By Mr. WILLIAM WHITEHEAD, Fellow of Clare-Hall in Cambridge.

Infelix! Nati funus crudele videbis.
Hi nostri reditus, expectatique triumphi!
Haec mea magna fides! — Virg. Aen. viii.

LONDON: Printed for R. MANBY, on Ludgate Hill: And Sold by M. COOPER, in Pater-noster Row. MDCCXLIV.

[Price One Shilling.]


WHERE Hermus' Waters wash the Lydian Strand,
The pow'rful Craesus stretch'd his wide Command,
A Warriour King, whose willing Subjects bow'd
To sceptred Worth, superior to the Croud.
Vast was his Wealth, for Conquest swell'd his Store;
Nor what enrich'd the Prince, had left the People poor.
Two Sons he had, alike in outward Mien,
The tender Pledges of a dying Queen.
But speechless one ne'er taught his Sire to melt
With lisping Eloquence by Parents felt;
And mimic Art in vain Expedients sought,
To form the Tongue, and free th' imprison'd Thought.
Yet blooming Atys well that Loss supply'd,
Atys the People's Hope, and Monarch's Pride.
His beauteous Soul thro' every Feature glow'd,
And from his Lips such soft Persuasion flow'd,
As Nature had withheld the Brother's Share,
Only to pour a double Portion there.
[Page 2]But vain those Graces, since conceal'd from View
They droop in Shades, and wither where they grew.
For one dread Night, as o'er the weary King
The drowsy God had stretch'd his leaden Wing,
He seem'd, he knew not where, in Wars engag'd,
And, whilst around the doubtful Battle rag'd,
Saw from some hostile Hand unerring Part
A fatal Spear, that pierc'd his Atys' Heart.
He starts, he wakes,—'Tis Night and Silence all!
Yet, scarce confirm'd, he still beholds him fall;
Still bleeds in Fancy's Eye the gaping Wound,
On Fancy's Ear the dying Groans resound.
Again he sleeps, the same sad Scenes return —
Restless he rolls, and waits the ling'ring Morn.
What can he do, or how prevent a Doom,
Which Heav'n foretels, and Fate has said shall come?
"And yet perhaps the Gods these Dreams inspire,
"To save the guiltless Son, and warn the Sire.
"Too fond of Arms I've wander'd far astray,
"While Youth and blind Ambition led the Way.
"And ravag'd Countries may perhaps demand
"This bleeding Sacrifice for Wrongs sustain'd.
"Then hear me, Gods, propitious, while I swear
"Peace, only Peace, shall be my future Care.
"O wou'd your Powers but save my darling Boy,
"No more this Breast shall glow, this Arm destroy!
[Page 3]"Nor e'er shall Atys the dire Sport pursue,
"Still in my Court, and seldom from my View,
"In Ease inglorious shall he pass his Days,
"Untaught to feel th' insatiate Lust of Praise.
He spake, and cautious far away remov'd
From Atys, what next Atys most he lov'd,
The Pomp of War: No Falchions guard the Gate,
And Chiefs unarm'd around his Palace wait.
Nay farther still extends a Parent's Fear,
Ev'n Arms themselves he dreads, and most the Spear;
Nor leaves of ancient Wars the weak Remains,
But strips their Trophies from the mould'ring Fanes,
Lest, fixt too loosely form the faithless Stone
The casual Steel shou'd drop, and pierce his Son.
Thus some sweet Warbler of the feather'd Throng
Deep in the thorny Brake secures her Young;
Yet, vainly anxious, feels a fancied Woe,
And starts at every Breeze that stirs the Bough;
With silent Horror hears the whisp'ring Groves,
And distant Murmurs of the Spring she loves.
Unhappy Sire! but vainly we oppose
Weak human Caution, when the Gods are Foes;
Thy Story's Sequel must too surely prove,
That Dreams, prophetic Dreams, descend from Jove.
Nor yet shall Atys thwart thy fond Designs:
He moves implicit as his Sire inclines.
[Page 4]On every Look his eager Duty hung,
And read his Wishes, e'er they reach'd his Tongue.
With Smiles he strips his Helmet's plumy Pride,
With Smiles he lays his useless Spear aside;
Nor lets one Sigh confess a latent Care,
Reserving all his Griefs for his Adrastus' Ear.
Adrastus early did his Soul approve,
Brave, virtuous, learn'd, and form'd for Atys' Love,
A Phrygian Youth, whom Fate condemn'd to roam,
An exil'd Wand'rer from a cruel Home.
For, yet a Boy, his inadvertent Lance
An Infant Brother slew, the Crime of Chance.
