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ORIENTAL ECLOGUES.

WRITTEN ORIGINALLY FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT OF THE LADIES OB TAURIS,

AND NOW TRANSLATED.

— Ubi primus equis Oriens adflavit anhelis.

Vina.

PREFACE.

It is with the writings of mankind, in some measure, as with their complexions or their dress; each nation hath a peculiarity in all these, to distinguish it from the rest of the world.

The gravity of the Spaniard, and the levity of the Frenchman, are as evident in all their productions as in their persons themselves; and the style of my countrymen is as naturally strong and nervous, as that of an Arabian or Persian is rich and figurative.

There is an elegancy and wildness of thought which recommends all their compositions; and our geniuses are as much too cold for the entertainment of such sentiments, as our climate is for their fruits and spices. If any of these beauties are to be found in the following Eclogues, I hope my reader will consider them as an argument of their being original. I received them at the hands of a merchant, who had made it his business to enrich himself with the learning, as well as the silks and carpets, of the Persians. The little information I could gather concerning their author was, that his name was Abdallah, and that he was a native of Tauris.

It was in that city that he died of a distemper fatal in those parts, whilst he was engaged in celebrating the victories of his favorite monarch, the great Abbas.* As to the Eclogues themselves, they give a very just view of the miseries and inconveniences, as well as the felicities, that attend one of the finest countries in the East.

The time of writing them was probably in the beginning of Sha Sultan Hosseyn's reign, the successor of Sefi or Solyman the Second.

Whatever defects, as, I doubt not, there will be many, fall under the reader's observation, I hope his candor will incline him to make the following reflection:

That the works of Orientals contain many peculiarities, and that, through defect of language, few European translators can do them justice.

* In the Persian tongue, Abbas signiflefch " the father of the people."

OMENTAL ECLOGUES.

ECLOGUE I. SELIM; OR, THE SHEPHERD'S MORAL.

Scene, A valley near Bagdat.
Time, The morning.

"Ye Persian maids, attend your poet's lays,
And hear how shepherds pass their golden days.
Not all are blest whom Fortune's hand sustains
With wealth in courts, nor all that haunt the plains:
Well may your hearts believe the truths I tell;
'T is virtue makes the bliss, where'er we dwell."

Thus Selim sung, by sacred Truth inspired;
Nor praise, but such as Truth bestowed, desired:
Wise in himself, his meaning songs conveyed
Informing morals to the shepherd maid;
Or taught the swains that surest bliss to find,
What groves nor streams bestow, a virtuous mind.

When sweet and blushing, like a virgin bride, The radiant morn resumed her orient pride;

When wanton gales along the valleys play,
Breathe on each flower, and bear their sweets away;
By Tigris' wandering waves he sat, and sung
This useful lesson for the fair and young.

"Ye Persian dames," he said, "to you belong —
Well may they please — the morals of my song:
No fairer maids, I trust, than you are found,
Graced with soft arts, the peopled world around!
The morn that lights you, to your loves supplies
Each gentler ray delicious to your eyes:
For you those flowers her fragrant hands bestow;
And yours the love that kings delight to know.
Yet think not these, all beauteous as they are,
The best kind blessings Heaven can grant the fair!
Who trust alone in beauty's feeble ray
Boast but the worth Bassora's pearls display:
Drawn from the deep we own their surface bright,
But, dark within, they drink no lustrous light:
Such are the maids, and such the charms they boast,
By sense unaided, or to virtue lost.
Self-flattering sex! your hearts believe in vain
That love shall blind, when once he fires, the swain;
Or hope a lover by your faults to win,
As spots on ermine beautify the skin:
Who seeks secure to rule, be first her care
Each softer virtue that adorns the fair;
Each tender passion man delights to find,
The loved perfections of a female mind!

"Blest were the days when Wisdom held her reign, And shepherds sought her on the silent plain!

With Truth she wedded in the secret grove,
Immortal Truth, and daughters blessed their love.
0 haste, fair maids! ye Virtues, come away!
Sweet Peace and Plenty lead you on your way!
The balmy shrub, for you shall love our shore,
By Ind excelled, or Araby, Do more.

"Lost to our fields, for so the Fates ordain,
The dear deserters shall return again.
Come thou, whose thoughts as limpid springs are clear,
To lead the train, sweet Modesty, appear:
Here make thy court amidst our rural scene,
And shepherd girls shall own thee for their queen:
With thee be Chastity, of all afraid,
Distrusting all, a wise suspicious maid,
But man the most: — not more the mountain doe
Holds the swift falcon for her deadly foe.
Cold is her breast, like flowers that drink the dew;
A silken veil conceals her from the view.
No wild desires amidst thy train be known;
But Faith, whose heart is fixed on one alone:
Desponding Meekness, with her downcast eyes,
And friendly Pity, full of tender sighs;
And Love the last: by these your hearts approve;
These are the virtues that must lead to love."

Thus sung the swain; and ancient legends say
The maids of Bagdat verified the lay:
Dear to the plains, the Virtues came along,
The shepherds loved, and Selim blessed his song.

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