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He wander'd on, unknowing where he went,
Lost in the wood, and all on love intent :
The day already half his race had run,
And summon'd him to due repait at noon,
But love could feel no hunger but his own.
Whilst listening to the murmuring leaves he stood,
More than a mile immers’d within the wood,
At once the wind was laid ; the whispering found
Was dumb; a rising earthquake rock'd the ground;
With deeper brown the grove was overspread;
A sudden horror seiz'd his giddy head,
And his ears tinkled, and his colour fled,
Nature was in alarm ; some danger nigh
Seem'd threaten'd, though unseen to mortal eye.
Unus'd to fear, he sunimon'd all his soul,
And stood collected in himself, and whole;
Not long: for foon a whirlwind rose around,
And from afar he heard a screaming sound,
As of a dame distress’d, who cry'd for aid,
And fill'd with loud laments the secret Thade.
A thicket close beside the
there stood, With briers and brambles choak’d, and dwarfish wood; From thence the noise, which now, approaching near, With more distinguish'd notes invades his ear; He sais’d his head, and saw a beauteous maid, With hair dishevel’d, issuing through the shade; Stripp'd of her cloathis, and ev’n those parts reveal’d, Which modest nature keeps from fight conceal'd. Her face, her hands, her naked limbs were torn, With pafing through the brakes, and prickly thorn;
Two mastiffs gaunt and grim her flight pursued,
And oft their fasten'd fangs in blood embrued :
Oft they came up, and pinch'd her tender side,
Mercy, O mercy, heaven ! she ran, and cry'd;
When heaven was nam’d, they loos’d their hold again,
Then sprang she forth, they follow'd her amain.
Not far behind, a knight of swarthy face,
High on a coal-black steed pursued the chace;
With flashing Hames his ardent eyes were fill it,
And in his hand a naked sword he held :
He chear'd the dogs to follow her who fled,
And vow'd revenge on her devoted head.
As Theodore was born of noble kind,
The brutal action rous'd his manly mind;
Mov’d with unworthy usage of the maid,
He, though unarm’d, resolv’d to give her aid.
A saplin pine he wrench'd from out the ground,
The readiest weapon that his fury found.
Thus furnishid for offence, he cross d the way
Betwixt the graceless villain and his prey.
The knight came thundering on, but, from afar,
Thus in imperious tone forbad the war :
Cease, Theodore, to proffer vain relief,
Nor stop the vengeance of so just a grief;
But give me leave to seize my
And let eternal justice take the way :
I but revenge my fate, disdain'd, betray'd,
And fuffering death for this ungrateful maid.
He said, at once dismounting from the steed
For now the hell-hounds with superior speed
Had reach'd the dame, and, fastening on her fide,
The ground with issuing streams of purple dy'd,
Stood Theodore surpriz'd in deadly fright,
With chattering teeth, and bristling hair upright;
Yet arm'd with inborn worth, Whate'er, said he,
Thou art, who know'st me better than I thee;
Or prove thy rightful cause, or be defy'd ;
The spectre, fiercely staring, thus reply'd:
Know, Theodore, thy anceftry I claim,
And Guido Cavalcanti was my name.
One common fire our fathers did beget,
My name and story some remember yet :
Thee, then a hoy, within my arms I laid,
When for my sins I lov'd this haughty maid';
Not less ador'd in life, nor serv’d by me,
Thin proud Honoria now is lov’d by thee.
What did I not her stubborn heart to gain ?
But all iny vows were answer'd with disdain :
She scorn'd my sorrows, and despis’d my pain.
Long time I dragg’d my days in fruitless care ;
Then, loathing life, and plung'd in deep despair,
To finish my unhappy life, I fell
On this sharp sword, and now am damn'd in hell,
Short was her joy; for foon th’insulting maid.
By heaven's decree in this cold grave was laid.
And as in unrepented sin fhe dy'd,
Doom'd to the fame bad place is punish'd for her pride:
Because the deem'd I well deserv'd to die,
And made a merit of her cruelty.
There, then, we met; both try'd, and both were cast,
And this irrevocable fentence pass’d;
That she, whom I so long pursued in vain,
Should suffer from my hands a lingering pain :
Renew'd to life that she might daily die,
I daily doom’d to follow, she to fly;
No more a lover, but a mortal foe,
I seek her life (for love is none below):
As often as my dogs with better speed
Arrest her flight, is she to death decreed:
Then with this fatal sword, on which I dy'd,
I pierce her open back, or tender fide,
And tear that harden'd heart from out her breast,
Which, with her entrails, makes my hungry hounds a
Nor lies she long, but, as her fates ordain,
Springs up to life, and fresh to second pain,
Is fav’d to-day, to-morrow to be slain.
This, vers’d in death, th’infernal knight relates,
And then for proof fulfill'd the common fates ;
Her heart and bowels through her back he drew,
And fed the hounds that help'd him to pursue.
Stern look'd the fiend, as frustrate of his will,
Not half suffic'd, and greedy yet to kill.
And nov' the soul, expiring through the wound,
Had left the body breathless on the ground,
When thus the grilly fpectre spoke again :
Behold the fruit of ill-rewarded pain :
many months as I sustain'd her hate, So many years is the condemn'd by fate
To daily death ; and every several place,
Conscious of her disdain and my disgrace,
Must witness her just punishment; and be
A scene of triumph and revenge to me!
As in this grove I took my last farewel,
As on this very spot of earth I fell,
As Friday saw me die, so she my prey
Becomes ev’n here, on this revolving day.
Thus while he spoke, the virgin from the ground
Upstarted frem, already clos’d the wound,
And, unconcern’d for all she felt before,
Precipitates her flight along the shore :
The hell-hounds, as ungorg'd with flesh and blood,
Pursue their prey, and seek their wonted food :
The fiend remounts his courser, mends his
pace ; And all the vision vanith'd from the place.
Long stood the noble youth oppress’d with awe And stupid at the wondrous things he saw, Surpassing common faith, transgressing nature's law : He would have been asleep, and wish'd to wake, But dreams, he knew, no long impreffion make, 'Though strong at first; if vision, to what end, But such as must his future state portend? His love the damsel, and himself the fiend. But yet, reflecting that it could not be From heaven, which cannot impious acts decree, Resolv'd within himself to fhun the snare, Which hell for his destruction did prepare ; And, as his better genius should direct, From an ill cause to draw a good effect.