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'Though now sublimely borne on Homer's wing,
Of glorious wars, and godlike chiefs she fing:
Wilt thou with me re-visit once again
The crystal fountain, and the flow'ry plain ?
Wilt thou, indulgent, hear my verse relate
The various changes of a lover's state ;
And while each turn of passion I pursue,
Ask thy own heart if what I tell be true ?
To the green margin of a lonely wood,
Whose pendent shades o’erlook'd a silver Hood,
Young Damon came, unknowing where he stray'd,
Full of the image of his beauteous maid :
His flock far off, unfed, untended lay,
To every savage a defenceless prey ;
No sense of int'rest could their master move;
And every care seem'd trifling now but Love.
Awhile in pensive silence he remain’d,
But tho' his voice was mute, his looks complain'd ;
At length the thoughts within his bosom pent,
Forc'd his unwilling tongue to give them vent.
Ye Nymphs, he cry'd, ye Dryads, who fo long Have favour'd Damon, and inspir'd his song; For whom, retir'd, I fhun the
resorts Of sportful cities, and of pompous courts;
In vain I bid the restless world adieu,
To seek tranquillity and peace
Though wild Ambition and destructive Rage
No Factions here can form, no Wars can wage ;
Though Envy frowns not on your humble shades,
Nor Calumny your innocence invades,
Yet cruel Love, that troubler of the breast,
Too often violates your boasted rest;
With inbred storms difturbs your calm retreat,
And taints with bitterness each rural sweet.
Ah luckless day! when first with fond surprize
On Delia's face I fix'd my eager eyes ;
Then in wild tumults all my foul was tost,
Then reason, liberty, at once were lost :
And every wish, and thought, and care was gone,
But what my heart employ'd on her alone.
Then too she smild: can smiles our peace destroy,
Those lovely children of Content and Joy ?
How can soft pleasure and tormenting woe,
From the same spring at the same moment flow?
Unhappy boy, these vain enquiries cease,
Thought could not guard, nor will restore thy peace :
Indulge the frenzy that thou must endure,
And footh the pain thou know'st not how to cure.
Come, flatt'ring Memory, and tell
How kind she was, and with what pleasing art
She strove its fondest wishes to obtain,
Confirm her pow'r, and faster bind my chain.
If on the green we danc'd, a mirthful band,
To me alone she gave her willing hand;
Her partial taste, if e'er I touch'd the lyre,
Still in my song found something to admire.
By none but her my crook with flow'rs was crown'd,
By none but her my brows with ivy bound:
The world that Damon was her choice believ'd,
The world, alas ! like Damon, was deceiv'd.
When last I saw her, and declar'd my fire,
In words as soft as passion could inspire,
Coldly she heard, and full of scorn withdrew,
Without one pitying glance, one sweet adieu.
The frighted hind, who sees his ripen’d corn
Up from the roots by sudden tempests torn,
Whose fairest hopes destroy’d and blasted lie,
Feels not so keen a pang of grief as I.
Ah! how have I deserv'd, inhuman maid,
To have my faithful service thus repay'd ?
Were all the marks of kindness I receiv'd,
But dreams of joy, that charm'd me and deceiv'd ?
Or did you only nurse my growing love,
Thát with more pain I might your hatred prove?
Sure guilty treachery no place could find
In such a gentle, such a gen'rous mind :
A maid brought up the woods and wilds among,
Could ne'er have learnt the art of courts fo
No, let me rather think her anger feignid,
Still let me hope my Delia may
be gain'd; 'Twas only modesty that seem'd disdain, And her heart fuffer'd when she gave me pain.
Pleas’d with this fatt'ring thought the love-fick boy Felt the faint dawnings of a doubtful joy; Back to his flock more chearful he return'd, When now the setting sun less fiercely burn'd ; Blue vapours rose along the mazy rills, And light's last blushes ting'd the distant hills.
Notes soft as those of nightingales in fpring : Nor Pan, nor Phoebus tune the shepherd's reed From Love alone our tender lays proceed : Love warms our fancy with enliv'ning fires, Refines our genius, and our verse inspires : From him Theocritus, on Enna's plains, Learnt the wild sweetness of his Doric strains ; Virgil by him was taught the moving art, That charm'd each ear, and soften'd every heart : O would'st thou quit the pride of courts, and deign To dwell with us upon the vocal plain, Thee too his pow'r should reach, and every shade Refound the praises of thy fav’rite maid ; Thy pipe our rural concert would improve, And we should learn of thee to please and love.
Damon no longer sought the silent shade, No more in unfrequented paths he stray'd,