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Story of ACIS, POLYPHEMUS, and GALATEA.
From the Thirteenth Book of
CIS, the lovely youth, whofe lofs 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 fixteen fummers the fweet youth had feen;
And doubtful down began to fhade his chin:
When Polyphemus first disturb'd our joy,
And lov'd me fiercely, as I lov'd the boy.
Afk not which paffion in my foul was high'r,
My laft averfion, or my firft defire:
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;
Immenfe thy pow'r, 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
Than wolves in plains, or bears in forefts are,
Th' inhuman hoft, who made his bloody feasts
On mangled members of his butcher'd guefts,
Yet felt the force of love, and fierce defire,
And burnt for me, with unrelenting fire:
Forgot his caverns, and his woolly care,
Affum'd the foftness of a lover's air;
And comb'd, with teeth of rakes, his rugged hair.
Now with a crooked scythe his beard he fleeks,
And mows the ftubborn ftubble of his cheeks:
Now in the crystal stream he looks, to try
His fimagres, and rowls his glaring eye.
His cruelty and thirft of blood are lost;
And ships fecurely fail along the coaft.
The prophet Telemus (arriv'd by chance.
Where Ætna's fummits to the feas advance,
Who mark'd the tracks of ev'ry bird that flew,
And fure prefages from their flying drew)
Foretold the Cyclops, that Ulyffes' hand
In his broad eye fhould thruft a flaming brand.
The giant, with a fcornful grin, reply'd,
Vain augur, thou haft falfly prophesy'd;
Already Love his flaming brand has tost;
Looking on two fair eyes, my fight I loft.
Thus, warn'd in vain, with ftalking pace he strode,
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, fharp'ning by degrees,
Ends in a wedge, and overlooks the feas:
On either fide, below, the water flows
This airy walk the giant-lover chose;
Here on the midst he fate; his flocks, unled,
Their fhepherd follow'd, and securely fed.
A pine fo burly, and of length fo vast,
That failing 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 hifs refound.
I heard the ruffian fhepherd rudely blow,
Where, in a hollow cave, I fat below;
On Acis' bofom I my head reclin'd:
And still preserve the poem in my mind.
O lovely Galatea, whiter far
Than falling fnows, and rifing lilies are;
More flow'ry than the meads, as crystal bright;
Erect as alders, and of equal height:
More wanton than a kid; more fleek thy fkin,
Than orient fhells, that on the fhores are feen:
Than apples fairer, when the boughs they lade;
Pleafing, as winter fans, or fummer shade:
More grateful to the fight, than goodly plains;
And softer to the touch, than down of swans,
Or curds new turn'd; and fweeter to the tafte,
Than fwelling grapes, that to the vintage haste:
More clear than ice, or running ftreams, that stray
Thro garden plots, but ah! more fwift 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 fliding streams, impoffible 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 difdain :
Rough, as these rocks, and of a harder grain ;
More violent, than is the rifing flood:
And the prais'd peacock is not half so proud:
Fierce as the fire, and fharp 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 fnake:
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.
Yet if you knew me well, you would not fhun My love, but to my wifh'd embraces run: Would languifh in your turn, and court my stay; And much repent of your unwife delay.
My palace, in the living rock, is made By nature's hand; a fpacious pleasing shade; Which neither heat can pierce, nor cold invade. My garden fill'd with fruits you may behold, And grapes in clufters, imitating gold; Some blushing bunches of a purple hue: And these, and thofe, are all referv'd for you. Red strawberries in fhades expecting stand, Proud to be gather'd by fo white a hand. Autumnal cornels latter fruit provide, And plumbs, to tempt you, turn their gloffy fide:
Not those of common kinds; but fuch alone,
As in Phæacian orchards might have grown :