Tag Archives: classical mythology

Jonathan Swift, “Apollo Outwitted”

JONATHAN SWIFT

“Apollo Outwitted”

To the Honourable Mrs. FINCH, under her Name of Ardelia.
Written, 1709.

PHOEBUS now shortning every Shade,
Up to the Northern Tropick came,
And thence Beheld a Lovely Maid
Attending on a Royal Dame.

THE God laid down his Feeble Rays,                                                  5
Then lighted from his Glitt’ring Coach,
But fenc’d his Head with his own Bays
Before he durst the Nymph approach.

UNDER those Sacred Leaves, Secure
From common Lightning of the Skies,                                        10
He fondly thought he might endure
The Flashes of Ardelia’s Eyes.

THE Nymph who oft had read in Books,
Of that Bright God whom Bards invoke,
Soon knew Apollo by his looks,                                                             15
And Guest his Business e’er he Spoke.

HE in the old Celestial Cant,
Confest his Flame, and Swore by Styx,
What e’er she would desire, to Grant,
But Wise Ardelia knew his Tricks.                                                    20

OVID had warn’d her to beware,
Of Stroling Gods, whose usual Trade is,
Under pretence of Taking Air,
To Pick up Sublunary Ladies.

HOWE’ER she gave no flat Denial,                                                            25
As having Malice in her Heart,
And was resolv’d upon a Tryal,
To Cheat the God in his own Art.

HEAR my Request the Virgin said
Let which I please of all the Nine                                                       30
Attend when e’er I want their Aid,
Obey my Call, and only mine.

BY Vow Oblig’d, By Passion led,
The God could not refuse her Prayer;
He wav’d his Wreath Thrice o’er her Head,                                               35
Thrice mutter’d something to the Air.

AND now he thought to Seize his due,
But she the Charm already try’d,
Thalia heard the Call and Flew
To wait at Bright Ardelia’s Side.                                                             40

ON sight of this Celestial Prude,
Apollo thought it vain to stay,
Nor in her Presence durst be Rude,
But made his Leg and went away.

HE hop’d to find some lucky Hour,                                                               45
When on their Queen the Muses wait;
But Pallas owns Ardelia’s Power,
For Vows Divine are kept by Fate.

THEN full of Rage Apollo Spoke,
Deceitful Nymph I see thy Art,                                                               50
And tho’ I can’t my gift revoke,
I’ll disappoint its Nobler Part.

LET Stubborn Pride Possess thee long,
And be thou Negligent of Fame,
With ev’ry Muse to Grace thy Song,                                                               55
May’st thou despise a Poets Name.

OF Modest Poets thou be first,
To silent Shades repeat thy Verse,
Till Fame and Eccho almost burst,
Yet hardly dare one Line Rehearse.                                                        60

AND last, my Vengeance to Compleat,
May you Descend to take Renown,
Prevail’d on by the Thing you hate,
A [Whig] and one that wears a Gown.

NOTES:

Dedication  Ardelia  Anne Finch’s poetical name for herself.

1  PHOEBUS  “[Ancient Greek name of Apollo] god of light, poetry and music” (OED).

2  Northern Tropick  “Tropic of Cancer,” which includes Britain (Britannica).

4  Royal Dame  Finch was appointed Maid of Honour to Mary of Modena in 1682.  Mary became queen in 1685 when her husband ascended the throne as James II, though Finch had resigned her court position in 1684 after marrying.

7  Bays  “Leaves or sprigs of this tree, esp. as woven into a wreath or garland to reward a conqueror or poet; hence figurative the fame and repute attained by these” (OED).

14  Bards  “A lyric or epic poet, a ‘singer’; a poet generally” (OED).

18  Styx  “A river of the lower world or Hades, over which the shades of the departed were ferried by Charon, and by which the gods swore their most solemn oaths” (OED).

21  OVID  Roman poet (43BC-17AD), famous for Metamorphoses.

30  all the Nine  The muses.

39  Thalia  “The eighth of the muses, presiding over comedy and idyllic poetry” (OED).

47  Pallas  Epithet for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war.

64  [Whig]  “A person who supported the exclusion of James, Duke of York (later James II), from the succession to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland on account of his Roman Catholicism during the late 1670s and 1680s” (OED); added in later printings of the poem; one that wears a Gown  Swift himself.

SOURCE:  Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (London, 1711), pp. 399–403.  [Google Books]

Edited by Jake Araiza

 

Anonymous, “The Rise of Tea”

ANONYMOUS

 “The Rise of Tea”

 

Think not, ye fair, deceiv’d by poet’s lays,
Cupid in sloth inglorious melts his days;
Think not enchain’d on Chloe’s breast he lies,
Or bathes himself in Delia’s languid eyes;
Now here, now there, the wanton wanderer roves                              5
O’er Belgia’s waters, or Italia’s groves;
Now soothes the hearts of Gallia’s silken swains,
Now fires the tawny youth on Java’s plains.
As o’er luxurious China’s fields he sails,
Upborn by lovers sighs, and balmy gales,                                              10
Deep in the bosom of a fragrant glade,
Where pines, slow-moving, form’d a dancing shade,
Where Zephyr stole the rose’s rich perfume,
And wakeful almonds shook their snowy bloom,
Crown’d with rough thickets rose a moss-grown cave,                       15
Whose tinkling sides pour down a sparkling wave:
Unwilling to desert its native groves,
The ling’ring stream in flow’ry lab’rinths roves;
The god of love feeds his insatiate sight,
Slow wave his loose wings, and retard his flight.                                  20
But say, what soft confusion seiz’d thy breast,
What heaving sighs thy instant flame confest,
When Thea broke from Morpheus’ dewy arms,
Rose from the grot, and blaz’d in all her charms?
Its swelling orb no hoop enormous spread,                                           25
Like magic sphere to guard the tim’rous maid;
No torturing stays the yielding waist confin’d,
A bliss for lover’s arms alone design’d;
Her hair, by no malicious art repress’d
Play’d in the wind, and wanton’d o’e her breast.                                   30
Jove grew a swan to press the Spartan fair:
What form to taste those charms would Cupid wear?
Quick thro’ the sounding grove the god descends,
Quick at her feet the sighing suppliant bends.
Can you be deaf when Syren passion sues?                                           35
Or how can beauty fly, when love pursues?
No more he seeks the Cyprian’s smoaking fanes,
Or sips rich nectar in celestial plains;
In Thea’s heart a flame more pleasing glows,
And from her lips more luscious nectar flows.                                       40
Venus, indignant, saw her power decay,
And rush’d impetuous through the realms of day:
Thus dost thou guard thy once-lov’d parent’s throne
Shall then the rebel power my power disown?
See! where the fatal cause of my disgrace                                               45
(Each hateful beauty glowing in her face)
Insulting stands!—–There let her fixt remain,
Nor be the anger of a goddess vain.
To kneel to sue she strove, unhappy maid!
In vain, her stiffening knees refuse their aid:                                          50
Her arms she lifts with pain, in wild surprize
She starts to see a verdant branch arise:
O Love! she try’d to say, thy Thea aid,
Her ruddy lips the envious leaves invade:
Yet then, just sinking from his tortur’d view,                                           55
Her swimming eyes languish’d a last adieu.
Venus triumphant, with a scornful smile,
Points to the tree, and seeks the Cyprian isle.
Her mark’d the goddess with indignant eyes,
And grief and rage, alternate tyrants, rise.                                               60
Then sighing o’er the vegetable fair,
Yet still, he said, thou claim’st thy Cupid’s care!
Her arts no more shall Cytherea prove,
But own my Thea aids the cause of love.
To the free isle, I’ll give thy rights divine,                                                  65
To nymphs, whose charms alone can equal thine,
For thee the toiling sons of Ind’ shall drain
The honey’d sponge, which swells the leafy cane:
The gentle Naiads to thy shrine shall bring
The limpid treasures of the crystal spring;                                               70
Thy verdant bloom shall stain the glowing stream,
Diffusing fragrance in the quivering stream;
Around thy painted altar’s brittle pride
Shall dimpled smiles and sleek-brow’d health preside,
Whilst white-rob’d nymphs display each milder grace,                          75
The morning dream just glowing on each face.
With joy I see, in ages yet unborn,
Thy votaries the British isle adorn.
With joy I see enamour’d youths despise
The goblet’s lustre for the fair one’s eyes:                                                  80
Till rosy Bacchus shall his wreaths resign,
And Love and Thea triumph o’er the vine.

NOTES:

2 Cupid, The roman god of love, son of Venus goddess of love. His Greek name is Eros (OED).

 6 Belgia Belgium; Italia Italy.

 7 Gallia France.

 12 Zephyr God of the west wind, often associated with summer and sweetness (OED).

 23 Thea The nymph personification of tea; Morpheus God of sleep (OED).

 31 Jove, Jupiter, king of the gods and god of the heavens. He is also remembered as Zeus, his name among the Greeks (OED); a swan to press the Spartan fair Leda of Sparta, who was raped by Zeus in the form of a swan, giving birth to Helen of Troy, famous for her role in the Iliad (Encyclopedia Britannica).

 35 Syren Enchanting woman-bird hybrid that appears in the Odyssey. They are known for their song that can enchant any man, creating a deadly love that causes sailors to dash their ships against rocks pursuing them (OED).

 37 the Cyprian An epithet for Aphrodite/Venus; fanes “Temples” (OED).

 38 Nectar The drink of the gods. Related to Ambrosia, another drink of the gods. This could possibly refer to both the nectar of the gods, and the nectar of flowering plants (OED).

 41 Venus Goddess of love, mother of Cupid, also called Aphrodite among the Greeks. She is storied to be a jealous deity who lashes out against women who are called more beautiful than her, such as Psyche legendary wife of Cupid (OED).

 63 Cytherea Another name for Venus. This name refers to the Greek island Cythera, which like Cyprus was significant to the worship of Venus (OED).

 67 Ind’ An “earlier name for the country now called India” (OED).

 69 Naiad A water nymph (OED).

 81 Bacchus Roman god of wine and revelry (OED).

Source: The Annual Register (1761), pp. 261-262.

Edited by Daniel Chiu