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The Muleteer
by [?]

THE Lombard princes oft pervade my mind;
The present tale Boccace relates you’ll find;
Agiluf was the noble monarch’s name;
Teudelingua he married, beauteous dame,
The last king’s widow, who had left no heir,
And whose dominions proved our prince’s share.

No Beauty round compare could with the queen;
And ev’ry blessing on the throne was seen,
When Cupid, in a playful moment, came,
And o’er Agiluf’s stable placed his flame;
There left it carelessly to burn at will,
Which soon began a muleteer to fill,
With LOVE’S all-powerful, all-consuming fire,
That naught controls, and youthful breasts desire.

THE muleteer was pleasing to the sight:
Gallant, good-humoured, airy, and polite,
And ev’ry way his humble birth belied;
A handsome person, nor was sense denied;
He showed it well, for when the youth beheld,
With eyes of love, the queen, who all excelled,
And ev’ry effort anxiously had made,
To stop the flames that would his heart invade;
When vain it proved, he took a prudent part:–

WHO can, like Cupid, manage wily art?
Whate’er stupidity we may discern,
His pupils more within a day can learn,
Than MASTERS knowledge in the schools can gain,
Though they in study should ten years remain;
The lowest clown he presently inspires,
With ev’ry tendency that love requires;
Of this our present tale’s a proof direct,
And none that feel–its truths will e’er suspect:

THE am’rous muleteer his thoughts employed;
Consid’ring how his wish might be enjoyed.
Without success to certainty were brought,
Life seemed to him not worth a slender thought;
To hazard ev’ry thing; to live or die!
Possession have!–or in the grave to lie!

THE Lombard custom was, that when the king,
Who slept not with his queen, (a common thing
In other countries too), desired to greet
His royal consort, and in bed to meet,
A night-gown solely o’er his back he threw,
And then proceeded to the interview,
Knocked softly at the door, on which a fair,
Who waited on the queen with anxious care,
Allowed the prince to enter; took his light,
(Which only glimmered in the midst of night,)
Then put it out, and quickly left the room:–
A little lantern to dispel the gloom,
With waxen taper that emitted rays–
In diff’rent countries various are their ways!

OUR wily, prying, crafty muleteer,
Knew well these forms were current through the year:
He, like the king, at night himself equipped,
And to the queen’s superb apartment slipped.
His face concealed the fellow tried to keep;
The waiting dame was more than half asleep;
The lover got access:–soon all was clear;
The prince’s coming he had but to fear,
And, as the latter had, throughout the day,
The chase attended an extensive way,
‘Twas more than probable he’d not be led,
(Since such fatigue he’d had,) to quit his bed.

PERFUMED, quite neat, and lively as a bird,
Our spark (safe entered) uttered not a word.
‘Twas often customary with the king,
When state affairs, or other weighty thing,
Displeasure gave, to take of love his fill,
Yet let his tongue the while continue still.
A singularity we needs must own,
With this the wife was long familiar grown.

OUR am’rous wight more joys than one received,
If our narrator of the tale’s believed;
(In bed a muleteer is worth three kings,
And value oft is found in humble things.)
The queen began to think her husband’s rage
Had proved a stimulus such wars to wage,
And made him wond’rous stout in pleasure’s sport,
Though all the while his thoughts were-’bout the court.