Arbor vittoriosa e trionfale.
HE EXTOLS THE VIRTUE OF LAURA.
Tree, victory's bright guerdon, wont to crown
Heroes and bards with thy triumphal leaf,
How many days of mingled joy and grief
Have I from thee through life's short passage known.
Lady, who, reckless of the world's renown,
Reapest in virtue's field fair honour's sheaf;
Nor fear'st Love's limed snares, "that subtle thief,"
While calm discretion on his wiles looks down.
The pride of birth, with all that here we deem
Most precious, gems and gold's resplendent grace.
Abject alike in thy regard appear:
Nay, even thine own unrivall'd beauties beam
No charm to thee--save as their circling blaze
Clasps fitly that chaste soul, which still thou hold'st most dear.
Blest laurel! fadeless and triumphant tree!
Of kings and poets thou the fondest pride!
How much of joy and sorrow's changing tide
In my short breath hath been awaked by thee!
Lady, the will's sweet sovereign! thou canst see
No bliss but virtue, where thou dost preside;
Love's chain, his snare, thou dost alike deride;
From man's deceit thy wisdom sets thee free.
Birth's native pride, and treasure's precious store,
(Whose bright possession we so fondly hail)
To thee as burthens valueless appear:
Thy beauty's excellence--(none viewed before)
Thy soul had wearied--but thou lov'st the veil,
That shrine of purity adorneth here.