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THE STORY OF SALMACIS AND
FROM THE FOURTH BOOK OF OVID'S
row Salmacis, with weak enfcebling streams,
And what the secret cause, fhall here be shown;
The cause is secret, but th' effect is known.
The Naïads nurft an infant heretofore,
That Cytherea once to Hermes bore :
From both th' illuftrious authors of his race
The child was nam'd; nor was it hard to trace
Both the bright parents through the infant's face.
When fifteen years, in Ida's cool retreat,
The boy had told, he left his native seat,
And fought fresh fountains in a foreign foil :
The pleasure lefsen'd the attending toil.
With eager steps the Lycian fields he crost,
And fields that border on the Lycian coast;
A river here he view'd so lovely bright,
It shew'd the bottom in a fairer light,
Nor kept a fand concealid from human fight :
The stream produc'd nor flimy ooze, nor weeds,
Nor miry rushes, nor the spiky reeds;
But dealt enriching moisture all around,
The fruitful banks with chearful verdure crown'd,
And kept the spring eternal on the ground,
A nymph prefides, nor practis’d in the chace,
Nor skilful at the bow, nor at the race;
Of all the blue-ey'd daughters of the main,
*The only stranger to Diana's train :
Her sisters often, as 'tis said, wou'd
« Fy, Salmacis, what always idle! fy,
" Or take thy quiver, or thy arrows teize,
* And mix the toils of hunting with thy ease."
Nor quiver she nor arrows e'er would seize,
Nor mix the toils of hunting with her ease.
But oft would bathe her in the crystal tide,
Oft with a comb her dewy locks divide;
Now in the limpid streams she view'd her face,
And drest her image in the floating glass :
On beds of leaves the new repos’d her limbs,
Now gather'd flowers that grew about her streams ;
And then by chance was gathering, as she stood
To view the boy, and long for what the view'd.
Fain would he meet the youth with hasty feet, She fain would meet him, but refus'd to meet Before her looks were set with nicest care, And well deserv'd to be reputed fair. “ Bright youth, she cries, whom all thy features prove “ A god, and, if a god, the god of love ; ." But if a mortal, bleft thy nurse's breast : “ Blest are thy parents, and thy fifters bleft; 6 But oh how blest! how more than blest thy bride, “ Ally'd in bliss, if any yet ally'd. « If fo, let mine the stol'n enjoyments be; “ If not, behold a willing bride in me."
The boy knew nought of love, and touchit with shame, He strove, and blusht, but still the blush became; In rising blushes still fresh beauties rose; The funny side of fruit such blushes shows, And such the moon, when all her filver' white Turns in eclipfes to a ruddy light. The nymph-Itill begs, if not a nobler bliss, A cold falute at least, a fister's kiss : And now prepares to take the lovely boy Between her arms. He, innocently coy, Replies, “ Or leave me to myself alone, “ You rude uncivil nymph, or I 'll be gone." “ Fair stranger then,” says fhe, “ it shall be so ;" And, for the fear'd his threat, the feign’d to go ; But, hid within a covert's neighbouring green, She kept him ftill in fight, herself unseen. The boy now fancies all the danger o'er, And innocently sports about the shore; Playful and wanton to the stream he trips, And-dips his foot, and shivers as he dips. The coolness. pleas’d him, and with eager halte His airy garments on the banks he cast; His godlike features, and his heavenly hue, And all his beauties, were expos'd to view. His naked limbs the nymph with rapture spies, While hotter passions in her bosom rise, Flush in her cheeks, and sparkle in her eyes. She longs, the burns to clasp him in her arms, And looks and fighs, and kindles at his charms.
Now all undreft upon the banks he stood, And clapt his fides, and leapt into the flood :
His lovely limbs the filver waves divide,
His limbs appear more lovely, through the tide;
As lilies shut within a crystal case,
Receive a glossy lustre from the glass,
“ He's mine, he's all my own,” the Naïad cries;
And Alings off all, and after him the flies.
And now the fastens on him as he swims,
And holds him close, and wraps about his limbs.
The more the boy resisted, and was coy,
The more she clapt, and kift the fruggling boy.
So when the wriggling fnake is snatch'd on high
In eagle's claws, and hifles in the fky,
Around the foe his twirling tail he flings,
And twists her legs, and writhes about her wings.
The restless boy ftill obstinately strove
To free himself, and still refus'd her love.
Amidst his limbs the kept her limbs intwind,
" And why, coy youth, she cries, why thus unkind?
the gods thus keep us ever join'd!
" Oh may we never, never part again !"
So pray'd the nymph, nor did she pray in vain :
For now she finds him, as his limbs the prest,
Grow nearer still, and nearer to her breast;
Till, piercing each the other's flesh, they run
Together, and incorporate in one :
Last in one face are both their faces joind,
As when the stock and grafted twig combin'd
up the same, and wear a common rind:
Both bodies in a single body mix,
A single body with a double fex.
'The boy, thus loft in woman, now survey'd
The river's guilty stream, and thus he pray'd,
(He pray’d, but wonder'd at his softer tone,
Surpriz’d to hear a voice but half his own)
You parent gods, whose heavenly names I bear,
Hear your Hermaphrodite, and grant my prayer;
Oh grant, that whomsoe'er these streams contain,
If man he enter'd, he may rise again
Supple, unsinew'd, and but half a man!
The heavenly parents answer'd, from on high,
Their two-shap'd son, the double votary;
Then gave a secret virtue to the flood,
And ting'd its source to inake his wishes good.