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An auspicious verse drama is presented here that Shelley based on the ancient myths. Wrought upon the Roman myth of the abduction of Proserpine from Ceres by Pluto and the Greek myth of greedy emperor Midas, who was granted the quality of an alchemist, these are engrossing literary works. Her creative genius for verse adorned this classical literary. Marvellous!
Pros. Dear Mother, leave me not! I love to rest Under the shadow of that hanging cave And listen to your tales. Your Proserpine Entreats you stay; sit on this shady bank, And as I twine a wreathe tell once again The combat of the Titans and the Gods; Or how the Python fell beneath the dart Of dread Apollo; or of Daphne’s change,– That coyest Grecian maid, whose pointed leaves Now shade her lover’s brow. And I the while Gathering the starry flowers of this fair plain Will weave a chaplet, Mother, for thy hair. But without thee, the plain I think is vacant, Its [Note: There is an apostrophe on the s.] blossoms fade,–its tall fresh grasses droop, Nodding their heads like dull things half asleep;– Go not, dear Mother, from your Proserpine.
Cer. My lovely child, it is high Jove’s command:– (2) The golden self-moved seats surround his throne, The nectar is poured out by Ganymede, And the ambrosia fills the golden baskets; They drink, for Bacchus is already there, But none will eat till I dispense the food. I must away–dear Proserpine, farewel!– Eunoe can tell thee how the giants fell; Or dark-eyed Ino sing the saddest change Of Syrinx or of Daphne, or the doom Of impious Prometheus, and the boy Of fair Pandora, Mother of mankind. This only charge I leave thee and thy nymphs,– Depart not from each other; be thou circled By that fair guard, and then no earth-born Power Would tempt my wrath, and steal thee from their sight[.] But wandering alone, by feint or force, You might be lost, and I might never know Thy hapless fate. Farewel, sweet daughter mine, Remember my commands.
Pros. –Mother, farewel! Climb the bright sky with rapid wings; and swift As a beam shot from great Apollo’s bow Rebounds from the calm mirror of the sea Back to his quiver in the Sun, do thou Return again to thy loved Proserpine.
And now, dear Nymphs, while the hot sun is high (3) Darting his influence right upon the plain, Let us all sit beneath the narrow shade That noontide Etna casts.–And, Ino, sweet, Come hither; and while idling thus we rest, Repeat in verses sweet the tale which says How great Prometheus from Apollo’s car Stole heaven’s fire–a God-like gift for Man! Or the more pleasing tale of Aphrodite; How she arose from the salt Ocean’s foam, And sailing in her pearly shell, arrived On Cyprus sunny shore, where myrtles [Note: MS. mytles.] bloomed And sweetest flowers, to welcome Beauty’s Queen; And ready harnessed on the golden sands Stood milk-white doves linked to a sea-shell car, With which she scaled the heavens, and took her seat Among the admiring Gods.