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ASTREA: A POEM.

ADDRESSED TO MYRA.

« Astrea's altar burned With holy incense."

The action of this Poem may be placed between the years 1194 and 1645.

THE FIRST CANTO.

6 The Cretan soil,"

the wild Dictean cave Where Jove was born, the ever verdant meads of Ida.”

AKENSIDE.

1.
A voice came to me in my youth—66 Aspire!"
It thrilled my veins, it swathed iny soul in fire.
Lo! Enulation walked before my sight,
With flowing vest, and visage passing bright;
Her step unequal; and her piercing eye,
Bent never, held high commerce with the sky,
Disdaining to affect less height ; and oft,
Incentive, lifted she her hand aloft,
To where the Muses nine blent many a tone ;
And radiant Fame sate on her glorious throne
Of meteors, blazing on a tablet high,
Where, graved in letters of eternity,
Meed is recorded of those sons of soul,*
Whose thoughts have been ethereal as their goal.

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CANDIA! mild clime swayed by the temperate year,
Where storm and winter seldom dare

appear,
And summer is but spring with warmer glow;
Where Gargara never felt the gelid snow,
Nor arid heat broke the parched ground below :
The earth one emerald, and the sky but one
Eternal sapphire, and a softened sun-
Land of the legislating sage-the wise
Jove's confidant-the favourite of the skies-
To whom the eternal arbiters of Fate
Awarded, after bis terrestrious date,

66 Such bliss to one alone
Of all the sons of soul was known."- COLLINS.

The Judgment-seat of Hell-that Judge severe,
Round whom the dead await with awful fear,
While he the urn of doom impartial rolls,
And metes the changeless destiny to souls-
Sea-ambient Isle, by Amalthea crowned,
The general commerce to the nations round,
Where wine and oil in rich abundance flow,
And corn and fruitage loads the trading prow –
Candia! of thee, th' untutored Muse would sing,
And thence the honey-store of fancy bring,
For Love's great altar, a pure offering;-
MYRA will smile on verses such as these,
And for the poet's sake, their faults will please.

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11.

FULL-RICHLY, on the royal Banquet-board,
Into the wine-cup is the malmsey* poured-
And why neglected thus? For that, the gods
Would half resign their nectar and abodes-
Ye courtiers, why neglect the luscious draught?
More luscious than the grape by Bacchus quaffed!
Fame stays their hands, and bids their bosoms swell,
Ambitious of SABINA's praise to tell:
Suffused in the superior cloudless ray

Of virtue, which around her sheds the day,
E'en Envy's changed to emulous Esteem;
(Though glows each courtier with the charming theme,
And culls such flowers from Fancy's procreant store
That never Muse gave favoured poet more).
Thus, day by day, the syren tale prevails,
And, though oft told, description never fails:
The story pleased the monarch, and he felt
His amorous heart with rising passion melt,
To see the peerless fair ;-the wild control
Of fancy soon resolved his ardent soul,
But for awhile he sate in silent thought,
And o'er his brow were deeper circles wrought:
The Lyrist of the Court-(of whom the Muse
Ere long will further tell)-his Master views;
And waked the music of his lyre to cheer
The deep intensity discovered there.

ODE.
1.

CUPID! who may scorn thy sway?
All the wise, the good, the great,
Gods and men thy rule obey,
Beauty thine ethereal mate.

*Candia is plentifully covered with corn and fruit-trees. The neighbouring hills are overspread with vineyards, which produce the malmsey

of Mount Ida.

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On her bosom now agen,

Feels his burning hand so nigh, That the little space between, Any rose-leaf might supply.

10.

On the margin of the sea,

Now she feels his breath of fire, Trembles in his grasp, and he

Trembles too with fierce desire.

11.

Down the beach, and in the sea
Dives the desperate maid—and now,

Defies her memory,
Goddess-virgin of the bow!

12.

Who may then defy thy power?
Mightiest Love! since Minos, held
Wisest, mightiest, in one hour,
By a single shaft was quelled!

III.

The lyrist ceased: -Now cleared the monarch's brow,
And with his eye his aspect brightened now;
And round the board he turns his doubtful view,
As on strange quest, and strict enquiry too.
Anon, it glanced upon the nearest guest,
That courtier on his right-and fixed to rest-
Of courtiers he the chief, the slave of gold,
By whom his sovereign's smile was basely sold.
Well was he skilled in every quaint deceit,
To make a bad deed to the conscience sweet;
His master's favourite-but of every peer
MENESTHUS was at once the scorn and fear.
Apart with him the monarch communed-" Well-
Think'st thou, my friend, that Fame, who loves to swell
Each object of her blazon, and for sport
Confound distinction in her vague report,
Exalt the humble, and abase the high,
Beauty denude, and gloss deformity,
Hath not more lavish in her lustre been,
Than what the subject warrants, were it seen ?"

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"My sovereign, were she seen, would soon confess
Fame hath no power to paint her loveliness,
More bright, more varied, less to be pourtrayed
Than Iris' own inimitable braid.

ARISTES' humble bed enjoys the dame
Whom Nature never meant for mortal flame;

But for the starry court of heaven designed
Such beauty, virtue, majesty combined.

Some with these spells would challenge wealth and power,
She finds content within the fragrant bower;
Their greatest wealth is in their blissful lot,
And mutual love reigns-revels in their cot.
No woman e'er was found so fair and true,
One thought of change her bosom never knew ;
And aye, wherever nuptial faith is famed,
There, as a proverb, is Sabina named.”

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"Well!-how, unknown, shall we admittance gain To this chaste Juno's dome, and worship at her fane?” "Nay,-would my sovereign doff his regal dress, And take a meaner garb, and feign distress."Agreed-it likes me well-the thought is good'Tis frolicksome, and I'm in sportive mood." Awhile their purpose gives a thoughtless birth To futile laughter, and time-wasting mirth.

IV.

Disguised as one a fief to Fortune's frown,
To all, except his confidant, unknown,
The king to IDA wends. At length in clouds
Its awful head the rock tremendous shrouds.
HAIL! sacred IDA-birth-place of great Jove-
Oft visited divinely from above;

Thy wild Dictean caves, and verdant plains,
Have to thee consecrate the Muse's strains;
Thy holy grotto where his early day
The sire of gods passed actively away,
Where yet mysterious stands his unseen throne,
Or each ninth year by Minos seen alone;
When thither came the judge, on import high,
To the impartial God of earth and sky,

Firm justice there in secret to review,
And the famed Tables of the Law renew.

Thee Ide, thy Cave, thy Grot, thy shadowy Throne,
I hail with holy awe, and trembling tone;
Haply in ancient song of more renown,
Yet to the young untutored bard unknown ;
But still he hopes that, on some happier day,
He shall be read in every olden lay-
The greenwood on thy sacred summit grows,
Adown thy side delicious malmsey* flows.

-Sacred and fair, oh, Ide! I've sung of thee;
Lo, ANTILISTOS cometh, and they flee:

The initiate bard can cull no sweets for song,
Where virtue falls before the power of wrong.
If tigers roam, though not in quest of prey,
Yet, should some victim lie athwart their way,
Their savage nature stirs them up to slay-
Such mischief lurks at Ida's giant foot,

But free from theft when unprovoked by fruit.
A prince degenerate-slave of every ill-
Who wields his power to wreak his froward will;
Who sternly sways fair Candia's fertile plains,
And trammels Freedom with despotic chains. ́

*We hope not too violent a metonomy.

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