An oriental allegory by a young Oxford Fellow who went on to a distinguished career as an orientalist and judge in Calcutta. The story is taken from Alexander Dow's Tales Translated from the Persian of Inatulla of Delhi (1768). The Goddess fulfills the wishes of a sequence of figures representing Pleasure, Glory, Riches, and Knowledge, with uniformly unhappy results. The allegory recalls other eighteenth-century Judgement of Hercules poems, though Maia herself eventually chooses to live in retirement.
Preface: "The hint of the next poem, or The Palace of Fortune, was taken from an Indian tale, translated a few years ago from the Persian by a very ingenious gentleman in the service of the India-company; but I have added several descriptions, and episodes, from other Eastern writers, have given a different moral to the whole piece, and have made some other alterations in it, which may be seen by any one, who will take the pains to compare it with the story of Roshana, in the second volume of the tales of Inatulla" iii.
Critical Review: "The title of the second poem is, The Palace of Fortune, the hint of which was taken from one of the tales of Inatulla. Our author, however, has made some alterations, and added several descriptions and episodes from other Eastern writers" 33 (April 1772) 316.
London Magazine: "These poems, though they contain many very indifferent lines, are yet greatly above the standard of mediocrity; and they will become the subject of admiration, when they are considered as the juvenile productions of the celebrated author of the Persian Grammar, whose genius and industry seem to grasp the whole extent of human science" 41 (April 1772) 189.
George Dyer: "Sir William Jones, the author of Asiatic Researches, published a volume of eastern poems, long before he visited the East. In 1784 he was appointed chief judge in India, with an annual salary of £8000. In 1794 he died, and left behind him a fortune of £60,000. In India he passed his life as an economist and a philosopher" The Poet's Fate (1797) 4n.
Robert Southey to William Taylor of Norwich: "How the Hindoo fables could ever appear poetical to Sir William Jones, is to me inconceivable: their intricacy unfits them. Much as the ground has been travelled over, I doubt whether any one could trace the outline of a map. The Edda is the most magnificent of all these systems, if indeed it ever was more than a poet's creed. I will one day graft a story upon it, to contrast with my oriental picture in Thalaba" 27 October 1799; in J. W. Robberds, Memoir of the Life and Writings of William Taylor of Norwich (1843) 1:304.
Nathan Drake: "Sir William Jones has particularly distinguished himself by several incomparable translations of, and acute criticisms on the poets of the east" Literary Hours (1800) 2:203.
The Portico [Baltimore]: "His poetry is melodious, often beautiful, and never fatiguing: it seems to partake of the richness of language and imagery of the oriental bards. He planned but never executed an epic poem, which he intended as a completion of a design of Spenser, as explained in a letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, prefixed to the Fairy Queen, and the object of which was to draw a character of a perfect king of England. Some of our readers will remember that Pope had thought of, but never executed, a heroick poem on the same subject, to wit, the Discovery of Great Britain, by a Phoenician prince. Sir William Jones intended to introduced the Hindu deities into his poem, of which he has left some specimens in blank verse. It was well, however, for mankind that this great man's schemes of practical usefulness kept his mind so incessantly engaged, that it was unable to dwell long, at any one time, on the delightful, but more speculative suggestions of Calliope" "Life of Sir William Jones" 4 (July-August 1817) 96-77.
Henry Francis Cary: "To the name of poet, as it implies the possession of an inventive faculty, Sir William Jones has but little pretension. He borrows much; and what he takes he seldom makes better. Yet some portion of sweetness and elegance must be allowed him.... Of the Palace of Fortune, an Indian tale, the conclusion is unexpected and affecting" "Sir William Jones" London Magazine 4 (December 1821) 637-38.
Robert Southey: "The Hindoo is a vile mythology, a tangle of thread fragments which require the touch of a faery's distaff to unravel and unite them. There is no mapping out the country, no reducing to shape the chaotic mass. It is fitter for the dotage dreams of Sir William Jones, than the visions of the poet. Let the wax-nose be tweaked by Volney on one side and Maurice on the other!" Common-Place Book (1849-51) 4:11.
