Page images

Henceforth no plough shall cleave the fertile ground,
No pruning-hook the tender vine shall wound;
The husband man, with toil no longer broke,
Shall loose his ox for ever from the yoke.
No more the wool a foreign die shall feign,
But purple flocks shall graze the flowery plain;
Glittering in native gold the ram shall tread,
And scarlet lambs shall wanton on the mead.

In concord join'd with fate's unalter'd law
The Destinies these happy times foresaw,
They bade the sacred spindle swiftly run,
And hasten the auspicious ages on.

O dear to all thy kindred gods above! O thou, the offspring of eternal Jove! Receive thy dignities, begin thy reign, And o'er the world extend thy wide domain. See nature's mighty frame exulting round, Ocean, and earth, and heaven's immense profound ! See nations yet unborn with joy behold Thy glad approach, and hail the age of gold !

O would th' immortals lend a length of days, And give a soul sublime to sound thy praise; Would Heaven this breast, this labouring breast

With ardour equal to the mighty theme;
Not Orpheus with diviner transports glow'd,
When all her fire his mother-muse bestow'd ;
Nor loftier numbers flow'd from Linus' tongue,
Although his sire Apollo gave the song;
Even Pan, in presence of Arcadian swains,
Would vainly strive to emulate my strains.

Repay a parent's care, 0 beauteous boy,
And greet thy mother with a smile of joy;
For thee, to loathing languors all resign’d,
Ten slow-revolving months thy mother pined.
If cruel fate thy parent's bliss denies, *
If no fond joy sits smiling in thine eyes,

* This passage has perplexed all the critics. Out of a number of significations that have been offered, the translator has pitched upon one, which he thinks the most agreeable to the scope of the poem and most consistent with the language of the original. The reader who wants more particulars on this head, may consult Servius, De La Cerda, or Ruæus.

No nymph of heavenly birth shall crown thy love,
Nor shalt thou share th' immortal feast above.



Since you with skill can touch the tuneful reed,
Since few my verses or my voice exceed;
In this refreshing shade shall we recline,
Where hazels with the lofty elms combine ?

Your riper age a due respect requires,
"Tis mine to yield to what my friend desires ;
Whether you choose the zephyr's fanning breeze,
That shakes the wavering shadows of the trees ;
Or the deep-shaded grotto's cool retreat:-
And see yon cave screen'd from the scorching heat,
Where the wild vine its curling tendrils weaves,
Whose grapes glow ruddy through the quivering

Of all the swains that to our hills belong,
Amyntas only vies with you in song.

What, though with me that haughty shepherd vie,
Who proudly dares Apollo's self defy?

Begin ; let Alcon's praise inspire your strains,
Or Codrus' death, or Phyllis' amorous pains ;

* Here we discover Menalcas and Mopsus seated in an arbour formed by the interwoven twigs of a wild vine. A grove of hazels and elms surrounds this arbour. The season seems to be summer. The time of the day is not specified.

+ From this passage it is evident that Virgil thought pastoral poetry capable of a much greater variety in its subjects than some modern critics will allow.

Begin whatever theme your Muse prefer.
To feed the kids be, Tityrus, thy care.

I rather will repeat that mournful song,
Which late I carved the verdant beech along;
(I carved and trill'd by turns the labour'd lay)
And let Amyntas match me if he may,

As slender willows where the olive grows,
Or sordid shrubs when near the scarlet rose,
Such (if the judgment I have form'd be true)
Such is Amyntas when compared with you.

No more, Menalcas; we delay too long,
The grot's dim shade in vites my promised song.
When Daphnis fell by fate's remorseless blow
The weeping nymphs pour'd wild the plaint of

Witness, O hazel-grove, and winding stream,
For all your echoes caught the mournful theme.
In agony of grief his mother prest
The clay-cold carcase to her throbbing breast,
Frantic with anguish wail'd his hapless fate,
Rave at the stars, and Heaven's relentless hate.
'Twas then the swains in deep despair forsook
Their pining flocks, nor led them to the brook ;
The pining flocks for him their pastures slight,
Nor grassy plains nor cooling streams invite.
The doleful tidings reach'd the Libyan shores,
And lions mourn’d in deep repeated roars.
His cruel doom the woodlands wild bewail,
And plaintive hills repeat the melancholy tale.
'Twas he, who first Armenia's tigers broke,
And tamed their stubborn natures tu the yoke ;

* It is the most general and most probable conjecture, that Julius Cæsar is the Daphnis whose death and deification are bere celebrated. Some however are of opinion, that by Daphnis is meant a real shepherd of Sicily of that name, who is said to have invented bucolic poetry, and in honour of whom the Sicilians performed yearly sacrifices.

He first with ivy wrapt the thyrsus round,
And made the hills with Bacchus' rites resound.*
As vines adorn the trees which they entwine,
As purple clusters beautify the vine,
As bulls the herd, as corns the fertile plains,
The godlike Daphnis dignified the swains.
When Daphnis from our eager hopes was torn,
Phoebus and Pales left the plains to mourn.
Now weeds and wretched tares the crops subdue,
Where store of generous wheat but lately grew.
Narcissas' lovely flower no more is seen,
No more the velvet violet decks the green ;
Thistles for these the blasted meadow yields,
And thorns and frizzled burs deform the fields.
Swains, shade the springs, and let the ground be

With verdant leaves ; 'twas Daphnis' last request.
Erect a tomb in honour to his name,
Mark'd with this verse to celebrate his fame :
• The swains with Daphnis' name this tomb adorn,
Whose high renown above the skies is borne ;
Fair was his flock, he fairest on the plain,
The pride, the glory of the sylvan reign.'

Menalcas. Sweeter, O bard divine, thy numbers seem Than to the scorched swain the cooling stream, Or soft on fragrant flow'rets to recline, And the tired limbs to balmy sleep resign. Blest youth! whose voice and pipe demand the praise Due but to thine, and to thy master's lays. I in return the darling theme will choose, And Daphnis' praises shall inspire my Muse : He in my song shall high as Heaven ascend, High as the Heavens, for Daphnis was my friend.

His virtues sure our noblest numbers claim;
Nought can delight me more than such a theme,

* This can be applied only to Julius Cæsar; for it was he who introduced at Rome the celebration of the Bacchanalian revels. -Servius.

Which in your song new dignity obtains;
Oft has our Stimichon extoll'd the strains.

Menalcas. Now Daphnis shines, among the gods a god, Struck with the splendours of his new abode. Beneath his footstool far remote appear The clouds slow-sailing, and the starry sphere. Hence lawns and groves with gladsome raptures ring, The swains, the nymphs, and Pan in concert sing. The wolves to murder are no more inclined, No guileful nets ensnare the wandering hind, Deceit and violence and rapine cease, For Daphnis loves the gentle arts of peace. From savage mountains shouts of transport rise Borne in triumphant echoes to the skies ; The rocks and shrubs emit melodious sounds, Through nature's vast extent the god, the god re

bounds. Be gracious still, still present to our prayer ; Four altars lo! we build with pious care, Two for th' inspiring god of song divine, And two, propitious Daphnis, shall be thine. Two bowls white-foaming with their milky store, Of generous oil two brimming goblets more, Each year we shall present before thy shrine, And cheer the feast with liberal draughts of wine; Before the fire when winter-storms invade, In summer's heat beneath the breezy shade : The hallow'd bowls with wines of Chios crown'd, Shall pour their sparkling nectar to the ground. Damoetas shall with Lyctian* Ægon play, Aud celebrate with festive strains the day. Alphesibous to the sprightly song Shall like the dancing Satyrs trip along. These rites shall still be paid, so justly due, Both when the nymphs receive our annual vow, And when with solemn songs, and victims crown'd, Our lands in long procession we surround. While fishes love the streams and briny deep, And sayage boars the mountain's rocky steep,

* Lyctium was a city of Crete.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »