chapter  51
A Voyage to the Isle of Love.
An Account from Lisander to Lysidas his Friend.
Pages 58

At last dear Lysidas, I’l set thee Free, From the disorders of Uncertainty; Doubt’s the worst Torment of generous Mind, Who ever searching what it cannot find, 5 Is roving still from wearied thought to thought, And to no settled Calmness can be brought: The Cowards Ill, who dares not meet his Fate, And ever doubting to be Fortunate, Falls to that Wretchedness his fears Create. 10 I should have dy’d silent, as Flowers decay, Had not thy Friendship stopt me on my way, That friendship which our Infant hearts inspir’d, E’re them Ambition or false Love had fir’d: Friendship! which still enlarg’d with years and sense 15 Till it arriv’d to perfect Excellence; Friendship! Mans noblest bus’ness! without whom The out-cast Life finds nothing it can own, But Dully dyes unknowing and unknown, Our searching thought serves only to impart 20 It’s new gain’d knowledge to anothers Heart; The truly wise, and great, by friendship grow, That, best instruct ’em how they should be so, That, only sees the Error of the Mind, Which by its soft reproach becomes Refin’d; 25 Friendship! which even Loves mighty power controuls: When that but touches; this Exchanges Souls. The remedy of Grief, the safe retreat Of the scorn’d Lover, and declining great. This sacred tye between thy self and me, 30 Not to be alter’d by my Destiny; This tye, which equal to my new desires 103Preserv’d it self amidst Loves softer Fires, Obliges me, (without reserve) ’t impart To Lycidas the story of my Heart; 35 Tho’ twill increase its present languishment, To call to its remembrance past content So drowning Men near to their native shore (From whence they parted near to visit more) Look back and sigh, and from that last Adieu, 40 Suffer more pain then in their Death they do, That grief, which I in silent Calms have born, It will renew, and rowse into a Storm. The TRUCE. With you unhappy Eyes that first let in To my fond Heart the raging Fire, 45 With you a Truce I will begin, Let all your Clouds, let all your Show’rs retire, And for a while become serene, And you my constant rising Sighs forbear, To mix your selves with flying Air, 50 But utter Words, among that may express, The vast degrees of Joy and Wretchedness. And you my soul! forget the dismal hour, When dead and cold Aminta lay, And no kind God, no pittying Power 55 The hasty fleeting Life would stay; Forget the Mad, the Raving pain That seiz’d Thee at a sight so new, When not the Wind let loose, nor raging Main Was so destructive and so wild as thou? 60 Forget thou saw’st the lovely yielding Maid, Dead in thy trembling Arms Just in the Ravishing hour, when all her Charms A willing Victim to thy Love was laid, Forget that all is fled thou didst Adore, 65 And never, never, shall return to bless Thee more. Twelve times the Moon has borrow’d Rays; that Night Might favour Lovers stealths by Glimmering Light: Since I imbarqu’d on the inconstant Seas With people of all Ages and Degrees, 70 All well dispos’d and absolutely bent, To visit a far Country call’d Content. 104The Sails were hoisted, and the Streamers spread, And chearfully we cut the yielding Floud; Calm was the Sea, and peaceful every Wind, 75 As if the Gods had with our Wishes joyn’d To make us prosperous; All the whispering Air Like Lovers Joys, was soft, and falsly fair. The ruffling Winds were hush’d in wanton sleep, And all the Waves were silenc’d in the deep: 80 No threatning Cloud, no angry Curl was found, But bright, serene, and smooth, ’twas all around: But yet believe false Iris if she weep, Or Amorous Layis will her promise keep, Before the Sea, that Flatters with a Calm, 85 Will cease to ruin with a rising Storm, For now the Winds are rows’d, the Hemisphere Grows black, and frights the hardy Mariner, The Billows all into Dis-order hurl’d, As if they meant to bury all the World; 90 And least the Gods on us should pity take, They seem’d against them too, a War to make. Now each affrighted to his Cabin Flyes, And with Repentance Load the angry Skyes; Distracted Prayers they all to Heaven Address, 95 While