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Blest with a mind to taste sincerer joys:
Arm'd with a heart each false one to despise.
Dubious he stray'd, with wavering thoughts possest,
Alternate passions struggling shar'd his breast;
The various arts which human cares divide,
In deep attention all his mind employ'd:
Anxious, if fame an equal bliss secur'd;
Or silent ease with softer charms allur'd.
The sylvan choir, whose numbers sweetly flow'd,
The fount that murmur'd, and the flowers that blow'd;
The silver flood that in meanders led
His glittering streams along th' enliven'd mead;
The soothing breeze, and all those beauties join'd,
Which, whilst they please, effeminate the mind,
In vain! while distant on a summit rais'd,
Th' imperial towers of fame attractive blaz'd.
While thus he trac'd through fancy's puzzling maze
The separate sweets of pleasure and of praise;
Sudden the wind a fragrant gale convey'd,
And a new lustre gain'd upon the shade.
At once, before his wondering eyes were seen
Two female forms, of more than mortal mien.
Various their charms; and in their dress and face,
Each seem'd to vie with some peculiar grace.
This, whose attire less clogg'd with art appear'd,
The simple sweets of innocence endear'd.
Her sprightly bloom, her quick sagacious eye,
Show'd native merit, mix'd with modesty.
Her air diffus'd a mild yet awful ray,
Severely sweet and innocently gay.
Such the chaste image of the martial maid,
In artless folds of virgin white array'd!
She let no borrow'd rose her cheeks adorn,
Her blushing cheeks, that sham'd the purple morn.
Her charms nor had, nor wanted artful foils,
Or study'd gestures, or well-practis'd smiles.
She scorn'd the toys which render beauty less:
She prov'd th' engaging chastity of dress;
And while she chose in native charms to shine,
Ev'n thus she seem'd, nay more than seem'd, divine.
One modest emerald clasp'd the robe she wore,
And, in her hand, th' imperial sword she bore.
Sublime her height, majestic was her pace,
And match'd the awful honours of her face.
The shrubs, the flowers, that deck'd the verdant ground,
Seem'd, where she trod, with rising lustre crown'd.
Still her approach with stronger influence warm'd;
She pleas'd, while distant; but, when near she charm'd.
So strikes the gazer's eye, the silver gleam,
That glittering quiver's o'er a distant stream;
But from its banks we see new beauties rise,
And, in its crystal bosom, trace the skies.
With other charms the rival vision glow'd,
And from her dress her tinsel beauties flow'd;
A fluttering robe her pamper'd shape conceald,
And seem'd to shade the charms it best reveal'd.
Its form contriv'd her faulty size to grace;
Its hue, to give fresh lustre to her face.
Her plaited hair disguis'd with brilliants glar'd;
Her cheeks the ruby's neighbouring lustre shar'd;
The gaudy topaz lent its gay supplies,
And every gem that strikes less curious eyes;
Expos'd her breast with foreign sweets perfum'd;
And, round her brow, a roseate garland bloom'd.
Soft smiling, blushing lips conceal'd her wiles;
Yet, ah! the blushes artful as the smiles.
Oft-gazing on her shade, th' enraptur'd fair
Decreed the substance well deserv'd her care:
Her thoughts, to other charms malignly blind,
Center'd in that, and were to that confin'd:
And if on other's eyes a glance were thrown,
"Twas but to watch the influence of her own.
Much like her guardian, fair Cythera's queen,
When for her warrior she refines her mien;
Or when, to bless her Delian favourite's arms,
The radiant fair invigorates her charms.
Much like her pupil, Egypt's sportive dame,
Her dress expressive, and her air the same,
When her gay bark o er silver Cydnos roll'd,
And all th' emblazon'd streamers wav'd in gold.
Such shone the vision; nor forbore to move
The fond contagious airs of lawless love.
Each wanton eye deluding glances fir'd,
And amorous dimples on each cheek conspir'd.
Lifeless her gait, and slow, with seeming pain,
She dragg'd her loitering limbs along the plain;
Yet made some faint efforts, and first approach'd the swain.
So glaring draughts, with taudry lustre bright,
Spring to the view, and rush upon the sight:
More slowly charms a Raphael's chaster air,
Waits the calm search, and pays the searcher's care.
Wrapp'd in a pleas'd suspense, the youth survey'd
The various charms of each attractive maid:
Alternate each he view'd, and each admir'd,
And found, alternate, varying flames inspir'd.
Quick o'er their forms his eyes with pleasure ran,
When she, who first approach'd him, first began.
"Hither, dear boy, direct thy wandering eyes:
"Tis here the lovely vale of pleasure lies.
