In vain would Prudence, with decorous sneer,
Point out a cens'ring world, and bid me fear:
Above that world on wings of love I rise:
I know its worst and can that worst despise.
'Wronged, injured, shunned, unpitied, unredrest;
The mocked quotation of the scorner's jest'
Let Prudence' direst bodements on me fall,
Clarinda, rich reward! o'erpays them all.
As low-borne mists before the sun remove,
So shines, so reigns unrivalled mighty love.
In vain the laws their feeble force oppose;
Chained at his feet, they groan Love's vanquished foes;
In vain Religion meets my shrinking eye;
I dare not combat, but I turn and fly:
Conscience in vain upbraids th' unhallowed fire;
Love grasps his scorpions, stifled they expire:
Reason drops headlong from his sacred throne,
Thy dear idea reigns, and reigns alone;
Each thought intoxicated homage yields,
And riots wanton in forbidden fields.
By all on High, adoring mortals know!
By all the conscious villain fears below!
By, what, Alas! Much more my soul alarms,
My doubtful hopes once more to fill thy arms!
E'en shouldst thou, false, forswear each guilty tie,
Thine, and thine only, I must live and die!!!