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Jam pene totis finibus Angligenum ;
Jam sero placidam sperare jubeo
The foreign poems of Milton, with a few exceptions, were translated by the
poet Cowper, whose versions are given in the ensuing pages.
Through all his glassy vale, delights to hear,
Base were indeed the wretch who could forbear
Nor knows a thousand winning acts to spare,
And graces, which Love's bow and arrows are,
Such strains as might the senseless forest move,
Who feels himself unworthy of thy love !
Imbrowns the scene, some pastoral maiden fair
Waters a lovely foreign plant with care,
So, on my tongue these accents, new and rare,
Are flowers exotic, which Love waters there,
Thy praise, in verse to British ears unknown,
That what he wills he never wills in vain.
CANZONE. THEY mock my toil—the nymphs and amorous swains“And whence this fond attempt to write," they cry, “Love-songs in language that thou little know'st?' How darest thou risk to sing these foreign strains ? Say truly,-find'st not oft thy purpose crossed, And that thy fairest flowers here fade and die?” Then with pretence of admiration high"Thee other shores expect, and other tides; Rivers, on whose grassy sides Her deathless laurel leaf, with which to bind Thy flowing locks, already Fame provides ; Why then this burthen, better far declined ?"
Speak, Muse! for me.—The fair one said, who guides My willing heart, and all my fancy's flights, “This is the language in which Love delights.”
TO CHARLES DIODATI.
That I, who once assumed a scornful air,
And scoffed at Love, am fallen in his snare. (Full many an upright man has fallen so.) Yet think me not thus dazzled by the flow Of golden locks, or damask cheek; more rare The heartfelt beauties of my foreign fair,-A mien majestic, with dark brows that show The tranquil lustre of a lofty mind; Words exquisite of idioms more than one, And song, whose fascinating power might blind And from her sphere draw down the labouring Moon, With such fire-darting eyes that, should I fill My ears with wax, she would enchant me still.
LADY! it cannot be but that thine eyes
Must be my sun, such radiance they display,
And strike me even as Phoebus him whose way Through horrid Libya's sandy desert lies. Meantime, on that side steamy vapours rise
Where most I suffer. Of what kind are they,
New as to me they are, I cannot say,
ENAMOURED, artless, young, on foreign ground
Uncertain whither from myself to fly,
To thee, dear Lady, with an humble sigh Let me devote my heart, which I have found By certain proofs, not few, intrepid, sound, Good, and addicted to conceptions high :
When tempests shake the world, and fire the sky, It rests in adamant self-wrapt around ; As safe from envy, and from outrage rude, From hopes and fears that vulgar minds abuse, As fond of genius and fixt fortitude, Of the resounding lyre, and every Muse. Weak you will find it in one only part, Now pierced by Love's immedicable dart.
TRANSLATIONS OF THE LATIN POEMS.
ELEGIES. ELEGY I.-T. CHARLES DEODATI. At length, my friend, the far-sent letters come, Charged with thy kindness, to their destined home; They come, at length, from Deva's western side, Where prone she seeks the salt Vergivian tide. Trust me, my joy is great that thou shouldst be, Though born of foreign race, yet born for me, And that my sprightly friend, now free to roam, Must seek again so soon his wonted home. I well content where Thames with influent tide My native city laves meantime reside. Nor zeal nor duty now my steps impel To reedy Cam, and my forbidden cell ; Nor aught of pleasure in those fields have I That to the musing bard all shade deny. 'Tis time that I a pedant's threats disdain, And fly from wrongs my soul will ne'er sustain. If peaceful days, in lettered leisure spent Beneath my father's roof, be banishment, Then call me banished ; I will ne'er refuse A name expressive of the lot I choose. I would that, exiled to the Pontic shore, Rome's hapless bard had suffered nothing more ; He then had equalled even Homer's lays, And, Virgil ! thou hadst won but second praise. For here I woo the Muse, with no control; And here my books, my life-absorb me whole. Here too. I visit, or to smile or weep, The winding theatre's majestic sweep ;