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No more my soul a charm in music finds; Music has charms alone for peaceful minds. Soft scenes of solitude no more can please; Love enters there, and I'm my own disease. No more the Lesbian dames my passion move, Once the dear objects of my guilty love; All other loves are lost in only thine, O youth, ungrateful to a flame like mine! Whom would not all those blooming charms surprise, Those heavenly looks, and dear deluding eyes? The harp and bow would you like Phebus bear, A brighter Phæbus Phaon might appear ; Would you with ivy wreath your flowing hair, Not Bacchus' self with Phaon could compare : Yet Phæbus lov'd, and Bacchus felt the flame, One Daphne warm'd, and one the Cretan dame; Nymphs that in verse no more could rival me, Than ev'n those gods contend in charms with thee. The Muscs teach me all their softest lays, And the wide world resounds with Sappho's praise. Though great Alcæus more sublimely sings, And strikes with bolder rage the sounding strings, No less renown attends the moving lyre, Which Venus tunes, and all her loves inspire; To me what nature has in charms deny'd, Is well by wit's more lasting flames supply'd. Though short my stature, yet my name extends To heav'n itself, and earth's remotest ends. Brown as I am, an Ethiopian dame Inspir'd young Perseus with a generous flame; Turtles and doves of different hues unite, And glossy jet is pair'd with shining white. If to no charms thou wilt thy heart resign, But such as merit, such as equal thine, By none, alas ! by none thou canst be mov'd, Phaon alone by Phaon must be lov'd! Yet once thy Sappho could thy cares employ, Once in her arms you centred all your joy :
No time the dear remembrance can remove, For oh! how vast a memory has love ? My music, then, you could for ever hear, And all my words were music to your ear. You stopp'd with kisses my enchanting tongue, And found my kisses sweeter than my song. In all I pleas’d, but most in what was best; And the last joy was dearer than the rest. Then with each word, each glance, each motion fir'd, You still enjoy'd, and yet you still desir'd, Till, all dissolving, in the trance we lay, And in tumultuous raptures died away. The fair Sicilians now thy soul inflame; Why was I born, ye gods! a Lesbian dame? But ah, beware, Sicilian nymphs ! nor boast That wandering heart which I so lately lost; Nor be with all those tempting words abus'd, Those tempting words were all to Sappho us'd. And you that rule Sicilia's happy plains, Have pity, Venus, on your poet's pains ! Shall fortune still in one sad tenor run, And still increase the woes so soon begun ? Inur'd to sorrow from my tender years, My parents' ashes drank my early tears: My brother next, neglecting wealth and fame, Ignobly burn'd in a destructive flame: An infant daughter late my griefs increas'd, And all a mother's cares distract my breast. Alas! what more could fate itself impose, But thee, the last, and greatest of my woes? No more my robes in waving purple flow, Nor on my hand the sparkling di'monds glow; No more my locks in ringlets curl'd diffuse The costly sweetness of Arabian dews, Nor braids of gold the varied tresses bind, That fly disorder'd with the wanton wind: For whom should Sappho use such arts as these? He's gone, whom only she desir'd to please! Cupid's light darts my tender bosom move : Still is there cause for Sappho still to love;
In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd, Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round; From opening skies may streaming glories shine, And saints embrace thee with a love like mine.
May one kind grave unite each hapless name, And graft my love immortal on thy fame! Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er, When this rebellious heart shall beat no more; If ever chance two wandering lovers brings To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs, O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads, And drink the falling tears each other sheds; Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov'd, “ O may we never love as these have lov'd!” From the full choir when loud hosannas rise, And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice, Amid that scene if some relenting eye Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie, Devotion's self shall steal a thought from heav'n, One human tear shall drop, and be forgiv'n. And sure if fate some future bard shall join lo sad similitude of griefs to mine, Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore, And image charms he must behold no more; Such if there be, who loves so long, so we!l, Let him our sad, our tender story tell; The well-sung woes will sooth my pensive ghost; He best can paint 'em who shall feel 'em most.
SAPPHO TO PHAON.
Phaon, a youth of exquisite beauty, was deeply enamoured
of Sappbo, a lady of Lesbos, from whom he met with the tenderest returns of passion : but his affection af terwards decaying he left her, and sailed for Sicily. She unable to bear the loss of her lover, hearkened to all the mad suggestions of despair; and seeing Do other remedy for her present miseries, resolved to throw herself into the sea, from Leucate, a promontory of Epirus, which was thought a cure in cases of obsti. nate love, and therefore had obtained the name of the Lover's Leap. But before she ventured upon this last step, entertaining still some fond hopes that she might be able to reclaim her inconstant, she wrote him this Epistle ; in which she gives him a strong picture of her distress and misery, occasioned by his absence; and endeavours, by all the artful insinuations and moving expressions she is the mistress of, to soothe bim to softness and a mutual feeling--[Anon.]
SAY, lovely youth, that dost my heart command,
Can Phaon's eyes forget his Sappho's hand? Must then her name the wretched writer prove, To thy remembrance lost, as to thy love? Ask not the cause that I new numbers choose, The lute neglected, and the lyric muse; Love taught my tears in sadder notes to flow, And tun'd my heart to elegies of woe. I burn, I burn, as when through ripen'd corn By driving winds the spreading flames are borne! Phaon to Ætna's scorching fields retires, While I consume with more than Ætna's fires !
So from my birth the sisters fix'd my doom,
Farewell, my Lesbian love,” you might have said ;
rend my tresses, and my breast I wound ;