"The Origin of Cupid." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
ON IDA'S mount the gods were met,
A sportive, jolly, noisy set,
Resolving nectar bowls to quaff,
To revel, riot, sing and laugh;
For gods will frolic now and then,
And err like earth-born sons of men.
From early dawn till setting day
The jocund hours had roll'd away,
When midst the group Apollo rose
This serious question to propose,
Who should succeed upon the throne–
When Jupiter their king was gone ?
MARS first his best excuses made,
War his delight and ancient trade;
Old NEPTUNE vow'd at such an age,
In state affairs he'd not engage:
BACCHUS preferr'd a draught of nectar
To any monarch's crown and sceptre.
At length fatigu'd with idle prating,
With contradiction and debating;
It was propos'd, and straight agreed,
A new-form'd monarch should succeed,
And each, to make the plan expedient,
Should of offer some DIVINE ingredient.
MARS offer'd courage–train'd to arms;
VENUS her soft bewitching charms:
HERCULES strength; proud JUNO grace;
MOMUS his laughing, dimpled face;
APOLLO and the SISTERS NINE,
Gave polish'd manners, wit divine!
At length the infant was completed,
And on a throne of ether seated;
His beauty aw'd the gazing crowd;
Before his feet each veteran bow'd;
Each hop'd his gentle smiles to prove,
And hail'd the little monarch LOVE.
When lo, to check the mirthful hour,
Old TIME appear'd, with aspect sour;
His hoary locks like silver thread
Upon his stooping shoulders spread;
"Vain are your wishes" cried the sage;
"In useless toil you now engage,
Think ye, with all this vain parade,
To form a god without MY aid?
In all debates am I alone,
For age, and wise experience known;
Presumptuous wretches, you shall prove,
That TIME has pow'r TO CONQUER LOVE !
No settled bliss the Boy shall taste,
My pinions to his shoulders plac'd
Shall bear him to the world below;
Each change of fortune there to know;
While in each state the wretch shall be
A SUBJECT VASSAL STILL TO ME."