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[Psyche] Canto V.

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ARGUMENT.

Introduction Charm of Poetry Psyche beholds the palace of Chastity Pleads for the admission of her Knight Obtains it through the intervention of Hymen Hymn celebrating the triumphs of Chastity Psyche, enraptured, desires to devote herself solely to the service of Chastity Entrusted by her to the protection of the Knight Psyche's Voyage Tempest Coast of Spleen Psyche received and sheltered by Patience.

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CANTO V.

1 DELIGHTFUL visions of my lonely hours!
2 Charm of my life and solace of my care!
3 Oh! would the muse but lend proportioned powers,
4 And give me language, equal to declare
5 The wonders which she bids my fancy share,
6 When rapt in her to other worlds I fly,
7 See angel forms unutterably fair,
8 And hear the inexpressive harmony
9 That seems to float on air, and warble through the sky.
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10 Might I the swiftly glancing scenes recal!
11 Bright as the roseate clouds of summer's eve,
12 The dreams which hold my soul in willing thrall,
13 And half my visionary days deceive,
14 Communicable shape might then receive,
15 And other hearts be ravished with the strain:
16 But scarce I seek the airy threads to weave,
17 When quick confusion mocks the fruitless pain,
18 And all the fairy forms are vanished from my brain.
19 Fond dreamer! meditate thine idle song!
20 But let thine idle song remain unknown:
21 The verse, which cheers thy solitude, prolong;
22 What, though it charm no moments but thine own,
23 Though thy loved Psyche smile for thee alone,
24 Still shall it yield thee pleasure, if not fame,
25 And when, escaped from tumult, thou hast flown
26 To thy dear silent hearth's enlivening flame,
27 There shall the tranquil muse her happy votary claim!
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28 My Psyche's wanderings then she loves to trace;
29 Unrols the glowing canvas to my sight;
30 Her chaste calm eye, her soft attractive grace,
31 The lightning of her heavenly smile so bright,
32 All yield me strange and unconceived delight:
33 Even now entranced her journey I pursue,
34 And gaze enraptured on her matchless knight;
35 Visions of love, pure, innocent and true!
36 Oh! may your graceful forms for ever bless my view!
37 See as they tread the green, soft-levelled plain,
38 Where never weed, nor noxious plant was found!
39 Psyche, enchanted, bids her knight explain
40 Who rules that lovely and well cultured ground,
41 Where fairest flowers and purest springs abound:
42 "Oh! object of my anxious cares," (he cried,
43 As with a half-breathed sigh he gazed around)
44 A stranger here, full oft I vainly tried
45 Admittance to obtain, and sooth the sovereign's pride.
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46 Here Castabella reigns, whose brow severe
47 Oft chilled my sanguine spirit by its frown;
48 Yet have I served her with adoring fear,
49 Though her ungrateful scorn will oft disown
50 The faithful homage by her servant shown;
51 Me she hath banished from her fair domain,
52 For crimes my loyal heart had never known;
53 While thus excluded vainly I complain,
54 And feel another's guilt my injured honour stain.
55 With false assumption of my arms and name,
56 Knight of the Bleeding Heart miscalled too long,
57 A vile impostor has disgraced my fame,
58 And much usurped by violence and wrong,
59 Which to the virgin queen by right belong;
60 On me her irritated vengeance falls,
61 On me, repulsed by force of arms so strong
62 That, never suffered to approach her walls,
63 Unheard, indignant truth in vain for justice calls.
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64 "Yet she alone our progress can assist,
65 And thou, Oh Psyche! must her favour gain;
66 Nor from thy soft entreaties e'er desist
67 Till thou free entrance for thy knight obtain;
68 Here let his faithful services remain
69 Fixed on thy grateful heart! nor thou consent,
70 Nor let their force thy gentleness constrain
71 To leave him, thus disgraced, yet innocent,
72 Thine undeserved neglect forsaken to lament."
73 While yet he speaks, before her ravished eyes
74 The brilliant towers of Castabella shine:
75 The sun that views them from unclouded skies
76 Sheds not through heaven a radiance more divine;
77 The adamantine walls with strength combine
78 Inimitable lustre ever clear;
79 Celestial temple! 'tis not lips like mine
80 Thy glories can reveal to mortal ear,
81 Or paint the unsullied beams which blaze for ever here.
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82 Approaching now the well defended gates,
83 Which placed at distance guard the sacred fane,
84 Their lowly suit a stern repulse awaits;
85 The timid voice of Psyche pleads in vain,
86 Nor entrance there together can they gain:
87 While yet they stay, unwilling to retreat,
88 The dove, swift-sailing through, the ethereal plain,
89 Has reached already Castabella's seat,
90 And in her spotless breast has found a welcome sweet.
91 Caressing oft her well remembered guest,
92 Serener smiles illumed her softened brow;
