Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

For oft of babes they robb’d the matron's bed,
And left some fickly changeling in their stead.

It chanc'd a youth of Albion's royal blood
Was fofter'd here, the wonder of the wood.
Milkah for wiles above her peers renown'd,
Deep-skill'd in charms and many a mystic found,
As through the regal dome lhe sought for prey,
Observ'd the infant Albion where he lay
In mantles broider'd o'er with gorgeous pride,
And stole him from the sleeping mother's side.

Who now but Milkah triumphs in her mind!
Ah, wretched nymph, to future evils blind!
The time shall come when thou shalt dearly pay
The theft, hard-hearted! of that guilty day :
Thou in thy turn shalt like the queen repine,
And all her sorrows doubled shall be thine :
He who adorns thy house, the lovely boy
Who now adorns it, shall at length destroy.

Two hundred moons in their pale course had seen
The gay-robd fairies glimmer on the green,
And Albion now had reach'd in youthful prime
To nineteen years, as mortals measure time.
Flush'd with refiftless charms he fir'd to love
Each nymph and little Dryad of the grove ;
For skilful Milkah spar'd not to employ
Her utmost art to rea the princely boy ;
Each fupple limb the swath'd, and tender bone,
And to the Elfin standard kept him down;
She-robb’d dwarf-elders of their fragrant fruit,
And fed him early with the daily's root,


Whence through his veins the powerful juices ran,
And form'd in beauteous miniature the man.
Yet still, two inches taller than the rest,
His lofty port his human birth confeft;
A foot in height, how ltately did he thow!
How look superior on the crowd below!
What knight like him could toss the rushy lance !
Who move so graceful in the mazy dance!
A shape so nice, or features half so fair,
What elf could boast ! or such a flow of hair!
Bright Kenna saw, a princess born to reign,
And felt the charmer burn in every vein.
She, heiress to this empire's potent lord,
Prais'd like the stars, and next the moon ador'd,
She, whom at distance thrones and princedoms view'd,
To whom proud Oriel and Azuriel sued,
In her high palace languifh'd, void of joy,
And pin’d in secret for a mortal boy.

He too was smitten, and discreetly strove
By courtly deeds to gain the virgin's love.
For her he cull'd the fairert flowers that

grew, Ere morning suns had draind their fragrant dew; He chac'd the hornet in his mid-day flight, And brought her glow-worms in the noon of night; When on ripe fruits she cast a wishing eye, Did ever Albion think the tree too high! He showed her where the pregnant goldfinch hung, And the wren-mother brooding o'er her young; To her th’ inscription on their eggs he read, (Admire, ye clerks, the youth whom Milkah bred).


To her he show'd each herb of virtuous juice,
Their powers distinguish d, and describ'd their use :
All vain their powers, alas' to Kenna prove,
And well sung Ovid, 6. There 's no herb for love."

As when a ghost, enlarg’d from realms below,
Seeks its old friend to tell some secret woe,
The poor thade shivering stands, and must not break
His painful silence, till the mortal speak:
So fard it with the little love-sick maid,
Forbid to utter, what her eyes betray’d.
He saw her anguish, and reveal’d his flame,
And spar'd the blushes of the tongue-ty'd dame.
The day would fail me, should I reckon o’er
The fighs they lavish’d, and the oaths they swore
In words fo melting, that compar’d with those
The nicest courtship of terrestrial beaux
Would sound like compliments, from country clowns
To red-cheek'd sweet-hearts in their home-fpun gowns.

All in a lawn of many a various hue
A bed of flowers (a fairy forest) grew ;
'Twas, here one noon, the gaudiest of the May,
The still, the secret, filent, bour of day,
Beneath a lofty tulip's ample shade
Sat the young lover and th' immortal maid.
They thought all fairies flept, ah, luckless pair !
Hid, but in vain, in the fun's noon-tide glare !
When Albion, leaning on his Kenna's breast,
Thus all the softness of his soul exprest:

• All things are hushid. The sun's meridian rays
Veil the horizon in one mighty blaze :


Nor moon nor star in heaven's blue arch is seen
• With kindly rays to filver o'er the green,
• Grateful to fairy eyes; they secret take
• Their rest, and only wretched mortals wake.
- This dead of day I fly to thee alone,
• A world to me, a multitude in one.
• Oh, sweet as dew-drops on these flowery lawns,

When the sky opens, and the evening dawns !
• Straight as the pink, that towers so high in air,
• Soft as the blow-bell ! as the daisy, fair!

Bleft be the hour, when first I was convey'd
• An infant captive to this blissful shade!
. And bleft the hand that did my form refine,
" And shrunk my stature to a match with thine !
« Glad I for thee renounce my royal birth,
.6 And all the giant-daughters of the earth.
• Thou, if thy breast with equal ardour burn,
• Renounce thy kind, and love for love return.
* So froni us two, combin'd by nuptial ties,
A race unknown of demi-gods Mall rise.
• O speak, my love ! my vows with vows repay,
• And sweetly swear my rising fears away.'

To whoin (the shining azure of her eyes
More brightend) thus th' enamour'd maid replies :

• By all the stars, and first the glorious moon,
* I swear, and by the head of Oberon,
• A dreadful oath! no prince of fairy line
• Shall e’er in wedlock plight his vows with mine.
" Where-e'er my footsteps in the dance are seen,
• May toadstools rise, and mildews blaft the green,


« May

6 May the keen east-wind blight my favourite flowers,
* And snakes and spotted adders haunt my bowers.
• Confind whole ages in an hemlock Made
• There rather pine I a neglected maid,
• Or worse, exil'd from Cynthia's gentle rays,
• Parch in the fun a thousand summer-days,
· Than any prince, a prince of fairy line,
• In sacred wedlock plight his vows with mine.'

She ended : and with lips of rosy hue
Dip'd five times over in ambrosial dew,
Stified his words. When, from his covert rear'd,
The frowning brow of Oberon appear’d.
A fun-flower's trunk was near, whence (killing sight!)
The monarch'd issued, half an ell in height:
Full on the pair a furious look he cast,
Nor spoke; but gave his bugle-horn a blast
That through the woodland echoed far and wide,
And drew a {warm of subjects to his fide.
A hundred chosen knights, in war renown'd,
Drive Albion banish'd from the sacred ground;
And twice ten myriads guard the bright abodes,
Where the proud king, amidst his demi-gods,
For Kenna's sudden bridal bids prepare,
And to Azuriel gives the weeping fair.

If fame in arms, with antient birth combin'd,
A faultless beauty, and a spotless mind,
To love and praise can generous fouls incline,
That love, Azuriel, and that praise, was thine.
Blood, only less than royal, fillid thy veins,
Proud was thy roof, and large thy fair .domains.


[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »