Page images
PDF
EPUB

What in brief numbers sung Anacreon's muse? Wine, and the rose that sparkling wine bedews. Pindar with Bacchus glows—his every

line Breathes the rich fragrance of inspiring wine, While, with loud crash o'erturn'd, the chariot lies, And brown with dust the fiery courser flies. The Roman lyrist steep'd in wine his lays So sweet in Glycera's and Chloe's praise. Now too the plenteous feast and mantling bowl Nourish the vigour of thy sprightly soul; The flowing goblet makes thy numbers flow, And casks not wine alone, but verse bestow. Thus Phæbus favours, and the arts attend, Whom Bacchus and whom Ceres both befriend. What wonder, then, thy verses are so sweet, In which these triple powers so kindly meet! The lute now also sounds, with gold inwrought, And touch'd with flying fingers nicely taught, In tapestried halls, high roof'd, the sprightly lyre Directs the dancers of the virgin choir. If dull repletion fright the Muse away, , Sights gay as these may more invite her stay; And, trust me, while the ivory keys resound, Fair damsels sport, and perfumes steam around, Apollo's influence, like ethereal flame, Shall animate, at once, thy glowing frame, And all the Muse Thall rush into thy breast, By love and music's blended powers possest. For numerous powers light Elegy befriend, Hear her sweet voice, and at her call attend; Her, Bacchus, Ceres, Venus, all approve, And, with his blushing mother, gentle Love.

a

Hence to such bards we grant the copious use
Of banquets, and the vine's delicious juice.
But they who demigods and heroes praise,
And feats perform'd in Jove's more youthful days,
Who now the counsels of high heaven explore,
Now shades that echo the Cerberean roar,
Simply let these, like him of Samos, live,
Let herbs to them a bloodless banquet give;
In beechen goblets let their beverage shine,
Cool from the crystal spring, their sober wine !
Their youth should pass in innocence secure
From stain licentious, and in manners pure,
Pure as the priest, when robed in white he stands,
The fresh lustration ready in his hands.
Thus Linus lived, and thus, as poets write,
Tiresias, wiser for his loss of sight;
Thus exiled Chalcas, thus the Bard of Thrace,
Melodious tamer of the savage race ;
Thus train’d by temperance, Homer led, of yore,
His chief of Ithaca from shore to shore,
Through magic Circe's monster-peopled reign,
And shoals insidious with the firen train ;
And thro' the realms where grizly spectres dwell,
Whose tribes he fetter'd in a gory spell;
For these are sacred bards, and from above
Drink large infusions from the mind of Jove.
Wouldst thou (perhaps ʼtis hardly worth thine

ear)
Wouldst thou be told my occupation here?
The promised King of peace employs my pen,
The eternal covenant made for guilty men,
The new-born Deity with infant cries

Filling the fordid hovel where he lies;
The hymning Angels, and the herald star,
That led the Wise, who fought him from afar,
And idols on their own unhallow'd shore
Dash’d, at his birth, to be revered no more.

This theme on reeds of Albion I rehearse :
The dawn of that blest day inspired the verse;
Verse that, reserved in secret, shall attend
Thy candid voice, my critic, and my friend !

ELEGY VII.

Composed in the Author's Nineteenth Year.

S

yet a stranger to the gentle fires
That Amathufia's smiling queen inspires,

Not seldom I derided Cupid's darts, And scorn'd his claim to rule all human hearts. Go, child,” I said, “ transfix the timorous dove!


An easy conquest suits an infant love;
Ensave the sparrow, for such prize shall be
Sufficient triumph to a chief like thee !
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 fought the shelter of retiring night,

When Love approach'd, in painted plumes array'd,
The insidious god his rattling darts betray'd,
Nor less his infant features, and the fly,
Sweet intimations of his threatening eye.

Such the Sigeian boy is seen above,
Filling the goblet for imperial Jove ;
Such he on whoin 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 power

attest! And in thy anguish be my sway confest! I vanquilh'd Phæbus, though returning vain From his new triumph o’er the Python lain, 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 killd, and conquer'd as he fled : Less true the expert Cydonian, and less true The youth whose shaft his latent Procris New. 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 transfix'd 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 ensure, Nor Phæbus' serpent yield thy wound a cure.”

He spoke, and, waving a bright shaft in air,

[blocks in formation]

Sought the warm bosom of the Cyprian fair.

That thus a child should bluster in my ear, Provoked 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 moved With

grace divine, beheld where'er I roved. Bright Tone the vernal day with double blaze As beauty gave new force to Phæbus’ rays. By no grave scruples check’d, I freely eyed The dangerous 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 (then peace

my breast), One-Oh how far superior to the rest! What lovely features ! such the Cyprian queen Herself might wish, and Juno with her mien. The very nymph was she, whom, when I dared His arrows, Love had even then prepared ! Nor was himself remote, nor unsupplied With torch well trimm'd and quiver at his side ; Now to her lips he clung, her eyelids now, Then settled on her cheeks, or on her brow; And with a thousand wounds from every part Pierced and transpierced my undefended heart. A fever, new to me, of fierce desire Now seized my soul, and I was all on fire; But she, the while, whom only I adore, Was gone, and vanish'd, to appear no more. In silent sadness I pursue my way; I pause, I turn, proceed, yet wish to stay, And, while I follow her in thought, bemoan With tears my soul's delight so quickly flown.

forsook

« PreviousContinue »