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Inspir'd from heaven he homeward took his way,
Nor pall’d his new design with long delay:
But of his train a trusty servant fent
To call his friends together at his tent.
· They came, and, usual falutations paid,
With words premeditated thus he said :
have often counsel'd, to remove My vain pursuit of unregarded love ; By thrift my finking fortune to repair, Though late yet is at last become my care : My heart shall be my own ; my vast expence Reduc'd to bounds, by timely providence ; This only I require ; invite for me Honoria, with her father's family, Her friends, and mine ; the caufe I shall display, On Friday next; for that's th' appointed day. Well pleas’d were all his friends, the task was light, The father, mother, daughter, they invite ; Hardly the dame was drawn to this repast; But yet refolvid, because it was the last. The day was come, the guests invited came, And, with the rest, th’inexorable dame : A feast prepar'd with riotous expence, Much colt, more care, and most magnificence. The place ordain'd was in that haunted grove, Where the revenging ghost pursued his love : The tables in a proud pavilion spread, With Aowers below, and tissue overhead : The rest in rank, Honoria chief in place, Was artfully contriv'd to set her face To front the thicket. and behold the chace.
The feast was serv’d, the time so well forecast,
That just when the desert and fruits were plac'd,
The fiend's alarm began; the hollow found
Sung in the leaves, the forest shook around,
Air blacken’d, rollid the thunder, groan'd the ground.
Nor long before the loui laments arise,
Of one distress’d, and mastiffs mingled cries;
And first the dame came rushing through the wood,
And next the familh'd hounds that sought their food,
And grip'd her fanks, and oft essay'd their jaws in
blood. Last came the felon, on his fable feed, Arm’d with his naked sword, and urg'd his dogs to
She ran, and cry'd, her flight directly bent
(A guest unbidden) to the fatal tent,
The scene of death, and place ordain’d for punishment.
Loud was the noise, aghaft was every guest,
The women shriek d, the men forsook the feast;
The hounds at nearer distance hoarsely bay'd;
The hunter close pursued the visionary maid,
She rent the heaven with loud laments, imploring aid.
The gallants, to protect the lady's right,
Their fauchions brandish'd at the grilly spright;
H'gh on his ftirrups he provok'd the fight.
Then on the crowd he cast a furious look,
And wither'd all their strength before he spoke :
Back on your lives; let be, faid he, my prey,
And let my vengeance take the destin' way :
Vain are your arms, and vainer your defence,
Againit th' eternal doom of Providence :
Mine is th’ungrateful maid by heaven design'd:
Mercy Me would not give, nor mercy fall she find.
At this the former tale again he told
With thundering tone, and dreadful to behold:
Sunk were their hearts with horror of the crime,
Nor needed to be warn'd a second time,
But borc each other back : some knew the face,
And all had heard the much-lamented case
Of him who fell for love, and this the fatal place.
And now th' infernal minister advanc'd,
Seiz’d the due victim, and with fury launch'd
Her back, and, piercing through her inmost heart,
Drew backward as before th' offending part..
The reeking entrails next he tore away,
And to his meagre mastiffs inade a prey.
The pale assistants on each other star’d,
With gaping mouths for issuing words prepard ;
The ftill-born sounds upon the palate hung,
And dy'd imperfect on the faultering tongue.
The fright was general; but the female band
(A helpless train) in more confusion stand :
With horror shuddering, on a heap they run,
Sick at the fight of hateful justice done ;
For conscience rung th'alarm, and made the case their
So, spread upon a lake with upward eye,
A plump of fowl behold their foe on high ;
They close their trembling troop; and all attend
On whom the lowsing eagle will descend.
But most the proud Honoria fear'd th' event, And thought to her alone the vision fent. Her guilt presents to her distracted mind Heaven's justice, Theodore's revengeful kind, And the same fate to the same fin affign’d. Already sees herself the monster's prey, And feels her heart and entrails torn away. 'Twas a mute scene of sorrow, mix'd with fear; Still on the table lay th’unfinish'd cheer : The knight and hungry mastiffs stood around, The mangled dame lay breathless on the ground; When on a sudden, l'e-inspir’d with breath, Again the role, again to suffer death ; Nor staid the hell-hounds, nor the hunter staid, But follow'd, as before, the flying maid : Th' avenger took froin earth th' avenging sword, And mounting light as air his sable steed he spurr’d: The clouds dispell’d, the sky resum'd her light, And nature stood recover’d of her fright. But fear, the last of ills, remain'd behind, And horror heavy sat on every mind. Nor Theodore encourag'd more the feast, But sternly look'd, as hatching in his breast Some deep designs; which when Honoria view'd, The fresh impulse her former fright renew'd ; She thought herself the treinbling dame who fled, And him the grilly ghost that spurr'd th' infernal stee::: The more disinay'd, for when the gue'ts withdrew, Their courteous hoft, faluting all the crew, Regardless passed her o'er; nor gracd with kind adieu;
That sting infix'd within her haughty mind,
The downfall of her empire the divin'd;
And her proud heart with secret forrow pind.
Home as they went, the fad discourse renew'd,
Of the relentless dame to death pursued,
And of the fight obscene so lately view'd.
None durst arraign the righteous doom she bore,
Ev'n they who pity'd most, yet blam'd her more :
The parallel they needed not to name,
But in the dead they damnd the living dame.
every little noise she look'd behind,
For still the knight was present to her mind :
And anxious oft she started on the way,
And thought the horseman-ghost came thundering for
Return'd, she took her bed with little rest,
But in Thort Numbers dreamt the funeral feast :
Awak’d, she turn'd her side, and Nept again ;
The same black vapours mounted in her brain,
And the same dreams return’d with double pain.
Now forc'd to wake, because afraid to sleep,
Her blood all fever'd, with a furious leap
She sprang from bed, distracted in her mind,
And fear’d, at every Itep, a twitching spright behind.
Darkling and desperate, with a staggering pace,
Of death id, and conscious of disgrace;
Fear, pride, remorse, at once her heart assaild,
Pride put remorse to flight, but fear prevail'd.
Friday, the fatal day, when next it came,
Her soul forethought the fiend would change his game,