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With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre,

And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.

Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes

Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:

The pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r,

The rest the winds dispers'd in empty air.

But now secure the painted vessel glides,

The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides;
While melting music steals upon the sky,

And soften'd sounds along the waters die:

Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play,

Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay..

All but the sylph-with careful thoughts opprest,

Th' impending wo sat heavy on his breast.

He summons straight his denizens of air;

The lucid squadrons round the sails repair:

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Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe,

That seem❜d but zephyrs to the train beneath.

Some to the sun their insect wings unfold,

Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;

Transparent forms too fine for mortal sight,

Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light,
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,

Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew,

Dipt in the richest tincture of the skies,

Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,

While ev'ry beam new transient colours flings,

Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.

Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,

Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;

His purple pinions open'd to the sun,

He rais'd his azure wand, and thus begun.


Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear,

Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Dæmons, hear!

Ye know the spheres, and various tasks assign'd

By laws eternal to the aërial kind.

Some in the fields of purest ether play,

And bask and whiten in the blaze of day:

Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high,

Or roll the planets through the boundless sky :

Some, less refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,

Or suck the mists in grosser air below,

Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,

Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,

Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.

Others, on earth, o'er human race preside,

Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide:

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