Page images
PDF
EPUB

And chesnut brown (once high in my regard,
For Amaryllis this to all preferr'd;
But if the blushing plum thy choice thou make,
The plum shall more be valued for thy sake).
The myrtle wreath'd with laurel shall exhale
A blended fragrance to delight thy smell.

Ah, Corydon ! thou rustic, simple swain !
Thyself, thy prayers, thy offers all are vain.
How few, compared with rich Iolas' store,
Thy boasted gifts, and all thy wealth how poor,
Wretch that I am! while thus I pine forloru,
And all the live-long day inactive mourn,
The boars have laid my silver fountains waste,
My flowers are fading in the southern blast,-
Fly'st thou, ah foolish boy, the lonesome grove ?
Yet gods for this have left the realm above.
Paris with scorn the pomp of Troy survey'd,
And sought th’ Idæan bowers and peaceful shade.
In her proud palaces let Pallas shine;
The lowly woods and rural life be mine.
The lioness all dreadful in her course
Pursues the wolf, and he with headlong force
Flies at the wanton goat, that loves to climb
The cliff's steep side, and crop the flowering thyme;
Thee Corydon pursues, O beauteous boy:
Thus each is drawn along by some peculiar joy.

Now evening soft comes on; and homeward now From field the weary oxen bear the plough. The setting sun now beams more mildly bright, The shadows lengthening with the level light, While with love's flame my restless bosom glows, For love no interval of ease allows. Ah, Corydon ! to weak complaints a prey ! What madness thus to waste the fleeting day ! Be roused at length; thy half-pruned vines demand The needful culture of thy curbing hand. Haste, lingering swain, the flexile willows weave, And with thy wonted care thy wants relieve. Forget Alexis' unrelenting scorn, Another love thy passion will return.

PASTORAL III.

MENALCAS, DAMETAS, PALÆMON.*

Menalcas.
To whom belongs this flock, Damoetas, pray:
To Meliboeus?

Damoetas.

No: the other day The shepherd Ægon gave it me to keep.

Menalcas. Ah still neglected, still unhappy sheep !+ He plies Neæra with assiduous love, And fears lest she my happier flame approve; Meanwhile this hireling wretch (disgrace to swains !) Defrauds his master, and purloins his gains, Milks twice an hour, and drains the famish'd dams, Whose empty dugs in vain attract the lambs.

Damcetas.
Forbear on men sich language to bestow.
Thee, stain of manhood! thee, full well I know.
I know, with whom--and where— (their grove de-

filed
The nymphs revenged not, but indulgent smiled)
And how the goats beheld, then browsing near,
The shameful sight with a lascivious leer.

Menalcas.
No doubt, when Mycon's tender trees I broke,
And gash'd his young vines with a blunted hook.

# The contending shepherds, Menalcas and Damætas, together with their umpire Palæmon, are seated on the grass, not far from a row of beech-trees. Flocks are seen feeding hard by. The time of the day seems to be noon, the season between spring and summer.

+ Throughout the whole of this altercation, notwithstanding the untoward subject, the reader will find in the original such a happy union of simplicity and force of expression, and harmony of verse, as it is vain to look for in an English translatiou.

1 The abruptness and obscurity of the original is here imitated.

Damnoetus.
Or when, conceal'd behind this ancient row
Of beech, you broke young Daphnis' shafts and bow,
With sharpest pangs of rancorous anguish stung
To see the gift conferr'd on one so young:
And had you not thus wreak'd your sordid spite,
Of very envy you had died outright.

Menalcas.
Gods! what may masters dare, when such a pitch
Of impudence their thievish hirelings reach:
Did I not, wretch (deny it if you dare),
Did I not see you Damon's goat ensnare ?
Lycisca bark’d; then I the felon spied,
And Whither slinks yon sneaking thief ? I cried.
The thief discover'd straight his prey forsook,
And sculk'd amid the sedges of the brook.

Damoetas.
That goat my pipe from Damon fairly gain'd;
A match was set, and I the prize obtain'd.
He own'd it due to my superior skill,
And yet refused his bargain to fulfil.

Menalcas.
By your superior skill the goat was won !
Have you a jointed pipe, indecent clown!
Whose whizzing straws with harshest discord jarr'd,
As in the streets your wretched rhymes you marr'd.

Damoetas.
Boasts are but vain. I'm ready, when you will,
To make a solemn trial of our skill.
I stake this heifer, no ignoble prize ;
Two calves from her full udder she supplies,
And twice a day her milk the pail o'erflows;
What pledge of equal worth will you expose ?

Menalcas,
Aught from the flock I dare not risk: I fear
A cruel step-dame, and a sire severe,
Who of their store so strict a reckoning keep,
That twice a day they count the kids and sheep.

[ocr errors]

But, since you purpose to be mad to-day,
Two beechen cups I scruple not to lay
(Whose far superior worth yourself will own),
The labour'd work of famed Alcimedon.
Raised round the brims by the engraver's care
The flaunting vine unfolds its foliage fair;
Entwined the ivy's tendrils seem to grow,
Half-hid in leaves its mimic berries glow;
Two figures rise below, of curious frame,
Conon, and—what's that other sage's name,
Who with his rod described the world's vast round,
Taught when to reap, and when to till the ground?
At home I have reserved them unprofaned,
No lip has e'er their glossy polish stain'd.

Damcetas.
Two cups for me that skilful artist made

;
Their handles with acanthus are array'd ;
Orpheus is in the midst, whose magic song
Leads in tumultuous dance the lofty groves along.
At home I have reserved them unprofaned,
No lip has e'er their glossy polish stain'd.
But my pledged heifer if aright you prize,
The cups so much extoll'd you will despise.

Menalcas.
These arts, proud boaster, all are lost on me;
To any terms I readily agree.
You shall not boast your victory to-day,
Let him be judge who passes first this way:
And see the good Palæmon! trust me, swain,
You'll be more cautious how you brag again.

Damotus.
Delays I brook not; if you dare, proceed ;
At singing no antagonist I dread.
Palæmon, listen to th' important songs,
To such debates attention strict belongs.

Palæmon.
Sing then. A couch the flowery herbage yields:
Now blossom all the trees, and all the fields;

And all the woods their pomp of foliage wear,
And Nature's fairest robe adorns the blooming year.
Damoetas first th' alternate lay shall raise :
Th’inspiring Muses love alternate lays.

Damoetas. Jove first I sing; ye Muses, aid my lay; All Nature owns his energy and sway; The Earth and Heavens his sovereign bounty share, And to my verses he vouchsafes his care.

Menalcas.
With great Apollo I begin the strain,
For I am great Apollo's favourite swain ;
For him the purple hyacinth I wear,
And sacred bay to Phoebus ever dear.

Damatas.
The sprightly Galatea at my head
An apple flung, and to the willows fled;
But as along the level lawn she flew,
The wanton wish'd not to escape my view.

Menalcas.
I languish'd long for fair Amyntas' charms,
But now he comes unbidden to my arms,
And with my dogs is so familiar grown,
That my own Delia is no better known.

Damoetas. I lately mark'd where, 'midst the verdant shade, Two parent-doves had built their leafy bed ; I from the nest the young will shortly take, And to my love a handsome present make.

Menalcas. Ten ruddy wildings, from a lofty bough, That through the green leaves beam'd with yellow

glow, I brought away, and to Amyntas bore ; To-morrow I shall send as many more.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »