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17

ASTREA: A Poem.

ADDRESSED TO MYRA.

THE THIRD CANTO.

6. This gate

Instructs you how to adore the heavens; and bows you
To morning's holy office : the gates of monarchs
Are arched so high, that giants may jet throughi,
And keep their impious turbans on, without
Good morrow to the sun. Hail, thou fair heaven!”

“ Often, to our comfort, shall we find
The sharded beetle in a safer hold
Than is the full-winged eagle, O, this life
Is nobler, than attending for a check ;
Richer, than doing nothing for a babe;
Prouder, than rustling in unpaid-for silk :
Such gain the cap of him, that makes them fine,
Yet keeps his book uncrossed : no life to ours !"

“ Tl’art o' the court,
As hard to leave, as keep; whose top to climb
Is certain falling, or so slippery, that
The fear's as bad as falling.”

SHAKESPEARE,

1.
Now in the East appears the golden sun;
The stars abash'd, the King of glory shun:
Gradual recede the darkling shades of night,
Gradual increases the transpiercing light,
Till heaven confesses his superior sway,
And gladdened earth wide-hails the beaming day.
The morn, blithe, blushing, gay, and rich, and fair,
With all ber mountains, woods, fields, flowers, air,
Waves rolling, glittering rocks, gemm'd shores, her blue,
Her coral, pearl, her gold, her precious dew,
Is a broad volume, whence the Sire display'd
Lessons of virtue, and wisdom, virtue's aid,
In those bright hues that charm the youthful heart,
And, charning, teach-and, while they teach, impart
The living character unto the mind,
And make man such as heaven hath design'd;
Till all their spirits kindled with the theme.

And rose to higher subjects, -- yea, supreme.
VOL. II. PART I.

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The golden age their raptur'd fancies drew
To such a vivid, soul-enchanting view,
That in themselves the happy scenes renew.
But not alone that single hour confess'd
Such happiness; their hours were always bless'd:
For they who live in virtue's exercise,
Must ever be most guiltless, happy-wise.

II.
Have they more bliss than what this moment brings ?
This moment’s bliss—more than possess'd by kings !
Who's she, whose foot so light not bends the flow'rs,
As springing o'er the dews of morning hours,-
Herself the fairest there,--her springing tread
Far more elastic than their bladed head;
Beauteous as they, and sweet her breath as theirs,
Respired by poet in the early airs,
That waft their fragrance on the scented gale,
Sporting its amorous kisses down the vale,

-Music her voice to Lausus' throbbing breast;
Gladness her eye that love to him exprest,
That ray’d a smile upon him purely bright,
And fill’d his own with answering delight ?-
Daughter of Parents, in the vale of Ide,
Wealthy in virtue, indigent in pride;
Not
poor

in fortune, but the golden mean
Secur’d them competence, and life serene.
HEGESIAS and EGERIA had alone
Fair IPHIGENE, and she a Paragon.
Glad were their souls to see their child refin'd
With every grace of motion, mien, and mind;
But this to them did added joy impart,
That to Aristes' son she gave her heart.
Needs not I should their lineage higher trace,
Virtue depends not on illustrious race.
Who hath no honour but his sire's high name,
Oh! he is poor indeed, nor worthy fame;
Such as the muses give, and also claim.

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III.
The lovers met.--The glowing kiss they press'd
Was pure as heaven, as rapture very bless’d.
Is there an object of more rich delight?-
Nay, none so rich, in a true poet's sight,
As two fond lovers in the spring of youth,
As virtue pure, unchangeable as truth,
Met in the morn, who, like a bride, is clad
To meet the glad sun, as a bridegroom glad,
Come forth rejoicing o'er the orient skies,
That emulate the lustre of their eyes, -

E'en like the glow that gay

Aurora streaks,
The blush that vermeils o'er the maiden's cheeks,-
While the fond parents on the lovers gaze,
And wake in memory their own younger days,
And bless with their consent the mutual kiss,
To nature's feelings true, and full of bliss.
- And mark, the anxious looks of love proclaim
The wish in secresy to breathe the flame:
Their trembling hands they knit in amorous play,
And (feintly) trip the mead; then spring away.
And whither went they?-list~a rising song
Forbids a doubt to hold the question long.
The parents speed with pleasure to the bower,
Where music mingles with the breathing flower,
And with blent incense charms tbe gayer hour.
Where each glad zephyr bathes its buxom wings,
And waving thence the breeze of fragrance flings,-
And, haply, its sweet sighs, the gale along,
Of music, might be learn’d from Lausus' song.