Sir William Jones's marriage poem, "The Muse Recalled, on the Nuptials of Lord Viscount Althorp" is an irregular ode that may owe something to Spenser's Epithalamion.
Mild was the vernal gale, and calm the day,
When Maia near a crystal fountain lay,
Young Maia, fairest of the blue-eyed maids,
That rov'd at noon in Tibet's musky shades;
But, haply, wandering through the fields of air,
Some fiend had whisper'd — Maia, thou art fair!
Hence swelling pride had fill'd her simple breast,
And rising passions robb'd her mind of rest;
In courts and glitt'ring tow'rs she wish'd to dwell,
And scorn'd her lab'ring parent's lowly cell:
And now, as gazing o'er the glassy stream,
She saw her blooming cheek's reflected beam,
Her tresses brighter than the morning sky,
And the mild radiance of her sparkling eye,
Low sighs and trickling tears by turns she stole,
And thus discharg'd the anguish of her soul:
"Why glow those cheeks, if unadmir'd they glow?
Why flow those tresses, if unprais'd they flow?
Why dart those eyes their liquid ray serene,
Unfelt their influence, and their light unseen?
Ye heav'ns! was that love-breathing bosom made
To warm dull groves, and cheer the lonely glade?
Ah, no: those blushes, that enchanting face
Some tap'stried hall or gilded bow'r might grace;
Might deck the scenes, where love and pleasure reign,
And fire with am'rous flames the youthful train."
While thus she spoke, a sudden blaze of light
Shot through the clouds, and struck her dazzled sight:
She rais'd her head, astonish'd, to the skies,
And veil'd with trembling hands her aching eyes;
When through the yielding air she saw from far
A goddess gliding in a golden car,
That soon descended on the flow'ry lawn,
By two fair yokes of starry peacocks drawn:
A thousand nymphs with many a sprightly glance
Form'd round the radiant wheels an airy dance,
Celestial shapes, in fluid light array'd;
Like twinkling stars their beamy sandals play'd:
Their lucid mantles glitter'd in the sun,
(Webs half so bright the silkworm never spun)
Transparent robes, that bore the rainbow's hue,
And finer than the nets of pearly dew
That morning spreads o'er ev'ry op'ning flow'r,
When sportive summer decks his bridal bow'r.
The queen herself, too fair for mortal sight
Sat in the centre of encircling light.
Soon with soft touch she rais'd the trembling maid,
And by her side in silent slumber laid:
Straight the gay birds display'd their spangled train,
And flew refulgent through th' aerial plain;
The fairy band their shining pinions spread,
And as they rose fresh gales of sweetness shed;
Fan'd with their flowing skirts, the sky was mild,
And heav'n's blue fields with brighter radiance smil'd.
Now in a garden deck'd with verdant bow'rs
The glitt'ring car descends on bending flow'rs:
The goddess still with looks divinely fair
Surveys the sleeping object of her care;
Then o'er her cheek her magick finger lays,
Soft as the gale that o'er a vi'let plays,
And thus in sounds, that favor'd mortals hear,
She gently whispers in her ravish'd ear:
"Awake, sweet maid, and view this charming scene
For ever beauteous, and for ever green;
Here living rills of purest nectar flow
O'er meads that with unfading flow'rets glow;
Here am'rous gales their scented wings display,
Mov'd by the breath of ever-blooming May;
Here in the lap of pleasure shalt thou rest,
Our lov'd companion, and our honor'd guest."
