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Fair fall the deed ! the knight exulting cried,
Now is the time to make the maid a bride!
'Twas on the noon of an autumnal day,
October hight, but mild and fair as May;
When scarlet fruits the russet hedge adorn,
And floating films envelope every thorn;
When gently as in June, the rivers glide,
And only miss the flowers that graced their side;
The linnet twittered out his parting song,
With many a chorister the woods among;
On southern banks the ruminating sheep
Lay snug and warm ;—'twas summer's farewell peep,
Propitious to his fond intent there grew
An arbour near at hand of thickest yew,
With many a boxen bush, close dipt between,
And philyrea of a gilded green.
But what Old Chaucer's merry page befits,
The chaster muse of modern days omits.
Suffice it then in decent terms to say,
She saw,—and turned her rosy cheek away.
Small need of prayer-book or of priest, I ween,
Where parties are agreed, retired the scene,
Occasion prompt, and appetite so keen.
Hypothesis (for with such magic power
Fancy endued her in her natal hour,)
From many a steaming lake and recking bog,
Bade rise in haste a dank and drizzling fog,
That curtained round the scene where they reposed,
And wood and lawn in dusky folds enclosed.
Fear seized the trembling sex; in every grove
They wept the wrongs of honourable love.
In vain, they cried, are hymeneal rites,
Vain our delusive hope of constant knights;
The marriage bond has lost its power to bind,
And flutters loose, the sport of every wind.
The bride, while yet her bride's attire is on,
Shall mourn her absent lord, for he is gone,
Satiate of her, and weary of the same,
To distant wilds in quest of other game.
Ye fair Circassians ! all your lutes employ,
Seraglios sing, and harams dance for joy!
For British nymphs whose lords were lately true,
Nymphs quite as fair, and happier once than you,
Honour, esteem, and confidence forgot,
Feel all the meanness of your slavish lot.
Oh curst Hypothesis! your hellish arts
Seduce our husbands, and estrange their hearts.—
Will none arise? no knight who still retains
The blood of ancient worthies in their veins,
To assert the charter of the chaste and fair,
Find out her treacherous heart, and plant a dagger there!
A knight—(can he that serves the fair do less ?)
Starts at the call of beauty in distress;
And he that does not, whatsoe'er occurs,
Is recreant, and unworthy of his spurs.1
Full many a champion, bent on hardy deed,5
Called for his ..rms and for his princely steed.
So swarmed the Sabine youth, and grasped the shield,
When Roman rapine, by no laws withheld,
Lest Rome should end with her first founders' lives,
Made half their maids, sans ceremony, wives.
But not the mitred few, the soul their charge,
They left these bodily concerns at large;
Forms or no forms, pluralities or pairs,
Right reverend sirs ! was no concern of theirs.
The rest, alert and active as became
A courteous knighthood, caught the generous flame;
One was accoutred when the cry began,
Knight of the Silver Moon, Sir Marmadan.'
Oft as his patroness, who rules the night,
Hangs out her lamp in yon cerulean height,
His vow was (and he well perforn ed his vow),
Armed at all points, with terror on his brow
To judge the land, to purge atrocious crimes,
And quell the shapeless monsters of the times.
For cedars famed, fair Lebanon supplied
The well-poised lance that quivered at his side;
Truth armed it with a point so keen, so just,
No spell or charm was proof against the thrust.
He couched it firm upon his puissant thigh,4
And darting through his heim an eagle's eye,
On all the wings of chivalry advanced
To where the fond Sir Airy lay entranced.
He dreamt not of a foe, or if his fear
Foretold one, dreamt not of a foe so near.
Far other dreams his feverish mind employed,
Of rights restored, variety enjoyed;
Of virtue too well fenced to fear a flaw;
Vice passing current by the stamp of law;
Large population on a liberal plan,
And woman trembling at the foot of man;
How simple wedlock fornication works,
And Christians marrying may convert the Turks.
