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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.”

AKENSIDE.

1.
A voice came to me in my youth—66 Aspire!"
It thrilled my veins, it swathed iny soul in fire.
Lo! Enulation walked before my sight,
With flowing vest, and visage passing bright;
Her step unequal; and her piercing eye,
Bent never, held high commerce with the sky,
Disdaining to affect less height ; and oft,
Incentive, lifted she her hand aloft,
To where the Muses nine blent many a tone ;
And radiant Fame sate on her glorious throne
Of meteors, blazing on a tablet high,
Where, graved in letters of eternity,
Meed is recorded of those sons of soul,*
Whose thoughts have been ethereal as their goal.

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CANDIA! mild clime swayed by the temperate year,
Where storm and winter seldom dare

appear,
And summer is but spring with warmer glow;
Where Gargara never felt the gelid snow,
Nor arid heat broke the parched ground below :
The earth one emerald, and the sky but one
Eternal sapphire, and a softened sun-
Land of the legislating sage-the wise
Jove's confidant-the favourite of the skies-
To whom the eternal arbiters of Fate
Awarded, after bis terrestrious date,

66 Such bliss to one alone
Of all the sons of soul was known."- COLLINS.

The Judgment-seat of Hell-that Judge severe,
Round whom the dead await with awful fear,
While he the urn of doom impartial rolls,
And metes the changeless destiny to souls -
Sea-ambient Isle, by Amalthea crowned,
The general commerce to the nations round,
Where wine and oil in rich abundance flow,
And corn and fruitage loads the trading prow-
Candia ! of thee, th' untutored Muse would sing,
And thence the honey-store of fancy bring,
For Love's great altar, a pure offering;
MYRA will smile on verses such as these,
And for the poet's sake, their faults will please.

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11.
FULL-RICHLY, on the royal Banquet-board,
Into the wine-cup is the malmsey* poured-
And why neglected thus? For that, the gods
Would half resign their nectar and abodes
Ye courtiers, why neglect the luscious draught?
More luscious than the grape by Bacchus quaffed !
Fame stays their hands, and bids their bosoms swell,
Ambitious of SABINA's praise to tell:
Suffused in the superior cloudless ray
Of virtue, which around her sheds the day,
E'en Envy's changed to emulous Esteem ;-
(Though glows each courtier with the charining theme,
And culls such flowers from Fancy's procreant store
That never Muse gave favoured poet more).
Thus, day by day, the syren tale prevails,
And, though oft told, description never fails :
The story pleased the nionarch, and he felt
His amorous heart with rising passion melt,
To see the peerless fair ;-the wild control
Of fancy soon resolved his ardent soul,
But for a while he sate in silent thought,
And o'er his brow were deeper circles wrought:
The Lyrist of the Court-(of whom the Muse
Ere long will further tell)-bis Master views ;
And waked the music of his lyre to cheer
The deep intensity discovered there.

ODE,

1.
CUPID! who may scorn thy sway?

All the wise, the good, the great,
Gods and men thy rule obey,

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;
Like the leven flash of light,
Flies--as brilliant and as fleet.

9.
On her bosom now agen,

Feels his burning hand so nigh,
That the little space between,
Any rose-leaf might supply.

10.
On the margin of the sea,

Now she feels his breath of fire, Trembles in his grasp,

and he Trembles too with fierce desire.

11.
Down the beach, and in the sea

Dives the desperate maid - and now,
Defies her memory,

Goddess-virgin of the bow!

12.
Who may then defy thy power?

Mightiest Love ! since Mmos, beld
Wisest, mightiest, in one hour,

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.

IV.

Disguised as one a fief to Fortune's frown,
To all, except bis confidant, unknown,
The king to IDA wends. At length in clouds
Its awful head the rock tremendous shrouds.
Hail! sacred Ida-birth-place of great Jove-
Oft visited divinely from above;
Thy wild Dictean caves, and verdant plains,
Have to thee consecrate the Muse's straius ;
Thy holy grotto where his early day
The sire of gods passed actively away,
Where yet mysterious stands his unseen throne,
Or each ninth year by Minos seen alone;
When thither came the judge, on import high,
To the impartial God of earth and sky,
Firm justice there in secret to review,
And the famed Tables of the Law renew.
Thee Ide, thy Cave, thy Grot, thy shadowy Throne,
I hail with holy awe, and trembling tone;
Haply in ancient song of more renown,
Yet to the young untutored bard unknown;
But still he hopes that, on some happier day,
He shall be read in every

oldeu lay-
The greenwood ou thy sacred summit grows,
Adown thy side delicious malmsey* flows.
-Sacred and fair, oh, Ide! I've sung

of thee;
Lo, ANTILISTOS cometh, and they flee:
The initiate bard can cull no sweets for song,
Where virtue falls before the power of wrong.
If tigers roam, though not in quest of prey,
Yet, should some victim lie athwart their

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.

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