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The village-curs now stretch their yelling throat,
And dogs from diftant cots return the note;
The ravenous wolf along the valley prowls,
And with his familh'd cries the mountain howls.
But hark ! what sudden noise advances near?
Repeated groans alarm my frighted ear!
Shepherd, approach ; ah ! fly not through the glade. A wretch all dy'd with wounds invokes thy aid.
Say then, unhappy stranger, how you bled;
Collect thy spirits, raise thy drooping head.
(Cleanthes raises himself on bis arn.
O horrid sight! Cleanthes gasping lies ;
And Death's black shadows float before his eyes.
Unknown in this disguise, I 'll check my woe,
And learn what bloody hand has struck the blow. (Afide.
Say, youth, ere Fate thy feeble voice confounds,
What led thee hither? whence these purple wounds ?
Stay, flecting life; may strength a-while prevail,
my clos'd lips confine th' imperfect tale.
Ere the streak'd East grew warm with amber ray,
I from the city took my
Far o'er the plains I sought a beauteous maid,
Who, from the Court, in these wide forests (tray'd;
Wanders unknown; as I, with weary pain,
Try'd every path, and opening glade, in vain;
A band of thieves, forth-rushing from the wood,
Unsheath'd their daggers warm with daily blood;
Deep in my breast the barbarous steel is dy'd,
And purple hands the golden prey divide.
Hence are thefe mangling wounds. Say, gentie swain,
If thou hast known among the fylvan train
The vagránt nymph I seek?
What mov'd thy care,
Thus, in these pathless wilds, to search the fair?
I charge you, O ye daughters of the grove,
Ye Naiads, who the mofly fountains love,
Ye happy fwains, who range the pastures wide;
Ye tender nymphs, who feed your
my last gasping breath can pity move,
If e'er ye knew the pangs of flighted love,
Show her, I charge you, where Cleanthes dy'd;
The grass yet reeking with the fanguine tide.
A father's power to me the virgin gave,
But the disdain'd to live a nuptial flare;
So fled her native home.
- 'Tis then from thee
Springs the foul source of all her misery.
Could'it thou, thy selflh appetite to please,
Condemn to endless woes another's peace :
O spare me'; nor my hapless love upbraid,
While on my heart Death's frozen hand is laid !
Go, seek her, guide her where Cleanthes bled;
When the surveys her lover pale and dead,
Tell her, that, since she fled
Without reinorse I sought the realms of night.
Methinks I see her view these poor remains,
And on her cheek indecent gladness reigns !
Full in her presence cold Cleanthes lies,
And not one tcar stands trembling in her eyes !
O let a figh my hapless fate deplore !
Cleanthes now controls thy love no more.
How shall my lids confine these rising woes ?
O might I fee her, ere Death's finger close
These eyes for ever! might her soften'd breast
Forgive my love with too much ardor prest !
Then I with peace could yield iny latest breath.
Shall I not calm the fable hour of death,
And fhew myself before him ! Ha! he dies.
See from his trembling lip the spirit flies ! [ Afil.
Stay yet awhile. Dione stands confest.
He knows me not. He faints, he finks to rest.
Tell her, since all my hopes in her were lost,
Thar death was welcom
What sudden gusts of grief '
my bosom rend ! A parent's curses o'er my head impenda For disobedient vows; O wretched maid, Those very vows Evander hath betray’d. See, at thy feet Cleanthes bath'd in blood ! For love of thee he trod this lonely wood; Thou art the cruel authorefs of his fate; He falls by thine; thou, by' Evander's hate. When-Shall my soul know'rest ? Cleanthes flainNo longer fighs and weeps for thy disdain. Thou still art curst' with love. Bleed, virgin, bleed. How shall a wretch from anxious life be freed ! My troubled brain with sudden frenzy burns, And shatter'd thought now this, now that way turns. What do I see thus glittering on the plains ? Ha! the dread sword yet warm with crimson stains !
[Takes up the dagger.
Sweet is the walk when night has cool'd the hour. This path directs me to my fylvan bower. Aide.
Why is my soul with sudden fear dismay'd ?
Why drops my trembling hand the pointed blade ?
string my arm with force !
- Methought a noite Broke through the filent air, like human voice. [ Afde.
One well-aim'd blow shall all my pangs remove,
Grasp firm the fatal steel, and cease to love. (Afde.
Sure 'twas Alexis. Ha! a sword display'd !
The streaming luttre darts acrofs the shade.
May Heaven new vigour to my soul impart,
And guide the defperate weapon to my heart ! [Afde.
Play I the meditated death arreft! (Holds Dione's band.
Strike not, rash fhepherd; fpare thy guiltlefs breast.
O give me ftrength to stay the threaten'd harm,
And wrench the dagger from his lifted arın !
What cruel hand with-holds the welcome blow?
In giving life, you but prolong my woe.
O may not thus th' expected stroke impend !
Unloose thy grasp, and let fwift death defcend.
But if yon' murder thy red hands hach dy'd;
Here. Pierce me deep; let forth the vital tide.
(Dione quits ibe dagger.
Wait not thy face ; but this way turn thy eyes :
My virgin hand no purple murder dycs.