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"HILPA, MISTRESS OF THE VALLEYS, TO SHALUM, MASTER OF MOUNT TIRZAH
"In the 789th year of the creation. "What have I to do with thee, O Shalum? Thou praisest Hilpa's beauty, but art thou not secretly enamoured with the verdure of her meadows? Art thou not more affected with the prospect of her green valleys, than thou wouldest be with the sight of her person? The lowings of my herds and the bleatings of my flocks make a pleasant echo in thy mountains, and sound sweetly in thy ears. What though I am delighted with the wavings of thy forests, and those breezes of perfumes which flow from the top of Tirzah, are these like the riches of the valley?
"I know thee, O Shalum; thou art more wise and happy than any of the sons of men. Thy dwellings are among the cedars; thou searchest out the diversity of soils, thou understandest the influences of the stars, and markest the change of seasons. Can a woman appear lovely in the eyes of such a one? Disquiet me not, O Shalum; let me alone, that I may enjoy those goodly possessions which are fallen to my lot. Win me not by thy enticing words. May thy trees increase and multiply! mayest thou add wood to wood, and shade to shade! but tempt not Hilpa to destroy thy solitude, and make thy retirement populous."
The Chinese say that a little time afterwards she accepted of a treat in one of the neighbouring hills to which Shalum had in
1 The mountain tops unshorn, the rocks rejoice; The lowly shrubs partake of human voice.
vited her. This treat lasted for two years, and is said to have cost Shalum five hundred antelopes, two thousand ostriches, and a thousand tun of milk; but what most of all recommended it, was that variety of delicious fruits and potherbs, in which no person then living could any way equal Shalum.
He treated her in the bower which he had planted amidst the wood of nightingales. The wood was made up of such fruit-trees and plants as are most agreeable to the several kinds of singing-birds; so that it had drawn into it all the music of the country, and was filled from one end of the year to the other with the most agreeable concert in season.
He showed her every day some beautiful and surprising scene in this new region of woodlands; and, as by this means he had all the opportunities he could wish for, of opening his mind to her, he succeeded so well, that upon her departure she made him a kind of promise, and gave him her word to return him a positive answer in less than fifty years.
She had not been long among her own people in the valleys, when she received new overtures, and at the same time a most splendid visit from Mishpach, who was a mighty man of old, and had built a great city, which he called after his own name. Every house was made for at least a thousand years, nay, there were some that were leased out for three lives; so that the quantity of stone and timber consumed in this building is scarce to be imagined by those who live in the present age of the world. This great man entertained her with the voice of musical instruments which had been lately invented,1 and danced before her to the sound of the timbrel. He also presented her with several domestic utensils wrought in brass and iron, which had been newly found out 2 for the conveniency of life. In the meantime Shalum grew very uneasy with himself, and was sorely displeased at Hilpa for the reception which she had given to Mishpach, insomuch that he never wrote to her or spoke of her during a whole revolution of Saturn; but, finding that this intercourse went no farther than a visit, he again renewed his addresses to her; who, during his long silence, is said very often to have cast a wishing eye upon Mount Tirzah. Her mind continued wavering about twenty
1 Cf. Genesis iv: 21 2 Genesis iv: 22 3 nearly thirty years
years longer between Shalum and Mishpach; for though her inclinations favoured the former, her interest pleaded very powerfully for the other. While her heart was in this unsettled condition, the following accident happened, which determined her choice. A high tower of wood that stood in the city of Mishpach having caught fire by a flash of lightning, in a few days reduced the whole town to ashes. Mishpach resolved to rebuild the place, whatever it should cost him: and, having already destroyed all the timber of the country, he was forced to have recourse to Shalum, whose forests were now two hundred years old. He purchased these woods with so many herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and with such a vast extent of fields and pastures, that Shalum was now grown more wealthy than Mishpach; and therefore appeared so charming in the eyes of Zilpah's daughter, that she no longer refused him in marriage. On the day in which he brought her up into the mountains he raised a most prodigious pile of cedar, and of every sweet smelling wood, which reached above three hundred cubits in height; he also cast into the pile bundles of myrrh and sheaves of spikenard, enriching it with every spicy shrub, and, making it fat with the gums of his plantations. This was the burnt-offering which Shalum offered in the day of his espousals: the smoke of it ascended up to heaven, and filled the whole country with incense and perfume.
Poor little, pretty, fluttering thing,
Must we no longer live together?
And dost thou prune thy trembling wing, 3 To take thy flight thou know'st not whither?
Thy humorous vein, thy pleasing folly
Lie all neglected, all forgot:
And pensive, wavering, melancholy,
ALEXANDER POPE (1688-1744)
Moderns, beware! or if you must offend
Considered singly, or beheld too near,
Due distance reconciles to form and grace.
Those oft are stratagems which errors seem,
FROM PART II
Others for language all their care express, And value books, as women, men, for dress: Their praise is still, the style is excellent; The sense, they humbly take upon content. Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
370 The line too labours, and the words move slow;
Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain, Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Hear how Timotheus' varied lays surprise, And bid alternate passions fall and rise!_375 While, at each change, the son of Libyan Jove Now burns with glory, and then melts with love;
Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow, Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow: Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found,
380 And the world's victor stood subdued by sound!
The power of music all our hearts allow,
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK
AN HEROI-COMICAL POEM
What dire offence from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle?
[Belinda still her downy pillow pressed, Her guardian sylph prolonged the balmy
'Twas he had summoned to her silent bed The morning dream that hovered o'er her head;
A youth more glittering than a birth-night
(That e'en in slumber caused her cheek to glow)
Seemed to her ear his winning lips to lay, 25 And thus in whispers said, or seemed to say:
"Fairest of mortals, thou distinguished care Of thousand bright inhabitants of air! If e'er one vision touched thy infant thought, Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught, Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen, 31 The silver token, and the circled green,5 Or virgins visited by angel powers, With golden crowns and wreaths of heavenly flowers ;6
Hear and believe! thy own importance know, Nor bound thy narrow views to things below. Some secret truths, from learned pride concealed,
To maids alone and children are revealed. What though no credit doubting wits may