Page images
PDF
EPUB

While grasshoppers their dewy food delights,
While balmy thyme the busy bee invites;
So long shall last thine honours and thy fame,
So long the shepherds shall resound thy name.
Such rites to thee shall husbandmen ordain,
As Ceres and the god of wine obtain.
Thou to our prayers propitiously inclined
Thy grateful suppliants to their vows shalt bind.

Mopsus.
What boon, dear shepherd, can your song requite ?
For nought in nature yields so sweet delight.
Not the soft sighing of the southern gale,
That faintly breathes along the flowery vale;
Nor, when light breezes curl the liquid plain,
To tread the margin of the murmuring main ;
Nor melody of streams, that roll away
Through rocky dales, delights me as your lay.

Menalcas.
No mean reward, my friend, your verses claim;
Take then this flute that breathed the plaintive theme
Of Corydon;* when proud Damætast tried
To match my skill, it dash'd his hasty pride.

Mopsus.
And let this sheepcrook by my friend be worn,
Which brazen studs in beamy rows adorn;
This fair Antigenes oft begg'd to gain,
But all his beauty, all his prayers were vain.

PASTORAL VI.

Silenus.

My sportive Muse first sung Sicilian strains,
Nor blush'd to dwell in woods and lowly plains.
# See Pastoral second.

+ See Pastoral third. 1. The cave of Silenus, which is the scene of this eclogue, is delineated with sufficient accuracy. The time seems to be the evening ; at least the song does not cease till the flocks are folded, and the evening star appears.

To sing of kings and wars when I aspire,
Apollo checks my vainly-rising fire.
• To swains the flock and sylvan pipe belong,
Then choose some humbler theme, nor dare heroic

song.'
The voice divine, O Varus, I obey,
And to my reed shall chant a rural lay;
Since others long thy praises to rehearse,
And sing thy battles in immortal verse.
Yet if these songs, which Phoebus bids me write,
Hereafter to the swains shall yield delight,
Of thee the trees and humble shrubs shall sing,
And all the vocal grove with Varus ring.
The song inscribed to Varus' sacred name
To Phoebus' favour has the justest claim.

Come then, my Muse, a sylvan song repeat.
'Twas in his shady arbour's cool retreat
Two youthful swains the god Silenus found,
In drunkenness and sleep his senses bound,
His turgid veins the late debauch betray;
His garland on the ground neglected lay,
Fallen from his head: and by the well-worn ear
His cup of ample size depended near.
Sudden the swains the sleeping god surprise,
And with his garland bind him as he lies
(No better chain at hand), incensed so long
To be defrauded of their promised song.
To aid their project, and remove their fears,
Ægle, a beauteous fountain-nymph, appears;
Who, while he hardly opes his heavy eyes,
His stupid brow with bloody berries dies.
Then smiling at the fraud Silenus said,
* And dare you thus a sleeping god invade ?
To see me was enough; but haste, unloose
My bonds; the song no longer I refuse ;
Unloose me, youths : my song shall pay your pains ;
For this fair nymph another boon remains.'

He sung; responsive to the heavenly sound The stubborn oaks and forests dance around, Tripping the Satyrs and the Fauns advance, Wild beasts forget their rage, and join the general

dance.

Not so Parnassus' listening rocks rejoice,
When Phoebus raises his celestial voice;
Nor Thracia's echoing mountains so admire,
When Orpheus strikes the loud-lamenting lyre.

For first he sung of Nature's wond'rous birth ;
How seeds of water, air, and flame, and earth,
Down the vast void with casual impulse hurl'd,
Clung into shapes, and form’d this fabric of the

world. Then hardens by degrees the tender soil, And from the mighty mound the seas recoil. O'er the wide world new various forms arise ; The infant Sun along the brighten'd skies Begins his course, while Earth with glad amaze The blazing wonder from below surveys. The clouds sublime their genial moisture shed, And the green grove lifts high its leafy head. The savage beasts o'er desert mountains roam, Yet few their numbers, and unknown their home. He next the blest Saturnian ages sung ; How a new race of men from Pyrrha sprung; Prometheus' daring theft, and dreadful doom, Whose growing heart devouring birds consume. Then names the spring, renown'd for Hylas' fate, By the sad mariners bewail'd too late; They call on Hylas with repeated cries, And Hylas, Hylas, all the lonesome shore replies. Next he bewails Pasiphæ (hapless dame !) Who for a bullock felt a brutal flame. What fury fires thy bosom, frantic queen! How happy thou, if herds had never been ! The maids, whom Juno, to avenge her wrong,t Like heisers doom'd to low the vales along, Ne'er felt the rage of thy detested fire, Ne'er were polluted with thy foul desire; Though oft for horns they felt their polish'd brow, And their soft necks oft fear'd the galling plough.

