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Mine eyes with gazing ache, but still my heart
Thus some spake out, while some concealed their wounds, And longed in secret for the lovely maid. But thou, ill-fated youth, Leander, thou, When through thine eyes her beauty reached thy soul, With secret pangs consumedst not away But, by the burning shaft struck unawares, Thy soul, apart from Hero, craved not life. Her radiant eyes had fired the brand of love, And in thy bosom blazed the quenchless flame. Yes, spotless woman's beauty deeper strikes Than winged arrows force the heart of manIn by the eyes the mischief makes its way, And gliding downward settles in the breast. Thus wonder, boldness, trembling, shame, by turns Possessed him; trembling seized his heart of hearts, And shame enchained him in her modest bonds.. Then as her beauty fixed his wondering gaze, Impassioned rapture hurried shame away; And he, with all the boldness love inspires, On tip-toe stole and stood beside the maid, And on her rolled askance those longing eyes Whose voiceless pleading won her soul to love. But she, when she perceived Leander's flame, Laughed in her heart at her own beauty's prideAnon she veiled the lustre of her brow, And from her covert many a burning glance Told the soft secret to Leander's eye, Ere yet she raised her veil how leapt his heart That she, the peerless, spurned him not away. While thus, enraptured, for the secret hour Leander waited, daylight calmly set, And high uprose the shadowy Star of Eve. Then stood he boldly by the virgin's side, When black-robed Darkness hovered in the air, And pressed her rosy fingers in his own, While from his bosom's depth broke out a sigh. Hero, in silence, and as though in wrath, Pleased, yet offended, drew away her handBut he perceived the maid irresolute, And by her dainty robe, with hand of strength, Half led, half forced her onward, till they reached The secret shadows of the inmost fane. With slow and faltering step young Hero went As one unwilling, and with girlish threats Leander's bearing thus did she upbraid: “ Begone, begone, Sir Stranger, art thou mad ? What ! force a virgin ?_fie, release my robeBrave not the mighty vengeance of our house 'Tis ill to tamper thus with Venus' priestA thousand dangers guard my virgin couch."
Thus did she threaten-but Leander felt In all the fury of her woman's wrath
The surest sign of yielding maidenhood
- Thou second Venus ! Pallas' other self!
Thus did he win her coy and shrinking heart, And rouse her passion by his words of love. But she, in silence, and as though ashamed, To hide her blushes fixed her gaze on earth, And with her foot kept patting o'er the ground, While oft around her shoulders would she draw Her tightened robe-all these, as lovers know, Are signs of soft persuasion ; for a maid When wooed, to wiming silently consents. And Love now struck his sweet and bitter barb Deep into Hero's virgin heart, which burned And raged with transport at Leander's form. But while she fixed her eyes upon the ground, Mean while Leander fed his amorous sight, Nor wearied gazing on her tender neck. At length she raised her sweetly trembling voice, While tears of rapture gemmed her blushing cheek.
« Fair Sir, thy words would rouse a heart of stone! Whence came that soft seducing gift of thine ? Alas! who brought thee to my native land ? Vain, vain are all thy words, for how may'st thou, A wandering stranger, faithless, too, perhaps, Indulge thy passion for a maid like me ? In holy wedlock never may we joinFor never would my lordly sire consentNor wouldst thou dwell an alien in my land, Couldst thou retain the secret of our love. For men love scandal, and the closest deed In secret done is twitted in the streets. But tell me now, I pray, no longer hide
Thy name from me ; declare thy country too.
She ceased, and buried in her mantle's folds Her rosy cheek, relapsing into shame, And blamed her tongue that spake such kindly words. But by Love's keenest dart Leander pierced Was thinking how to fight Love's tender fight. Now crafty Love strikes deep into the heart, But heals himself the wounds himself hath made ; For where he reigns, his all-subduing power With cunning counsel fills the captive mind. So to Leander now he lent his aid, Who thus at last with falt'ring accent spake :
“ Ah! gentle maid, I'll dare for love of thee The swelling storms, though waves of fire should boil, And bubbling check the passage of the seaSo I may gain thy bed, I dread nor wave, Nor angry ocean's deepest thunder tone ; But nightly borne, thy salt-sea love, to thee, I'll swim through all the streams of Hellespont; For in Abydos' neighbouring town I dwell. Thou through the darkness, from thy tower's height, Display a single torch, that I may be Thy boat of love ; thy torch my leading star; And gazing on it never will I heed Böotes setting, nor Orion rude, Nor in the north the Wain's unmoisten'd track, So I may reach the haven of thy land. But, О sweet love! beware the treacherous winds, Lest they the torch extinguish—and I die; For on its light depends my light of life. But if to learn my name be thy desireI am Leander-fair hair'd Hero's spouse.'
Thus to indulge them in their secret love
Torn from each other's heart, they went their way-
That told from far his secret couch was laid.
Then from his lovely limbs he doff''d his garb,
Hero, mean while, upon her tower's height, When howling winds their blasts of terror blew, Oft with her robe would veil the flickering torch, Till onward toiling to the Sestian beach Leander came, and hied him to her tower. Then to the gate she rush'd, and twined around Her panting bridegroom's heart, too glad for speech ; And while adown him dripp'd the salt-sea drops, She to the bridal-chamber led him on, And dried his form, and with the soft perfume Of roseate oil subdued the ocean smell : Then laid him panting on her downy couch, And wreathed around his bosom sweetly spake : • Sore hast thou toil'd, my love—no toil so sore Hath ever loving bridegroom undergoneSore hast thou toil'd, my love! but now the waves Enough have toss'd thee on their foamy breast-Come, rest thy labours on this heart of mine.”
Thus did she speak; but he untied her zone, And link'd in Venus' blissful bonds they lay. Theirs was a wedding_but no pomp was there ; No nuptial hymns about their bed were sungFor them no bard kind Juno's favour soughtAround their couch no bridal torches shoneNo light foot twinkled in their wedding danceNo tender parents sung their marriage songBut while dumb silence laid the nuptial bed, And closed its curtains, Gloom attired the bride. Far from the sound of hymencal strains Night ranged the bridal_nor did early Dawn Surprise the bridegroom in his bed of love ; He'd to Abydos ta'en his watery way, Panting insatiate from his night of bliss With that dear nymph who baulk'd her parents' care, A maid by day, by night a loving bride. And many a time and oft would both implore The lingering day to hasten to his close,
So from all eyes their passion did they hide,
'Twas night-that hour when most the blust'ring winds,
But when he came not, she, with aching eyes,
Thus perish'd Hero with her stricken Spouse,
* Orithyia, daughter of Erectheus, King of Athens, carried off by Boreas. YOL, XLI. NO. CCLVI,