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The LIBYAN HUNTER, a FABLE.

Inscrib'd to the Memory of a late admir'd Author.

1 WHEN Merit rises like the Prince of Day,
2 Pale Envy turns her aking Eyes away;
3 Then sallow Cheeks with Rage are taught to glow,
4 And narrow Souls to bloated Furies grow.
5 Old Story tells us, on an earthly Plain
6 Once Jove descended wrap'd in golden Rain:
7 Now Fate permits no such familiar Powers,
8 But Shoals of Criticks fall in leaden Showers:
9 These gaze at Wit, as Owls behold the Sun,
10 And curse the Lustre which they fain wou'd shun;
11 These Beasts of Prey no living worth endure,
12 Nor are the Regions of the Dead secure;
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13 Yet shall the Worthy o'er their Spite prevail;
14 Here lies the Moral follows next the Tale.
15 Once on a time on Libya's thirsty Land,
16 Where Showers seldom wet the burning Sand,
17 Liv'd happy Sylvius as the Morning gay,
18 A well-known Fav'rite of the Prince of Day;
19 Whose Hand, unerring, to the Mark in view
20 Sent the swift Arrow from the twanging Yew:
21 The trembling Panthers from his Fury fly,
22 When the keen Jav'lin hiss'd along the Sky;
23 Fierce were his Eyes, and dazzling as the Sun;
24 His raven Looks in mazy Ringlets run,
25 A well-stor'd Quiver at his Back was ty'd,
26 A shining Spear his better Hand supply'd:
27 Thus rudely charming, he was sure to please
28 With graceful Negligence and careless Ease:
29 He breath'd soft Musick from his tuneful Tongue,
30 And the wild Tiger listen'd to his Song:
31 The woodland Nymphs their dusky Shades forego,
32 And the blue Naiads left the Deeps below:
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33 None guard the Flocks, nor hunt the flying Prey,
34 Till he had finish'd the enchanting Lay:
35 Then Sylvan Dames with Wreaths of Laurel bound,
36 His chearful Temples and with Roses crown'd.
37 But grudging Envy heard the just Applause,
38 And the pale Phantom writh'd her hagard Jaws;
39 Now swell'd the Bosoms of repining Swains,
40 And hissing Scandals flew across the Plains.
41 At length his Fame the wondring Sky invades,
42 And reach'd the Muses in their sacred Shades;
43 Bright Thalia view'd him with an envious Eye,
44 And thus address'd her Partners of the Sky:
45 'Ye tuneful Maids, give o'er the labour'd Song,
46 'Small are the Praises to our share belong;
47 'Look down and see on yonder sultry Plain,
48 'Our Voices equal'd by a Libyan Swain;
49 'Give o'er the Lay, ye too officious Fair,
50 'Lay down the Lyre and fruitless Hymns forbear,
51 'Nor hope to charm the partial Prince of Day,
52 'While heav'nly Accents breathe from mortal Clay:
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53 'In vain we keep our radiant Seats on high,
54 'If rural Swains shall with our Musick vie: '
55 She said: And Rage possest the beauteous Ring,
56 Some curse the Youth and some their partial King.
57 The Dame who saw th' infectious Murmurs run,
58 Roll'd her blue Eyes, and thus afresh begun:
59 'No more the Bays shall to our Share belong,
60 'Nor charm'd Celestials shall attend our Song:
61 'But all to Sylvius shall their Off'rings pay;
62 'To Sylvius favour'd by the Prince of Day,
63 'Shall he exceed the Muses sacred Choir:
64 'Not while Revenge shall injur'd Bosoms fire.
65 'But see, my Sisters: On the Plains below
66 'Swift Cynthia's Hounds pursue the flying Doe:
67 'Be mine the Task to bear a fraudful Tale,
68 'To the swift Hunters in the Libyan Vale:
69 'As how her Herds in vain from Sylvius fly;
70 'His Darts pursue them, and the Victims die:
71 'So Delia's Rage shall stop his tuneful Tongue,
72 'And we no more shall dread the rival Song.
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73 Here ceas'd the Dame the smiling Sisters join:
74 Their loud Applauses to her sly Design.
75 Now had the Sun withdrawn his piercing Eye.
76 And Night assum'd the Empire of the Sky:
77 Lull'd in her Lap reposing Nature lay,
78 And Swains forgot the Labours of the Day:
79 The Winds were hush'd, the Ocean ceas'd to roar,
80 And softly murmur'd by the sandy Shore,
81 When from Parnassus flew the envious Maid,
82 To seek the Huntress of the lonely Shade:
83 The fierce Virago on a verdant Plain,
84 She found, encircl'd by her sleeping Train;
85 Where a cool River blest the fertile Ground,
86 Its Bank with Trees and bending Ofier's crown'd:
87 Beneath a Shade the lovely Dian stood
88 With down-cast Eyes, and view'd the rolling Flood;
89 Whose Waves were bright with the reflected Beams
90 Of her own Orb that sparkl'd on the Streams.
91 'Hail, Delia, Hail, (began the artful Dame)
92 'Lives there a Wretch who owns not Delia's Name?
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93 'Lives there a Slave whose daring Hand defies
94 'The awful Empress of the nightly Skies?