* See Ovid. Met. lib. i. Their names were Lysippe, Ipponoë, and Cyrianassa. Juno, to be avenged of them for preferring their own beauty hers, struck them with madness, to such a degree, that they imagined themselves to be heifers.

Ah wretched queen! thou roam'st the mountain

waste, While, his white limbs on lilies laid to rest, The half-digested herb again he chews, Or some fair female of the herd pursues. • Beset, ye Cretan nymphs, beset the grove, And trace the wandering footsteps of my love. Yet let my longing eyes any love behold, Before some favourite beauty of the fold Entice him with Gortynian* herds to stray, Where smile the vales in richer pasture gay.' He sung how golden fruit's resistless grace Decoy'd the wary virgin from the race.t Then wraps in bark the mourning sisters round, And rears the lofty alders from the ground. He sung, while Gallus by Permessusg stray'd, A sister of the Nine the hero led To the Aonian hill; the choir in haste Left their bright thrones, and hail'd the weloome guest. Linus arose, for sacred sung renown'd, Whose brow a wreath of flowers and parsley bound; And. Take' he said, ' this pipe, which heretofore The far-famed shepherd of Ascræa|| bore; Then heard the mountain-oaks its magic sound, Leap'd from their hills, and thronging danced around. On this thou shalt renew the tuneful lay, And grateful songs to thy Apollo pay, Whose famed Grynæan f temple from thy strain Shall more exalted dignity obtain.' Why should I sing unhappy Scylla's fate ?** Sad monument of jealous Circe's hate ! Round her white breast what furious monsters roli, And to the dashing waves incessant howl: How from the ships that bore Ulysses' crewt Her dogs the trembling sailors dragg'd, and slew. * Gortyna was a city of Crete. See Ovid. Art. Am. lib.i. + Atalanta. See Ovid. Metamorph. lib. X.

See Ovid. Met. lib. ij. A river in Baotia, arising from Mount Helicon, sacred to the Muses,

|| Hesiod. ! Grynium was a maritime town of the Lesser Asia, where were an ancient temple and oracle of Apollo.

** See Virgil. Æn. iii.
it See Homer Odyss, lib. xii.

Of Philomela's feast why should I sing, *
And what dire chance befel the Thracian king?
Changed to a lapwing by th' avenging god,
He made the barren waste his lone abode,
And oft on soaring pinions hover'd o'er
The lofty palace, then his own no more.

The tureful god renews each pleasing theme
Which Phoebus sung by blest Eurotas' stream;
When bless'd Eurotas gently flow'd along,
And bade his laurels learn the lofty song,
Silenus sung ; the vocal vales reply,
And heavenly music charms the listening sky.
But now their folds the number'd flocks invite,
The star di evening sheds its trembling light,
And the unwilling Heavens are wrapt in night.

PASTORAL VII.

MELIBUS, CORYDON, THYRSIS.

Meliboeus. BENEATH an holm that murmur'd to the breeze The youthful Daphnis lean'd in rural ease : With him two gay Arcadian swains reclined, Who in the neighbouring vale their flocks had join'd, Thyrsis, whose care it was the goats to keep, And Corydon, who fed the fieecy sheep; Both in the flowery prime of youthful days, Both skill'd in single or responsive lays. While I with busy hand a shelter form, To guard my myrtles from the future storm,

* See Ovid. Metamorph. lib. vi. + The scene of this pastoral is as follows: Four shepherds, Daphnis in the most distinguished place, Corydon, Thyrsis, and Melibeus, are seen reclining beneath an holm. Sheep and goats intermixed are feeding hard by. At a little distance Mincius fringed with reeds appears winding along. Fields and trees compose the surrounding scene. A venerable oak, with bees swarming around it, is particularly distinguished. The time seems to be the forenoon of a summer-day.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »