Constantia: or, The Man of Law's Tale, Modernized from Chaucer - Part 10

She spoke, and all with swift compliance swear,
The glorious deed with all their powers to dare;
Her charge though ne'er so bloody to fulfill,
Though ne'er so dangerous to effect her will.

" Doubt not a birth, " she cried, " so well conceived,
" Great acts are more by fraud, than force atchieved;
" To gain the conquest we must seem to yield,
" And feign to fly that we may win the field.
" Let each in public wear a Christian face,
" And counterfeit the saintly signs of grace:
" What though our skin the sprinkling priest baptize?
" Our skin's unsullied, while our hearts despise.
" Not such the tricks our bolder hands shall play,
" When revels end the unsuspecting day;
" Nor such the stream our purpling points shall shed,
" When we shall, in our turn, baptize with red.

Ah fex! still sweet, or bitter, to extreme;
Gloomy as night, or bright as morning beam!
No fiend's may with a female's wrath compare;
No angel's purity, like woman's fair!
To save or damn, for bliss or ruin given,
Who has thee feels a hell, or finds a Heaven.

Smooth as the surface of the dimpled main,
While brooding storms the gathering ruin rein,
Her son, with dire dissembling leer she seeks,
And in the depth of smiling malice speaks.

" My child! tho' froward age is over wise,
" Let no offence against a parent rise;
" Long habits gain a privilege from time,
" And frequent custom mellows every crime:
" Repugnant hence I dared to thwart your will;
" I fear'd the novelty, I fear'd the ill:
" But now, convinced by Christ's superior grace,
" His law I reverence, and his faith embrace.
" Blest be thy bed! thy bridal transports blest!
" Nor you refuse a mother's fond request —
" Mine be the joy to entertain the Fair;
" To form the festival, be mine the care;
" To show the peers who on thy bride attend,
" As she in beauty, we in love transcend. "
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