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For thee the lion loaths the taste of blood,
And roaring hunts his female through the wood :
For thee the bulls rebellow through the groves,
And tempt the stream, and snuff their absent loves.
'Tis thine, whate'er is pleasant, good, or fair :
All nature is thy province, life thy care :
Thou mad'st the world, and dost the world repair.
Thou gladder of the mount of Cytheron,
Increase of Jove, companion of the sun ;
If e'er Adonis touch'd thy tender heart,
Have pity, Goddess, for thou know'st the smart.
Alas! I have not words to tell my grief;
To vent my forrow, would be some relief;
Light sufferings give us leisure to complain ;
We groan, but cannot speak, in greater pain.
O Goddess, tell thyself what I would say,
Thou know'st it, and I feel too much to pray.
So grant my suit, as I enforce my might;
. Io love to be thy champion, and thy knight ;
A servant to thy sex, a Nave to thee,
A foe profest to barren chastity.
Nor ask I fame or honour of the field,
Nor choose I more to vanquish than to yield:
In my divine Emilia make me blest,
Let fate, or partial chance, dispose the rest :
Find thou the manner, and the means prepare ;
Poffeffion, more than conquest, is my care.
Mars is the warrior's god ; in him it lies,
On whom he favours to confer the prize ;
With smiling aspect you serenely move
In your fifth orb, and rule the realm of love.
The fates but only spin the coarser clue,
The finest of the wool is left for you.
Spare me but one small portion of the twine,
And let the sisters cut below your line :
The rest among the rubbish may they sweep,
Or add it to the yarn of some old miser's heapo
But, if you this ambitious prayer deny,
(A wish, I grant, beyond mortality,)
Then let me sink beneath proud Arcite's arms,
And, I once dead, let him possess her charms.
Thus ended he; then, with observance due,
The sacred incense on her altar threw :
The curling smoke mounts heavy from the fires;
At length it catches flame, and in a blaze expires ;
At once the gracious Goddess gave the sign,
Her statue shook, and trembled all the shrine :
Pleas'd Palamon the tardy omen took :
For, since the flames pursued the trailing smoke,
He knew his boon was granted; but the day
To distance driven, and joy adjourn'd with long delay -
Now morn with rosy light had streak’d the sky,
Up rose the sun, and up rose Emily ;
Address’d her early steps to Cynthia's fane,
In state attended by her maiden train,
Who bore the vests that holy rites require,
Incense, and odorous gums, and cover'd fire.
The plenteous horns with pleafant mead they crowng.
Nor wanted aught besides in honour of the moon.
Now while the teinple smoak’d with hallow'd steam,
They wash the virgin in a living stream
The secret ceremonies I conceal,
Uncouth, perhaps unlawful, to reveal :
But such they were as pagan use requir’d,
Perform’d by women when the men retir'd,
Whose eyes profane their chaste mysterious rites
Might turn to scandal, or obscene delights.
Well-meaners think no harm ; but for the rest,
Things sacred they pervert, and filence is the best.
Her shining hair, uncomb’d, was loosely spread,
A crown of mastless oak adorn'd her head :
When to the thrine approach'd, the spotless maid
Had kindling fires on either altar laid
(The rites were such as were observ'd of old,
By Statius in his Theban story told).
Then kneeling with her hands across her breast,
Thus lowly fhe preferr'd her chaste request.
O Goddess, haunter of the woodland green,
To whom both heaven and earth and seas are seen ;
Queen of the nether skies, where half the year
Thy filver beams defcend, and light the gloomy fphere ;
Goddess of maids, and conscious of our hearts,
So keep me from the vengeance of thy darts,
Which Niobe's devoted iffue felt,
When hissing through the skies the feather'd deaths
were dealt; As I desire to live a virgin life, Nor know the name of mother or of wife.
Thy votress from my tender years I am,
And love, like thee, the woods and fylvan game.
Like death, thou know'st, I loath the nuptial state,
And man, the tyrant of our sex, I hate,
A lowly servant, but a lofty máte ;
Where love is duty on the female fide;
On their 's mere sensual gust, and fought with surly pride.
Now by thy triple shape, as thou art seen
In heaven, earth, hell, and every where a queeny.
Grant this my first defire ; let discord cease,
And make betwixt the rivals lafting peace :
Quench their hot fire, or far from me remove
The flame, and turn it on some other love :
Or, if my frowning stars have so decreed,
That one must be rejected, one succeed,
Make him my lord, within whose faithful breafte
Is fix'd my image, and who loves me best.
But, oh! ev’n that avert ! I chuse it note.
But take it as the least unhappy lot. -
A maid I am, and of thy virgin train ;
Oh, let me still that spotless name retain !
Frequent the forests, thy chaste will obey,
And only make the beasts of chace my prey !
The flames ascend on either altar clear,
While thus the blameless maid address’d-her prayer..
When lo! the burning fire that thone so bright,
Flew off, all sudden, with extinguish'd light,
And left one altar dark, a little space ;
Which turn'd self-kindled, and renew'd the blaze;
The other victor-flame a moment stood,
Then fell, and lifeless left th’extinguish'd wood;
For ever loft, th' irrevocable light
Forsook the blackening coals, and funk to night :
At either end it whistled as it fiew,
And as the brands were green, so dropp'd the dew;
Infected as it fell with sweat of fanguine hue.
The maid from that ill omen turn'd her eyes,
And with loud shrieks and clamours rent the skies,
Nor knew what fignify'd the boding fign,
But found the powers displeas'd, and fear’d the wrath
Then shook the facred fhrine, and sudden light
Sprung through the vaulted roof, and made the temple
The power, behold! the power in glory shone,
By her bent bow and her keen arrows known ;
The rest, a huntress issuing from the wood,
Reclining on her cornel spear she stood.
Then gracious thus began : Dismiss thy fear,
And Heaven's unchang'd decrees attentive hear :
More powerful Gods have torn thee from my side,
Unwilling to resign, and doom'd a bride :
The two contending knights are weigh'd above ;
One Mars protects, and one the Queen of Love :
But which the man, is in the Thunderer's breast;
This he pronounc'd, 'tis he who loves thee best.
The fire that once extinct reviv'd again,
Forelhews the love allotted to remain :