[Running head: PLEASURE]
WHEN PHOEBUS tints the breezy lawn,
AMANTOR hails the lovely dawn;
That dawn, which sees him free again,
Gay bounding o’er the smiling plain;
While happy Nature’s sun-gilt vest
Beams kindred radiance on his breast.
The warbling birds, the glistening dews,
The flowers that odorous breath diffuse
(While each a brighter, fresher dye
Assumes to Day’s returning eye),
And every sound, and every breeze
His chearful heart unite to please,
And give to Life, and Joy, and Hope
A lighter spring, a wider scope.
He entered now the skirting wood,
Roused from the lair the savage brood,
O’er dale, o’er thicket, lightly flew,
The danger hid, the prize in view.
And, as he thus beguiles his cares,
Like young ADONIS he appears,
Forsaking BEAUTY’S GODDESS bright,
To court the Hunter’s stern delight.
While in the pleasing toil engrossed,
His track, thro’ devious wilds, he lost.
In vain he would the path explore,
Retrace each flowery Labyrinth o’er;
At length, a voice thus meets his ear,
“Seek you a guide? behold one near!”
Then starts a youth from out the glade,
Robed in the tint of forest shade;
Who leads, with courteous speech and mien,
The way from out the thickets green.
And, as they journeyed, “Know,” he cried,
“Within these woodlands I reside,
“To strangers oft my aid extend,
“Well pleased to prove the wanderer’s friend:
“For acts like these, long known to Fame,
“The FOREST GUARDIAN is my name.
“Yet late, in quest of change, I roved
“From these embowering shades beloved.
“I sought, as splendour’s proudest boast
“The bright AURELIA’S golden coast;
“What chance that haughty nymph befel,
“My trembling tongue scarce dares to tell.
“As high enthroned in sceptred state,
“Her breath declared her subjects’ fate,
“And these she sent, for golden ore
“To tempt the waves, to search the shore,–
“With sudden crash the palace shakes,
“The earth around convulsive quakes,
“While, issuing from a nitrous flame,
“A SORCERER FIERCE bespoke the dame.
“Yield, Princess, to avenging Fate,
“Receive, he cried, your destined mate;
“Behold, your future bridegroom comes,
“The SOVEREIGN of the sordid GNOMES .
“Nay, tremble not; like you, the store
“He boasts–of gems and glittering ore.
“Like you, they form his favourite care,
“Then haste, his darksome realms to share.”
“He spoke–the King our sight alarmed,
“With more than PLUTO’S horrors armed:
“And bore, swift darting on his prey,
“Another PROSERPINE away.
“Soon from those scenes my course I steered,
“To where CLAIRETTA’S domes appeared.
“But there the potent Sage, whose power
“Reversed AURELIA’S prosperous hour,
“Had, in the sister-realm displayed
“His terrors to this hapless maid.
“The PRINCESS of the MIRRORS bright
“No longer lives to soft delight.
“By sad reverse her GLASSY DOME
“A scene of horrors is become.
“Here concave chrystals, strike the eye,
“And every blemish magnify;
“While others half their task perform,
“Reflecting a distorted form.
“Yet must she in this palace stay,
“Her cruel Mentor to obey,
“Who dooms each object to remain
“Thus hideous, till, no longer vain,
“She cease her highest joy to place
“In gazing on that beauteous face.”
“Sure, in these scenes,” AMANTOR cried,
“I mark thy hand, my wizard guide!
“How strange my fate since last we met!”
The thought inspires a soft regret;
Nor does he curb the generous tear
For poor CLAIRETTA’S fate severe,
Nor can resentment check the sigh
For stern AURELIA’S destiny.
“Yet, stranger, if I read aright,
“Some farther wonders met your sight,
“Still other realms your footsteps tried.”
“Suffice not these?” the youth replied.
“Then know, within an island lone,
“I hailed a peerless beauty’s throne:
“As wondrous still, the mystic cloud,
“Whose shades her life, her fate enshroud.
“At night, she decks the festive scene,
“She sports,–the Graces own their Queen.
“But each returning morn she flies,
“To haunts unknown to mortal eyes;
“Within a cavern rests concealed,
“Whose secrets yet are unrevealed.”
The Prince the adventure longs to dare,
That leads to the mysterious Fair.
He bids his FOREST-FRIEND adieu,
And, curious, anxious, hopes to view
Her, whose gay realm commands the wave,
The PRINCESS of the MYSTIC CAVE .
A fragrant gale, that scents the air,
Proclaims the destined port is near.
He greets it soon with crouding sail,
And, oh! nor far-famed Tempe’s vale,
Nor Cretan, nor Hesperian coast,
Such charms of Art and Nature boast!
While that kind power her gifts extends,
And gay, congenial beauties lends
To her, who rules the favoured land,
Whose smiles reward, whose charms command.
Now rising, like a guiding star,
Appears the Palace-gate from far,
That Bright-illumined Cynosure,
Whose beams the wanderer’s steps allure.
Unnumbered suitors there await
From fair STATIRA’S lips their fate.
AMANTOR joins the splendid train,
Nor sues for favour long in vain.
