THE STATUES: OR, THE TRIAL of CONSTANCY. A TALE FOR THE LADIES.

LONDON: Printed for T. COOPER, at the Globe in Pater-Noster-Row. M. DCC. XXXIX.

THE STATUES: OR, THE TRIAL of CONSTANCY▪

IN a fair island, in the southern main,
Blest with indulgent skys, and kindly rain,
A Princess liv'd, of origin divine,
Of bloom coelestial, and imperial line.
IN that sweet season when the mounting Sun
Prepares, with joy, his radiant course to run,
[Page 6] Led by the Graces, and the dancing Hours,
And wakes to life the various race of flow'rs;
The lovely Queen forsook her shining court,
For rural scenes, and healthful Sylvan sport,
IT so befel, that, as in chearful talk,
Her Nymphs and She purfu'd their ev'ning walk,
On the green margin of the oozy deep,
They found a graceful Youth dissolv'd in sleep,
His charms the Queen survey'd with fond delight,
And hung enamour'd o'er the pleasing sight;
By her command the youth was strait convey'd,
And (sleeping) softly in her palace laid.
NOW ruddy morning purpled o'er the skies,
And beamy light unseal'd the stranger's eyes,
Who cry'd aloud, Ye Gods unfold this Scene!
Where am I? what can all these wonders mean?
SCARCE had he spoke, when, with officious care,
Attendant nymphs a fragrant bath prepare;
He rose, he bath'd, and on his lovely head,
Ambrosial sweets, and precious oyl they shed;
To deck his polish'd limbs, a robe they brought,
In all the various dies of beauty wrought;
Then led him to the Queen, who, on a throne
Of burnish'd gold, and beamy diamonds shone:
But O what wonder selz'd her beauteous guest!
What love, what extasy his soul possest!
Entranc'd he stood, and on his falt'ring tongue,
Imperfect words, and half form'd accents hung▪
Nor less the Queen the blooming youth admir'd,
Nor less delight, and love, her soul inspir'd.
O Stranger! said the Queen, if hither driv'n,
By adverse winds, or sent a guest from Heav'n;
To me the wretched never sue in vain,
This fruitful isle with joy approves my reign;
[Page 8] Then speak thy wishes, and thy wants declare,
And no denial shall attend thy pray'r:
She paus'd, and blush'd; the youth his silence broke,
And kneeling, thus the charming Queen bespoke:
O GODDESS! for a form so bright as thine,
Speaks thee descended of coelestial line▪
Low at your feet a prostrate King behold,
Whose faithless subjects sold his life for gold;
I fly a cruel tyrant's lawless hand,
And storms have drove my vessel on your strand:
But why do I complain of Fortune's frowns?
Or what are titles! honours! sceptres! crowns!
To this sweet moment? whilst in fond amaze,
On such transporting excellence I gaze!
Such symetry of shape! so fair a face!
Such finish'd elegance! such perfect grace!
Hear then my only wish, and O approve
The ardent pray'r, which supplicates thy love.
[Page 9] From Neptune, know, O Prince, my birth I claim,
Replies the Queen, and Lucida's my name;
This island, these attendant nymphs he gave
The fair-hair'd daughters of the azure wave:
But he whose fortune gains me for a bride,
Must have his constancy severely try'd;
One day each moon am I compell'd to go
To my Great Father's wat'ry realms below,
Where coral groves coelestial red display,
And blazing di'monds emulate the day;
In this short absence if your love endures,
My heart and empire are for ever your's;
And hoary Neptune, to reward your truth,
Shall crown you with immortal bloom and youth;
But instant death will on your falshood wait,
Nor can my tenderness prevent your fate:
Twice twenty times in wedlock's sacred band,
My Royal Father join'd my plighted hand;
[Page 10] Twice twenty noble youths, alas! are dead,
Who in my absence stain'd the nuptial bed;
Your virtues, Prince, may claim a nobler throne;
But mine is yielded on these terms alone.
Delightful terms! reply'd the raptur'd youth,
Accept my constancy, my endless truth:
Perfidious, faithless men, enrag'd he cry'd!
They merited the fate by which they dy'd:
Accept a heart incapable of change;
Thy beauty shall forbid desire to range.
No other form shall to my eye seem fair;
No other voice attract my list'ning ear;
No charms but thine, shall e'er my soul approve;
So aid thy vot'ry, potent God of love.
NOW loud applauses thro' the palace ring;
The duteous subjects hail their God-like King;
To feastful mirth they dedicate the day,
Whilst tuneful voices chant the nuptial lay:
[Page 11] Love-dittied-airs, hymn'd by the vocal quire,
Sweetly attemper'd to the warbling wire.
But when the Sun descending sought the main,
And low-brow'd night assum'd her silent reign,
They to the marriage-bed convey'd the Bride,
And laid the raptur'd Bridegroom by her side.
Now rose the morn, and with auspicious ray,
Dispell'd the dewy mists, and gave the day;
When Lucida, with anxious cares opprest,
Thus wak'd her sleeping lord from downy rest,
Soul of my soul, and monarch of my heart,
This day, she cry'd, this fatal day, we part;
Yet, if your love uninjur'd you retain,
We soon shall meet in happiness again,
To part no more, but rolling years employ,
In circling bliss, and never-fading joy:
Alas! my boding soul is lost in woe!
And from my eyes the tears unbidden flow.
JOY of my life, dismiss those needless fears,
Reply'd the King, and stay those precious tears;
Shou'd lovely Venus leave her native sky,
And at my feet, imploring fondness, lie,
Ev'n she, the radiant Queen of soft desires,
Shou'd, disappointed, burn with hopeless fires.
THE heart of Man, the Queen's experience knew
Perjur'd, and false, yet wish'd to find him true:
She sigh'd, retiring; and, in regal state,
The King conducts her to the palace gate,
Where sacred Neptune's chrystal chariot stands,
The wond'rous work of his coelestial hands;
Six harness'd swans the bright machine convey,
Swift thro' the air, or pathless wat'ry way;
The birds with eagle-speed the air divide,
And plunge the goddess in the sounding tide.
SLOW to the court the pensive King returns,
And sighs in secret, and in silence mourns;
So in the grove sad Philomel complains,
In mournful accents, and melodious strains;
Her plaintive woes fill the resounding lawn,
From starry-vesper, to the rosy dawn.
THE King, to mitigate his tender pain,
Seeks the apartment of the virgin train,
With sportive mirth sad absence to beguile,
And bid the melancholly moments smile;
But there deserted, lonely rooms he found;
And solitary silence reign'd around:
He call'd aloud, when, lo! a hag appears,
Bending beneath deformity and years;
Who said, My Liege, explain your sacred will,
With joy your sovereign purpose I fulfil.
[Page 14] My will! detested wretch! avoid my sight,
And hide that hideous shape in endless night.
What? does thy Queen, o'er-run with rude distrust,
Resolve by force to keep a husband just?
YOU wrong, reply'd the hag, your royal wife,
Whose care is love, and love to guard your life;
The race of mortals are by nature frail,
And strong temptations with the best prevail.
Be that my care, he said; be thine, to send
The virgin train, let them my will attend.
THE Beldam fled, the chearful Nymphs advance,
And tread to measur'd airs, the mazy dance;
The raptur'd Prince, with greedy eye surveys
The bloomy maids, and covets still to gaze;
No more recals the image of his spouse,
(How false is Man!) nor recollects his vows;
[Page 15] With wild inconstancy for all he burns,
And ev'ry Nymph subdues his soul by turns.
At length a maid superior to the rest,
Array'd in smiles, in virgin beauty drest,
Receiv'd his passion, and return'd his love,
And softly woo'd him to the silent grove.
ENCLOS'D in deepest shade of full-grown wood,
Within the grove a spacious grotto stood,
Where forty youths in marble seem'd to mourn,
Each youth reclining on a fun'ral urn;
Thither the Nymph directs the Monarch's way;
He treads her footsteps, joyful to obey;
There, fir'd with passion, clasp'd her to his breast,
And thus the transport of his soul exprest:
DELIGHTFUL beauty! deck'd with ev'ry charm
High fancy paints, or glowing love can form,
[Page 16] I sigh, I gaze, I tremble, I adore,
Such lovely looks ne'er blest my eyes before!
Here, under covert of th' embow'ring shade,
For Love's delights, and tender transports made,
No busy eye our raptures to detect,
No envious tongue to censure or direct,
Here yield to Love, and tenderly employ
The silent season in extatick joy.
WITH arms enclasp'd, his treasure to retain,
He sigh'd and strove, but strove and sigh'd in vain;
She rush'd indignant from his fond embrace,
Whilst rage, with blushes, paints her virgin face;
Yet still he sues, with suppliant hands and eyes;
Whilst she to magick charms for vengeance flies.
A LIMPID fountain murmur'd thro' the cave;
She fill'd her palm with the translucent wave,
[Page 17] And, sprinkling, cry'd, Receive, false man, in time▪
The just reward of thy detested crime.
THY changeful sex in perfidy delight,
Despise perfection, and fair virtue slight;
False, fickle, base, tyrannick, and unkind,
Whose hearts nor vows can chain, nor honour bind,
Mad to possess, by passion blindly led,
And then as mad, to stain the nuptial bed;
Whose roving souls no excellence, no age,
No form, no rank, no beauty, can engage:
Slaves to the bad, to the deserving worst,
Sick of your twentieth love, as of your first.
These STATUES, which this hallow'd grot adorn,
Like thee were Lovers, and like thee forsworn;
Whose faithless hearts no kindness cou'd secure,
Nor for a day preserve their passion pure;
Whom neither love, nor beauty, cou'd restrain,
Nor fear of endless infamy and pain.
[Page 18] Now feel the force of heav'ns avenging hand,
And here inanimate for ever stand!
SHE spoke—amaz'd the list'ning monarch stood;
And icy horror froze his ebbing blood!
Thick shades of death upon his eyelids creep,
And clos'd them fast in everlasting sleep;
No sense of life, no motion he retains,
But fix'd, a dreadful monument remains!
A STATUE now! and if reviv'd once more,
Wou'd prove, no doubt, as CONSTANT as before▪
FINIS.

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