[Nereides:] Eclogue II.
Melvin, Laron: Two Tritons.
1 Be still fond Youth, and cease the ruful Noise,
2 That wide-mouth'd Base ill-suits a squeaking Voice:
3 The Shepherds ruder Pipe, or Sailors Crowd
4 As sweetly echoes, and almost as loud.
5 Rail on, poor Melvin, and with Envy swell,
6 While Pholoe commends the tuneful Shell.
7 She swears beside, I sing like am'rous Swains,
8 When with alternate Loves they chear the smiling Plains.
9 Begin, if thou art skill'd in tuneful Lay,
10 Now whispering Breezes gentle Sounds convey.
11 The noisy Winds in bolted Caves are prest,
12 And now the Halcyon builds her wavering Nest.
13 I have observing past thro' different Climes,
14 Can fix the Seasons, and adjust the Times,[Page 8]
15 And know what Stars, when they oppose or meet
16 Will cause or stormy Winds, or falling Sleet.
17 I've seen the Deep o'er-spread with stringy Weeds,
18 And depthless Waters look like verdant Meads.
19 I know far distant Isles in Northern Seas,
20 Where Birds from Insects grow, and hang on Trees.
21 The Moon commands the Waves. Her changing Face
22 Disturbs the whole, and stirs the watry Mass;
23 But there are Seas, which no such Influence know,
24 And Rebel-Tides, that without Order flow.
25 Tho' now 'tis calm, I know those Magick Spells
26 Can raise the sleeping Winds from rocky Cells:
27 The lowring Heav'n looks then with sadder Hue,
28 And dismal Storms, and frightful Wreeks ensue.
29 When fatal Rocks have split the broken Ship,
30 And shrieking Mortals sink into the Deep,
31 If Laron hears the Cry, he often saves,
32 And buoys the floating Wretch amidst the angry Waves. [Page 9]
33 On yonder Rock I tun'd the passive Air
34 And Pholoe thought her Sister Syren there.
35 The wanton Dolphins joyous danc'd around,
36 Spouting the Waves, and frisk'd at every Sound.
37 In that same Cliff Cyano sleeping lay,
38 With lab'ring haste I cut the yielding Way:
39 I came, and she glad of the kind Surprize
40 Still feigh'd a Sleep, and clos'd her waking Eyes.
41 Ino repents, and would at length be kind;
42 But she's as fickle as the Morning Wind:
43 To me her Tears and Glances are no more
44 Than crackling Bottles on the frothy Shore.
45 In steepy Rocks the Sea-fowl make their Nest:
46 Take heed, ye Birds; for an unwelcome Guest
47 Will steal the speckled Eggs, and give the Prey
48 To a kind Nymph, that sports in yonder Bay.
49 Peleus, earth-born, his Thetis has enjoy'd,
50 But the Wood-Nymph, who late at ebbing Tide[Page 10]
51 Measur'd the sandy Plain, will come no more:
52 Ah! would she love, I could e'en live — on Shore.
53 The Manato his Change of Pleasure boasts,
54 Now sports in Seas, now grazes on the Coast;
55 Nature indulges thus th'amphibious Kind,
56 While to our watry Home we ever are confin'd.
57 Unhappy Offspring of the briny Main,
58 Who want a Voice to sing, or — to complain,
59 Tho' mute your selves, yet you in Shoals will throng,
60 And joy to hear Laron's delightful Song.
61 Fish, Laron, are not mute; for even now
62 I hear the distant Lowings of the Cow,
63 While softer Breezes breath in Whispers round,
64 And ev'ry Wave breaks with a pleasing Sound.
65 See yonder gawdy Fish, that flutt'ring springs,
66 And cuts the liquid Air with moistned Wings;
67 Strange is his Life, but stranger Laron's Fate,
68 Who burns amidst the Waves, and pines for Heat. [Page 11]
69 Those gilded Flyers still in Danger move,
70 Persu'd by Fish below, by Birds above:
71 So Melvin flying from Dorinda's Eyes
72 To Galatea falls an easy Prize.
73 Old hoary Proteus late I sleeping found
74 In a dark mossy Cave, and clasp'd him round;
75 In vain to fright with different Forms he strove,
76 I held him fast, and he foretold my Love.
77 I for Leucippe stole a Fisher's Net;
78 She kiss'd, and vow'd, She never would forget:
79 But they shall nothing lose by what I stole,
80 For to their Boats I drive a numerous Shoal.
81 A Trident now is mine, which Ceyx own'd,
82 Made of a Sword-fish, and emboss'd around:
83 When I bestow it on the am'rous Maid,
84 Laron with more than Kisses will be paid.
85 Laron is courted by a lovely Fair:
86 Ye Gods! I envy not the happy Pair. [Page 12]
87 Poor duskie-fac'd Melanthe! one wou'd think,
88 Like Cuttle-fish, she hid her self in Ink.
89 Melanthe still is kind, tho' coarsly made:
90 The Nymph that's kind with Kindness must be paid,
91 I hate the skittish Fair, that flies when woo'd,
92 Like fearful Tunnys, when by Sharks persu'd.
93 Lobsters by Instinct the Pour-contrel fly;
94 (For if they see him, they by seeing die)
95 But we those Dangers seek, we ought to shun,
96 And court our Fate, and strive to be undone.
97 The Polypus, tho' chang'd, must not escape
98 By a false Dress, and counterfeited Shape;
99 So wanton Nymphs a-while with awkward Pride
100 Deny that Passion, which they cannot hide.
101 Love will revenge on those, who love inspire,
102 And they must heat themselves, who others set on fire.
103 When ebbing Tides have empty'd half the Deep,
104 And pointed Rocks affright the distant Ship,[Page 13]
105 The Nereids sit, and comb their flowing Hair,
106 Or move in tuneful Sounds the circling Air.
107 But, Triton, were no Lover to be caught,
108 The Hair would be uncomb'd, the Song forgot.
109 Melvin, a Sail comes brisk before the Wind.
110 Cease then the Song, and may the Nymph be kind:
111 For should we thus appear in Human Form,
112 The frighted Sailor will forebode a Storm.