To a Young Lady, with the Illiad of Homer Translated

by William Somervile

William Somervile


GO , happy Volume! to the fair impart
The secret wishes of a wounded heart:
Kind advocate! exert thy utmost zeal,
Describe my passion, and my woes reveal.
Oft shalt thou kiss that hand where roses bloom.
And the white lily breathes its rich perfume;
On thee her eyes shall shine, thy leaves employ
Each faculty, and soothe her soul with joy.
Watch the soft hour when peaceful silence reigns,
And Philomel alone like me complains;
When envious prudes no longer haunt the fair,
But end a day of calumny in prayer;
Oeer Quarles or Bunyan nod, in dreams relent,
Without disguise give all their passions vent,
And mourn their withered charms, and youthful prime mis-spent.
Then by the waxen taper's glimmering light
With thee the studious maid shall pass the night;
Shall feel her heart beat quick in every page,
And tremble at the stern Pelides' rage;
With horror view the half-drawn blade appear;
And the desponding tyrant pale with fear;
To calm that soul untarned, sage Nestor fails,
And even celestial wisdom scarce prevails.
Then lead her to the margin of the main,
And let her hear the' impatient chief complain;
Tossed with superior storms, on the bleak shores
He lies, and louder than the billows roars.
Next the dread scene unfold of war and blood,
Hector in arms triumphant, Greece subdued;
The partial gods who with their foes conspire,
The dead, the dying, and the fleet on fire.
But tell, oh! tell the cause of all this woe,
The fatal source from whence these mischiefs flow;
Tell her 'twas love denied the hero fir'd,
Deprived of her whom most his heart desired.
Not the dire vengeance of the thundering Jove
Can match the boundless rage of injured love.
Stop the fierce torrent, and its billows rise,
Lay waste the shores, invade both earth and skies:
Confine it not, but let it gently flow,
It kindly cheers the smiling plains below,
And everlasting sweets upon its borders grow.
To Troy's proud walls the wondering maid convey,
With pointed spires and golden turrets gay,
The work of gods: thence let the fair behold
The court of Priam, rich in gems and gold;
His numerous sons, his queen's majestic pride,
The' aspiring domes, the' apartments stretching wide,
Where on their looms Sidoman virgins wrought,
And weaved the battles which their lovers fought.
Here let her eyes survey those fatal charms,
The beauteous prize that set the world in arms;
Through gazing crowds, bright progeny of Jove,
She walks, and every panting heart beats love:
Even sapless age new-blossoms at the sight,
And views the fair destroyer with delight.
Beauty's vast power hence to the nymph make
In Helen's triumphs let her read her own;
Nor blame her slaves, but lay the guilt on fate, known,
And pardon failings which her charms create.
Rash bard! forbear, nor let thy flattering Muse
With pleasing visions thy fond heart abuse;
Vain are thy hopes presumptuous, vain thy prayer,
Bright is her image, and divinely fair;
But, oh! the goddess in thy arms is fleeting air.
So dreams the' ambitious man, when rich Tokay,
Or Burgundy, refines his vulgar clay;
The white rod trembles in his potent hand,
And crowds obsequious wait his high command;
Upon his breast he views the radiant star,
And gives the word around him, peace or war:
In state he reigns, for one short busy night,
But soon convinced by the next dawning light,
Curses the fading joys that vanish from his sight.

Last updated November 08, 2017