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AN ARABIAN ECLOGUE.*
[SIR W. JONES.]
YE maids of Aden! hear a loftier tale
Than e'er was sung in meadow, bow'r, or dale.
That wanton with the laughing summer-air;
* This poem, says its author, is not a regular translation from the Arabic; but most of its figures, sentiments, and descriptions are taken from the poets of that country: as are also, most of those of the two following pieces, (the Palace of Fortune, and the Seven Fountains) from the Persian, and other eastern writers. The eclogue before us, may be supposed to be written in praise of an Arabian princess, who had built a caravansera, with pleasant gardens, for the refreshment of travellers and pilgrims; an act of munificence not uncommon in Asia.-Sir W. Jones's Pre fuce to his Poems, 1772.
Invite no more the wild unpolish'd lay,
See yon fair groves that o'er Amana rise, And with their spicy breath embalm the skies; Where every breeze sheds incense o'er the vales, And every shrub the scent of musk exhales! See through yon opening glade a glittering scene, Lawns ever gay, and meadows ever green! Then ask the groves, and ask the vocal bow'rs, Who deck'd their spiry tops with blooming flow'rs, Taught the blue stream o'er sandy vales to flow, And the brown wild with liveliest hues to glow? Fair Solima! the hills and dales will sing; Fair Solima! the distant echoes ring. But not with idle shows of vain delight, To charm the soul, or to beguile the sight; At noon on banks of pleasure to repose, Where bloom intwin'd the lily, pink, and rose; Not in proud piles to heap the nightly feast, Till morn with pearls has deck'd the glowing east; Ah! not for this she taught those bowers to rise, And bade all Eden spring before our eyes:
Far other thoughts her heavenly mind employ,
To warm the traveller numb'd with winter's cold;
These are her cares, and this her glorious task;
Come to these groves, and these life-breathing glades, Ye friendless orphans, and ye dowerless maids!
With eager haste your
She hears; and, radiant as the star of day,
When, chill'd with fear, the trembling pilgrim roves
She cheers his gloom with streams of bursting light,
Ye heavens, for this in showers of sweetness shed Your mildest influence o'er her favour'd head! Long may her name, which distant climes shall praise, Live in our notes, and blossom in our lays!
And, like an odorous plant, whose blushing flow'r
These grateful songs, ye maids and youths, renew,
So sung the youth, whose sweetly-warbled strains Fair Mena heard, and Saba's spicy plains. Sooth'd with his lay, the ravish'd air was calm, The winds scarce whisper'd o'er the waving palm; The camels bounded o'er the flowery lawn, Like the swift ostrich, or the sportful fawn; Their silken bands the listening rose-buds rent, And twin'd their blossoms round his vocal tént: He sung, till on the bank the moonlight slept, And closing flowers beneath the night-dew wept; Then ceas'd, and slumber'd in the lap of rest Till the shrill lark had left his low-built nest. Now hastes the swain to tune his rapturous tales In other meadows, and in other vales.