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When Cytherea first beheld
Those lips with ruby lustre bright,
Those lips! which, as they blushing swell'd,
Blush'd deeper from th' incircling white.


(So, when some artist's skill inlays
Coral mid iv'ry's paler hue,
That height'ning coral soon displays
A warmer crimson to the view;)


Then, urg'd by envy and by hate,
Which rising sighs and tears betray'd,
She called her wanton loves;--and strait
The wanton loves her call obey'd:


To whom the queen in plaintive strain;--
"Ah! what, my boys, avails it now,
"That to these lips the Phrygian swain
"Decreed the prize on Ida's brow?


"That prize! for which, elate with pride,
"The martial maid contentious strove;
"That prize! to Juno's self denied,
"Tho' sister, tho' the wife of Jove:


"If, to pervert this swain's decree,
"A poet's partial judgment dare
"His mortal nymph prefer to me,
"Her lips with lips divine compare!


"Swift, then, ye vengeful Cupids, fly
"With loaded quivers to the bard;
"Let all the pangs ye can supply
"His matchless insolence reward:


"Go, practise ev'ry cruel art
"Revenge can frame, without delay;
"His bosom pierce with ev'ry dart
"Which love's soft poison may convey:


"But wound not with such darts the fair,
"Her breast must ever cold remain;
"Your shafts of lead lodge deeply there,
"To freeze the current of each vein."


She spoke:--now more than usual fire
Consumes apace my melting soul;
And now, fierce torrents of desire
Tumultuous thro' my bosom roll:


While thou, whose icy heart betrays
No more concern than rocks that brave
The fury of Sicilian seas,
Or Adria's rudely-dashing wave,


Canst, in unfeeling scorn secure,
Mock all thy tortur'd lover's pain;
Who for fond praise is doom'd t' endure,
Ungrateful maid! thy cold disdain.


Yet why, proud wretch! you thus despise
You know not;--nor how fierce may prove
Th' ungovern'd anger of the skies,
The vengeance of the queen of love!


But, oh! no more pursue that scorn,
Which ill becomes each outward grace;
Sure, sweetest manners should adorn
The nymph who boasts so sweet a face!


Then let thy lips to mine be prest,
Those honied lips! which cause my care:
Imbibing from my inmost breast
The latent poison rankling there:


And as you thus partake the smart
Of all my torture,--in your turn
You'll catch the flame that warms my heart,
And soon with mutual passion burn.


But fear not thou the pow'rs divine,
Fear not the potent queen of love!
Beauty, well-guarded maid! like thine,
Can sway th' imperial souls above.