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ASTREA: A POEM.
ADDRESSED TO MYRA.
« Astrea's altar burned With holy incense."
The action of this Poem may be placed between the years 1194 and 1645.
THE FIRST CANTO.
6 The Cretan soil,"
the wild Dictean cave Where Jove was born, the ever verdant meads of Ida.”
CANDIA! mild clime swayed by the temperate year,
66 Such bliss to one alone
The Judgment-seat of Hell-that Judge severe,
All the wise, the good, the great,
Beauty thine ethereal mate. * Candia is plentifully covered with corn and fruit-trees. The neighbouring hills are overspread with vineyards, which produce the malmsey
of Mount Ida.
2. Minos, stern as he was wise,
Might not yet thy power disown -Conquered by Dictynna's eyes,
He left 'science and renown.
3. In the woods the huntress still,
Fairest of Diana's train, Consecrated to her will, Sacred to her virgin fane,
4. Bare the bow, the quiver bare,
Chased the wild deer from the fern, For the savage laid the snare, Fierce and subtle, strong and stern:
5. "Till upon the sage's soul,
Rigid as it was and dark, All her breathing beauty stole, Glanced, and wandered like a spark,
6. Kindling soon to fiery flame,
Strong as ever on thy shrine, Bade the incense of thy fame Rise and own thee all divine !
7. Lo, she flies; lo, he pursues ;
Pants her bosom-Aush her cheeks, Mingling all their changing hues, Agitation's lovely streaks.
8. Now upon ber virgin flight,
She perceives his swifter feet;
Feels his burning hand so nigh,
Now she feels his breath of fire, Trembles in his grasp,
and he Trembles too with fierce desire.
Dives the desperate maid - and now,
Goddess-virgin of the bow!
Mightiest Love ! since Mmos, beld
By a single shaft was quelled!
III. The lyrist ceased :-Now cleared the monarch's brow, And with his eye his aspect brightened now; And round the board he turns his doubtful view, As on strange quest, and strict enquiry too. Anon, it glanced upon the nearest guest, That courtier on his right-and fixed to restOf courtiers he the chief, the slave of gold, By wbom his sovereigu's smile was basely sold. Well was he skilled in every quaint deceit, To make a bad deed to the conscience sweet; His master's favourite--but of every peer MENESTHUS was at once the scorn and fear. Apart with him the monarch communed—“WellThink'st thou, my friend, that Fame, who loves to swelt Each object of her blazon, and for sport Confound distinction in her vague report, Exalt the humble, and abase the high, Beauty denude, and gloss deformity, Hath not more lavish in her lustre been, Than what the subject warrants, were it seen?" “My sovereign, were she seen, would soon confess Fame hath no power to paint her loveliness, More bright, more varied, less to be pourtrayed Than Iris' own inimitable braid. ARIST Es' humble bed enjoys the dame Whom Nature never meant for mortal flame; But for the starry court of heaven designed Such beauty, virtue, majesty combined. Some with these spells would challenge wealth and power, She finds content within the fragrant bower ; Their greatest wealth is in their blissful lot, And mutual love reigns-revels in their cot. No woman e'er was found so fair and true, One thought of change her bosom never knew ; And
aye, wherever nuptial faith is famed, There, as a proverb, is Sabina named.”
“Well!-how, unknown, shall we admittance gain To this chaste Juno's dome, and worship at her fane ?” “ Nay,-would my sovereign doff his regal dress, And take a meaner garb, and feign distress.” “Agreed-it likes me well -- the thought is good "Tis frolicksome, and I'm in sportive od," Awhile their purpose gives a thoughtless birth To futile laughter, and time-wasting mirth.
Disguised as one a fief to Fortune's frown,
way, Their savage nature stirs them up to-slaySuch mischief lurks at Ida's giant foot, But free from theft when unprovoked by fruit. A prince degenerate-slave of every illWho wields his power to wreak his froward will; Who sternly sways fair Candia's fertile plains, And trammels Freedom with despotic chains.
* We hope not too violent a metonomy.