Debate no more, to me thy life resign;
Each sweet which nature can diffuse is mine;
For me the nymph diversifies her power,
Springs in a tree, or blossoms in a flower;
To please my ear, she tunes the linnet's strains,
To please my eye, with lilies paints the plains;
To form my couch, in mossy beds she grows;
To gratify my smell, perfumes the rose;
Reveals the fair, the fertile scene you see,
And swells the vegetable world, for me.
Let the gull'd fool the toils of war pursue,
Where bleed the many to enrich the few:
Where chance from courage claims the boasted prize:
Where, though she give, your country oft denies.
Industrious thou shalt Cupid's wars maintain,
And ever gently fight his soft campaign.
His darts alone shalt wield, his wounds endure,
Yet only suffer, to enjoy the cure.
Yield but to me-a choir of nymphs shall rise,
And fire thy breast, and bless thy ravish'd eyes.
Their beauteous cheeks a fairer rose shall wear,
A brighter lily on their necks appear;
Where fondly thou thy favour'd head shalt rest,
Soft as the down that swells the cygnet's nest!
While Philomel in each soft voice complains,
And gently lulls thee with mellifluous strains :
Whilst, with each accent, sweetest odours flow;
And spicy gums round every bosom glow.
Not the fam'd bird Arabian climes admire,
Shall in such luxury of sweets expire.
At Sloth let war's victorious sons exclaim;
In vain! for Pleasure is my real name;
Nor envy thou the head with bays o'ergrown;
No, seek thou roses to adorn thy own:
For well each opening scene, that claims my care,
Suits and deserves the beauteous crown I wear.
Let others prune the vine; the genial bowl
Shall crown thy table, and enlarge thy soul.
Let vulgar hands explore the brilliant mine,
So the gay produce glitter still on thine.
Indulgent Bacchus loads his labouring tree,
And, guarding, gives its clustering sweets to me.
For my lov'd train, Apollo's piercing beam
Darts through the passive glebe, and frames the gem.
See in my cause consenting gods employ'd,
Nor slight those gods, their blessings unenjoy'd!
For thee the poplar shall its amber drain;
For thee, in clouded beauty, spring the cane;
Some costly tribute every clime shall pay ;
Some charming treasure every wind convey ;
Each object round some pleasing scene shall yield;
Art build thy dome, while nature decks thy field;
Of Corinth's order shall the structure rise ;
The spiring turrets glitter through the skies;
Thy costly robe shall glow with Tyrian rays;
Thy vase shall sparkle, and thy car shall blaze;
Yet thou, whatever pomp the sun display,
Shalt own the amorous night exceeds the day.
When melting flutes, and sweetly-sounding lyres
Wake the gay loves, and cite the young desires;
Or in th Ionian dance, some favourite inaid
Improves the flame her sparkling eyes convey'd;
Think, canst thou quit a glowing Delia's arms,
To feed on virtue's visionary charms;
Or slight the joys which wit and youth engage,
For the faint honour of a frozen sage?
To find dull envy ev'n that hope deface,
And, where you toil'd for glory, reap disgrace?
O! think that beauty waits on thy decree,
And thy lov'd loveliest charmer pleads with me.
She, whose soft smile, or gentler glance to move,
You vow'd the wild extremities of love;
In whose endearments years, like moments, flew :
For whose endearments millions seem'd too few;
She, she implores; she bids thee seize the prime,
And tread with her the flowery tract of time;
Nor thus her lovely bloom of life bestow
On some cold lover, or insulting foe.
Think, if against that tongue thou canst rebel,
Where love yet dwelt, and reason seem'd to dwell;
What strong persuasion arms her softer sighs!
What full conviction sparkles in her eyes!
See nature smiles, and birds salute the shade,
Where breathing jasmine screens the sleeping maid :
And such her charms, as to the vain may prove,
Ambition seeks more humble joys than love!
There busy toil shall ne'er invade thy reign,
Nor sciences perplex thy labouring brain :
Or none, but what with equal sweets invite;
Nor other arts, but to prolong delight:
Sometimes thy fancy prunes her tender wing,
To praise a pendant, or to grace a ring;
To fix the dress that suits each varying mien;
To show where best the clustering gems are seen;
To sigh soft strains along the vocal grove,
And tell the charms, the sweet effects of love!
Nor fear to find a coy disdainful muse;
Nor think the sisters will their aid refuse.
Cool grots, and tinkling rills, or silent shades,
Soft scenes of leisure! suit th' harmonious maids;
And all the wise, and all the grave agree
Some of that sacred train ally'd to me.
But if more specious ease thy wishes claim,
And thy breast glow with faint desire of fame,
Some softer science shall thy thoughts amuse,
And learning's name a solemn sound diffuse:
To thee all nature's curious stores I'll bring,
Explain the beauties of an insect's wing;
The plant, which nature, less diffusely kind,
Has to few climes with partial care confin'd:
The shell she scatters with more careless air,
And, in her frolics, seems supremely fair,