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Thrice-loved Adonis ! in his youth's fresh glow,
Cease ye like turtles idly thus to babble :
Who's you ? what's it to you our tongues we use ?
Nymph! grant we be at none but one man's pleasure; A rush for you — don't wipe my empty measure.
Praxinoa, hush! behold the Argive's daughter,
I'm sure she'll sing: with motion, voice, and eye,
Of Eryx, Golgos, and Idalia, Queen!
The shapes of all that creep, or take the wing, With oil or honey wrought, they hither bring ; Here are green shades, with anise shaded more ; And the young Loves him ever hover o'er, As the young nightingales, from branch to branch, Hover and try their wings, before they launch Themselves in the broad Air. But, O ! the sight Of gold and ebony ! of ivory white Behold the pair of eagles ! up they move With his cup-bearer for Saturnian Jove. And see yon couch with softest purple spread, Softer than sleep, the Samian born and bred Will own, and e'en Miletus : that pavilion Queen Cypris has — the nearer one her minion, The rosy-armed Adonis ; whose youth bears The bloom of eighteen, or of nineteen years ; Nor pricks the kiss — the red lip of the boy ; Having her spouse, let Cypris now enjoy. Him will we, ere the dew of dawn is o'er, Bear to the waves that foam upon the shore ; Then with bare bosoms and dishevelled hair, Begin to chaunt the wild and mournful air. Of all the demigods, they say, but one Duly revisits Earth and Acheron —
Thou, dear Adonis ! Agamemnon's might,
Praxinoa, did ever mortal ear
This piece was written in honour of Hiero, a prince illustrious for
the moderation with which he governed, and for his military exploits. The poet inveighs against the avarice of the wealthy men of rank, who neither cultivated in themselves the qualities that deserve glory, nor showed any favour to the poets, by whom a worthy fame is best perpetuated. He then passes to a consideration of the admirable qualities of Hiero, and praises him for his munificence. He prays for the prosperity of Syracuse, and predicts that the fame of Hiero will be known in the remotest regions. At the end of the poem, he invokes the Graces to be ever with him, that he may conciliate the favour of men.