Obrazy na stronie


[blocks in formation]

But oh!
Bright Hebe, what a tear,

And what a blush were thine,

When, as the breath of every Grace Wafted thy feet along the studded sphere, With a bright cup for Jove himself to

drink, Some star, that shone beneath thy tread,

Raising its amorous head To kiss those matchless feet,

Checked thy career too fleet;

And all heaven's host of eyes Entranced, but fearful all, Saw thee, sweet Hebe, prostrate fall Upon the bright floor of the azure

skies; Where, mid its stars, thy beauty lay, As blossom, shaken from the spray

Of a spring thorn,
Lies mid the liquid sparkles of the morn.
Or, as in temples of the Paphian shade,
The worshippers of Beauty's queen behold
An image of their rosy idol, laid
Upon a diamond shrine.

The wanton wind,
Which had pursued the flying fair,
And sported mid the tresses unconfined

Of her bright hair,
Now, as she fell, oh wanton breeze !
Ruffled the robe, whose graceful flow
Hung o'er those limbs of unsunned snow,
Purely as the Eleusinian veil
Hangs o’er the Mysteries ! 2

Who was the Spirit that remembered


In that blest hour,
And, with a wing of love,
Brushed off the goblet's scattered

tears, As, trembling near the edge of heaven

they ran, And sent them floating to our orb be

low? 3
Essence of immortality!

The shower

Fell glowing through the spheres;
While all around new tints of bliss,

New odors and new light,
Enriched its radiant flow.

Now, with a liquid kiss,
It stole along the thrilling wire

Of Heaven's luminous Lyre,4
Stealing the soul of music in its flight:
And now, amid the breezes bland,
That whisper from the planets as they roll,
The bright libation, softly fanned
By all their sighs, meandering stole.
They who, from Atlas' height,

Beheld this rosy flame Descending through the waste of night, Thought 't was some planet, whose em

pyreal frame Had kindled, as it rapidly revolved Around its fervid axle, and dissolved

Into a flood so bright!


The brow of Juno flushed
Love blest the breeze!

The Muses blushed;
And every cheek was hid behind a lyre,
While every eye looked laughing through

the strings. But the bright cup? the nectared draught Which Jove himself was to have quaffed?

1 It is Servius, I believe, who mentions this unlucky trip which Hebe made in her occupation of cup-bearer; and Hoffman tells it after him: cum Hebe pocula Jovi administrans, perque lubricum minus cauté incedens, cecidisset,etc.

2 The arcane symbols of this ceremony were deposited in the cista, where they lay religiously concealed from the eyes of the profane. They were generally carried in the procession by an ass; and hence the proverb, which one may so often apply in the world, “asinus portat mysteria.' See “the Divine Legation,” book ii.

3 In the “Geoponica," lib. ii. cap. 17, there is a fable somewhat like this descent of the nectar to earth. εν ουρανό των θεων ευωχουμένων, και του νέκταρος πολλού παρακειμένου, ανασκιρτήσαι χορεία τον Έρωτα και συσσείσαι το πτερο του κρατήρος την βάσιν, και περιτρέψαι μεν αυτόν το δε νέκταρ εις την γην έκχυθεν, K.7.1. Vid. Autor.de" Re Rust."' edit Cantab. 1704.

4 The constellation Lyra. The astrologers attribute great virtues to this sign in ascendenti, which are enumerated by Pontano, in his “Ura

nia :

-ecce novem cum pectine chordas emodulans, mulcetque novo vaga sidera cantu, quo capta nascentum animæ concordia ducunt pectora, etc.

sect. 4.

" That little ring which, night and morn, “ With wedded truth my hand hath worn; “ That seal which oft, in moments blest, “ Thou hast upon my lip imprest, “ And sworn its sacred spring should be “ A fountain sealed 3 for only thee: “ Take, take them back, the gift and vow, “ All sullied, lost and hateful now!!

The youthful Day,
Within his twilight bower,

Lay sweetly sleeping
On the flushed bosom of a lotos-flower; 1
When round him, in profusion weeping,
Dropt the celestial shower,

The rosy clouds, that curled

About his infant head,
Like myrrh upon the locks of Cupid shed.

