Verse > Alexander Pope > Complete Poetical Works
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Alexander Pope (1688–1744).  Complete Poetical Works.  1903.
 
Poems: 1718–27
Two Choruses to the Tragedy of Brutus
II. Chorus of Youths and Virgins
 
SEMICHORUS
  O tyrant Love! hast thou possest
  The prudent, learned, and virtuous breast?
  Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,        5
But ent’ring learns to be sincere.
Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
  Why, Virtue, dost thou blame desire
    Which Nature hath imprest?        10
  Why, Nature, dost thou soonest fire
    The mild and gen’rous breast?
 
CHORUS
  Love’s purer flames the Gods approve;
  The Gods and Brutus bend to love:
  Brutus for absent Portia sighs,        15
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia’s eyes.
  What is loose love? a transient gust,
  Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
  A vapour fed from wild desire,
  A wand’ring, self-consuming fire.        20
  But Hymen’s kinder flames unite,
    And burn for ever one;
  Chaste as cold Cynthia’s virgin light,
    Productive as the sun.
 
SEMICHORUS
  O source of ev’ry social tie,
        25
  United wish, and mutual joy!
  What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother, husband, friend?
  Whether his hoary sire he spies,
  While thousand grateful thoughts arise;        30
  Or meets his spouse’s fonder eye,
  Or views his smiling progeny;
  What tender passions take their turns!
    What home-felt raptures move!
    His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,        35
With Rev’rence, Hope, and Love.
 
CHORUS
    Hence guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
    Hence false tears, deceits, disguises,
    Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises,
      Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine!        40
  Purest Love’s unwasting treasure,
  Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure,
  Days of ease, and nights of pleasure,
      Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
 
 
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