The Rape of Proserpine/Introduction
RAPE OF PROSERPINE.
PROEM, OR INTRODUCTION
CLAUDIAN'S RAPE OF PROSERPINE.
He who first taught his new-launch'd vessel's keel,
Urged by unpractised oars, the waves to part,
Or varying winds' impulsive power to feel,
A way, denied by nature, won by art.
His early trials were on calmest tides,
Nor left he far the friendly shore behind;
Next in broad bays from cape to cape he glides,
And spreads light canvass to a gentle wind.
Till bold at last by long experience grown,
Weak fear discarded, on his course he sails,
Dares the great deep, consults the stars alone,
And braves Ægean and Ionian gales.