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SELIM; OR, THE SHEPHERD'S MORAL.
SCENE, A VALLEY NEAR BAGDAT.
E Persian maids, attend your poet's lays,
And hear how shepherds pass their golden days.
Not all are blest, whom fortune's hand sustains
With wealth in courts, nor all that haunt the plains:
Well may your hearts believe the truths I tell;
Tis virtue makes the bliss, where'er we dwell.
Thus Selim sung, by sacred truth inspir'd;
Nor praise, but such as truth bestow'd, defir'd:
Wise in himself, his meaning fongs convey'd
Informing morals to the shepherd maid ;
Or taught the swains that sureft bliss to find,
What groves nor streams bestow, a virtuous mind.
When sweet and blushing, like a virgin bride,
The radiant morn resum'd her orient pride,
When wanton gales along the valleys play,
Breathe on each flower, and bear their sweets away;
By Tigris' wandering waves he fat, and fung
This useful leffon for the fair and young.
Ye Persian dames, he faid, to you belong,
Well may they please, the morals of my song :
No fairer maids, I trust, than you are found,
Grac'd with soft arts, the peopled world around !
The morn that lights you, to your loves supplies
Each gentler ray delicious to your eyes':
those flowers her fragrant hands bestow,
And yours the love that kings delight to know.
Yet think not these, all beauteous as they are,
The best kind blessings heaven can grant the fair!
Who trust alone in beauty's feeble ray,
Boaft but the worth Bassora's pearls display;
Drawn from the deep we own their surface bright,
But, dark within, they drink no lustrous light:
Such are the maids, and such the charms they boast,
By sense unaided, or to virtue loft.
Self-flattering sex! your hearts believe in vain
That love shall blind, when once he fires the fivain ;
Or hope a lover by your faults to win,
As spots an ermin beautify the kin:
W'ho seeks fecure to rule, be first her care
Each softer virtue that adorns the fair;
Each tender paffion man delights to find,
The lov'd perfe&tions of a female mind!
Bleft were the days, when Wisdom held her reign,
And lhepherds fought her on the filent plain;
With truth she wedded in the secret
grove, Immortal truth, and daughters bless’d their love.
O haste, fair maids ! ye virtues come away, Sweet peace and plenty lead you on your way! The balmy shrub, for you shall love our shore, By Ind excell’d or Araby no more.
Lost to our fields, for so the fates ordain, The dear deserters shall return again. Come thou, whose thoughts as limpid springs are clear, To lead the train, sweet Modesty appear : Here make thy court amidst our rural scene, And shepherd-girls shall own thee for their queen, With thee be Chastity, of all afraid, Distrusting all, a wise suspicious maid; But man the most-not more the mountain doe Holds the swift falcon for her deadly foe. Cold is her breast, like fowers that drink the dew ; A filken veil conceals her from the view. No wild desires amidst thy train be known, But faith, whose heart is fix'd on one alone : Desponding Meekness, with her down-caft eyes, And friendly Pity, full of tender sighs; And Love the last : by these your
approve, These are the virtues that must lead to love.
Thus sung the swain ; and ancient legends say,
The maids of Bagdat verified the lay:
Dear to the plains, the virtues came along,
The shepherds lov'd, and Selim bless’d his song.
N silent horror o'er the boundless waste
The driver Hassan with his camels past :
One cruise of water on his back he bore,
And his light scrip contain'd a scanty store;
A fan of painted feathers in his hand,
To guard his shaded face from scorching fand.
The sultry sun had gain’d the middle sky,
And not a tree, and not an herb was nigh;
The beasts, with pain, their dusty way pursue,
Shrill roar'd the winds, and dreary was the view!
With desperate forrow wild, th' affrighted man
Thrice figh’d, thrice struck his breast, and thus
" Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
" When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!"'
Ah ! little thought I of the blasting wind,
The thirst or pinching hunger that I find!
Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall cirirft aftwage,
When fails this cruise, his unrelenting rage?
Soon shall this fcrip its precious load resign;
Then what but tears and hunger shall be thine?
Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear
In all my griefs a more than equal share!
Here, where no springs in murmurs break away,
Or moss-crown'd fountains mitigate the day,
In vain ye hope the green delights to know,
Which plains more blest, or verdant vales bestow :
Here rocks alone, and tasteless fands are found,
And faint and fickly winds for ever howl around.
“ Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
« When firft from Schiraz' walls 1 bent my way.
Curst be the gold and silver which persuade
Weak men to follow.far-fatiguing trade!
The lilly peace outlines the filver store,
And life is dearer than the golden ore:
_Yet money tempts us o'er the desert brown,
To every distant mart and wealthy town.
Full oft we tempt the land, and oft the sea.:
And are we only yet repay'd by thee?
Ah ! why was ruin fo attra&tive made,
Or why fond man so easily betray'd ?
Why heed we not, while mad we haste along,
The gentle voice of peace, or pleasure's song?