The damsel hears the heav'nly notes distil,
Like melting snow, or like a vernal rill;
She lifts her head, and, on her arm reclin'd,
Drinks the sweet accents in her grateful mind:
On all around she turns her roving eyes,
And views the splendid scene with glad surprize;
Fresh lawns, and sunny banks, and roseate bow'rs,
Hills white with flocks, and meadows gem'd with flow'rs;
Cool shades, a sure defence from summer's ray,
And silver brooks where wanton damsels play,
That with soft notes their dimpled crystal roll'd
O'er colour'd shells and sands of native gold:
A rising fountain play'd from ev'ry stream,
Smil'd as it rose, and cast a transient gleam,
Then gently falling in a vocal show'r
Bath'd ev'ry shrub, and sprinkled ev'ry flow'r,
That on the banks, like many a lovely bride,
View'd in the liquid glass their blushing pride;
Whilst on each branch, with purple blossoms hung
The sportful birds their joyous ditty sung.
While Maia, thus entranc'd in sweet delight,
With each gay object fed her eager sight,
The goddess mildly caught her willing hand,
And led her trembling o'er the flow'ry land:
Soon she beheld where, through an op'ning glade
A spacious lake its clear expanse display'd;
In mazy curls the flowing jasper wav'd
O'er its smooth bed, with polish'd agate pav'd;
And on a rock of ice by magic rais'd
High in the midst a gorgeous palace blaz'd;
The sunbeams on the gilded portals glanc'd,
Play'd on the spires, and on the turrets danc'd;
To four bright gates four iv'ry bridges led,
With pearls illumin'd, and with roses spread:
And now, more radiant than the morning sun
Her easy way the gliding goddess won;
Still by her hand she held the fearful maid,
And, as she pass'd the fairies homage paid:
They enter'd strait the sumptuous palace-hall,
Where silken tapestry emblaz'd the wall,
Refulgent tissue, of an heav'nly woof;
And gems unnumber'd sparkled on the roof,
On whose blue arch the flaming diamonds play'd,
As on a sky with living stars inlay'd:
Of precious diadems a regal store,
With globes and sceptres, strew'd the porph'ry floor;
Rich vests of eastern kings around were spread,
And glitt'ring zones a starry radiance shed:
But Maia most admir'd the pearly strings,
Gay bracelets, golden chains, and sparkling rings.
High in the centre of the palace, shone,
Suspended in mid-air, an opal throne:
To this the queen ascends with royal pride,
And sets the favor'd damsel by her side.
Around the throne in mystick order stand
The fairy train, and wait her high command;
When thus she speaks: (the maid attentive sips
Each word that flows, like nectar, from her lips.)
'Favorite of heaven, my much lov'd Maia, know,
From me all joys, all earthly blessings, flow:
Me suppliant men imperial Fortune call,
The mighty empress of yon rolling ball:"
(She rais'd her finger, and the wond'ring maid
At distance hung the dusky globe survey'd,
Saw the round earth with foaming oceans vein'd,
And lab'ring clouds on mountain tops sustain'd.)
"To me has fate the pleasing task assign'd,
To rule the various thoughts of humankind;
To catch each rising wish, each ardent prayer,
And some to grant, and some to waste in air:
Know farther; as I rang'd the crystal sky,
I saw thee near the murm'ring fountain lie;
Mark'd the rough storm that gather'd in thy breast,
And knew what care thy joyless soul opprest.
Strait I resolv'd to bring thee quick relief,
Ease every weight, and soften every grief;
If in this court contented thou canst live,
And taste the joys these happy gardens give:
But fill thy mind with vain desires no more,
And view without a wish yon shining store:
Soon shall a num'rous train before me bend,
And kneeling votaries my shrine attend;
Warn'd by their empty vanities beware,
And scorn the folly of each human prayer."
She said; and strait a damsel of her train
With tender fingers touch'd a golden chain:
Now a soft bell delighted Maia hears
That sweetly trembles on her list'ning ears;
Through the calm air the melting numbers float,
And wanton echo lengthens every note.
Soon through the dome a mingled hum arose,
Like the swift stream that o'er a valley flows;
Now louder still it grew, and still more loud,
As distant thunder breaks the bursting cloud:
Through the four portals rush'd a various throng,
That like a wintry torrent pour'd along:
A crowd, of ev'ry tongue, and ev'ry hue,
Tow'rd the bright throne with eager rapture, flew.
A lovely stripling stepp'd before the rest
With hasty pace, and tow'rd the goddess prest;
His mien was graceful, and his looks were mild,
And in his eye celestial sweetness smil'd:
Youth's purple glow, and beauty's rosy beam
O'er his smooth cheeks diffus'd a lively gleam;
The floating ringlets of his musky hair
Wav'd on the bosom of the wanton air:
With modest grace the goddess he addrest,
And, thoughtless, thus prefer'd his fond request:
"Queen of the world! whose wide-extended sway,
Gay youth, firm manhood, and cold age obey,
Grant me, while life's fresh blooming roses smile,
The day with varied pleasures to beguile;
Let me on beds of dewy flow'rs recline,
And quaff, with glowing lips, the sparkling wine;
Grant me to feed on beauty's rifled charms,
And clasp a willing damsel in my arms,
Her bosom fairer than a hill of snow,
And gently bounding like a playful roe,
Her lips more fragrant than the summer air;
And sweet as Scythian musk her hyacinthine hair;
Let new delights each dancing hour employ,
Sport follow sport, and joy succeed to joy."
The goddess grants the simple youth's request,
And, mildly thus accosts her lovely guest:
"On that smooth mirror, full of magick light,
Awhile, dear Maia, fix thy wand'ring sight."
She looks; and in th' enchanted crystal sees
A bower o'er canopied with tufted trees:
The wanton stripling lies beneath the shade,
And by his side reclines a blooming maid;
O'er her fair limbs a silken mantle flows,
Through which her youthful beauty softly glows,
And part conceal'd and part disclos'd to sight,
Through the thin texture casts a ruddy light,
As the ripe clusters of the mantling vine
Beneath the verdant foliage faintly shine,
And, fearing to be view'd by envious day,
Their glowing tints unwillingly display.
The youth, while joy sits sparkling in his eyes,
Pants on her neck, and on her bosom dies;
From her smooth cheek nectareous dew he sips,
And all his soul comes breathing to his lips.
But Maia turns her modest eyes away,
And blushes to behold their am'rous play.
She looks again, and sees with sad surprize
On the clear glass far diff'rent scenes arise:
The bow'r, which late outshone the rosy morn,
O'erhung with weeds she saw, and rough with thorn;
With stings of asps the leafless plants were wreath'd;
And curling adders gales of venom breath'd:
Low sat the stripling on the faded ground,
And, in a mournful knot, his arms were bound;
His eyes, that shot before a sunny beam,
Now scarcely shed a sad'ning, dying gleam,
Faint as a glimm'ring taper's wasted light,
Or a dull ray that streaks the cloudy night:
His crystal vase was on the pavement roll'd,
And from the bank was fall'n his cup of gold;
From which, th' envenom'd dregs of deadly hue
Flow'd on the ground in streams of baleful dew,
And, slowly stealing through the wither'd bow'r,
Poison'd each plant, and blasted ev'ry flow'r:
Fled were his slaves, and fled his yielding fair,
And each gay phantom was dissolv'd in air;
Whilst in their place was left a ruthless train,
Despair, and grief, remorse, and raging pain.
Aside the damsel turns her weeping eyes,
And sad reflections in her bosom rise;
To whom thus mildly speaks the radiant queen:
"Take sage example from this moral scene;
See! how vain pleasures sting the lips they kiss,
How asps are hid beneath the bow'rs of bliss!
Whilst ever fair the flow'r of temp'rance blows,
Unchang'd her leaf and without thorn her rose,
Smiling she darts her glitt'ring branch on high,
And spreads her fragrant blossoms to the sky."
