I, at noon tide’s sultry hour,
In a cool sequester’d bower,
Lovely Flavia lately found
Sleeping on the flowery ground.
While I feast my ravish’d eye,
Lo! a vain and wanton fly,
In his summer coat array’d,
Dares to kiss the sleeping maid.
Oft her blooming cheek he presses,
Oft her snowy neck caresses,
Oft, audatious! dares to sip
Nectar from her balmy lip.
Then, to a new blown rose now flying,
And within its bosom lying,
Rifles all its sweets, and then
Flits to Flavia’s lips again,
Seeming curious to compare
The pride of Flora with my fair.
“Silly creature! can the rose,
Sweets like Flavia’s breath disclose?
Can its leaves of vermeil dye,
With her blushing beauties vie?
But, thou fluttering fool! away,
Or I spoil thy amorous play;
Hence! or thy presumptious joys
This vindictive hand destroys.
He who can from anguish free,
A fly, his rival tamely see
Never, never did he prove
The fervent fire of genuine love.”
Rage my breast had scarcely warm’d,
Scarce was jealous love alarm’d,
When the fly with pinions spread,
To the sheltering branches fled,
And while floating light along,
Murmur’d a sarcastic song,
That, in notes distinct and clear,
Sounded thus to fancy’s ear.
“Hear me! self-tormenting swain!
I thy Flavia’s power disdain,
Playful I her lips invade,
And as playful quit the maid,
Pleasing but myself the while,
Careless of her frown or smile,
Whilst thou alas art doom’d to feel,
Pangs which scarcely she can heal,
Cursed, if Flavia be not by,
Never happy when she’s nigh;
But if thus with anger moved,
That I fondly curious, rou’d,
Over each enchanting grace,
Of her matchless form and face,
Why permit the vagrant air,
To sport so freely with the fair?
While I speak the wanton gale,
Lifts her bosom’s silken veil!
Now let rage thy cheeks inflame!
Now in frantic words declaim!
Now to shield her virgin charms,
Swiftly raise thy guardian arms!
Foolish lover! He, whose soul
Yields to jealousy’s control,
In every fly a rival sees,
A rival meets in every breeze,
Nor, till passions cease to glow
Shall love unmix’d with sorrow know…”
April 2d 1806