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And breathes invisible flames : this homely spear,
Albeit not tipped with gold, is yet a weapon
Of heavenly temper, and inflicts like wounds.
'Tis my intent to-day to pierce the bosom
Of the most cruel and disdainful nymph
That follows in Diana's train ; nor shall
The wound of Sylvia (for the mountain maid
Is Sylvia called) be medicable: 'twas
With an immedicable wound I erst
Aminta's shepherd heart did cleave in twain,
What time he followed Sylvia up and down,
Afield, or in the dance, or in the chase.
And that my magic weapon may go deep,
I bide my time till pity shall have thawed
The ice that maidenly reserve and pride
Have fenced her heart withal; and when I see
'Tis at the softest, will I strike the blow;
And with deliberation will
So fair a deed; and lightly will go hence,
And mingle with the shepherds hereabouts
Assembled, garlanded with earliest flowers,
In their accustomed place of annual sport,
As though I were of them; for from this spot,
And from no other, will I deal the hurt,
Invisible to mortals. Yes ! to-day
These woods shall hear discourse of love in terms
Unheard before : it shall be manifest
'Twas my Divinity, myself in person,
That sped the work, and not my ministers.
I will inspire high thoughts in rustic bosoms;
And sweet sounds shall distil from rustic tongues ;
For love is love with shepherds as with heroes.
All inequalities of place or state
I level at my pleasure : 'tis the boast
And the great wonder of my supreme power
To make resound divinely as the lyre
The pipe of oaten straw: and if my mother,
Who loves not I should thus demean myself,
For so she thinks it, comprehends not this,
Then is it Venus who is blind, not Love,
Whom men by calling blind grow blind themselves.
FROM TASSO.-LOVE MISSING.
WHO reign in Heaven above,
On earth below. Dear mortals, say
Where is my darling runaway?
It was only yesterday
He pricked me with a golden dart
About the region of my heart,
As on my knees he sate at play;
On purpose or by accident;
Then mounted he on golden pinions,
And fled away from my dominions,
As though to fly from punishment.
O could I learn his whereabouts,
And conclude my fears and doubts,
All my anger I would smother :
I am his forgiving mother,
Who would essay by every art
To win him back: for every part
Of my own sphere have I searched through ;
All the celestial bodies too ;
Those that are fixed, and those that move;
But in no courts of heaven above
Can Venus find her boy, her erring Love.
best can show Love's favourite hidings: Restore him to my arms—come near with grateful
Surely, surely, ladies fair,
Love with you is fain to dwell:
In your dimples and your hair
He nestles, and like summer air
Plays about your bosom's swell.
But no, forsooth!
would not entertain The fugitive: your hearts are hardened with disdain.
But there are men of frank and gallant hearts,
To whom Love hastes, nor lightly thence departs.
To these I turn in my despair-
Where is my child, O tell me, where ?
He who tells me where Love is,
Earns the guerdon of a kiss
Of all celestial sweets compounded:
But he that brings Love back again,
A richer guerdon shall obtain,
On consummate blisses founded.
This by the dreadful Styx I swear !
Where is my child, O tell me, where ?
Has no one seen him ?—None replies.
Then I trow in some disguise
He is domiciled among you :
Surely he folds up his wings,
And away his quiver flings,
And all the shafts that lately stung you.
Though from their smart he would reprieve you,
Beware! yet listen : I will give you
Signs by which the dullest eye
May recognise him easily.
Love that plays at hide and seek,
Though old indeed in years and cunning,
Now as a very child is weak;
Now as a very child is running
Wild in many a wild excursion,
With no object save diversion.
To share his sport is loss and danger ;
Tis now good-humoured, now in anger :
And his laughter's silvery tinkling,
As 'twere in an eyelid's twinkling,
Turns to sobs of desolation :
His hair is curled in golden fashion :
And, as Fortune is portrayed,