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Thou ling'rest, slumb'ring, with thy wither'd mate !
Leave him, and to Hymettus' top repair !
Thy darling Cephalus expects thee there.
The goddess, with a blush, her love betrays,
But mounts, and driving rapidly, obeys.
Earth now desires thee, Phæbus ! and t'engage
Thy warm embrace, casts off the guise of age;
Desires thee, and deserves ; for who so sweet,
When her rich bosom courts thy genial heat ?
Her breath imparts to ev'ry breeze that blows,
Arabia's harvest and the Paphian rose.
Her lofty front she diadems around
With sacred pines, like Ops on Ida crown'd;
Her dewy locks, with various flow'rs new-blown,
She interweaves, various, and all her own,
For Proserpine, in such a wreath attired,
Tænarian Dis himself with love inspired.
Fear not, lest, cold and coy, the nymph refuse !
Herself, with all her sighing Zephyrs, sues ;
Each courts thee, fanning soft his scented wing,
And all her groves with warbled wishes ring.
Nor, unendow'd and indigent, aspires
The am'rous Earth to engage thy warm desires,
But, rich in balmy drugs, assists thy claim,
Divine Physician I to that glorious name.
If splendid recompense, if gifts can move
Desire in thee (gifts often purchase love),
She offers all the wealth her mountains hide,
And all that rests beneath the boundless tide.
How oft, when headlong from the heav'nly steer,
She sees thee playing in the western deep,
How oft she cries—" Ah, Phoebus ! why repair
Thy wasted force, why seek refreshment there?
Can Tethys win thee? wherefore shouldst thou lave
A face so fair in her unpleasant wave;
Come, seek my green retreats, and rather choose
To cool thy tresses in my crystal dews,
The grassy turf shall yield the sweeter rest;
Come, lay thy evening glories on my breast,
And breathing fresh, through many a humid rose,
Soft whispering airs shall lull thee to repose !
No fears I feel like Semele to die,
Nor let thy burning wheels approach too nigh,
For thou canst govern them, here therefore rest,
And lay thy evening glories on my breast!”
Thus breathes the wanton Earth her am'rous flame,
And all her countless offspring feel the same ;
For Cupid now through every region strays,
Bright’ning his faded fires with solar rays,
His new-strung bow sends forth a deadlier sound,
And his new-pointed shafts more deeply wound;
Nor Dian's self escapes him now untried,
Nor even Vesta at her altar-side ;
His mother too repairs her beauty's wane,
And seems sprung newly from the deep again.
Exulting youths the Hymeneal sing,
With Hymen's name, roofs, rocks, and valleys ring ;
He, new-attired, and by the season drest,
Proceeds, all fragrant, in his saffron vest.
Now, many a golden-cinctured virgin roves
To taste the pleasures of the fields and groves,
All wish, and each alike, some fav’rite youth
Hers, in the bonds of Hymeneal truth.
Now pipes the shepherd through his reeds again,
Nor Phillis wants a song that suits the strain,
With songs the seaman hails the starry sphere,
And dolphins rise from the abyss to hear;
Jove feels himself the season, sports again
With his fair spouse, and banquets all his train.
Now too the Satyrs, in the dusk of eve,
Their mazy dance through flowery meadows weave,
And neither god nor goat, but both in kind,
Silvanus, wreathed with cypress, skips behind.
The Dryads leave their hollow sylvan cells
To roam the banks and solitary dells ;
Pan riots now; and from his amorous chafe
Ceres and Cybele seem hardly safe,
And Faunus, all on fire to reach the prize,
In chase of some enticing Oread flies.
She bounds before, but fears too swift a bound,
And hidden lies, but wishes to be found.
Our shades entice th' immortals froin above,
And some kind pow'r presides o'er every grove ;
And long, ye pow'rs, o'er every grove preside,
For all is safe and blest, where ye abide !
Return, O Jove ! the age of gold restore-
Why chose to dwell where storms and thunder roar ?
At least, thou, Phoebus / moderate thy speed !
Let not the vernal hours too swift procee
Command rough Winter back, nor yield the pole
Too soon to night's encroaching long control
Composed in the Author's Nineteenth Year.
That Amathusia's smiling queen inspires,
Not seldom I derided Cupid's darts,
And scorned his claim to rule all human hearts.
“Go, child," I said, “ transfix the tim'rous dove !
An easy conquest suits an infant love ;
Enslave the sparrow, for such prize shall be
Sufficient triumph to a chief like thee I
Why aim thy idle arms at human kind ?
Thy shafts prevail not 'gainst the noble mind.”
The Cyprian heard, and kindling into ire
(None kindles sooner), burn'd with double fire.
It was the spring, and newly risen day Peep'd o'er the hamlets on the first of May ; My eyes, too tender for the blaze of light, Still sought the shelter of retiring night, When Love approach'd, in painted plumes array'd, Th' insidious god his rattling darts betray'd, Nor less his infant features, and the sly, Sweet intimations of his threat'ning eye.
Such the Sigeian boy is seen above, Filling the goblet for imperial Jove ; Such he, on whom the nymphs bestow'd their charms, Hylas, who perish'd in a Naiad's arms. Angry he seem'd, yet graceful in his ire, And added threats, not destitute of fire. “My power,” he said, “by others' pain alone, 'Twere best to learn ; now learn it by thy own! With those who feel my power that pow'r attest ! And in thy anguish be my sway confest ! I vanquish'd Phæbus, though returning vain From his new triumph o'er the Python slain, And, when he thinks on Daphne, even he Will yield the prize of archery to me. A dart less true the Parthian horseman sped, Behind him kill'd, and conquer'd as he fled ; Less true th' expert Cydonian, and less true The youth whose shaft his latent Procris slew Vanquish'd by me, see huge Orion bend, By me Alcides, and Alcides' friend.
At me should Jove himself a bolt design,
His bosom first should bleed transfixt by mine.
But all thy doubts this shaft will best explain,
Nor shall it reach thee with a trivial pain,
Thy Muse, vain youth ! shall not thy peace insure,
Nor Phæbus' serpent yield thy wound a cure."
He spoke, and, waving a bright shaft in air,
Sought the warm bosom of the Cyprian fair.
That thus a child should bluster in my ear, Provok'd my laughter, more than moved my fear. I shunn'd not, therefore, public haunts, but stray'd Careless in city or suburban shade, And passing, and repassing, nymphs, that mov'd With grace divine, beheld where'er í rov'd. Bright shone the vernal day with double blaze, As beauty gave new force to Phoebus' rays. By no grave scruples check’d, I freely eyed The dang’rous show, rash youth my only guide, And many a look of many a fair unknown Met full, unable to control my own. But one I mark'd (thence peace forsook my breast) One-Oh, how far superior to the rest ! What lovely features ! such the Cyprian queen Herself might wish, and Juno wish her mien. The very nymph was she, whom when I dar'd His arrows, Love had even then prepar'd ! Nor was himself remote, nor unsupplied With torch well-trimm'd and quiver at his side ; Now to her lips he clung, her eye-lids now, Then settled on her cheeks, or on her brow; And with a thousand wounds from ev'ry part Pierced and transpierced my undefended heart. A fever, new to me, of fierce desire