Poems on several occasions: By Stephen Duck.
Duck, Stephen, 1705-1756.
SOON as the Sun began to gild the Day,
And on the Hills emit a trembling Ray;
AMANDA, from her flow'ry Bed, awoke;
Sad was her Heart, and discompos'd her Look;
The briny Torrent flows adown her Cheeks,
While thus she to her dear AVARO speaks:
O Thou, on whom my Life and Love depend,
If e'er AMANDA claim'd the Name of Friend;
If e'er I gave thy troubled Mind Repose,
Or hid thee, when pursu'd with furious Foes;
Explain this Dream, that terrifies my Breast;
The strangest, Fear, or Fancy, e'er imprest!
METHOUGHT a God descended from the Skies;
Celestial Beauty sparkled in his Eyes;
Like Rays of PHOEBUS shone his radiant Hair,
His Shape like thine, like thine his graceful Air;
A Robe was neatly girt about his Waist,
Fine as my lov'd AVARO's silken Vest;
His shining Lips upon my Breast he laid,
And softly press'd my Hand, and smiling said:
" ARISE, my Dear, my lov'd AMANDA, rise;
" An easier Lodging waits thee in the Skies:
" I am descended from the blest Abodes,
" To bear thee hence to Heav'n among the Gods:
" No Enemies shall there disturb thy Rest;
" There, with thy Lover, live for ever blest."
THUS said, he rais'd me from the dewy Plain,
And bore, or seem'd to bear me, o'er the Main:
But soon he led me to a distant Isle,
Where Horrors reign, and Comforts never smile:
Thick Brakes and Brambles choak'd the dreary Coast,
The only Product, which the Land could boast;
Till a dejected, servile Race arose,
With gloomy Sadness brooding on their Brows:
This Crowd, promiscuous, with incessant Toil,
Or rooted up the Wood, or plough'd the Soil:
How each perform'd his Task, a Tyrant view'd;
And sternly shook his Whip, and menac'd, as he stood.
Sometimes, to shun the direful Lash, they fled;
Th'insulting Lord pursu'd with greater Speed:
Sure not so fearful fly the trembling Bears,
To shun our Hunters Darts, and missive Spears;
Page 108 Sure not so swift our Hunters e'er pursu'd
The trembling Bears, when flying thro' the Wood;
As from the Tyrant's Wrath they swiftly run,
Or, as the Tyrant, swifter, urg'd 'em on.
Each to his wonted Task he drove again,
And made me mix among the servile Train;
Doom'd with the rest to groan beneath the Yoke,
Alike I felt the dire correcting Stroke.
But, O! what added most to my Despair,
My Godlike Guide was false, and left me there—
As thus she spake, confus'd her Looks appear'd;
For still her Soul the dreadful Vision fear'd:
Deciding Reason from her Seat withdrew,
And Fancy painted all the Scene anew.
The Youth to chear the drooping Dame essay'd,
When straight a Boar came rushing thro' the Shade;
Page 109 The crashing Woods proclaim'd his rapid Force,
While two fleet Youths pursu'd the sylvan Course:
The Lovers started from their flow'ry Seats,
Surpriz'd, and each a diff'rent Way retreats.
As when some Musquet's Thunder has expell'd
Two loving Turtles from the verdant Field;
Both, diverse, thro' the wide ethereal Plain
Fly swift; and flying, fear their Mate is slain.
So parting, devious fled th'affrighted Pair;
Such was AVARO's, such AMANDA's Fear.
The foaming Boar between 'em swiftly past,
The nimble Coursers urge the Chace as fast;
Till soon they pierce him with a mortal Wound;
He falls, and purple Gore distains the Ground:
Then, from the savage War, they take their Way;
And to their Cave, triumphant, bear the Prey.
SOON as the sportive Hunters left the Wood,
The loving Pair conceal'd no longer stood;
But trembling both forsook the dusky Shade,
Both trembling met upon the op'ning Glade:
Mute with Surprize a-while they stood; the Man
Broke Silence first, and thus his Tale began:
O dear AMANDA! soon we have survey'd
This mystic Vision of the Night display'd:
These are the frowning Tyrants in thy Dream,
That chas'd the Slaves, and we their flying Game.
