1712
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Nereides: Eclogue XI.

Nereides: or Sea-Eclogues.

Rev. William Diaper


Eune awakes after a love-tryst on shore to discover that the tide has run out and Melvin has abandoned her. She sings a bitter lament and falls asleep again, when "Melvin approaches with the rising tide, | And in his arms enfolds his sleeping bride. | Eune, awake, with wonder view'd around; | The sea was near, and the lost Lover found." In reprinting the Nereides, John Nichols injured the deliberate earthiness of this eclogue by suppressing lines 5-7: "There, all that Love could yield, the youth enjoy'd; | 'Till with fierce Joys, and eager Transports cloy'd | She look'd, and sigh'd; his Lips she gently prest." He also modifies the concluding line from "He prest her close, and she forgot her Pain" to "And, blest with Melvin's smiles, forgot her pain."



EUNE.

Eune a wanton Nymph, and Triton Swain
Agreed a while to leave the boundless main;
And near the shore unseen they chose to kiss,
Where no Sea-rival might disturb the bliss.
O'erwhelmed with joy, his lips she gently prest;
Then murmuring fell, and slept upon his breast;
While pleasing dreams past scenes of love repeat,
And cooling breezes fan the summer's heat.
Thus as she lay entranc'd, the wanton air
Play'd on her mouth, and sported with her hair;
The boy, less kind, thus as she sleeping lay,
Rose unperceiv'd, and stole unheard away.
(For men once satiate, when the rage is o'er,
Will curse that beauty, which they now adore.)
The ebbing tide had left the sandy plain,
When Eune wak'd, and look'd, but look'd in vain.
Sad thoughts, and black despair pierc'd through her soul,
With tears she saw the distant billows roll.
She found her self forsaken, and alone,
The Triton absent, and the water gone.
Grievous she moan'd her fate, and weeping said,

"Is thus my love, my easy love betray'd?
Such scorn we may expect, nay we deserve,
When wanton souls from steady virtue swerve.
But ah! inconstant Melvin, and ingrate,
When Love was ceas'd, you might have shown your hate;
You might have kill'd me with those faithless hands,
Rather than leave me thus on parching sands.
Well may you follow the inconstant sea,
The waves are false, and you are false as they.
By both betray'd, with gnawing hunger pin'd,
I must unpity'd die, and — die for being kind.
Farewell, ye sister-nymphs, believe no more,
Nor trust the youth, nor trust the hated shore.
Farewell ye distant waves; you I forgive,
Well might you fickle prove, and Eune leave,
When he, who lov'd so much, yet could deceive.
Farewell ye sportive fish, and beauteous shells,
And shining pearls, that grow in rocky cells,
Whose polish'd orbs on twigs of coral strung
Around my neck the perjur'd Melvin hung.
Farewell, ye songs, that once were thought to please,
My voice shall calm no more the listening seas.
Unhappy fate of the soft yeilding Maid!
Whoever loves, is sure to be betray'd."

Thus the despairing Nymph complain'd alone,
'Till faint with grief, and tir'd with piteous moan,
When kinder sleep again with calm surprize
Sooth'd all her pain, and clos'd her willing eyes,
And now returning waves by slow degrees
Move on the beach, and stretch the widen'd seas.
Melvin approaches with the rising tide,
And in his arms enfolds his sleeping bride.
Eune, awake, with wonder view'd around;
The sea was near, and the lost Lover found.
"Ah! do I now, or did I dream before,
Cries the fond Nymph, when on the barren shore
Left by the sea and you, so long I mourn'd;
How were you gone, or whence are you return'd?"
"Vain dreams, reply'd the wily youth, deceive
Your wandering thoughts, and false impressions leave."
He said, and kiss'd the Nymph; she kiss'd again:
And, blest with Melvin's smiles, she forgot her pain.

[Nichols, Select Collection (1780-84) 5:242-44]