From Anacreon. Ode 3.

A poem by Lord George Gordon Byron

[Greek: Mesonuktiois poth hopais, k.t.l.] [1]

Ode 3.

'Twas now the hour when Night had driven
Her car half round yon sable heaven;
Bo├Âtes, only, seem'd to roll
His Arctic charge around the Pole;
While mortals, lost in gentle sleep,
Forgot to smile, or ceas'd to weep:
At this lone hour the Paphian boy,
Descending from the realms of joy,
Quick to my gate directs his course,
And knocks with all his little force;
My visions fled, alarm'd I rose, -
"What stranger breaks my blest repose?"
"Alas!" replies the wily child
In faltering accents sweetly mild;
"A hapless Infant here I roam,
Far from my dear maternal home.
Oh! shield me from the wintry blast!
The nightly storm is pouring fast.
No prowling robber lingers here;
A wandering baby who can fear?"
I heard his seeming artless tale,
I heard his sighs upon the gale:
My breast was never pity's foe,
But felt for all the baby's woe.
I drew the bar, and by the light
Young Love, the infant, met my sight;
His bow across his shoulders flung,
And thence his fatal quiver hung
(Ah! little did I think the dart
Would rankle soon within my heart).
With care I tend my weary guest,
His little fingers chill my breast;
His glossy curls, his azure wing,
Which droop with nightly showers, I wring;
His shivering limbs the embers warm;
And now reviving from the storm,
Scarce had he felt his wonted glow,
Than swift he seized his slender bow: -
"I fain would know, my gentle host,"
He cried, "if this its strength has lost;
I fear, relax'd with midnight dews,
The strings their former aid refuse."
With poison tipt, his arrow flies,
Deep in my tortur'd heart it lies:
Then loud the joyous Urchin laugh'd: -
"My bow can still impel the shaft:
'Tis firmly fix'd, thy sighs reveal it;
Say, courteous host, canst thou not feel it?"

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