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THE following translations were selected from many others done by the author in his youth; for the most part indeed but a sort of exercise, while he was improving himself in the languages, and carried by his early bent to poetry to perform them rather in verse than prose. Mr. Dryden's Fables came out about that time, which occasioned the Translations from Chaucer. They were first separately printed in miscellanies by J. Tonson and B. Lintot, and afterwards collected in the quarto edition of 1717. The Imitations of English Author's, which are added at the end, were done as early, some of them at fourteen or fifteen years old; but having also got into miscellanies, we have put them here together to complete this juvenile volume. - Pope, in vol. iii. of his works published 1736.
SAPPHO TO PHAON.”
TRANSLATED FROM OVID.
Say, lovely youth, that dost my heart command,
Can Phaon's eyes forget his Sappho's hand ?
Must then her name the wretched writer prove,
To thy remembrance lost, as to thy love?
m, and took this poetical ladover, called
1 Sappho, a famous Greek poetess, was called by the ancients the Tenth Muse. An inconstant lover, called Phaon, occasioned great calamities to this poetical lady. She fell desperately in love with him, and took a voyage to Sicily in pursuit of him, he having withdrawn himself thither on purpose to avoid her. It was in that island she is supposed to have written her hymn to Venus ..., Her hymn was ineffectual in procuring that happiness which she prayed for in it, and Sappho was so transported with the violence of her passion that she determined to get rid of it at any price,
There was a promontory in Acarnania called Leucate, on the top of which was a sinall temple sacred to Apollo. In this teinple it was
Ask not the cause that I new numbers choose,
The lute neglected, and the lyric muse;
Love taught my tears in sadder notes to flow, ;
And tuned my heart to elegies of woe.
I burn, I burn, as when through ripened corn
By driving winds the spreading flames are borne!
Phaon to Ætna's scorching fields retires,
While I consume with more than Ætna's fires !
No more my soul a charm in music finds,
Music has charms alone for peaceful minds.
Soft scenes of solitude no more can please,
Love enters there, and I'm my own disease.
No more the Lesbian dames my passion move,
Once the dear objects of my guilty love;
All other loves are lost in only thine,
Ah, youth ungrateful to a flame like mine!
Whom would not all those blooming charms surprise,
Those heavenly looks, and dear deluding eyes ?
The harp and bow would you like Phæbus bear,
A brighter Phoebus Phaon might appear;
Would you with ivy wreathe your flowing hair,
Not Bacchus' self with Phaon could compare :
Yet Phæbus loved, and Bacchus felt the flame,
One Daphne warmed, and one the Cretan dame,
Nymphs that in verse no more could rival me,
Than ev'n those gods contend in charms with thee.
The muses teach me all their softest lays,
And the wide world resounds with Sappho’s praise ;
Though great Alcæus' more sublimely sings,
And strikes with bolder rage the sounding strings,
No less renown attends the moving lyre,
Which Venus tunes, and all her loves inspire;
To me what nature has in charms denied,
Is well by wit's more lasting flame supplied.
Though short my stature, yet my name extends
To heav'n itself, and earth’s remotest ends.
Brown as I am, an Ethiopian dame
Inspired young Perseus with a gen'rous flame;
Turtles and doves of diff'ring hues unite,
And glossy jet is paired with shining white.
If to no charms thou wilt thy heart resign,
But such as merit, such as equal thine,
By none, alas! by none thou canst be moved,
Phaon alone by Phaon must be loved!
Yet once thy Sappho could thy cares employ,
Once in her arms you centred all your joy:
No time the dear remembrance can remove,
For oh! how vast a memory has love!
My music, then, you could for ever hear,
And all my words were music to your ear.
You stopped with kisses my enchanting tongue,
And found my kisses sweeter than my song.
In all I pleased, but most in what was best;
And the last joy was dearer than the rest.
Then with each word, each glance, each motion fired,
You still enjoyed, and yet you still desired,
Till all dissolving in the trance we lay,
And in tumultuous raptures died away.