Next to the throne she saw a knight advance,
Erect he stood, and shook a quiv'ring lance;
A fiery dragon on his helmet shone;
And on his buckler beam'd a golden sun;
O'er his broad bosom blaz'd his jointed mail
With many a gem, and many a shining scale;
He trod the sounding floor with princely mien,
And thus with haughty words address'd the queen:
"Let falling kings beneath my jav'lin bleed,
And bind my temples with a victor's meed;
Let ev'ry realm that feels the solar ray,
Shrink at my frown, and own my regal sway:
Let Ind's rich banks declare my deathless fame,
And trembling Ganges dread my potent name."
The queen consented to the warrior's pray'r;
And his bright banners floated in the air;
He bade his darts in steely tempests fly,
Flames burst the clouds, and thunder shake the sky;
Death aim'd his lance, earth trembled at his nod,
And crimson conquest glow'd where'er he trod.
And now the damsel, fix'd in deep amaze,
Th' enchanted glass with eager look surveys:
She sees the hero in his dusky tent,
His guards retir'd, his glimm'ring taper spent;
His spear, vain instrument of dying praise,
On the rich floor with idle state he lays;
His gory falchin near his pillow stood,
And stain'd the ground with drops of purple blood;
A busy page his nodding helm unlac'd,
And on the couch his scaly hauberk plac'd:
Now on the bed his weary limbs he throws
Bath'd in the balmy dew of soft repose:
In dreams he rushes o'er the gloomy field,
He sees new armies fly, new heroes yield;
Warm with the vig'rous conflict he appears,
And ev'n in slumber seems to move the spheres.
But lo! the faithless page with stealing tread
Advances to the champion's naked head;
With his sharp dagger wounds his bleeding breast,
And steeps his eyelids in eternal rest:
Then cries, (and waves the steel that drops with gore)
"The tyrant dies; oppression is no more."
Now came an aged sire with trembling pace,
Sunk were his eyes, and pale his ghastly face;
A ragged weed of dusky hue he wore,
And on his back a pond'rous coffer bore.
The queen with falt'ring speech he thus addrest:
"O, fill with gold thy true adorer's chest."
"Behold," said she, and wav'd her pow'rful hand,
"Where yon rich hills in glitt'ring order stand:
There load thy coffer, with the golden store;
Then bear it full away, and ask no more.'
With eager steps he took his hasty way,
Where the bright coin in heaps unnumber'd lay;
There hung enamour'd o'er the gleaming spoil,
Scoop'd the gay dross, and bent beneath the toil.
But bitter was his anguish, to behold
The coffer widen and its sides unfold:
And, ev'ry time he heap'd the darling ore,
His greedy chest grew larger than before;
Till spent with pain, and falling o'er his hoard,
With his sharp steel his mad'ning breast he gor'd:
On the lov'd heap he cast his closing eye,
Contented on a golden couch to die.
A stripling, with the fair adventure pleas'd,
Stepp'd forward, and the massy coffer seiz'd:
But with surprize he saw the stores decay,
And all the long-sought treasures melt away;
In winding streams the liquid metal roll'd,
And through the palace ran a flood of gold.
Next, to the shrine advanc'd a reverend sage,
Whose beard was hoary with the frost of age;
His few grey locks a sable fillet bound,
And his dark mantle flow'd along the ground:
Grave was his port, yet show'd a bold neglect,
And fill'd the young beholder with respect;
Time's envious hand had plough'd his wrinkled face,
Yet on those wrinkles sat superior grace;
Still full of fire appear'd his vivid eye,
Darted quick beams, and seem'd to pierce the sky.
At length, with gentle voice and look serene,
He wav'd his hand, and thus address'd the queen:
"Twice forty winters tip my beard with snow,
And age's chilling gusts around me blow:
In early youth, by contemplation led,
With high pursuits my flatter'd thoughts were fed;
To nature first my labors were confin'd,
And all her charms were open'd to my mind,
Each flow'r that glisten'd in the morning dew,
And ev'ry shrub that in the forest grew:
From earth to heaven I cast my wond'ring eyes,
Saw suns unnumber'd sparkle in the skies,
Mark'd the just progress of each rolling sphere,
Describ'd the seasons, and reform'd the year.
