[Nereides:] Eclogue VII.
Sturio, Hippias, Myra.
1 The Waves are still, and the unclouded Day
2 Smiles on the murm'ring Sea with joyous Light.
3 Begin the Song, while wanton Dolphins play,
4 And the bright Sun, and pleasing Calms invite.
5 Happy the Youth, whom beauteous Myra loves,
6 No Nymph so nimbly swims, so graceful moves.
7 When to soft Words she tunes her artful Tongue,
8 The Winds themselves will listen to her Song.
9 Anthis I saw, and to my envy'd Eyes
10 The circling Blood with conscious Ardour flies.
11 When Anthis smiles Joy fills the swelling Veins,
12 Nor Winter-Calms, nor Summer's gentle Rains
13 Are half so grateful to the fishing Swains. [Page 33]
14 Her rising Breasts are white as polish'd Shells,
15 And in each part a different Beauty dwells.
16 When Myra frowns, tho' all the Sky was fair,
17 The Clouds return, and thick the moistned Air;
18 The smiling Heav'n, when e'er she looks serene,
19 Puts on its Azure, and the Sea its Green.
20 When first a Glance from Galatea's Eyes
21 Pierc'd thro' my Heart, and did my Soul surprize,
22 Amaz'd I fell —
23 Beauty it self too powerful will affright;
24 No Lightning moves so swift, or shines so bright.
25 The Cramp-fish touch'd benumbs with sudden Pain,
26 And shivering Horrour strikes thro' ev'ry Vein.
27 But by one distant Look from her I lov'd
28 My Blood grew stagnate, and I stood unmov'd.
29 We curse the Dog, and loath the shapeless Bat
30 (As sad Forerunners of unlucky Fate)[Page 34]
31 These, we deform'd, and frightful Monsters call,
32 But they (each in their kind) are beauteous all;
33 Fondly we love, and without Reason hate,
34 And worship Idols, which our selves create.
35 Beauty's a shining Spark of heav'nly Fire,
36 That kindles in the Soul immense Desire;
37 It draws with pleasing Force the willing Mind;
38 Beauty divine like this we seldom find:
39 Few things are truly fair, tho' perfect in their kind.
40 Who Myra loves, when Clytie appears,
41 Course tastless Thornback to the Sole prefers.
42 I her pale Cheeks, and languid Looks despise;
43 Well may she kill; for Death is in her Eyes.
44 I hate the full-cheek'd Blowze, and flushing Maid,
45 Whose angry Red makes ev'ry Youth afraid:
46 Such flaming Nymphs want ev'ry real Grace,
47 They cool our Passion, while they burn our Face. [Page 35]
48 Envy is pale, and pale is sad Despair.
49 Can Myra then be pale, and yet be fair?
50 The Water-Lillies are a faintish Sweet.
51 I know an Island Grove, where Nereids meet;
52 There blushing Beds of beauteous Roses grow,
53 From whom diffusive Smells in fragrant Circles flow.
54 Would Myra yield to love, would she comply,
55 Her Cheeks would colour with a fresher Die.
56 But tho' ev'n now she wants no graceful Charm,
57 Her Voice kills farther than her Eyes can harm.
58 Nereus himself above the Waves appear'd,
59 She sung — and he with secret Pleasure heard,
60 And list'ning smil'd, and stroak'd his hoary Beard.
61 While Doris stood afar, and jealous grew,
62 With watchful Eyes she look'd, and fear'd what might ensue.
63 So have I heard one praise the chattering Pie,
64 And swear the Coots with artful Musick cry:[Page 36]
65 But hark — ev'n now I hear some distant Song.
66 'Tis Myra's Voice; I know her warbling Tongue.
67 Move, Sturio, softly on; then sudden rise,
68 And in her wanton Song the easy Nymph surprize.