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While flow'ry dreams my soul employ;
While turtle-wing'd the laughing hours
Lead hand in hand the festal pow'rs,
Lead Youth and Love, and harmless Joy.
Broke from the fetters of his native land,
Devoting shame and vengeance to her lords,
With louder impulse, and a threat'ning hand,
The * Lesbian patriot smites the founding chords:
Ye wretches, ye perfidious train,
Ye curst of Gods and freeborn men,
Ye murd'rers of the laws,
Tho' now you glory in your luft,
Tho' now you tread the feeble neck in duft, Yettime and righteous Jove willjudge your dreadful cause.
But lo, to sapPho's mournful airs
Descends the radiant queen
She smiles, and asks what fonder cares
Her suppliant's plaintive measures move :
Why is my faithful maid distreft?
Who, SAPPHO, wounds thy tender breast:
* ALCÆUS of Mitylene, the capital of Lesbos, who fied from his native city to escape the oppression of those who had inslav'd it, and wrote against them in his exile those noble invectives which are so much applauded by the ancient Critics.
Say, flies he?
Soon he shall pursue: Shuns he thy gifts ? ---- He too shall give: Slights he thy sorrows ? ---- He shall grieve, And bend him to thy haughtiest vow.
But, O MELPOMENE, for whom
Awakes thy golden shell again?
What mortal breath shall e'er presume
To echo that unbounded strain?
Majestic in the frown of years,
Behold, the * Man of Thebes appears :
For some there are, whose mighty frame
The hand of jove at birth indow'd
With hopes that mock the gazing crowd;
As eagles drink the noontide flame.
While the dim raven beats his weary wings,
And clamours far below. ---- Propitious Muse,
While I fo late unlock thy hallow'd springs,
And breathe whate'er thy ancient airs infuse,
To polish Albion's warlike ear
This long-lost melody to hear,
Thy sweetest arts imploy ;
As when the winds from shore to shore,
Thro' Greece thy lyre's persuasive language bore,
Till towns, and ifles, and seas return'd the vocal joy.
But oft amid the Græcian throng,
The loose-rob'd forms of wild desire
With lawless notes intun'd thy song,
To shameful steps dissolv'd thy quire.
O fair, O chaste, be still with me
From such profaner discord free:
While I frequent thy tuneful shade,
No frantic shouts of Thracian dames,
No satyrs fierce with savage flames
Thy pleasing accents fall invade.
Queen of the lyre, in thy retreat
The fairest flow'rs of Pindus glow ;
The vine aspires to crown thy seat,
And myrtles round thy laurel grow.
Thy ftrings attune their varied strain
To every pleasure, every pain,
Which mortal tribes were born to prove,
And strait our paffions rise or fall,
As at the wind's imperious call
The ocean swells, the billows move.
When midnight liftens o'er the slumb'ring earth,
Let me, O Muse, thy solemn whispers hear :
When morning sends her fragrant breezes forth,
With airy murmurs touch my opening ear.
And ever watchful at thy side,
Let wisdom's awful suffrage guide
The tenour of thy lay: To her of old by jove was giv'n To judge the various deeds of earth and heav'n; 'Twas thine by gentle arts to win us to her sway.
Oft as from stricter hours resign’d
I quit the maze where science toils,
Do thou refresh my yielding mind
With all thy gay, delusive spoils.
But, О indulgent, come not nigh
The busy steps, the jealous eye
Of gainful care, and wealthy age,
Whose barren souls thy joys disdain,
And hold as foes to reason's reign
Whome'er thy lovely haunts ingage.
With me, when mirth's consenting band
Around fair friendship’s genial board
Invite the heart-awakening hand,
With me salute the Teian chord.
Or if invok'd at softer hours,
O seek with me the happy bow'rs
That hear drone's gentle tongue ;
To.beauty link'd with virtue's train,
To love devoid of jealous pain,
There let the Sapphic lute be strung.
But when from envy and from death to claim
A hero bleeding for his native land;
Or when to nourish freedom's veftal flame,
I hear my Genius utter his command,
Nor Thebian voice, nor Lesbian lyre
From thee, O Muse, do I require,
While my prophetic mind,
Conscious of pow’rs she never knew,
Aftonish'd grasps at things beyond her view,
Nor by another's fate hath felt her own confin'd.