At length sublimer studies I began,
And fix'd my level'd telescope on man;
Knew all his pow'rs, and all his passions trac'd,
What virtue rais'd him, and what vice debas'd:
But when I saw his knowledge so confin'd,
So vain his wishes, and so weak his mind,
His soul, a bright obscurity at best,
And rough with tempests his afflicted breast,
His life, a flow'r ere ev'ning sure to fade,
His highest joys, the shadow of a shade;
To thy fair court I took my weary way,
Bewail my folly, and heav'n's laws obey,
Confess my feeble mind for pray'rs unfit
And to my maker's will my soul submit:
Great empress of yon orb that rolls below,
On me the last best gift of heav'n bestow."
He spoke: a sudden cloud his senses stole,
And thickening darkness swam o'er all his soul;
His vital spark her earthly cell forsook,
And into air her fleeting progress took.
Now from the throng a deaf'ning sound was heard,
And all at once their various pray'rs prefer'd;
The goddess, wearied with the noisy crowd,
Thrice wav'd her silver wand, and spoke aloud:
"Our ears no more with vain petitions tire,
But take unheard whate'er you first desire."
She said: each wish'd, and what he wish'd obtain'd;
And wild confusion in the palace reign'd.
But Maia, now grown senseless with delight,
Cast on an em'rald ring her roving sight;
And, ere she could survey the rest with care,
Wish'd on her hand the precious gem to wear.
Sudden the palace vanish'd from her sight,
And the gay fabrick melted into night;
But, in its place, she view'd with weeping eyes
Huge rocks around her, and sharp cliffs arise:
She sat deserted on the naked shore,
Saw the curl'd waves, and heard the tempest roar;
Whilst on her finger shone the fatal ring,
A weak defence from hunger's pointed sting,
From sad remorse, from comfortless despair,
And all the painful family of care!
Frantick with grief her rosy cheek she tore,
And rent her locks, her darling charge no more:
But when the night his raven wing had spread,
And hung with sable ev'ry mountain's head,
Her tender limbs were numb'd with biting cold,
And round her feet the curling billows roll'd;
With trembling arms a rifted crag she grasp'd,
And the rough rock with hard embraces clasp'd.
While thus she stood, and made a piercing moan,
By chance her em'rald touch'd the rugged stone;
That moment gleam'd from heav'n a golden ray,
And taught the gloom to counterfeit the day:
A winged youth, for mortal eyes too fair,
Shot, like a meteor, through the dusky air;
His heav'nly charms o'ercame her dazzled sight,
And drown'd her senses in a flood of light;
His sunny plumes, descending, he display'd,
And softly thus address'd the mournful maid:
"Say, thou, who dost yon wondrous ring possess,
What cares disturb thee, or what wants oppress;
To faithful ears disclose thy secret grief,
And hope (so heav'n ordains) a quick relief."
The maid replied: "Ah, sacred genius! bear
A hopeless damsel from this land of care;
Waft me to softer climes and lovelier plains,
Where nature smiles, and spring eternal reigns."
She spoke; and, swifter than the glance of thought,
To a fair isle his sleeping charge he brought.
Now morning breath'd: the scented air was mild,
Each meadow blossom'd, and each valley smil'd;
On ev'ry shrub the pearly dewdrops hung,
On ev'ry branch a feather'd warbler sung;
The cheerful spring her flow'ry chaplets wove,
And incense-breathing gales perfum'd the grove.
The damsel wak'd; and, lost in glad surprise,
Cast round the gay expanse her open'ng eyes,
That shone with pleasure, like a starry beam,
Or moonlight sparkling on a silver stream.
