« AnteriorContinuar »
Nor; when cold Winter keens the brightening flood,
Would I weak-shivering linger on the brink.
Thus life redoubles, and is oft preserv’d, - 1260
By the bold swimmer, in the swift illapse
Of accident disastrous. Hence the limbs
Knit into force; and the same Roman arm,
That rose victorious o'er the conquer'd earth,
First learn’d, while tender to subdue the wave. 1265
Even, from the body's purity, the mind
Receives a secret sympathetic aid.
Close in the covert of an hazel copse,
Where winded into pleasing solitudes
Runs out the rambling dale, young Damon sat, 1270
Pensive, and pierc'd with love's delightful pangs.
There to the stream that down the distant rocks
Hoarse-murmuring fell, and plaintive breeze that
'Among the bending willows, falsely he [play'd
Of Musidora's cruelty complain’d.
She felt his flame; but deep within her breast,
In bashful coyness, or in maiden pride,
The soft return conceal’d; save when it stole
In side-long glances from her downcast eye,
Or from her swelling soul in stifled sighs.
1280 Touch'd by the scene, no stranger to his vows, He fram'd a melting lay, to try her heart; And, if an infant-passion struggled there, To call that passion forth. Thrice happy swain ! A lucky chance, that oft decides the fate 1285 Of mighty monarchs, then decided thine. For lo ! conducted by the laughing Loves, This cool retreat his Musidora sought: Warm in her cheek the sultry season glow'd;.
And, rob’d in loose array, she came to bathe 1 290
Her fervent limbs in the refreshing stream.
What shall he do? In sweet confusion lost,
And dubious flutterings, he awhile remain'd:
A pure ingenuous elegance of soul,
A delicate refinement, known to few,
Perplex'd his breast, aud urg'd him to retire:
But love forbade. Ye prudes in virtue, say,
Say, ye severest, what would you have done?
Meantime, this fairer nymph than ever blest
Arcadian stream, with timid eye around, 1300
The banks surveying, stripp'd her beauteous limbs
To taste the lucid coolness of the flood.
Ah then! not Paris on the piny top
Of Ida panted stronger, when aside
The rival-goddesses the veil divine
1 305 Cast unconfin’d, and gave him all their charms, Than, Damon, thou ; as from the snowy leg, And slender foot, th’inverted silk she drew; As the soft touch dissolv'd the virgin zone ; And, thro’ the parting robe, th' alternate breast, With youth wild-throbbing, on thy lawless gaze 1311 In full luxuriance rose. But, desperate youth, How durst thou risk the soul-distracting views As from her naked limbs of glowing white, Harmonious swell’d by Nature's finest hand, 1315 In folds loose-floating fell the fainter lawn; And fair expos’d she stood, shrunk from herself, With fancy blushing, at the doubtful breeze Alarm’d, and starting like the fearful fawn? Then to the flood she rush’d; the parted flood 1320 Its lovely guest with closing waves receiv'd s
And every beauty softening, every grace
Flushing anew, a mellow lustre shed:
As shines the lily thro’ the crystal mild;
Or as the rose amid the morning dew,
Fresh from Aurora's hand, more sweetly glows.
While thus she wanton'd now beneath the wave
But ill-conceal’d; and now with streaming locks,
That half-embrac'd her in a humid veil,
Rising again, the latent Damon drew
1330 Such madd’ning draughts of beauty to the soul, As for awhile o’erwhelm'd his raptured thought With luxury too daring. Check'd at last, By love's respectful modesty, he deem'd The theft profane, if aught profane to love 1335 Can e'er be deem'd; and struggling from the shade, With headlong hurry fled: but first these lines,
Trac’d by his ready pencil, on the bank - With trembling hand he threw.
“ Bathe on, my fair, " Yet unbeheld save by the sacred eye
1349 “ Of faithful love: I go to guard thy haunt,
“ To keep from thy recess each vagrant foot,
36 And each licentious eye.” With wild surprise,
As if to marble struck, devoid of sense,
A stupid moment motionless she stood ;
So stands the statue that enchants the world,
So bending tries to veil the matchless boast
The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.
Recovering, swift she flew to find those robes
Which blissful Eden knew not; and, array'd
In careless haste, th' alarming paper snatch'd,
But, when her Damon's well-known hand she saw,
Her terrors vanish’d, and a softer train