[Page 230]

To CLARISSA.

1 'TWAS when the friendly shade of night
2 Suspends the busy cares of light,
3 And on the various world bestows
4 Or sprightly joy, or calm repose.
5 With gen'rous wine the glass was crown'd,
6 And mirth, and talk, and toasts went round.
7 Clarissa came to bless the feast,
8 Clarissa dearly welcome guest.
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9 Not such she look'd as when by day
10 She blazes in the diamond's ray;
11 And adding to each gem a grace,
12 Give's India's wealth the second place.
13 But soft reclin'd in careless ease,
14 More pleasing, less intent to please.
15 Loose flow'd her hair in wanton pride,
16 Her robe unbound, her zone unty'd;
17 Half bare to view her milk-white breast,
18 A slender veil scarce shades the rest:
19 Her eye with sparkling lustre glows,
20 And wit in sweetest accent flows.
21 Now sooth'd the angel's voice I hear,
22 And drink in love at either ear;
23 Now stung with wilder rapture gaze,
24 While our eyes meet with blended rays;
25 And kindling in th' infectious flame,
26 I feel what words want pow'r to name.
27 Awaking from the silent trance,
28 Cautious I steal a broken glance;
29 In clam'rous mirth each pang disguise,
30 And laughter swell with bursting sighs;
31 For Envy, pallid fiend, was there,
32 And Jealousy with watchful care.
33 Now ends the feast, each guest retires,
34 And with them all my soul desires
35 Clarissa goes. Ah! cruel fate!
36 She goes with her ill-sorted mate:
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37 Sullen and slow he moves along,
38 And heavy hums a drowsy song.
39 O! drowsy may the monster lye,
40 And instant slumbers seal his eye!
41 So shalt thou, best belov'd, escape
42 The horrors of a legal rape.
43 Or, shou'd the brutish instinct goad,
44 And thou must bear th' unwelcome load;
45 If struggle, pray'r, pretence be vain,
46 To shun what tyrant-laws ordain;
47 Ah sparing deal out scanty dues,
48 And keep whate'er thou canst refuse!
49 Ah! give no bounding pulse to beat,
50 No cheek to glow with genial heat!
51 No breast to heave in am'rous play,
52 No limbs to twine, no hands to stray;
53 But sluggish press the joyless bed,
54 And lye in cold indiff'rence dead:
55 Nor let the blasting spoiler sip.
56 The fragrance of thy balmy lip!
57 To share with him the lover's part,
58 Were rank adultery of the heart.
59 But if, in chaster love's despite,
60 Warm nature catch the known delight;
61 While fierce desires tumultuous rise,
62 And rapture melts thy closing eyes;
63 Ah! be those joys for me design'd,
64 And let me rush upon thy mind!
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65 To me the burning kiss impart,
66 On me impress the humid dart,
67 For me unlock the nectar'd store,
68 Then sigh, and dream the transport o'er!
69 Thus with her lov'd idea fraught,
70 Delusive fancy charms my thought;
71 And joining in the flatt'ring cheat,
72 Willing I hug the dear deceit;
73 From fiction real bliss receive,
74 And all I fondly wish believe;
75 Nor envy to a husband's arms,
76 The dull fruition of her charms.
77 But when, regardless of my truth,
78 She smiles on some more favour'd youth;
79 And while he whispers in her ears,
80 With more than wonted pleasure hears;
81 My jealous thought his voice supplies,
82 And reads perdition in her eyes.
83 Then torn with envy, love, and hate,
84 I wish her with her wedded mate.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): To CLARISSA.
    Themes: sex; relations between the sexes
    Genres:
    References: DMI 22436

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    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. II. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 230-233. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.