In vain he wept, no Expiation knew,
And loaded with a Father's Curse withdrew.
But not in vain the Gods such Ills dispence,
If soft-ey'd Pity takes her Rise from hence,
If hence we learn to feel another's Pain,
And from our own Misfortunes grow humane.
This young Adrastus found, and hence confess'd
That mild Benevolence, that warm'd his Breast.
Hence too his Fortune stretch'd a bolder Wing,
And plac'd her Wand'rer near the Lydian King.
There long the favour'd Youth exalted shone,
Dear to the Sire, but dearer to the Son.
And pow'rful Sympathy their Hearts had join'd
In stronger Ties, than Gratitude can bind.
[Page 5]With him did Atys every Sport pursue,
That Health demands, and earlier Ages knew.
At Morn, at Eve, at sultry Noon, with him
He rov'd the sunny Lawn, he swam the Stream;
Beside the Brook, that dimpling glides away,
Caught the cool Breeze, and lur'd the finny Prey;
Urg'd the light Car along th' indented Mead,
Or hung impetuous o'er the loose-rein'd Steed,
Beneath whose Hoof unhurt the Flowrets rise,
And the light Grass scarce trembles as he flies.
But chief he lov'd to range the Woods among,
And hear the Music of Adrastus' Tongue
With graceful Ease unlock the letter'd Store,
For that he learn'd from him endear'd the Knowledge more.
Of Thales' Wisdom oft the Converse ran,
How varying Nature's beauteous Frame began,
And erst to different Forms the Waters flow'd,
As o'er the Chaos mov'd the breathing God.
And how, confirm'd, when some few Years had roll'd,
Expecting Nations did at length behold
Predicted Horrors of a darken'd Sun,
And Spheres that shone with Lustre not their own.
Of Solon too he spake, and Laws design'd
To guard fair Freedom, not enslave Mankind—
And hinted oft what mutual Duties spring
'Twixt willing Subjects and their Father King;
[Page 6]How close connected Greatness was with Pain,
What earthly Bliss, and who the happy Man.
Nor less the while his youthful Breast he warms
With pictur'd Fights, the Theory of Arms;
Lest Honour's Barrier shou'd be quite o'erthrown,
And Virtue weaken'd e'er she mounts the Throne.
Thee, Homer, thee with Rapture they peruse,
Expand the Soul, and take in all the Muse;
Mix with thy Gods, with War's whole Ardor burn,
Or melt in silent Tears o'er Hector's Urn.
How oft transported wou'd young Atys cry,
"Thus might I fight, 'twere glorious thus to die!
"But why to me are useless Precepts given,
"Tied down and pinion'd by the Will of Heav'n?
"No early Wreaths my coward Youth must claim,
"No just Ambition warm me into Fame,
"Hid from the World to rust in Sloth, and buy
"A poor precarious Life with Infamy.
"Happy, thrice happy, on each hostile Strand
"The Youths that perish'd by my Father's Hand,
"Their Honor still survives, and o'er their Tombs
"Their Country's Tears descend, and Laurel blooms.
"To Life alone the Victor Sword's confin'd, —
"Wou'd you indeed distress, employ a Love too kind.
As oft Adràstus, studious to controul
With Reason's Calm the Tumult of the Soul,
[Page 7]Wou'd hint to what Excess soever wrought,
Paternal Fondness was a venial Fault.
Perhaps, as lenient Time stole gently on,
His Fears might soften, or be quite o'erblown,
And Sun-bright Honour only be delay'd
Awhile to burst more glorious from the Shade.
"Yet think," he cried, "whatever they appear,
"Few are the Causes can excuse a War.
"To raise th' Opprest, to curb th' insulting Proud,
"Or shou'd your injur'd Country call aloud,
"Rush, rush to Arms, 'tis glorious then to dare,
"Delay is Cowardice, and Doubt Despair.
"But let not idler Views your Breast enflame
"Of boundless Kingdoms, and a dreaded Name.
"'Tis yours at Home to stem Oppression's Waves,
"To guard your Subjects, not encrease your Slaves;
"On this just Basis Fame's firm Column raise,
"And be Desert in Arms your second Praise."
'Twas thus in Converse, Day succeeding Day,
They wore unfelt the tedious Hours away,
Till Atys' twentieth Year to bloom began,
And the Boy rose insensibly to Man.
What now shall Croesus find, what Syren Voice,
To make Retirement the Result of Choice?
No Father's stern Command these Years allow,
A Chain more pleasing must detain him now.
[Page 8]In rosy Fetters shall the Youth be tied,
And Mysia's Captive Fair the chosen Bride.
