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Melibæus, Alcippe, Asteria, Licida, Alcimedon, and Amira.
Melibæus. Welcome fair Nymphs, most welcome to this shade,
Distemp'ring Heats do now the Plains invade:
But you may sit, from Sun securely here,
If you an old mans company not fear.
Alcippe. Most Reverend Swaine, far from us ever be
The imputation of such Vanity.
From Hill to Holt w'ave thee unweary'd sought,
And bless the Chance that us hath hither brought.
Asteria. Fam'd Melibæus for thy Virtuous Lays,
If thou dost not disdain our Female Praise,
We come to sue thou would'st to us recite
One of thy Songs, which gives such high delight
To ev'ry Eare, wherein thou dost dispense
Sage Precepts cloath'd in flowing Eloquence.
Licida. Fresh Garlands we will make for thee each morne,
Thy reverend Head to shade, and to adorne;
To cooling Springs thy fainting Flock we'll guide,
All thou command'st, to do shall be our Pride.
Meli. Cease, gentle Nymphs, the Willing to entreat,
To have your Wish, each needs but take a Seat.
With joy I shall my ancient Art revive,
With which, when Young, I did for Glory strive.
Nor for my Verse will I accept a Hire,
Your bare Attentions all I shall require.
Alci. Lo, from the Plain I see draw near a Pair
That I could wish in our Converse might share.
Amira 'tis and young Alcimedon.
Lici. Serious Discourse industriously they shun.
It being yet their luck to come this way,
The Fond Ones to our Lecture we'll betray:
And though they only sought a private shade,
Perhaps they may depart more Vertuous made.
I will accost them. Gentle Nymph and Swaine,
Good Melibæus us doth entertain
With Lays Divine: if you'll his Hearers be,
Take streight your Seats without Apology.
Alci. Paying short thanks, at fair Amiras feet,
I'le lay me down: let her choose where 'tis meet.
Al. Shepherd, behold, we all attentive sit.
What shall I sing? what shall my Muse reherse?
Love is a Theme well sutes a Past'ral Verse,
That gen'ral Error, Universal Ill,
That Darling of our Weakness and our Will;
By which though many fall, few hold it shame;
Smile at the Fault, which they would seem to blame.
What wonder then, if those with Mischief play,
It to destruction them doth oft betray?
But by experience it is daily found,
That Love the softer Sex does sorest wound;
In Mind, as well as Body, far more weak
Than Men: therefore to them my Song shall speak,
Advising well, however it succeed:
But unto All I say, Of Love take heed.
So hazardous, because so hard to know
On whom they are we do our Hearts bestow;
How they will use them, or with what regard
Our Faith and high Esteem they will reward:
For few are found, that truly acted be
By Principles of Generosity.
That when they know a Virgins Heart they've gain'd,
(And though by many Vows and Arts obtain'd)
Will think themselves oblig'd their Faith to hold
Tempted by Friends, by Interest, or by Gold.
Expect it not most, Love their Pastime make,
Lightly they Like, and lightly they forsake;
Their Roving Humour wants but a pretence
With Oaths and what's most Sacred to dispence.
When unto such a Maid has given her Heart,
And said, Alone my Happiness thou art,
In thee and in thy Truth I place my Rest.
Her sad Surprize how can it be exprest,
When all on which she built her Joy she finds,
Vanish, like Clouds, disperst before the Winds;
Her self, who th' adored Idol wont to be,
A poor despis'd Idolater to see?
Regardless Tears she may profusely spend,
Unpitty'd sighs her tender Breast may rend:
But the false Image she will ne're erace,
Though far unworthy still to hold its place:
So hard it is, even Wiser grown, to take
Th' Impression out, which Fancy once did make.
Believe me Nymphs, believe my hoary hairs,
Truth and Experience waits on many years.
Before the Eldest of you Light beheld,
A Nymph we had, in Beauty all excell'd,
Rodanthe call'd, in whom each Grace did shine,
Could make a Mortal Maid appear Divine.
And none could say, where most her Charms did lye,
In her inchanting Tongue, or conquering Eye.
Her Vertue yet her Beauties so out-shon,
As Beauty did the Garments she put on!
Among the Swains, which here their Flocks then fed,
Alcander with the highest held his head;
The most Accomplish't was esteem'd to be,
Of comely Forme, well-grac't Activity;
The Muses too, like him, did none inspire,
None so did stop the Pipe, or touch the Lyre;
Sweet was his Voice, and Eloquent his Tongue;
Alike admired when he Spoke, or Su
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"A Pastoral Dialogue - II" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 28 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/3201/a-pastoral-dialogue---ii>.