Lutrin/Canto 2

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THE

LUTRIN.


CANTO II.

MEAN Time the Monster of Gigantick Size,
Hung round with opening Mouths, and waking Eyes;
Who far and wide tells what she hears, and more;
Trav'ling from Clime to Clime, from Shore to Shore:
Fame, nimble Messenger, prepares to dart
A mortal Dread on Barberissa's Heart:

Tells how her Lord, by a fond Fancy led,
That Night determin'd to forsake her Bed,
And to erect the Desk. Amaz'd to hear,
She first stood motionless, and froze with Fear:
At last, confessing Anger and Surprize,
With Hair dishevel'd, and with flaming Eyes,
Her Wrath no longer able to conceal,
She thus upbraided his officious Zeal:

[1]And would'st thou hide this Mischief of thy Mind?
And can nor sacred Vows, nor duty bind?
Dar'st thou then, Traytor, so perfidious prove
To plighted Faith, and Hymeneal Love?
Are all th' Indearments of a Wedded Life,
The soft Embraces of a tender Wife,

(A Wife alas! just ready to expire)
Too Weak to conquer one unkind Desire?
False Man, wert thou oblig'd to wear away
The tedious Hours from Eve to dawning Day;
With well-form'd Curls, or with dissembled Hair,
The Beau to furnish, or adorn the Fair:
I cou'd, perhaps, without Regret or Pain,
The Want of due Benevolence sustain;
Thy Absence sweetned with the Hopes of Gain.
But thus to leave your Partner in the Lurch,
With a mad Zeal in Favour of a Church?
Stay, cruel Man! Ah! whither do you run?
Why the Companion of your Pleasures shun?
Have you forgot so soon? And can you see
These flowing Streams, and not be touch'd, like me?
By all our Kisses, by our softer Nights,
And melting Sweets of Conjugal Delights.

If ever mov'd with Barberissa's Charms,
You took the easy Victim to your Arms:
If by no previous Promises betray'd,
E'er join'd by Priest, I fell a willing Maid:
If those yon glimmering Lamps, which rowl above,
Ne'er saw a second Rival in my Love.
Ah! do not go! let me your Stay implore
But for one Night, and I will ask no more.

She said: The Torrent of her amorous Flame
Threw on a trusty Stool the swooning Dame.
The moving Sight her Lord's brave Soul opprest;
Honour and Love contended in his Breast.
Till calling his known Courage to his Aid,
Thus to the Queen of his Desires he said:
(But with a Voice which spoke divided Care,
A Lover's Sweetness, and a Husband's Air,)

Madam, Should I my Happiness disown,
And Joys so often reap'd from you alone;
I should to Honour a curst Traytor prove,
Unworthy of your Bed, and lavish Love;
But sooner shall the Gallick Liger join
His blended Waters with the German Rhine,
E'er from my Memory your Love depart,
So safely treasur'd in my constant Heart:
Yet think not Hymen, when my Faith I gave,
Resign'd me to your Yoke, a Woman's Slave.
Had I the Power my Destiny to chuse,
I still had 'scap'd the Matrimonial Noose:
Still had I revell'd, like a free-born Soul,
In lawless Pleasures, and without Controul.
Away! no more your empty Title plead;
What's Love compar'd with such a noble Deed?

How will it sound, when future Poets write,
That I, by Favour of the silent Night,
The Desk erected in the Church's Right!
Curb then your fond Desires; nor seek to shock
My solid Honour, stable as a Rock.
Ah! do not Barberissa's Vertue stain,
Nor those fair Eyes bedew with brackish Rain;
Nor with ungenerous Sighs protract my Stay,
[2]For Heav'n has call'd me, and I must obey.

This said; He leaves her full of anxious Fears,
Her Cheeks all delug'd with a Flood of Tears.
Streight the Vermillion vanish'd from her Face,
And the wan Lily took the Rose's Place.
Thrice to recall the Salvage Man sh' assay'd;
But her rebellious Tongue thrice disobey'd.

Then to the lofty Room, which fac'd the Skies,
By Men the Garret call'd, the weeping Lady flies.
Alicia heard; streight after her she went,
Nimbly surmounting the Stairs high Ascent;
To shew her Duty by her speedy Care,
And lessen Sorrow, while she takes a Share.

Now had approaching Night the Town o'erspread,
And scatter'd thro' the Streets a dusky Shade.
The Bell rings Supper; th' hungry Chaplains all,
Blessing the Sound, and pliant to the Call,
Flock from the empty Choir to the more welcome Hall.
The Taverns thicken; the wet Chanter sings;
And every Room with Noise and Nonsence rings.

Forth the brave Brontin march'd, whose watchful Eyes
Sleep thrice in vain attempted to surprize:
Whom the third Bottle Fortify'd within,
Provided by the cautious Gilotin,
Who knew that Wine made heavy Burdens light,
And push'd the unarm'd Hero to the Fight.

The Sexton follow'd, Boirude was his Name;
The Third in this immortal Deed of Fame:
Both sally out, kindled with Honour's Charms,
To fire the Slow Lamour with Love of Arms.
Let us depart, they cry'd, the Day declines,
And to succeeding Night his Sway resigns.
Why thus dejected? Whence this black Chagrin
Which hovers o'er your Eyes and swells your Spleen?

Art thou the Man, who blam'd the tedious Day,
And curs'd the lagging Sun's unkind Delay?
Rise, follow us; great Deeds great Souls inflame.
At this the Barber blush'd with gen'rous Shame.

