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With servile care, a mortal's sheep. 26
For this the father of the gods,
Content to leave his high abodes,
In borrowed figures loosely ran,
Europa's bull, and Leda's swan,
For this he reassumes the nod,
(While Semele commands the god)
Launches the bolt, and shakes the poles;
Though Momus laughs, and Juno scolds.
Here listening Cloe Smiled and said;
Your riddle is not hard to read:
I guess it—Fair one, if you do;
Need I, alas! the theme pursue?
For this thou see'st, for this I leave,
Whate'er the world thinks wise or grave; 40
Ambition, business, friendship, news,
My useful books, and serious Muse.
For this I willingly decline
The mirth of feasts, and joys of wine;
And choose to sit and talk with thee
(As thy great orders may decree)
Of cocks and bulls, and flutes and fiddles,
Of idle tales, and foolish riddles.
THE QUESTION, TO LISETTA.
WHAT nymph should I admire, or trust,
But Cloe, beauteous Cloe, just!
What nymph should I desire to see,
But her who leaves the plain for me!
To whom should I compose the lay,
But her who listens when I play!
To whom, in song, repeat my cares,
But her who in my sorrow shares!
For whom should I the garland make, 9
But her who joys the gift to take,
And boasts she wears it for my sake!
In love am I not fully blest?
Lisetta, pr’ythee tell the rest.
SURE, Cloe just, and Cloe fair,
Deserves to be your only care;
But when you and she to-day
Far into the wood did stray,
And I happened to pass by,
Which way did you cast your eye!
But when your cares to her you sing,
Yet dare not tell her whence they spring;
Does it not more afflict your heart,
That in those cares she bears a part! 10
When you the flowers for Cloe twine,
Why do you to her garland join
The meanest bud that falls from mine!
Simplest of swains! the world may see,
Whom Cloe loves, and who loves me.
1 THE pride of every grove I chose,
The violet sweet, and lily fair,
The dappled pink, and blushing rose,
To deck my charming Cloe's hair.
2 At morn the nymph vouchsafed to place
Upon her brow the various wreath;
The flowers less blooming than her face;
The scent less fragrant than her breath.
3 The flowers she wore along the day;
And every nymph and shepherd said,
That in her hair they looked more gay
Than glowing in their native bed.
4 Undressed at evening when she found Their odours lost, their colours past; She changed her look, and on the ground Her garland and her eye she cast.
5 That eye dropped sense distinct and clear,
As any Muse's tongue could speak,
When from its lid a pearly tear
Ran trickling down her beauteous check.
6 Dissembling what I knew too well,
My love, my life, said I, explain
This change of humour; prythee, tell:
That falling tear—What does it mean!
7 She sighed; she smiled; and to the flowers
Pointing, the lovely moralist said;
See, friend, in some few fleeting hours,
See yonder, what a change is made.
8 Ah me! the blooming pride of May,
And that of beauty are but one;
At morn both flourish bright and gay,
Both fade at evening, pale, and gone.
9 At dawn poor Stella danced and sung;
The amorous youth around her bowed;
At night her fatal knell was rung;
I saw, and kissed her in her shroud.
10 Such as she is, who died to-day, Such I, alas! may be to-morrow;
Go, Damon, bid thy Muse display
The justice of thy Cloe's sorrow.
THE LADY WHO OFFERS HER LOOKING GLASS TO WIENUS.1
VENUs, take my votive glass,
Since I am not what I was;
What from this day I shall be,
Venus, let me never see.
1 FoRBEAR to ask me, why I weep;
Vexed Cloe to her shepherd said;
'Tis for my two poor straggling sheep
Perhaps, or for my squirrel dead.
2 For mind I what you late have writ?
Your subtle questions, and replies;
Emblems, to teach a female wit
The ways, where changing Cupid flies.
3 Your riddle purposed to rehearse
The general power that beauty has;
But why did no peculiar verse
Describe one charm of Cloe's face?
4 The glass, which was at Venus’ shrine,
With such mysterious sorrow laid;
The garland (and you call it mine)
Which showed how youth and beauty fade.
1 From an epigram of Plato. See Rambler, Number 143.
5 Ten thousand trifles light as these
Nor can my rage, nor anger move:
She should be humble, who would please;
And she must suffer, who can love.
6 When in my glass I chanced to look;
Of Venus what did I implore?
That every grace which thence I took,
Should know to charm my Damon more.
7 Reading thy verse, who heeds, said I,
If here or there his glances flew;
O free for ever be his eye,
Whose heart to me is always true!
8 My bloom indeed, my little flower
Of beauty quickly lost its pride;
For, severed from its native bower,
It on thy glowing bosom died.
9 Yet cared I not what might presage,
Or withered wreath, or fleeting youth;
Love I esteemed more strong than age,
And Time less permanent than Truth.
10 Why then I weep, forbear to know:
Fall uncontrolled my tears, and free;
O Damon! 'tis the only woe
I ever yet concealed from thee.
11 The secret wound with which I bleed
Shall lie wrapped up even in my hearse;
But on my tombstone thou shalt read
My answer to thy dubious verse.