The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhed

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhed

Postby admin » Fri Mar 05, 2021 2:08 am

The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus
Translated from The Greek Into English metre
Translation by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed
Revised by Richard B.B. Sheridan



[L]et us proceed to the second Section of the ninth Chapter, "Of the Wages of Dancing Women or Prostitutes."

CHAP. IX. From the most distant Ages the Asiatic World has observed the Custom of employing Women trained up, and hired for the Purpose to sing and dance at the public Festivals and religious Ceremonies. We find that, "When David was returned from the Slaughter of the Philistines, the Women came out of all the Cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul, with Tabrets, with Joy, and with Instruments of Music."

It is still an universal Practice among the Gentoos, to entertain a Number of such Women for the Celebration of their solemn Festivals; and in many Parts of the Deccan, a Band of them is kept in every Village at the public Charge, and they are frequently dispatched to meet any Person passing in a public Character, exactly conformable to the Reception of Saul by the Women of Israel. Probably their being exposed to general View and to a free Conversation with Men (so contrary to the Reserve and Privacy of the rest of their Sex in Asia) first betrayed them into Prostitution: And in former Ages, a Prostitute seems to have been by no Means so despicable a Character as at present, since one of the first Acts of King Solomon's Government that was thought worthy to be recorded was a Decision from the Throne, upon the Suit of two Harlots. Many States, even among the Moderns, have found the Necessity as well as Utility of tolerated Prostitution; they have discovered it to be one of the most effectual Methods for preserving the Peace of Families and the Health of Individuals; and Publick Stews have accordingly been licensed under every Regulation that could be devised to obviate their probable ill Effects, and to secure all their Advantages; so, in Asia, the Profession of Singing and Dancing by distinct Sets or Companies naturally formed these Women into a Kind of Community. And as the Policy of a good Government will always look with an Eye of Regard upon every Branch of Society, it was but just and proper to enact Laws for the Security and Protection of this Publick Body, as well as of the rest of the State, particularly as the Sex and Employment of those who composed it rendered them more than usually liable to Insult and ill Usage.

It can be no Objection to the Rules laid down in this Place, that the Language in which they are delivered is plain even to Grossness; it is well known that the Ancients, even in their most refined Ages, admitted a Freedom of Speech utterly incompatible with the Delicacy of modern Conversation, and that we are on that Account frequently much embarrassed in translating even the most classical Authors of Greece and Rome. — Indecency too seems to be a Word unknown to the Law, which ever insists upon a simple Definition of Fact. The English Courts, upon Trials for Rape or Adultery, are full as little modest and equivocal in their Language as any Part of this or some of the succeeding Chapters; neither Rank nor Sex, nor Innocence can protect a Woman who is unfortunate enough to be called in as a Witness, even upon the most trivial Points of such a Cause, from being obliged to hear, and even to utter the most indecent and shocking Expressions, which are necessarily urged upon her, so far as to authenticate every Circumstance in Question, without the least Disguise of Circumlocution or Reserve in Favour of Modesty: Yet Trials of this Nature are published at length among us, and read with Eagerness, as much perhaps to the Scandal of the Law as to the Corruption of our Imaginations, and the Debasement of our Manners.

But a Work upon so diffusive a Plan as that of this Code is calculated for the Perusal of the Judge and of the Philosopher, and is far above the Cavil of narrow Understandings and selfish Prejudices. These indeed will sometimes feel, or pretend to feel, a greater Shock at the Mention of certain Crimes, than it is to be suspected they would undergo in the Commission of them; but for the Warning of the Subject, and for the Guidance of the Magistrate, no Delineation of Offences can be too minute, and no Discrimination too particular.

-- A Code of Gentoo Laws, Or, Ordinations of the Pundits, From a Persian Translation, Made From the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Love refines
The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat
In reason, and is judicious.

-- Milt. Par. Lost, B.8.


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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Fri Mar 05, 2021 2:09 am


THE Critics have not yet decided at what time Aristanetus appeared, or indeed whether or not he ever existed: for, as he is mentioned by no ancient author, it has been conjectured that there never was such a person; and that the name prefixed to the first Epistle was taken by the publisher for that of the writer. This work was never known nor heard of till Sambucus gave it to the world in the year 1566: since which time there have been several editions of it published at Paris; where the book seems to have been held in greater estimation than amongst us. As to the real date of its composition, we have nothing but conjecture to offer: By the twenty-sixth Epistle it should seem that the Author lived in the time of the later emperors, when Byzantium was called New Rome: and therein mention is made of the pantomime actor Caramallus, who was cotemporary with Sidonius Apollinaris.

These Epistles are certainly terse, elegant, and very poetical, both in language and sentiment: yet, pleasing as they are, they have scarcely any thing original in them, being a cento from the writings of Plato, Lucian, Philostratus, and almost all the ancient Greek authors; whose sentences are most agreeably woven together, and applied to every passion incident to Love. This circumstance, though it may lessen our idea of the invention of the Author, should not in the least depreciate the performance; as it opens to us a new source of entertainment, in contemplating the taste of the Composer in the selection of his sentences, and his ingenuity in the application of them: whilst the authority and reputation of the works from whence these sweets are extracted, adds dignity to the subject on which they are bestowed.

Having said thus much of the Original, custom seems to demand some apology for the Translation. And, first, it may to some appear a whimsical undertaking, to give a metrical translation of a prosaic Author: but the English reader, it is to be presumed, will not find any deficiency of poetical thoughts on that account, however the diction may have suffered by passing through unworthy hands: and to such as are acquainted with that elegant luxuriance which characterises the Greek prose, this point will not need a solution. Nor can it be deemed derogatory from the merit of our own language to affirm, that the superiority of the Greek in this respect, is so forcible, that even the most trifling of these Epistles must have suffered considerably both in spirit and simplicity, if committed to the languid formality of an English prosaic translation.

The ingenious Tom Brown has translated, or rather imitated, some select pieces from this collection, but he either totally misconceived the spirit of his Author, or was very unequal to the execution of it. He presents you, it is true, with a portrait of the Author, and a portrait that has some resemblance to him; but it is painted in a bad attitude, and placed in a disadvantageous light. In the Original, the language is neat, though energetic; it is elegant as well as witty. Brown has failed in both; and though a strict adherence to these points in a metrical translation may be esteemed difficult, yet it is hoped that the English dress in which Aristanetus is at present offered to the Public, will appear to become him more than any he has ever worn in this country.

It were absurd to pretend that this Translation is perfectly literal: the very genius of prose and verse forbid it; and the learned Reader, who shall consult the Original, will find many reasons for the impropriety as well as difficulty of following the Author's expressions too closely. Some things there were, which it was scarce possible to handle in verse; and they are entirely omitted, or paraphrastically imitated: many passages have been softened as indelicate, some suppressed as indecent. But beside these allowable deviations, a still farther licence has been taken; for, where the subject would admit of it, many new ideas are associated with the original substance, yet so far affecting the Author's proper style, that its native simplicity might not be obscured by their introduction. And two or three Epistles there are in this collection, which must shelter themselves under the name of Aristaenetus, without any other title to his protection, than that of adhering to the subject of the several Epistles which they have supplanted. The only apology which can be offered for this, is an avowal that the object of this Translation was not so much to bring to light the merit of an undistinguished and almost unknown Ancient, as to endeavour to introduce into our language a species of poetry not frequently attempted, and but very seldom with success — that species which has been called the simplex munditiis in writing, where the thoughts are spirited and fanciful without quaintness, and the style simple, yet not inelegant. Though the merit of succeeding in this point should not be given to the present attempt, yet it may in some measure become serviceable to the cause, by inciting others of better taste and abilities to endeavour to redeem our language from the imputation of barbarity in this respect.

As to the many different measures which are here introduced, something beside the Translator's caprice may be urged in their favour. For by a variation of metre, the style almost necessarily undergoes an alteration: and in general, the particular strain of each Epistle suggested the particular measure in which it is written. Had they been all in one kind of verse they would have fatigued, they might have disgusted: at present, it is hoped, that some analogy will be found between the mode of passion in each Epistle, and the versification by which it is expressed: at the same time that a variety of metres, like a variety of prospects on a road, will conduct the Reader with greater satisfaction through the whole stage, though it be short.

There remains but one thing more to be said. -—The Original is divided into two parts; the present Essay contains only the First: By its success must the fate of the Second be determined.

H. S.
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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Fri Mar 05, 2021 2:17 am



[There is a studied propriety in the very names of the supposed correspondents in these Epistles; having in the original this peculiar beauty, that generally one, and often both of them, bear an agreeable allusion to the subject of the several letters to which they are prefixed.]


[in this letter Aristaenetus describes the beauties of his mistress to his friend. This description differs in one circumstance from the usual poetic analysis of beauty; which is this, that (if we except the epithets 'ruby,' 'snowy,' &c. which could not well have been avoided) the lady it paints would be really beautiful; whereas it is generally said, "that a negroe would be handsome, compared to woman in poetical dress.']

BLEST with a form of heav'nly frame,
Blest with a soul beyond that form'
With more than mortal ought to claim.
With all that can a mortal warm,
Lais was from her birth design'd
To charm— yet triumph o'er mankind.
There Nature, lavish of her store.
Gave all whe could— and wish'd for more;
Whilst Venus gaz'd, her form was such!
Wond'ring how Nature gave so much:
Yet added she new charms; for she
Could add — 'A fourth bright Grace, she said,
'A fourth, beyond the other three,
'Shall raise my power in this sweet maid.'
Then Cupid, to enhance the prize,
Gave all his little arts could reach;
To dart Love's language from the eyes
He taught— 'twas all was left to teach,

O fairest of the virgin band!
Thou master-piece of Nature's hand!
So like the Cyprian Queen, I'd swear
Her image fraught with life were there:
But silent all: and silent be.
That you may hear her praise from me:
I'll paint my Lais' form; nor aid
I ask — for I have seen the maid.

