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The bridal pomp, alas ! is fled;
Funereal sounds are heard instead.
Yet soft-she lives—she breathes again,
“ Louder raise the nuptial strain.
A second time the fever burns :
A second time her health returns.
Again the marriage torches blaze;
Again Cydippe's bloom decays.
No longer will her sire await
The fourth avenging stroke of Fate;
But of the Pythian shrine demands,
What god opposed the nuptial bands?
Phoebus at once revealed the truth,
The vow, the apple, and the youth.
Told him, her oath the maid must keep,
Or ne'er would Dian's vengeance sleep
Then added thus the god, “Whene'er
Acontius gains the blooming fair,
Not silver shall be join'd with lead,
But gold the purest gold shall wed.”
So spoke the shrine divinely skill'd
Cydippe soon her vow fulfilled :
No clouds of sickness intervene
To darken the delightful scene.
Whilst striking with directive hand,
A virgin led the choral band;
Attentive to each warbling throat,
She chided each discordant note.
Others their hands applausive beat,
Like cymbals sounding as they meet.
But ill Acontius brook'd their noise
He sigh'd for more substantial joys.
Ne'er had he seen so long a day:
Night never pass'd so quick away.
The sun had gain'd its summit
, ere Acontius left the rifled fair : But first her cheeks he kiss'd, whilst sho Dissembled sleep through modesty ;But well her tell-tale blushes spake The conscious nymph was still awake. Alone at length, she raised her head, And blushing view'd the bridal bed; Then with chaste rapture, hanging o'er The place Acontius press'd before,
“Protect, ye powers divine," she said,
“ Protect the wife, who led the maid ;
And oh! be doubly kind to him
Who must be now Cydippe's theme.
And thou, chaste Hymen, who dost guide
The steps of each untainted bride,
Teach me what fits I should be taught,
Nor let me wander e'en in thought.
So may your altars ever burn,
So may each day like this return;
And every night."--Speak, trifler, speak;
Whence virgin blushes on thy cheek ?-
“And every night”-she hung her head-
Be crown'd like this,- she would have said
EPISTLE XI. * THE ARTFUL MAID.
PHILOSTRATUS TO EUAGORAS.
A LADY thus her maid address'd-
the beauteous youth
On whom I dote, in whom I'm blest?
I charge you tell me truth.
“ Or is't my love that paints him fair,
And all my fancy warms ?
For lovers oft deceived are,
And prize ideal charms.
“But say, the swain whom I admire,
Do other women praise ?
Do they behold him with desire,
Or view with scornful gaze?”
The girl replied, who saw her cue,
Deep learn'd in flattery's lore,
“They all his beauty praise with you,
With you they all adore.
“Behold,' they cry, 'that form divine
The sculptor's art should trace,
To bid the bust of Hermes shinet
With every manly grace.' Epistle XI.) A lady inquires whether the man she loved was really beautiful : her maid flatters, and assures her of it.
+ To bid the bust, &c] The ancient sculptors used to copy the face of Hermes, or Mercury, from that of Alcibiades, who was reckoned the most beautiful modd : " but now," says the maid, “women think your lover superior to him.
" I've heard them praise his arched nose,
And praise his auburn air,
That spreading o'er his forehead grows,
To make his face more fair.
“ I've heard them praise his stature high,
And praise his manly sense ;
I've heard them praise and sure, thought I,
'Tis Love gives eloquence.
" His very
dress has merit too,
Where taste with art agrees :
For though it is not always new,
It never fails to please:-
6. Blest,' will they say, thrice blest the fair
For whom his heart shall burn :*
Who shall a mutual ardour share,
And all his love return.
“On her the Graces sure have smiled
With most propitious eye.'
Thus the whole sex with passion wild
For the same object sigh."
But while the crafty maid arranged
His charms in fairest light,
Full oft the lady's colour changed
With raptures exquisite.
Convinced his grace was not ideal,
Which all her sex could fire,
For women know that beauty real,
When all who see, admire.
EPISTLE XII.E THE ENRAPTURED LOVER.
EUHEMERUS TO LEUCIPPUS.
HITHER, ye travellers, who've known
The beauties of the Eastern zone,
Or those who sparkle in the West :
Blest, &c.] Ergo mecastor, pulcher est, inquit mihi,
Et liberalis. Vide cæsaries quam decet :
Ne illæ sunt fortunatæ quæ cum illo, &c.
PLAUTUS MILITE. + Epistle XII.] A lover here summons all the judges of beauty to decide in favour of his mistress. The libertine digression with which it concludes must be morally interpreted, as meant to show into what extravagance a man may be led by an attachment whose foundation is in vice.
Hither-oh tell, and truly tell,
That few can equal, none excel,
The fair who captivates my breast.
Survey her in whatever light-
New beauties still engage your sight:
Nor does a single fault appear.
Momus might search, and search again,
But all his searches would be vain,
To find occasion for a sneer.
Her height, her shape-'tis all complete;
And e'en remarkable her feet
For taper size, genteelly slim.-
And little feet, each lover knows,
Impart a striking charm to those
Who boast no other graceful limb.
But not her beauties only strike-
Her pleasing manners too I like:
From these new strength my passion gains.
For though her chastity be gone,
She deals deceitfully by none;
And still some modesty remains.
And still may Pythias make pretence
To something much like innocence,
Which forges all my chains to last :
Whate'er you give, she turns to praise ;
Unlike the harlot's odious ways,
Who sneers at presents e'er so vast.
We, like two thrushes on a spray,
Together sit, together play-
But telling would our pleasures wrong.
Suffice it, Pythias will oppose
My wanton passion, till it grows
By opposition doubly strong. *
Her neck ambrosial sweets exhales ;
Her kisses, like Arabian gales,
The scent of musky flowers impart.
And I, reclining on her breast,
In slumbers, happy slumbers, rest,
Rock'd by the beating of her heart !
Suffice it, &c.]
Quæ cum ita pugnaret tanquam quæ vincere nollet,
Victa est non ægre proditione suâ.
Oft have I heard the vulgar say,
That absence makes our love decay,
And friends are friends but while in view :
But absence kindles my desire ;
It adds fresh fuel to the fire
Which keeps my heart for ever true.
And oh ! may faith my thanks receive,
In that it forced me not to leave
The fair in whom my soul is placed.
With truth my case did Homer write ;*
For every time with new delight
My oft-repeated joys I taste.
Sure this is joy-true native joy
Which malice never can destroy,
Nor holy shackled fools receive.
Free joys ! which from ourselves must flow,
Such as free souls alone can know,
And unchain'd Love alone can give.
But say, ye prudes ! ye worthless tribe !
Who swear no gifts could ever bribe
Your hearts sweet virtue to forsake
What is this treasure which ye boast ?
Ye vaunt because you have not lost
- What none had charity to take.
Myrina carries on her back
An antidote to Love's attack;'
Yet still at Pythias will she sneer.
And as my love is passing by,
Chrysis distorts her single eye,
With looks of scorn and virtuous fear,
Philinna scoffs at Pythias too,
-Yet she is handsome, it is true;
But then her heart's a heart of steel :
Incapable of all desire,
She ridicules Love's sacred fire,
And mocks the joys she cannot feel.
Yet this is virtue! woman's pride !
From which if once she step aside,
Her peace, her fame's for ever gone !
With truth, &c.]
Ασπάσιον λέκτρoιο παλαιου θεσμόν κοντο. HOM. IL P