Yet still he notes the tale is true;
Each morn she quits his anxious view,
But re-appears each closing night
To give assembled crouds delight;
While mask, or ball, or pageant gay
Deceive the hours till morning’s ray,
And all, around her blissful throne,
Appear to live for mirth alone.
One night, with more than usual charm,
Her every look to rapture warms;
At festal banquet she presides,
Whence flows her wit in sparkling tides:
The laughing Loves disportive fly,
Swift glancing, from her beaming eye;
Whence frolic PLEASURE darts her rays,
And animates her beauty’s blaze;
And brilliant Thought, on Fancy’s wings,
Her splendid coruscations flings.
Whene’er she looks, or smiles, or speaks,
The gay enthusiasm she awakes;
In sport and glee her courtiers vie,
And unrestrained hilarity.
Warmed with her magic beauty’s ray,
AMANTOR’S doubts now sunk away.
But (soon returned) “Ah, whence,” he cries,
“Can such incongruous scenes arise?
“This Bright Enchantress soon shall haste,
“Her hours in gloomy shades to waste.
The daring plan he long revolves;
Then, ere he yields his soul, resolves
To watch, at morning’s rosy light,
The mystic charmer of the night.
When PHOEBUS rises from the wave,
Alone he seeks the SACRED CAVE :
As at its entrance dark he stood,
An unknown horror chilled his blood.
Resolved howe’er, the path he tries,
When Lo! thick, sullen glooms arise,
That, all around, a mist create
No human eye can penetrate:
Now mournful sounds his ears assail,
Low sighs, and sorrow’s stifled wail.
Dauntless he urged his shadowy way;
At length, far hid from chearful day,
Surrounded by these vapours drear,
He dimly views STATIRA near.
But, ah! how altered, since the hour
A court delighted owned her power!
In her pale cheek and languid eye,
No more the ambushed CUPIDS lie;
No sparkling GRACES frolic round,
No sprightly notes of mirth resound:
But, darkly flitting round her head,
Their influence gloomy phantoms shed;
And Sadness, Lassitude, and Care
Have fixed their mournful empire there.
Soon as the Stranger meets her eyes,
With anger-darting looks she cries,
“Presumptuous Youth! with footsteps rude
“Why dare in this recess intrude?”
She said–and raised her ebon wand–
What vengeance can its powers command!
When, Lo! a Phantom rises proud;
A voice commanding thunders loud;
And, sent the unguarded youth to save,
Thus spoke the GENIUS of the CAVE .
“STATIRA , cease, nor impious dare
“Assault high Heaven’s peculiar care!”
Then thus to him, “Before you, see
“Gay PLEASURE’S constant votary!
” Long was STATIRA’S airy court
“Of thoughtless mirth the loved resort;
“With various sports to cheat the hours,
“Engaged her thoughts, employed her powers;
“In empty pageantries engrossed,
“Her virtues, feelings, all were lost.
“Whirled in amusement’s endless round,
“In vain the voice of Woe might sound;
“In vain the force of Merit plead,
“Or hope for praise, or look for aid.
“At length the angry powers of Heaven
“Withdraw the smiles so vainly given.
“But, ere descends the gathering storm,
“The maid to punish, or reform,
“By them deputed, forth I went
“The Mental Mirror to present.
” ‘Heedless of blame or worthy praise,
“In trifling joys you waste your days,
“And dissipate those gifts of Heaven,
“Talents, for nobler uses given.
“List then, proud Nymph; and listening, fear!
“This moment change your mad career;
“Let Wisdom, Virtue rule your heart,
“And PLEASURE bear a second part,
“Subservient to those duties still
“A Sovereign lives but to fulfil;
“Or if, defying Reason’s force,
“You still pursue your wayward course,
“Your nights in revels may be spent,
“But morn shall see you long repent;
“Within a CAVERN’S GLOOM confined,
“My power shall there your footsteps bind,
“Where each gay joy you must forget,
“In silence, sadness, and regret.
“Now choose! for one you must declare,–
“Tumultuous nights, and mornings drear,
“Or pleasures, tranquil, ceaseless, pure,
“That Virtue’s practice can ensure.’ “
“With sighs her heart began to swell;
” ‘How quit the joys I love so well!
“How train my mind to Labour’s school!
“Each wandering wish how seek to rule,
“And act the patient student’s part,
“To learn dominion’s thorny art!
“Refuse ‘mid soft delights to stray,
“And Reason’s voice alone obey!
“The die she threw;
“Her after-state now strikes your view.
“Behold, what forms surround her seat,
“CHIM?RA’S air-bred horrors flit,
“SUSPICION brings her tribe of woes,
Her shade dark MELANCHOLY throws,
“REGRET subdues, REPENTANCE stings,
“REMORSE expands his ebon wings,
“And IDLENESS her joyless train
“Leads forth within these realms to reign!”
Filled with amaze, with awe inspired,
The Prince with pensive step retired.
And soon, in search of distant skies,
AMANTOR’S light-winged vessel flies,
‘Till o’er the seas of azure hue,
Luxuriant regions rise to view.
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Based on Keywords: hesperian, cretan, unrevealed, light-winged, revolves, unrestrained, enthusiasm, subservient, skirting, embowering, lassitude