But, when the waking boy Waved his exhaling tresses through the


O morn of joy !

The tide divine,
All glorious with the vermil dye
It drank beneath his orient eye,

Distilled, in dews, upon the world, And every drop was wine, was heavenly

Blest be the sod, and blest the flower

On which descended first that shower, All fresh from Jove's nectareous

springs; Oh far less sweet the flower, the sod, O’er which the Spirit of the Rainbow

flings The magic mantle of her solar God ! 2

I took the ring - the seal I took, While, oh, her every tear and look Were such as angels look and shed, When man is by the world misled. Gently I whispered, “ Fanny, dear! “Not half thy lover's gifts are here: “Say, where are all the kisses given, “ From morn to noon, from noon to

even, “Those signets of true love, worth more “ Than Solomon's own seal of yore, “ Where are those gifts, so sweet, so

many? “ Come, dearest, - give back all, if any."

[ocr errors]

While thus I whispered, trembling too, Lest all the nymph had sworn was true, I saw a smile relenting rise Mid the moist azure of her eyes, Like daylight o'er a sea of blue, While yet in mid-air hangs the dew. She let her cheek repose on mine, She let my arms around her twine; One kiss was half allowed, and thenThe ring and seal were hers again.



I More than once have heard at night

A song like those thy lip hath given,

RINGS AND SEALS. ώστερ σφραγίδες τα φιλήματα.

ACHILLES Tatius, lib. ii. “Go!” said the angry, weeping maid, " The charm is broken ! — - once betrayed, “ Never can this wronged heart rely “ On word or look, on oath or sigh. “ Take back the gifts, so fondly given, “With promised faith and VOWS to

heaven; 1 The Egyptians represented the dawn of day by a young boy seated upon a lotos. eite Aiyuπτους έωρακώς αρχήν ανατολής παιδίον νεογνόν γράφοντας επί λωτω καθεζόμενον. - Plutarch. περί του μη χράν εμμέτρ. See also his Treatise "de Isid. et Osir.Observing that the lotos showed its head above water at sunrise, and sank again at his setting, they conceived the idea of consecrating this flower to Osiris, or the sun.

This symbol of a youth sitting upon a lotos is very frequent on the Abraxases, or Basilidian stones. See Montfaucon, tom. ii. planche 158., and the “Supplement,” etc. tom. ii. lib. vii. chap.5.

2 The ancients esteemed those flowers and trees the sweetest upon which the rainbow had appeared to rest; and the wood they chiefly burned in sacrifices, was that which the smile of

Iris had consecrated. Plutarch. “Sympos." lib. iv. cap. 2, where (as Vossius remarks) kalovoi, instead of kadoùoi, is undoubtedly the genuine reading. See Vossius, for some curious particularities of the rainbow, De Origin. et Progress. Idololat.lib. iii. cap. 13.

3“ There are gardens, supposed to be those of King Solomon, in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem. The friars show a fountain, which, they say, is the 'sealed fountain' to which the holy spouse in the Canticles is compared; and they pretend a tradition, that Solomon shut up these springs and put his signet upon the door, to keep them for his own drinking.” - Maundrell's Travels. See also the notes to Mr. Good's Translation of the Song of Solomon.

4 Afterward Duchess of Hamilton.

And it was sung by shapes of light, Long be the light of memory found
Who looked and breathed, like thee, Alive within your social glass;
of heaven.

Let that be still the magic round,

O'er which Oblivion dares not pass. But this was all a dream of sleep, And I have said when morning

A WARNING. shone:

TO “Why should the night-witch, Fancy,

Oh fair as heaven and chaste as light ! keep

Did nature mould thee all so bright, “ These wonders for herself alone?

That thou shouldst e'er be brought to I knew not then that fate had lent


O’er languid virtue's fatal sleep, Such tones to one of mortal birth;

O’er shame extinguished, honor fled, I knew not then that Heaven had sent A voice, a form like thine on earth.

