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And, like an odorous plant, whose blushing flow'r
Paints every dale, and sweetens every bow'r,
Borne to the skies in clouds of soft perfume
For ever flourish, and for ever bloom!
These grateful songs, ye maids and youths, renew,
While fresh-blown violets drink the pearly dew;
O'er Azib's banks while love-lorn damsels rove,
And gales of fragrance breathe from Hagar's grove.'
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 tent :
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.
TO LADY JONES:
From the Arabic. Written in 1783.
HILE sad suspense and chill delay
Bereave my wounded soul of rest,
New hopes, new fears, from day to day,
By turns assail my labouring breast.
My heart, which ardent love consumes,
Throbs with each agonizing thought;
So flutters with entangled plumes,
The lark in wily meshes caught.
There she, with unavailing strain,
Pours through the night her warbled grief: The gloom retires, but not her pain;
The dawn appears, but not relief.
Two younglings wait the parent bird,
Their thrilling sorrows to appease :
She comes-ah! no: the sound they heard
Was but a whisper of the breeze.
A PERSIAN SONG OF HAFIZ.
SWEET maid, if thou wouldst charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck infold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.
Boy! let yon liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate'er the frowning zealots say:-
Tell them their Eden cannot show
A stream so clear as Rocnabad,
A bower so sweet as Mosellay.
O! when these fair, perfidious maids,
Whose eyes our secret haunts infest,
Their dear destructive charms display;-
Each glance my tender breast invades,
And robs my wounded soul of rest;
As Tartars seize their destin'd prey.
In vain with love our bosoms glow:
Can all our tears, can all our sighs,
New lustre to those charms impart?
Can cheeks, where living roses blow,
Where nature spreads her richest dyes,
Require the borrow'd gloss of art?
Speak not of fate :-ah! change the theme,
And talk of odours, talk of wine,
Talk of the flowers that round us bloom :
"Tis all a cloud, 'tis all a dream:
To love and joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.
Beauty has such resistless power,
That ev'n the chaste Egyptian dame
Sigh'd for the blooming Hebrew boy;
For her how fatal was the hour,
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely and so coy!
But ah, sweet maid! my counsel hear,-
(Youth should attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage)
While music charms the ravish'd ear;
While sparkling cups delight our eyes,
Be gay; and scorn the frowns of age.
What cruel answer have I heard!
And yet, by heaven, I love thee still:
Can aught be cruel from thy lip?
Yet say, how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which nought but drops of honey sip?
Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like orient pearls at random strung:
Thy notes are sweet, the damsels say;
But O! far sweeter, if they please,
The nymph for whom these notes are sung.
Paraphrased in the Measure of the Original.
SWEET as the rose that scents the gale,
Bright as the lily of the vale,
Yet with a heart like summer hail,
Marring each beauty thou bearest.
Beauty like thine, all nature thrills;
And when the moon her circle fills,
Pale she beholds those rounder hills,
Which on the breast thou wearest.
Where could those peerless flowerets blow?
Whence are the thorns that near them grow ?
Wound me, but smile, O lovely foe,
Smile on the heart thou tearest.
Sighing, I view that cypress waist,
Doom'd to afflict me till embrac'd;
Sighing, I view that eye too chaste,
Like the new blossom smiling.
Spreading thy toils with hands divine,
Softly thou waves t like a pine,
Darting thy shafts at hearts like mine,
Senses and soul beguiling.
See at thy feet no vulgar slave,
Frantic, with love's enchanting wave,
Thee, ere he seek the gloomy grave,
Thee, his bless'd idol styling.
WAKE, ye nightingales, oh, wake!
Can ye, idlers, sleep so long?
Quickly this dull silence break;
Burst enraptur'd into song:
Shake your plumes, your eyes unclose,
No pretext for more repose.
Tell me not, that Winter drear
Still delays your promis'd tale,
That no blossoms yet appear,
Save the snow-drop in the dale:
Tell me not the woods are bare;-
Vain excuse! prepare! prepare!
View the hillock, view the meads:
All are verdant, all are gay: Julia comes, and with her leads
Health, and Youth, and blooming May: When she smiles, fresh roses blow; Where she treads, fresh lilies grow.
Hail! ye groves of Bagly, hail !
Fear no more the chilling air;
Can your beauties ever fail?
Julia has pronounc'd you fair.
She could cheer a cavern's gloom,
She could make a desert bloom.