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Sir John Carr

(1732-1807 / England)

Rebecca


Rebecca was the fairest maid
That on the Danube's borders play'd;
And many a handsome nobleman
For her in tilt and tourney ran;
While fair Rebecca wish'd to see
What youth her husband was to be.

Rebecca heard the gossips say,
'Alone from dusk till midnight stay
Within the church-porch drear and dark,
Upon the vigil of Saint Mark,
And, lovely maiden! you shall see
What youth your husband is to be.'

Rebecca, when the night grew dark,
Upon the vigil of Saint Mark,
(Observ'd by Paul, a roguish scout,
Who guess'd the task she went about,)
Stepp'd to St Stephen's Church to see
What youth her husband was to be.

Rebecca heard the screech-owl cry,
And saw the black bat round her fly;
She sat, 'till, wild with fear, at last
Her blood ran cold, her pulse beat fast;
And yet, rash maid! she stopp'd to see
What youth her husband was to be.

Rebecca heard the midnight chime
Ring out the yawning peal of time,
When shrouded Paul, unlucky knave!
Rose like a spectre from the grave;
And cried, 'Fair maiden, come with me.
For I your bridegroom am to be.'

Rebecca turn'd her head aside,
Sent forth a hideous shriek, and died!
While Paul confess'd himself, in vain,
Rebecca never spoke again!
Ah! little, hapless maid! did she
Think Death her bridegroom was to be.

Rebecca! may thy story long
Instruct the giddy and the young.
Fright not, fond youths! the timid fair;
And you too, gentle maids! beware;
Nor seek by lawless arts to see
What youths your husbands are to be.

Submitted: Thursday, September 30, 2010

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