תמונות בעמוד

When mix'd) the fife the viol's notes refin'd,
And every strength with every grace was join'd:
Each morn they wak'd me with a sprightly lay;
Of opening Heaven 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 cheerful note,
Lightly receiv'd, were easily forgot ;
The solemn violence of the graver sound
Knew to strike deep, and leave a lasting wound.

And now reflecting, I with grief descry
The sickly lust of the fantastic eye;
How the weak organ is with seeing cloy'd,
Flying ere night what it at noon enjoy’d.
And now (unhappy search of thought!) I found
The fickle ear soon glutted with the sound,
Condemn'd eternal changes pursue,
Tird with the last, and eager of the new.

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
Broke through the fumes and phantoms of the night,
What had been said, I ask'd my soul, what done?
How flow'd our mirth, and whence the source begun?
Perhaps the jest that charm’d the sprightly crowd,
And made the jovial table laugh so loud,
To some false notion ow'd its poor pretence,
To an ambiguous word's perverted sense,
To a wild sonnet, or a wanton air,
Offence and torture to the sober 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'd ills 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 shun, and what we ought to hate.

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
This last great remedy's mysterious pow'r.

Why, therefore, hesitates my doubtful breast?
Why ceases it one moment to be bless'd ?
'Fly swift, my friends; my servants, fly; employ
Your instant pains to bring your master joy.
Let all my wives and concubines be dress'd;
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 shall singly pass,
And the most worthy shall obtain the grace.'

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,
Thou in whose graceful form and potent eye
Thy master's joy, long sought, at length is found,
And, as thy brow, let my desires be crown'd,
O favourite Virgin, that has warm’d the breast
Whose sovereign dictates subjugate the East!

I said; and sudden from the golden throne,
With a submissive step, I hasted 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,

favourite Virgin! (yet again I said)
Receive the honours destin'd to thy brow;
And 0, above thy fellows, happy thou!
Their duty must thy sovereign word obey.
Rise up, my love, my fair one, come away.'

What pang, alas! what ecstasy of smart
Tore up my senses and transfix'd my heart,
When she, with modest scorn, the wreath return'd,
Reclin'd her beauteous neck, and inward mourn'd!

Forc'd by my pride, I my concern suppress'd,
Pretended drowsiness, and wish of rest;
And, sullen, I forsook the imperfect feast;
Ordering the eunuchs, to whose proper care
Our Eastern grandeur gives the imprison'd fair,
To lead her forth to a distinguish'd bow'r,
And bid her dress the bed, and wait the hour.

Restless I follow'd this obdurate maid,
(Swift are the steps that Love and er 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,

Offer'd again the unaccepted wreath,
And choice of happy love, or instant death.

Averse to all her amorous king desir’d,
Far as she might she decently retir'd,
And darting scorn and sorrow from her eyes,
“What means (said she) King Solomon the wise ?
This wretched body trembles at your pow'r;
Thus far could Fortune, but she can no more.
Free to herself my potent mind remains,
Nor fears the victor's rage, nor feels his chains.

"'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.


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