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A gulf, black, fearful, and profound,
The soul to passion yields her throne, And sees with organs not her own; While, like the slumb'rer in the night, Pleas'd with the shadowy dream of light, Before her alienated eyes, The scenes of fairy-land arise; The puppet world's amusing show, Dipt in the gaily-colour'd bow, Sceptres, and wreaths, and glitt'ring things, The toys of infants, and of kings, That tempt along the baneful plain The idly wise and lightly vain, Till verging on the gulphy shore, Sudden they sink, and rise no more. “But list to what thy fates declare; Though thou art woman, frail as fair, If once thy sliding foot should stray, Once quit yon heav'n-appointed way, For thee, lost maid, for thee alone, Nor pray'rs shall plead, nor tears atone: Reproach, scorn, infamy, and hate, On thy returning steps shall wait, Thy form be loath'd by ev'ry eye, And ev'ry foot thy presence fly.” Thus arm'd with words of potent sound, Like guardian-angels plac'd around, A charm by truth divinely cast, Forward our young advent'rer pass'd.
Forth from her sacred eye-lids sent,
And dances up th' ethereal plain, Where late he us’d to climb with pain, While Nature, as from bonds set free, Springs out, and gives a loose to glee. And now for momentary rest, The Nymph her travell'd step repress'd, Just turn'd to view the stage attain'd, And glory'd in the height she gain'd. Out-stretch'd before her wide survey, The realms of sweet Perdition lay, And pity touch'd her soul with woe, To see a world so lost below; When straight the breeze began to breathe Airs, gently wasted from beneath, That bore commission'd witchcraft thence, And reach'd her sympathy of sense; No sounds of discord, that disclose A people sunk, and lost in woes. But as of present good possess'd, . The very triumph of the bless'd. The maid in wrapt attention hung, While thus approaching Sirens sung: “Hither, fairest, hither haste, Brightest beauty, come and taste What the pow'rs of bliss unfold, Joys, too mighty to be told; Taste what ecstasies they give, Dying raptures taste, and live.
“In thy lap, disdaining measure,
“List not when the froward chide,
“Come, in Pleasure's balmy bowl
So sung the Syrens, as of yore, Upon the false Ausonian shore; And, O! for that preventing chain, , That bound Ulysses on the main, That so our fair-one might withstand The covert ruin now at hand. The song her charm'd attention drew When now the tempters stood in view; Curiosity, with prying eyes, And hands of busy, bold emprise;