Heaven best knows, they think of nothing less; To quit their Interest in the World’s their fear, Not whether,—but to go,—is all their Care, And while to Heav’n, their differing crimes they mount, Their vast dis-orders doubles the account; 100 All pray, and promise fair, protest and weep, And make those Vows, they want the pow’r to keep, But sure with some, the angry Gods were pleas’d; For by degrees their Rage and Thunder ceas’d: In the rude War no more the Winds engage, 105 And the destructive Waves were tir’d with their own Rage; Like a young Ravisher, that has won the day, O’re-toil’d and Panting, Calm and Breathless lay, While so much Vigour in the Incounter’s lost, They want the pow’r a second Rape to Boast. 110 The Sun in Glory daignes again t’ appear; But we who had no Sense, but that of fear, Cou’d scarce believe, and lessen our dispair. 105Yet each from his imagin’d Grave gets out, And with still doubting Eyes looks round about. 115 Confirm’d they all from Prayer to Praises hast, And soon forgot the sense of dangers past; And now from the recruited Top-mast spy’d, An Island that discover’d Natures Pride: To which was added, all that Art could do 120 To make it Tempting and Inviting too; All wondering Gaz’d upon the happy place, But none knew either where, or what it was: Some thought, th’ Inaccessible Land’t had been, And others that Inchantment they had seen, 125 At last came forth a Man, who long before Had made a Voyage to that fatal shoar, Who with his Eyes declin’d, as if dismaid, At sight of what he dreaded: Thus he said, This is the Coast of Africa, 130 Where all things sweetly move; This is the Calm Atlantick Sea, And that the Isle of Love; To which all Mortals Tribute pay, Old, Young, the Rich and Poor; 135 Kings do their awful Laws obey, And Shepherds do Adore. There’s none its forces can resist, Or its Decrees Evince, It Conquers where, and whom it list, 140 The Cottager and Prince. In entering here, the King resigns, The Robe and Crown he wore; The Slave new Fetters gladly joyns To those he dragg’d before. 145 All thither come, early or late, Directed by desire, Not Glory can divert their fate, Nor quench the Amorous fire. The Enterances on every side, 150 Th’ Attracts and Beauties Guard, The Graces with a wanton Pride, By turn secure the Ward. 106 The God of Love has lent ’em Darts, With which they gently Greet, 155 The heedless undefended Hearts That pass the fatal Gate. None e’re escapt the welcom’d blow, Which ner’e is sent in vain; They Kiss the Shaft, and Bless the Foe, 160 That gives the pleasing Pain. Thus whilst we did this grateful story learn, We came so near the Shoar, as to discern The Place and Objects, which did still appear More Ravishing, approaching ’em more near. 165 There the vast Sea, with a smooth calmness flows, As are the Smiles on happy Lovers Brows: As peaceably as Rivulets it glides, Imbracing still the shaded Islands sides; And with soft Murmurs on the Margent flows, 170 As if to Nature it design’d Repose; Whose Musick still is answer’d by the Breeze, That gently plays with the soft rufl’d Trees. Fragrant and Flowry all the Banks appear Whose mixt dis-orders more delightful were, 175 Then if they had been plac’d with Artful care, The Cowslip, Lilly, Rose and Jesamine, The Daffodil, the Pink and Eglintine, Whose gawdy store continues all the year, Makes but the meanest of the Wonders here. 180 Here the young Charmers walk the Banks a-long, Here all the Graces and the Beauties throng. But what did most my Admiration draw, Was that the Old and Ugly there I saw, Who with their Apish Postures, void of shame 185 Still practice Youth, and talk of Darts and Flame. I laught to see a Lady out of date, A worn out Beauty, once of the first rate; With youthful Dress, and more fantastick Prate, Setting her wither’d Face in thousand forms, 190 And thinks the while she Dresses it in charms; Disturbing with her Court: the busier throng Ever Addressing to the Gay and Young; 107There an old Batter’d Fop, you might behold, Lavish his Love, Discretion, and his Gold 195 On a fair she, that has a Trick in Art, To cheat him of his Politicks and Heart; Whilst he that Jilts the Nation ore and ore, Wants sense to find it in the subtiller W–re. The Man that on this Isle before had been, 200 Finding me so admire at what I’d seen; Thus said to me.