Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

The Nymphs who preside over springs and rivulets are ad

dressed at day-break in bonour of their several functions, and of the relations which they bear to the natural and to the moral world. Their origin is deduced from the first allegorical deities, or powers of nature; according to the do&trine of the old mythological poets, concerning the generation of the Gods and the rise of things. They are then successively considered, as giving motion to the air and exciting summer-breezes; as nourishing and beautifying the vegetable world; as contributing to the fulness of navigable rivers, and consequently to the maintenance of commerce; and by that means, to the maritime part of military power. Next is represented their favourable influence upon bealth, when asisted by rural exercise : which introduces their conne£tion with the art of phyfic, and the happy effects of mineral, medicinal springs. Lastly, they are celebrated for the friendship which the Muses bear them, and for the true inspiration which temperance only can receive : in opposition to the enthusiasm of the more licentious poets.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

O'ER yonder eastern hill the twilight throws

With bright Aftræa feated by his side,
Waits yet to leave the ocean. Tarry, Nymphs,
Ye Nymphs, ye blue-ey'd progeny of Thames,
Who now the mazes of this rugged heath
Trace with your feeting steps ; who all night long


A 4

Repeat, amid the cool and tranquil air,
Your lonely murmurs, tarry : and receive
My offer'd lay. To pay you homage due,
I leave the

gates of Neep ; nor shall my lyre
Too far into the splendid hours of morn
Ingage your audience : my observant hand
Shall close the strain ere any sultry beam
'Approach you. To your subterranean haunts
Ye then may timely steal; to pace with care
The humid sands; to loosen from the foil
The bubbling sources; to direct the rills
To meet in wider channels; or beneath
Some grotto's dripping arch, at height of noon
To Number, shelter'd from the burning heaven.

Where shall my song begin, ye Nymphs ? or end?
Wide is your praise and copious — First of things, ,
First of the lonely powers, ere Time arose,
Were Love and Chaos, Love, the fire of Fate ;
Elder than Chaos. Born of Fate was Time,
Who many sons and many comely births
Devour'd, relentless father : 'till the child
Of Rhea drove him from the upper sky,
And quelld his deadly might. Then social reign'd
The kindred powers, Tethys, and reverend Ops,



And spotless Vefta ; while supreme of sway
Remain’d the cloud-compeller. From the couch
Of Tethys sprang the fedgy-crowned race,
Who from a thousand urns, o'er every clime,
Send tribute to their parent; and from them
Are ye, O Naiads : Arethufa fair,
And tuneful Aganippe ; that sweet name,
Bandufia; that soft family which dwelt
With Syrian Daphne ; and the honour'd tribes
Belov'd of Pæon. Listen to my strain,
Daughters of Tethys : listen to your praise.

You, Nymphs, the winged offspring, which of old
Aurora to divine Aftræus bore,
Owns; and your aid beseecheth. When the might
Of Hyperion, from his noontide throne,
Unbends their languid pinions, aid from you
They ask : Favonius and the mild South-west

you relief implore. Your sallying streams
Fresh vigour to their weary limbs impart.
Again they fly, disporting ; from the mead
Half ripen'd and the tender blades of corn,
To sweep the noxious mildew; or dispel
Contagious steams, which oft the parched earth
Breathes on her fainting fons. From noon to eve,


« PreviousContinue »