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Hung loosely o’er her slender shape, and tried
To shade those beauties, that it could not hide.
The damsels of her train with mirth and song
Frolic behind, and laugh and sport along.
The birds proclaim their queen from every tree ;
The beasts run frisking through the groves to see;
The Loves, the Pleasures, and the Graces meet
In antic rounds, and dance before her feet.
By whate'er fancy led, it chanc'd that day
They through the secret valley took their way,
And to the crystal grott advancing spied
The prince extended by the fountain's fide.
He look'd as, by some skilful hand express’d,
Apollo's youthful form retir'd to rest;
When with the chace fatigued he quits the wood
For Pindus' vale, and Aganippe's food;
There Neeps secure, his careless limbs display'd
At ease, encircled by the laurel shade ;
Beneath his head his sheaf of arrows lie,
His bow unbent hangs negligently by.
The Numb'ring prince might boast an equal grace,
So turn’d his limbs, so beautiful his face.
Waking he started from the ground in haste, And saw the beauteous choir around him plac'd; .
Then, summoning his senses, ran to meet .
The queen, and laid him humbly at her feet.
Deign, lovely princess, to behold, said he,
One, who has travers'd all the world, to see
Those charms, and worship thy divinity:
Accept thy Nave, and with a gracious smile
Excuse his rashness, and reward his toil. .
Stood motionless the fair with mute surprize,
And read him over with admiring eyes; .
And while she stedfast gaz'd, a pleasing smart
Ran thrilling through her veins, and reach'd her heart:
Each limb she scann'd, consider'd every grace,
And sagely judg'd him of the phenix' race.
An animal like this the ne'er had known,
And thence concluded there could be but one;
The creature too had all the phenix' air ;
None but the phenix could appear so fair. .
The more she look'd, the more she thought it true,
And call'á him by that name, to fhew she knew.
O handsome phenix, for that such you are
We know ; your beauty does your breed declare ;
And I with sorrow own through all my coast
No other bird can such perfection boast;
For Nature form'd you single and alone,
Alas! what pity 'tis there is but one !
Were there a queen so fortunate to shew
An aviary of charming birds like you,
What envy would her happiness create
In all, who saw the glories of her state !
The prince laugh'd inwardly, surpriz’d to find
So strange a speech, so innocent a mind.
The compliment indeed did some offence
To reason, and a little wrong'd her sense ;
He could not let it pass, but told his name,
And what he was, and whence, and why he came;
And hinted other things of high concern
For him to mention, and for her to learn ;
And she 'ad a piercing wit, of wondrous reach
To comprehend whatever he could teach.
Thus hand in hand they to the palace walk,
Pleas'd and instructed with each other's talk.
Here, should I tell the furniture's expence,
And all the structure’s vast magnificence,
Describe the walls of shining saphire made,
With emerald and pearl the floors inlaid,
And how the vaulted canopies unfold
A mimic heav'n, and Aame with gems and gold;
Or how Felicity regales her guest,
The wit, the mirth, the music, and the feast;
And on each part bestow the praises due,
'Twould tire the writer, and the reader too.
My amorous tale a softer path pursues :
Love and the happy pair demand my Muse.
O could her art in equal terms express
The lives they lead, the pleasures they possess!
Fortune had ne’er so plenteously before
Bestow'd her gifts, nor can she lavish more.
'Tis heav'n itself, 'tis ecstacy of bliss,
Uninterrupted joy, untir'd excess;
Mirth following mirth the moments dance away ;.
Love claims the night, and friendship rules the day.
Their tender care no cold indiff'rençe knows;
No jealousies disturb their sweet repose ; .
No sickness, no decay; but youthful grace,
And constant beauty shines in either face.
Benumming age may mortal charms invade,
Flow'rs of a day that do but bloom and fade;
Far diff'rent here, on them it only blows
The lilly's white, and spreads the blushing rose;
No conquest o'er those radiant eyes can boast;
They like the stars shine brighter in its frost;
Nor fear its rigour, nor its rule obey ;
All seasons are the same, and every month is May.
Alas ! how vain is happiness below!
Man foon or late must have his share of woe;
Slight are his joys, and fleeting as the wind;
His griefs wound home, and leave a sting behind.
His lot distinguish'd from the brute appears
Less certain by his laughter than his tears;
For ignorance too oft our pleasure breeds,
But sorrow from the reas'ning foul proceeds.
If man on earth in endless bliss could be,
The boon, young prince, had been bestow'd on thee.
Bright shone thy stars, thy Fortune flourish'd fair,
And seem'd secure beyond the reach of care,
And so might ftill have been, but anxious thought
Has dash'd thy cup, and thou must taste the draught.
It so befel, as on a certain day
This happy couple toy'd their time away,
He ask'd how many charming hours were flown,
Since on her Nave her heav'n of beauty shone.
Should I consult my heart, cried he, the rate
Were small, a week would be the utmoft date :
But when my mind reflects on actions paft,
And counts its joys, time must have fled more fast.