She thought some nymph must haunt that lovely scene,
Some woodland goddess, or some fairy queen;
At least she hop'd in some sequester'd vale
To hear the shepherd tell his amorous tale:
Led by these flatt'ring hopes from glade to glade,
From lawn to lawn, with hasty steps she stray'd;
But not a nymph by stream or fountain stood,
And not a fairy glided through the wood;
No damsel wanton'd o'er the dewy flow'rs,
No shepherd sung beneath the rosy bow'rs:
On every side she saw vast mountains rise,
That thrust their daring foreheads in the skies;
The rocks of polish'd alabaster seem'd,
And in the sun their lofty summits gleam'd.
She call'd aloud; but not a voice replied,
Save echo babling from the mountain's side.
By this had night o'ercast the gloomy scene,
And twinkling stars emblaz'd the blue serene:
Yet on she wander'd, till, with grief opprest,
She fell; and, falling, smote her snowy breast:
Now, to the heav'ns her guilty head she rears,
And pours her bursting sorrow into tears;
Then plaintive speaks, "Ah! fond mistaken maid,
How was thy mind by gilded hopes betray'd?
Why didst thou wish for bow'rs and flow'ry hills,
For smiling meadows, and for purling rills;
Since on those hills no youth or damsel roves,
No shepherd haunts the solitary groves?
Ye meads that glow with intermingled dies,
Ye flow'ring palms that from yon hillocks rise,
Ye quiv'ring brooks that softly murmur by,
Ye panting gales that on the branches die,
Ah! why has Nature through her gay domain
Display'd your beauties, yet display'd in vain?
In vain, ye flow'rs, you boast your vernal bloom,
And waste in barren air your fresh perfume.
Ah! leave, ye wanton birds, yon lonely spray;
Unheard you warble, and unseen you play:
Yet stay till fate has fix'd my early doom,
And strow with leaves a hapless damsel's tomb.
Some grot or grassy bank shall be my bier,
My maiden herse unwater'd with a tear."
Thus while she mourns, o'erwhelm'd in deep despair,
She rends her silken robes, and golden hair:
Her fatal ring, the cause of all her woes,
On a hard rock with mad'ning rage she throws;
The gem, rebounding from the stone, displays
Its verdant hue, and sheds refreshing rays:
Sudden descends the genius of the ring,
And drops celestial fragrance from his wing;
Then speaks: "Who calls me from the realms of day?
"Ask, and I grant; command, and I obey."
She drank his melting words with ravish'd ears,
And stopp'd the gushing current of her tears;
Then kiss'd his skirts, that like a ruby glow'd,
And said, "O bear me to my sire's abode."
Strait o'er her eyes a shady veil arose,
And all her soul was lull'd in still repose.
By this with flow'rs the rosy-finger'd dawn
Had spread each dewy hill and verdurous lawn;
She wak'd, and saw a new-built tomb, that stood
In the dark bosom of a solemn wood,
While these sad sounds her trembling ears invade:
"Beneath yon marble sleeps thy father's shade."
She sigh'd; she wept; she struck her pensive breast;
And bade his urn in peaceful slumber rest.
And now, in silence, o'er the gloomy land,
She saw advance a slowly-winding band;
Their cheeks were veil'd, their robes of mournful hue
Flow'd o'er the lawn, and swept the pearly dew:
O'er the fresh turf they sprinkled sweet perfume,
And strow'd with flow'rs the venerable tomb.
A graceful matron walk'd before the train,
And tun'd in notes of wo the plaintive strain:
When from her face her silken veil she drew,
The watchful maid her aged mother knew.
O'erpow'r'd with bursting joy, she runs to meet
The mourning dame, and falls before her feet:
The matron with surprize her daughter rears,
Hangs on her neck, and mingles tears with tears.
Now o'er the tomb their hallow'd rites they pay,
And form with lamps an artificial day:
Erelong the damsel reach'd her native vale,
And told, with joyful heart, her moral tale;
Resign'd to heav'n, and lost to all beside,
She liv'd contented, and contented died.