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The poplar is by great Alcides worn;
Nor bays, nor myrtle boughs, with hazel shall compare.
The tow'ring ash is fairest in the woods;
To him the tow'ring ash shall yield in woods,
These rhymes I did to memory commend,
THE mournful muse of two despairing swains,
The hungry herd their needful food refuse-
Scarce from the world the shades of night withdrew,
Great Pollio! thou, for whom thy Rome pre-
The ready triumph of thy finish'd wars,
Scarce were the flocks refresh'd with morning dew,
When Damon, stretch'd beneath an olive shade,
"Star of the morning, why dost thou delay?
"The pines of Mænalus, the vocal grove,
Who suffer'd not the reeds to rise in vain.
This pastoral contains the songs of Damon and
Promiscuous at the spring. Prepare the lights
some enchantress, who endeavoured by her spells Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian
and magic to make Daphnis in love with her.
"O Nisa' justly to thy choice condemn'd! Whom hast thou taken, whom hast thou con
"Mopsus triumphs; he weds the willing fair. When such is Nisa's choice, what lover can despair?
Now griffons join with mares; another age Shall see the hound and hind their thirst assuage,
"Knit with three knots the fillets: knit them strait;
Then say,These knots to love I consecrate.' Haste, Amaryllis, haste!-Restore, my charms, My lovely Daphnis to my longing arms.
"As fire this figure hardens, made of clay, And this of wax with fire consumes away; Such let the soul of cruel Daphnis beHard to the rest of women, soft to me. Crumble the sacred mole of salt and corn: Next in the fire the bays with brimstone burn: And, while it crackles in the sulphur, say, 'Tis I for Daphnis burn; thus Daphnis burn away!
This laurel is his fate.'-Restore, my charms,
Stung with desire, pursues her wand'ring love;
The pledges of his promis'd loyalty,
As these were his, so mine is he.-My charms, Restore their ling'ring lord to my deluded arms, "These pois'nous plants, for magic use design'd,
(The noblest and the best of all the baneful kind)
Old Moris brought me from the Pontic strand,
And from the roots to tear the standing corn,
My ling'ring Daphnis to my longing arms. "Bear out these ashes: cast them in the brook;
Cast backwards o'er your head; nor turn your look:
Since neither gods nor godlike verse can move, Break out, ye smother'd fires, and kindle smother'd love.
Exert your utmost pow'r, my ling'ring charms; And force my Daphnis to my longing arms.
"See, while my last endeavours I delay, The waking ashes rise, and round our altars play!
Run to the threshold, Amaryllis-hark! Our Hylax opens, and begins to bark. Good heav'n! may lovers what they wish believe? [ceive?
Or dream their wishes, and those dreams deNo more! my Daphnis comes! no more, my charms! [arms." He comes, he runs, he leaps, to my desiring
LYCIDAS AND MERIS.
When Virgil, by the favour of Augustus, had recovered his patrimony near Mantua, and went in hope to take possession, he was in danger to be slain by Arius the centurion, to whom those lands were assigned by the emperor, in reward of his service against Brutus and Cassius. This pastoral therefore is filled with complaints of this hard usage; and the persons introduced are the bailiff of Virgil, Moris, and his friend Lycidas.
Ho, Moris! whither on thy way so fast? This leads to town.
O Lycidas! at last The time is come, I never thought to see, (Strange revolutions for my farm and me!) When the grim captain in a surly tone Cries out, "Pack up, ye rascals, and be gone." Kick'd out, we set the best face on't we could, And these two kids, t' appease his angry mood, I bear, of which the Furies give him good!
Your country friends were told another taleThat from the sloping mountain to the vale, And dodder'd oak, and all the banks along, Menalcas sav'd his fortune with a song.
Such was the news, indeed; but songs and rhymes
Prevail as much in these hard iron times,
To shun debate, Menalcas had been slain,
Who then should sing the nymphs? or who rehearse
The waters gliding in a smoother verse?
Now heaven defend! could barbarous rage induce [Muse? The brutal son of Mars t'insult the sacred
Sing on, sing on: for I can ne'er be cloy'd.
'Tis what I have been conning in my mind; Nor are thy verses of a vulgar kind. "Come, Galatea! come! the seas forsake? What pleasures can the tides with their hoarse murmurs make?
See, on the shore inhabits purple spring; Where nightingales their love-sick ditty sing: See, meads with purling streams, with flow'rs the ground,
The grottoes cool with shady poplars crown'd, And creeping vines on arbours weav'd around. Come then, and leave the waves' tumultuous roar;
Let the wild surges vainly beat the shore."
Or that sweet song I heard with such delight; The same you sung alone one starry night. The tune I still retain, but not the words.
"Why, Daphnis, dost thou search in old records,
To know the seasons when the stars arise?
The rest I have forgot, for cares and time
Thy faint excuses but inflame me more:
As if thy tuneful song they did attend:
Of wreathing trees, in singing waste an hour.
Cease to request me; let us mind our way:
Gallus, a great patron of Virgil, and an excellent poet, was very deeply in love with one Cytheris, whom he calls Lycoris, and who had forsaken him for the company of a soldier. The poet therefore supposes his friend Gallus retired, in his height of melancholy, into the solitudes of Arcadia, (the celebrated scene of pastorals,) where he represents him in a very languishing condition, with all the rural deities about him, pitying his hard usage, and condoling his misfortune.
THY sacred succour, Arethusa, bring,
What lawns or woods withheld you from his aid,
Ye nymphs, when Gallus was to love betray'd,
Mænalian pines the godlike swain bemoan, When spread beneath a rock, he sigh'd alone; And cold Lycæus wept from ev'ry dropping
The sheep suround their shepherd, as he lies.
Yet more amaz'd, thy own Apollo came. Flush'd were his cheeks, and glowing were his eyes:
"Is she thy care? is she thy care?" he cries, "Thy false Lycoris flies thy love and thee, And for thy rival tempts the raging sea,
The forms of horrid war, and heav'n's inclemency."
Silvanus came: his brows a country crown Of fennel, and of nodding lilies, drown. Great Pan arriv'd; and we beheld him too, His cheeks and temples of vermilion hue. "Why, Gallus, this immod'rate grief?" he cried.
"Think'st thou that love with tears is satisfied? The meads are sooner drunk with morning dews,
The bees with flow'ry shrubs, the goats with browse."
Unmov'd, and with dejected eyes, he mourn'd: He paus'd, and then these broken words return'd:
""Tis past; and pity gives me no relief:
To pen the sheep, and press the swelling vine.
Beneath the sallows and the shady vine,
And soft Amyntas sung away my care.
As you are beauteous, were you half so true, Here could I live, and love, and die with only you.
Now I to fighting fields am sent afar,
Ye frosts and snows, her tender body spare!
There will I sing, forsaken and alone:
The rind of ev'ry plant her name shall know;
Nor cold shall hinder me, with horns and hounds
As if with sports my suff'rings I should ease,
Love alters not for us his hard decrees,
The poet, in the beginning of this book, propounds the general design of each Georgic: and, after a solemn invocation of all the gods who are any way related to his subject, he addresses himself in particular to Augustus, whom he compliments with divinity; and after strikes into his business. He shows the different kinds of tillage proper to different soils, traces out the orignal of agriculture, gives a catalogue of the husbandman's tools, specifies the employments peculiar to each season, describes the changes of the weather, with the signs in heaven and earth that forebode them; instances many of the prodigies that happened near the time of Julius Cæsar's death; and shuts up all with a supplication to the gods for the safety of Augustus, and the preservation of Rome. WHAT makes a plenteous harvest, when to turn The fruitful soil, and when to sow the corn;
Or Italy's indulgent heav'n forego,
On Meroe's burning plains the Libyan sheep.