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But if an over-tinge there be,
Impute it to her modesty.
Her lips of deeper red, how thin!
How nicely white the teeth within !
Her nose how taper to the tip!
And slender as her ruby lip !
Her brows in arches proudly rise,
As conscious of her powerful eyes :
Those eyes, majestic-black, display
The lustre of the god of day;
And by the contrast of the white,
The jetty pupil shines more bright.
There the glad Graces keep their court,
And in the liquid mirror sport.
Her tresses, when no fillets bind,
Wanton luxurious in the wind;
Like Dian's auburn locks they shone,
But Venus wreath'd them like her own.
Her reck, which well with snow might vie,
Is form'd with nicest symmetry ;
In native elegance secure
The most obdurate heart to wound;
But she, to make her conquests sure,
With sparkling gems bedecks it round:
With gems that, ranged in order due,
Present the fair one's name to view.
Her light-spun robes in every part
Are fashioned with the nicest art,
T' improve her stature, and to grace
The polish'd limbs which they embrace.
How beautiful she looks when drest !
But view her freed from this disguise,
Stript of th' unnecessary vest-
'sis Beauty's self before your eyes.
How stately doth my Lais go!
With studied step, composedly slow;
Superb, as some tall mountain fir,
Whom Zephyr's wing doth slightly stir :
(For surely beauty is allied
By Nature very near to Pride :)
* With gems, &c.) This conceit was formerly reckoned a peculi: elegance in a lady's dress.
The grores indeed mild breezes move,
But her the gentler gales of Love.
From her the pencil learns its dye-
The rosy lip, the sparkling eye ;
And bids the pictured form assume
Bright Helen's mien, and Hebe's bloom.
But how shall I describe her breast ?
That now first swells with panting throb
To burst the fond embracing vest,
And emulate her snow-white robe.
So exquisitely soft her limbs !
That not a bone but pliant seems;
As if th' embrace of Loveso warm !
Would quite dissolve her beauteous form.
But when she speaks !--good heavens ! e'en now
Methinks I hear my
E’en yet with Love's respect I bow
To all th' enchantment of her tongue.
Her voice most clear, yet ’tis not strong ;
Her periods full, though seldom long;
With wit, good-natured wit, endow'd ;
Fluent her speech, but never loud.
Witness, ye Loves ! witness ; for well I know
To her you've oft attention given;
Oft pensile flutter'd on your wings of snow
To waft each dying sound to heaven.
Ah! sure this fair enchantress found
The zone which all the Graces bound :
Not Momus could a blemish find
Or in her person or her mind.-
But why should Beauty's goddess spare
To me this all-accomplish'd fair ?
I for her charms did ne'er decide, *
As Paris erst on lofty Ide;
I pleased her not in that dispute ;
gave her not the golden fruit :
Then why the Paphian queen so free?
Why grant the precious boon to me?
Venus ! what sacrifice, what prayer
Can show my thanks for such a prize!
-To bless a mortal with a fair,
Whose charms are worthy of the skies. I for her charms did ne'er decide.] This alludes to the well-known con. test between Juno, Venus, and Minerva, for the golden apple.
She too, like Helen, can inspire
Th' unfeeling heart of age with fire;
Can teach their lazy blood to move,
And light again the torch of love. *
“Oh !" cry the old, “ that erst such charms
Had bloom'd to bless our youthful arms;
Or that we now were young, to show
How we could love-some years ago !”
Have I not seen th' admiring throng
For hours attending to her song ?
Whilst from her eyes such lustre shone,
It added brightness to their own :
Sweet grateful beams of thanks they'd dart,
That showed the feelings of her heart.
Silent we've sat, with rapt'rous gaze !
Silent, but all our thoughts were praise :
Each turned with pleasure to the rest;
And this the prayer that warmed each breast :)
“Thus may that lovely bloom for ever glow,
for ever shine ! Oh may'st thou never feel the scourge of woe !
Oh never be misfortune thine! Ne'er may
the crazy hand of pining care Thy mirth and youthful spirits break ! Never come sickness, or love-cross'd despair,
To pluck the roses from thy cheek !
But bliss be thine—the cares which love supplies,
Be all the cares that you shall dread;
The graceful drop, now glist’ning in your eyes,
Be all the tears you ever shed.
But hush'd be now thy am'rous song And yield a theme, thy praises wrong: Just to her charms, thou canst not raise Thy notes—but must I cease to praise? Yes—I will cease-for she'll inspire Again the lay, who strung my lyre.
She too, like Helen, &c.]
Ού Νεμεσις, Τρωας και εύκνημίας Αχαιούς
Τοιή δ' αμφί γυναικί πολυν χρόνον αλγεα πάσχειν. .
Αίνως αθανάτισι θεής εις ώπα έoικεν. . HOM.
Then fresh I'll paint the charming maid,
Content, if she my strain approves ;
Again my lyre shall lend its aid,
And dwell upon the theme it loves.
EPISTLE II. THE PLEASING CONSTRAINT.*
In a snug little court as I stood t other day,
And caroll'd the loitering minutes away ;
Came a brace of fair nymphs, with such beautiful faces,
That they yielded in number alone to the Graces:
Disputing they were, and that earnestly too,
When thus they address'd me as nearer they drew:
“So sweet is your voice, and your numbers so sweet,
Such sentiment join'd with such harmony meet ;
Each note which you raise finds its way to our hearts,
Where Cupid engraves it wi' the point of his darts :
But oh! by these strains, which so deeply can pierce,
Inform us for whom you intended your verse :
'Tis for her, she affirms—I maintain 'tis for me
And we often pull caps in asserting our plea.”+
“Why, ladies," cried I, "you're both handsome, 'tis true,
But cease your dispute, I love neither of you;
My life on another dear creature depends;
Her I hasten to visit :-so kiss and be friends."
"Oh ho !" said they, "now you convince us quite clear,
For no pretty woman lives anywhere here-
That's plainly a sham. Now, to humour us both,
You shall swear you love neither; so come, take your oath."
I laughing replied, “ 'Tis tyrannical dealing
To make a man swear, when 'tis plain he's not willing."
“Why, friend, we've long sought thy fair person to seize ; And think you we'll take such excuses as these? No, 'twas chance brought you hither, and here you shall stay ;Help, Phædra ! to hold, or he'll sure get away.”
* This sufficiently explains itself. It has no names prefixed to it in the original, and is very literally translated.
* And we often pull caps, &c.] This is almost literally the Greek expression : Και διά σε φιλονείκως και μέχρι τριχών συμπλεκόμεθα πολλάκις λλήλαις. .
Thus spoken, to keep me between 'em they tried ; -
Twas a pleasing constraint, and I gladly complied.
If I struggled, 'twas to make 'em imprison me more,
And strove—but for shackles more tight than before;
But think not I'll tell how the minutes were spent ;
You may think what you please—but they both were content.
EPISTLE III. THE GARDEN OF PHYLLION.
PHILOPLATANUS TO ANTHOCOME.
BLEST was my lot-ah ! sure 'twas bliss, my friend,
The day-by heavens ! the live-long day to spend
With Love and ny Limona! Hence! in vain
Would mimic Fancy bring those scenes again;
In vain delighted memory tries to raise
My doubtful song, and aid my will to praise.
In vain! Nor fancy strikes, nor memory knows,
The little springs from whence those joys arose.
Yet come, coy Fancy, sympathetic maid !
Yes, I will ask, I will implore thy aid :
For I would tell my friend whate'er befell;
Whate'er I saw, whate'er I did, I'll tell.
But what I felt-sweet Venus ! there inspire
My lay, or wrap his soul in all thy fire.
Bright rose the morn, and bright remain'd the day ;
The mead was spangled with the bloom of May:
We on the bank of a sweet stream were laid,
With blushing rose and lowly violets spread;
Fast by our side a spreading plane-tree grew,
And waved its head, that shone with morning dew.
The bank acclivous rose, and swell'd above-
The frizzled moss a pillow for my love.
Trees with their ripen'd stores, glow'd all around,
The loaded branches bow'd upon the ground;
* This is surely a most elegant descriptive pastoral, and hardly inferior to any of Theocritus. The images are all extremely natural and simple, though the expression is glowing and luxurious : they are selected from a variety of Greek authors, but chiefly from the Phædrus of Plato.—What intersertions there may be, have been before apologized for; but their detection shall be left to the sagacity or inquisition of the reader. The case is the same with the first Epistle, and indeed with most of them.