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ORIENTAL ECLOGUES.*

ECLOGUE I.

SELIM; OR, THE SHEPHERD'S MORAL.

Scene, A VALLEY NEAR BAGDAT.-Time, THE MORNING.

Ye Persian maids, attend your poet's lays,
And hear how shepherds pass their golden days.
Not all are blest, whom Fortune's hand sustains
With wealth in courts, nor all that haunt the plains :
Well may your hearts believe the truths I tell;
'Tis virtue makes the bliss, where'er we dwell.

Thus Selim sung, by sacred Truth inspir’d;
Nor praise, but such as Truth bestow'd, desir'd:
Wise in himself, his meaning songs convey'd
Informing morals to the shepherd maid;
Or taught the swain that surest bliss to find,
What groves nor streams bestow, a virtuous mind.

* The scenery and subjects of the following eclogues alone are Oriental; the style and colouring are purely European.-I.

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When sweet and blushing, like a virgin bride, The radiant morn resum'd her orient pride, When wanton gales along the valleys play, Breathe on each flower, and bear their sweets away; By Tigris’ wandering waves he sat and sung This useful lesson for the fair and young.

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Ye Persian dames, he said, to you belong,
Well may they please the morals of my song :
No fairer maids, I trust, than you are found,
Grac'd with soft arts, the peopl'd world around !
The morn that lights you, your love supplies
Each gentler ray delicious to your eyes :
For

you those flowers her fragrant hands bestow,
And your's the love that kings delight to know.
Yet think not these, all beauteous as they are,
The best kind blessings Heaven can grant the fair!
Who trust alone in beauty's feeble ray,
Boast but the worth Bassora's pearls display ;
Drawn from the deep we own their surface bright,
But, dark within, they drink no lustrous light:

Such are the maids, and such the charms they boast, By sense unaided, or to virtue lost. Self flattering sex! your hearts believe in vain That Love shall blind, when once he fires the swain; Or hope a lover by your faults to win, As spots on ermine beautify the skin :

Who seeks secure to rule, be first her care
Each softer virtue that adorns the fair ;
Each tender passion man delights to find,
T'he lov'd perfections of a female mind !

Blest were the days, when Wisdom held her reign, And shepherds sought her on the silent plain ; With Truth she wedded in the secret grove, Immortal Truth, and daughters bless'd their love.

O haste, fair maids! ye Virtues come away, Sweet Peace and Plenty lead you on your way! The balmy shrub for you shall love our shore, By Ind excell’d or Araby no more.

Lost to our fields, for so the fates ordain, The dear deserters shall return again. Come thou, whose thoughts as limpid springs are clear, To lead the train, sweet Modesty appear : Here make thy court amidst our rural scene, And shepherd-girls shall own thee for their queen. With thee be Chastity, of all afraid, Distrusting all, a wise, suspicious maid ; But man the inost-not more the mountain doe Holds the swift falcon for her deadly foe. Çold is her breast, like flowers that drink the dew; A silken veil conceals her from the view.

No wild desires amidst thy train be known,
But Faith, whose heart is fix'd on one alone:
Despondirig Meekness, with her down-cast eyes,
And friendly Pity, full of tender sighs;
And Love the last: by these your hearts approve;
These are the virtues that must lead to love.

Thus sung the swain; and ancient legends say, The maids of Bagdat verified the lay: Dear to the plains, the Virtues came along, The shepherds lov'd, and Selim bless'd his song.

ECLOGUE II.

HASSAN; OR, THE CAMEL DRIVER.

Scene, THE DESERT.-Time, MID-DAY.

IN silent horror o'er the boundless waste
The driver Hassan with his camels past:
One cruise of water on his back he bore,
And his light scrip contain’d a scanty store;
A fan of painted feathers in his hand,
To guard his shaded face from scorching sand.
The sultry sun had gain'd the middle sky,
And not a tree and not a herb was nigh;

The beasts, with pain, their dusty way pursue,
Shrill roar'd the winds, and dreary was the view!
With desperate sorrow wild, th' affrighted man
Thrice sigh’d, thrice struck his breast, and thus began :

“ Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
“ When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!"

Ah ! little thought I of the blasting wind,
The thirst or pinching hunger that I find !
Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall Thirst asswage,
When fails this cruise, his unrelenting rage?
Soon shall this scrip its precious load resign;
Then what but tears and hunger shall be thine ?

Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear
In all my griefs a more than equal share !
Here, where no springs in murmurs break away,
Or moss-crown'd fountains mitigate the day,
In vain ye hope the green delights to know,
Which plains more blest, or verdant vales bestow :
Here rocks alone, and tasteless sands are found,
And faint and sickly winds for ever howl around.

“ Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
“ When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!"

Curst be the gold and silver which persuade Weak men to follow far fatiguing trade!

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