Haste, gentle God, whose Chains unite the Globe,
Known by the blazing Torch, and saffron Robe,
To Lydia haste, for Atys blames your Stay,
Nor fair Idalia's Blushes brook Delay;
O'er Glory's Blaze your soft Enchantments breathe,
And hide the Laurel with the Myrtle Wreath.
And now the King with secret Transport found
His Hopes succeed, nor fears a martial Wound,
While lost in Love the happier Atys lies,
The willing Victim of Idalia's Eyes.
O thoughtless Man! from hence thy Sorrows flow,
The Scheme projected to avert the Blow
But makes it sure—for see, from Mysia's Land
Round list'ning Atys crouds a suppliant Band.
Their Tears, their Cries, his easy Breast assail,
Fond to redress them e'er he hears their Tale.
"A mighty Boar the Curse of angry Heav'n
"Had from their Homes the wretched Suff'rers driv'n.
"Waste were their viny Groves, their rising Grain,
"Their Herds, their Flocks, th' attendant Shepherds slain,
"And scarce themselves survive.
"O wou'd but Atys' lead the hunter Train,
"Again their viny Groves, their waving Grain
[Page 9]"Might rise secure, their Herds, their Flocks encrease,
"And fair Idalia's Country rest in Peace."
The Youth assents, th' exulting Crouds retire;
When thus impatient speaks the trembling Sire,
"What means my Son? preserv'd, alas in vain,
"From hostile Squadrons, and the tented Plain,
"To rush on Death—recal your rash Design,
"Mine be the Blame, and be the Danger mine,
"Myself will lead the Band." The Youth return'd,
While his flush'd Cheek with mild Resentment burn'd,
"Will Croesus lead the Band, a Hunter now,
"Skill'd in the Fight, and Laurels on his Brow?
"Alas, such Mockeries of War become
"The Loit'rer Atys fearful of his Doom.
"To him at least these Triumphs be resign'd,
"That not entirely useless to Mankind
"His Days may pass; These Triumphs all his Aim,
"These humble Triumphs scarce allied to Fame.
"And yet, dread Sir, if you command his Stay,
"(O force of Duty!) Atys must obey.
"Alas on you whatever Blame shall fall,
"A Father's Fondness can excuse it all.
"But me, of me, if still your Power withstands,
"What must the Lydian, what the Mysian Bands,
"What must Idalia think?" Adrastus here,
Soft interpos'd. "Great King dismiss your Fear,
[Page 10]"Nor longer Atys' first Request oppose;
"War was your Dream, no War this Region knows,
"For humbler Prey the Hunters range the Wood,
"Their Spears fly innocent of human Blood.
"Then fear not them.—Or had the phantom Boar
"Dug deep the Wound, and drank the vital Gore,
"That dreadful Vision had excus'd your Care,
"Nor Atys offer'd an unheeded Prayer.
"I love the Prince, and, but I think his Life
"Safe as my own, would urge him from the Strife.
"Permit him, Sir,—this Arm shall guard him there;
"And safely may you trust Adrastus' Care,
"For, shou'd he fall, this Arm wou'd surely prove
"My Bosom feels a more than Father's Love."
As, when impetuous thro' th' autumnal Sky
Urg'd by the Winds the Clouds disparting fly,
O'er the broad Wave, or wide extended Mead
Shifts the quick Beam, alternate Light and Shade;
So glanc'd the Monarch's Mind from Thought to Thought,
So in his varying Face the Passions wrought.
Oft on his Son he turn'd a doubtful Eye,
Afraid to grant, nor willing to deny.
Oft rais'd it, tearful, to the blest Abodes,
And sought in vain the unregarding Gods.
Then look'd consent. But added, with a Groan,
"From thee, Adrastus, I expect my Son."
[Page 11]Why shou'd I tell, impatient for the Fight
How Atys chid the ling'ring Hours of Night?
Or how the roseate Morn with early Ray
Streak'd the glad East, and gradual spread the Day,
When forth he issued like the Lycian God?
Loose to the Breeze his hov'ring Mantle flow'd,
Wav'd the light Plume above, behind him hung
His rat'ling Quiver, and his Bow unstrung.
He mounts his Steed, the Steed obey'd the Rein,
Arch'd his high Neck, and graceful paw'd the Plain.
E'vn Croesus' self forgot a while his Fear
Of future Ills, and gaz'd with Transport there.
Or why relate, when now the Train withdrew,
How fair Idalia sigh'd a soft adieu;
How Croesus follow'd with his Voice and Eyes,
Fond to behold, but fonder to advise,
And oft repeated, as they journey'd on,
"From thee, Adrastus, I expect my Son."
