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Her will I wed, if gracious Heaven so please,
To pass my age in sanctity and ease;
And thank the powers, I may possess atone
The lovely priae, and share my bliss with none!
If you, my friends, this virgin can procure,
My joys are full, my happiness is sure.
'One ouly doubt remains: full oft I've heard,
By casuists grave, and deepdivines averr'd,
That'tis too much for human race to know
The bliss of heaven above,.and earth below.
Now should the nuptial pleasures prove so great,
To match the blessings of the future state,
Those endless joys were ill exchang'd for these;
Then clear this doubt, and set my mind at ease. '
This Justin heard, nor could his spleen control, Touch'd to the quick, and tickled at the soul. 'Sir knight,' he cried, * if this be all you dread, Heaven put it past your doubt, whene'er you wed; And to my fervent prayers so far consent, That, ere the rites are o'er, you may repent! Good Heaven, no doubt, the nuptial state approves, Since it chastises still what best it loves. Then be not, sir, abandon'd to despair; Seek, and perhaps yon'll find among the fair, One that may do your business to a hair; Not ev'u 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! 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 jndgement 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, no more the work delay'dj The match was offer'd, the proposals made.
The parents you may think, would soon comply;
The old have interest ever in their eye.
Nor was it hard to move the lady's mind:
When fortune favours, stilt the fair are kind.
I pass each previous settlement and deed,
Too long for me to write, or you to read;
Nor will with quaint impertinence display
The pomp, the pageantry, the prond array.
The time approach'd, to church the parties went,
At once with carnal and devout intent:
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,
The guests appear in order, side by side,
And plac'd in state the bridegroom and the
The breathing flute's soft notes are heard around.
And the shrill trumpets mix their silver sound;
The vanlted roofs with echoing music ring,
These touch the vocal stops, and those the trem-
Not thus Amphion tun'd the warbling lyre,
Nor Joab the sounding clarion could inspire,
Nor fierce Theodamas, whose sprightly strain
Could swell the soul to rage, and fire the martial
Bacchus himself, the nuptial feast to grace
(So poets sing), 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 every knight:
Pleas'd her best servant would his courage try.
No less in wedlock, than in liberty.
Full many an age old Hymen had not spied
So kind a bridegroom, or so bright a bride.
Ye bards! renown'd among the tuneful throng
For gentle layl, and joyous nuptial song,
Think not your softest numbers can display
The matchless glories of the blissful day:
The joys are such as far transcend your rage,
When tender youth has wedded stooping age.
The beanteous dame sat smiling at the board,
And darted amorous 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,
And fresh and blooming as the month of May!
The joyful knight survey'd her by his side,
Nor envied Paris with the Spartan bride:
Still as his mind revolv'd with vast delight
Th' entrancing raptures of th' approaching night,
Restless he sat, invoking every power
To speed his bliss, and haste the happy hour.
Meantime the vigorous dancers beat the ground,
And songs were sung, and flowing bowls went
With odorous spices they perfum'd the place,
And mirth and pleasure shone in every face.
Damian alone of all the menial train,
Sad in the midst of trinmph, sigh'd for pain;
Damian alone, the knight's obsequious 'squire,
Consum'd at heart, and fed a secret fire.
His lovely mistress all his soul possess'd;
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
Weep in her turn, and waste in equal flame.
The wearied sun, as learned poets write, Forsook the horiaon, and roll'd down the light; While glittering stars his absent beams supply, And night's dark mantle overspread the sky. 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 t* undress, So keen he was, and eager to possess:
But first thought fit th' assistance to receive.
Which grave physicians scruple not to give;
Satvrion near, with hot eringos stood,
Cantharides, to fire the lazy blood,
Whose use old bards describe in luscious rhymes.
And critics learn' d explain to modern times.
By this the sheets were spread, the bride utt-
The room was sprinkled, and the bed was bless'd.
What next ensued beseems me not to say;
Tis sung he laboirr'd till the dawning day,
Then briskly sprung from bed, with heart so
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 aung a lusty roundelay:
Then on the couch his weary limbs he cast;
For every labour must have rest at last.
But anxious cares the pensive 'squire oppress'd.
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;
Yet hoping time th' occasion might betray,
Compos'd a sonnet to the lovely May;
Which, writ and folded with the nicest art,
He wrapp'd in silk, and laid upon his heart.
When now the fourth revolving day was run fTwas 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 hail;
The servants round stood ready at their call.
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 oue cousent;
They left the hall, aud to his lodging went.
The female tribes surround him as he lay
And close beside him sat the gentle May:
Where, as she try'd his pulse, he softly drew
A heaving sigh, and cast a mournful view!
Then gave his bill, and brib'd the powers divine.
With secret vows to favour his design. .
Who studies now but discontented May?
On her soft couch uneasily she lay,
The lumpish husband snor'd away the night.
Till coughs awak'd him near the morning light,
What then he did, I'll not presume to tell.
Nor if she thought herself in Heaven or Hell;
Honest and dull in nuptial bed they lay,
Till the bell toll'd, and all arose to pray.
Were it by forceful destiny decreed, 'Or did from chance or nature's pow'r proceed; Or that some star, with aspect kind to love, Shed its selectest influence from above; Whatever was the cause, the tender dame Felt the first motions of an infant flame; Receiv'd th' impressions of the love-sick 'squire, And wasted in the soft infectious fire.
Ye fair, draw near, let May's example move Your gentle minds to pity those who love! Had some fierce tyrant in her stead been found. The poor adorer sure had hang'd or drown'd; But she, your sex's mirror, free from pride, Was much too meek to prove a homicide.
But to my tale: Some ages have defin'd Pleasure the sovereign bliss of human kind: Our knight (who study'd much, we may suppose) Deriv'd his high philosophy from those; For, like a prince, he bore the vast expense Of lavish pomp, and proud magnificence: His house was stately, his retinue gay; Large was his train, and gorgeous his array. His spacious garden made to yield to none, Was compass'd round with wdls of solid stone; Friapus could not half describe the grace (Though god of gardens) of this charming place: