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rice, and luxury, introduce tyranny; and at the time the story commences, the sceptre is swayed by "a hot-spur'd youth, hight Hylas." Thealma, the daughter of the King of Lemnos, flying from her father's court with her lover, Clearchus, is shipwrecked on the Arcadian coast. Clearchus is supposed to be drowned; and Thealma, taking refuge in the house of a shepherd, employs herself in tending his flocks.
"Scarce had the ploughman yoked his horned team,
That day before her rise, out-blush'd the morn :
Down in a valley, 'twixt two rising hills,
Hight Cygnus; (as some think from Leda's swan
Of all Arcadia :-here Thealma used
To feed her milky droves, and as they brows'd
She sate her down; grief had tongue-tied her speech,
Heard only by the sobs, and not the sense.
'O, my Clearchus,' said she, and with tears
Or souls departed condescend so low,
Whose life is worse than death, since not with thee.
More than the meanest swain? The proud waves beat
Are subject more unto the thunder-stroke,
Than the low shrubs, that no such shocks endure,
Had drown'd my cares, or sweeten'd them with dreams:
Or had Clearchus liv'd the life I lead,
While she is discoursing of her griefs with her maid, Ca
Rush'd from the wood, enrag'd by a deep wound
Some huntsman gave him: up he ploughs the ground,
Champing his venom's moisture into foam.
The sheep ran bleating o'er the pleasant plain,
They are rescued from destruction by the arrival of a huntsman, who kills the enraged savage.
"He was but young, scarce did the hair begin
In shadows to write man upon his chin:
Tall and well set, his hair a chesnut brown,
This stranger turns out to be her brother Anaxus, who had left his native land in search of his mistress Clarinda, whose father had been banished from Lemnos by the king.
The marigold shuts up her golden flowers,
Lighting the starry tapers at her horns.
Where we must leave them for awhile, to end
The story of their sorrows."
The Arcadians, driven to revolt by the tyranny of Hylas, choose for their leader Alexis, a foreign youth, who had distinguished himself at their festive games.
"He had a man-like look, and sparkling eye,
A front whereon sate such a majesty
As aw'd all his beholders; his long hair,
So well compact, and sinew'd in his joints.
But that which crown'd the rest, he had a tongue
His words so oily smooth and winning were."
Hylas meanwhile was occupied with other cares. He had been smitten with the charms of Florimel, the daughter of Memnon, a Lemnian exile, and after several ineffectual attempts on her virtue, had had recourse to violence, but was prevented, and obliged to save himself by flight from the rage of Memnon and his followers. Before Memnon has time to escape from Arcadia with his family, Hylas returns and surrounds the house with his troops. Memnon contrives to conceal his daughter in a hidden apartment, and, on his refusal to discover her retreat, Hylas, enraged, orders the house to be set on fire. At this moment intelligence is brought of the insurrection, and Hylas hastens to oppose the insurgents. He is defeated and slain, and Alexis is chosen king.
Anaxus taking leave of his sister proceeds in search of his Clarinda retreating into a forest for shelter "gainst the sun's scorching heat,"
"Within a little silent grove hard by,
As the wind gave it being :-so sweet an air
A hundred virgins there he might espy
They tender'd their devotions: with sweet airs,
And cross their snowy silken robes, they wore
Was blest with the sweet words that came from her."
The devotions of these nymphs are interrupted by a band of robbers, and after a show of resistance they take to flight, but some of the boldest, and amongst them their beautiful leader, are taken prisoners. Anaxus, on this, furiously rushes among the bandits, kills their leader, and speedily routs them. The virgins during this contest had dispersed and fled, but Anaxus, who had been severely wounded in the struggle, is opportunely relieved by Sylvanus, a benevolent recluse.
“A trim old man he was, though age had plough'd
His body somewhat tow'rd the earth: his hairs,
His broad kemb'd beard hung down near to his waist,
His reverend old age,-his feet were bare
But for his leathern sandals, which he ware
To keep them clean from galling, which compell'd
He durst not trust his legs, they fail'd him then,
Sylvanus, to complete his cure, takes Anaxus home with him to his cell,
"whose poor outside
Promis'd as mean a lodging; pomp and pride
(Those peacocks of the time,) ne'er roosted there,
It was not so contemptible within,
There was some show of beauty that had been
Worn out with envious time :"
Thealma, somewhat cheered in spirit by her unexpected meeting with her brother, and still more by a dream which told her that Clearchus lived,
trick'd herself in all her best attire,