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The River Scamander
by [?]

I’M now disposed to give a pretty tale;
Love laughs at what I’ve sworn and will prevail;
Men, gods, and all, his mighty influence know,
And full obedience to the urchin show.
In future when I celebrate his flame,
Expressions not so warm will be my aim;
I would not willingly abuses plant,
But rather let my writings spirit want.
If in these verses I around should twirl,
Some wily knave and easy simple girl,
‘Tis with intention in the breast to place;
On such occasions, dread of dire disgrace;
The mind to open, and the sex to set
Upon their guard ‘gainst snares so often met.
Gross ignorance a thousand has misled,
For one that has been hurt by what I’ve said.

I’VE read that once, an orator renowned
In Greece, where arts superior then were found,
By law’s severe decree, compelled to quit
His country, and to banishment submit,
Resolved that he a season would employ,
In visiting the site of ancient Troy.
His comrade, Cymon, with him thither went,
To view those ruins, we so oft lament.
A hamlet had been raised from Ilion’s wall,
Ennobled by misfortune and its fall;
Where now mere names are Priam and his court;
Of all devouring Time the prey and sport.

O TROY! for me thy very name has got
Superior charms:–in story fruitful spot;
Thy famed remains I ne’er can hope to view,
That gods by labour raised, and gods o’erthrew;
Those fields where daring acts of valour shone;
So many fights were lost:–so many won.

BUT to resume my thread, and not extend
Too much the subjects which our plan suspend;
This Cymon, who’s the hero of our tale,
When walking near the banks that form the dale
Through which Scamander’s waters freely flow,
Observed a youthful charmer thither go,
To breathe the cool refreshing breeze around;
That on its verdant borders oft she’d found.
Her veil was floating, and her artless dress,
A shepherdess seemed clearly to express.
Tall, elegantly formed, with beauteous mien,
And ev’ry feature lovely to be seen,
Young Cymon felt emotion and surprise,
And thought ’twas Venus that had caught his eyes,
Who on the river’s side her charms displayed,
Those wondrous treasures all perfection made.

A GROT was nigh, to which the simple fair,
Not dreaming ills, was anxious to repair;
The heat, some evil spirit, and the place,
Invited her the moment to embrace,
To bathe within the stream that near her ran;
And instantly her project she began.

THE spark concealed himself; each charm admired;
Now this, now that, now t’other feature fired;
A hundred beauties caught his eager sight;
And while his bosom felt supreme delight,
He turned his thoughts advantages to take,
And of the maiden’s error something make;
Assumed the character, and dress; and air;
That should a wat’ry deity declare;
Within the gliding flood his vestments dipt:
A crown of rushes on his head he slipt;
Aquatick herbs and plants around he twined:
Then Mercury intreated to be kind,
And Cupid too, the wily god of hearts;
How could the innocent resist these arts?

AT length a foot so fair the belle exposed,
E’en Galatea never such disclosed;
The stream, that glided by, received the prize;
Her lilies she beheld with downcast eyes,
And, half ashamed, herself surveyed at ease,
While round the zephyrs wantoned in the breeze.

WHEN thus engaged, the lover near her drew;
At whose approach away the damsel flew,
And tried to hide within the rocky cell;
Cried Cymon, I beneath these waters dwell,
And o’er their course a sov’reign right maintain;
Be goddess of the flood, and with me reign;
Few rivers could with you like pow’rs divide;
My crystal’s clear: in me you may confide;
My heart is pure; with flow’rs I’ll deck the stream,
If worthy of yourself the flood you deem;
Too happy should this honour you bestow,
And with me, ‘neath the current, freely go.
Your fair companions, ev’ry one I’ll make
A nymph of fountains, hill, or grove, or lake;
My pow’r is great, extending far around
Where’er the eye can reach, ’tis fully found.