« PreviousContinue »
Then to my doors, at unawares,
Came Love, and tried to force the bars.
Who thus assails my doors? (I cried)
Who breaks my slumbers?' Love replied,
Open: a child alone is here!
A little child!-you need not fear:
Here through the moonless night I stray,
And, drench'd in rain, have lost my way.'
Then, moved to pity by his plight,
Too much in haste my lamp I light,
And open when a child I see,
A little child he seem'd to me;
Who bore a quiver, and a bow;
And wings did to his shoulders grow.
Within the hearth I bid him stand,
Then chafe and cherish either hand
Between my palms, and wring, with care,
The trickling water from his hair.
Now come, (said he, no longer chill) We'll bend this bow, and try our skill, And prove the string, how far its power Remains unslacken'd by the shower.'
He bends his bow, and culls his quiver, And pierces, like a breeze, my liver: Then leaping, laughing, as he fled, 'Rejoice with me, my host, (he said) My bow is sound in every part, And you shall rue it at your heart.'
FROM THE GREEK OF SAPPHO.
O VENUS! beauty of the skies,
To whom a thousand temples rise,
Gaily false in gentle smiles,
Full of love-perplexing wiles,
O, goddess! from my
The wasting cares and pains of love.
If ever thou hast kindly heard
A song in soft distress preferr'd,
Propitious to my tuneful vow,
O, gentle goddess! hear me now.
Descend thou bright immortal guest,
In all thy radiant charms confess'd.
Thou once didst leave almighty Jove,
And all the golden roofs above:
The car thy wanton sparrows drew;
Hovering in air they lightly flew;
As to my bower they wing'd their way,
I saw their quivering pinions play.
The birds dismiss'd (while you remain)
Bore back their empty car again :
Then you, with looks divinely mild,
In every heavenly feature smiled,
And ask'd what new complaints I made,
And why I call'd you to my aid?
What frenzy in my bosom raged,
And by what care to be assuaged?
What gentle youth I would allure?
Whom in my artful toils secure?
Who does thy tender heart subdue,
Tell me, my Sappho, tell me who?
Though now he shuns thy longing arms,
He soon shall court thy slighted charms;
Though now thy offerings he despise,
He soon to thee shall sacrifice;
Though now he freeze, he soon shall burn,
And be thy victim in his turn.
Celestial visitant, once more
Thy needful presence I implore!
In pity come and ease my grief,
Bring my distemper'd soul relief:
Favour thy suppliant's hidden fires,
And give me all my heart desires.
BLESS'D as the' immortal gods is he,
The youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee all the while
Softly speak, and sweetly smile.
"Twas this deprived my soul of rest,
And raised such tumults in my breast;
For while I gazed, in transport toss'd,
My breath was gone, my voice was lost.
My bosom glow'd: the subtle flame
Ran quickly through my vital frame;
O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung,
My ears with hollow murmurs rung.
In dewy damps my limbs were chill'd,
My blood with gentle horrors thrill'd,
My feeble pulse forgot to play,
I fainted, sunk, and died away.
ON HIS DISTRESSED MOTHER.'
ANONYMOUS; from steele's COLLECTION.
LONG have the writers of this warlike
With human sacrifices drench'd the stage;
That scarce one hero dares demand applause,
Till, weltering in his blood, the ground he gnaws:
As if, like swans, they only could delight
With dying strains, and while they please, affright,
Our Philips, though 't were to oblige the fair,
Dares not destroy, where Horace bids him spare:
His decent scene like that of Greece appears;
No deaths our eyes offend, no fights our ears.
While he from Nature copies every part,
He forms the judgment, and affects the heart.
Oft as Andromache renews her woe,
The mothers sadden, and their eyes o'erflow.
Hermione, with love and rage possess'd,
Now sooths, now animates, each maiden breast.
Pyrrhus, triumphant o'er the Trojan walls,
Is greatly perjured, and as greatly falls.
Love, and Despair, and Furies, are combined
In poor Orestes, to distract his mind.
From first to last, alternate passions reign;
And we resist the poet's will in vain.