1714 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Addison

Laurence Eusden, "To a Lady, that wept at the hearing of Cato read" Steele, Poetical Miscellanies (1714) 255-58.



If ever Grief could perfect Form improve,
Euphrenia, weeping, more commands our Love.
How shall we call, that we so much admire,
A melting Brightness, or a humid Fire?
Blush not at Sorrows seen, in vain supprest,
Sighs swell to Streams, and flowing shine confest.
The happy Poet must with Transport hear,
His Art confirm'd by such a precious Tear:
Precious as that which good Octavia shed,
When Virgil mourn'd o'er young Marcellus dead.
Alas! the gen'rous Roman differs still!
She wept she could not save, you weep to kill.
Ah! gentle Fair! too kind, too cruel Maid!
Can you in others Tyranny upbraid,
Yet be the Cause of Liberty betray'd?
Think on his Halcyon Hours you could destroy;
Each glided smooth, for each was wing'd with Joy.
Whate'er he freely wish'd, he freely chose,
Like Roman Senates, till a Caesar rose.
These Lips, which us'd no fav'rite Sound to claim,
Now fondly quiver on Euphrenia's Name.
This Heart, which once no pointed Glance had stung,
Bleeds at your Sight, and trembles at your Tongue.
Yet do I court, not struggle with my Chain,
Easie the Thraldom, pleasant is the Pain,
And you for ever shall Dictator reign.
The stubborn Cato, whose unshaken Soul
No Flatt'ries could allure, no Force controul,
Had you then liv'd, had sweet Confusion felt,
His Sternness soften'd, and begun to melt:
Oft would have look'd, and oft with glad Surprise
Bondage it self own'd lovely thro those Eyes.
Tell me, ye learn'd, how equal Objects strike
Euphrenia's Breast with Passions so dislike?
How tender, and relentless thus agree!
Why there all Discord, here all Harmony?
Can you lament the Miseries of Rome,
Patricians lost, or Slavery their Doom,
Yet ravage careless o'er your Native Isle,
Sport in Destruction, and in Murder smile?
Oh! when you weep, and vanquish'd Virtue grace,
Who would desire the mighty Victor's place?
Misfortune proudly triumphs o'er Success,
And Caesar envies Cato's Happiness.
How willing for such Tears to yield up all,
Scarce an Equivalent; the conquer'd Ball!
How pleas'd superior Glory to allow,
The World by Caesar, Caesar rul'd by you.

Sure Bards of old deceiv'd us in their Strains,
Syrens were all Euphrenia's of the Plains;
Who, gently touch'd by some soft, mournful Sound,
Melted in Tears, and lavish'd Deaths around.
The noblest Poet drew the noblest Throng,
And the bright Hearers made the dang'rous Song.
Was not this Piece so elegantly fine,
You had not listen'd to a dull design.
Gay, pompous Nonsense had less fatal been,
You could not weep, where Nature was not seen.
Ah! let the Muse Aid to the Lover bring,
Not from her Excellence his Ruin spring.
The Charms of Verse should still the Charmer move,
And whom they melt to Pity, sooth to Love.