Her cheek with native crimson glows,
But crimson soft'ned by the rose:
'was Hebe's self bestow'd the hue;
Yet Health has added something too:
But if an over-tinge there be.
Impute it to her modesty.
Her lips of deeper red, how thin!
How nicely white the teeth within!
Her nose how taper to the tip!
And slender as her ruby lip:
Her brows in arches proudly rise.
As conscious of her pow'rful eyes:
Those eyes, majestic-black, display
The lustre of the god of day;

And by the contrast of the white.
The jetty pupil shines more bright.
There the glad graces keep their court,
And in the liquid mirror sport.
Her tresses, when no fillets bind.
Wanton luxurious in the wind:
Like Dian's auburn locks they shone —
But Venus wreath'd them like her own.
Her neck, which well with snow might vie,
Is form'd with nicest symmetry;
In native elegance secure
The most obdurate heart to wound;
But she, to make her conquests sure,
With sparkling gems bedecks it round:

['With gems, that rang'd in order due, / 'Present the fair one's name to view.' -- This conceit was formerly reckoned a peculiar elegance in a lady's dress.]

With gems, that rang'd in order due,
Present the fair one's name to view.
Her light-spun robes in ev'ry part
Are fashion'd with the nicest art,
T'improve her stature, and to grace
The polish'd limbs which they embrace.
How beautiful she looks, when drest!
But view her freed from this disguise,
Stript of th' unnecessary vest—
'Tis Beauty's self before your eyes.

How stately doth my Lais go!
With studied step, compos'dly flow:
Superb, as some tall mountain-fir.
Whom Zephyr's wing doth slightly stir:
(For surely Beauty is allied
By Nature very near to Pride)
The groves indeed mild breezes move,
But her the gentler gales of Love.
From her the pencil learns its die —
The rosy lip, the sparkling eye;
And bids the pictur'd form assume
Bright Helen's mien, and Hebe's bloom.

But how shall I describe her breast!
That now first swells with panting throb
To burst the fond embracing vest.
And emulate her snow-white robe.
So exquisitely soft her limbs!
That not a bone but pliant seems;
As if th' embrace of love — so warm!

Would quite dissolve her beauteous form.
But when she speaks! — good heav'ns! e'en now
Methinks I hear my fav'rite song;
E'en yet with Love's respect I bow
To all th' enchantment of her tongue.
—Her voice most clear — yet 'tis not strong;
Her periods full— tho' seldom long;
With wit, good-natured wit, endow'd;
Fluent her speech — but never loud,
Witness, ye loves! witness; for well I know
To her you've oft attention given;
Oft pensile flutter'd on your wings of snow
To waft each dying sound to heaven.

Ah! sure this fair enchantress found
The zone which all the graces bound:
Not Momus could a blemish find
Or in her person or her mind.—
But why should Beauty's goddess spare
To me this all-accomplish'd fair?

['I for her charms did ne'er decide.' -- This alludes to the well-known contest between Juno, Venus, and Minerva, for the golden apple.]

I for her charms did ne'er decide.
As Paris erst on lofty Ide;
I pleas'd her not in that dispute;
I gave her not the golden fruit:
Then why the Paphian Queen so free?
Why grant the precious boon to me?
Venus! what sacrifice, what pray'r
Can show my thanks for such a prize!
—To bless a mortal with a fair, Whose charms are worthy of the skies.

[She too, like Helen, &c. [x] -- Hom.]

She too, like Helen, can inspire
Th' unfeeling heart of age with fire;
Can teach their lazy blood to move,
And light again the torch of love,
'O! cry the old, that erst such charms
'Had bloom'd to bless our youthful arms;
'Or that we now were young, to show
'How we could love -- some years ago!'

Have I not seen th' admiring throng
For hours attending to her song!
Whilst from her eyes such lustre shone
It added brightness to their own:
Sweet grateful beams of thanks they'd dart.
That show'd the feelings of her heart.
Silent we've sat, with rapt'rous gaze!
Silent — but all our thoughts were praise;
Each turn'd with pleasure to the rest;
And this the pray'r that warm'd each breast.

'Thus may that lovely bloom for ever glow,
'Thus may those eyes for ever shine!
'O may'st thou never feel the scourge of woe!
'O never be misfortune thine!
'Ne'er may the crazy hand of pining care
'Thy mirth and youthful spirits break!
'Never come sickness, or love-cross'd despair
'To pluck the roses from thy cheek! —
'But bliss be thine -- The cares which love supplies,
'Be all the cares that you shall dread;
'The grateful drop, now glist'ning in your eyes,
'Be all the tears you ever shed.'

