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Turn then, Alexis; and Parthenia know,
"Tis the protects thee from the fatal blow.
Must the night-watches by my fighs be told?
And must thefe eyes another morn behold
Through dazling floods of tears ? Ungenerous mail,
The friendly stroke is by thy hand delay'd;
Call it not mercy to prolong my breath ;
'Tis but to torture me with lingering death.
What moves thy hand to act this bloody part !
Whence are these gnawing pangs that tear thy heart i
Is that thy friend who lies before thee slain ?
Is it his wound that reeks
the plain? Is 't Lycidas?
- No. I the stranger found,
Ere chilly death his frozen tongue had bound.
He said; “ As at the rosy dawn of day,
He from the city took his vagrant way,
A murdering band pour'd on him from the wood;
First seiz'd his gold, then bath'd their swords in blood."
You, whose ambition labours to be great,
Think on the perils which on riches wait.
Safe are the shepherd's paths; when sober Even
Streaks with pale light the bending arch of Heaven,
From danger free, through deferts wild he hies,
The rising smoke far o'er the mountain spies,
Which marks his distant cottage ; on he fares,
For him no murderers lay their nightly snares;
They pass him by, they turn their steps away:
Safe Poverty was ne'er the villain's prey.
At home he lies secure in easy sleep,
No bars his ivy-mantled cottage keep;
No thieves in dreams the fancy'd dagger hold,
And drag him to detect the buried gold ;
Nor starts he from his couch aghalt and pale,
When the door murmurs with the hollow gale.
While he, whose iron coffers rust with wealth,
Harbours beneath his roof Deceit and Stealth ;
Treachery with lurking pace frequents his walks,
And close behind him horrid Murder stalks.
"Tis tempting lucre makes the villain bold :
There lies a bleeding sacrifice to gold.
To live, is but to wake to daily cares,
And journey through a tedious vale of tears.
Had you not rulh'd between, my life had flown ;
And I, like him, no more had sorrow known.
When anguish in the gloomy bosom dwells,
The counsel of a friend the cloud dispels.
Give thy breast vent, the secret grief iinpart,
And say what woe lies heavy at thy heart.
To save thy life, kind Heaven has succour sent,
The gods by me thy threaten'd fate prevent.
No. To prevent it, is beyond thy power;
Thou only canst defer the welcome hour.
you the lifted dagger turn'd aside,
Only one road to death thy force deny’d;
Still fate is in my reach. From mountains high,
Deep in whose thadow craggy ruins lie,
Can I not headlong fling this weight of woe,
And dash out life against the flints below?
Are there not streams, and lakes, and rivers wide,
Where my last breath may bubble on the tide ?
No. Life shall never flatter me again,
Nor shall to-morrow bring new fighs and pain.
PARTHENIA. Can I this hurthen of thy soul relieve, And calm thy grief?
- If thou wilt comfort give, Plight me thy word, and to that word be just; When poor Alexis shall be laid in dust, That pride no longer thail command thy mind, That thou wilt spare the friend I leave behind. I know his virtue worthy of thy breast. Long in thy love may Lycidas be blest!
That swain (who would my liberty control,
To please some short-liv'd transport of his soul)
Shows, while his importuning fiame he moves,
That 'tis not me, himself alone he loves.
O live, nor leave him by misfortune prest: 'Tis shameful to desert a friend diftret.
Alas! a wretch like me no loss would prove,
Would kind Parthenia listen to his love,
Why hides thy bolom this mysterious grief?
Ease thy o'erburthen'd heart, and hope relief.
What profits it to touch thy tender breaft,
With wrongs, like mine, which ne'er can be redreft:
Let in my heart the fatal fecret die,
Nor call up sorrow in another's eye!
If Laura right direct the darksome ways,
Along thefe paths the pensive shepherd strays. [Ande.
Let not a tear for me roll down thy cheek.
O would my throbbing fighs my heart-strings break I
Why was my vreaft the lifted stroke deny'd ?
Muit then again the deathful deed be try'd ?
Yes. "Tis resolv'd.
[Snatches the dagger from Parthenia.
- Ah, hold; forbear, forbear!
Methought Distress with shrieks alarm’d my ear.
Ye gods, defend him from the wound!
Yes. 'Tis Parthenia's voice, I know the sound.
Some fylvan ravilher would force the maid,
And Laura sent me to her virtue's aid.
Die, villain, die ; and seek the shades below.
[Lycidas snatches tbe dagger from Dione, and
Whoe'er thou art, I bless thee for the blow.
Since Heaven ordain'd this arm thy life should guard, O hear my vows! be love the just reward.
Rather let vengeance, with her swiftest speed,
O'ertake thy flight, and recompence the deed !
Why stays the thunder in the upper sky?
Gather, ye clouds; ye forky lightnings, fly:
On thee may all the wrath of Heaven descend,
Whole barbarous hand hath slain a faithful friend.
Behold Alexis !