Mæcenas, I conjure thee cease
To wake my harp's enamour'd strings
To tones, that fright recumbent Peace,
That Pleasure flies on rapid wings!
Slow conquest on Numantia's plain,
Or Hannibal, that dauntless stood,
Tho' thrice he saw Ausonia's main
Redden with Carthaginian blood;
The Lapithæ's remorseless pride,
Hylæus' wild inebriate hours;
The Giants, who the Gods defied,
And shook old Saturn's splendid towers;
These, dear Mæcenas, thou should'st paint,
Each glory of thy Cæsar's reign,
In eloquence, that scorns restraint,
And sweeter than the Poet's strain;
Show captive Kings, who from the fight
Drag at his wheels their galling chain,
And the pale lip indignant bite
With mutter'd vengeance, wild and vain.
Enraptur'd by Licinia's grace,
My Muse would these high themes decline,
Charm'd that the heart, the form, the face
Of matchless Excellence is thine.
Ah, happy Friend! for whom an eye,
Of splendid, and resistless fire,
Lays all its pointed arrows by,
For the mild gleams of soft desire!
With what gay spirit does she foil
The Pedant's meditated hit!
What happy archness in her smile!
What pointed meaning in her wit!
Her cheek how pure a crimson warms,
When with the Nymphs, in circling line,
Bending she twines her snowy arms,
And dances round Diana's shrine!
Mæcenas, would'st not thou exchange
The treasures gorgeous Persia pours,
The wealth of Phrygia's fertile range,
Or warm Arabia's spicy shores,
For one light ringlet of the hair,
Which shades thy sweet Licinia's face,
In that dear moment when the Fair,
In flying from thy fond embrace,
Relenting turns her snowy neck,
To meet thy kisses half their way,
Or when her feign'd resentments check
The ardors thy warm lips convey?
While in her eyes the languid light
Betrays a yielding wish to prove,
Amid her coy, yet playful flight,
The pleasing force of fervent Love;
Or when, in gaily-frolic guise,
She snatches her fair self the kiss,
E'en at the instant she denies
Her Lover the requested bliss.