صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

What can atone (oh, ever-injur'd shade !) Thy fate vnpitied, and thy rites unpaid ? No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear, Pleas?d thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier. By foreign bands thy. dying eyes were clos'd, By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd, By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd, By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd! What though no friends in sable weeds appear, Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year ; And hear about the mockery of woe To midnight dances, and the public show? What though no weeping loves thy ashes grace, Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face? What though no sacred earth allow thee room, Nor hallow'd dirge be mutterd o'er thy tomb? Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dressid, And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast; There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow, There the first roses of the year shall blow; While angels with their silver wings o'ershade The ground, now sacred by thy relics made.

So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, What once bad beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. How lov’d, how hovour'd once, avails thee not, To whom related, or by whom begot: A heap of dust alone remains of thee: 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be !

Poets thenselves must fall like those they sung Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tupeful tongue. Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays ; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart;

Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more !

SAPPHO TO PHAON.

FROM

THE FIFTEENTH OF OVID'S EPISTLES. Say, lovely youth, that dost my heart command, Can Phaon's eyes forget bis Sappho's hand? Must then her vame the wretched writer prove, To thy remembrance lost, as to thy love? Ask not the cause that I new numbers, choose, The lute neglected, and the lyric muse ; Love taught my tears in sadder notes to flow, And tun'd my heart to elegies of woe. I burn, I burn, as when through ripen'd corn By driving winds the spreading fames are borne! Phaon to Etpa's scorching fields retires, While I consume with more than Etna's tires ! No more my soul a charm in music finds; Music has cbarms alone for peaceful minds. Soft scenes of solitude no inore can please; Love enters there, and I'm my own disease. No more the Lesbian dames my passion move, Once the dear objects of my guilty love; All other loves are lost in only thine, O youth, ungrateful to a flame like miņe! [prise, Whom would not all those bloorning charms sarThose heavenly looks, and dear deluding eyes? The harp and bow would you like Phæbus bear, A brighter Phoebus Phaou might appear: Would you with ivy wreath your flowing hair, Not Bacchus' self with Phaon could compare :

Yet Phoebus lov'd, and Bacchus felt the flame;
One Daphne warm’d, and one the Cretan dame;
Nymphs that in verse no more could rival me,
Than ev’n those gods contend in charms with thee.
The Muses teach me all their softest lays,
And the wide world resounds with Sappho's praise.
Though great Alcæus more sublimely sings,
And strikes with bolder rage the sounding strings,
No less renown attends the moving lyré,
Which Venus tunes, and all ber loves inspire ;
To me wliat nature has in charms deny'd,
Is well by wit's more lasting flames supply'd.
Though short my stature, yet my name extends
To heaven itself, and earth's remotest ends.
Brown as I am, an Ethiopian dame
Inspir'd young Perseus with a generous flame;
Turtles and doves of different hnes unite,
And glossy jet is paird with shining white.
If to no charms thou wilt thy heart resign,
But such as merit, such as equal thiné,
By none, alas! by none thou canst be mov'd,
Phaon alone by Phaon must be lov’d!
Yet once thy Sappho could thy cares employ,
Once in her arms you centred all your joy:
No time the dear remembrance can remove;
For oh! how vast a memory has love!
My music, then, you could for ever hear,
And all my words were music to your ear.
You stop'd with kisses my enchanting tongue,
And found my kisses sweeter than my song.
In all I pleas’d, but most in what was best;
And the last joy was dearer than the rest.
Then with each word, each glance, each motion fir'd,
You still enjoy'd, and yet you still desir'd,

Till, all dissolving, in the trance we lay,
And in tumultuous raptures died away.
The fair Sicilians now thy soul inflame;
Why was I born, ye gods ! a Lesbian dame?
But al, beware, Sicilian nymphs! nor boast
That wandering heart which I so lately lost;
Nor be with all those tempting words abus'd,
Those tenípting words were all to Sappho us’d.
And you that rule Sicilia's happy plains,
Have pity, Venus, on your poet's pains !
Shall fortune still in one sad tenor run,
And still increase the woes so soon begun?
Inur'd to sorrow from my tender years,
My parents' ashes drank my early tears :
My brother next, neglecting wealth and fame,
Ignobly burn'd in a destructive flame:
An infant daughter late my griefs increas’d,
And all a mother's cares distract my breast.
Alas! what more could fate itself impose,
But thee, the last, and greatest of my woes?
No more my robes in waving purple flow,
Nor on my hand the sparkling di’monds glow;
No more my locks in ringlets curl'd diffuse
The costly sweetness of Arabian dews,
Nor braids of gold the varied tresses bind,
That-fly disorder'd with the wanton wind :
For whom should Sappho use such arts as these?.
He's gone, whom oply she desir'd to please!
Cupid's light darts my tender bosom move;
Still is there cause for Sappho still to love:
So from my birth the sisters tix'd my doom,
And gave to Venus all my life to come ;
Or, while my Muse in melting notes coniplains,
My yielding heart keeps measure to my strains.

By charms like thine which all my soul have won,
Who might not-ah! who wonld not be undone?
For those Aurora Cephalus might scorn,
And with fresh blushes paint the conscious morn.
For those might Cynthia lengthen Phaon's sleep,
And bid Endymion nightly tend bis sheep.
Venus for those had rapt thee to the skies ;
But Mars on thee might look with Venus' eyes.
O scarce a youth, yet scarce a tender boy!
O useful time for lovers to employ!
Pride of thy age, and glory of thy race,
Come to these arms, and melt in this embrace!
The vows you never will return, receive ;
And take, at least, the love you will not give.
See, while I write, my words are lose in tears!
The less my sense, the more my love appears.
Sure 'twas not much to bid one kind adieu,
(At least to feign was never hard to you)

Farewell, my Lesbian love, you might have said
Or coldly thus, Farewell, O Lesbian maid!
No tear did you, no parting kiss receive,
Nor, knew I then how much I was to grieve.
No lover's gift your Sappho could confer,
And wrongs and woes were all you left with her.
No charge I gave yor, and no charge conld give,
But this, "Be mindful of our loves, and live.'
Now by the Nine, those powers ador'd by me,
And Love, the god that ever waits on thee,
When first I heard (from whom I hardly knew)
That you were fled, and all my joys with you,
Like some sad statne, speechless, pale, I stood,
Grief chill'dmy breast, and stop'd my freezing blood;
No sigh to rise, no tear had pow'r to flow,
Fix'd in a stupid letharøy of wed:

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »