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The fair Sicilians now thy foul inflame;
Why was I born, ye Gods, a Lesbian dame>
But ah beware, Sicilian nymphs! nor boast
That wand'ring heart which I fo lately loft;
Nor be with all those tempting words abus'd,
Those tempting words were all to Sappho us'd.
And you that rule Sicilia's happy plains,
Have pity, Venus, on your Poet's pains!
Shall fortune ftill in one fad tenor run,
And still increase the woes fo foon begun
Enur'd to forrow from my tender years,
My parent's ashes drank my early tears:
My brother next, neglecting wealth and fame,
Ignobly burn'd in a deftructive flame:
An infant daughter late my griefs increas'd,
And all a mother's cares diftra&t
Alas, what more could fate itself impose,
But thee, the last and greatest of my woesè
No more my robes in waving purple flow,
Nor on my hand the sparkling diamonds glow;
No more my locks in ringlets curl'd diffufe
The coftly sweetness of Arabian dews,
Nor braids of gold the vary'd treffes bind,
That fly disorder'd with the wanton wind:
For whom should Sappho use fuch arts as these?
He's gone, whom only fhe defir'd to please!
Cupid's light darts my tender bosom move,
Still is there cause for Sappho ftill to love:
So from my birth the Sifters fix'd my doom,
And gave to Venus all my life to come;
Or while my Mufe in melting notes complains,
My yielding heart keeps measure to my ftrains.
By charms like thine which all my foul have won,
Who might not-ah! who would not be undone ?
For those Aurora Cephalus might fcorn,
And with fresh blufhes paint the confcious morn.
For thofe might Cynthia lengthen Phaon's fleep,
And bid Endymion nightly tend his sheep.
Venus for thofe had rapt thee to the skies,
But Mars on thee might look with Venus' eyes.
O fcarce a youth, yet fcarce a tender boy!
O ufcful time for lovers to employ !
Pride of thy age, and glory of thy race,
Come to these arms, and melt in this embrace!
The vows you never will return, receive;
And take at least the love you will not give.
See, while I write, my words are loft in tears;
The lefs my fenfe, the more my love appears.
Sure 'twas not much to bid one kind adieu,
(At leaft to feign was never hard to you)
Farewel my Lesbian love, you might have said,
Or coldly thus, farewel oh Lesbian maid !
No tear did you, no parting kiss receive,
Nor knew I then how much I was to grieve.
No lover's gift your Sappho could confer,
And wrongs and woes were all you left with her.
No charge I gave you, and no charge could give,
But this, be mindful of our loves, and live.
Now by the Nine, thofe pow'rs ador'd by me,
And Love, the God that ever waits on thee,
When first I heard (from whom I hardly knew)
That you were fled, and all my joys with you,
Like fome fad ftatue, speechlefs, pale, I ftood,
Grief chill'd my breast, and stopp'd my freezing blood,
No figh to rife, no tear had pow'r to flow,
Fix'd in a ftupid lethargy of woe :
But when its way th' impetuous paffion found,
I rend my treffes, and my breaft I wound,
I rave, then weep, I curfe, and then complain,
Now fwell to rage, now melt in tears again.
Not fiercer pangs diftract the mournful dame,
Whofe firft-born infant feeds the fun'ral flame.
My fcornful brother with a fmile appears,
Infults my woes, and triumphs in my tears,
His hated image ever haunts my eyes,
And why this grief? thy daughter lives, he cries.
Stung with my love, and furious with defpair,
All torn my garments, and my bosom bare,
My woes, thy crimes, I to the world proclaim;
Such inconfiftent things are love and shame!
'Tis thou art all my care and my delight,
My daily longing, and my dream by night:
Oh night more pleafing than the brightest day,
When fancy gives what abfence takes away,
And drefs'd in all its vifionary charms,
Restores my fair deferter to my arms!
Then round your neck in wanton wreaths I twine,
Then you, methinks, as fondly circle mine:
A thousand tender words I hear and speak;
A thousand melting kiffes, give, and take:
Then fiercer joys-I blush to mention these,
Yet while I blufh, confefs how much they please.
But when, with day, the fweet delufions fly,
And all things wake to life, and joy, but I,
As if once more forfaken, I complain,
And close my eyes, to dream of you again;
Then frantic rife, and like fome Fury rove
Thro' lonely plains, and thro' the filent grove,
As if the filent grove, and lonely plains
That knew my pleasures, could relieve my pains.
