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Dispersed at length, the drunken squadron flies, The victors to their vessels bear the prize, [cries. And hear, behind, loud groans and lamentable
The crew with merry shouts their anchors weigh, Then ply their oars, and brush the buxom sea; While troops of gather'd Rhodians crowd the key. What should the people do, when left alone? The governor and government are gone; The public wealth to foreign parts convey'd ; Some troops disbanded, and the rest unpaid. Rhodes is the sovereign of the sea no more; Their ships unrigg'd, and spent their naval store; They neither could defend, nor can pursue, But grinn'd their teeth, and cast a helpless view; In vain with darts a distant war they try, Short and more short the missive weapons fly. Meanwhile the ravishers their crimes enjoy, And flying sails and sweeping oars employ; The cliffs of Rhodes in little space are lost, Jove's isle they seek; nor Jove denies his coast. In safety landed on the Candian shore, With generous wines their spirits they restore; There Cymon with his Rhodian friend resides, Both court and wed, at once, the willing brides. A war ensues, the Cretans own their cause, Stiff to defend their hospitable laws: Both parties lose by turns, and neither wins, Till peace propounded by a truce begins. The kindred of the slain forgive the deed, But a short exile must for show precede; The term expired, from Candia they remove; And happy each, at home, enjoys his love.
IN days of old, when Arthur fill'd the throne, Whose acts and fame to foreign lands were blown, The king of elves and little fairy-queen
Gambolled on heaths, and danced on every green;
And where the jolly troop had led the round,
The grass unbidden and mark'd the ground:
Nor darkling did they dance, the silver light
Of Phoebe served to guide their steps aright,
And, with their tripping pleased, prolong'd the night.
Her beams they follow'd, where at full she play'd,
Nor longer than she shed her horns they staid;
From thence with airy flight to foreign lands con-
Above the rest our Britain held they dear; [vey'd.
More solemnly they kept their sabbaths here,
And made more spacious rings, and revell'd half
I speak of ancient times; for now the swain
Returning late may pass the woods in vain,
And never hope to see the nightly train:
In vain the dairy now with mint is dress'd,
The dairy-maid expects no fairy guest
To skim the bowls, and after pay the feast.
She sighs and shakes her empty shoes in vain,
No silver penny to reward her pain:
For priests with prayers, and other godly geer,
Have made the merry goblins disappear;
And where they play'd their merry pranks before
Have sprinkled holy water on the floor:
And friars, that through the wealthy regions run
Thick as the motes that twinkle in the sun,
Resort to farmers rich, and bless their halls,
And exorcise the beds, and cross the walls.
This makes the fairy-quires forsake the place,
When once 'tis hallow'd with the rites of
But in the walks where wicked elves have been,
The learning of the parish now is seen,
The midnight parson posting o'er the green,
With gown tuck'd up to wakes; for Sunday next,
With humming ale encouraging his text;
Nor wants the holy leer to country girl betwixt.
From fiends and imps he sets the village free,
There haunts not any incubus but he.
The maids and women need no danger fear
To walk by night, and sanctity so near:
For by some haycock, or some shady thorn,
He bids his beads both even-song and morn.
It so befell, in this King Arthur's reign,
A lusty knight was pricking o'er the plain;
A bachelor he was, and of the courtly train.
It happen'd as he rode, a damsel gay
In russet robes to market took her way;
Soon on the girl he cast an amorous eye,
So straight she walk'd, and on her pasterns high:
If seeing her behind he liked her pace,
Now turning short, he better liked her face:
He lights in haste, and full of youthful fire,
By force accomplish'd his obscene desire.
This done, away he rode, not unespied,
For swarming at his back the country cried;
And once in view they never lost the sight,
But seized, and pinion'd brought to court the knight.
Then courts of kings were held in high renown,
Ere made the common brothels of the town;
There, virgins honourable vows received,
But chaste as maids in monasteries lived.
The king himself, to nuptial ties a slave,
No bad example to his poets gave;
And they, not bad, but in a vicious age,
Had not, to please the prince, debauch'd the stage. Now what should Arthur do? he loved the knight;
But sovereign monarchs are the source of right! Moved by the damsel's tears, and common cry, He doom'd the brutal ravisher-to die.
But fair Geneura rose in his defence,
And pray'd so hard for mercy from the prince,
That to his queen the king the' offender gave,
And left it in her power to kill or save.
This gracious act the ladies all approve,
Who thought it much a man should die for love;
And with their mistress join'd in close debate,
(Covering their kindness with dissembled hate)
If not to free him, to prolong his fate.
At last agreed, they call'd him by consent
Before the queen and female parliament.
And the fair speaker rising from the chair,
Did thus the judgment of the house declare :
Sir knight, though I have ask'd thy life, yet still
Thy destiny depends upon my will;
Nor hast thou other surety than the grace
Not due to thee from our offended race.
But as our kind is of a softer mould,
And cannot blood without a sigh behold,
I grant thee life; reserving still the power
To take the forfeit when I see my hour:
Unless thy answer to my next demand
Shall set thee free from our avenging hand.
The question, whose solution I require,
Is," what the sex of women most desire?"
In this dispute thy judges are at strife;
Beware; for on thy wit depends thy life.
Yet, lest surprised, unknowing what to say,
Thou damn thyself, we give thee further day:
A year is thine to wander at thy will;
And learn from others, if thou want'st the skill,
But, not to hold our proffer turn'd in scorn,
Good sureties will we have for thy return:
That at the time prefix'd thou shalt obey,
And at thy pledges' peril keep thy day.'
Woe was the knight at this severe command;
But well he knew 'twas bootless to withstand:
The terms accepted as the fair ordain,
He put in bail for his return again,
And promised answer at the day assign'd,
The best, with Heaven's assistance, he could find,
His leave thus taken, on his way he went
With heavy heart, and full of discontent;
Misdoubting much, and fearful of the' event.
"Twas hard the truth of such a point to find,
As was not yet agreed among the kind.
Thus on he went; still anxious more and more,
Ask'd all he met, and knock'd at every door;
Inquired of men; but made his chief request
To learn from women what they loved the best.