Cupid And Ganymede

A poem by Matthew Prior

In Heav'n, one Holy-day, You read
In wise Anacreon, Ganymede
Drew heedless Cupid in, to throw
A Main, to pass an Hour, or so.
The little Trojan, by the way,
By Hermes taught, play'd All the Play.

The God unhappily engag'd,
By Nature rash, by Play enrag'd,
Complain'd, and sigh'd, and cry'd, and fretted;
Lost ev'ry earthly thing He betted:
In ready Mony, all the Store
Pick'd up long since from Danae's Show'r;
A Snush-Box, set with bleeding Hearts,
Rubies, all pierc'd with Diamond Darts;
His Nine-pins, made of Myrtle Wood;
(The Tree in Ida's Forest stood)
His Bowl pure Gold, the very same
Which Paris gave the Cyprian Dame;
Two Table-Books in Shagreen Covers;
Fill'd with good Verse from real Lovers;
Merchandise rare! A Billet-doux,
It's Matter passionate, yet true:
Heaps of Hair Rings, and cypher'd Seals;
Rich Trifles; serious Bagatelles.

What sad Disorders Play begets!
Desp'rate and mad, at length He sets
Those Darts, whose Points make Gods adore
His Might, and deprecate his Pow'r:
Those Darts, whence all our Joy and Pain
Arise: those Darts come, Seven's the Main,
Cries Ganymede: The usual Trick:
Seven, slur a Six; Eleven: A Nick.

Ill News goes fast: 'Twas quickly known,
That simple Cupid was undone.
Swifter than Lightning Venus flew:
Too late She found the thing too true.
Guess how the Goddess greets her Son:
Come hither, Sirrah; no, begon;
And, hark Ye, is it so indeed?
A Comrade You for Ganymede?
An Imp as wicked, for his Age,
As any earthly Lady's Page;
A Scandal and a Scourge to Troy:
A Prince's Son? A Black-guard Boy:
A Sharper, that with Box and Dice
Draws in young Deities to Vice.
All Heav'n is by the Ears together,
Since first That little Rogue came hither:
Juno her self has had no Peace:
And truly I've been favour'd less:
For Jove, as Fame reports, (but Fame
Says things not fit for Me to name)
Has acted ill for such a God,
And taken Ways extreamly odd.

And Thou, unhappy Child, She said
(Her Anger by her Grief allay'd)
Unhappy Child, who thus hast lost
All the Estate We e'er could boast;
Whither, O whither wilt Thou run,
Thy Name despis'd, thy Weakness known?
Nor shall thy Shrine on Earth be crown'd:
Nor shall thy Pow'r in Heav'n be own'd;
When Thou, nor Man, nor God can'st wound.

Obedient Cupid kneeling cry'd,
Cease, dearest Mother, cease to chide:
Gany's a Cheat, and I'm a Bubble:
Yet why this great Excess of Trouble?
The Dice were false: the Darts are gone:
Yet how are You, or I undone?

The Loss of These I can supply
With keener Shafts from Cloe's Eye:
Fear not, We e'er can be disgrac'd,
While That bright Magazine shall last:
Your crowded Altars still shall smoke;
And Man your Friendly Aid invoke:
Jove shall again revere your Pow'r,
And rise a Swan, or fall a Show'r.

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