93 The heaven-sent messenger her soul confest,
94 And mildly listened to his murmurs low,
95 Which seemed in pleading eloquence to flow;
96 His snowy pinions then he wide displayed,
97 And gently lured her from her throne to go
98 Even to the gates, where Psyche blushing stayed
99 Beside her awe-struck knight half doubtingly afraid.
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100 That form majestic might the bravest awe:
101 Yet Psyche gazed with love unmixed with fear,
102 And felt those charms her soul attracted draw
103 As to maternal tenderness most dear;
104 Congenial souls! they at one glance appear
105 Linked to each other by a mutual tie:
106 Her courteous voice invites her to draw near.
107 And lo! obedient to their sovereign's eye,
108 To Psyche's willing steps the barriers open fly.
109 But to the lion, and his gallant lord
110 Sudden the affrighted guards the portals close.
111 Psyche looks back, and mindful of her word,
112 Mindful of him who saved her from her foes,
113 Guide of her course and soother of her woes,
114 The tear that started to her downcast eye,
115 The deepening blush which eloquently rose,
116 Silent assistant of the pleading sigh,
117 To speed the unuttered suit their powers persuasive try.
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118 And now the knight, encouraged to approach,
119 Asserts his injured fame, and justice claims,
120 Confutes each charge, repels each foul reproach,
121 And each accusing falsehood boldly shames,
122 While conscious innocence his tongue inflames:
123 A firm attachment to her reign he vows,
124 The base impostor's guilty madness blames,
125 And, while the imputed crimes his spirit rouse,
126 No intercourse with him his nobler soul allows.
127 Mean time his faithful page had not been mute,
128 And he had found a ready warm ally;
129 For (while his master urged the eager suit)
130 As through the goodly train he cast his eye,
131 He chanced exulting mid the group to spy
132 A joyous youth, his fondly cherished friend;
133 Hymen, the festive, love-attending boy,
134 Delighted his assistance hastes to lend,
135 Laughing unbars the gates, and bids the parley end.
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136 Around their queen the timid virgins crowd,
137 Who half consentingly receives the knight,
138 And checks her sportive boy, whose welcome loud
139 Speaks his gay triumph and his proud delight:
140 Yet graceful smiles her happy guests invite
141 To share the feast with sacred honours blest;
142 The palace opens to their dazzled sight;
143 Still as they gazed, the adoring eye confest
144 That wondering awe which filled each consecrated breast.
145 All was divine, yet still the fairest queen
146 Like Dian mid her circling nymphs appeared,
147 Or as Minerva on Parnassus seen,
148 When condescendingly with smiles she cheered
149 The silent Muses who her presence feared:
150 A starry crown its heavenly radiance threw
151 O'er her pale cheek; for there the rose revered
152 The purer lilies of her saint-like hue,
153 Yet oft the mantling blush its transient visits knew.
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154 The hand of Fate, which wove of spotless white
155 Her wondrous robe, bade it unchangeable
156 Preserve unsullied its first lustre bright,
157 Nor e'er might be renewed that sacred spell
158 If once destroyed; wherefore to guard it well
159 Two hand-maids she entrusts with special care,
160 Prudence and Purity, who both excel,
161 The first in matron dignity of air,
162 The last in blooming youth unalterably fair.
163 Favourite of heaven! she at her birth received
164 With it the brilliant zone that bound her waist,
165 Which, were the earth of sun and stars bereaved,
166 By its own light beneficently cast
167 Could cheer the innocent, and guide the chaste:
168 Nor armour ever had the virgin bore,
169 Though oft in warlike scenes her youth she past,
170 For while her breast this dazzling cestus wore,
171 The foe who dared to gaze beheld the light no more.
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172 But when her placid hours in peace are spent,
173 Concealed she bids its latent terrors lie,
174 Sheathed in a silken scarf, with kind intent
175 Wove by the gentle hand of Modesty;
176 And see, the blushing maid with down-cast eye
177 Behind her mistress hides her charms retired!
178 While, foremost of the group, of stature high,
179 Firm Courage lifts her brow by Truth inspired,
180 Who holds a crystal lamp in flames celestial fired.
181 See, fresh as Hebe blooming Temperance stand,
182 Present the nectared fruits, and crown the bowl!
183 While bright-eyed Honour leads the choral band,
184 Whose songs divine can animate the soul,
185 Led willing captive to their high control:
186 They sing the triumphs of their spotless queen,
187 And proudly bid immortal fame enrol
188 Upon her fairest page such as had been
189 The champions of her cause, the favourites of her reign.
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190 From Pallas first begins the lofty song,
191 And Cynthia, brightest goddess of the skies;
192 To her the virgin deities belong,
193 And each beholds her with a sister's eyes;
194 The mystic honours next of Fauna rise;
[*]

Fauna, called also the Bona Dea, during her life was celebrated for the exemplary purity of her manners, and after death was worshipped only by women.

195 Her solemn rites which purest hands require;
196 And Vesta, who her virgins taught to prize,
197 And guard the sacred symbols of the fire
198 Which earth could ne'er revive if suffered to expire.
199 Emblem divine of female purity!
200 Whose trust betrayed to like sad fate shall doom;
201 Pursued by scorn, consigned to infamy,
202 The hapless victims perish in their bloom
203 Mid the dark horrors of a living tomb;
204 Effulgent queen! thou wilt the pure defend
205 From the dark night of this opprobrious gloom;
206 Nor even with life thy favouring smiles shall end,
207 They bid illustrious fame beyond the grave extend.
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208 First of the noble youths whose virtue shone
209 Conspicuous chief in Castabella's train,
210 They sing the firm unmoved Bellerophon;
211 And Peleus flying the Magnesian plain,
[*]
Ut Prætum mulier perfida credulum
Falsis impulerit criminibus, nimis
Casto Bellerophonti
Maturare necem, refert,
Narrat pene datum Pelea Tartaro,
Magnessam Hyppolyten dum fugit abstinens.
Hor. Ode vii. lib. iii.
212 Pursued by all a wanton's fierce disdain.
213 You too, Hippolytus, their songs employ!
214 Beloved by Phædra, but beloved in vain;
215 With the chaste honours of the Hebrew boy,
216 Which time shall ne'er obscure, nor idle scorn destroy.
217 Nor was unsung whom on Hymettus' brow
218 The bright Aurora wooed with amorous care;
219 He, mindful of his sacred nuptial vow,
220 Refused the goddess though celestial fair,
221 Breathing pure perfumes and ambrosial air:
222 Of wanton Circe's baffled arts they tell,
223 And him, too wise her treacherous cup to share,
224 Who scorned the enchantress, and her mystic spell,
225 And all the Syrens' arts could gloriously repel.
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226 The long tried virtue of his faithful spouse
227 Now sweetly animates the tuneful string,
228 Unsullied guardian of her virgin vows!
229 Who twice ten years had wept her wandering king.
230 Acastus' mourning daughter
[*]

Laodamia.

next they sing;
231 The chaste embrace which clasped her husband's shade:
232 And thee, Dictynna!
[*]

A virgin of Crete, who threw herself from a rock into the sea, when pursued by Minos. The Cretans, not contented with giving her name to the rock which she had thus consecrated, were accustomed to worship Diana by the name of her unfortunate votary.

