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As Theodore was born of noble kind, The brutal action rous'd his manly mind; Mov'd with unworthy usage of the maid, He, though unarm'd, resolv'd to give her aid, A saplin pine he wrench'd from out the ground, The readiest weapon that his fury found. Thus furnish'd for offence, he cross'd the way Betwixt the graceless villain and his prey.
The knight came thundering on, but, from afar, Thus in imperious tone forbade the war: "Cease, Theodore, to proffer vain relief, Nor stop the vengeance of so just a grief; But give me leave to seize my destin'd prey, And let Eternal Justice take the way : I but revenge my fate, disdain'd, betray'd, And suffering death for this ungrateful maid."
He said, at once dismounting from the steed;
With chattering teeth, and bristling hair upright;
"Know, Theodore, thy ancestry I claim,
Not less ador'd in life, nor serv'd by me,
On this sharp sword, and now am damn'd in Hell.
"Short was her joy; for soon th' insulting maid By Heaven's decree in this cold grave was laid. And as in unrepented sin she dy'd,
Doom'd to the same bad place is punish'd for her
Because she deemed I well deserv'd to die,
And made a merit of her cruelty.
There, then, we met; both try'd, and both were And this irrevocable sentence pass'd;
That she, whom I so long pursu'd in vain,
Should suffer from my hands a lingering pain:
And tear that harden'd heart from out her breast, Which, with her entrails, makes my hungry hounds a feast
Nor lies she long, but, as her Fates ordain,
This, vers'd in death, th' infernal knight relates,
As Friday saw me die, so she my prey
Thus while he spoke the virgin from the ground Upstarted fresh, already clos'd the wound,
And, unconcern'd for all she felt before,
The hell-hounds, as ungorg'd with flesh and blood,
Long stood the noble youth oppress'd with awe And stupid at the wondrous things he saw, [law. Surpassing common faith, transgressing Nature's He would have been asleep, and wish'd to wake, But dreams, he knew, no long impression make, Though strong at first; if vision, to what end, But such as must his future state portend? His love the damsel, and himself the fiend, But yet, reflecting that it could not be From Heaven, which cannot impious acts decree, Resolv'd within himself to shun the snare, Which Hell for his destruction did prepare ; And, as his better genius should direct, From an ill cause to draw a good effect.
Inspir'd from Heaven he homeward took his way, Nor pall'd his new design with long delay: But of his train a trusty servant sent, To call his friends together at his tent. They came, and, usual salutations paid, With words premeditated thus he said: "What you have often counsell'd, to remove My vain pursuit of unregarded love; By thrift my sinking fortune to repair, Though late yet is at last become my care: My heart shall be my own; my vast expense Reduc'd to bounds, by timely providence: This only I require; invite for me Honoria, with her father's family,
Her friends, and mine; the cause I shall display, On Friday next; for that's th' appointed day." Well pleas'd were all his friends, the task was light, The father, mother, daughter, they invite ;
Hardly the dame was drawn to this repast;
Nor long before the loud laments arise,
Of one distress'd, and mastiffs' mingled cries;
Last came the felon, on his sable steed, [speed. Arm'd with his naked sword, and urg'd his dogs to She ran, and cry'd, her flight directly bent
(A guest unbidden) to the fatal tent, [ment. The scene of death, and place ordain'd for punishLoud was the noise, aghast was every guest,
The women shriek'd, the men forsook the feast;