SOME Part, said she, resembled this, I own;
And some remains a Riddle yet unknown:
What meant that God, which still, methinks, I view?
That radiant Deity! so much like You!
Page 111 And what the Fields above, which he propos'd?
Say, if the Mystery can be disclos'd.
To whom the Youth: Our active Fancy seems
For ever roving, roving most in Dreams:
For then the Soul, disburden'd of her Load,
Soars high, and grows prophetic, like a God;
Minds Things when past, as present to our View;
And, by Allusion, knows the future too.
Thus, when to Sleep your musing Head reclin'd,
She kept our Ev'ning Converse in her Mind;
Reflected on the Joys my Country yields,
Joys, sweet as those in yonder azure Fields;
Till, soaring higher, striving to discern
Her hidden Fate, and future Fortune learn,
Heav'n shew'd her something like this Morning Chace,
By trembling Slaves, who fled their Tyrant's Face;
Page 112 Perhaps, to warn us timely from our Bed;
For, O my dear AMANDA! had we stay'd,
I had not liv'd to tell this mystic Tale,
Nor you, to hear the Secrets I reveal—
But let us to my happy Country steer,
Nor longer wait impending Ruin here.
So spake the Youth; and, with a gracious Look,
He seem'd to sanctify the Words he spoke.
Go, she reply'd; go where you are inclin'd;
Your faithful Lover will not stay behind.
If o'er the Seas you shall attempt your Way,
The Seas shall not compel me here to stay;
Nor will I fear the Surges of the Deep;
(For Surges oft, you say, assail the Ship)
Calm and compos'd, intrepid, will I stand,
Till you conduct me to your native Land.
Page 113 Or, if you would some other Clime pursue,
Then shall some other Climate please me too.
And when the happy destin'd Land we meet,
Where Providence shall fix our wand'ring Feet;
With joyful Servitude, I'll still attend
On you, my nuptial Lord, and dearest Friend.
Soon as AURORA spreads her purple Ray,
When you awake, to chase the nimble Prey,
I'll also rise; and, with an equal Art,
Display the Net, or speed the pointed Dart;
Or search the Plains, and tasteful Herbs provide;
Or strip the Vines, and press their juicy Pride:
Each Ev'ning will I fondly deck your Bed
With sweetest Flow'rets, gather'd from the Mead
And when, dissolv'd in downy Sleep, you lie,
I'll wake, and watch if Foes approach too nigh:
To guard your Life, all Hazards will I run;
And, for your Safety, sacrifice my own.
TO whom the Youth: No Hazards shall you run;
Nor, for my Safety, sacrifice your own;
Nor yet at Ev'ning fondly deck my Bed
With sweetest Flow'rets, gather'd from the Mead;
Nor shall AMANDA tasteful Herbs explore;
Nor shall AVARO chase the savage Boar:
A softer Bed, than Flow'rs, shall give you Rest;
A choicer Meat, than Fruits, indulge your Taste.
Ten thousand Things my grateful Soul shall find,
To charm your Fancy, and delight your Mind;
I'll vary Love a hundred diff'rent Ways,
And institute new Arts to make it please:
So shall our future Race of Children see
A constant Proverb made of you and me:
When British Youths shall court the doubting Dame,
And want Expressions equal to their Flame;
Page 115 Then, strongly to attest it, shall be said,
" True, as AVARO to the Indian Maid."
To whom AMANDA, (pausing at the Name)
What meant AVARO by the doubting Dame?
Has any of your British Damsels made
A Doubt of what such godlike Beings said?
Or is it customary to your Clime?
Has ever Youth committed such a Crime,
As base Ingratitude? Has any there
Deluded first, and then forsook, the Fair?
I cannot think, your Love will e'er decline,
Nor can my radiant Angel question mine.
By yon bright Beams, which paint the rising Day;
By thy bright Charms, as beautiful as they;
By all our pleasing Hours of Love, I vow
To share your Fate thro' ev'ry Scene of Woe;
Page 116 Content, with you, to yield my vital Breath;
For Life, without you, would but lengthen Death.
WITH such sweet Talk their Moments they beguile;
Both seem impatient for the destin'd Isle:
He daily vows, and daily is believ'd;
She daily hears, and daily is deceiv'd.