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From Psyche ; or, the Legend of Lore.
And now the royal sacrifice prepar'd,
The milk-white bull they to the altar lead,
Whose youth the galling yoke as yet had spar'd,
Now destin'd by the sacred knife to bleed;
When lo! with sudden spring his horns he free'd,
And headlong rush'd amid the frighted throug,
While from the smoke-veil'd shrine such sounds pro-
ceed, As well might strike with awe the soul most strong, And thus divinely spoke the heav'n-inspir’d tongue:
« On nuptial couch, in noptial vest array'd, « On a tall rock's high summit Psyche place; “ Let all depart, and leave the fated maid, “ Who never must a mortal hymen grace. “ A winged monster, of no earthly race, “ Therice soon shall bear his trembling bride away; “ His power extends o'er all the bounds of space,
“ And Jove himself has own'd his dreaded sway, * Whose Aaming breath sheds fire, whom earth and
- heaven ubey."
With terror, anguish, and astonishment,
The Oracle her wretched father hears ;
Now from his brow the regal honors rent,
And now in frantic sorrow wild appears,
Nor threaten'd plagues, nor punishment he fears,
Refusing long the sentence to obey ;
Till Psyche, trembling, with submissive tears,
Bids them the sacrifice no more delay,
Prepare the funeral couch, and leave the destin'd prey.
Pleas'd by the ambiguous doom the fates promulge,
The angry goddess, and enamour'd boy,
Alike content, their various hopes indulge;
He, still exploring, with an anxious eye,
The future prospect of uncertain joy,
Plans how the tender object of his care
He may protect from threaten'd misery.
Ah, sanguine Love! so oft deceiv’d, forbear
With Aattering tints to paint illusive hope so fair,
But now what lamentations rend the skies
In amaracine wreaths the virgin choir,
With Io Hymen mingle funeral cries :
Lost in the sorrows of the Lydian lyre,
The breathing Autes' melodious notes expire,
In sad procession pass the mournful thrung,
Extinguishing with tears the torches' fire;
While the mute victim, weeping crowds among,
By unknown fears oppress'd, moves silently along.
But on such scenes of terror and dismay
The mournful Muse delights not long to dwell
She quits, well pleas'd, the melancholy lay,
Nor vainly seeks the parents' woes to tell !
But what to wondering Psyche then befell
When thus abandon'd, let her rather say,
Who shuddering looks to see some monster fell
Approach the desert rock to seize his
With cruel fangs devour, or tear her thence away.
When lo! a gentle breeze began to rise,
Breath'd by obedient Zephyrs round the maid,
Fanning her bosom with its softest sighs.
Awhile among her fluttering robes it stray'd,
And, boldly-sportive, latent charms display'd:
And then, as Cupid will’d, with tenderest care,
From the tall rock, where weeping.she was laid,
With gliding motion, through the yielding air,
To Pleasure's blooming isle their lovely charge they bear.
On the green bosom of the turf reelin'd,
They lightiy now th' astonish'd virgin lay-
To placid rest they sooth her troubled mind;
Around her still with watchful care they stay,
Around her știll with quiet whispers play,
Till lulling slumbers biu her eyelids close,
Veiling with silky Iringe each brilliant ray,
While soft tranquillity divinely flows
O'er all her soul serene, in visions of repose.
Refresh'd she rose, and all-enchanted gazed
On the rare beauties of the pleasant scene;
Conspicuous far a lofty palace blaz'd
Upon a sloping bank of softest green-
A fairer edifice was never seen.
The high-rang'd columns own no mortal hand,
But seem a temple meet for Beauty's queen:
Like polish'd snow the marble pillars stand
In grace-attemper'd majesty sublimely grand !
Gently ascending from a silvery flood,
Above the palace rose a shaded hill,
The lofty eminence was crown'd with wood ;
And the rich lawns adorn'd by Nature's skill,
The passing breezes with their odours fill.
Here ever-blooming groves of orange glow,
And here all flowers which from their leaves distill
Ambrosial dew, in sweet succession blow,
And trees of matchless size a fragrant shade bestow.
The sun looks glorious mid a sky serene,
And bids bright lustre sparkle o'er the tide ;
The clear blue ocean at a distance seen,
Bounds the gay landscape on the western side;
While closing round it, with majestic pride,
The lofty rocks ’mid citron groves arise.
“ Sure some-divinity must here reside,”
As tranc'd in some bright vision, Psyche cries,
And scarce believes the bliss, or trusts her charmed eyes.
When lo! a voice divinely sweet she hears--
From unseen lips proceeds the heavenly sound,
Psyche approach, dismiss thy timid fears, “ At length his bride thy longing spouse has found, " And bids for thee immortal joys abound; “For thee the palace rose at his command, “ For thee his love a bridal banquet crown'd; “ He bids attendant nymphs around thee stand, Prompt every wish to serve—a fond obedient band.”
Increasing wonder fill’d her ravish'd soul,
For now the pompous portals open'd wide;
There, pausing oft, with timid foot she stole
Through halls high dom'd, enrich'd with sculptura
While gay saloons appear'd on either side;
In splendid vista opening to her sight,
And all with precious gems so beautified,
And furnish'd with such exquisite delight,
That scarce the beams of heaven emit such lustre bright.
The amethyst was there of violet hue, And there the topaz shed its golden ray, The chrysoberyl, and the supphire, blue As the clear azure of a sunny day, Or the mild eyes where amorous glances play ; The snow-white jasper and the opal's flame, The blushing ruby and the agate grey, And there the gein which bears his luckless name, Whose death by Phæbus mourn’d, ensur'd him deathe