I view the Grotto, once the fcene of love,
The rocks around, the hanging roofs above,
That charm'd me more, with native mofs o'ergrown,
Than Phrygian marble, or the Parian ftone,
I find the fhades that veil'd our joys before,
But, Phaon gone, thofe fhades delight no more,
Here the prefs'd herbs with bending tops betray
Where oft' entwin'd in am'rous folds we lay;
I kifs that earth which once was prefs'd by you,
And all with tears the with'ring herbs bedew.
For thee the fading trees appear to mourn,
And birds defer their fongs till thy return:
Night fhades the groves, and all in filence lie,
All, but the mournful Philomel and I;
With mournful Philomel I join my strain,
Of Tereus fhe, of Phaon I complain.
A fpring there is, whofe filver waters show
Clear as a glafs, the fhining fands below;
A flow'ry Lotos spreads its arms above,
Shades all the banks, and feems itself a grove;
Eternal greens the moffy margin grace,
Watch'd by the sylvan Genius of the place.
Here as I lay, and swell'd with tears the flood,
Before my fight a wat❜ry Virgin ftood,
She stood and cry'd, "O you that love in vain!
Fly hence, nd feek the fair Leucadian main; "There ftands a rock from whofe impending fteep "Apollo's fane furveys the rolling deep; « There injur'd lovers leaping from above, "Their flames extinguish, and forget to love. "Deucalion once with hopeless fury burn'd, "In vain he lov'd, relentless Pyrrha fcorn'd; " But when from hence he plung'd into the main, "Deucalion scorn'd, and Pyrrha lov'd in vain. "Hafte Sappho, hafte, from high Leucadia throw "Thy wretched weight, nor dread the deeps below!” She spoke, and vanish'd with the voice—I rise, And filent tears fall trickling from my eyes. I go, ye Nymphs! thofe rocks and feas to prove; How much I fear, but ah, how much I love! I go, ye Nymphs! where furious love infpires; Let female fears fubmit to female fires. To rocks and feas I fly from Phaon's hate, And hope from feas and rocks a milder fate. Ye gentle gales, beneath my body blow, And foftly lay me on the waves below! And thou, kind Love, my finking limbs fuftain, Spread thy foft wings, and waft me o'er the main, 210 Nor let a Lover's death the guiltlefs flood profane! On Phoebus' fhrine my harp I'll then beftow, And this inscription fhall be plac'd below.
"Here fhe who fung, to him that did infpire, "Sappho to Phoebus confecrates her Lyre; "What suits with Sappho, Phoebus, fuits with thee; The gift, the giver, and the God agree.' But why, alas, relentless youth, ah why To diftant seas muft tender Sappho fly? Thy charms than thofe may far more pow'rful be, And Phoebus' felf is lefs a God to me.
Ah! can't thou doom me to the rocks and fea,
O far more faithless and more hard than they ?
Ah! can't thou rather fee this tender breast
Dash'd on those rocks, than to thy bofom prest?
This breaft which once, in vain! you lik'd fo well;
Where the Loves play'd, and where the Mufes dwell.
Alas! the Mufes now no more inspire,
Untun'd my lute, and filent is my lyre,
My languid numbers have forgot to flow,
And fancy finks beneath a weight of woe.
Ye Lesbian virgins, and ye Lefbian dames,
Themes of my verfe, and objects of my flames,
No more your groves with my glad fongs fhall ring,
No more thefe hands fhall touch the trembling ftring:
My Phaon's fled, and I thofe arts refign.
(Wretch that I am, to call that Phaon mine!)
Return, fair youth, return, and bring along
Joy to my foul, and vigour to my song:
Abfent from thee, the Poet's flame expires,
But ah! how fiercely burn the Lover's fires?
Gods! can no pray'rs, no fighs, no numbers move
One favage heart, or teach it how to love?
The winds my pray'rs, my fighs, my numbers bear,
The flying winds have loft them all in air!
Oh when, alas! fhall more aufpicious gales
To these fond eyes reftore thy welcome fails?
If you return-ah why these long delays?
Poor Sappho dies, while careless Phaon stays.
O launch thy bark, nor fear the watʼry plain;
Venus for thee fhall fmooth her native main.