Recreations for Solitary Hours
Lady Well's Narration
Lady Well's Narration.
Hail! generous friend, permit me to return
My grateful thanks to thee, for kindness due,
Since first we met, ye've made my bosom burn.
With gratitude, I fail t' express, yet true,
As a stranger was—but such I view
As I Heav'n's propitious favours on me pour'd,
Which much did to my happiness accrue—
When I thy welcomes and wellwishes 'dured,
Fidelity thus whisper'd on them rest assured.
How oft have Poets mourned their ill success,
In friendship's growth, but which success I sing;
Kind Heaven stoop, and with thy blessings bless
The gen'rous hospitality of King;
For surely he has tasted of that spring,
Whose nect'rous draught excites the muse's spell,
As such our varied converse signs did bring,
Which gave me joy: on which I long could dwell,
But prudence bids me haste to sing of Lady Well.15
Now let me sing the Nymphs pathetic tale,
Most wildly fraught with scenes of grief and joy,
While pity, o'er th attention to prevail,
Confirms her sorrow with the bursting sigh;
Though whiles a vivid gleam enlights her eye
With pleasures, yet how transient is it stay;
The thoughts of former wrongs endured annoy
Her lovely aspect, with their pensive sway,
But when her cares are soothed, how cheerful she's and gay.
To visit, scarce had I approached her ground,
Than how was I surprised the fair to meet,
Her beauty charmed me—struck with awe profound.
Was I, as she bent lowly at my feet
To do obeisance, and m' arrival greet:
Thus welcomed, I delighted stooped to kiss,
And raise the Nymph in comeliness complete.
Excited, she her joy could scarce express,
Till strength recruiting, thus she me began t' address.
Hail social Muse! in thee is my desire
Accomplished,—oft my longings I've express'd,
For thy arrival, tune the wonted lyre
I thee beseech;—for oh! my painful breast
page 48 Is like t' explode with sorrows, so oppress'd—
And how ye've sung I long have been aware;
Be not impatient;—listen my request
I thee intreat.—While venting many a care
Oh sing my plaint—Yea Nymph, I'll listen to thy prayer.
Here long I've dwelt where truly I've been wont
With peace and happiness from ancient yore,
Enjoyments sweet!—and as a resident
I've useful been; but spoilers 'gainst me bore
A causeless spite, which they inflicted sore,
By rendering this my habitation lorn,—
Oh base ingratitude!—stunn'd to the core
Was I, at services repaid with scorn—
'T was thus my sorrows rose, nor could I cease to mourn.
Ah me! for such malevolence display'd,
And such ungratefulness for favours giv'n,
Have wreck'd my peace, made pleasures retrograde,
And happiness to deep despair have driven—
But why discons'late? since the bless of heav'n,
page 49 Around me still exuberantly flows—
Yet with despondent pain my heart's oft riven,
To think my spoilers though they cause me woes,
To beg my bounties still do thanklessly impose.
But was this foul reproach to be revenged
By all my fellows near, and far away,
How would dependants dig, when quite estranged
By all our genial blessings,—and decay
In painful languishment;—thus fall a prey
To deep distress,—desiring,—still undone;
No comfort near, and no relief;—how they
All swelt'ring, would their exigence bemoan,
When nothing seems to smile or flourish 'neath the sun.
And how would Nature feel, was then suppress'd
The sustenance of her incumbent train;—16
Then Flora would decease, by want oppress'd;—
Dryade no more with Æolus could maintain
The contest, yielding vanquished in pain;
And vain Lubentia's glory would be foil'd;
Her vineyards cease to flourish;—how she'd 'plain
With staff of life and Cornucopia spoil'd,—
While seeking for my haunts would lowing herds run wild.
Ah! then, farewell to beauty and delight
And comfort: Who'd still Nature's requiem sing?
Then Death would reign with arbitrary might,
All labour fruitless!—how the harp would hing
Untuned upon the willow, ne'er to ring,
Save to the wind, Nature's catastrophe:
Unto the mouth's roof, how the tongue would cling
In speechless silence, then the staring eye
Would indicate unspeakable sad misery.
But ah! can I such fell antipathy
'Gainst Nature harbour in this painful breast,
Oh! no dear Muse, though oft I'm made to sigh
By inconsistent Man.—Though he'd divest
Me of my humble comforts, still he's blest
With benefits, which aye unceasing flow
From me their source. But thanklessly impress'd
He seems, while rend'ring despicably low
My bounties duly giv'n; such aggravates my woe.
Was I translated to th' Arabian wild,
Where barren seas of sand extending lie,
What blessings oft would be on me compiled
By panting trav'llers, when they'd me descry;
page 51 When pray'rs are answer'd, how th' expressive eye
In heartfelt thanks they'd raise to bounteous Heaven;17
To see such gratefulness would give me joy;—
But those I serve thank not for favours given,
Nor will, till they t' experienced want of them be driven.
Though long I thus have mourn'd my hapless fate,
Yet now I'm somewhat comforted to joy,
With transient smiles, to think my ruin'd state,
Regardfully one pitied, so's t' employ
His influence o'er some, (thus to comply
With wishes long I've cherished,) to renew
My wasted courts. Their liberality
In thus repairing former wrongs undue,
Has much impress'd my heart with thankfulness most true.
A scanty subsidy, the niggard proud,
Then granted for my cause,—some gave a curse!
The lab'ring poor were liberal! be it loud
Proclaimed unto their honour. Not the worse
Was my cause pleaded;—for as 'twere hy force
page 52 Some did contribute, who ne'er think it wrong
To claim, more than to what they have recourse,
Those granting nought, but scorn'd my claims, ere long
Did pilfer from my stores, to cool the parched tongue.
Though I was held in estimation low,
Yet none without my service could dispense.
But now I'm loved, I hope, without a foe,
Just for my qualities, my sole defence;
At least for such they make a fair pretence,
By visiting from far: such fills with joy
This heart which long has grieved: But they perchance
May treacherous prove—and Envy may decoy
Friendship's pretence, again my pleasures to destroy.
Though thus depressed with sad solicitude
Each day for safety from destroyers' spite,
All cares, as swallow'd in oblivion's flood,
Do leave me cheerful at th' approach of night;
How can I but exult with high delight,
When round assemble yonder village maids,
Whose tales of love while list'ning, me excite
To cheering thoughts,—I welcome their parades
Each night, so fond to hear their joyful serenades.
Such scenes delight me; while the plaintive owl—
Which long as my companion mourn'd my fate,
And gave to ev'ry tear drop-shed, a howl,
As scorning them who on me pour'd their hate—
Is now dismiss'd:—and I'm in better state,
Those courts are paved, which were involved in mire;
Thus much at peace:—nor can I feel ingrate,
But happy be. All visiting admire;
While nightly I'm delighted with the lover's choir.
Thus have I told the burden of my plaint;
And thus my mind disburden'd of its grief,
Whilst thou, oh! generous Muse, without restraint
Hast tuned the lyre affording much relief;
Thou'rt truly of my comforters the chief—
How thy attention did my cares subdue;
For such a solace thanks indeed are brief;—
But surely thou'rt impatient to pursue
Thy homeward course.—Yea Nymph, time bids us part—Adieu.