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her, with looks all languishing, stifle, with pain, the sighs that made her bosom pant. Sometimes he saw her sleeping beneath a jessamine bower.Daphnis follows her thither; he gazes on her, he dares to approach her—his eager looks devour her charms—he takes her hand—he presses it to his lips. DAPHNE awakes not; he kisses her cheek, he kisses her lips ;-and yet she awakes not, he cries, transported with fury - But what horrid images does my fancy create! Why am I ingenious only to torment myself with a most cruel punishment! Unjust! ungrateful! why do I only think on what can wound her innocence ?
Six days had this dreadful torture already lasted, and his wound was not yet quite heal’d. But nothing cou'd detain him longer. He embrac'd his benefactor ; he opposed all that gentle hospitality cou'd invent to restrain him. Pursued by the FURIES, he departed; and, notwithstanding his pain, he ran, he flew ! Night was already come on ; but by the light of the moon he perceived, at a distance, the cottage of Daphne. Ah, henceforth begone, detested thoughts ! fly far from me! 'Tis there the nymph that loves me dwells ! This night, O gods ! ---this very night I shall weep with joy on her bosom! As he spoke these words, he hasten’d his pace, and presently saw DAPHNE coming through the grove that led to her cottage. It is she !-O DAPHne, it is thou! It is thy shape so elegant, thy walk so airy, and thy robe more white than is the
It is she, O gods !-But whither goes she at this hour! For a fearful shepherdess, 'tis dangerous, in the night, to walk the fields. Perhaps, impatient for my return, she is come forth to meet me. Scarce had he spoke those words, when a young man came from the grove, and followed her. He walk'd by her side, and DAPHNE tenderly press'd her hand in his. He gave her a little basket of flowers, which, with a charming grace, she put upon her arm.
Then they went together from the cottage by the light of the moon. Alexis, seiz'd with horror, remain'd at a distance, and trembled at every joint. Immortal gods! What do I see? It is then too true! What so cruelly tormented me is certain! Some compassionate divinity made me foresee it. O, unhappy !-Whoe'er thou art, whether god or goddess, O thou that didst forewarn me of my misery, revenge, ah! revenge my wrongs ! Let me but see this infidelity punish'd, and then let me die of anguish!
DAPHNE and the shepherd, their arms in each other's, took the path which leads to the grove of myrtles that surrounds the temple of venus. The moon enlighten'd their steps, and their behaviour declared a tender intercourse.
They are going to the shade of those myrtles, cried the enraged Alexis, and it was under the shade of those very trees that she so often swore to me an eternal passion. They are now in the grove ! Heavens ! I can no longer see them; conceal'd by the thickness of the leaves, they are going to seat themselves on the grass. But, no see them again -her white robe reflects the light of the moon, amid the branches of the trees and their dusky trunks. They stop!—That's a sweet retreat, and the moss is so refreshing-Perfidious !-enjoy thy repose-swear in the presence of LUNA-swear your guilty loves. May the Furies dart terror between you !-But no. Hark! the nightingales repeat the most tender airs, and the turtles sigh around them. Yet—it is not there neither they intend to remain. They are going even to the temple of the goddess ! I will draw near. I will see them, and listen to their talk.
He entered the grove of myrtles. He saw them advance toward the temple, whose columns, of the whitest marble, enlightened by the moon, refulgent shone amidst the shades of night. Ha !do they dare to tread those sacred steps ! Can the goddess of love protect the foulest perfidy! He saw, in fact, the young shepherdess mount the steps of the temple. She cross'd the portico, with the little basket of flowers on her arm ; while the young man stopp'd under the first arcade. Alexis still approach’d, by the favour of the shade, trembling with horror and despair ; he crept to the shadow of one of the pillars, and placed himself against it. There he distinctly saw DAPHNE approach the statue of VENUS; it was of marble, white as milk; every part of it was illumin'd by the torch of night. The goddess, reclining backward, with an enchanting majesty, seem'd to shun the astonish'd view of mortals; while, from her height sublime, sher
gracious look on those who perfumed her altars. DAPHNE bow'd her knee at the feet of the goddess, placed the garlands before her, and, in the most tender and plaintive accents, said :
Here, O sweet goddess, protectress thou of faithful lovers! hear my prayer. Favourably accept these flowers I dare to offer thee; they are yet wet with the dew of evening, and with my tears. 'Tis now six days since Alexis has been far distant
O propitious goddess, restore him to my arms ! protect him by the way, and bring him back faithful and tender as when he parted from me!-Return him to me, that I may press him to my bosom, that now pants with love !"
ALEXIS heard; and he discover'd the young shepherd, who stood opposite to him, and on whose visage the moon now shone, to be the brother of DAPHNE. Full of tender fears, she dared not expose herself to the dangers of the night, by going alone to the temple of VENUS.
Alexis, quitting the pillar that conceald him, suddenly appear'd before his love. DAPHNE, seiz'd with the sweetest ecstasy, and Alexis, transported with joy and shame, sunk in each other's arms at the feet of the goddess.
COME, LYCIDAS, let us go into the brook-it will refresh our feet. There the willow and the bending poplar form an arch of the most lively verdure.
Lycidas. MYRSON, most willingly. In this suffocating heat, where can we find so cool a retreat?
MYRSON. Let us go to the rock from whence the stream precipitates. We shall there find the coolness as delicious as if we bathed in the river by the light of the moon.
LYCIDAS. Hark! I already hear the sound of the falling water. One would think that all things breathing came to seek refreshment in these shades. What a buzzing! What a murmur! What a sweet chattering! What a various and delightful tumult animates these solitary groves! And that little goldfinch, does he mean to show us the way? How he leaps with wanton joy from stone to stone! Dost thou observe the brilliant ray that darts through a hole in the willow whose trunk is encircled by the ivy?-Ha! mark the young goat that sleeps in the trunk of the tree! What a lucky retreat has he found !