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From the FOURTEENTH Book of
HE fair Pomona flourish'd in his reign ;
Of all the Virgins of the sylvan train,
None taught the trees a nobler race to bear,
Or more in prov'd the vegetable care.
To her the shady grove, the flow'ry field,
The streams and fountains, no delights could yield;
'Twas all her joy the rip'ning fruits to tend,
And see the boughs with happy burthens bend.
The hook she bore instead of Cynthia’s spear,
To lop the growth of the luxuriant year,
To decent form the lawless shoots to bring,
And teach th' obedient branches where to spring.
Now the cleft rind inserted graffs receives,
And yields an offspring more than nature gives ;
E GE sub hoc Pomona fuit: qua nulla Latinas
Inter Hamadryadas coluit folertius hortos,
Nec fuit arborei ftudiofior altera foetûs :
Unde tenet nomen. non fylvas illa, nec amnes;
Rus amat, et ramos felicia
Nec jaculo gravis est, sed adunca dextera falce:
Qua modo luxuriem premit, et spatiantia paflim
Brachia compefcit ; fiffa modo cortice virgam
Inserit ; et succos alieno praeftat alumno,
Now sliding streams the thirsty plants renew, 15
And feed their fibres with reviving dew.
These cares alone her virgin breast employ,
Averse from Venus and the nuptial joy.
Her private orchards, wall'd on ev'ry fide,
To lawless fylvans all access deny'd.
How oft the Satyrs and the wanton Fawns,
Who haunt the forests, or frequent the lawns,
The God whose ensign scares the birds of prey,
And old Silenus, youthful in decay,
Employ'd their wiles, and unavailing care,
To pass the fences, and surprize the fair?
Like these, Vertumnus own'd his faithful Aame,
Like these, rejected by the scornful dame.
To gain her fight a thousand forms he wears :
And first a reaper from the field appears,
30 Sweating he walks, while loads of golden grain O'ercharge the shoulders of the seeming swain.
Nec patitur sentire sitim ; bibulaeque recurvas 15
Radicis fibras labentibus irrigat undis.
Hic amor, hoc ftudium : Veneris quoque nulla cupido.
Vim tamen agrestûm metuens, pomaria claudit
Intus, et accessus prohibet refugitque viriles.
Quid non et Satyri, saltatibus apta juventus,
Fecere, et pinu praecincti cornua Panes,
Sylvanufque fuis semper juvenilior annis,
Quique Deus fures, vel falce, vel inguine terret,
Ut potirentur ea ? sed enim fuperabat amando
Hos quoque Vertumus: neque erat felicior illis.
O quoties habiti duri messoris aristas
Corbe tulit, verique fuit mefforis imago !
Oft o'er his back a crooked scythe is laid,
And wreaths of hay his sun-burnt temples shade:
Oft in his harden'd hand a goad he bears,
Like one who late unyok'd the sweating fteers.
Sometimes his pruning-hook corrects the vines,
And the loose ftragglers to their ranks confines.
Now gath'ring what the bounteous year allows,
He pulls ripe apples from the bending boughs. 40
A soldier now, he with his sword appears ;
A fither next, his trembling angle bears;
Each shape he varies, and each art he tries,
On her bright charms to feast his longing eyes.
A female form at last Vertumnus wears, 45 With all the marks of rev'rend age appears, His temples thinly spread with silver hairs; Prop'd on his staff, and stooping as he goes, A painted mitre shades his furrow'd brows. The God in this decrepit form array'd, The gardens enter'd, and the fruit survey'd; And “Happy you! (he thus address'd the maid)
Tempora faepe gerens foeno religata recenti,
Defectum poterat gramen verfasse videri.
Saepe manu ftimulos rigida portabat; ut illum
Jurares feffos modo disjunxisse juvencos.
Falce data frondator erat, vitisque putator :
Induerat scalas, lecturum poma putares :
Miles erat gladio, pifcator arundine sumta.
Denique per multas aditum fibi faepe figuras
Repperit, ut caperet spectatae gaudia formae.
Ille etiam picta redimitus tempora mitra,
Innitens baculo, pofitis ad tempora canis,
Adfimulavit annum : cultofque intravit in hortos ;
Pomaque mirata est : Tantoque potentior, inquit.