'Twas now the hour when Night had driven
Her car half round yon sable heaven;
BoÃ¶tes, only, seem’d to roll
His arctic charge around the pole;
While mortals, lost in gentle sleep,
Forgot to smile, or ceased to weep:
At this lone hour the Paphian boy,
Descending from the realms of joy,
Quick to my gate directs his course,
And knocks with all his little force.
My visions fled, alarm’d I rose,—
‘What stranger breaks my blest repose?’
‘Alas!’ replies the wily child,
In faltering accents sweetly mild,
‘A hapless infant here I roam,
Far from my dear maternal home.
Oh! shield me from the wintry blast!
The nightly storm is pouring fast.
No prowling robber lingers here.
A wandering baby who can fear?’
I heard his seeming artless tale,
I heard his sighs upon the gale:
My breast was never pity’s foe,
But felt for all the baby’s woe.
I drew the bar, and by the light
Young Love, the infant, met my sight;
His bow across his shoulders flung,
And thence his fatal quiver hung
(Ah! little did I think the dart
Would rankle soon within my heart).
With care I tend my weary guest,
His little fingers chill my breast;
His glossy curls, his azure wing,
Which droop with nightly showers, I wring;
His shivering limbs the embers warm;
And now reviving from the storm,
Scarce had he felt his wonted glow,
Than swift he seized his slender bow:-
‘I fain would know, my gentle host,’
He cried, 'if this its strength has lost;
I fear, relax’d with midnight dews,
The strings their former aid refuse.'
With poison tipt, his arrow flies,
Deep in my tortured heart it lies:
Then loud the joyous urchin laugh’d:-
‘My bow can still impel the shaft:
’Tis firmly fix’d, thy sighs reveal it;
Say, courteous host, canst thou not feel it?'