To “Say Love what master shews thy art”
Let other paint Eliza’s charms,
With all the art that Love inspires
And swear, the flame their breast that warms
Is more intense than Etna’s first.
Let them declare Pieria’s maids
“Attempt love’s envied song in vain”
Who taught mid Pindus’ sacred shade
The wanton boy his noblest strain.
Till taught by them, his highest aim
Adore, at most a shepherd’s heart,
The Muses found him better game
In gods and heroes fix’d his dart.
Then love assumed a nobler form,
And with an added radiance shone,
His fire the purest breast might warm,
E’en blushing maids his darts might own.
But circled now with other rays,
His form degraded we behold;
He lives but in the Muses’ lays,
Or in the sacred thirst for gold.
In lofty Homer’s softer strain,
Love join’d with constancy we view,
But Ah! on Earth we seek in vain,
We cannot find the picture true.
We, in those times, with truth suppose
Who loved the most would sing the best,
But now we find his pains, by those,
Who never felt the smart expressed.
And as they range from fair to fair,
Of each with equal warmth they sing,
Now Mary’s face, now Harriet’s air,
Eliza’s eyes now wake the string.
With their ephemeral sovereign they
No rival can in charms admit
They’re all that’s lovely for a day
But lose their charms the next new fit.
The butterflies on silken wing
Thus fluttering through the garden roam
And rest on all the flowers of spring
But nowhere find a real home.