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In vain on Gilken beds I fought repose ;
And restless oft from purple couches rose ;
Vexatious thought Atill found my flying mind
Nor bound by limits, nor to place confin'd;
Haunted my nights, and terrify'd my days;
Stalk'd thro' my gardens, and pursu'd my ways,
Nor shut from artful bow'r, nor lost in winding
Yet take thy bent, my soul; another sense
Indulge; add music to magnificence:
Essay, if harmony may grief controll ;
Or pow'r of sound prevail upon the soul.
Often our feers and poets have confeft,
That music's force can tame the furious beast
Can make the wolf, or foaming boar restrain
His rage ; the lion drop his crested mane,
Attentive to the song ; the lynx forget
His wrath to man, and lick the minstrel's feet.
Are we, alas! less savage yet than these?
Else music sure may human cares appease.
I spake my purpose ; and the chearful choir
Parted their thares of harmony: the lyre
Soften'd the timbrel's noise : the trumpet's found
Provok'd the Dorian flute (both sweeter found
When mix'd:) the fife the viol's notes refin'd,
And ev'ry strength with ev'ry grace was join’d.
Each morn they wak'd me with a sprightly lay :
Of opening heav'n they sung, and gladsome day.
Each evening their repeated skill express’d
Scenes of repose, and images of rest:
Yet still in vain: for music gather'd thought;
But how unequal the effects it brought?
The soft ideas of the chearful note,
Lightly receiv'd, were easily forgot:
The solemn violence of the graver found
Know to strike deep, and leave a lasting wound.
And now reflecting, I with.grief descry
The fickly lust of the fantastic eye ;
How the weak organ is with seeing cloy’d,
Flying ere night what-is-at-noon enjoy'd.
And now funhappy search of thought!) I found
The fickle ear foon glutted with the found,
Condemn'd eternal changes to pursue,
Tir'd with the.lalt, and eager of the new.
1 bad the virgins and the youth advance,
To temper music with the sprightly dance,
in vain! too low the mimic motions seem:
What takes our heart, muft merit our esteem.
Nature, I thought, performd too mean a part,
Forming her movements to the rules of art ;
And vex'd I found, that the musician's hand
Had o'er the dancer's mind too great.command.
I drank; I lik'd it not: 'twas rage, 'twas noise;
An airy scene of transitory joys.
In vain I trusted, that the flowing bowl
Would banish sorrow, and enlarge the soul.
To the late revel, and protracted feast
Wild dreams succeeded, and disorder'd rest;
And as at dawn of morn fair reason's light
Broke thro the fumes and phantoms of the night;
What had been said, 1 ak'd my soul, what done.;
How flow'd our mirtb, and whence the source begun?
Perhaps the jest that charm’d the sprightly croud,
And made the jovial table laugh so loud,
To some false notion ow'd its poor pretence,
To an ambiguous word's perverted fenfe,
To a wild sonnet, or a wanton air,
Offence and torture to the fober ear.
Perhaps, alas! the pleasing stream was brought
From this man's error, from another's fault;
From topics which good-nature would forget,
And prudence mention with the last regret.
Add yet unnumber'dills, that lie unseen
In the pernicious draught; the word obscene,
Or harsh, which once elanc'd must ever fly
Irrevocable; the too prompt reply,
Seed of severe distrust, and fierce debate;
What we should fhun, and what we ought to hate.
Add too the blood impoverish'd, and the course: Of health suppress’d, by wine's continu'd force.
Unhappy man! whom forrow thus and rage To diff'rent ills alternátely engage. Who drinks, alas! but to forget : nor fees, That melancholy floth, severe difease, Mem'ry confess’d, and interrupted thought, Death's harbingers, lie latent in the draught: And in the flow'rs that wreath the sparkling bowl, Fell adders-hifs, and pois'nous serpents roll. Remains there ought untry'd, that may remove Sickness of mind, and heal the bosom? love, Love yet remains : indulge his genial fire, Cherith fair hope, folicit young desire, And boldly bid thy anxious soul explore This last great remedy's mysterious pow'r.
Why therefore heftates my doubtful breast? Why ceases it one moment to be blest?
Fly swift, my friends; my servants, fly; imploy
Your instant pains to bring your master joy.
Let all my wives and concubines be dreft:
Let them to-night attend the royal feast;
All Israel's beauty, all the foreign fair;
The gifts of princes, or the spoils of war.
Before their monarch they fhall fingly pafs :
And the most worthy fhall obtain the grace.
I said: the feast was ferv'd: the bowl was crown'd;
To the king's pleasure went the mirthful round:
The women came : as custom wills, they paft:
On one (o that diftinguish'd one!) I cast
The fav'rite glance: 0! yet my mind retains
That fond beginning of my infant pains.
Mature the virgin was of Egypt's race:
Grace shap'd her limbs ; and beauty deck'd her face:
Easy her motion seem'd, serene her air :
Full, though unzon'd, her bofom rofe; her hair
Unty'd, and ignorant of artful aid,
Adown her shoulders loosely lay display'd ;
And in the jetty curls ten thousand Cupids play'd.
Fix'd on her charms, and pleas'd that I could love,
Aid me my friends, contribute to improve
Your monarch's bliss, I said; fresh roses bring
To strow my bed ; 'till the impov'rish'd spring
Confess her want; around my am rous head
Be dropping myrrhe, and liquid amber fhed,
'Till Arab has no more. From the foft lyre,
Sweet flute, and ten-string’d instrument require
Sounds of delight: and thou, fair nymph, draw nigh;
Thou in whose graceful form and potent eye
Thy master's joy long fought at length is found;
And as thy brow, let my desires be crown'd;
O fav’rite virgin, that' haft warm’d the breast,
Whose sov'reign dictates subjugate the east!
I said; and sudden from the golden throne
With a submissive step I halted down.
The glowing garland from my hair I took;
Love in my heart, obedience in my look;
Prepar'd to place it on her comely head;
O fav'rite virgin! (yet again I said)
Receive the honours destin'd to thy brow;
And O above thy fellows happy thou?
Their duty must thy sov'reiga word obey,
Rise up, my love; my fair one, come away.
What pang, alas ! what extacy of smart
Tore up my senses, and transfix'd my heart;
When she with modest scorn the wreath return's,
Reclin'd her beauteous neck, and inward mourn’d?
Forc'd by my pride, I my concern suppress'd, Pretended drowsiness, and wish of reft ;:And sullen I forlook th' imperfect feast: Ordering the eunuchs, to whose proper care Our eastern grandeur gives th' imprison'a fair, To lead her forth to a distinguish'd bow'r, Anl bid her dress the bed, and wait the hour, Restless I follow'd this obdurate maid, (Swift are the steps that love and anger tread) Approach'd her person, courted her embrace, Renew'd my fame, repeated my disgrace : By turns put on the suppliant, and the lord: Threaten'd this moment, and the next implor'd ;.