The fair Sicilians now thy soul inflame;
Why was I born, ye gods, a Lesbian dame?
But ah beware, Sicilian nymphs! nor boast
That wand'ring heart which I so lately lost;
Nor be with all those tempting words abused,
Those tempting words were all to Sappho used.
And you that rule Sicilia's happy plains,
Have pity, Venus, on your poet's pains.
Shall fortune still in one sad tenor run,
And still increase the woes so soon begun?
Inured to sorrow from my tender years,
My parent's ashes drank my early tears:
My brother next, neglecting wealth and fame,
Ignobly burned in a destructive flame:
An infant daughter late my griefs increased,
And all a mother's cares distract my breast.
Alas, what more could fate itself impose,
But thee, the last and greatest of my woes?
No more my robes in waving purple flow,
Nor on my hand the sparkling diamonds glow;
No more my locks in ringlets curled diffuse
The costly sweetness of Arabian dews,
Nor braids of gold the varied tresses bind,
That fly disordered with the wanton wind:
For whom should Sappho use such arts as these ?
He's gone, whom only she desired to please!
Cupid's light darts my tender bosom move,
Still is there cause for Sappho still to love: .
So from my birth the sisters' fixed my doom,
And gave to Venus all my life to come;
Or while my muse in melting notes complains,
My yielding heart keeps measure to my strains.
By charms like thine which all my soul have won,
Who might not-ah! who would not be undone ?
For those Aurora Cephalus ? might scorn,
And with fresh blushes paint the conscious morn.
For those might Cynthia lengthen Phaon's sleep,
And bid Endymion nightly tend his sheep.
Venus for those had rapt thee to the skies,
But Mars on thee might look with Venus' eyes.
O, scarce a youth, yet scarce a tender boy!
0, useful time for lovers to employ!
Pride of thy age, and glory of thy race,
Come to these arms, and melt in this embrace!
The vows you never will return, receive;
And take at least the love you will not give.
See, while I write, my words are lost in tears;
The less my sense, the more my love appears.
Sure 'twas not much to bid one kind adieu,
(At least to feign was never hard to you)
“Farewell, my Lesbian love,” you might have said,
Or coldly thus, “Farewell, oh Lesbian maid!”
No tear did you, no parting kiss receive,
Nor knew I then how much I was to grieve.
No lover's gift your Sappho could confer,
And wrongs and woes were all you left with her.
No charge I gave you, and no charge could give,
But this, “ Be mindful of our loves, and live.”
Now by the Nine, those powers adored by me,
And Love, the god that ever waits on thee,
When first I heard (from whom I hardly knew)
That you were fled, and all my joys with you,
Like some sad statue, speechless, pale I stood,
Grief chilled my breast, and stopped my freezing
No sigh to rise, no tear had pow'r to flow,
Fixed in a stupid lethargy of woe:
But when its way th’impetuous passion found,
I rend my tresses, and my breast I wound,
I rave, then weep, I curse, and then complain;
Now swell to rage, now melt in tears again.
Not fiercer pangs distract the mournful dame,
Whose first-born infant feeds the fun’ral flame.
My scornful brother with a smile appears,
Insults my woes, and triumphs in my tears;
His hated image ever haunts my eyes,
“And why this grief? thy daughter lives,” he cries.
Stung with my love, and furious with despair,
All torn my garments, and my bosom bare,
My woes, thy crimes, I to the world proclaim;
Such inconsistent things are love and shame!
'Tis thou art all my care and my delight,
My daily longing, and my dream by night:
Oh, night more pleasing than the brightest day,
When fancy gives what absence takes away,
And, dressed in all its visionary charms,
Restores my fair deserter to my arms!
Then round your neck in wanton wreaths I twine,
Then you, methinks, as fondly circle mine;
A thousand tender words I hear and speak;
A thousand melting kisses give, and take: