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Grant me to feed on beauty's rified charms,
The goddess grants the simple youth's request, And, mildly, thus accosts her lovely guest
On that smooth mirror, full of magic light, Awhile, dear Maia, fix thy wandering sight.' She looks; and in the enchanted crystal sees A bower o'ercanopied with tufted trees : The wanton stripling lies beneath the shade, And by his side reclines a blooming maid; O'er her fair limbs a silken mantle flows, Through which her youthful beauty softly glows, And, part conceal'd and part disclosed to sight, Through the thin texture casts a ruddy light; As the ripe clusters of the mantling vine Beneath the verdant foliage faintly shine, And, fearing to be view'd by envious day, Their glowing tints unwillingly display.
The youth, while joy sits sparkling in his eyes, Pants on her neck, and on her bosom dies; From her smooth cheek nectareous dew he sips, And all his soul comes breathing to his lips. But Maia turns her modest eyes away, And blushes to behold their ainorous play.
She looks again; and sees, with sad surprise, On the clear glass far different scenes arise : The bower, which late outshone the rosy morn, O’erhung with weeds she saw, and rough with
With sting of asps the leafless plants were wreathed;
Aside the damsel turns her weeping eyes,
O’er his broad bosom blazed his jointed mail
queen• Let falling kings beneath my javelin bleed, And bind my temples with a victor's meed; Let every realm that feels the solar ray Shrink at my frown, and own my regal sway: Let Ind's rich banks declare my deathless fame, And trembling Ganges dread my potent name.'
The queen consented to the warrior's prayer; And his bright banners floated in the air; He bade his darts in steely tempests fly, [sky; Flames burst the clouds, and thunders shake the Death aim'd his lance, earth trembled at his nod, And crimson conquest glow'd where'er he trod.
And now the damsel, fix'd in deep amaze, The' enchanted glass with eager look surveys: She sees the hero in his dusky tent, His guards retired, his glimmering taper spent ; His spear, vain instrument of dying praise, On the rich floor, with idle state, he lays; His gory falchion near his pillow stood, And stain'd the ground with drops of purple blood; A busy page his nodding helm unlaced, And on the couch his scaly hauberk placed. Now on the bed his weary limbs he throws, Bathed in the balmy dew of soft repose : In dreams he rushes o'er the gloomy field, He sees new armies fly, new heroes yield; Warm with the vigorous conflict be appears, And e'en in slumber seems to move the spheres. But lo! the faithless page, with stealing tread, Advances to the champion's naked head;
With his sharp dagger wounds his bleeding breast, And steeps his eyelids in eternal rest: [gore), Then cries (and waves the steel that drops with The tyrant dies; oppression is no more.'
Now came an aged sire* with trembling pace; Sunk were his eyes, and pale his ghastly face; A ragged weed of dusky hue he wore, And on his back a ponderous coffer bore. The queen with faltering speech he thus ad
dress'd: o, fill with gold thy true adorer's chest!' • Behold,' said she, and waved her powerful
hand, 6 Where yon rich hills in glittering order stand, There load thy coffer with the golden store; Then bear it full away, and ask no more.'
With eager steps he took his hasty way Where the bright coin in heaps unnumber'd lay ; There hung enamour'd o'er the gleaming spoil, Scoop'd the gay dross, and bent beneath the toil. But bitter was his anguish to behold The coffer widen, and its sides unfold: And every time he heap'd the darling ore, His greedy chest grew larger than before; Till, spent with pain, and falling o'er his hoard, With his sharp steel his maddening breast he gored : On the loved heap he cast his closing eye, Contented on a golden couch to die.
A stripling, with the fair adventure pleased, Stepp'd forward, and the massy coffer seized ; But with surprise he saw the stores decay, And all the long-sought treasures melt away: In winding streams the liquid metal rolld, And through the palace ran a flood of gold.
Next, to the shrine advanced a reverend sage*,