Caïssa ……..

Of armies on the chequer’d field array’d,

And guiltless war in pleasing form display’d;

When two bold kings contend with vain alarms,

In ivory this, and that in ebon arms;

Sing, sportive maids, that haunt the sacred hill

Of Pindus, and the fam’d Pierian rill.

Thou, joy of all below, and all above,

Mild Venus, queen of laughter, queen of love;

……………………………….

……………………………………………….

……………………………………………………….

…………    By Mars protected, and by Venus’ son;

The first with conquest crowns thy matchless art,

The second points those eyes at Daphnis’ heart.”

She smil’d; the nymphs and amorous youths arise,

And own that beauty gain’d the nobler prize.

Low in their chest the mimic troops were lay’d,

And peaceful slept the sable hero’s shade. 

(The pioneering English orientalist Sir William Jones re-used Vida’s character Caïssa in 1763 in his own poem Caïssa written in Latin hexameters.Jones also published an English language version of the poem.

In the poem, Caïssa initially repels the advances of the god of war, Mars. Spurned, Mars seeks the aid of the god of sport Euphron, brother of Venus, who creates the game of chess as a gift for Mars to win Caissa’s favor.)

 

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