Suffice it us, they leave the Waves that flow
O'er Beds of Gold, and Tmolus' fragrant Brow,
They pass Magnesia's Plains, Caicus' Stream
The Mysian Bound, that chang'd his ancient Name,
And reach Olympus' Verge, whose Summit nods
O'er Phrygian Fields, nor boasts assembled Gods.
Here Desolation spread her ghastly Reign
O'er trampled Vines, and dissipated Grain,
[Page 12]And saw with Joy revolving Seasons smile
To swell her Pomp, and mock the Lab'rers Toil.
Led by her baleful Steps the Youth explore
His dark Retreats, and rouse the foaming Boar.
Hard was the Strife: his horny Sides repel
Unting'd the plumy Shaft, and blunted Steel.
The Dogs lie mangled o'er the bleeding Plain,
And many a Steed, and many a Youth was slain.
When now his well-aim'd Bow Adrastus drew,
Twang'd the stretch'd String, the feather'd Vengeance flew,
And ras'd the Monster's Neck: he roars, he flies,
The Croud pursues, the Hills resound their Cries.
Full in the Centre of a Vale, embrown'd
With arching Shades, they close the Savage round.
He wheels, he glares, he meditates his Prey
Resolv'd to strike, resolv'd to force his Way;
But Atys timely stop'd his fierce Career,
And thro' his Eye-ball sent the whizzing Spear,
And joyful saw him reel; with eager Speed
He bares his shining Blade, he quits his Steed;
"—Ah stop, rash Youth, not Conquest you pursue,
"Death revels there; the wretched Victim you;
"You rush on Fate"—in vain—he reach'd the Beast,
He rais'd his Arm, and now had pierc'd his Breast,
When in that Moment from the adverse Throng
A Heav'n-directed Spear Adrastus flung,
[Page 13]Glanc'd o'er the falling Beast the fated Wood,
And fix'd in Atys' Breast drank deep the vital Flood.
The strugling Prince impatient of the Wound
Writh'd on the Spear, the Crouds enclose him round,
Then sunk in Death unknowing whence it came,
Yet, ev'n in Death, he call'd Adrastus' Name,
"Where flies Adrastus from his dying Friend,
"O bear me near." Poor Prince thy Life must end
Not in thy Murderer's Arms, he hears thee not;
Like some sad Wretch fix'd to the fatal Spot
Where fell the Bolt of Jove, nor Ear, nor Eye,
Nor Arm to help, nor Language to reply,
Nor Thought itself is his. Oblig'd to move
As they direct his Steed, he leaves the Grove,
As they direct to Sardis' Towers again
In Silence follows the returning Train.
There too we turn, for there the pensive Sire
Now hopes, now fears, and pines with vain Desire.
In every Dust before the Wind that flies,
In every distant Cloud that stains the Skies
He sees his Son return: till oft deceiv'd
No more his Eye the flattering Scene believ'd.
Yet still he wander'd, and with Looks intent,
The fatal Road his darling Atys went.
There to averted Heav'n he tells his Pain,
And slaughter'd Hecatombs decrees in vain.
[Page 14]There to Idalia, frequent by his Side,
Relates his Fears, or sooths the weeping Bride
With Tales of Atys' Worth, and points the Place
Where late he parted from their last Embrace.
And now, perchance, in Tears they linger'd there,
When slowly-moving real Crouds appear.
"What means," he cried, and shot a trembling Eye—
A Youth deputed by the rest drew nigh,
And in sad Accents told the dreadful Tale.—
Rage seiz'd the King; expiring, breathless, pale
Idalia sinks, th' attendant Fair convey
With Tears, and Shrieks, the beauteous Load away.
"Where is the Wretch?—hear hospitable Jove!—
"Is this, is this thy more than Father's Love?
"Give me my Son—why stare thy haggard Eyes
"As fix'd in Grief? here only Sorrow lyes"—
And smote his Breast, "thy Life in Blood began
"A fated Wretch, a Murd'rer e'er a Man.
"O foolish King! by my Indulgence stole
"This Serpent near me, that has stung my Soul.
"This thy Return for all a King could shower
"Of Bounty o'er thee, Life, and Wealth, and Power—
"But what are those? How great soe'er they be,
"I gave thee more, I gave myself to thee,
"I gave thee Atys, link'd in Friendship's Chain—
"O fatal Gift, if thus return'd again!
[Page 15]"Reach me a Sword—and yet, dear bleeding Clay,
"Can his, can thousand Lives thy Loss repay?"
Then burst in Tears, "Heav'ns Instrument I blame,
"Tho' by his Hand, from Heav'n the Vengeance came.
"This Stroke, O Solon, has convinc'd my Pride;
"O had I never liv'd, or earlier died!
"Alas, poor Wretch, why dost thou bare thy Breast,
"And court my Sword? tho' lost himself to Rest,
"This curst of Heav'n, this Croesus can forgive
"Th' unhappy Cause, and bids the Murd'rer live."
"Ah stop," he cried," and write the milder Fate
"Here with thy Sword, I only liv'd for that.
"Undone, I thought, beyond Misfortune's Power,
"O do not by Forgiveness curse me more."
While yet he pleaded, to the mourning Croud
Forth rush'd Idalia by her Maids pursu'd;
Eager she seem'd, with light Suspicions fill'd,
And on her Face Heart-piercing Madness smil'd.
"Where is my wand'ring Love, ye Lydians say,
"Does he indeed along Meander stray,
"And rove the Asian Plain?—I'll seek him there.—
"Ye Lydian Damsels of your Hearts beware,
"Fair is my Love as to the sunny Beam
"The light-spread Plumage on Cayster's Stream,
"His Locks are Hermus' Gold, his Cheeks outshine
"The Ivory tinctur'd by your Art divine.—
[Page 16]"I see him now, in Tmolus' Shade he lies
"On saffron Beds, soft Sleep has seal'd his Eyes.
"His Breath adds Sweetness to the Gale that blows,—
"Tread light, ye Nymphs, I'll steal on his Repose.—
"Alas he bleeds, O Murder, Atys bleeds,
"And o'er his Face a dying Paleness spreads!
"Help, Help, Adrastus,—can you leave him now,
"In Death neglect him? Once it was not so.
"What, and not weep! a Tear at least is due,
"Unkind Adrastus, he'd have wept for you.
"Come then, my Maids, our Tears shall wash the Gore,
"We too will die since Atys is no more.
"But first we'll strow with Flowers the hallow'd Ground
"Where lies my Love, and plant the Cypress round;
"Nor let Adrastus know, for should he come,
"New Streams of Blood wou'd issue from the Tomb;
"The Flowers wou'd wither at his baleful Tread,
"And at his Touch the sick'ning Cypress fade.
"Come, come—nay do not tear me from his Side,
"Cruel Adrastus, am I not his Bride?
"I must,—I will—me wou'd you murder too?"
At this unable to sustain his Woe,
"My Soul can bear no more," Adrastus cries,
(His Eyes on Heav'n) "Ye Powers that rule the Skies!
"If your august, unerring, Wills decreed,
"That States, and Kings, and Families must bleed,
[Page 17]"Why was I singl'd to perform the Part,
"Unsteel'd my Soul, unpetrified my Heart?
"What had I done, a Child, an embrio Man,
"E'er Passions cou'd unfold, or Thought began?
"Yet then condemn'd an infant Wretch I fled,
"Blood on my Hands, and Curses on my Head.
"O had I perish'd so!—but Fortune smil'd
"To make her Frowns more dire.—This vagrant Child
"Became the Friend of Kings, to curse them all,
"And with new Horrors dignify his Fall."
Then eager snatch'd his Sword, "for Murders past
"What have I not endur'd?—be this my last,"
And pierc'd his Breast. "This fated Arm shall pour
"Your Streams of Wrath, and hurl your Bolts no more.
"For Pangs sustain'd Oblivion's all I crave,
"O let my Soul forget them in the Grave!
"Alas, forgive the Wretch your Judgments Doom,
"Dark are your Ways, I wander in the Gloom,
"Nor shou'd perhaps complain.—Be Grief my Share
"But, if your Heav'n has Mercy, pour it there,
"On yon heart-broken King, on yon distracted Fair."
He spake, and drew the Steel; the weeping Train
Support him to the Bier, he grasps the Slain,
There feels the last sad Joy his Soul desires,
And on his Atys' much-lov'd Breast expires.
[Page 18]O happy Both, if ought my Muse cou'd shed
Of "Tears eternal that embalm the Dead;"
While round Britannia's Coast old Ocean raves,
And to her Standard roll th' embattled Waves,
Fair Empress of the Deep; so long your Names
Shou'd live lamented by her brightest Dames;
Who oft, at Evening, shou'd with Tears relate
The murder'd Friend, and poor Idalia's Fate;
And oft, enquiring from their Lovers, hear
How Croesus mourn'd a twice revolving Year,
Then rous'd at Cyrus' Name, and Glory's Charms,
Shook off enervate Grief, and shone again in Arms.

Lately Published by the same Author, Ann Boleyne to Henry VIIIth, an Epistle.

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