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While fancy pictured every lively part,
And each bright image wander'd o'er his heart,
Thus, in some public forum fix'd on high,
A mirror shows the figures moving by ;
Still one by one, in swift succession, pass
The gliding shadows o'er the polish'd glass.
This lady's charms the nicest could not blame,
But vile suspicions had aspersed her fame:
That was with sense, but not with virtue bless'd;
And one had grace, that wanted all the rest.
Thus doubting long what nymph he should obey,
He fix'd at last upon the youthful May.
Her faults he knew not, Love is always blind,
But every charm revolved within his mind:
Her tender age, her form divinely fair,
Her easy motion, her attractive air,
Her sweet behaviour, her enchanting face,
Her moving softness and majestic grace.

Much in his prudence did our knight rejoice,
And thought no mortal could dispute his choice,
Once more in haste he summon'd every friend,
And told them all, their pains were at an end.
'Heaven that (said he) inspired me first to wed,
Provides a consort worthy of my bed:
Let none oppose the election, since on this
Depends my quiet, and my future bliss.

'A dame there is, the darling of my eyes,

Young, beauteous, artless, innocent, and wise;

Chaste, though not rich; and, though not nobly born

Of honest parents, and may serve my turn.

Her will I wed, if gracious Heaven so please,

To pass my age in sanctity and ease:

And thank the powers, I may possess alone

The lovely prize, and share my bliss with none !
If you, my friends, this virgin can procure,
My joys are full, my happiness is sure.

One only doubt remains: full oft I've heard,
By casuists grave, and deep divines 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-exchanged 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
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 you'll find among the fair,
One that may do your business to a hair:
Not e'en 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 judgment 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, nor more the work delay'd;
The match was offered, 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, still 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 proud arrav

The time approach'd, to church the parties went,
At once with carnal and devout intent:

Forth came the priest, and bade the obedient wife,
Like Sarah or Rebecca lead her life;

Then pray'd the powers 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 placed in state the bridegroom and the bride.
The breathing flute's soft notes are heard around,
And the shrill trumpets mix their silver sound;
The vaulted roofs with echoing music ring,

These touch the vocal stops, and those the trem

bling string.

Not thus Amphion tuned the warbling lyre,

Nor Joab the sounding clarion could inspire,

Nor fierce Theodamus, whose sprightly strain

Could swell the soul to rage, and fire the martial train.

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 danced around, and smiled on every knight:
Pleased 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 lays, 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 beauteous dame sat smiling at the board,
And darted amorous glances at her lord.
Not Esther'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 revolved with vast delight

The entrancing raptures of the approaching night,
Restless he sate, 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 round;
With odorous spices they perfumed the place,
And mirth and pleasure shone in every face.

Damian alone of all the menial train,
Sad in the midst of triumphs, sigh'd for pain;
Damian alone, the knight's obsequious 'squire,
Consumed 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 loathed 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 horizon, 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 required,
Each paid his thanks, and decently retired.

The foe once gone, our knight prepared to undress So keen he was, and eager to possess:

But first thought fit the assistance to receive,
Which grave physicians scruple not to give:
Satyrion 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 undress'd,
The room was sprinkled, and the bed was bless'd.

What next ensued beseems not me to say;
"Tis sung, he labour'd till the dawning day,
Then briskly sprung from bed, with heart so light
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 sung 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 the occasion might betray,
Composed 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,
'Twas June, and Cancer had received the sun,)
Forth from her chamber came the beauteous bride
The good old knight moved slowly by her side.
High mass was sung; they feasted in the hall;
The servants round stood ready at their call.
The 'squire alone was absent from the board,
And much his sickness grieved his worthy lord,
Who pray'd his spouse, attended with her train.
To visit Damian, and divert his pain.
The obliging dames obey'd with one consent⚫
They left the hall, and to his lodging went.
The female tribe surround him as he lay,
And close beside him sate the gentle May:
Where, as she tried his pulse, he softly drew
A heaving sigh, and cast a mournful view!
Then gave his bill, and bribed 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 snored away the night,
Till coughs awaked him near the morning light

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