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I go, ye nymphs! where furious love inspires;
But why, alas! relentless youth, ah why
Ye Lesbian virgins, and ye Lesbian dames, Themes of my verse, and objects of my flames, No more your groves with my glad songs shall ring, No more these hands shall touch the trembling
string : My Phaon's fled, and I those arts resign; (Wretch that I am, to call that Phaon mine!) Return, fair youth, return, and bring along Joy to my soul, and vigour to my song: Absent from thee, the poet's flame expires; But ah! how fiercely burn the lover's fires! Gods! can no prayers, no sighs, no numbers move One savage heart, or teach it how to love? The winds my prayers, my sighs, my numbers bear, The flying winds have lost them all in air! Oh when, alas ! shall more auspicious gales To these fond eyes restore thy welcome sails ! If you return-ah why these long delays? Poor Sappho dies while careless Phaon stays. O launch thy bark, nor fear the watery plain ; Venus for thee shall smooth her native main. O launch thy bark, secure of prosperous gales ; Cupid for thee shall spread the swelling sails. If
you will fly-(yet ah! what cause can be, Too cruel youth, that you should fly from me?) If not from Phaon I must hope for ease, Ah let me seek it from the raging seas: To raging seas unpitied I'll remove, And either cease to live or cease to love!
THE FABLE OF DRYOPE.
FROM THE NINTH BOOK OF OVID'S METAMORPHOSES.
She said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs;
“A lake there was with shelving banks around,
Of these she cropp’d, to please her infant son,
“ This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight, My trembling sister strove to urge her flight; And first the pardon of the nymphs implor'd, And those offended sylvan powers
ador'd: But when she backward would have fled, she found Her stiffening feet were rooted in the ground: In vain to free her fasten'd feet she strove, And as she struggles only moves above; She feels th' encroaching bark around her grow By quick degrees, and cover all below: Surpris’d at this, her trembling hand she heaves To rend her hair; her hand is fill’d with leaves : Where late was hair the shooting leaves are seen To rise, and shade her with a sudden green. The child Amphissus, to her bosom prest, Perceiv'd a colder and a harder breast, And found the springs, that ne'er till then denied Their milky moisture, on a sudden dried. I saw, unhappy! what I now relate, And stood the helpless witness of thy fate;
Embrac'd thy boughs, thy rising bark delay'd, There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade.
“ Behold Andræmon and th' unhappy sire Appear, and for their Dryope inquire: A springing tree for Dryope they find, And print warm kisses on the panting rind; Prostrate, with tears their kindred plant bedew, And close embrace as to the roots they grew. The face was all that now remain'd of thee, No more a woman, nor yet quite a tree; Thy branches hung with humid pearls appear, From every leaf distils a trickling tear; And straight a voice, while yet a voice remains, Thus through the trembling boughs in sighs com
plains. • If to the wretched any faith be given, I swear by all th' unpitying powers of heaven, No wilful crime this heavy vengeance bred; In mutual innocence our lives we led : If this be false, let these new greens decay, Let sounding axes lop my limbs away, And crackling flames on all my honours prey. But from my branching arms this infant bear; Let some kind nurse supply a mother's care ; And to his mother let him oft be led, Sport in her shades, and in her shades be fed. Teach him, when first his infant voice shall frame Imperfect words, and lisp his mother's name, To hail this tree, and say with weeping eyes, Within this plant my hapless parent lies :?