Page images

This made the first impression on his mind,
Above, but just above, the brutal kind.
For beasts can like, but not distinguish too,
Nor their own liking by reflection know;
Nor why they like or this or t'other face,
Or judge of this or that peculiar grace;
But love in gross, and stupidly admire :
As flies, allur'd by light, approach the fire.
Thus our man-beast, advancing by degrees,
First likes the whole, then separates what he sees;
On several parts a several praise bestows,
The ruby lips, the well-proportion'd nose,
The snowy skin, and raven-glossy hair,
The dimpled cheek, and forehead rising fair,
And, ev'n in sleep itself, a smiling air.

From thence his eyes descending view'd the rest, Her plump round arms, white hands, and heaving breast.

Long on the last he dwelt, though every part
A pointed arrow sped to pierce his heart.

Thus in a trice a judge of beauty grown,
(A judge erected from a country clown)
He long'd to see her eyes, in slumber hid,
And wish'd his own could pierce within the lid :
He would have wak'd her, but restrain'd his thought,
And Love, new-born, the first good-manners taught.
And awful Fear his ardent wish withstood,

Nor durst disturb the goddess of the wood.
For such she seem'd by her celestial face,
Excelling all the rest of human race.

And things divine, by common sense he knew,
Must be devoutly seen, at distant view:

So checking his desire, with trembling heart
Gazing he stood, nor would nor could depart;
Fix'd as a pilgrim wilder'd in his way,

Who dares not stir by night, for fear to stray,

But stands with awful eyes to watch the dawn of


At length awaking, Iphigene the fair

(So was the beauty call'd who caus'd his care)
Unclos'd her eyes, and double day reveal'd,
While those of all her slaves in sleep were seal'd.
The slavering cudden, propp'd upon his staff,
Stood ready gaping with a grinning laugh,
To welcome her awake; nor durst begin

To speak, but wisely kept the fool within.

Then she: "What makes you, Cymon, here alone?" (For Cymon's name was round the country known Because descended of a noble race,

And for a soul ill sorted with his face).

But still the sot stood silent with surprise,
With fix'd regard on her new-open'd eyes,
And in his breast receiv'd th' envenom'd dart,
A tickling pain that pleas'd amid the smart.
But, conscious of her form, with quick distrust
She saw his sparkling eyes, and fear'd his brutal lust!
This to prevent, she wak'd her sleepy crew,
And, rising hasty, took a short adieu.

Then Cymon first his rustic voice essay'd,
With proffer'd service to the parting maid
To see her safe; his hand she long deny'd,
But took at length, asham'd of such a guide.
So Cymon led her home, and leaving there,
more would to his country clowns repair,

[blocks in formation]

But sought his father's house, with better mind,
Refusing in the farm to be confin'd.

The father wonder'd at the son's return,
And knew not whether to rejoice or mourn;
But doubtfully receiv'd, expecting still
To learn the secret causes of his alter'd will.
Nor was he long delay'd: the first request
He made, was like his brothers to be dress'd,
And, as his birth requir'd, above the rest.

With ease his suit was granted by his sire,
Distinguishing his heir by rich attire:
His body thus adorn'd, he next design'd
With liberal arts to cultivate his mind:
He sought a tutor of his own accord,
And study'd lessons he before abhorr❜d.

Thus the man-child advanc'd, and learn'd so fast,
That in short time his equals he surpass'd:
His brutal manners from his breast exil'd,
His mien he fashion'd, and his tongue he fil'd;
In every exercise of all admir'd,

He seem'd, nor only seem'd, but was inspir'd: Inspir'd by Love, whose business is to please; He rode, he fenc'd, he mov'd with graceful ease, More fam'd for sense, for courtly carriage more, Than for his brutal folly known before.


What then of alter'd Cymon shall we say, But that the fire which choak'd in ashes lay, A load too heavy for his soul to move, Was upward blown below, and brush'd away by Love made an active progress through his mind, The dusky parts he clear'd, the gross refin'd, The drowsy wak'd; and as he went impress'd The Maker's image on the human breast.

Thus was the man amended by desire,

And though he lov'd perhaps with too much fire,
His father all his faults with reason scann'd,
And lik'd an errour of the better hand;
Excus'd th' excess of passion in his mind,
By flames too fierce, perhaps too much refin'd:
So Cymon, since his sire indulg'd his will,
Impetuous lov'd, and would be Cymon still;
Galesus he disown'd, and chose to bear

The name of fool confirm'd and bishop'd by the fair.
To Cipseus by his friends his suit he mov'd,
Cipseus the father of the fair he lov'd:
But he was pre-engag'd by former ties,
While Cymon was endeavouring to be wise:
And Iphigene, oblig'd by former vows,
Had given her faith to wed a foreign spouse:
Her sire and she to Rhodian Pasimond,
Though both repenting, were by promise bound,
Nor could retract; and thus, as Fate decreed,
Though better lov'd, he spoke too late to speed.
The doom was past, the ship, already sent,
Did all his tardy diligence prevent :
Sigh'd to herself the fair unhappy maid,
While stormy Cymon thus in secret said:
"The time is come for Iphigene to find
The miracle she wrought upon my mind:
Her charms have made me man, her ravish'd love
In rank shall place me with the bless'd above.

For mine by love, by force she shall be mine,

Or death, if force should fail, shall finish my design."
Resolv'd he said; and rigg'd with speedy care
A vessel strong, and well equipp'd for war.

The secret ship with chosen friends he stor❜d;
And, bent to die or conquer, went aboard.
Ambush'd he lay behind the Cyprian shore,
Waiting the sail that all his wishes bore;
Nor long expected, for the following tide
Sent out the hostile ship and beauteous bride.
To Rhodes the rival bark directly steer'd,
When Cymon sudden at her back appear'd,
And stopp'd her flight: then, standing on his prow,
In haughty terms he thus defy'd the foe:
"Or strike your sails at summons, or prepare
To prove the last extremities of war.

[ocr errors]

Thus warn'd, the Rhodians for the fight provide;
Already were the vessels side by side,

These obstinate to save, and those to seize the bride.
But Cymon soon his crooked grapples cast,
Which with tenacious hold his foes embrac'd,
And, arm'd with sword and shield, amid the press
he pass'd.

Fierce was the fight, but, hastening to his prey,
By force the furious lover freed his way :
Himself alone dispers'd the Rhodian crew,
The weak disdain'd, the valiant overthrew ;
Cheap conquest for his following friends remain'd,
He reap'd the field, and they but only glean'd.
His victory confess'd, the foes retreat,

And cast the weapons at the victor's feet.
Whom thus he cheer'd: "O Rhodian youth,

For love alone, nor other booty sought:

Your lives are safe; your vessel I resign;

Yours be your own, restoring what is mine;

« PreviousContinue »