« PreviousContinue »
Thus on Parnassus tuneful Hesiod sung:
The mountain echoed, and the valley rung;
The sacred groves a fix'd attention show ;
The crystal Helicon forbore to flow;
The sky grew bright; and (if his verse be true)
The Muses came to give the laurel too.
But what avail'd the verdant prize of wit,
If love swore vengeance for the tales he writ?
Ye fair offended, hear your friend relate
What heavy judgment prov'd the writer's fate,
Though when it happen'd, no relation clears,
'Tis thought in five, or five and twenty years.
Where, dark and silent, with a twisted shade
The neighb'ring woods a native arbour made,
There oft a tender pair for amorous play
Retiring, toy'd the ravish'd hours away;
A Locrian youth, the gentle Troilus he,
A fair Milesian, kind Evanthe she:
But swelling nature in a fatal hour
Betray'd the secrets of the conscious bower;
The dire disgrace her brothers count their own,
And track her steps, to make its author known.
It chanc'd one evening, ('twas the lover's day)
Conceal'd in brakes the jealous kindred lay;
When Hesiod wandering, mus'd along the plain,
And fix'd his seat where love had fix'd the scene:
A strong suspicion straight possess'd their mind,
(For poets ever were a gentle kind.)
But when Evanthe near the passage stood, Flung back a doubtful look, and shot the wood, "Now take," at once they cry, "thy due reward," And urg'd with erring rage, assault the bard. His corpse the sea received. The dolphins bore ('Twas all the gods would do) the corpse to shore.
Methinks, I view the dead with pitying eyes,
And see the dreams of ancient wisdom rise;
I see the Muses round the body cry,
But hear a Cupid loudly laughing by;
He wheels his arrow with insulting hand,
And thus inscribes the moral on the sand.
"Here Hesiod lies: ye future bards, beware
How far your moral tales incense the fair:
Unlov'd, unloving, 'twas his fate to bleed;
Without his quiver Cupid caus'd the deed :
He judg'd this turn of malice justly due,
And Hesiod died for joys he never knew.”
WHEN thy beauty appears,
In its graces and airs,
All bright as an angel new dropt from the sky;
At distance I gaze, and am aw'd by my fears,
So strangely you dazzle my eye!
But when without art,
Your kind thoughts you impart,
your love runs in blushes through every vein; When it darts from your eyes, when it pants in your heart,
Then I know you're a woman again.
There's a passion and pride
In our sex, she replied,
And thus (might I gratify both) I would do;
Still an angel appear to each lover beside,
But still be a woman to you.
THIRSIS, a young and amorous swain,
Saw two, the beauties of the plain,
Who both his heart subdue:
Gay Cælia's eyes were dazzling fair,
Sabina's easy shape and air
With softer magic drew.
He haunts the stream, he haunts the grove, Lives in a fond romance of love,
And seems for each to die; Till each a little spiteful grown, Sabina Cælia's shape ran down, And she Sabina's eye.
Their envy made the shepherd find
Those eyes, which love could only blind;
So set the lover free:
No more he haunts the grove or stream,
Or with a true-love knot and name
Engraves a wounded tree.
Ah Cælia! sly Sabina cried,
Though neither love, we're both denied ;
Now to support the sex's pride,
Let either fix the dart.
Poor girl! says Cælia, say no more;
For should the swain but one adore,
That spite which broke his chains before,
Would break the other's heart.
My days have been so wondrous free, The little birds that fly
With careless ease from tree to tree, Were but as bless'd as I.
Ask gliding waters, if a tear
Of mine increas'd their stream?
Or ask the flying gales, if e'er
I lent one sigh to them?
But now my former days retire,
And I'm by beauty caught,
The tender chains of sweet desire
Are fix'd upon my thought.
Ye nightingales, ye twisting pines!
Ye swains that haunt the grove !
Ye gentle echoes, breezy winds!
Ye close retreats of love!
With all of nature, all of art,
Assist the dear design;
O teach a young, unpractis'd heart,
To make my Nancy mine!