Then to his well-fill'd Magazine he flies,
Where many an Iron Weapon sacred lies,
Till call'd to Light on some brave Enterprize.
Some fashion'd by the skill'd Cornavian's Care,
At Birmingham, the Shop of Mulciber:
Not like those Arms of the dead-doing Kind;
These fasten things which were before disjoin'd:
Like an inverted Cone, of Metal strong,
Sharp Pointed, and quadrangularly long;
In Vulgar Speech call'd Nails; of these the best
He chose; a Hatchet his broad Shoulders prest:
A well-tooth'd Saw his brawny Body bends,
Which, like a Quiver, down his back descends:

Incourag'd thus, Brontin a Mallet shook,
And Boirude a Nail-driving Hammer took.
Lamour's Heroic Steps they tread, and feel
An unknown Warmth, a more than Human Zeal.
Happy the Wretched who implore the Aid
Of such a Leader, such a firm Brigade!
The Moon, who spy'd their haughty March from far,
Withdraws her Peaceful Light, and aids the War.
Discord pursu'd them, with a favou'ring Eye,
She grin'd a Smile, and with her hideous Cry
Drove back the trembling Clouds, and pierc'd the vaulted Sky.
From thence the Sound descended to th' Abode
Of the [3]Citose, and wak'd Sloth's drowsy God.

There in a Cell he keeps his silent Court;
Around him, luke-warm lazy Genij sport:
Here One retires to knead the fat'ning Paste
Which plumps the Canon's Cheeks, and swells his brawny Waste.
Another the Vermillion grinds, to paint
The jolly Looks of mortifying Saint:
There Pleasure an observant Centry stands,
Regardful of the Deity's Commands;
While Morpheus pours continual Poppy Rain;
(Tho' now redoubled Show'rs descend in vain.)
Sloth at the Noise awakes. All-covering Night
Relates the Story, and improves the Fright;
Tells how the Prelate with Ambition fir'd
T' Heroick Fame by new Designs aspir'd.
Near to a Venerable House of Prayer,
She saw Three Champions, who delight in War:

Proudly they march'd beneath her thick Disguise,
Safe in their Strength, secure from Human Eyes:
While Discord's fiery Brands their Souls inflame,
Who threatens here to Aggrandize her Name.
Lo! with to Morrow's Light a Desk appears,
The Joy of Factious, restive Mutineers.
A Thousand Dangers on the Tumult wait!
A Thousand Feuds foment the curst Debate!
So Heav'n has written in the Book of Fate.

She spoke; Sloth, rising from his silky Bed,
And leaning on one Arm his lumpy Head;
While from his languid Eyes a Deluge ran,
This broken Speech with feeble Voice began.
O Night, thou stab'st me with this killing News?
What new-born Plagues does active Hell produce?
Still do the Furies throw their Fiery Darts?
Still breathe Fatigue and War in Human Hearts?

Ah! whither fled those happy Times of Peace,
When idle Kings, dissolv'd in thoughtless Ease,
Resign'd their Scepters, and the Toils of State
To Counts, or some inferior Magistrate:
Loll'd on their Thrones, devoid of Thought or Pain;
And, nodding, slumber'd out a lazy Reign?
No anxious Cares did nigh the Palace creep;
But Day and Night was one continu'd Sleep,
Except the Vernal Month, when Flora gilds
The chearful Valleys, and the smiling Hills,
When the loud North his Airy Rule resigns
To gentle Zephyrs, and more peaceful Winds,
Four Oxen drew with slow and silent Feet
Th' unactive Monarch to some Country Seat.

But 'tis no more: That Golden Age is gone;
And an unweary'd Princess fills Britannia's Throne.
Each Day she frights me with the Noise of Arms,
Slights my Embraces, and defies my Charms.
In vain does Nature, Seas and Rocks oppose,
To bar her Virtue; which undaunted goes
Thro' Libyan Burnings, and o'er Scythian Snows.
Her Name alone my trembling Subjects dread,
Not her own Cannon can more Terrour spread.
To tell the Wrongs and Cruelties I bear,
Would exercise the Labour of a Year.
I thought the Church would shelter an Exile,
Driv'n from a Court, inur'd to Cares and Toil.
Vain was my Thought: For now each sad Recluse,
Monks, Abbots, Priors, wretched Me abuse.

[4]LaTrape's grown Famous by my shameful Flight,
Nor can [4]St. Denys bear my odious Sight.
The Jesuits ever have my Pow'r defy'd;
Few but the dull Citose my Rule obey'd.
The [5]Holy Chappel, with its Founder, slept,
And from old Time its Lethargy had kept.
Lo! now a Desk, a fatal Foe to Peace,
Strives to dislodge me from my ancient Ease.
And wilt Thou, Night, lend thy officious Aid
To cover Crimes, far blacker than thy Shade?
Wilt Thou, dear Partner of my lov'd Repose,
Abet my Ruin, and protect my Foes?
If e'er to Thee alone I did reveal
The Joys of Love, which I from Day conceal;
Ah! suffer not at least——Here Sloth opprest
With length of Words, and want of grateful Rest,
Sunk down: His Strength forsook the stupid God,
And to Repose resign'd the lifeless Load.

  1. Dissimulare etiam sperasti, perfide, tantum
    Posse nefas?——
    Nec te noster, amor nec te data dextera quondam,
    Nec moritura tenet crudeli funere Dido.
    Virg. Æneid.
  2. Et nunc Jove miffus ab alto
    Interpres Divum fert horrida jussa per auras
    .
  3. Cistertians. A Fraternity in the Romish Church.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Religious Houses in and near Paris.
  5. The Scene of Action where this Dissention happen'd.