But hush'd be now thy am'rous song.
And yield a theme, thy praises wrong:
Just to her charms, thou can'st not raise
Thy notes — but must I ceas to praise?
Yes -- I will cease -- for she'll inspire
Again the lay, who strung my lyre.
Then fresh I'll paint the charming maid.
Content, if she my strain approves;
Again my lyre shall lend its aid.
And dwell upon the theme it loves.
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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Fri Mar 05, 2021 2:37 am


[This sufficiently explains itself. It has no names prefixed to it in the original, and is very literally translated.]


In a snug little court as I stood t'other day.
And caroll'd the loitering minutes away;
Came a brace of fair nymphs, with such beautiful faces,
That they yielded in number alone to the graces:
Disputing they were, and that earnestly too.
When thus they address'd me as nearer they drew—
'So sweet is your voice, and your numbers so sweet,

'Such sentiment join'd with such harmony meet;
'Each note that you raise finds its way to our hearts,
'Where Cupid engraves it wi' the point of his darts:
'But O! by these strains, which so deeply can pierce,
'Inform us for whom you intended your verse;
''Tis for her she affirms— I maintain 'tis for me—

['And we often pull caps' -- This is almost literally the Greek expression, -- [x]]

And we often pull caps in asserting our plea.'

'Why, ladies, cried I, you're both handsome, 'tis true.
'But cease your dispute — I love neither of you:
'My life on another dear creature depends.
'Her I hasten to visit: so kiss and be friends.'
'O ho! — said they, now you convince us quite clear,
'For no pretty woman lives anywhere here —
'That's plainly a sham: — Now to humour us both.
You shall swear you love neither; so come take your 'oath.'

'I laughing replied, 'tis tyrannical dealing
'To make a man swear, when 'tis plain he's not willing.'
'Why, friend, we've long fought thy fair person to seize;
'And think you we'll take such excuses as these?
'No — 'twas chance brought you hither, and here you shall stay—
'Help, Phaedra! to hold— or he'll sure get away.'
Thus spoken, to keep me between 'em they tried—
'Twas a pleasing constraint; and I gladly complied.
If I struggled — 'twas to make 'em imprison me more.
And strove — but for shackles more tight than before—
But think not, I'll tell how the minutes were spent—
You may think what you please— but they both were content.
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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:38 am


[This is surely a most elegant descriptive pastoral; and hardly inferior to any of Theocritus. The images are all extremely natural and simple, though the expression is glowing and luxurious: they are selected from a variety of Greek authors, but chiefly from the Phaedrus of Plato.— What intersertions there may be, have been before apologized for; but their detection shall be left to the sagacity or inquisition of the reader. The case is the same with the first Epistle, and indeed with most of them.]



BLEST was my lot— ah! sure 'twas bliss, my friend.
The day — by heav'ns! the live-long day to spend
With Love, and my Limona! Hence! in vain
Would mimic Fancy bring those scenes again;
In vain delighted Mem'ry tries to raise
My doubtful song, and aid my will to praise!

— In vain! Nor Fancy strikes, nor Mem'ry knows
The little springs from whence those joys arose.
Yet come, coy Fancy, sympathetic maid!
Ye -- I will ask, I will implore thy aid: --
For I would tell my friend, whate'er befell
Whate'er I saw, whatever I did I'll tell --
But what I felt -- sweet Venus! there inspire
My lay, or wrap his soul in all thy fire.
'Bright rose the morn, and bright remain'd the day;
The mead was spangled with the bloom of May:
We on the bank of a sweet stream were laid,
With blushing rose, and lowly vi'lets spread:
Fast by our side a spreading plane-tree grew,
And wav'd its head, that shone with morning dew.
The bank acclivous rose, and swell'd above
The frizzled moss a pillow for my love.
Trees with their ripen'd stores glow'd all around.
The loaded branches bow'd upon the ground:
Sure the fair virgins of Pomona's train
In those glad orchards hold their fertile reign.
The fruit nectareous, and the scented bloom
Wafted on Zephyr's wing, their rich perfume:

[A leaf I bruised, & c. Nothing can be more rural, and at the same time more forcible than this image; where the universal fragrance of the spot is not expatiated on; but marked at once by this simple specimen.]

A leaf I bruis'd what grateful scents arose!
Ye gods! what odours did a leaf disclose.
Aloft each elm slow wav'd its dusky top.
The willing vine embrac'd the sturdy prop:
And while we stray'd the ripen'd grape to find,
Around our necks the clasping tendrils twin'd;
I with a smile would tell th' entangled fair,
I envied e'en the vines a lodging there;
Then swift them off, and sooth with am'rous play
Her breasts, and kiss each rosy mark away.

Cautious Limona trod -- her step was flow --
For much she fear'd the sculking fruits below;
Cautious lest haply she, with slip'ry tread.
Might tinge her snowy feet with vinous red.
Around with critic glance, we view'd the store,
And oft rejected what we'd prais'd before;
This would my love accept, and this refuse --
For varied plenty puzzled us to chuse. --
'Here may the bunches tasteless, immature,
'Unheeded learn to blush, and swell secure:
'In richer garb yon turgid clusters stand,
'And glowing purple tempts the plund'ring hand.
'—Then reach 'em down, she said; for you can reach,
' And cull, with daintiest hand, the best of each.'
Pleas'd I obey'd, and gave my love -- whilst she
Return'd sweet thanks, and pick'd the best for me—
'Twas pleasing sure— yet I refus'd her suit.
But kiss'd the lib'ral hand that held the fruit.

Hard by the ever-jovial harvest train
Hail the glad season of Pomona's reign;
With rustic song around her fane they stand.
And lisping children join the choral band:
They busily intent now strive to aid.
Now first they're taught th' hereditary trade:
'Tis their's to class the fruits in order due.
For pliant rush, to search the meadow through;
To mark if chance unbruis'd a wind-fall drop;
Or teach the infant vine to know its prop.
And haply too some aged fire is there,
To check disputes, and give to each his share;—
With feeble voice their little work he cheers.
Smiles at their toil, and half forgets his years.—
'Here let the pippin, fretted o'er with gold,
'In soft'ring straw defy the winter's cold;
The hardier russet here will safely keep.
And dusky rennet with it's crimson cheek:
But mind, my boys, the mellow pear to place
In soft inclosure, with divided space
And mindful most, how lies the purple plumb.
Nor foil, with headless touch, its native bloom.'

Intent they listen'd to th' instructing lord- --
But most intent — to glean their own reward.

Now turn, my lov'd Limona, turn and view
How chang'd the scene! how elegantly new!
Mark how yon vintager enjoys his toil;
Glows with flush red, and Bacchanalian smile:  
His slipp'ry sandals burst the luscious vine,
And splash alternate in the new-born wine.
Not far the lab'ring train, whose care supplies
The trodden press, and bids fresh plenty rise —
The teaming boughs, that bend beneath their freight.
One busy peasant eases of the weight;
One climbs to where th' aspiring summits shoot;
Beneath— a hoary fire receives the fruit.

Pleas'd we admir'd the jovial bustling throng—
Blest e'en in toil!— but we admir'd not long.
For calmer joys we left the busy scene,
And sought the thicket, and the stream again:
For sacred was the fount, and all the grove
Was hallow'd kept, and dedicate to love.
Soon gentle breezes, freshen'd from the wave.
Our temples fann'd, and whisper'd us to lave.
The stream itself seem'd murm'ring at our feet
Sweet invitation from the noon-day heat—
We bathed— and while we swam, so clear it flow'd.
That ev'ry limb the crystal mirror shew'd,

But my love's bosom oft deceiv'd my eye,
Resembling those fair fruits that glided by;

[For 'when I thought, &c. -- This allusion seems forced: but the Ancients had an apple, which came from Cydon, a town of Crete, and was called Cydonian, that, from its size and beautiful colour, might be said to resemble a woman's breast: and the allusion is frequent in the old poets. In the eighteenth of these Epistles too, we meet with the [x].]

For when I thought her swelling breast to clasp.
An apple met my disappointed grasp.
Delightful was the stream itself— I swear.
By those glad nymphs who make the founts their care.
It was delightful:— but more pleasing still
When sweet Limona sported in the rill;
For her soft blush such sweet reflection gave.
It ting'd with rosy hues the palid wave.
Thus, thus delicious was the murm'ring spring;
Nor less delicious the cool zephyr's wing;
Which mild allay'd the sun's meridian pow'r.
And swept the fragrant scent from ev'ry flow'r:
A scent, that feasted my transported sense.
Like that, Limona's sweet perfumes dispense:
But still, my love, superior thine I swear—
At least thy partial lover thinks they are.

Near where we sat, full many a glad'ning found,
Beside the rustling breeze, was heard around:
The little grasshopper essay'd its song,
As if 'twould emulate the feather'd throng:
Still lisp'd it uniform — yet now and then
It something chirp'd, and skipp'd upon the green.
Aloft the sprightly warblers fill'd the grove;
Sweet native melody! sweet notes of love!
While nightingales their artless strains essay'd.
The air, methought, felt cooler in the glade:
A thousand feather'd throats the chorus join'd.
And held harmonious converse with mankind.

Still in mine eye the sprightly songsters play;
Sport on the wing, or twitter on the spray:
On foot alternate rest their little limbs;
Or cool their pinions in the gliding streams:
Surprise the worm, or sip the brook aloof.
Or watch the spider weave his subtile woof. —
We the meantime discours'd in whispers low.
Lest haply speech disturb the rural show.

Listen. — Another pleasure I display,
That help'd delightfully the time away.
From distant vales, where bubbles from its source
A chrystal rill, they dug a winding course:
See! thro' the grove a narrow lake extends,
Crosses each plot, to each plantation bends;
And while the fount in new meanders glides.
The forest brightens with refreshing tides.
T'wards us they taught the new-born stream to flow,
T'wards us it crept irresolute and slow:

[Scarce had, &c. -- This is an excessively pretty image. The water-bailiff dug a small water-course, which came by the feet of these people in the garden; and the dream had scarce passed by them when the servants sent down several drinking vessels in the shape of ships; which held warm liquor so nicely tempered, that the coolness of the water which encompassed it in its passage, was just sufficient to render it palatable when it arrived at the port of destination.]

Scarce had the infant current trickled by.
When lo! a wond'rous fleet attracts our eye:
Laden with draughts might greet a monarch's tongue. The mimic navigation swam along. --
Hasten, ye ship-like goblets, down the vale,

[Your freight a flaggon, and a leaf your sail. -- In the original, this luxurious image is pursued so far, that the very leaf, which is represented as the sail of the vessel, is particularised as of a medicinal nature, capable of preventing any ill effects the wine might produce.]

Your freight a flaggon, and a leaf your sail;
O may no envious rush thy course impede.
Or floating apple stop thy tide-borne speed.
His mildest breath a gentle zephyr gave;
The little vessels trimly stemm'd the wave:
Their precious merchandise to land they bore.
And one by one resign'd the balmy store.
Stretch but a hand, we boarded them, and quaft
With native luxury the temper'd draught.
For where they loaded the nectareous fleet.
The goblet glow'd with too intense a heat;
Cool'd by degrees in these convivial ships,
With nicest taste it met our thirsty lips.

Thus in delight the flow'ry path we trod
To Venus sacred, and the rosy god:
Here might we kiss, here Love secure might reign,
And revel free, with all his am'rous train. —
And we did kiss, my friend, and Love was there,
And smooth'd the rustic couch that held my fair.

[Like a spring-mead, &c. -- The word [x] signifies  a meadow: and the Author takes occasion to play upon it, by saying, that Limona crowned herself with these flowers, to look like the meadow in which they grew.]

Like a spring-mead with scented blossoms crown'd,
Her head with choicest wreaths Limona bound:
But Love, sweet Love! his sacred torch so bright
Had fann'd, that, glowing from the rosy light,
A blush — (the print of a connubial kiss.
The conscious tatler of consummate bliss) —
Still flushed upon her check; and well might show
The choiceest wreaths she'd made, how they should glow;
Might ev'ry fiow'r with kindred bloom o'erspread.
And tinge the vernal rose with deeper red.

But come, my friend, and share my happy lot; — The bounteous Phyllion owns this blissful spot:
Phyllion, whose gen'rous care to all extends,
And most is blest while he can bless his friends.
Then come, and quickly come; but with thee bring
The nymph, whose praises oft I've heard thee sing --
The blooming Myrtala; she'll not refuse
To tread the solitude her swain shall chuse.
Thy sight will all my busy schemes destroy,
I'll dedicate another day to joy;
When social converse shall the scene improve.
And sympathy bestow new charms on love.
Then shall th' accustom'd bank a couch be made;
Once more the nodding plane shall lend its shade;
Once more I'll view Pomona's jovial throng;
Once more the birds shall raise the sprightly song;
Again the little stream be taught to flow;
Again the little fleet its balm bestow;
Again I'll gaze upon Limona's charms,
And sink transported in her quiv'ring arms;
Again my cheek shall glow upon her breast;
Again she'll yield, and I again be blest.  
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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Tue Mar 09, 2021 3:45 am


[In this letter a man describes the excellence of his friend in discovering the particular dispositions of the fair sex.]



As Hippias t'other day and I
Walk'd arm and arm, he said,
'That pretty creature dost thou spy
'Who leans upon her maid?


'She's tall, and has a comely shape,
'And treads well too, I swear:
'Come on — by this good light, we'll scrape
'Acquaintance with the fair.'


Good God! cried I, she is not game
I'm sure for you or me:
Do nothing rashly — you're to blame;
She's modest, you may see.


But he, who knew all womankind,
'Thus answer'd with a sneer:
'You're quite a novice, friend, I find—
'There's nothing modest here.


'A virtuous dame this hour, no doubt,
'Would chuse to walk the streets;
'Especially so dizen'd out,
'And smile on all she meets.


'Her rings, her bracelets, her perfumes,
'Her wanton actions prove
'The character which she assumes,
'And that her trade is love.


'See now, she fidgets with her vest— '
'To settle it be sure;
'And not at all to shew her breast,
'Nor wishing to allure.


'Her robe tuck'd up with nicest care--
'But that's to shew she's neat;
'And though her legs are half-way bare
'She means to hide her feet.


'But see! she turns to look behind,
'And laughs, I'll take my oath;
'Come on — I warrant we shall find
'The damsel nothing loth'


So up he march'd, and made his bow--
No sooner off his hat.
But, lover-like, he 'gan to vow.
And soon grew intimate.  


But first premis'd the ways were rough—
'Madam, for fear of harm
'I beg -- so cleverly enough
He made her take his arm.


Then — 'Fairest, for thy beauty's sake,
'Which long has fir'd my breast,
'Permit me to your maid to make
'A single short request!


'And yet you know what I'd require,
'And wherefore I apply:
'Nought unrequited I desire,
'But gold the boon shall buy.


'I'll give, my fairest, what you please;—
'You'll not exact, I'm sure:
'Then deign, bright charmer, deign to ease
'The torments I endure.'


Assent sat smiling in her eyes;
Her lily hand he seiz'd;
Nor feign'd she very great surprise.  
Nor look'd so much displeas'd.  


—She blush'd a little too, methought,
As tho' she should refuse: —
But women, I've been told, are taught
To blush whene'er they chuse.


Hippias was now quite hand in glove
With Miss, and firmly bent
To take her to the bow'r of Love,
He whisper'd as he went—


'Well, Phil, say now, whose judgment's best?
'Was I so very wrong?
'You saw, not eagerly I press'd,
'Nor did I press her long.


'But you are ignorant, I see,
'So follow, and improve:
'For few, I ween, can teach like me
'The mysteries of Love.'
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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:12 am


[The writer here describes an ingenious device practised by a lady of gallantry, to deceive a suspicious husband.]



T'OTHER day Charidemus a feast did prepare,
And with all his acquaintances fill'd up the room:
'Mong the rest (for you know his tendresse for the fair)
Another man's wife he persuaded to come.


The guests were all seated, when in comes our spark
Introducing to table a musty old dad:
Whom as soon as the lady had time to remark.
To another apartment she scuttled like mad.


'Charidemus, said she, do you know what you've done?
'That old fellow's my husband just now you brought in:
'I shall here be discover'd, as sure as a gun,
'By the cloke I pull'd off, and which hangs on a pin.


'But if you can assist me, and privately send
'That cloke to my house, with a dish of your meat;
'I've a trick that shall quickly his jealousy end;
'His suspicions I'll 'scape, and his vigilance cheat.'


Away then she slipt, and got quick to her house.
Then sent for a gossip, her help to implore;
And they'd scarce fix'd their plan the old cuckold to chouse,
When blust'ring and swearing he came to the door.


He cried, while he fought for his poignard to stab her,
'No more shall you shame me;— your cloke show'd your pranks.' —
But while he was storming thus, in pops her neighbour
The cloke to return to its owner with thanks.


'I'm come to acknowledge your favour, she said,
'And some prog from the feast have I brought with me here:
'I knew that at home all the ev'ning you staid,
'So was willing to give you a taste of our cheer.'


The silly curmudgeon grew meek as a Iamb,
On hearing this story, and seeing the meat;
For pardon he sued from his retrograde dame,
And bow'd with contrition quite down to her feet.


He vow'd that he ne'er would suspect her again.
If now she'd accept his most humble submission;
And swore Dian herself sent the old woman in,
To show him the folly of groundless suspicion.
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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:32 am

[This epistle describes the distress of a girl who has been debauched, with the consolation of the good old woman her nurse.]


[The subject of this epistle does not in the least regard the writer; who, as in the preceding one, only entertains his correspondent with a little tale, or amusing description. The case is the same with many of the subsequent ones.]



SAYS a girl to her nurse, 'I've a tale to unfold,
'Of utmost concern to us both;
'But first you must swear not to blab when you're told.'
— Nurse greedily swallow'd the oath.


'I've lost, my dear mother,' the innocent said,
'What should be a virgin's chief pride.'
-- I wish you had seen what a face the dame made.
And heard how she blubber'd and cried.


'Hush, for God's sake,' says Miss, in a whispering tone,
'The people will hear you within;
'You have sworn to discover my secret to none,
'Then why such a horrible din?


'My Virtue long all opposition withstood,
'And scorn'd at Love's efforts to flinch;
'It retreated at last — but as slow as it could,
'Disputing the ground inch by inch.


'In vain to my aid did I Reason invoke;
'Young Cupid no reason could quell:
'He'd got root in my heart, and there grew like an oak;
'So I fell— but reluctantly fell.


'Yet surely young Lysias has charms to betray:
'Too charming alas to be true!
'But you never heard the soft things he can say—
'Ah! would I had ne'er heard them too:


'For now that the spoiler has robb'd me of all
'My innocent heart us'd to prize,
'He cruelly mocks at my tears as they fall—
'The tears he has drawn from my eyes.'


''You've play'd a sad game," cries the matron aghast;
''Besides you disgrace my grey head:
'But since no reflections can alter what's past,
'Chear up — there's no more to be said.


"Chear up, child, I say; why there's no such great crime:
''Sure I too have met with false men;
"I've known what it was to be trick'd, in my time—
''But I know too — to trick them again.


"But do so no more: left, should you be rash,
"Your apron-strings publish your tricks:
''Your father, I hope, has a round sum of cash,
"And soon on your husband will fix.


" — Some innocent swain (if such innocence be!)
"Unskilled in the myst'ries of love;
"Whose gallantry ne'er went 'yond Phyllis's knee,
''Or fast'ning the garter above.


''My humble petition may Jupiter hear,
''And grant that you quickly may wed."—
'So at present, dear mother, I've nothing to fear,
'No tale-telling urchin to dread?' —


"You're safe, my dear daughter, I fancy, as yet;
''And when at the altar you're tied,
"I'll teach you a method your husband to cheat
''For a virgin, as well as a bride."
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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:02 am

[Epistle vii.]— A disagreeable end to a pleasing rencounter.]




LATE as upon the rocky strand
Alone the death-barb'd bait I threw
Just as I tow'd a fish to land.
Which almost broke my line in two —


Comes a fair maid, whose native bloom
The tinct of art excell'd as far.
As the wild fruits of Nature's womb
Beyond the hotbed's produce are.


This prize is better than my fish.
Thought I — 'tis sure a lucky day,
' — I want to bathe. Sir, and I wish
'You'd watch my clothes while I'm away.'


'Yes, yes, I eagerly replied,
'In hopes her naked charms to spy,
'I'll watch your clothes, and by their side
'My faithful little dog shall lie.'


She bow'd, and doff'd her mantle blue;
Good heav'ns! what beauties struck my sight:

Thus Morn's sweet ruddy skies I view,
Fresh from the mist of lagging night.


Bright polish'd arms, a neck of snow,
Through locks of lovely jet were seen;
Which by their blackness seem'd to throw
An added lustre on her skin.

Two rising globules at her breast,
Whose swelling throb was such.
They seem'd upheaving to be prest,
And sued impatient for the touch.


The wind was hush'd, the sea was calm;
And in she leap'd, and plow'd the tide--
The froth that bubbled as she swam,
Lost all its whiteness by her side.


But soon the wave's impetuous gush
Dash'd o'er her form a crimson hue;
She blush'd — you've seen the rosebud blush
Beneath its morning coat of dew,


Askance she view'd the wat'ry space.
Her neck averted from the tide,
As if old Ocean's cold embrace
Would shock her modest virgin-pride.  


Each pressing wave, that seem'd to toy
With am'rous haste her limbs to kiss,
With coy rebuke she patted by;
Rebuk'd — but never could dismiss.


Still as she stem'd her liquid way,
Thought I, a Nereid 'tis that laves:
And when she tir'd, and left her play,
'Twas Venus rising from the waves.


Then from her oozy bed she sprung,
And shiv'ring on the bank reclin'd,

The while her dripping locks she wrung,
And spread them to the fanning wind.


Quick to present her clothes I rush,
And tow'rds her stretch my longing arms.--
But she repuls'd me with a blush —
A blush that added to her charms.


Rage would have sparkled in her eyes;--
Yet still they twinkled lovely sweet:
As suns in farthest distant skies,
Emit their light without their heat.


Her robe she snatch'd, and round her waist
The azure mantle instant threw. —
'I'm sorry, Sir, I'm in such haste;
'I thank you— but must bid adieu,'


I gently press'd her hand;-- she frown'd;
Yet took she not her hand away:
I kiss'd her hand — she turn'd around
To hide what conscious smiles betray.


—At length she broke my rod and net;
Into the sea my capture toss'd;
Then left me vainly to regret
The fish I'd caught, and her I lost.
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Re: The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, by Nathaniel B. Halhe

Postby admin » Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:25 am


[This is an odd subject. — While a gentleman was riding on horse back, his groom, struck with his beauty, was exclaiming that sure so glorious a form could never have been in love. This the master overhears, and informs his groom to the contrary; who writes an account of the transaction to his friend.]



'O! The grace, the art to rein
'Fiery coursers round the plain!
'See — yon valiant hero ride,
'Skill'd with either hand to guide:
'See how beautiful, and strong!
'See how swift he glides along!
'Sure fell Cupid's arrow storm
'Ne'er assail'd that blooming form.--
'No— 'tis sure Adonis fair,
'All the nymph's peculiar care.'
Speaking thus, the cavalier
Chanc'd my words to overhear.—
'Hush,' said he, 'thy words are vain:
'Love alone can guide the rein.
'Love impels thro' me the steed.
'Nerves my arm, and fires my speed:
'Quick as light'ning tho' we run,
'Still dread Cupid urges on.
'Mount yon car, begin thy strain:
'Songs best suit the lover's pain.'
I submitted -- and from him
Took at once the sudden theme.
'Little reck'd I, hapless lord,
'Cupid's shaft thy heart had gor'd:
'If so fair a form as thine
'Can with hopeless passion pine.
'By the Cyprian queen I swear,
'All the Loves fell tyrants are.
'Yet be't thine to brave the smart,
'Boldly bear the tingling dart: --
'Well might they disturb your rest,

[Who could pierce, &c.] 'Et majores tuos irreverenter pulsasti toties, et ipsam matrem tuam, me inquam ipsam, parricida, denudas quotidie.' -- Apol. Mil. v.]

'Who could pierce their mother's breast.'
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