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The Devil In Hell
by [?]


HE surely must be wrong who loving fears;
And does not flee when beauty first appears.
Ye FAIR, with charms divine, I know your fame;
No more I’ll burn my fingers in the flame.
From you a soft sensation seems to rise,
And, to the heart, advances through the eyes;
What there it causes I’ve no need to tell:
Some die of love, or languish in the spell.
Far better surely mortals here might do;
There’s no occasion dangers to pursue.
By way of proof a charmer I will bring,
Whose beauty to a hermit gave the sting:
Thence, save the sin, which fully I except;
A very pleasant intercourse was kept;
Except the sin, again I must repeat,
My sentiments on this will never meet
The taste of him at Rome, who wine had swilled,
Till, to the throat, he thoroughly was filled,
And then exclaimed, is’t not a sin to drink?
Such conduct horrid ever I shall think;
I wish to prove, e’en saints in fear should live;
The truth is clear:–our faults may Heav’n forgive;
If dread of punishment, from pow’rs divine,
Had led this friar in the proper line,
He never had the charming girl retained,
Who, young and artless, would your heart have gained.

HER name was Alibech, if I recollect;
Too innocent, deceptions to detect.
One day this lovely maiden having read,
How certain pious, holy saints were led,
The better to observe religious care,
To seek retirement in some lorn repair,
Where they, like Heav’nly Angels, moved around,
Some here, some there, were in concealment found,
Was quite delighted, strange as it may seem,
And presently she formed the frantick scheme,
Of imitating those her mind revered,
And to her plan most rigidly adhered.

WITH silent steps the innocent withdrew;
To mothers, sisters,–none she bade adieu.
Long time she walked through fields, and plain, and dale;
At length she gained a wood within a vale;
There met an aged man, who once might be,
Gay, airy, pleasing, blithe, gallant, and free,
But now a meagre skeleton was seen
The shadow only of what late he’d been:
Said she, good father, I have much desire
To be a saint: thither my hopes aspire;
I fain would merit reverence and prayer,
A festival have kept with anxious care;
What pleasure, ev’ry year, the palm in hand,
And, beaming round the head, a holy band,
Nice presents, flow’rs, and off’rings to receive
Your practice difficult must I believe?
Already I can fast for many days,
And soon should learn to follow all your ways.
Go, said the aged man, your plan resign;
I’d have you, as a friend, the state decline;
‘Tis not so easy sanctity to meet,
That fasting should suffice the boon to greet.
Heav’n guards from ill the maids and wives who fast,
Or holiness would very seldom last.
‘Tis requisite to practise other things;
These secrets are, which move by hidden springs;
A hermit, whom you’ll find beneath yon’ beech,

Can, better far than I, their virtues teach;
Go, seek him, pray, make haste if you are sage;
I ne’er retain such birds within my cage.
This having said, at once he left the belle,
And wisely shut the door, and barred his cell:
Not trusting hair-cloth, fasting, age, nor gout;
With beauty, anchorites themselves should doubt.

OUR pensive fair soon found the person meant,
A man whose soul was on religion bent;
His name was Rustick, young and warm in prayer;
Such youthful hermits of deception share.
Her holy wish, the girl to him expressed,
A wish most fervent doubtless to be blessed,
And felt so strongly, Alibech had fear,
Some day the mark might on her fruit appear.