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And as she were with vital sense possess’d,
Her head did on a plumy pillow reft.
The feast of Venus came, a solemn day,
To which the Cypriots due devotion pay;
With gilded horns the milk-white heifers led,
Slaughter'd before the sacred altars, bled :
Pygmalion offering, first approach'd the thrine,
And then with prayers implor'd the pow’rs divine :
Almighty Gods, if all we mortals want,
If all we can require, be yours to grant;
Make this fair ftatue mine, he wou'd have said,
But chang'd his words for shame, and only pray'd,
Give me the likeness of my iv'ry maid.
The goiden Goddess, present at the prayer,
Well knew he meant th' inanimated fair,
gave the sign of granting his desire;
For thrice in chearful flames ascends the fire.
The youth, returning to his mistress, hies,
And impudent in hope, with ardent eyes,
And beating breaft, by the dear ftatue lies.
He kisses her white lips, renews the bliss,
And looks and thinks they redden at the kiss :
He thought them warm before; nor longer stays,
But next his hand on her hard bosom lays :
Hard as it was, beginning to relent,
It seem'd the breast beneath his fingers bent;
He felt again, his fingers made a print,
'Twas Aesh, but flesh fo firm, it rose against the dint.
The pleasing task he fails not to renew;
Soft, and more soft at ev'ry touch it
grew; Like pliant wax, when chafing hands reduce The former mass to form, and frame to use. He would believe, but yet is still in pain, And tries his argument of sense again, Presses the pulsé, and feels the leaping vein,
Convinc'd, o'erjoyed, his studied thanks and praise,
To her who made the miracle, he pays :
Then lips to lips he join'd; now freed from fear,
He found the favour of the kiss fincere :
At this the waken'd image op'd her eyes,
And view'd at once the light and lover, with surprise.
The Goddess present at the match she made,
So bless'd the bed, such fruitfulness convey'd,
That ere ten moons had harpen'd either horn,
To crown their bliss, a lovely boy was born;
Paphos his name, who, grown to manhood, wall’d
The city Paphos, from the founder call'd.
There needs no connexion of this story with the former : for
the beginning of this immediately follows the end of the laft: the reader is only to take notice, that Orpheus, who relates both, was by birth a Thracian ; and his country far difiant from Cyprus where Myrrha was born, and from Arabia whither she fled. You will see the reason of this note, soon after the first lines of this fable.
OR him alone produc'd the fruitful queen ;
A happy prince, had he not been a fire.
Daughters and fathers from my song retire:
I sing of horror; and, could I prevail,
You shou'd not hear, or not believe
tale. Yet if the pleasure of my fong be fuch, That you
will hear, and credit me too much, Attentive listen to the last event, And with the fin believe the punishment: Since nature cou'd behold fo dire a crime, I gratulate at least my native clime, That such a land, which such a monster bore, So far is distant from our Thracian fhore. Let Araby extol her happy coast, Her cinnamon and sweet Amomum boast, Her fragrant fow'rs, her trees with precious tears, Her second harvests, and her double years ? How can the land be call'd so bless’d thatMyrrha bears?
Not all her od’rous tears can cleanse her crime,
Her plant alone deforms the happy clime :
Cupid denies to have inflam’d thy heart,
Disowns thy love, and vindicates his dart;
Some fury gave thee those infernal pains,
And shot her venom'd vipers in thy veins.
To hate thy fire, had merited a curse :
But such an impious love deserv'd a worse.
The neighb'ring monarchs, by thy beauty led,
Contend in crowds, ambitious of thy bed :
The world is at thy choice, except but one,
Except but him, thou canst not choose, alone.
She knew it too, the miserable maid,
Ere impious love her better thoughts betray'd,
And thus within her secret foul she said :
Ah Myrrha! whither wou'd thy wishes tend?
Ye Gods, ye sacred laws, my soul defend
From such a crime as all mankind detest,
And never lodg'd before in human breast !
But is it sin? Or makes my mind alone
Th’imagin’d fin? For nature makes it none.
What tyrant then these envious laws began,
Made not for any other beast but man!
The father-bull his daughter may bestride,
The horse may make his mother-mare a bride ;
What piety forbids the lusty ram,
Or more salacious goat, to rut their dam ?
The hen is free to wed her chick she bore,
And make a husband, whom she hatch'd before,
All creatures else are of a happier kind,
Whom nor ill-natur'd laws from pleasure bind,
Nor thoughts of fin disturb their peace of mind.
But man a slave of his own making lives;
The fool denies himself what nature gives :
Too busy senates, with an over-care
To make us better than our kind can bear,
Have dash'd a spice of envy in the laws,
And straining up too high, have spoild the cause.
Yet some wife nations break their cruel chains,
And own no laws, but those which love ordains :
Where happy daughters with their fires are join'd,
And piety is doubly paid in kind.
O that I had been born in such a climé,
Not here, where 'tis the country makes the crime !
But whither wou'd my impious fancy stray ?
Hence hopes, and ye forbidden thoughts away!
His worth deserves to kindle my desires,
Bat with the love that daughters bear to fires.
Then had not Cinyras my father been,
What hinder'd Myrrha's hopes to be his qucen ?
But the perverseness of my fate is such,
That's he's not mine, because he's mine too much :
Our kindred-blood debars a better tie;
He might be nearer, were he not so high.
Eyes and their objects never must unite,
Some distance is requir'd to help the fight:
Fain wou'd I travel to some foreign shore,
Never to see my native country more,
So might I to myself myself reitore;
So might my mind these impious thoughts remove,
Aod ceafing to behold, might cease to love.
But ftay I muft, to feed my familh'd fight,
To talk, to kiss; and more, if more I might:
More, impious maid! What more canst thou defign,
To make a monstrous mixture in thy line,
And break all statutes human and divine ?
Canft thou be calla (to save thy wretched life)
Thy mother's rival, and thy father's wife ?
Confound so many sacred names in one,
Thy brother's mother! sister to thy fon!
And fear'ft thou not to see th’infernal bands,
Their heads with snakes, with torches arın’d their hands,