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And was that Sappho last, which once it was before.
If so, then cease thy flight, О heav'n-born mind!
Thou hast no dross to purge from thy rich ore;
Nor can thy soul a fairer mansion find,
Than was the beauteous frame she left behind :
Return to fill or mend the choir of thycelestial kind.
May we presume to say, that at thy birth,
New joy was sprung in heaven, as well as here on
For sure the milder planets did combine
On thy auspicious horoscope to shine,
And e'en the most malicious were in trine.
Thy brother-angels at thy birth
Strung each his lyre, and tun'd it high,
That all the people of the sky
Might know a poetess was born on earth i
And then, if ever, mortal ears
Had heard the music of the spheres.
And if no clustering swarm of bees
On thy sweet mouth distill'd their golden dew,
'Twas that such vulgar miracles
Heaven had not leisure to renew :
For all thy bless'd fraternity of love
Solemniz'd there thy birth, and kept thy holy-day
above. O gracious God ! how far have we Profan'd thy heavenly gift of poesy ? Made prostitute and profligate the Muse, Debas'd to each obscene and impious use, Whose harmony was first ordain'd above For tongues of angels, and for hymns of love ? O wretched we ! why were we hurried down This lubrique and adulterate age, (Nay, added fat pollutions of our own) To' increase the streaming ordures of the stage ! What can we say to' excuse our second fall? Let this thy vestal, Heaven, atone for all : Her Arethusian stream remains unsoil'd, Unmix'd with foreigo filth, and undefil'd ; Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.
Art she had none, yet wanted none, For Nature did that want supply; So rich in treasures of her own, She might our boasted stores defy : Such noble vigour did her verse adorn, That it seem'd borrow'd, where 'twas only born. Her morals, too, were in her bosom bred, By great examples daily fed, What in the best of books, her father's life, she
read. And to be read herself she need not fear; Each test, and every light, her Muse will bear, Though Epictetus, with his lamp, were there. E'en love, for love sometimes her Muse exprest Was but a lambent flame which play'd about her
breast, Light as the vapours of a morning-dream; So cold herself, while she such warmth express’d, 'Twas Cupid bathing in Diana's stream. Born to the spacious empire of the Nine, One would have thought she should have been
content To manage well that mighty government; But what can young ambitious souls confine ? To the next realm she stretch'd her sway, For Painture near adjoining lay, A plenteous province, and alluring prey. A Chamber of Dependencies was fram'd, (As conquerors will never want pretence, When arm'd, to justify the offence) And the old fief, in right of poetry, she claim'd. The country open lay without defence; For poets frequent inroads there had made, And perfectly could represent The shape, the face, with every lineament, And all the large domains which the dumb sister
All bow'd beneath her government,
Receiv'd in triumph wheresoe'er she went.
Her pencil drew whate'er her soul design'd,
And oft the happy draught surpass'd the image in
The silvan scenes of herds and flocks,
And fruitful plains, and barren rocks,
Of shallow brooks that flow'd so clear,
The bottom did the top appear ;
of deeper too, and ampler floods,
Which, as in mirrors, show'd the woods ;
Of lofty trees, with sacred shades,
And perspectives of pleasant glades,
Where nymphs of brightest form appear,
And shaggy Satyrs standing near,
Which them at once admire and fear.
The ruins, too, of some majestic piece,
Boasting the power of ancient Rome or Greece,
Whose statues, friezes, columns, broken lie,
And, though defac'd, the wonder of the eye;
What Nature, Art, bold Fiction, e'er durst frame,
Her forming hand gave feature to the name.
So strange a concourse ne'er was seen before,
But when the peopled Ark the whole creation bore.
The scene then chang’d, with bold erected look.
Our martial King the sight with reverence strook :
For, not content to express his outward part,
Her hand callid out the image of his heart :
His warlike mind, his soul devoid of fear,
His high-designing thoughts were figur'd there,
As when, by magic, ghosts are made appear.
Our phenix Queen was pourtray'd, too, so bright,
Beauty alone could beauty take so right:
Her dress, her shape, her matchless grace,
Were all observ'd, as well as heavenly face.
With such a peerless majesty she stands,
As, in that day she took the crown from sacred hands,
Before a train of heroines was seen
In beauty foremost, as in rank, the Queen.
Thus nothing to her genius was denied,
But like a ball of fire, the farther thrown,
Still with a greater blaze she shone,
And her bright soul broke out on every side.
What next she had design's Heaven only knows :
To such immoderate growth her conquest rose,
That Fate alone its progress could oppose.
Now all those charms, that blooming grace,
The well-proportion'd shape, and beauteous face,
Shall never more be seen by mortal eyes ;
In earth the much-lamented virgin lies.
Not wit, nor piety could Fate prevent ;
Nor was the cruel Destiny content
To finish all the murder at a blow,
To sweep, at once her life and beauty too;
But, like a harden'd felon, took a pride
To work more mischievously slow,
And plunder'd first, and then destroy'd.
O double sacrilege on things divine,
To rob the relic, and deface the shrine !
But thus Orinda died :
Heav'n, by the same disease, did both translate:
As equal were their souls, so equal was their fate.
Meantime her warlike brother on the seas His waving streamers to the winds displays, And vows for his return, with vain devotion, pays. Ah, generous youth, that wish forbear, The winds too soon will waft thee here! Slack all thy sails, and fear to come, Alas, thou know'st not, thou art wreck'd at home! No more shalt thou behold thy sister's face, Thou hast already had her last embrace. But look aloft, and if thou ken'st from far, Among the Pleiads a new-kindled star; If any sparkles than the rest more bright, 'Tis she that shines in that propitious light.
When in mid-air the golden trump shall sound,
To raise the nations under ground;
When, in the valley of Jehoshaphat,
The judging God shall close the book of rate,
And there the last assizes keep
For those who wake, and those who sleep ;
When rattling bones together fly,
From the four corners of the sky;
When sinews o'er the skeletons are spread,
Those cloth'd with flesh, and life inspires the dead;
The sacred Poets first shall hear the sound,
And foremost from the tomb shall bound,
For they are cover'd with the lightest ground;
And straight, with inborn vigour, on the wing,
Like mounting larks, to the new morning sing.
There thou, sweet saint! before the quire shall go,
As harbinger of Heav'n, the way to show,
For St. Cecilia's Day, 1687.
FROM barmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began :
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high,
Arise, ye more than dead!
Then cold and hot, and moist and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And Music's power obey.
From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began :
From harmony to harmony,
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.