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Just as they met, she feign'd to trip,
And sprain her ankle in the slip.
The lover, ready at his cue,
Suspected what she had in view;
And as he pass'd at little distance,
Officious ran to her assistance.
Contrived her slender waist to seize,
And catch her snowy hand in his.
With unexpected raptures fill'd,
Through all their veins love instant tłrill’d:
Their limbs were palsied with delight,
Which seem'd the trembling caused by fright.
Feigning condolence, he drew near,
And spoke his passion in her ear;
While she, to act the real strain,
Affects to writhe and twist with pain :
A well-concerted plan to kiss
The hand her lover touched with his :
Then, looking amorously sly,
She put it to her jetty eye;
But rubb'd in vain to force a tear
Might seem the genuine fruits of fear.
EPISTLE X.* ACONTIUS AND CYDIPPE.
LONG buffeted by adverse fate,
The victim of Diana's hate,
At last the blest Acontius led
Cydippe to the bridal bed.
Ne'er had been form’d by Nature's care
So lovely, so complete a pair.
And truth to that belief gave rise,t
That similarities so nice,
By destiny's impulsive act
Each other mutually attract. • Epistle X.] This is an epistolary narration of the loves of Acontius and Cydippe. - Acontius was a youth of the isle of Cea, who going to Delos during the solemnities of Diana, fell in love with Cydippe; and being inferior to her in wealth and rank, he there practised the deceit which is the subject of this Epistle. We find the story in Ovid.
+ And truth, &c.]-ομοίον άγει θεός ώς τον ομοίον.
On fair Cydippe Beauty's queen
Had lavish'd all her magazine :
From all her charms the magic cest*
Reserved, and freely gave the rest :
That cest, not fit for mortal bodies,
Her own prerogative as goddess;
And but for which distinction, no man
Could know th' immortal from the woman.
In three, like Hesiod, to comprise
The graces sparkling in her eyes,
Were idle ; since to count them all,
A thousand were a sum too small.
Nor were his eyes devoid of light,
Bold and yet modest, sweet though bright:
Whilst health and glowing vigour spread
His downy cheek with native red.
Numbers from every quarter ran,
To see this master-piece of man:
Crowds at the Forum might you meet,
-And if he did but cross the street,
Th' applauding train his steps pursued,
And praised and wonder'd as they view'd.
Such was th' accomplish'd youth, whose breast
The fair Cydippe robb'd of rest.
And 'twas but justice that the swain
For whom so many sigh'd in vain,
Should feel how exquisite the smart
That rankles in a lover's heart.-
So Cupid, throwing to the ground
His shafts that tickle while they wound,
Aim'd at the youth with all his strength
An arrow of a wondrous length:
His aim, alas I was all too true;
Quick to its goal the weapon flew.
But when Acontius felt the blow,
What language can express his woe?
The fair one's heart he vow'd to move, t
Or end at once his life and love.
From all her charms, &c.] Homer tells us of this magic girdle be longing to Venus, which made the person who wore it the object of uni versal love, and which Juno once borrowed to deceive Jupiter. + The fair one's heart, &c.]
Aut ego sigæos repetam te conjuge portus,
Aut ego Tænariâ contegar exul humô. OVID.
While he who shot so keen a dart,
The god of stratagem and art,
Awed haply by his graceful mien,
Fraught him with wiles the fair to win.
Thus while at Dian's hallow'd fane
Cydippe join'd the maiden train,
Towards her attendant's feet he rollid
(Inscribed with characters of gold)
An apple of Cydonian stem :
(Love's garden raised the budding gem.)
The girl immediate seized the prize,
Admired its colour and its size:
Much wond'ring from what virgin's zone
So fair a pris'ner could have flown.
“ 'Tis sure,” said she, a fruit divine;
But then, what means this mystic line?
Cydippe, see, just now I found
This apple ; view how large, how round :
See how it shames the rose's bloom,
And smell its exquisite perfume.
And, dearest mistress, tell me, pray,
The meaning which these words convey za
The blushing fruit Cydippe eyed,
Then read th' inscription on its side.
“ By chaste Diana's sacred head,
I swear I will Acontius wed.”
Thus vowed she at the hallow'd shrine,
Though rashly, though without design ;
And utter'd not, for modest dread,
The last emphatic word, to wed :
Which but to hear, much more to speak,
With blushes paints a virgin's cheek.
"Ah !" cries the half-distracted fair,
“ Diana sure has heard me swear :
Yes, favour'd youth, without dispute
She has assented to thy suit.”
He the meanwhile from day to day
In ceaseless anguish pined away.
His tears usurp'd the place of sleep
For shame forbade all day to weep. • Whih but to hear, &c.]
Nomine conjugii dicto, confusa pudore
Sensi me totis erubuisse genis. OVID.
Sickly and thin his body grew:
His cheeks had lost their ruddy hue.
Thousand pretences would he feign,
To loiter on the lonely plain ;
Striving most eagerly to fly
The keenness of his father's eye.
Oft with the morn's first beam he'd leave
His tear-bathed couch ; and to deceive
His friend's concern, some untouch'd book,
As studious bent, the lover took :
Then to the grove, the peaceful grove,
Where silence yields full scope to love.
Thus from their hard attention freed.
He wept unsought, yet seem'd to read.
Thither if chance his father drew,
And bared the wand'rer to his view,
Knowledge he thought the stripling's aim,
A laudable desire for fame;
And every sigh his sorrow brought,
The old man construed into thought ;
Or if he wept-as tears would flow
He only wept at others' woe.
Still too, when pleasant evening came,
And others sought the frolic game,
Still was his wont to shun the feast,
To feign that angling pleased him bestį
Then busy with his rod and hook,
He sought some solitary brook.
But ye were safe, ye finny brood,
And safely stemm'd your native flood,
Secure around his float to glide,
And dash th' unbaited hook aside.
Yet still 'twas solitude ! and he Must give his solitude a plea: Besides, the posture pleased, for grief In humblest postures finds relief : True love the suppliant's bend will please, And sorrow unrestrain'd is ease. His friends, who found he fled the town, Concluded him a farmer grown; And calld him, in derision pleasant, Laertes, or the new-made peasant.
But he, sad lover, little made
The vines his care, or plied the spade ;
Little he cared how sped the bower,
And little mark'd the drooping flower,
But wand'ring through the bushy brake,
Thus in bewilder'd accents spake :
“Oh! that each pine, and spreading beech,
Were blest with reason and with speech I
So might they evermore declare
Cydippe fairest of the fair.
At least, ye thickets, will I mark
Her lovely name upon your
( dear inspirer of my pain,
Let not thy oath be sworn in vain :
Let not the goddess find that thou
Hast dared to falsify a vow.
With vengeance every crime she threats,
But never perjury forgets.-
Yet, not on thee the fatal meed;
'Tis I, who caused thy crime, should bleed.
On me then, Dian, vent thine ire,
And let her crime with me expire.
But tell me, losty groves, oh tell,
Ye seats where feather'd warblers dwell,
Can Love your knotty bosoms reach,
And burns the cypress for the beech?
Ah no-ye never feel the smart;
Ne'er Cupid pierced that stubborn heart.
Think ye your worthless leaves, ye trees,
His mighty anger could appease?
No--silly woods; his ample fire
Above your branches would aspire;
Upon the very trunk would prey,
And burn your hardest root away."
Meantime, a happier lover's arms
Prepared to clasp Cydippe's charms.
Already had the virgin throng
Attuned their Hymeneal song-
“Strike ye now the golden lyre,
Modulate the vocal choir".
But hark !- what horrid shrieks arisa?
Cydippe faints-Cydippe dies.