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THE STORY OF SALMACIS AND
FROM THE FOURTH BOOK OF OVID's
row Salmacis, with weak enfeebling streams,
Softens the body, and innerves the limbs,
And what the secret cause, fhall here be shown;
The caufe is secret, but th' effect is known.
The Naïads nurft an infant heretofore,
That Cytherea once to Hermes bore :
From both th' illuftrious authors of his race
The child was nam’d; nor was it hard to trace
Both the bright parents through the infant's face.
When fifteen years, in Ida's cool retreat,
The boy had told, he left his native feat,
And fought fresh fountains in a foreign foil :
The pleasure lefen’d the attending toil.
With eager steps the Lycian fields he crost,
And fields that horder on the Lycian coaft;
A river here he view'd so lovely bright,
It shew'd the bottom in a fairer light,
Nor kept a sand concealid from human fight :
The stream produc'd nor slimy ooze, nor weeds,
Nor miry rushes, nor the spiky reeds;
But dealt enriching moisture all around,
The fruitful banks with chearful verdure crown'd,
And kept the spring eternal on the ground,
A nymph prefides, nor practis'd in the chace,
Nor skilful at the bow, nor at the race;
Of all the blue-ey'd daughters of the main,
The only stranger to Diana's train :
Her sisters often, as 'tis said, wou'd cry,
« Fy, Salmacis, what always idle! fy,
" Or take thy quiver, or thy arrows feize,
“ And mix the toils of hunting with thy ease."
Nor quiver she nor arrows e’er would seize,
Nor mix the toils of hunting with her ease.
But oft would bathe her in the crystal tide,
Oft with a comb her dewy locks divide;
Now in the limpid streams the view'd her face,
And drest her image in the floating glass :
On beds of leaves the new repos’d her limbs,
Now gather'd flowers that grew about her streams ;
And then by chance was gathering, as she stood
To view the boy, and long for what the view'd.
Fain would he meet the youth with hasty feet,
She fain would meet him, but refus’d to meet
Before her looks were set with nicest care,
And well deserv'd to be reputed fair.
Bright youth, she cries, whom all thy features prove “ A god, and, if a god, the god of love ; .66 But if a mortal, bleft thy nurse's breast : “ Blest are thy parents, and thy fifters bleft; 6. But oh how blest'! how more than blest thy bride, “ Ally'd in bliss, if any yet ally’d. • If fo, let mine the stol'n enjoyments be; “ If not, behold a willing bride in me,”
The boy knew nought of love, and touchit with shame,
He strove, and blusht, but still the blush became;
In rising blushes still fresh beauties rose;
The sunny side of fruit such blushes shows,
And such the moon, when all her silver white
Turns in eclipfes to a ruddy light.
The nymph-still begs, if not a nobler bliss,
A cold falute at least, a fister's kiss :
And now prepares to take the lovely boy
Between her arms. He, innocently coy,
Replies, “ Or leave me to myself alone,
“ You rude uncivil nymph, or I'll be gone."
• Fair stranger then," says the, “ it shall be fo ;"
And, for the fear’d his threat, she feign.d to go ;
But, hid within a covert’s neighbouring green,
She kept him fill in fight, herself unseen.
The boy now fancies all the danger o'er,
And innocently sports about the shore ;
Playful and wanton to the stream he trips,
And dips his foot, and shivers as he dips.
The coolness. pleas'd him, and with eager halte
His airy garments on the banks he cast;
His godlike features, and his heavenly hue,
And all his beauties, were expos’d to view.
His naked limbs the nymph with rapture spies,
While hotter passions in her bosom rise,
Flush in her cheeks, and sparkle in her eyes.
She longs, she burns to clasp him in her arms,
And looks and sighs, and kindles at his charms.
Now all undrest upon the banks he stood,
And clapt his fides, and leapt into the flood :
His lovely limbs the filver waves divide,
His limbs appear more lovely through the tide;
As lilies shut within a crystal case,
Receive a glofly lustre from the glass,
“ He 's mine, he 's all my own,” the Naïad cries;
And flings off all, and after him the flies.
And now the faftens on him as he swims,
And holds him close, and wraps about his limbs.
The more the boy resisted, and was coy,
The more she clapt, and kift the fruggling boy.
So when the wriggling fnake is -snatch'd on high
In eagle's claws, and hiffes in the fky,
Around the for his twirling tail he flings,
And twists her legs, and writhes about her wings.
The restless boy still obstinately strove
To free himself, and still refus'd her love.
Amidst his limbs the kept her limbs intwin'd,
“ And why, coy youth, she cries, why thus unkind?
6. Oh may the gods thus keep us ever join'd!
" Oh may we never, never part again !"
So pray'd the nymph, nor did she pray in vain :
For now she finds him, as his limbs the prest,
Grow nearer still, and nearer to her breast;
Till, piercing each the other's flesh, they run
Together, and incorporate in one :
Last in one face are both their faces join'd,
As when the stock and grafted twig combin'd
the same, and wear a common rind:
Both bodies in a single body mix,
A single body with a double fex.
The boy, thus lost in woman, now survey'd
The river's guilty stream, and thus he pray'd,
(He pray’d, but wonder'd at his softer tone,
Surpriz'd to hear a voice but half his own)
You parent gods, whose heavenly names I bear,
Hear your Hermaphrodite, and grant my prayer;
Oh grant, that whomsoe'er these streams contain,
If man he enter'd, he may rise again
Supple, unsinew'd, and but half a man!
The heavenly parents answer'd, from on high,
Their two-shap'd son, the double votary;
Then gave a secret virtue to the flood,
And ting'd its source to inake his wishes good.