——— LOVE’s Power. Love when he Shoots abroad his Darts, Regards not where they light: The Aged to the Youthful Hearts, 205 At random they unite. The soft un-bearded Youth, who never found The Charms in any Blooming Face, From one of Fifty takes the Wound; And eagerly persues the cunning Chase: 210 While she an Arted Youth puts on; Softens her Voice, and languishes her Eyes; Affects the Dress, the Mean, the Tone. Assumes the noysy Wit, and ceases to be Wise; The tender Maid to the Rough Warrier yields; 215 Unfrighted at his Wounds and Scars, Pursues him through the Camps and Fields, And Courts the story of his dangerous Wars, With Pleasure hears his Scapes, and does not fail, To pay him with a Joy for every Tale. 220 The fair young Bigot, full of Love and Prayer, Doats on the lewd and careless Libertine; The thinking States-man fumbles with the Player, And dearly buys the (barely wishing) Sin. The Peer with some mean Damsel of the trade, 225 Expensive, common, ugly and decay’d: The gay young Squire, on the blouz’d Landry Maid. All things in Heaven, in Earth, and Sea, Love give his Laws unto; Tho’ under different Objects, they 230 Alike obey, and bow; Sometimes to be reveng’d on those, Whose Beauty makes ’em proudly nice, 108 He does a Flame on them impose, To some unworthy choice. 235 Thus rarely equal Hearts in Love you’l find, Which makes ’em still present the God as Blind. Whilst thus he spake, my wondering Eyes were staid With a profound attention on a Maid! Upon whose Smiles the Graces did a-wait, 240 And all the Beauties round about her fate; Officious Cupid’s do her Eyes obey, Sharpning their Darts from every Conquering Ray: Some from her Smiles they point with soft desires, Whilst others from her Motion take their Fires: 245 Some the Imbroider’d Vail and Train do bear, And some around her fan the gentle Air, Whilst others flying, scatter fragrant Show’rs, And strow the paths she tread with painted flow’rs, The rest are all imploy’d to dress her Bow’rs; 250 While she does all, the smiling Gods carress, And they new Attributes receive from each Address. The CHARACTER. Such Charms of Youth, such Ravishment Through all her Form appear’d, As if in her Creation Nature meant, 255 She shou’d a-lone be ador’d and fear’d: Her Eyes all sweet, and languishingly move, Yet so, as if with pity Beauty strove, This to decline, and that to charm with Love. A chearful Modesty adorn’d her Face, 260 And bashful Blushes spread her smiling Cheeks; Witty her Air; soft every Grace, And ’Tis eternal Musick when she speaks, From which young listening Gods the Accents take And when they wou’d a perfect Conquest make, 265 Teach their young favourite Lover so to speak. II Her Neck, on which all careless fell her Hair, Her half discover’d rising Bosome bare, Were beyond Nature form’d; all Heavenly fair. Tempting her dress, loose with the Wind it flew, 109270 Discovering Charms that wou’d alone subdue, Her soft white slender Hands whose touches wou’d Beget desire even in an awful God; Long Winter’d Age to tenderness wou’d move, And in his Frozen Blood, bloom a new spring of Love. 275 All these at once my Ravisht Senses charm’d, And with unusual Fires my Bosome warm’d. Thus my fixt Eyes pursu’d the lovely Maid, Till they had lost her in the envied Glade; Yet still I gaz’d, as if I still had view’d 280 The Object, which my new desires pursu’d. Lost while I stood; against my Will, my sight Conducted me unto a new delight. Twelve little Boats were from the Banks unty’d, And towards our Vessel sail’d with wondrous Pride, 285 With wreathes of Flowers and Garlands they were drest, Their Cordage all of Silk and Gold consist, Their Sails of silver’d Lawn, and Tinsel were, Which wantonly were ruffled in the Air. As many little Cupids gayly clad, 290 Did Row each Boat, nor other guides they had. A thousand Zephires Fann’d the moving Fleet, Which mixing with the Flow’rs became more sweet, And by repeated Kiss[es] did assume From them a scent that did the Air perfume. 