صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Ye heavens! was that love-breathing bosom made To warm dull groves and cheer the lonely glade ? Ah, no: those blushes, that enchanting face, Some tapestried hall or gilded bower might grace; Might deck the scenes where Love and Pleasure

reign, And fire with amorous flames the youthful train.'

While thus she spoke, a sudden blaze of light Shot through the clouds, and struck her dazzled

sight. She raised her head, astonish'd, to the skies, And veil'd with trembling hands her aching eyes ; When through the yielding air she saw from far A goddess gliding in a golden car, That soon descended on the flowery lawn, By two fair yokes of starry peacocks drawn: A thousand nymphs with many a sprightly glance Form'd round the radiant wheels an airy dance, Celestial shapes ! in fluid light array'd; Like twinkling stars their beamy sandals play'd; Their lucid mantles glitter'd in the sun (Webs half so bright the silkworm never spun), Transparent robes that bore the rainbow's hue, And finer than the nets of pearly dew That morning spreads o’er every opening flower, When sportive Summer decks his bridal bower. The queen herself, too fair for mortal sight, Sat in the centre of encircling light. Soon with soft touch she raised the trembling maid, And by her side in silent slumber laid: [train, Straight the gay birds display'd their spangled And flew refulgent through the’ aerial plain; The fairy band their shining pinions spread, And, as they rose, fresh gales of sweetness shed: Fann'd with their flowing skirts, the sky was mild ; And heaven's blue fields with brighter radiance

smiled. Now in a garden deck'd with verdant bowers The glittering car descends on bending flowers : The goddess still with looks divinely fair Surveys the sleeping object of her care ; Then o'er her cheek her magic finger lays, Soft as the gale that o'er a violet plays, And thus, in sounds that favour’d mortals hear, She gently whispers in her ravish'd ear

Awake, sweet maid, and view this charming For ever beauteous and for ever green ; [scene, Here living rills of purest nectar flow O’er meads that with unfading flowerets glow; Here amorous gales their scented wings display, Moved by the breath of ever blooming May; Here in the lap of pleasure shalt thou rest, Our loved companion and our honour'd guest.' The damsel hears the heavenly notes distil Like melting snow or like a vernal rill. She lifts her head, and, on her arm reclined, Drinks the sweet accents in her grateful mind: On all around she turns her roving eyes, And views the splendid scene with glad surprise; Fresh lawns, and sunny banks, and roseate bowers, Hills white with flocks, and meadows gemm'd

with flowers; Cool shades, a sure defence from summer's ray, And silver brooks (where wanton damsels play), Which with soft notes their dimpled crystal rollid O’er colour'd shells and sand of native gold; A rising fountain play'd from every stream, Smiled as it rose, and cast a transient gleam,

Then, gently falling in a vocal shower,
Bathed every shrub, and sprinkled every flower
That on the banks, like many a lovely břide,
View'd in the liquid glass their blushing pride ;
Whilst on each branch, with purple blossoms hung,
The sportful birds their joyous descant sung.

While Maia, thus entranced in sweet delight,
With each gay object fed her eager sight,
The goddess mildly caught her willing hand,
And led her trembling o'er the flowery land;
Soon she beheld where, through an opening glade,
A spacious lake its clear expanse display'd:
In mazy curls the flowing jasper waved
O’er its smooth bed, with polish'd agate paved;
And on a rock of ice, by magic raised,
High in the midst a gorgeous palace blazed ;
The sunbeams on the gilded portals glanced,
Play'd on the spires, and on the turrets danced;
To four bright gates four ivory bridges led,
With pearls illumined, and with roses spread;
And now, more radiant than the morning sun,
Her easy way the gliding goddess won;
Still by her hand she held the fearful maid,
And, as she pass’d, the fairies homage paid:
They enter'd straight the sumptuous palace hall,
Where silken tapestry emblazed the wall,
Refulgent tissue, of a heavenly woof;
And gems unnumber'd sparkled on the roof,
On whose blue arch the flaming diamonds play'd,
As on a sky with living stars inlaid ;
Of precious diadems a regal store, [floor;
With globes and sceptres strew'd the porphyry
Rich vests of eastern kings around were spread,
And glittering zones a starry lustre shed :

But Maia most admired the pearly strings,
Gay bracelets, golden chains, and sparkling rings.

High in the centre of the palace shone,
Suspended in mid air, an opal throne:
To this the queen ascends, with royal pride,
And sets the favour'd damsel by her side.
Around the throne, in mystic order, stand
The fairy train, and wait her high command;
When thus she speaks—(the maid attentive sips
Each word that flows, like nectar, from her lips):
Favourite of Heaven, my much loved Maia,

know, From me all joys, all earthly blessings flow: Me suppliant men imperial Fortune call, The mighty empress of yon rolling ball :' (She raised her finger, and the wondering maid, At distance hung, the dusky globe survey'd; Saw the round earth with foaming oceans vein'd, And labouring crowds on mountain tops sustain’d.) • To me has fate the pleasing task assign'd, To rule the various thoughts of humankind; To catch each rising wish, each ardent prayer, And some to grant, and some to waste in air. Know further,—as I ranged the crystal sky, I saw thee near the murmuring fountain lie; Mark'd the rough storm that gather'd in thy breast, And knew what care thy joyless soul oppress'd. Straight I resolved to bring thee quick relief, Ease every weight, and soften every grief ! If in this court contented thou canst live, And taste the joys these happy gardens give : But fill thy mind with vain desires no more, And view without a wish yon shining store. Soon shall a numerous train before me bend, And kneeling votaries my shrine attend;

Warn’d by their empty vanities, beware, And scorn the folly of each human prayer.' She said; and straight a damsel of her train With tender fingers touch'd a golden chain. Now a soft bell delighted Maia hears, That sweetly trembles on her listening ears : Through the calm air the melting numbers float, And wanton echo lengthens every note. Soon, through the dome, a mingled hum arose, Like the swift stream that o’er a valley flows; Now louder still it grew, and still more loud, As distant thunder breaks the bursting cloud; Through the four portals rush'd a various throng, That like a wintry torrent pour'd along : A crowd, of every tongue and every hue, Toward the bright throne, with eager rapture, flew. A lovely stripling * stepp'd before the rest With hasty pace, and toward the goddess press'd : His mien was graceful, and his looks were mild, And in his eye celestial sweetness smiled : Youth's purple glow and beauty's rosy beam O'er his smooth cheeks diffused a lively gleam; The floating ringlets of his musky hair Waved on the bosom of the wanton air ; With modest grace the goddess he address’d, And, thoughtless, thus preferr'd his fond request• Queen of the world! whose wide extended

sway Gay youth, firm manhood, and cold age obey, Grant me, while life's fresh blooming roses smile, The day with varied pleasures to beguile; Let me on beds of dewy flowers recline, And quaff, with glowing lips, the sparkling wine;

. Pleasure.

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