1 IN clouds drew on the evening's close,
2 Which cross the west in ranges stood,
3 As pensive GERTRUDE sought the wood,
4 And there the darkest thicket chose;
5 While from her eyes amid the wild briar flows
6 A sad and briny flood.
7 Dark o'er her head
8 Roll'd heavy clouds, while showers,
9 Pefum'd by summer's wild and spicy flowers,
10 Their ample torrents shed.
11 Why does she mourn?
12 Why droop, like flowret nipp'd in early spring?
13 Alas! her tenderness meets no return! [Page 21]
14 Love hovers round her with his airy wing,
15 And warms her youthful heart with vain delight:
16 While URBAN's graceful form enchants her sight,
17 And from his eyes shoots forth the poisonous sting,
18 Another's charms th' impassion'd youth imspir'd,
19 The sportive ROSAMONDE his genius fir'd.
20 The drops which glide down GERTRUDE'S cheeks,
21 Mid bitter agonies did flow;
22 And though awhile her pallid lips might glow,
23 'Twas as a blossom blighted soon with woe:
24 Her disregarded tresses, wet with tears,
25 Hung o'er her panting bosom straight and sleek;
26 Her faithful heart was all despondency and fears.
27 The skies disgorg'd, their last large drops refrain,
28 The cloudy hemisphere's no more perturb'd;
29 The leafy boughs, that had receiv'd the rain,
30 With gusts of wind disturb'd,[Page 22]
31 Shake wild their scattering drops o'er glade and plain;
32 They fall on GERTRUDE'S breast, and her white garments stain.
33 Sighing, she threw her mantle o'er her head,
34 And through the brakes towards her mansion sped;
35 Unheedingly her vestments drew along,
36 Sweeping the tears that to the branches hung:
37 And as she pass'd
38 O'er the soak'd road, from off the shining grass,
39 In clods around her feet the moist earth clung.
40 The clouds dispers'd, again to sight
41 The evening sun glow'd lambent bright;
42 And forcing back the lowering shades,
43 Spread its enlivening beams, and kindled mid the glades:
44 With high-wrought verdure every object glow'd,
45 And purple hills their glittering mansions show'd.
46 The universal gleam invites to sport,
47 For toil and care cease with the ebbing day;[Page 23]
48 Th' industrious youths to plains or groves resort,
49 Dance on the lawn, or o'er the hillocks stray.
50 GERTRUDE, wandering up a lane,
51 From among the winding trees,
52 Fann'd by a refreshing breeze,
53 Ascends upon the glistening plain.
54 Across gay Iris flung her bow,
55 Reflecting each celestial ray;
56 As if the flowers that deck'd the May
57 Were there exhal'd, and through its watery pores did glow.
58 From a fair covert, URBAN'S gay resort,
59 A whistling pipe in warbling notes respir'd;
60 The well-known sound invites each youth to sport,
61 And every heart its harmony inspir'd;
62 While from each mead,
63 So thick with daisies spread,[Page 24]
64 The bounding nymphs with fairy lightness sprung,
65 And gayly wild their sportive sonnets sung;
66 The air was scented by the odorous flowers,
67 Bright sprinkled with the dew of fresh-fall'n show'rs.
68 Of lively grace, and dimpled smiles,
69 Slim CYNTHIA, the refin'd,
70 Came, with neat PHILLIS, full of tricksome wiles;
71 While SILVIUS stroll'd behind,
72 Chas'd by the marble-hearted ROSALIND:
73 The loud and witty large-mouth'd MADGE,
74 With her obsequious servant HODGE.
75 Blythe from the mill, which briskly turning round
76 Made the young zephyrs breathe a rural sound,
77 Leap'd CHARLES, gay glowing with industrious heat,
78 Active to lead in every rustic feat:
79 Back from his brows he shook his wavy locks,
80 And turning quick his lively eyes,[Page 25]
81 His lovely, modest PEGGY spies,
82 Returning with her aged father's flocks.
83 Straight with his hand he gave his heart sincere,
84 Devoid of order danc'd, and whistled loud and clear.
85 HEBE, a blooming, sprightly fair,
86 With shallow HED, an ill-match'd pair;
87 Simple DAPHNE, rosy JOHN,
88 And ever-blundering HELESON:
89 From a large mansion, gloom'd by shading trees,
90 Forth sprung the star-ey'd LUISSE;
91 Graceful her tresses flow'd around,
92 Like scatter'd clouds, that catch the moon's pale beams;
93 Scarcely she seem'd to touch the verdant ground,
94 But, as inspired, along the plain she streams.
95 More join the flock; - they spring in air,
96 Light as wing'd doves, and like to doves they pair;
97 The sun's last ray now linger'd o'er their head,
98 And sweets delectable around were spread. [Page 26]
99 Poor GERTRUDE, hid amongst the trees, survey'd
100 Each ardent youth, each blooming maid;
101 And as she gaz'd,
102 Pleasure by slow degrees within her senses steals:
103 Her eyes, with tears impearl'd, she rais'd,
104 Her heart each sweet sensation feels;
105 Lightly her feet the grassy meadows tread,
106 While music's power deludes her from her cares;
107 Among the nymphs, by its soft influence led,
108 Her sympathetic breast their raptures shares.
109 Thus while she felt, and join'd the lively throng,
110 Lo! quick ascends the plain
111 The glory of each swain,
112 URBAN, with sportive song,
113 Whose chearful notes in frolic measures fled;
114 While ROSAMONDE,
115 Fleet-footed, glowing ROSAMONDE, he led:
116 The rapture of the lark her voice sent forth,
117 Too well, ah! GERTRUDE knew its worth;[Page 27]
118 Dire tremblings soon her spirits seize:
119 Could she, vain untaught nymph, aspire to please?
120 Her body owns no grace,
121 No smiles, no dimples, deck her eyes or face:
122 She feels that she has nought to prize;
123 Yet, totally devoid of art,
124 Expression's charm was her's, with beaming eyes,
125 A voice far-reaching, and a feeling heart.
126 She turn'd around -
127 The flying breezes loosen'd to the air
128 Her ill-beseeming vests, her scatter'd hair:
129 So sad she look'd, so artless was her woe,
130 As from a thinking mind had drawn a tear;
131 But joy through every vein had stole,
132 And mirth shut out the sympathetic glow.
133 The heart's gay dance admits of no controul,
134 Sweet joys but seldom through our senses steal;
135 Tis pity then we should forget to feel. [Page 28]
136 Gay wicked wit amid the circles spread,
137 And wanton round the lively sallies sped;
138 Each neat-trimm'd maiden laugh'd with playful glee,
139 Whom whispering swains divert with mimickry.
140 Fair ROSAMONDE, whose rival bosom burn'd,
141 With taunting mirth directs young URBAN'S eyes;
142 He, with mischievous archness, smiles return'd,
143 Amid whose circles wounding satires rise;
144 Their sportive feet still beat the flowery ground,
145 While wicked looks, and jests, and jeers went round.
146 Pierc'd by their insults, stung with bitter smart,
147 Sad fell poor GERTRUDE'S tears, high heav'd her heart.
148 Distant she flew, and siting on a stone,
149 Conceal'd, gave sorrow vent, and wept alone:
150 Till 'mid her grief, a virtuous just disdain
151 Came to her aid, and made her bosom glow;
152 With shame she burns, she blushes at her woe,
153 And wonders at her weakness and her pain. [Page 29]
154 "Unhappy maid!" she cry'd, "thou art to blame,
155 " Thus to expose thy virtuous breast to shame:
156 "Poor heart! thy love is laugh'd at for its truth;
157 " Yet 'tis a holy treasure, though disdain'd,
158 "And wantonly by thoughtlessness profan'd;
159 " Ah! why then waste the blessings of thy youth?
160 "No more fair reason's sacred light despise;
161 " Thy heart may blessings find
162 "That dwell not in the eyes,
163 " But in the virtues of the feeling mind. " [Page 30]