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An aged peasant, Edwy's guide,
The good old Ardolph sought;
He told him that his bosom's pride,
His Edwy he had brought.
O how the father's feelings melt!
How faint, and how revive!
Just so the Hebrew patriarch felt,
To find his son alive.
“Let me behold my darling's face,
And bless him ere I die!"
Then with a swift and vigorous pace,
He to the bower did hie.
O sad reverse !-sunk on the ground,
His slaughtered son he viewed ;
And dying Birtha, close he found,
In brother's blood imbrued.
Cold, speechless, senseless, Eldred near,
Gazed on the deed he'd done;
Like the blank statue of Despair,
Or Madness graved in stone.
The father saw—so Jephthah stood,
So turned his wo-fraught eye,
When the dear, destined child he viewed,
His zeal had doomed to die.
He looked the wo he could not speak,
And on the pale corse pressed
His wan, discolored, dying cheek,
And, silent, sunk to rest.
Then Birtha faintly raised her eye,
Which long had ceased to stream,
On Eldred fixed, with many a sigh,
Its dim, departing beam.
The cold, cold dews of hastening death
Upon her pale face stand;
And quick and short her failing breath,
And tremulous her hand.
VOL. V. 14
The cold, cold dews of hastening death,
The dim, departing eye, The quivering hand, the short, quick breath,
He viewed and did not die.
Yet Heaven's decrees are just and wise,
And man is born to bear : Joy is the portion of the skies;
Beneath them, all is care:
Yet blame not Heaven; 'tis erring man,
Who mars his own best joys;
Whose passions, uncontrolled, the plan
Of promised bliss destroys.
Had Eldred paused, before the blow,
His hand had never erred ; What guilt, what complicated wo,
His soul had then been spared !
The deadliest wounds with which we bleed,
Our crimes inflict alone;
Man's mercies from God's hand proceed,
His miseries from his own.
The annual wound allured
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate,
In amorous ditties all a summer's day';
While smooth Adonis from his native Rock
Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood
Of Thammuz yearly wounded.-
WHERE beauteous Belmont * rears her modest brow
To view Sabrina's silver waves below,
Lived young Ianthe, fair as beauty's queen ;
She reigned unrivalled in the sylvan scene;
Hers every charm of symmetry and grace,
Which aids the triumph of the fairest face;
With all that softer elegance of mind,
By genius heightened, and by taste refined.
Yet early was she doomed the child of care,
For hapless love subdued th' ill-fated fair.
Ah! what avails each captivating grace,
The form enchanting, or the fairest face?
Or what each beauty of the heaven-born mind,
The soul superior, or the taste refined ?
Beauty but serves destruction to insure;
And sense, to feel the pang it cannot cure.
* Belmont, the beautiful seat of the late Mr. Tamer, in Somersetshire, overlooking the Bristol channel, opposite the conjunction of the Severn and Avon rivers.--ED.
Each neighboring youth aspired to gain her hand, And many a suitor came from many a land; But all in vain each neighboring youth aspired, And distant suitors all in vain admired. Averse to hear, yet fearful to offend, The lover she refused she made a friend : Her meek rejection wore so mild a face, More like acceptance seemed it, than disgrace.
Young Polydore, the pride of rural swains,
Was wont to visit Belmont's blooming plains.
Who has not heard how Polydore could throw
The unerring dart to wound the flying doe?
How leave the swiftest at the race behind,
How mount the courser, and outstrip the wind ?
With melting sweetness, or with magic fire,
Breathe the soft flute, or sweep the well-strung lyre?
From that famed lyre no vulgar music sprung;
The Graces tuned it, and Apollo strung.
Apollo too was once a shepherd swain,
And fed the flock, and graced the rustic plain.
He taught what charms to rural life belong,
The social sweetness, and the sylvan song;
He taught fair Wisdom in her grove to woo,
Her joys how precious, and her wants how few !
The savage herds in mute attention stood,
And ravished Echo filled the vocal wood;
The sacred sisters, stooping from their sphere,
Forgot their golden harps, intent to hear ::
Till heaven the scene surveyed with jealous eyes,
And Jove, in envy, called him to the skies.
Young Polydore was rich in large domains,
In smiling pastures, and in flowery plains;
With these he boasted each exterior charm,
To win the prudent, and the cold to warm;
The fairest semblance of desert he bore,
And each fictitious mark of goodness wore ;
Could act the tenderness he never felt,
In sorrow soften, and in anguish melt.
The sigh elaborate, the fraudful tear,
The joy dissembled, and the well-feigned fear,
All these were his; and his each treacherous art,
That steals the guileless and unpractised heart.
Too soon he heard of fair Ianthe's fame; : 'Twas each enamored shepherd's favorite theme;
Returned the rising, and the setting sun,
The shepherd's favorite theme was never done.
They praised her wit, her worth, her shape, her air !
And even inferior beauties owned her fair.
Such sweet perfection all his wonder moved;
He saw, admired, nay, fancied that he loved :
But Polydore no generous passion knew,
Lost to all truth in feigning to be true.
No lasting tenderness could warm a heart
Too vain to feel, too selfish to impart.
Cold as the snows of Rhodope descend,
And with the chilling waves of Hebrus blend,
So cold the breast where vanity presides,
And the whole subject soul absorbs and guides.
Too well he knew to make his conquest sure,
Win her soft heart, yet keep his own secure.
So oft he told the well-imagined tale,
So oft he swore-how should he not prevail ?
The well-imagined tale the nymph believed;
Too unsuspecting not to be deceived :-
She loved the youth, she thought herself beloved,
Nor blushed to praise whom every maid approved.
The conquest once achieved, the brightest fair,
When conquered, was no longer worth his care :
When to the world her passion he could prove,
Vain of his power, he jested at her love.
The perjured youth, from sad Ianthe far,
To win fresh triumphs, wages cruel war.
With other nymphs behold the wanderer rove,
And tell the story of Ianthe's love;
He mocks her easy faith, insults her wo,
Nor pities tears himself had taught to flow.
To sad Ianthe soon the tale was borne,
How Polydore to treachery added scorn.
And now her eye's soft radiance 'gan to fail,
And now the crimson of her cheek grew pale ;
The lily there in faded beauty shows
Its sickly empire o'er the vanquished rose.
Devouring sorrow marks her for his prey,
And, slow and certain, mines his silent way.
Yet as apace her ebbing life declined,
Increasing strength sustained her firmer mind.
“O had my heart been hard as his,' she cried,
“A hapless victim thus I had not died :