
Are rigid keepers of th' eternal doors;
All clad in mournful blacks, which fadly load
The facred walls of this obfcure abode;
And tapers, of a pitchy substance made,
With clouds of fmoke increase the difmal shade.
A monster void of reason and of fight
The goddess is, who fways this realm of night;
Her power extends o'er all things that have breath,
A cruel tyrant, and her name is Death.
The fairest object of our wondering eyes
Was newly offer'd up her facrifice;
Th' adjoining places where the altar ftood,
Yet blufhing with the fair Almeria's blood.
When griev'd Orontes, whofe unhappy flame
Is known to all who e'er converfe with Fame,
His mind poffefs'd by Fury and Despair,
Within the facred temple made this prayer:
Great Deity! who in thy hands dost bear
That iron fceptre which poor mortals fear;
Who, wanting eyes thyself, refpecteft none,
And neither spar'ft the laurel nor the crown!
O thou, whom all mankind in vain withstand,
Each of whofe blood must one day ftain thy hand!
O thou, who every eye that fees the light
Closeft for ever in the shades of night!
Goddefs, attend, and hearken to my grief,
To which thy power alone can give relief.
Alas! I afk not to defer my fate,
But with my hapless life a fhorter date;
And that the earth would in its bowels hide
A wretch, whom heaven invades on every fide:
That from the fight of day I could remove,
And might have nothing left me but my love.
Thou only comforter of minds oppreft,
The port where wearied fpirits are at reft;
Conductor to Elyfium, take my life,
My breaft I offer to thy facred knife;
So just a grace refufe not, nor despise
A willing, though a worthless facrifice.
Others (their frail and mortal state forgot)
Before thy altars are not to be brought
Without constraint; the noise of dying rage,
Heaps of the flain of every sex and age,
The blade all reeking in the gore it shed,
With fever'd heads and arms confus'dly spread;
The rapid flames of a perpetual fire,
The groans of wretches ready to expire :
This tragic scene in terror makes them live,
Till that is forc'd which they should freely give;
Yielding unwillingly what heaven will have,
Their fears eclipfe the glory of their grave:
Before thy face they make indecent moan,
And feel a hundred deaths in fearing one:
Thy flame becomes unhallow'd in their breast,
And he a murderer who was a priest.
But against me thy ftrongeft forces call,
And on my head let all the tempeft fall
No mean retreat shall any weaknefs show,
But calmly I'll expect the fatal blow;
My limbs not trembling, in my mind no fear,
Plaints in my mouth, nor in my eyes a tear.
Think not that Time, our wonted fure relief,
That univerfal cure for every grief,
Whofe aid fo many lovers oft' have found,
With like fuccefs can never heal my wound:
Too weak the power of nature or of art,
Nothing but death can eafe a broken heart:
And that thou may'ft behold my helpless state,
Learn the extremeft rigour of my fate.
Amidft th' innumerable beauteous train,
Paris, the queen of cities, does contain,
(The fairest town, the largest, and the best)
The fair Almeria fhin'd above the reft:
From her bright eyes to feel a hopeless flame,
Was of our youth the most ambitious aim;
Her chains were marks of honour to the brave,
She made a prince whene'er the made a slave.
Love, under whose tyrannic power I groan,
Shew'd me this beauty ere 'twas fully blown;
Her timorous charms, and her unpractis'd look,
Their firft affurance from my conquest took;
By wounding me, the learn'd the fatal art,
And the first figh she had was from my heart:
My eyes, with tears moistening her snowy arms,
Render'd the tribute owing to her charms.
But, as I foonest of all mortals paid
My vows, and to her beauty altars made;
So, among all those flaves that figh'd in vain,
She thought me only worthy of my chain :
Love's heavy burden my submissive heart
Endur'd not long, before the bore her part;
My violent flame melted her frozen breast,
And in foft fighs her pity the exprefs'd;
Her gentle voice allay'd my raging pains,
And her fair hands fuftain'd me in my chains;
Ev'n tears of pity waited on my moan,
And tender looks were caft on me alone.
My hopes and dangers were lefs mine than hers,
Thofe fill'd her foul with joys, and thefe with fears;
Our hearts, united, had the fame defires,
And both alike burn'd with impatient fires.
Too faithful Memory! I give thee leave
Thy wretched mafter kindly to deceive;
Oh, make me not poffeffor of her charms,
Let me not find her languish in my arms;
Paft joys are now my fancy's mournful themes;
Make all my happy nights appear but dreams :
Let not fuch blifs before my eyes be brought,
O hide those scenes from my tormenting thought;