How thou art envied let Pygmalion prove,
Who by a miracle obtained his love;
Who, living in an age when women led
The lewdest lives, all shame and honour fled,
For a long time declin'd the nuptial bed;
He saw them all debauch'd with monstrous crimes;
No virtuous maid, no Delia bless'd the times.
Had she liv'd then, his skill had ne'er been shown,
Nor the strange miracle that crown'd it, known.
There had lie fix'd, not form'd, his fancied maid,
Nor fondly been by his own art betray'd.
The nymph in polish'd iv'ry glitter'd bright;
So smooth, she seem'd too slippery for his sight.
So curious was her shape, so just her frame,
So quick her eyes appear'd, so full of flame,
They would have roll'd if not restrained by shame.
From his strange art the statue had received
Such lively strokes, one would have thought it liv'd;
E'en he himself could hardly, hardly know,
But doubted long, whether it liv'd or no.
Yet from her, as she was, he gather'd fires,
And fierce and boundless were his mad desires.
He felt her flesh, (his fancy thought it such,)
And fear'd to hurt her with too rude a touch;
He kiss'd her with belief so strong and vain,
That he imagin'd how she kiss'd again.
Now makes his court, his fond addresses moves,
And tells a long fond tale how well he loves.
Presents her now with all he thought might please,
With precious gums distill'd from weeping trees.
Small singing birds, who strain their tuneful throats,
Covering round, repeat their pretty notes.
With sweetest flowers he crowns her lovely head,
And lays her on the softest downy bed.
In richest robes his charming idol drest,
Bright sparkling gems adorn her neck and breast,
And she look'd well in all, but looked, when naked, best.
Now Venus kept her feast; and goodly train
For love-sick youths frequent, and fill her fane.
The snow-white heifers fall by sacred strokes,
While with rich gums the loaded altar smokes.
Among the rest the hopeless lover stands,
Tears in his eyes, his offerings in his hands;
More furious than before he feels his fires,
E'en his despair redoubles his desires.
A long, long time in orations deferr'd,
He durst not pray, lest he should not be heard;
Till urg'd by love, his tim'rous silence broke,
Thus, but still tim'rously, at last he spoke-
"If you, ye sacred powers that rule above,
And you, great goddess of propitious love;
If all we want is plac'd within your power,
And you can give whatever we implore;
Exert your godhead now, now lend your aid,
Give me the wife I wish, one like," he said,
But durst not say, "Give me the ivory maid."
This finish'd, thrice auspicious flashes rise,
And wreaths of curling smoke ascended thrice.
Half hoping now, and yet still half afraid,
With doubtful joy he seeks his ivory maid;
Doats more than ever on her fancied charms,
And closely clasps her in his longing arms;
When all at once, with joy and wonder fill'd,
He feels her stubborn sides begin to yield;
Soft was her bosom grown; her throbbing breast
Heav'd with her breath, swell'd greatly to be prest.
Surpriz'd and glad, he feels her oft and oft,
And more and more perceives her warm and soft.
Warm were her lips, and ev'ry pointed kiss
With melting touches met and moisten'd his.
Her blood now circled, and her pulses beat,
And life at last enjoy'd a settled seat.
Slowly she lifts her new and fearful sight
And sees at once her lover and the light;
An unborn maid both life and lover found,
And he too had his desp'rate wishes crown'd.
Desperate indeed; what prospect could he see,
Or how at first hope any more than me?