who, with daring spring,
233 Called from the Cretan rock on Dian's aid:
234 And still the goddess loves her favourite luckless maid.
235 Pleased to assume herself a name so dear
236 She bids her altars to Dictynna rise,
237 Thus called, she ever turns, with willing ear,
238 To aid each nymph who for her succour cries.
239 See how the trembling Arethusa flies
240 Through pathless woods, o'er rocks and open plains;
241 In vain to escape the ravisher she tries,
242 Fast on her rapid flight Alpheus gains,
243 And scarce her fainting strength the unequal course sustains.
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244 And now more near his dreaded step she hears,
245 His lengthened shadow flies before her feet,
246 Now o'er her neck his panting breath appears
247 To part her locks, which, in disorder sweet,
248 Ambitious seemed to fan the fervid heat
249 That flushed her glowing cheek and charms:
250 Hear how her gasping sighs for aid entreat!
251 "Dictynna! pitying see my just alarms,
252 And snatch thy fainting maid from those polluting arms."
253 The goddess hears, and in a favouring cloud
254 Conceals her suppliant from Alpheus' sight;
255 In vain he looks around, and calls aloud,
256 And wondering seeks the traces of her flight:
257 Enveloped, still she views him with affright,
258 An icy coldness creeps o'er all her frame,
259 And soon, dissolving in a current bright,
260 The silver stream retains her honoured name,
261 And still unmingled flows, and guards its, virgin fame.
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262 'Twas thus Castalia's sacred fountain sprung,
263 Once a fair nymph by bright Apollo loved:
264 To Daphne too his amorous strain he sung,
265 But sung in vain: her heart remained unmoved,
266 No vain delight her modest virtue proved
267 To be the theme of all his wanton lays:
268 To shun the god the silvan scene she roved;
269 Nor prized the flattery of his tuneful praise,
270 Nor one relenting smile his splendid gifts could raise.
271 Yet were his lips with eloquence endued,
272 And melting passion warbled o'er his lyre,
273 And had she yielding listened as he wooed,
274 The virgin sure had caught the kindling fire,
275 And fallen a victim to impure desire;
276 For safety cautious flight alone remained,
277 While tears of trembling innocence require
278 Her parents aid: and lo! that aid obtained,
279 How suddenly her charms immortal laurels gained!
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280 Dear to the Muses still her honours live:
281 And they too glory in their virgin name;
282 To pure delights their tranquil hours they give,
283 And fear to mingle with a grosser flame
284 The chaster fires which heaven hath bid them claim:
285 They smiled when Pan, on Ladon's banks deceived,
286 The fair Syringa clasped, who, snatched from shame,
287 Already had her tuneful form received,
288 And to the breathing winds in airy music grieved.
289 Still in that tuneful form
[*]

In a grove, sacred to Diana, was suspended a syrinx (the pipe into which the nymph Syringa had been metamorphosed) which was said to possess the miraculous power of thus justifying the calumniated.

to Dian dear
290 She bids it injured innocence befriend;
291 Commands her train the sentence to revere,
292 And in her grove the vocal reeds suspend
293 Which Virtue may from calumny defend;
294 Self-breathed, when virgin purity appears,
295 What notes melodious they spontaneous send!
296 While the rash guilty nymph with horror hears
297 Deep groans declare her shame to awe-struck wondering ears.
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298 The spotless virgins shall unhurt approach
299 The stream's rude ordeal
[*]

The trial of the Stygian fountain, by which the innocent were acquitted, and the guilty disgraced; the waters rising in a wonderful manner, so as to cover the laurel wreath of the unchaste female, who dared the examination.

, and the sacred fire.
300 See the pure maid, indignant of reproach,
301 The dreadful test of innocence require
302 Amid the holy priests and virgin choir!
303 See her leap fearless on the blazing shrine!
304 The lambent flames, bright-circling, all aspire
305 Innoxious wreathes around her form to twine,
306 And crown with lustrous beams the virgin's brow divine.
307 Nor was the daring Clusia
[*]

Who, to avoid the violence of Torquatus, cast herself from a tower, and was preserved by the winds, which, swelling her garments, supported her as she gently descended to the earth.

then unsung,
308 Who plunged illustrious from the lofty tower;
309 The favouring winds around the virgin clung,
310 And bore her harmless from the tyrant's power:
311 Nor those, whom Vesta in the trying hour
[*]

Claudia, a vestal, who having been accused of violating her vow, attested her innocence by drawing up the Tiber a ship, bearing a statue of the goddess, which many thousand men had not been able to remove. Æmilia, who was suspected of unchastity from having inadvertently suffered the sacred flame to expire, by entrusting it to the care of a novice, but, imploring Vesta to justify her innocence, she tore her linen garment, and threw it upon the extinguished ashes of the cold altar; when, in the sight of priests and virgins, a sudden and pure fire was thus enkindled. Tucia, who being falsely accused, carried water from the Tiber to the forum in a sieve, her accuser miraculously disappearing at the same time.

312 Protects from slander, and restores to fame;
313 Nor Clelia, shielded from the arrowy shower;
314 Nor thou! whose purest hands
[*]

Sulpicia, a Roman lady of remarkable chastity; chosen, by the Sibyls to dedicate a temple to Venus. Verticordia, in order to obtain greater purity for her contemporary country-women.

the Sibyls claim,
315 And bid the modest fane revere Sulpicia's name.
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316 O'er her soft cheek how arch the dimples play,
317 While pleased the goddess hears Sinope's wiles!
[*]

The nymph Sinope, being persecuted by the addresses of Jupiter, at length stipulated for his promise to grant her whatever she might ask, and having obtained this promise, claimed the gift of perpetual chastity.

Sinope
Nympha prius, blandosque Jovis quæ luserat ignes
Coelicolis inmota procis.
Val.. Flac. lib. v. ver. 110.
318 How oft she mocked the changeful lord of day,
319 And many a silvan god who sought her smiles:
320 But chief when Jove her innocence beguiles;
321 "Grant me a boon," the blushing maid replies,
322 Urged by his suit: hope o'er his amorous toils
323 Exulting dawns: "thine oath is past," she cries;
324 "Unalterably pure thy spotless virgin dies!"
325 Rome shall for ages boast Lucretia's name!
326 And while its temples moulder into dust
327 Still triumph in Virginia's rescued fame,
328 And Scipio's victory over baffled lust:
329 Even now the strain prophetically just,
330 In unborn servants bids their queen rejoice,
331 And in her British beauties firmly trust;
332 Thrice happy fair! who still adore her voice,
333 The blushing virgin's law, the modest matron's choice!
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334 Psyche with ravished ear the strain attends,
335 Enraptured hangs upon the heaven-strung lyre;
336 Her kindling soul from sensual earth ascends;
337 To joys divine her purer thoughts aspire;
338 She longs to join the white robed spotless choir,
339 And there for ever dwell a hallowed guest:
340 Even Love himself no longer can inspire
341 The wishes of the soft enthusiast's breast,
342 Who, filled with sacred zeal, would there for ever rest;
343 Despising every meaner low pursuit,
344 And quite forgetful of her amorous care,
345 All heedless of her knight, who sad and mute
346 With wonder hears the strange ungrateful fair,
347 A prostrate suppliant, pour the fervent prayer
348 To be received in, Castabella's train,
349 And that in tranquil bliss secluded there,
350 Her happy votary still she might remain,
351 Free from each worldly care, and each polluting stain.
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352 With gracious smile the Queen her favourite heard,
353 And fondly raised, and clasped her to her breast;
354 A beam of triumph in her eye appeared,
355 While ardent Psyche offered her request,
356 Which to the indignant knight her pride confest:
357 "Farewell, mistaken Psyche!" he exclaims,
358 Rising at length with grief and shame opprest,
359 Since thy false heart a spouse divine disclaims,
360 I leave thee to the pomp which here thy pride enflames. "
361 "Yet stay, impetuous youth," the Queen replies,
362 Abashed, irresolute as Psyche stands,
363 "My favourite's happiness too dear I prize,
364 Far other services my soul demands
365 Than those which here in these sequestered lands
366 Her zeal would pay: no, let her bear my fame
367 Even to the bowers where Love himself commands:
368 There shall my votary reign secure from blame,
369 And teach his myrtle groves to echo to my name.
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370 My lovely servant still defend from harms,
371 And stem with her yon strong opposing tide:
372 Haste, bear her safely to her lover's arms!
373 Be it thy care with steady course to guide
374 The light-winged bark I will myself provide.
375 Depart in peace! thou chosen of my heart!
376 Leave not thy faithful knight's protecting side.
377 Dear to me both, oh may no treacherous art
378 Your kindred souls divide, your fair alliance part!
379 Here rest to-night! to-morrow shall prepare
380 The vessel which your destined course shall speed.
381 Lo! I consign my Psyche to thy care,
382 Oh gallant youth! for so hath Fate decreed,
383 And Love himself shall pay the generous meed. "
384 She said, and joined their unreluctant hands.
385 The grateful knight, from fear and sorrow freed,
386 Receives with hope revived the dear commands,
387 And Psyche's modest eye no other law demands.
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388 Now Peace with downy step and silent hand
389 Prepares for each the couch of soft repose:
390 Fairest attendant! she with whispers bland
391 Bids the obedient eye in slumbers close;
392 She too the first at early morning goes
393 With light-foot Cheerfulness the guests to greet,
394 Who soothed by quiet dreams refreshed arose,
395 Ready the labours of the day to meet;
396 But first due homage pay at Castabella's feet.
397 Bright was the prospect which before them shone;
398 Gay danced the sun-beams o'er the trembling waves:
399 Who that the faithless ocean had not known,
400 Which now the strand in placid whispers laves,
401 Could e'er believe the rage with which it raves
402 When angry Boreas bids the storm arise,
403 And calls his wild winds from their wintry caves?
404 Now soft Favonius breathes his gentlest sighs,
405 Auspicious omens wait, serenely smile the skies.
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406 The eager mariners now seize the oar,
407 The streamers flutter in the favouring gale.
408 Nor unattended did they leave the shore:
409 Hymen, whose smiles shall o'er mischance prevail,
410 Sits at the helm, or spreads the swelling sail:
411 Swift through the parting waves the vessel flies,
412 And now at distance scarce can Psyche hail
413 The shore, so fast receding from her eyes,
414 Or bless the snowy cliffs which o'er, the coast arise.
415 Pleased with her voyage and the novel scene,
416 Hope's vivid ray her cheerful heart expands:
417 Delighted now she eyes the blue serene,
418 The purple hills, and distant rising lands,
419 Or, when the sky the silver queen commands,
420 In pleasing silence listens to the oar
421 Dashed by the frequent stroke of equal hands;
422 Or asks her knight if yet the promised shore
423 May bless her longing eyes when morn shall light restore?
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424 The impatient question oft repeated thus
425 He smiling hears, and still with many a tale,
426 Or song of heavenly lore unknown to us
427 Beguiles the live-long night, or flagging sail
428 When the fresh breeze begins their bark to fail.
429 Strong ran the tide against the vessel's course,
430 And much they need the kind propitious gale
431 Steady to bear against its rapid force,
432 And aid the labouring oars, their tedious last resource.
433 But lo! the blackening surface of the deep
434 With sullen murmurs now begins to swell,
435 On ruffled wing the screaming sea fowl sweep
436 The unlovely surge, and piteous seem to tell
437 How from the low-hung clouds with fury fell
438 The demons of the tempest threatening rage;
439 There, brooding future terrors, yet they dwell,
440 Till with collected force dread war they wage,
441 And in convulsive gusts the adverse winds engage.
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442 The trembling Psyche, supplicating Heaven,
443 Lifts to the storm her fate-deploring eye,
444 Sees o'er her head the livid lightnings driven:
445 Then, turned in horror from the blazing sky,
446 Clings to her knight in speechless agony:
447 He all his force exerts the bark to steer,
448 And bids the mariners each effort try
449 To escape the rocky coast which threatens near,
450 For Hymen taught the youth that dangerous shore to fear.
451 Who has not listened to his tuneful lay,
452 That sings so well the hateful cave of Spleen?
453 Those lands, submitted to her gloomy sway,
454 Now open to their view a dreary scene,
455 As the sad subjects of the sullen queen
456 Hang o'er the cliffs, and blacken all the strand;
457 And where the entrance of the cave is seen
458 A peevish, fretful, melancholy band,
459 Her ever wrangling slaves, in jarring concert stand.
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460 Driven by the hurricane they touch the shore,
461 The frowning guards prepare to seize their prey,
462 The knight (attentive to the helm no more)
463 Resumes his arms, and bids his shield display
464 Its brilliant, orb: "Psyche, let no dismay
465 " Possess thy gentle breast, "he cheerly cries,
466 Behind thy knight in fearless safety stay,
467 Smile at the dart which o'er thee vainly flies,
468 Secure from each attack their powerless rage despise.
469 Soon shall the fury of the winds be past,
470 Serener skies shall brighten to our view,
471 Let us not yield to the imperious blast
472 Which now forbids our vessel to pursue
473 Its purposed course; soon shall the heavens renew
474 Their calm clear smile; and soon our coward foes,
475 Despairing thus our courage to subdue,
476 Shall cease their idle-weapons to oppose,
477 And unmolested peace restore our lost repose. "
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478 Still as he spoke, where'er he turned his shield
479 The darts drop quivering from each slackened bow,
480 Unnerved each arm, no force remains to wield
481 The weighty falchion, or the javelin throw;
482 Each voice half choked expires in murmurs low,
483 A dizzy mist obscures their wondering sight,
484 Their eyes no more their wonted fury know,
485 With stupid awe they gaze upon the knight,
486 Or, as his voice they hear, trembling disperse in flight.
487 Yet raged the storm with unabated power;
488 A little creek the labouring vessel gains;
489 There they resolve to endure the blustering hour,
490 The dashing billows, and the beating rains.
491 Soon as the bark the sheltering bay attains,
492 And in the shallows moored securely rides,
493 Attentive still to soften all her pains,
494 The watchful knight for Psyche's ease provides;
495 Some fisher's hut perchance the shelving harbour hides.
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496 Deep in the steril bank a grotto stood,
497 Whose winding caves repel the inclement air,
498 Worn in the hollowed rock by many a flood
499 And sounding surge that dashed its white foam there,
500 The refuge now of a defenceless fair,
501 Who issuing thence, with courteous kind intent
502 Approached the knight, and kindly bad him share
503 Whatever good indulgent heaven had lent
504 To cheer her hapless years in lonely suffering spent.
505 More sweet than health's fresh bloom the wan hue seemed
506 Which sat upon her pallid cheek; her eye,
507 Her placid eye, with dove-like softness beamed;
508 Her head unshielded from the pitiless sky,
509 Loose to the rude wild blast her tresses fly,
510 Bare were her feet which prest the shelly shore
511 With firm unshrinking step; while smilingly
512 She eyes the dashing billows as they roar,
513 And braves the boisterous storms so oft endured before.
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514 Long had she there in silent sorrow dwelt,
515 And many a year resigned to grief had known;
516 Spleen's cruel insolence she oft had felt,
517 But never would the haughty tyrant own,
518 Nor heed the darts which, from a distance thrown,
519 Screened by her cavern she could safely shun;
520 The thorny brakes she trod for food alone,
521 Drank the cold stream which near the grotto run,
522 And bore the winter's frosts and scorching summer' sun.
523 In early youth, exchanging mutual vows,
524 Courage had wooed and won his lovely bride;
525 Tossed on those stormy seas, her daring spouse
526 From her fond arms the cruel waves divide,
527 And dashed her fainting on that rock's rough side.
528 Still hope she keeps, and still her constant heart
529 Expects to hail with each returning tide
530 His dear remembered bark; hence can no art
531 From those unlovely scenes induce her to depart.
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532 When the vexed seas their stormy mountains roll,
533 She loves the shipwrecked mariner to cheer;
534 The trembling wretch escaped from Spleen's control,
535 Deep in her silent cell conceals his fear,
536 And panting finds repose and refuge here;
537 Benevolently skilled each wound to heal,
538 To her the sufferer flies, with willing ear
539 She wooes them all their anguish to reveal,
540 And while she speaks, they half forget the woes they feel.
541 Now to her cave has Patience gently brought
542 Psyche, yet shuddering at the fearful blast,
543 Largely she heaped with hospitable thought
544 The blazing pile, and spread the pure repast;
545 O'er her chilled form her own soft mantle cast,
546 And soothed her wearied spirits to repose,
547 Till all the fury of the storm is past,
548 Till swift receding clouds the heavens disclose,
549 And o'er subsiding waves pacific sunshine glows.

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    Title (in Source Edition): [Psyche] Canto V.
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    Genres: narrative verse

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    Tighe, Mary, 1772-1810. Psyche, With Other Poems. London: Printed for LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN, PATERNOSTER-ROW, 1811, pp. [143]-175. 314p. (Page images digitized by University of California Libraries.)

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