When young Ascanius, by the Queen of Love,
Was born to sweet Cythera's lofty grove,
His languid limbs upon a couch she laid,
A fragrant couch! of new-blown vi'lets made;
The blissful bow'r with shadowing roses crown'd,
And balmy-breathing airs diffus'd around.
The sleeping Youth in silence she admir'd;
And, with remembrance of Adonis fir'd,
Strong and more strong her wonted flames return'd,
Thrill'd in each vein, and in her bosom burn'd.
How oft she wish'd, as she survey'd his charms,
Around his neck to throw her eager arms!
Oft would she say, admiring ev'ry grace,
"Such was Adonis! such his lovely face!"
But fearing lest this fond excess of joy
Might break the slumber of the beauteous boy,
On ev'ry rose-bud that around him blow'd
A thousand nectar'd Kisses she bestow'd;
And strait each op'ning bud, which late was white,
Blush'd a warm crimson to the astonish'd sight:
Still in Dione's breast soft wishes rise,
Soft wishes! vented with soft-whisper'd sighs!
Thus, by her lips unnumber'd roses press'd,
Kisses, unfolding in sweet bloom, confess'd;
And, flush'd with rapture at each new-born kiss,
She felt her swelling soul o'erwhelm'd in bliss.
Now round this orb, soft-floating on the air,
The beauteous Goddess speeds her radiant car:
As in gay pomp the harness'd cygnets fly,
Their snow-white pinions glitter thro' the sky;
And like Triptolemus, whose bounteous hand
Strew'd golden plenty o'er the fertile land,
Fair Cytherea, as she flew along,
O'er the vast lap of nature Kisses flung:
Pleas'd from on high she view'd th' enchanted ground,
And from her lips thrice fell a magic sound:
He gave to mortals corn on ev'ry plain;
But She those sweets which mitigate my pain.
Hail, then, ye Kisses! that can best assuage
The pangs of love, and soften all its rage!
Ye balmy Kisses! that from roses sprung;
Roses! on which the lips of Venus hung.
Lo! I'm the Bard, while o'er Pierian shades
The tuneful mountain rears its sacred heads,
While whisp'ring verdures skirt the laurell'd spring,
Whose fond, impassion'd muse of You shall sing;
And Love, enraptur'd with the Latian name,
With that dear race from which your lineage came,
In Latian strains shall celebrate your praise,
And tell your high descent to future days.