1800 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Prince Serapin, or the Enchanted Hind.

The Harp of Erin, containing the Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Dermody. In Two Volumes. [James G. Raymond, ed.]

Thomas Dermody


A foreshortened fairy tale (seven stanzas) in several varieties of irregular Spenserians. Prince Serapin of "faery-lond" is startled to see his bride transformed into a hind, and pursues her in a magical hunt. Though "The age of spirits is departed long," Thomas Dermody invites us to "feel their force awhile, and listen to my song."



The days are past, when o'er each haunted room
The good priest sprinkled drops of holy dew;
Scared the fell night hag from her with'ring gloom,
And drest with sacred sprays each decent pew.
No lonely goblin roams by blasted yew,
Or blue-rob'd fiend confin'd by cruel doom;
The age of spirits is departed long;
None strew with rosemary the virgin-tomb;
No shrill chains clank the cloister'd cells among,
Yet feel their force awhile, and listen to my song.

In faery-lond did dwell a valiant prince;
Majestic manly beauty cloath'd his face,
And oft he glow'd with battle's warmth intense;
Of chivalry, the honour, and the grace;
But still maintain'd his country in sweet peace:
Wisdom was his, and pow'r, and wit, and sense.
Yet all the little tyrant boy o'erthrew;
A damsel fair had cast a vapour dense
O'er his dim eyes, and often did he rue
The pleasing pain, I wot, but she was lovely-true.

Her wavy tresses shone like floating gold;
Her eyes eclipsed the lightning of the mine;
Her cheeks Love's own ambrosial bloom did hold;
Her bosom breath'd an incense full divine;
Her tender bosom, raptures every shrine,
None could, without cntranced thoughts, behold;
Her front was mildness, dignity her gait;
Her garment fell in many an easy fold;
Pure chaplets deck'd her hair, all rifled late;
Ah! that this beauteous dear should find the wrath of fate.

Long had they woo'd with amorous interchange,
And studied all the movements of the heart;
At last (what sure will seem to moderns strange)
Each felt the influence of the golden dart,
And the bland ecstacy of soft revenge;
Each did to each the pensive heat impart,
And spread the sweet contagion to the breast;
Soon shall they clasp, with dear delicious art;
Soon shall they nectars taste supremely blest,
And tread the carpet-ground in snowy vestment drest.

Hark! hark! the merry minstrel-tribe proclaim,
The lofty song, in garb (like Summer's) clad;
Some join the rattling joust, the tilting game;
Some the quick morrice-dance, for none are sad,
But bidding farewell care, like wights stark mad.
Next, blowing from their nostrils living flame,
Richly caparison'd the chargers came;
Prauncing right proud, the costly crescents gleam
Around their rainbow-necks! — no sound is dumb,
All rattling; tabor, flute, fife, trumpet, cymbal, drum.

And now the hoary man of God has ty'd
The gordian knot (oh prodigy of hate)!
The princess seem'd a fair hind by his side;—
Then leap'd, with wond'rous vault, the minster-gate.
Long did Serapin mourn his way ward fate;
Till, bent with eld, a witching beldame cry'd,
"Sir knight, thy dame is chang'd by spiteful fay,
A victim to the elfin's rival pride;
Nathless, go hunt, without stop or stay,
And kill your best belov'd on your auspicious way."

With speed he went, and wound the bugle loud,
Making faint Echo burst her chrystal cell;
Out leap'd a fair hind from the dappled crowd;
Out leap'd a fair hind, and he knew her well:
Full quick he shot (his jav'lin did excel,)
And stretch'd her panting by the greenwood shroud:
Then o'er her pour'd the witch three potent charms;
Incontinent, she felt this life's alarms,
And leap'd, perfection all, to glad Serapin's arms.

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