IV.

The song in the Wower.

[. Dost thou know what the nightingale said unto me, As I stray'd ere the dawn, my love, pond'ring on thee? While the beams of Apollo were feeble and young,

Scarce shaming the stars in the rear of the night; And these were the words that the nightingale sung, O’er the garden of roses, on leafy branch hung,

The last of his songs that he gave the twilight.

1.

Stay, thou solitary rover,
List my song, thou musing lover,

All regardless where thou art straying, -
Brushing away the early dew,
Gazing the bosom of the blue,

While the gale on thy cheek is playing.

2.

Seest her blue eyes in the azure,
All thy pain, and all thy pleasure ?

And her gems in the dewy meetness ?
Feel'st thou her hand in wanton breeze
Kissing thy cheek with playful ease?

And her breath in the flowery sweetness?

3.
Seest her blush in blushing dawning,
And her brow in heaven's awning,

And the arch of the concave ether?
And canst thou, from the vocal grove,
Where the birds trill their lays of love,

The voice of thy sweet one gather?

4.
Hail, thou solitary rover!
Dear to me the musing lover:

And now of blithe love 'tis the session :
Then take thy fill of heavenly love,
And visit oft the citron grove,

With thy fạir in most fond confession.

5.
'Tis the season which discloseth
Where the blushing rose reposeth,

The queen of the wide garden blossoming ;
The rose I love, and, at her view,
The verbal greeting song renew,

In her beauty my heart embosoining.

6.
When her lovely charms dissever,
I my plaintive lay tune never,

But, in silence lament, woe-wasted,
Disconsolate, and sad, and lone,
Her fragrancy all lost and gone,

And her glory by winter blasted.

7.
0, delay not then the pleasure,
But secure the lovely treasure,

For all pleasure is ever fleeting ;
Then love thy fair with perfect love,
As I the

queen

of every grove,
All the joys of the spring completing.

II. Not the nightingale loves more the rose's perfume, Than I love my fair maid in the beauty of bloom! The delight of the eye, and the soul's cheering guest,

The magic of love, and the pulse of my heart ! If thou smile my song, as thus clasp'd to my breast, Of all mortals I shall be,- I am the most blest;

And now from my bosom, O never depart !

V.
'Tis ceased. The zephyrs seem to love the song,
With many an airy wild-note to prolong,
That gently pours on the 'rapt listener's soul,
As still from lover's voice the music stole ;
Or, haply, 'tis the sound of phantasy,
And fancy forms the aërial melody;
Or it may be the murm’ring of a stream,
Hush'd during the-ecstatic,

tuneful dream, Instant, its warbling only heard along, Seems to be part of the just finished song.

VI.

O, Myra ! idol of the poet's soul,
The source of his affections, and the goal !
Perchance, these gentler scenes may please thee best,-
Scenes which his love hath pictur'd in his breast;
Love which the pregnant glances of thine eye
Hath kindled in his bosom, not to die ;
There the foud fancier many an image forms
Of ever-varying, never-ending charms.
But, oh, my fair, my love of heav'nly eyes,
Beaming forth the blue languor of the skies ;
Nymph of grace, dignity, and love, and all
That binds mankind in pleasurable thrall !
Hast thou not thought upon the tyrant's coil,
Whether or not the good man ’scap?d the toil ?
For now Menesthus hastens with his wile,
The virtuous from the valley to beguile.
Hast thou not wish'd to know their colloquy?
Then come away, and I will tell it thee.
The lovers have departed from the bower,
No music mingles with the breathing flower ;-
They've gone I know not whither, -but to roam,
Not far, with love and innocence, from home,
In some sequester'd spot to fetch their walk,
And sweeten nature with their honied talk ;
For every thing in fancy that they meet,
I ween, they find with images replete,
Wherewith to liken to their guileless love,
Of flower-deck'd earth, or blué-arch'd heav'n above.

Myra! I would thou didst so walk with me,
But thou art coy,—nor can my poesy,
Nor all my vows, subdue thy modesty;
Yet in thine eyes I see a tender light,
That cheers me from despair, a haunted night,
With hope that promises all things, and me,
More than all things, still promises in thee !

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