Laura Sophia Temple

The Victim of Seduction

Loud howl'd the tempest of a winter's night,
And dying lamps dispens'd a twinkling light;
No friendly star illum'd the vault of Heav'n,
But o'er its face big clouds were wildly driv'n;
Mute silence reign'd in each deserted street,
Save where the rushing blast or pelting sleet
Was heard to whistle, or to rudely beat.
'Twas then that on a flinty step reclin'd,
To all the pow'r of wretchedness resign'd,
Grief on her cheek, and famine in her eye,
A child of Misery was seen to lie.
Rough blew the wind around her shiv'ring form,
Lost were her sighs amid the rattling storm;
Uncover'd was her bosom, once so fair,
Now the cold residence of dark dispair.
Loose down her back her matted tresses lay,
Those lovely locks once deck'd in colours gay;
Damp were her temples with the dews of death,
And slowly drawn her thick and struggling breath.
Life's quiv'ring taper hastens to an end;
On Death she calls--to her a welcome friend.
I mark'd the closing of her stormy day,
I saw her ling'ring graces steal away,
Heard the last accents tremble on her lips,
While Nature sigh'd at beauty's dire eclipse.
Oh lovely rose ! once fairer than the Morn,
Gay as the mead that Spring's green hands adorn;
Sweet as the western gale that gently flows,
Kissing the budding fragrance as he goes;
Pure as the gems that deck the primrose-vale,
Soft as the warbling of the nightingale!
Awhile thy graces brightly glow, but soon
The envious night comes o'er thy beauty's noon.
Now low in earth those charms neglected lie
That once so fir'd the world's admiring eye.

Where is thy lightning, Oh avenging Power!
Whose piercing glance beheld that midnight hour,
Who heard'st her fault'ring prayer, her parting sigh,
Who saw life's mantling hues untimely fly!
Why breathes the wretch that cropt this opening flow'r?
Why does the sun on him its radiance pour?
Why smiles his gay career of love and mirth
While Mary's faded form lies low in earth?
Fresh as the blush that tints the morning sky
Did Mary's charms first catch his trait'rous eye;
Soon did he captive hold her willing soul,
Soon o'er her breast the soft delirium stole;
How could she doubt his fond insidious smile?
How trace the doublings of each artful wile?
Ah ! could she dream that heart would truth disown
That fondly swore to love, but her alone?
Oft in his eye the tear would seem to swell,
Oft from his lips truth's modest accents fell;
Why did not frowning Heav'n with instant death
Wither the lip, and close the treach'rous breath?
For this thy Fame's fair Sun was sunk in Night,
For this thy virtues felt an early blight;
For this thou met'st the world's proud mockery,
And bitter language of the taunting eye!
This robb'd thy polish'd cheek of Summer's bloom,
And sunk thy youth's fair honours to the tomb;
Blasted the promise of thy graceful form,
And gave thy beauties to the midnight storm.
But oh ! thou false-one ! justice will arrive;
O'er wreck of worlds thy treach'ry will survive;
See where it burns on Heav'n's wide chronicle,
See where thy vows the flaming pages fill!
Tho' Pleasure hail thee with her laughing eyes,
Soon will thy crimes in direful judgment rise.
E'en now when frolic joys thy steps attend,
While sparkling energies their transports lend,
Does not fell Conscience with its sting advance,
And give the future to thy shudd'ring glance?
At dead of night thy Mary's form appears,
Her thrilling voice thy startled fancy hears;
Oft in the moon's pale gleam her spectre glides;
Among the billowy clouds she swiftly rides;
Majestic frowning midst the raving storm,
Thou hear'st her voice, thou view'st her angel-form:
Soon shall life's idle visions fade away,
And on thy soul will burst the Judgment-day.

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