by: George Farquhar (1677-1707)

      HE Nights black Curtain o're the World was spread,
      And all Mankind lay Emblems of the Dead,
      A deep and awful Silence void of Light,
      With dusky Wings sat brooding o're the Night,
      The rowling Orbs mov'd slow from East to West,
      With Harmony that lull'd the World to rest.
      The Moon withdrawn, the Oozy Flouds lay dead,
      The very influence of the Moon was fled;
      Some twinkling Stars, that thro' the Clouds did peep,
      Seeming to wink as if they wanted Sleep,
      All Nature hush'd, as when dissolv'd and lay'd
      In silent Chaos e're the World was made;
      Only the beating of the Lover's Breast
      Made Noise enough to keep his Eyes from Rest;
      His little World, not like the greater, lay
      In loudest Tumults of disorder'd Day;
      His Sun of Beauty shone, to light his Breast
      With all its various Toils and Labours prest;
      The Sea of Passions in his working Soul,
      Rais'd by the Tempests of his Sighs did rowl
      In towring Flouds, to overwhelm the whole,
      Those Tyrants of the Mind, vain Hope and Fear,
      That still by turns usurp an Empire there,
      Now raising Man on high, then plunging in Despair.
      Thus Damon lies, his Grief no Rest affords,
      Till swelling full, it thus burst out in Words.
      Oh! I could curse all Womankind, but one,
      And yet my Griefs proceed from her alone.
      Was not our Paradise by Woman lost?
      But in this Woman still we find it most:
      Hell's greatest Curse a Woman if unkind,
      Yet Heaven's great Blessing, if she loves, we find.
      Oh! if she lov'd, no God the Bliss cou'd tell,
      She wou'd be Heaven it self, were she not so much Hell.
      Thus our chief Joys with most Allays are curst,
      And our best things, when once corrupted, worst.
      But Heaven is just; our selves the Idols fram'd,
      And are for such vain Worship justly damn'd.
      Thus the poor Lover argued with his Fate;
      Emilia's Charms now did his Love create;
      That Love repuls'd, now prompted him to hate.
      Sometimes his Arms wou'd cross his Bosom rest,
      Hugging her lovely Image printed on his Breast,
      Where flattering Painter Fancy shew'd his Art,
      In charming Draughts, his Pencil Cupid's Dart.
      The Shadow drawn so lively did appear,
      As made him think the real Substance there.
      Then was he blest, all Rapture, stunn'd with Joy,
      Excess of Pleasure did his Bliss destroy;
      He thought her naked, soft, and yielding waste
      Within his pressing Arms lay folded fast;
      Nay, by the Gods, she really there was plac'd;
      Else how cou'd Pleasure to such Raptures flow?
      Th' Effect was real -- Then, the Cause was so.
      What more can most substantial Pleasures boast
      Than Joy when present, Memory when past?
      Then, Bliss is real which the Fancy frames,
      Or these call'd real Joys are only Dreams.




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