Peace lost, heart withered, feeling dead?

No, no! a star was born with thee, And yet, in all that flowery maze

Which sheds eternal purity. Through which my path of life has led,

Thou hast, within those sainted eyes, When I have heard the sweetest lays

So fair a transcript of the skies, From lips of rosiest lustre shed;

In lines of light such heavenly lore,

That man should read them and adore.
When I have felt the warbled word
From Beauty's lip, in sweetness vying Whose mind and form were both arrayed

Yet have I known a gentle maid
With music's own melodious bird,
When on the rose's bosom lying;

In nature's purest light, like thine;
Who wore that clear, celestial sign,

Which seems to mark the brow that's fair Though form and song at once combined

For destiny's peculiar care: Their loveliest bloom and softest thrill,

Whose bosom too, like Dian's own, My heart hath sighed, my ear hath pined

Was guarded by a sacred zone, For something lovelier, softer still:

Where the bright gem of virtue shone; Oh, I have found it all, at last,

Whose eyes had in their light a charm In thee, thou sweetest living lyre, Against all wrong and guile and harm. Through which the soul of song e'er past,

Yet, hapless maid, in one sad hour Or feeling breathed its sacred fire. These spells have lost their guardian

power; All that I e'er, in wildest flight


has been beguiled away; Of fancy's dreams, could hear or see Her eyes have lost their chastening ray; Of music's sigh or beauty's light

The modest pride, the guiltless shame, Is realized, at once, in thee!

The smiles that from reflection came,

All, all have fled and left her mind

A faded monument behind;

The ruins of a once pure shrine,

No longer fit for guest divine. o dulces comitum valete cætus !


Oh! 't was a sight I wept to see — No, never shall my soul forget

Heaven keep the lost one's fate from The friends I found so cordial-hearted;

thee! Dear shall be the day we met,

TO .. And dear shall be the night we parted.

'T is time, I feel, to leave thee now, If fond regrets, however sweet,

While yet my soul is something free; Must with the lapse of time decay, While yet those dangerous eyes allow Yet still, when thus in mirth you meet, One minute's thought to stray from Fill high to him that 's far away!


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Slow to be won, and quick to rove,

From folly kind, from cunning loath, Too cold for bliss, too weak for love,

Yet feigning all that 's best in both;

Still panting o'er a crowd to reign,

More joy it gives to woman's breast To make ten frigid coxcombs vain,

Than one true, manly lover blest.

1 In Plutarch's Essay on the Decline of the Oracles, Cleombrotus, one of the interlocutors, describes an extraordinary man whom he had met with, after long research, upon the banks of the Red Sea. Once in every year this supernatural personage appeared to mortals, and conversed with them; the rest of his time he passed among the Genii and the Nymphs. περί την 'Ερυθράς Θάλασσαν ευρoν, ανθρώποις ανα πάν έτος άπαξ εντυγχάνοντα, τ' άλλα δε συν ταίς νύμφαις, νόμασι και δαίμοσι, ώς έφασκε.

He spoke in a tone not far removed from singing, and whenever he opened his lips, a fragrance filled the place: φθεγγομένου δε τον τόπον ευώδια κατείχε, του στόματος ήδιστον αποπνέοντος. From him Cleombrotus learned the doctrine of a plurality of worlds.

Away, away your smile 's a curse

Oh! blot me from the race of men, Kind pitying Heaven, by death or worse,

If e’er I love such things again.