The trumpet now spoke Marmadan at hand,
A trumpet that was heard through all the land.
His high-bred steed expands his nostrils wide,
And snorts aloud to cast the mist aside;
But he, the virtues of his lance to show,
Struck thrice the point upon his saddle-bow;
Three sparks ensued that chased it all away,
And set the unseemly pair in open day.
"To horse!" he cried, "or, by this good right hand
And better spear, I smite you where you stand."
Sir Airy, not a whit dismayed or scared,
Buckled his helm, and to his steed repaired;
Whose bridle, while he cropped the grass below,
Hung not far off upon a myrtle bough.
He mounts at once,—such confidence infused
The insidious witch that had his wits abused;
And she, regardless of her softer kind,
Seized fast the saddle and sprang up behind.
"Oh shame to knighthood!" his assailant cried;
"Oh shame!" ten thousand echoing nymphs replied.
Placed with advantage at his listening ear,
She whispered still that he had nought to fear;
That he was cased in such enchanted steel,
So polished and compact from head to heel,
"Come ten, come twenty, should an army call
Thee to the field, thou shouldst withstand them all."
"By Dian's beams," Sir Marmadan exclaimed,
"The guiltiest still are ever least ashamed!
But guard thee well, expect no feigned attack;
And guard beside the sorceress at thy back"
He spoke indignant, and his spurs applied,
Though little need, to his good palfrey's side;
The barb sprang forward, and his lord, whose force
Was equal to the swiftness of his horse, .
Rushed with a whirlwind's fury on the foe,
And, Phineas-hke, transfixed them at a blow.
Then sang the married and the maiden throng, Love graced the theme, and harmony the song; The Fauns and Satyrs, a lascivious race, Shrieked at the sight, and, conscious, fled the place: And Hymen, trimming his dim torch anew, His snowy mantle o'er his shoulders threw; He turned, and viewed it oft on every side, And reddening with a just and generous pride, Blessed the glad beams of that propitious day, The spot he loathed so much for ever cleansed away.
Oh I for a closer walk with God ,
A calm and heavenly frame;
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshmg view
Of Jesus and his word?
What peaceful hours I once enjoyed I
How sweet their memory still I
But they have left an achmg void,
The world can never fill.
Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest
I hate the sins that made thee mourn,
And drove thee from my breast.
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.
So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
„._JEHOVAH-JIREH : THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.
Gen. xxii. 14.
The saints should never be dismayed
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect his aid,
The Saviour will appear.
This Abraham found: he raised the knife;
God saw, and said, "Forbear!
Yon ram shall yield his meaner life;
Behold the victim there."
Once David seemed Saul's certain prey;
But hark! the foe's at hand;
Saul turns his arms another way,
To save the invaded land.
When Jonah sunk beneath the wave,
He thought to rise no more;
But God prepared a fish to save,
And bear him to the shore.
Blest proofs of power and grace divine
That meet us in his word!
May every deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the Lord.
Wait for his seasonable aid,
And though it tarry, wait:
The promise may be long delayeci,
But cannot come too late.
III.—JEHOVAH-ROPHI: I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH
Exod. xv. 26.
Heal us, Emmanuel! here we are,
Waiting to feel thy touch:
Deep-wounded souls to thee repair,
And, Saviour, we are such.
Our faith is feeble, we confess,
We faintly trust thy word;
But wilt thou pity us the less?
Be that far from thee, Lord!
Remember him who once applied,
With trembling, for relief;
Lord, I believe," with tears he cried,
"Oh, help my unbelief!"
She, too, who touched thee in the press,
And healing virtue stole,
Was answered, "Daughter, go in peace,
Thy faith had made thee whole."
Concealed amid the gathering throng,
She would have shunned thy view;
And if her faith was firm and strong,
Had strong misgivings too.
Like her, with hopes and fears we come,
To touch thee, if we may;