« السابقةمتابعة »
With these were other fruits of every hue,
The pale, the red, the golden, and the blue,
A hundred smiling pages stood around,
Their shining brows with wreaths of myrtle bound;
They, in transparent cups of agate, bore
Of sweetly sparkling wines a precious store;
The stripling sipp'd and revel'd till the sun
Down heaven's blue vault his daily course had run;
Then rose, and, follow'd by the gentle maid,
Oped the fifth door*: a stream before them play'd.
The king, impatient for the cooling draught,
In a full cup the mystic nectar quaff’d;
Then with a smile (he knew no higher bliss)
From her sweet lip he stole a balmy kiss :
On the smooth bank of violets they reclined;
And, whilst a chaplet for his brow she twined,
With his soft cheek her softer cheek he press’d;
His pliant arms were folded round her breast.
She smiled; soft lightning darted from her eyes,
And from his fragrant seat she bade him rise;
Then, while a brighter blush her face o'erspread,
To the sixth gate+ her willing guest she led.
The golden lock she softly turn’d around; The moving hinges gave a pleasing sound : The boy, delighted, ran with eager haste, And to his lips the living fountain placed ; The magic water pierced his kindled brain, And a strange venom shot from vein to vein. Whatever charms he saw in other bowers Were here combined, fruits, music, odours, flowers; A couch besides, with softest silk o'erlaid ; And, sweeter still, a lovely yielding maid,Who now more charming seem’d, and not so coy, And in her arms infolds the blushing boy ; * Tonch.
† The sensual pleasures united.
They sport and wanton, till, with sleep oppress’d, Like two fresh rosebuds on one stalk, they rest.
When morning spread around her purple flame, To the sweet couch the five fair Sisters came; They haild the bridegroom with a cheerful voice, And bade him make, with speed, a second choice. Hard task to choose, when all alike were fair! Now this, now that engaged his anxious care : Then to the first who spoke his hand he lent; The rest retired, and whisper'd as they went. The prince enamour'd view'd his second bride; They left the bower, and wander'd side by side;' With her he charm'd his ears, with her his sight; With her he pass’d the day, with her the night. Thus, all by turns the sprightly stranger led, And all by turns partook his nuptial bed: Hours, days, and months in pleasure flow'd away; All laugh’d, all sweetly sung, and all were gay.
So had he wanton'd threescore days and seven, More bless'd, he thought, than any son of heaven: Till on a morn, with sighs and streaming tears, The train of nymphs before his bed appears; And thus the youngest of the sisters speaks, Whilst a sad shower runs trickling down her
cheeks— 'A custom which we cannot, dare not fail (Such are the laws that in our isle prevail) Compels us, prince! to leave thee here alone, Till thrice the sun his rising front has shown: Our parents, whom, alas ! we must obey, Expect us at a splendid feast to-day; What joy to us can all their splendour give? With thee, with only thee we wish to live. Yet may we hope, these gardens will afford Some pleasing solace to our absent lord !
Six golden keys, that ope yon blissful gates,
Where joy, eternal joy thy steps awaits,
Accept: the seventh (but that you heard before)
Leads to a cave where ravening monsters roar;
A sullen, dire, inhospitable cell,
Where deathful spirits and magicians dwell.
Farewell, dear youth!-how will our bosoms burn
For the sweet moment of our bless'd return!'
The king, who wept,yet knew his tears were vain, Took the seven keys, and kiss'd the parting train. A glittering car, which bounding coursers drew, They mounted straight, and through the forest flew.
The youth, unknowing how to pass the day, Review'd the bowers, and heard the fountains play; By hands unseen whate'er he wish'd was brought; And pleasures rose obedient to his thought. Yet all the sweets that ravish'd him before Were tedious now, and charm’d his soul no more : Less lovely still, and still less gay they grew; He sigh’d, he wish'd, and long’d for something new: Back to the hall he turn'd his weary feet, And sat repining on his royal seat. Now, on the seventh bright gate he casts his eyes; And in his bosom rose a bold surmise : “ The nymph,' said he, 'was sure disposed to jest, Who talk'd of dungeons in a place so bless'd : What harm to open, if it be a cell Where deathful spirits and magicians dwell? If dark or foul, I need not pass the door; If new or strange,-my soul desires no more.' He said, and rose ; then took the golden keys, And oped the door: the hinges moved with ease.
Before his eyes appear'd a sullen gloom, Thick, hideous, wild ; a cavern, or a tomb.
Yet, as he longer gazed, he saw afar
A light that sparkled like a shooting star.
He paused :—at last, by some kind angel led,
He enter'd; and advanced with cautious tread.
Still, as he walk'd, the light appear'd more clear;
Hope soothed him, then, and scarcely left a fear.
At length an aged sire surprised he saw,
Who fill'd his bosom with a sacred awe*:
A book he held, which, as reclined he lay,
He read, assisted by a taper's ray : [breast,
His beard, more white than snow on winter's
Hung to the zone that bound his sable vest:
A pleasing calmness on his brow was seen,
Mild was his look, majestic was his mien.
Soon as the youth approach'd the reverend sage,
He raised his head, and closed the serious page;
Then spoke-_“O son! what chance has turn'd thy
To this dull solitude and lone retreat ?' [feet
To whom the youth: ' First, holy father! tell
What force detains thee in this gloomy cell?
This isle, this palace, and those balmy bowers,
Where six sweet fountains fall on living flowers,
Are mine; a train of damsels chose me king;
And through my kingdom smiles perpetual spring.
For some important cause, to me unknown,
This day they left me joyless and alone ;
But, ere three morns with roses strow the skies,
My lovely brides will charm my longing eyes.'
' Youth,' said the sire, on this auspicious day
Some angel hither led thy erring way:
Hear a strange tale, and tremble at the snare
Which for thy steps thy pleasing foes prepare.
Know, in this isle prevails a bloody law;
List,stripling,list! (the youth stood fix'd with awe):
But seventy * days the hapless monarchs reign,
Then close their lives in exile and in pain;
Doom'd in a deep and frightful cave to rove,
Where darkness hovers o'er the iron grove.
Yet know, thy prudence and thy timely care
May save thee, son! from this destructive snare.
Not far from this, a lovelier island + lies,
Too rich, too splendid for unhallow'd eyes :
On that bless'd shore a sweeter fountain flows
Than this vain clime or this gay palace knows,
Which if thou taste, whate'er was sweet before
Will bitter seem, and steal thy soul no more.
But ere those happy waters thou canst reach,
Thy weary steps must pass yon rugged beach,
Where the dark sea $ with angry billows raves,
And, fraught with monsters, curls his howling
If to my words, obedient, thou attend, [waves.
Behold in me thy pilot and thy friend :
A bark I keep, supplied with plenteous store,
That now lies anchor'd on the rocky shore;
And, when of all thy regal toys bereft,
In the rude cave an exile thou art left,
Myself will find thee on the gloomy lea,
And waft thee safely o'er the dangerous sea.'
The boy was fill'd with wonder as he spake,
And from a dream of folly seem'd to wake.
All day the sage his tainted thoughts refined ;
His reason brighten’d, and reform’d his mind :
Through the dim cavern hand in hand they walk’d,
And much of truth, and much of heaven they