Perseus and Andromeda
Propitious chance led Perseus once to view
The fairest piece that ever nature drew:
Chain'd on a rocky shore the virgin stood,
Naked, and whiter than the foaming flood;
Whom, as he cours'd the confines of the sky,
Amaz'd he saw, and kept his wond'ring eye
So fix'd, he had almost forgot to fly.
Had not the winds dispers'd her flowing hair,
And held it waving in the liquid air;
Or had not streams of tears apace roll'd down
Her lovely cheeks, he would have thought her stone.
Straight he precipitates his hasty flight,
Impatient to obtain a nearer sight.
Now all at once he feels the raging fires,
Sees all the maid, and all he sees, admires.
With awe and wonder, mix'd with love and fear,
He stands as motionless as shame made her;
Urg'd on at last, but still by slow degrees,
Loth to offend, he draws to what he sees.
"Oh! why (he cries), most matchless fair one, why
Are you thus us'd? can you be doom'd to die?
Have you done any guilt? that guilt relate.
How can such beauty merit such a fate?
I am thy champion, and espouse thy cause;
In thy defence the Thund'rer's offspring draws.
Say, if thou'rt rescu'd by the son of Jove,
Say, for thy life wilt thou return my love?"
The bashful virgin no return affords,
But sends ten thousand sighs instead of words;
With grief, redoubled with her shame, she mourns
She weeps, he joys, she blushes, and he burns.
In chains, extended at her length she lay,
While he with transport took a full survey.
Fain would her hands her consciousblushes hide,
But that the fetters which they wore denied.
What could she do ? all that she could she did,
For drown'd in floods of tears, her eyes she hid.
Much urg'd to speak, she turn'd her bashful look
Far as she could aside, and trembling spoke:
"My mother, conscious of her beauty, strove
(Alas, too conscious!) with the wife of Jove,
Who, by a cruel and unjust decree,
To punish her, takes this revenge on me
Here I am doom'd a dreadful monster's prey,
Who now, now, now, is issuing from the sea;
Haste, gen'rous youth, our common foe subdue,
And if you save my life, I live for you."
Thus spoke the maid, half dying with her fears,
When, lo! the monster from the sea appears.
The dauntless hero mounts his flying horse,
And o'er the waves directs his airy course;
Let him alone his victory pursue,
For dreadful war has nothing here to do.
This short account will love-sick swains suffice,-
He slew his foe, and straight receiv'd his prize.
Thrice happy youth, too fortunately bless'd,
Who only came, and conquer'd, and possess'd;
None of the pangs of love your bliss annoy'd,-
You but beheld, admir'd, and so enjoy'd.