That towered upon his brow; and when

he spoke ’T was language sweetened into song

such holy sounds As oft, they say, the wise and virtuous

hear, Prelusive to the harmony of heaven, When death is nigh; 1 and still, as he

unclosed His sacred lips, an odor, all as bland As ocean-breezes gather from the flowers That blossom in Elysium,2 breathed

around, With silent awe we listened, while he told Of the dark veil which many an age had

hung O'er Nature's form, till, long explored by

man, The mystic shroud grew thin and lumi

nous, And glimpses of that heavenly form shone

through: Of magic wonders, that were known and

taught By him (or Cham or Zoroaster named) Who mused amid the mighty cataclysm, O’er his rude tablets of primeval lore; And gathering round him, in the sacred

ark, The mighty secrets of that former globe, Let not the living star of science 4 sink

1 The celebrated Janus Dousa, a little before his death, imagined that he heard a strain of music in the air. See the poem of Heinsiusin harinoniam quam paulo ante obitum audire sibi visus est Dousa." Page 501. 2

ένθα μακάρων
νασον ωκεανίδες
αύραι περιπνέουσιν άν-
θεμα δε χρυσου φλέγει.


Olymp." ii. 3 Cham, the son of Noah, is supposed to have taken with himn into the ark the principal doctrines of magical, or rather of natural, science, which he had inscribed upon some very durable substances, in order that they might resist the ravages of the deluge, and transmit the secrets of antediluvian knowledge to his posterity. See the extracts made by Bayle, in his article, Cham. The identity of Cham and Zoroaster depends upon the authority of Berosus (or rather the impostor Annius), and a few more such respectable testimonies." See Naudé's "A pologie pour les Grands Hommes,etc., chap. viii., where he takes more trouble than is necessary in refuting this gratuitous supposition.

4 Chamum à posteris hujus artis admiratoribus Zoroastrum, seu vivum astrum, propterea fuisse dictum et pro Deo habitum. - Bochart,

Geograph. Sacr.lib. iv. cap. 1.

Beneath the waters, which ingulfed a

world! Of visions, by Calliope revealed To him,5 who traced upon his typic lyre The diapason of man's mingled frame, And the grand Doric heptachord of

heaven. With all of pure, of wondrous and arcane, Which the grave sons of Mochus, many

a night, Told to the young and bright-haired

visitant Of Carmel's sacred mount.6 - Then, in

a flow 5 Orpheus. Paulinus, in his “ Hebdomades,cap. 2. lib. iii. has endeavored to show, after the Platonists, that man is a diapason, or octave, made up of a diatesseron, which is his soul, and a diapente, which is his body. Those frequent allusions to music, by which the ancient philosophers illustrated their sublime theories, must have tended very much to elevate the char. acter of the art, and to enrich it with associations of the grandest and most interesting nature. See a preceding note, for their ideas upon the harmony of the spheres. Heraclitus compared the mixture of good and evil in this world, to the blended varieties of harmony in a musical instrument (Plutarch, de Animæ Procreat."); and Euryphamus, the Pythagorean, in a fragment preserved by Stobæus, describes human life, in its perfection, as a sweet and well tuned lyre. Some of the ancients were so fanciful as to suppose that the operations of the memory were regulated by a kind of musical cadence, and that ideas occurred to it“ per arsin et thesin," while others converted the whole man into a mere harmonized machine, whose motion depended upon a certain tension of the body, analogous to that of the strings in an instrument. Cicero indeed ridicules Aristoxenus for this fancy, and says, Let him teach singing, and leave philosophy to Aristotle ; " but Aristotle himself, though decidedly opposed to the harmonic speculations of the Pythagoreans and Platonists, could sometimes condescend to enliven his doctrines by reference to the beauties of musical science; as, in the treatise “Tepi koouov” attributed to him, καθάπερ δε εν χόρη, κορυφαίου κατάρξαντος, κ.τ.λ.

The Abbé Batteux, in his inquiry into the doctrine of the Stoics, attributes to those philosophers the same mode of illustration. L'âme étoit cause active TOLELV aitios ; le corps cause passive ñde toŨ Táo xelv: — l'une agissant dans l'autre ; et y prenant, par son action même, un caractère, des formes, des modifications, qu'elle n'avoit pas par elle-même ; à peu près comme l'air, qui, chassé dans un instrument de musique, fait connoître, par les différens sons qu'il produit, les différentes modifications qu'il y reçoit." See a fine simile founded upon this notion in Cardinal Polignac's poem, lib. 5. V. 734.

6 Pythagoras is represented in lamblichus as descending with great solemnity from Mount


[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »