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Story of Acis, POLYPHEMUs, and GALATEA.
From the Thirteenth Book of
CIS, the lovely youth, whose loss I mourn,
From Faunus, and the nymph Symethis
Was both his parents pleasure ; but to me
Was all that love could make a lover be.
The Gods our minds in mutual bands did join :
I was his only joy, and he was mine.
Now sixteen summers the sweet youth had seen;
And doubtful down began to Thade his chin:
When Polyphemus first disturb'd our joy,
And lov'd me fiercely, as I lov'd the boy.
Ask not which passion in my soul was high'',
My last aversion, or my first desire:
Nor this the greater was, nor that the less ;
Both were alike, for both were in excess.
Thee, Venus, thee both heav'n and earth obey;
Immense thy pow's, and boundless is thy sway.
The Cyclops, who defy'd th’ætherial throne,
And thought no thunder louder than his own,
The terror of the woods, and wilder far i Than wolves in plains, or bears in forests are,
Th'inhuman host, who made his bloody feasts
On mangled members of his butcher'd guests,
Yet felt the force of love, and fierce defire,
And burnt for me, with unrelenting fire:
Forgot his caverns, and his woolly care,
Assum'd the softness of a lover's air ;
And comb’d, with teeth of rakes, his rugged hair.
Now with a crooked seythe his beard he fleeks,
And mows the stubborn stubble of his cheeks:
Now in the crystal stream he looks, to try
His fimagres, and rowls his glaring eye.
His cruelty and thirst of blood are lost;
And ships fecurely fail along the coast.
The prophet Telemus (arriv'd by chance
Where Ætna's summits to the feas advance,
Who'mark'd the tracks of ev'ry bird that flew,
And sure presages from their flying drew)
Foretold the Cyclops, that Ulysses' hand
In his broad eye should thrust a flaming brand.
The giant, with a scornful grin, reply'd,
Vain augur, thou hast fally prophesy'd ;
Already Love his flaming brand has tost;
Looking on two fair eyes, my light I loft.
Thus, warn’d in vain, with stalking pace he
And stamp'd the margin of the briny flood
With heavy steps ; and, weary, fought agen
The cool retirement of his gloomy den.
A promontory, sharp’ning by degrees,
Ends in a wedge, and overlooks the seas :
On either side, below, the water flows :
This airy walk the giant-lover chose;
Here on the midst he fate; his flocks, unled,
Their shepherd follow'd, and securely fed.
A pine fo burly, and of length so vast,
That sailing ships requir'd it for a mast,
He wielded for a staff, his steps to guide:
But laid it by, his whistle while he try'd.
A hundred reeds, of a prodigious growth,
Scarce made a pipe proportion'd to his mouth:
Which when he gave it wind, the rocks around,
And wat’ry plains, the dreadful hiss resound.
I heard the ruffian shepherd rudely blow,
Where, in a hollow cave, I sat below;
On Acis' bosom I my head reclin'd:
And still preserve the poem
O lovely Galatea, whiter far
Than falling snows, and rising lilies are;
More flow'ry than the meads, as crystal bright;
Erect as alders, and of equal height:
More wanton than a kid; more sleek thy skin,
Than orient shells, that on the shores are seen:
Than apples fairer, when the boughs they lade;
Pleasing, as winter suns, or summer shade:
More grateful to the sight, than goodly plains ;
And softer to the touch, than down of swans,
Or curds new turn'd; and sweeter to the taste,
Than swelling grapes, that to the vintage haste:
More clear than ice, or running streams, that stray
Thro garden plots, but ah! more swift than they.
Yet, Galatea, harder to be broke
Than bullocs, unreclaim'd to bear the yoke:
And far more stubborn than the knotted oak:
Like Niding streams, impossible to hold ;
Like them fallacious ; like their fountains, cold:
More warping, than the willow, to decline
My warm embrace ; more brittle than the vine;
Immoveable, and fixt in thy disdain :
Rough, as these rocks, and of a harder grain ;
More violent, than is the rising flood:
And the prais'd peacock is not half so proud:
Fierce as the fire, and sharp as thistles are;
And more outrageous, than a mother-bear:
Deaf as the billows to the vows I make;
And more revengeful than a troden snake :
In swiftness fleeter than the flying hind,
Or driven tempefts, or the driving wind.
All other faults with patience I can bear;
But swiftness is the vice I only fear.
knew me well, you would not shun My love, but to my wish'd embraces run: Would languish in your turn, and court my stay; And much repent
your unwise delay. My palace, in the living rock, is made By nature's hand; a spacious pleasing shade; Which neither heat can pierce, nor cold invade. My garden fill'd with fruits you may behold, And grapes in clusters, imitating gold; Some blushing bunches of a purple hue: And these, and those, are all reserv'd for you. Red strawberries in shades expecting stand, Proud to be gather'd by so white a hand. Autumnal cornels latter fruit provide, And plumbs, to tempt you, turn their glofly
fide: Not those of common kinds; but such alone, As in Phæacian orchards might have grown: