Abbildungen der Seite

This nymph the God Cephisus had abus'd,
With all his winding waters circumfus'd,
And on the Nereid got a lovely boy,
Whom the soft maids ev'n then beheld with joy.

The tender dame, folicitous to know
Whether her child should reach old age or no,
Consults the fage Tiresas, who replies,
6. If e'er he knows himself, he surely dies."

Long liv'd the, dubious mother in fufpenfe, „Till time unriddled all the prophet's sense.

Narcissus now his sixteenth year began,
Just turn'd of boy, and on the verge of man;
Many a friend the blooming youth carefs d,
Many a love-fick maid her fame confess'd.
Such was his pride, in vain the friend caress’d,
The love-fick maid in vain her flame confess’d.

Once, in the woods, as he pursued the chace,
The babbling Echo had defcry'd his face;
- She, who in others' words her filence breaks,
. Nor speaks herself but when another speaks.
Echo was then a maid, of speech bereft,
Of wonted speech; for though her voice was left,
Juno à curfe did on her tongue impose,
To sport with every sentence in the closet
Full often, when the goddess might have caught
Jove and her rivals in the


fault, This nymph with subtle-stories would delay Her coming, till the lovers Nipp'd away. The Goddess found out the deceit in time, And then she cryd, “ That tongue, for this thy crime, 4* Which could so many subtle tales produce, 66. Shall be hereafter but of little use." Hence

Hence 'tis the prattles in a fainter tone,
With mimic sounds, and accents not her own.

This love-lick virgin, over-joy'd to find
The boy alone, still follow'd him behind;
When glowing warmly at her near approach,
As sulphur blazes at the taper's touch,
She long'd her hidden passion to reveal,
And tell her pains, but had not words to tell :
She can't begin, but waits for the rebound,
-To catch his voice, and to return the found.

The nymph, when nothing could Narcisus move,
Still dash'd with blushes for her flighted love,
Liv'd in the shady covert of the woods,
In solitary caves and dark abodes;
Where pining wander'd the rejected fair,
Till, harass'd out, and worn away with care,
The founding skeleton, of blood bereft,
Besides her bones and voice had nothing left.
· Her bones are petrify'd, her voice is found
In vaults, where still it doubles




THUS did the nymph in vain caress the boy,
He still was lovely, but he still was coy:
When one'fair virgin of the flighted train
Thus pray'd the gods, provok’d by his disdain,

Oh may he love like me, and love like me in vain!"
Rhamnusia pity'd the negle&ted fair,
And with just vengeance answer'd to her prayer.

There ftands a fountain in a darksome wood, Nor stain’d with falling leaves nor rising mud;



Untroubled by the breath of winds it rests,
Unfully'd by the touch of men or beasts;
High bowers of shady trees above it grow,
And rising grass and chearful greens below.
Pleas’d with the form and coolness of the place,
And over-heated by the morning chace,
Narcissus on the grasly verdure lies :
But whilst within the crystal fount he tries
To quench his heat, he feels new heats arise.
For, as his own bright image he survey'd,
He fell in love with the fantastic sade;
And o'er the fair resemblance hung unmov’d,
Nor knew, fond youth! it was himself he lov’d,
The well-turn'd neck and shoulders he defcries,
The spacious forehead, and the sparkling eyes ;
The hands that Bacchus might not scorn to show,
And hair that round Apollo's head might flow,
With all the purple youthfulness of face,
That gently blushes in the watery glass.
By his own flames consum'd, the lover lies,
And gives himself the wound by which he dies.
To the cold water oft he joins his lips,
Oft catching at the beauteous shade he dips
His arms, as often from himself he flips.
Nor knows he who it is his arms pursue
With eager clasps, but loves he knows not who.
What could, fond youth, this helpless paffion move?
What kindle in thee this unpity'd love ?
Thy own warm blush within the water glows,
With thee the colour'd shadow comes and goes,



[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Its empty being on thyself relies;
Step thou aside, and the frail charmer dies.

Still o'er the fountain's watery gleam he food, Mindless of neep, and negligent of food; Still view'd his face, and languish'd as he view'd. At length he rais'd his head, and thus began To vent his griefs, and tell the woods his pain : " You trees, says he, and thou surrounding grove, “ Who oft have been the kindly scenes of love, • Tell me, if e'er within your shades did lie “ A youth fo tortur'd, so perplex'd as I! " I who before me see the charming fair, " Whilst there he stands, and yet he stands not there : “ In such a maze of love my thoughts are lost; 6. And yet no bulwark'd town, nor diftant coast, « Preferves the beauteous youth from being feen, 66 No mountains rise, nor oceans flow between. « A lallow water hinders.


embrace ; * And yet the lovely mimic wears a face " That kindly smiles, and when I bend to join 56 My lips to his, he fondly bends to mine. “ Hear, gentle youth, and pity my complaint, " Come from thy well, thou fair inhabitant. “ My charms an easy conquest have obtain'd « O’er other hearts; by thee alone disdain'd. “ But why should I despair? I 'm sure he burns « With equal flames, and languishes by turns. “ When-e’er I stoop, he offers at a kiss; " And when my arms I stretch, he stretches his. 6. His eye with pleasure on my face he keeps, 66 He smiles my smiles, and when I weep


* When

6 When-e'er I speak, his moving lips appear “ To utter fomething, which I cannot hear.

« Ah wretched me! I now begin too late “ To find out all the long perplex'd deceit; “ It is myself I love, myself I see ; “ The gay delufion is a part of me. “ I kindle up the fires by which I burn, “ And my own beauties from the well return. “ Whom should I court? How utter my complaint ?

Enjoyment but produces my restraint, “ And too much plenty nakes me die for want. “ How gladly would I from myself remove ! " And at a distance set the thing I love. “ My breast is warm'd with such unusual fire, “ I wish him absent whom I most defire. “And now I faint with grief ; my fate draws nigh ; “ In all the pride of blooming youth I die. “ Death will the sorrows of my heart relieve. “ O might the visionary youth survive, “ I fould with joy my latest breath refign! “ But, oh! I fee his fate involv'd in mine,"

This faid, the weeping youth again return'd To the clear fountain, where again he burn'd; His tears defac'd the surface of the well, With circle after circle, as they fell : And now the lovely face but half appears, O'er-run with wrinkles, and deform'd with tears, « Ah whither, cries Narcissus, doit thou fly? “ Let me still feed the flame by which I die ; Let me still see, though I 'm no further bleft." Then rends his garment off, and beats his brcast :


M 2

« ZurückWeiter »