John Stanley
(1712 - 1786)

Stanley : Compelled by sultry Phoebus' heat : illustration

Compelled by sultry Phoebus' heat
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Cantata V from Stanley's set of six cantatas published in 1744.An incident from Ovid's Metamorphoses (book V), most probably for use in the London pleasure gardens, particularly Vauxhall.
Lyrics: Anon

Compelled by sultry Phoebus' heat,
The lovely Arethusa stray'd
To where Alpheus' streams refresh the glade,
And spreading trees afford a cruel retreat.
The god, enamour'd of the matchless pair,
Forth from his oozy cell impetuous sprung,
When from his hated arms the virgin flung,
And as the foe pursued she thus address'd her pray'rs:

Brightest Cynthia, heav'nly maid,
Chaste protectress of the fair,
To her that makes thy laws her care
Lend, ah lend thy timely aid.
With pity view th'unequal chase,
And save me from a loath'd embrace.

The virgin power, consenting to her prayer,
Diffused around a veil of clouded air:
The god, bewilder'd, wanders o'er the plain,
And Arethusa calls, but calls in vain,
Whilst her fair limbs by fast degrees decay,
And in a crystal stream dissolve away.

Vain is force to move desire,
If cold disdain or pride conspire
To make the tender virgin coy.
She alone whom passion warms,
(Kindly lavish of her charms),
Will bestow the wish'd-for joy.