We all obey'd the words that Rigour spoke;
Devoutly, slow and easy steps we took;
Entring the temple, which fam'd artists built,
Soft was the front, the lovely roof was gilt;
The cheerful quire with well carv'd work was lin'd,
And am'rous painting on the pillars shin'd.
There Dido, that unhappy dying queen,
With false Aeneas, in one piece was seen;
And other pictures round the walls were spread,
Of men and minds, for love untimely dead.
Rais'd in the middle aisle, fond souls to awe,
A golden image of the queen we saw;
This all adorn'd; some looking fresh and fair,
Some worn with grief, or blasted by despair;
Some in new mantles dress'd, and some in old,
Like half starv'd beggars, ugly to behold.
Some pale as death appear'd, some glow'd like fire,
Confessing to their inward fierce desire:
These with their loud complaints the queen besought
To cure those ills that cruel love had wrought;
And punish all such authors of their woes,
As mock'd their sufferings, or had broke their vows.
But all the happy there, whose envied lives
Were bless'd with joys which bounteous Venus gives,
Cried, "Goddess, hail! propitious to redress
The cares of mortals, and their hearts to bless,
May no divisions in your realms be found,
Since the whole world in love's soft chains is bound;
This is the life of joy our vot'ries know,
Who feel their bliss of paradise below;
Love cures our vices and refines our hearts;
The source of manners, industry, and parts;
Honour to you, celestial queen, we pay,
Whose minds are lighted with your beauty's ray."
Taught by the pray'r these happy lovers made,
I tried my wit, and thus devoutly said.
"Fairest of all that e'er in nature shin'd,
Light of the world, and comfort of mankind,
To you, 0 goddess, I my heart bequeath,
Freely bestow a thing that's yours till death;
Yours be the choice; I only wish to find
A faithful mistress, beautiful and kind;
No woman yet my settled passion moves,
One I have seen whom most my soul approves;
Of stature low, cast in a lovely mould,
Healthful and young, with hair more bright than gold;
Her looks are fresh, her countenance demure,
Her eyes, tho' killing, look like crystal pure:
Her could I serve; but if your high decree
That fair denies, some other find for me,
With whom in pleasure I may spend my life,
My mistress, empress, anything but wife.
So will I always sacrifice to you,
And with Diana constant war pursue.
A fig for her, and all her chastity;
Let monks and friars her disciples be."