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When mix'd) the fife the viol's notes refin'd,
And now reflecting, I with grief descry
I bade 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 must merit our esteem. Nature, I thought, perform'd too mean a part, Porming 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
Add yet unnumber'd ills that lie unseen
Add, too, the blood impoverish’d, and the course Of health suppress’d by wine's continued force.
Unhappy man! whom sorrow thus and rage To different ills alternately engage ; Who drinks, alas! but to forget; nor sees That melancholy sloth, severe disease, Memory confus'd, and interrupted thought, Death’s harbingers, lie latent in the draught; And in the flowers that wreath the sparkling bowl, Fell adders hiss, and poisonous serpents roll.
Remains there aught untried that may remove Sickness of mind, and heal the bosom?-Love! Love yet remains; indulge the genial fire, Cherish fair hope, solicit young desire,
And boldly bid thy anxious soul explore
Why, therefore, hesitates my doubtful breast?
I said: the feast was serv'd; the bowl was crown'd; To the King's pleasure went the mirthful round. The women came : as custom wills, they passid: On one (O that distinguish'd one!) I cast The favourite glance! O! 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 bosom rose: her hair Untied, and ignorant of artful aid,
2 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 impoverish'd Spring Confess her want: around my amorous head Be dropping myrrh and liquid amber shed Till Arab has no more; from the soft lyre, Sweet flute, and ten-string'd instrument, require
Sounds of delight: and thou, fair Nymph, draw nigh,
I said; and sudden from the golden throne,
favourite Virgin! (yet again I said)
What pang, alas! what ecstasy of smart
Forc'd by my pride, I my concern suppress'd,
Restless I follow'd this obdurate maid,
Offer'd again the unaccepted wreath,
Averse to all her amorous king desir’d,
"'Tis said that thou canst plausibly dispute, Supreme of seers, of angel, man, and brute; Canst plead, with subtle wit and fair discourse, Of passion's folly and of reason's force; That to the tribes attentive, thou canst know When their misfortunes or their blessings flow : That thou in science as in power art great, And truth and honour on thy edicts wait. Where is that knowledge now, that regal thought, With just advice and timely council fraught? Where now, O Judge of Israel, does it rove?What in one moment dost thou offer? Love Love? why, 'tis joy or sorrow, peace or strife ; 'Tis all the colour of remaining life, And human misery must begin or end As he becomes a tyrant or a friend. Would David's son, religious, just, and grave, ? To the first bride-bed of the world receive A foreigner, a heathen and a slave? Or, grant thy passion has these names destroy'd, That Love, like Death, makes all distinctions void, Yet in his empire o'er thy abject breast, His flames and torments only are express’d, Vol. XV.