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But view'd the shrine with a superior look,
And its upbraided godhead thus bespoke."
With piety, the soul's securest guard,
And conscious virtue, still its own reward,
Willing I come, unknowing how to fear;
Nor shalt thou, Phoebus, find a suppliant here:
Thy monster's death to me was ow'd alone,
And 'tis a deed too glorious to disown.
Behold him here, for whom, so many days,
Impervious clouds conceal'd thy sullen rays;
For whom, as man no longer claim'd thy care, 765
Such numbers fell by pestilential air!

But if th' abandon'd race of human kind
From gods above no more compassion find;
If such inclemency in heav'n can dwell,
Yet why must unoffending Argos feel
The vengeance due to this unlucky steel?
On me, on me, let all thy fury fall,
Nor err from me, since I deserve it all,
Unless our desert cities please thy sight,
Or funeral flames reflect a grateful light.
Discharge thy shafts, this ready bosom rend,
And to the shades a ghost triumphant send:
But for my country let my fate atone;

Be mine the vengeance, as the crime my own.'
"Merit distress'd impartial Heav'n relieves:
Unwelcome life relenting Phoebus gives;




For not the vengeful pow'r, that glow'd with rage,
With such amazing virtue durst engage,
The clouds dispers'd, Apollo's wrath expir'd,

And from the wondering god th' unwilling youth



Thence we these altars in his temple raise,
And offer annual honours, feasts and praise:
Those solemn feasts propitious Phoebus please;
Those honours still renew'd his ancient wrath appease.
"But say, illustrious guest! (adjoin'd the king) 790
What name you bear from what high race you spring?
The noble Tydeus stands confess'd, and known
Our neighbour prince, and heir of Calydon,

Relate your fortunes while the friendly night
And silent hours to various talk invite."


The Theban bends on earth his gloomy eyes, Confus'd, and sadly thus at length replies : "Before these altars how shall I proclaim (O generous prince!) my nation, or my name, Or through what veins our ancient blood has roll'd? Let the sad tale for ever rest untold!

Yet if, propitious to a wretch unknown,
You seek to share in sorrows not your own,
Know then, from Cadmus I derive my race,
Jocasta's son, and Thebes my native place."
To whom the king (who felt his generous breast
Touch'd with concern for his unhappy guest)
Replies:-"Ah! why forbears the son to name
His wretched father, known too well by fame?
Fame that delights around the world to stray,
Scoras not to take our Argos in her way.
Ev'n those who dwell where suns at distance roll,
In northern wilds, and freeze beneath the pole,
And those who tread the burning Lybian lands,
The faithless syrtes, and the moving sands;
Who view the western sea's extremest bounds,
Or drink of Ganges in their eastern grounds;
All these the woes of Edipus have known,
Your fates, your furies, and your haunted town.
If on the sons the parents' crimes descend.
What prince from those his lineage can defend?
Be this thy comfort, that 'tis thine t'efface,
With virtuous acts, thy ancestors' disgrace,
And be thyself the honour of thy race.
But see! the stars begin to steal away,
And shine more faintly at approaching day:
Now pour the wine; and in your tuneful lays
Once more resound the great Apollo's praise."

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Oh, father Phoebus! whether Lycia's coast And snowy mountains thy bright presence boast; Whether to sweet Castalia thou repair, And bathe in silver dews thy yellow hair;








Or pleas'd to find fair Delos float no more,
Delight in Cynthus and the shady shore;
Or chuse thy seat in Ilion's proud abodes,
The shining structures rais'd by labouring gods:
By thee the bow and mortal shafts are borne;
Eternal charms thy blooming youth adorn;
Skill'd in the laws of secret fate above,
And the dark counsels of almighty Jove,
'Tis thine the seeds of future war to know,
The change of sceptres and impending woe;
When direful meteors spread through glowing air
Long trails of light, and shake their blazing hair,
Thy rage the Phrygian felt, who durst aspire
T'excel the music of thy heav'nly lyre;
Thy shafts aveng'd lewd Tityus' guilty flame,
Th' immortal victim of thy mother's fame;
Thy hand slew Python, and the dame who lost
Her numerous offspring for a fatal boast.
In Phlegyas' doom thy just revenge appears,
Condemn'd to furies and eternal fears;





He views his food, but dreads, with lifted eye,
The mouldering rock that trembles from on high.
Propitious hear our prayer, O pow'r divine! 855
And on thy hospitable Argos shine;

Whether the style of Titan please thee more,
Whose purple rays th' Achæmenes adore;
Or great Osiris, who first taught the swain
In Pharian fields to sow the golden grain;
Or Mithra, to whose beams the Persian bows,
And pays, in hollow rocks, his awful vows;
Mithra! whose head the blaze of light adorns,
Who grasps the struggling heifer's lunar horns."


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Phaon, a youth of exquisite beauty, was deeply enamoured of Sappho a lad of Lesbos, from whom he met with the tenderest returns of passion: but his affection afterwards decaying, he left her and sailed for Sicily. She. unable to bear the loss of her lover, hearkened to all the mad suggestions of despair; and seeing no other remedy for her present miseries, resolved to throw herself into the sea, from Leucate, a promontory of Epirus, which was thought a cure in cases of obstinate love, and therefore had obtained the name of the Lover's Leap. But before she ventured upon this last step, entertaining still some fond hopes that she might be able to reclaim her inconstant, she wrote him this epistle, in which she gives him a strong picture of her distress and misery, occasioned by his absence; and endeavours, by all the artful insinuations and moving expressions she is mistress of, to sooth him to softness and mutual feeling." [Anon.]

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?
Ask not the cause that I new numbers chuse,
The lute neglected, and the lyric Muse;
Love taught my tears in sadder notes to flow,
And tun'd my heart to elegies of woe.

I burn, I burn, as when through ripen'd corn


By driving winds the spreading flames are borne! 10
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,

Oh, youth, ungrateful to a flame like mine!



Whom would not all those blooming charms surprise,
Those heav'nly looks, and dear deluding eyes?
The harp and bow would you like Phoebus bear,
A brighter Phoebus Phaon might appear;
Would you with ivy wreath your flowing hair,
Not Bacchus' self with Phaon could compare;
Yet Phoebus lov'd, and Bacchus felt the flame,
One Daphne warm'd, 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 deny'd,
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
Inspir'd young Perseus with a generous flame.
Turtles and doves of different hues unite,
And glossy jet is pair'd 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 mov'd;
Phaon alone by Phaon must be lov'd!
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 stopp'd with kisses my enchanting tongue,




And found my kisses sweeter than my song.
In all I pleas'd, but most in what was best;
And the last joy was dearer than the rest.

Then with each word, each glance, cach motion fir'd,

You still enjoy'd, and yet you still desir'd,
Till, all dissolving, in the trance we lay,
And in tumultuous raptures died away.A
The fair Sicilians now thy soul inflame:
Why was I born, ye gods! a Lesbian dame?
But ah, beware, Sicilian nymphs! nor boast
That wandering heart which I so lately lost;
Nor be with all those tempting words abus'd,
Those tempting words were all to Sappho us'd.



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