95 'Yes, haughty Sylvius triumphs o'er the Plain,
96 'Tho' thy choice Herds are by his Arrows slain;
97 'The frighted Fauns his wanton Rage wou'd fly,
98 'But the keen Dart o'ertakes 'em, and they die.
99 'His shining Spear arrests the trembling Doe,
100 'And groaning Stags the deadly Weapon know:
101 'But if fair Delia to the Libyan Swain
102 'Resigns the Freedom of her sacred Plain,
103 'Let none dispute the Licence of her Will,
104 'And I retire to our tuneful Hill. '
105 With flushing Features and disorder'd Charms
106 The angry Goddess seiz'd her deathful Arms;
107 'Shall Man with me dispute the Plain (she cries,
108 While kindling Rage inflam'd her rolling Eyes)
109 'This Hand shall well revenge my slaughter'd Deer:
110 She said: And furious grasp'd the dreadful Spear,
111 And o'er her Shoulder flung the shining Bow,
112 Then breathing Vengeance sought her guiltless Foe.
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113 The Youth beneath a dusky Shade she found,
114 Thoughtless of Ill and sleeping on the Ground;
115 A deadly Shaft deluded Cynthia drew,
116 And to his Heart the feather'd Vengeance flew;
117 The reaking Blood came bubbling through the Wound,
118 Pour'd o'er his Bosom and distain'd the Ground;
119 Then the freed Spirit took her airy Way,
120 To Fields of Pleasure and of endless Day.
121 The red-cheek'd Morning had now chas'd away
122 Night's sable Curtain and the dawning Day
123 Call'd forth abroad the trusty Bands Again
124 To chase the Tiger o'er the Desert Plain;
125 To search the Caves where kingly Lions roar,
126 And from thick Shades dislodge the bristled Boar:
127 Sylvius they want, for him they search, they call,
128 They search the Shades where crystal Waters fall,
129 His wonted Haunts: Then ev'ry Voice they try:
130 In vain they call, for none, alas! reply:
131 Hear, Sylvius, hear, they cry, and all around;
132 Hear, Sylvius, hear, the hollow Rocks resound.
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133 At length a Crew, the basest of the Plain,
134 Approach'd, the Covert of the slaughter'd Swain
135 Glad they beheld him breathless on the Ground,
136 And gaz'd with Rapture on the purple Wound,
137 When one began Now bless the friendly Hand,
138 That swept off Sylvius from the gazing Land:
139 Behold the Day so oft by us desir'd,
140 Here lies the Swain whom lately all admir'd.
141 This Phoebus saw, as from his blazing Wheels,
142 With his broad Eye he view'd the glitt'ring Fields
143 Behold the Youth whom he had taught to throw
144 The feather'd Arrow from the bounding Bow,
145 Beheld his Sylvius, to whose artful Tongue
146 He taught the Numbers of enchanting Song.
147 Now cold and breathless on the dewy Plain,
148 And his worst Foes insulting o'er the Slain:
149 Then rag'd the God that wears the silver Bow,
150 And his broad Eyes with sparkling Fury glow,
151 Descended Phoebus in a burning Ray,
152 His beamy Locks declares the Prince of Day,
153 And flashing Glories round his Temples play,
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154 Each on his Face the trembling Victims fall,
155 Their stammering Tongues wou'd fain for Mercy call;
156 But as all grov'ling on the Dust they lie,
157 His Shafts dispatch them to the darker Sky:
158 Learn hence (he cry'd) ye impious Men, to know,
159 And dread the Pow'r that wears the mortal Bow:
160 For while I rule the blazing Throne of Day,
161 None wrong my Servants but shall find their Pay;
162 He said and rais'd his Fav'rite from the Ground,
163 Then smil'd the Features: And the gaping Wound
164 Was seen no more. The glowing Cheeks revive,
165 Shake off the Stamp of Death, and seem alive;
166 Instead of Cypress and a mournful Shroud,
167 Apollo wrap'd him in a golden Cloud,
168 And bore him thence: But where, there's none can say,
169 Unless to his own Regions of the Day.
170 And from the Ground where Sylvius late was seen,
171 Where the warm Gore had stain'd the thirsty Green;
172 A pleasing Tree arose with slender Stems,
173 That breath'd Ambrosia from its op'ning Gems:
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174 Those op'ning Gems the Virgins us'd to wear
175 On their fair Bosoms, and their shining Hair:
176 Now the gay Shrub each happy Climate knows,
177 By all admir'd, and 'tis call'd the Rose.

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Title (in Source Edition): The LIBYAN HUNTER, a FABLE. Inscrib'd to the Memory of a late admir'd Author.
Author: Mary Leapor
Themes: mythology; poetry; literature; writing; music; other countries
Genres: heroic couplet; fable

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Source edition

Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor ... London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 153-162. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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