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Of Venus fluttering o'er his head
(Whilst ivy-crowned Hours around
The laughter-loving Graces lead
In sportive ringlets to the sound
Of Paphian flutes), the Muse invites
To festive days and amorous nights.
Here tender Moschus loves to rove
Along the meadow's daisied side,
Under a cool and silent grove,
Where brooks of dimpling waters glide.
Rapt in celestial ecstasy,
Sappho, whom all the Nine inspire,
Varies her amorous melody,
The chords of whose Idalian lyre,
As changeful passions ebb or flow,
Struck with bold hand, now vibrate high,
Now, modulated to a sigh,
Tremble most languishingly low.
Horace, mild sage, refined with ease,
Whose precepts, whilst they counsel, please,
Without the jargon of the schools,
And fur-gown'd pedant's bookish rules,
Here keeps his loved academy;
His art so nicely he conceals
That wisdom on the bosom steals,
And men grow good insensibly.
From cool Valclusa's lilied meads
Soft Petrarch and his Laura come,
And e'en great Tasso sometimes treads
These flowery walks, and culls the bloom
Of rural groves, where heretofore
Each Muse, each Grace, beneath the shade
Of myrtle bowers, in secret play'd
With an Idalian paramour.
From silver Seine's transparent streams,
With roses and with lilies crown’d,
Breathing the same heart easing themes,
And tuned in amicable sound,
Sweet bards, of kindred spirit, blow
Soft Lydian notes on Gallic reeds,
Whose songs instruct us how to know
Truth's flowers from Affectation's weeds.
Chapelle leads up the festive band;
La Farre and Chaulieu, hand in hand,
Close follow their poetic sire,
Hot with the Teian grape and fire.
But hark! as sweet as western wind
Breathes from the violets' fragrant beds,
When balmy dews Aurora sheds,
Gresset's clear pipe, distinct behind,
Symphoniously combines in one
Each former bard's mellifluent tone.
Gresset! in whose harmonious verse
The Indian bird shall never die;
Though death may perch on Ver Vert's hearse,
Fame's tongue immortal shall rehearse
His variable loquacity.
Nor wanting are there bards of Thames :
On rural reed young Surrey plays;
And Waller woos the courtly dames
and unaffected lays,
His careless limbs supinely laid
Beneath the plantain's leafy shade :
Prior his easy pipe applies
To sooth his jealous Chloe's breast,
And even Sacharissa's eyes
To brighter Chloe's yield the prize
Of Venus' soul-bewitching cest.
Than these much greater bards, I ween,
Whenever they will condescend
The' inferior muses to attend,
Immortalize this humble scene;
Shakspeare's and Drayton's fairy crews
In midnight revels gambol round,
And Pope's light sylphids sprinkle dews
Refreshing on the magic ground.
Nor 'sdains the driad train of
And greenhair’d naiads of the flood,
To join with Fancy's younger brood,
Which brood the sweet enchantress bore
To British bards in after times,
Whose fame shall bloom in deathless rhymes,
When Greece and Britain are no more.
Whilst such the feasts of fancy give,
Careless of what dull sages know,
Amidst their banquets I will live,
And, pitying, look on power below.
If still the Cynic censor says,
That Aristippus' useless days
Pass in melodious foolery,
This is my last apology:
• Whatever has the power to bless,
By living having learn'd to prize,
Since wisdom will afford me less
Than what from harmless follies rise;
I cannot spare from happiness
A single moment to be wise.'
ΑΧΑΡΙΣ ΔΕ ΤΙΣ ΠΕΦΥΚΩΣ
O thou, for whom the British bays
Bloom in these unpoetic days,
Whose early genius glow'd to follow
The arts, through nature's ancient ways;
Twofold disciple of Apollo!
Shall Aristippus' easy lays,
Trifles of philosophic pleasure
Composed in literary leisure,
Aspire to gain thy deathless praise?
If thy nice ear attends the strains
This careless bard of nature breathes
On Cyprian fute in Albion's plains;
By future poets myrtle wreaths
Shall long be scatter'd o'er his urn
In annual solemnity,
And marble Cupids, as they mourn,
Point where his kindred ashes lie.
Whilst through the track of endless day
Thy muse shall, like the bird of Jove,
Wing to the source of light her way,
And bring from cloudless realms above,
Where truth's seraphic daughters glow,
Another Promethean ray
To this benighted globe below;
Mine, like soft Cytherea's dove,
Contented with her native grove,
Shall fondly sooth the’ attentive ears
Of life's way-wearied travellers;
And, from the paths of fancied woes,
Lead them to that serene abode,
Where real bliss and real good
In sweet security repose:
Or, as the lark with matin notes,
To youth's new voyagers, in spring,
As over head in air she floats,
Attendant on unruffled wing,
Warbles in artificial joy.
My Muse in tender strains shall sing
The feats of Venus' winged boy,
Or how the nimble-footed Hours,
With the three Graces knit in dance,
Follow the goddess Elegance
To Hebe’s court in Paphian bowers.
Nor let the supercilious wise,
And gloomy sons of melancholy,
These unaffected lays despise,
As day dreams of melodious folly:
son a lovelier aspect wears,
The Smiles and Muses when between,
Than in the Stoic's rigid mien
With beard philosophized by years;
And Virtue mopes not in the cell
Where cloister'd Pride and Penance dwell,
But, in the chariot of the Loves,
She triumphs innocently gay,
Drawn by the yoked Idalian doves,