And now with all thy pencil’s truth,
Portray Bathyllus, lovely youth!
Let his hair, in masses bright,
Fall like floating rays of light;
And there the raven’s dye confuse
With the golden sunbeam’s hues.
Let no wreath, with artful twine
The flowing of his locks confine;
But leave them loose to every breeze
To take what shape and course they please.
Beneath the forehead, fair as snow,
But flush’d with manhood’s early glow,
And guileless as the dews of dawn,
Let the majestic brows be drawn,
Of ebon hue, enrich’d by gold,
Such as dark shining snakes unfold.
Mix in his eyes the power alike,
With love to win, with awe to strike;
Borrow from Mars his look of ire,
From Venus her soft glance of fire;
Blend them in such expression here,
That we by turns may hope and fear!
Now from the sunny apple seek
The velvet down that spreads his cheek;
And there, if art so far can go,
The ingenuous blush of boyhood show.
While, for his mouth — but no, — in vain
Would words its witching charm explain.
Make it the very seat, the throne,
That Eloquence would claim her own;
And let the lips, though silent, wear
A life-look, as if words were there.
Next thou his ivory neck must trace,
Moulded with soft but manly grace;
Fair as the neck of Paphia’s boy,
Where Paphia’s arms have hung in joy.
Give him the winged Hermes’ hand,
With which he waves his snaky wand;
Let Bacchus the broad chest supply,
And Leda’s son the sinewy thigh;
While, through his whole transparent frame,
Thou show’st the stirrings of that flame,
Which kindles, when the first love-sigh
Steals from the heart, unconscious why.
But sure thy pencil, though so bright,
Is envious of the eye’s delight,
Or its enamour’d touch would show
The shoulder, fair as sunless snow,
Which now in veiling shadow lies,
Removed from all but Fancy’s eyes.
Now, for his feet — but hold — forbear —
I see the sun-god’s portrait there;
Why paint Bathyllus? when, in truth,
There, in that god, thou’st sketch’d the youth.
Enough — let this bright form be mine,
And send to boy to Samos’ shrine;
Phoebus shall then Bathyllus be,
Bathyllus then the deity!