Page images
PDF
EPUB

He chose a mournful Muse,

Soft pity to infuse ;
He sung Darius great and good,

By too severe a fate
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,

Fallen from his high estate,
And weltring in his blood.
Deserted at his utmost need
By those his former bounty fed,
On the bare earth expos'd he lyes,

With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast looks the joyless victor sate,

Revolveing in his alter'd soul

The various turns of chance below :
And, now and then, a sigh he stole,

And tears began to flow.

[ocr errors]

The mighty master smil'd to see
That love was in the next degree;
'Twas but a kindred sound to move,
For pity melts the mind to love.

Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,

Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble,
Honour but an empty bubble,

Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying ;

If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think it worth enjoying ;
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,

Take the good the gods provide thee.
The many rend the skies with loud applause ;
So Love was crown'd, but Musique won the cause.
The prince, unable to conceal his pain,

Gaz'd on the fair

Who caus'd his care,
And sigh’d and look’d, sigh'd and look'd,

Sighed and looked, and sighed again ;
At length, with love and wine at once oppress'd,
The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

- 6.
Now strike the golden lyre again ;
A lowder yet, and yet a lowder strain.
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouze him, like a rattling peal of thunder.

Hark, hark, the horrid sound

Has rais'd up his head;

As awak'd from the dead,
And amaz’d, he stares around.
Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries,

See the Furies arise ;
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes !

Behold a ghastly band,

Each a torch in his hand !
Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battail were slayn,

And unbury'd remain
Inglorious on the plain ;
Give the vengeance due

To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high,

How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glitt'ring temples of their hostile gods.
The princes applaud with a furious joy ;
And the king seyz'd a flambeau with zeal to destroy ;

Thais led the way,

To light him to his prey,
And, like another Hellen, fir'd another Troy.

I15

I 20

125

Thus long ago,
'Ere heaving bellows learn’d to blow,

While organs yet were mute,
Timotheus, to his breathing flute

And sounding lyre,
Cou'd swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire,

At last divine Cecilia came,

Inventress of the vocal frame ;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,

Enlarg'd the former narrow bounds,

I 30

135

And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.

Let old Timotheus yield the prize,

Or both divide the crown :
He rais'd a mortal to the skies :

She drew an angel down.

140

POPE.

RAPE OF THE LOCK.

CANTO 1.

What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing. This verse to Caryl, Muse ! is due ;
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view ;
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If She inspire, and He approve my lays.

Say what strange motive, Goddess ! could compel
A well-bred Lord t' assault a gentle Belle ?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Cou'd make a gentle Belle reject a Lord ?
In tasks so bold, can little men engage ?
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty Rage ?

Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray, And op'd those eyes that must eclipse the day; Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake, And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake; Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground, And the press'd watch return’d a silver sound. Belinda still her downy pillow prest, Her guardian SYLPH prolong'd the balmy rest. 'Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head; A Youth more.glitt'ring than a Birth-night Beau, (That ev'n in slumber caused her cheek to glow) Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay, And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say:

- Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care Of thousand bright Inhabitants of Air!

If e'er one vision touch'd thy infant thought,
Of all the Nurse and all the Priest have taught-
Of airy Elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by Angel pow'rs,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs-
Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,
To Maids alone and Children are reveal'd.
What tho' no credit doubting Wits may give?
The Fair and Innocent shall still believe.
Know, then, unnumber'd Spirits round thee fly,
The light Militia of the lower sky;
These, tho' unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the Box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in Air,
And view with scorn two Pages and a Chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in Woman's beauteous mould ;
Thence, by a sost transition, we repair
From earthly Vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when Woman's transient breath is filed,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And tho' she plays no more, o’erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded Chariots, when alive,
And love of Ombre, after death survive.
For when the Fair in all their pride expire,
To their first Elements their Souls retire.
The Sprites of fiery Termagants in Flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to Water glide away,
And sip, with Nymphs, their elemental Tea.
The graver Prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on Farth to roam.
The light Coquettes in Sylphs alost repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of Air.
Know farther yet: whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some Sylph embrac'd ;
For Spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting Maids,

« PreviousContinue »