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THE RAPE OF PROSERPINE.
(SCENE—The Vale of Enna.)
PROSERPINE, VIRGINS. Proser. Now come and sit around me, And I'll divide the flowers, and give to each What most becomes her beauty. What a vale Is this of Enna! Every thing that comes From the green earth, springs here more graciously, And the blue day, methinks, smiles lovelier now Than it was wont even in Sicily. My spirit mounts as triumphing, and my heart, In which the red blood hides, seems tumulted By some delicious passion. Look, above, Above: How nobly thro' the cloudless sky The great Apollo goes—Jove's radiant sonMy father's son: and here, below, the bosom Of the green earth is almost hid by flowers. Who would be sad to-day! Come round, and cast Each one her odorous heap from out her lap Into one pile. Some we'll divide among us, And, for the rest, we'll fling them to the Hours ; So may Aurora's path become more fair, And we be blest in giving.
Here~This rose (This one half-blown) shall be my Maia's portion, For that, like it, her blush is beautiful : And this deep violet, almost as blue As Pallas' eye, or thine, Lycimnia, I'll give to thee, for like thyself it wears Its sweetness, never obtruding. For this lily, Where can it hang but at Cyane's breast? And yet 'twill wither on so white a bed, If flowers have sense for envy :-It shall lie Amongst thy raven tresses, Cytheris, Like one star on the bosom of the night. The cowslip and the yellow primrose—they Are gone, my sad Leontia, to their graves, And April hath wept o'er them, and the voice Of March hath sung, even before their deaths, The dirge of those young children of the year.But here is heart's-ease for your woes. The honey-suckle flower I give to thee, And love it for my sake, my own Cyane : It hangs upon the stem it loves, as thou Hast clung to me thro' every joy and sorrow; It flourishes with its guardian's growth, as thou dost ; And if the woodman's axe should droop the tree, The woodbine too must perish.-Hark! what soundDo ye see aught?
Behold, behold, Proserpina !
Comes onward : As he moves along the ground,
SEMICHORUS. ( Cyane.)
Of us may wisely look upon. Proser. He comes indeed. How like a god he looks ! Terribly lovely-Shall I shun his eye, Which even here looks brightly beautiful? What a wild leopard glance he has.--I am Jove's daughter, and shall I then deign to fly? I will not, yet methinks, I fear to stay. Come, let us go, Cyane.
Pluto. Stay, oh! stay. Proserpina, Proserpina, I come From my Tartarean kingdom to behold you. The brother of Love am I. I come to say, Gently, beside the blue Sicilian stream, How much I love you, fair Proserpina. Think me not rude that thus at once I tell My passion. I disarm me of all power ; And in the accents of a man I sue, Bowing before your beauty. Brightest maid ! Let me still unpresuming-say I have Roamed thro' the earth, where many an eye hath smil'd In love upon me, tho' it knew me not ; But I have passed free from amongst them all, To gaze on you alone. I might have clasped Lovely and royal maids, and throned queens, Sea-nymphs, or fairy shapes that glide along Like light across the hills, or those that make Mysterious music in the desert woods, And shake the green leaves in the face of day, Or lend a voice to fountains or to caves, Or answering hush the river's sweet reproachOh! I've escaped from all, to come and tell How much I love you, sweet Proserpina.
SEMICHORUS. - Cyane.)
Daughter of great Cybele.
Pluto. Oh! my love,
Proser. Away, away.
Pluto. By my burning throne !
you reign over, my Proserpina; And you shall rank as high as any she, Save one, within the starry court of Jove.
Proser. Will you be true ?
Pluto. I swear it. By myself!
Proser. Speak thou again, my friend.
Pluto. Come, my bright queen!
es and radiant treasures, which
Proser. Speak out, Cyane !
Pluto. But, above all, in my heart shall you reign
Proser. Away, away, away,
Pluto. No, by this kiss, and this :
[Forces of Proserpine.
They are gone-Afar, afar,
Cyane is gradually transformed.)
Is the fair Cyane gone?
To sing songs to her memory?
still very properly expressions of his that very abuse and misrepresentation true meaning. Thus, it is rather a are instruments of no potency in their false modesty that leaves to be raised hands when opposed to similar weapons by implication, a construction which in the grasp of their antagonists. The necessarily follows from every man's world, which looks upon the parties declaring that such, or such, is his in and out of place with the same particular opinion. Still, in the pre- eyes that it contemplates two prizesent refined state of society, it is far fighters on a stage, feels naturally inbetter that hard words should be dignant when that which, in point of avoided in every discussion ; and there- situation, has a great and overwhelmfore it is to be regretted that the wri- ing advantage, condescends, in additer above quoted did not add to the tion, to resort to the same instruments humility for which he is so conspicu- of annoyance which the other employs ous, a little forbearance, and substi- as his only means of defence and retute some milder epithets, by which to sistance. It is like a combat between characterise the fault of those who two swordsınen, of whom one is cased choose to proceed farther than he does in complete armour, while the other is in the road to which he had, up to a naked. But I have a stronger objeccertain point, journeyed with them. tion to urge against this method of Of all shapes in which intemperance of ministerial warfare. In the hands of thought or language displays itself, opposition, exaggeration and mis-statethe most odious is that which it as- ment, ridicule and calumny, are so far sumes when employed by men to the recognised instruments of party whom the world (whether justly or purposes as to have lost at least half unjustly) will always affix the stigma their effect, even with the multitude ; of political apostacy, when it hears and no man-I will not say no man of them reviling and insulting their for- sense only--but nobody whatevermer partizans and associates. I en- now thinks the worse of a minister's tertain all possible indulgence for any talents because the Edinburgh Review honest change of opinions, and all calls him incapable, or more highly of possible respect for the honest account his opponents because the same journal of such change ; but the very con- represents that certain improvements sciousness of being subject to such in political knowledge, which are open mutability, ought to make all men to all the world, have by some unaccautious and moderate in their expres- countable fatality remained as exclusions regarding the opinions of others; sively their own property as if they and more especially, those who are not had been sealed up, and the use of only theoretically but experimentally them prohibited to every one else. But acquainted with this infirmity of hu- it is otherwise, when these same engines man nature. Of the various grada- of fraud and contrivance are employed tions, therefore, of criminality, to under the broad imposing cover of which the vice of exaggeration is official or semi-official gravity. The subject, the highest and most enor. Whig, bespattered with government mous is the exaggeration of renegades dirt, becomes at once, in the eyes of and apostateswhich terms, in their half the world, identical monster popular sense, I take to include all they would represent him to be; and men who have publicly altered their as, unfortunately, there now exists a political creed, or separated themselves third party in the state, incomparably from their political associates. Next inore dangerous and more hostile to to that in flagitiousness, is the exaggera- the existence of both Whigs and tion of men in power, which I consider Tories, than either of those can be to as incomparably less excuseable than the other; and who are restrained, by that of Whigs and Reformers; both as no one scruple of honour or policy, by it is more mischievous in its effects, no one motive which can actuate the and as there is less temptation to the mind of a gentleman, and by no one commission of it. The party in principle that is seated in the breast of power, when once firmly seated, have a patriot, by whom the old and reguthe command of innumerable engines, lar opposition, so long as they retain and methods of self-support, infinitely the smallest portion of popular favour more efficient than the abuse and mis- or esteem, are beyond all comparison representation of their less fortunate more hated than the warmest and most rivals ; besides, that to the fair and violent among the supporters of gowell-judging part of the community, vernment, the consequence is, that,