295 So near us this delightful Fleet was come, We cou’d distinguish what the Cupid’s sung, Which oft with charming Notes they did repeat, With Voices such as I shall ne’re forget. You that do seek with Amorous desires, 300 To tast the Pleasures of the Life below, Land on this Island, and renew your Fires, For without Love, there is no joy, you know. Then all the Cupids waiting no Commands, With soft inviting Smiles present their Hands, 305 And in that silent Motion seem’d to say, You ought to follow, when Love leads the way. 110Mad with delight, and all transported too, I quitted Reason, and resolv’d to go; For that bright charming Beauty I had seen, 310 And burnt with strange desire to see agen, Fill’d with new hope, I laught at Reasons force, And towards the Island, bent my eager Course; The Zephires at that instant lent their Aid, And I into Loves Fleet was soon convey’d, 315 And by a thousand Friendships did receive, Welcomes which none but God’s of Love could give. Many possest with my Curiosity, Tho’ not inspir’d like me, yet follow’d me, And many staid behind, and laught at us: 320 And in a scoffing tone reproacht us thus, Farewell Adventurers, go search the Joy, Which mighty Love inspires, and you shall find, The treatment of the wond’rous Monarch Boy, In’s Airy Castle always soft and kind. 325 We on the fragrant Beds of Roses laid, And lull’d with Musick which the Zephires made, When with the Amorous silken Sails they plaid. Rather did them as wanting Wit account, Then we in this affair did Judgment want, 330 With Smiles of pity only answer’d them, Whilst they return’d us pitying ones again. Now to the wisht for Shoar, with speed we high; Vain with our Fate, and eager of our Joy, And as upon the Beech we landed were, 335 An awful Woman did to us repair. Goddess of Prudence! who with grave advice, Counsels the heedless Stranger to be Wise; She guards this Shoar, and Passage does forbid, But now blind Sense her Face from us had hid; 340 We pass’d and dis-obey’d the heavenly Voice, Which few e’er do, but in this fatal place. Now with impatient hast, (but long in vain) I seek the Charming Author of my Pain, And haunt the Woods, the Groves, and ev’ry Plain. 345 I ask each Chrystal Spring, each murmuring Brook, Who saw my fair, or knows which way she took? 111I ask the Eccho’s, when they heard her Name? But they cou’d nothing but my Moans proclaim; My Sighs, the fleeting Winds far off do bear, 350 My Charmer, coud no soft complaining hear: At last, where all was shade, where all was Gay; On a Brooks Brink, which purling past away, Asleep the lovely Maid extended lay; Of different Flowers, the Cupids made her Bed, 355 And Rosey Pillows, did support her Head; With what transported Joy my Soul was fill’d, When I, the Object of my wish beheld, My greedy View each lovely part survey’d; On her white Hand, her Blushing Cheek was laid 360 Half hid in Roses; yet did so appear As if with those, the Lillys mingled were; Her thin loose Robe did all her shape betray, (Her wondrous shape that negligently lay) And every Tempting Beauty did reveal, 365 But what young bashful Maids wou’d still conceal; Impatient I, more apt to hope than fear, Approacht the Heav’nly sleeping Maid more near; The place, my flame, and all her Charms invite To tast the sacred Joys of stoln delight. 370 The Grove was silent, and no Creature by, But the young smiling God of Love and I; But as before the awful shrine, I kneel’d, Where Loves great Mystery was to be reveal’d, A Man from out the Groves recess appears, 375 Who all my boasted Vigor turn’d to fears, He slackt my Courage by a kind surprize, And aw’d me with th’ Majesty of his Eyes; I bow’d, and blusht, and trembling did retire, And wonder’d at the Pow’r that checkt my fire; 380 So excellent a Mean, so good a Grace, So grave a Look, such a commanding Face; In modest Speech, as might well subdue, Youth’s native wildness; yet ’twas gracious too. A little Cupid waiting by my side, 385 (Who was presented to me for a guide,) Beholding me decline, the Sleeping Maid, To gaze on this Intruder,——Thus he said.