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Soon as her blooming form the Spring reveals,
And Zephyr breathes his warm prolific gales,
The feather'd tribes first catch the genial flame,
And to the groves thy glad return proclaim.
Thence to the beasts the soft infection spreads;
The raging cattle spurn the grassy meads,
Burst o'er the plains, and frantic in their course
Cleave the wild torrents with resistless force.
Won by thy charms, thy dictates all obey,
And eager follow where thou lead'st the way.
Whatever haunts the mountains, or the main,
The rapid river, or the verdant plain,
Or forms its leafy mansion in the shades,
All, all thy universal power pervades,
Each panting bosom melts to soft desires,
And with the love of propagation fires.
And since thy sovereign influence guides the reins
Of nature, and the universe sustains;
Since nought without thee bursts the bonds of night,
To hail the happy realms of heavenly light;
Since love, and joy, and harmony are thine,
Guide me, 0 goddess, by thy power divine,
And to my rising lays thy succour bring,
While I the universe attempt to sing.
O may my verse deserved applause obtain
Of him, for whom I try the daring strain,
My Mimmius, him, whom thou profusely kind
Adorn'st with every excellence refined.
And that immortal charms my song may grace,
Let war, with all its cruel labours, cease ;
O hush the dismal din of arms once more,
And calm the jarring world from shore to shore.
By thee alone the race of man foregoes
The rage of blood, and sinks in soft repose :
For mighty Mars, the dreadful god of arms,
Who wakes or stills the battle's dire alarms,
In love's strong fetters by thy charms is bound,
And languishes with an eternal wound.
Oft from his bloody toil the god retires
To quench in thy embrace his fierce desires.
Soft on thy heaving bosom he reclines,
And round thy yielding neck transported twines ;
There fix'd in ecstasy intense surveys
Thy kindling beauties with insatiate gaze,
Grows to thy balmy mouth, and ardent sips
Celestial sweets from thy ambrosial lips.
O while the god with fiercest raptures blest
Lies all dissolving on thy sacred breast,
O breathe thy melting whispers to his ear,
And bid him still the loud alarms of war.
In these tumultuous days the Muse in vain,
Her steady tenour lost, pursues the strain,
And Memmius' generous soul disdains to taste
The calm delights of philosophic rest ;
Paternal fires his beating breast inflame,
To rescue Rome, and vindicate her name.
HORACE, BOOK II. ODE X.
Rectius vives, Licini-
Wouldst thou through life securely glide,
Nor boundless o'er the ocean ride;
Nor ply too near th' insidious shore,
Scared at the tempests threat'ning roar.
The man who follows Wisdom's voice,
And makes the golden mean his choice,
Nor plunged in antique gloomy cells
Midst hoary desolation dwells;
Nor to allure the envious eye
Rears his proud palace to the sky.
The pine, that all the grove transcends,
With every blast the tempest rends;
Totters the tower with thund'rous sound,
And spreads a mighty ruin round;
Jove's bolt with desolating blow
Strikes the ethereal mountain's brow.
The man, whose steadfast soul can bear
Fortune indulgent or severe,
Hopes when she frowns, and when she smiles
With cautious fear eludes her wiles.
Jove with rude winter wastes the plain,
Jove decks the rosy spring again.
Life's former ills are overpast,
Nor will the present always last.
Now Phoebus wings his shafts, and now
He lays aside th' unbended bow,
Strikes into life the trembling string,
And wakes the silent Muse to sing.
With unabating courage, brave
Adversity's tumultuous wave;
When too propitious breezes rise,
And the light vessel swiftly flies,
With timid caution catch the gale,
And shorten the distended sail.
HORACE, BOOK III. ODE XIII,
O Fons Blandusiæ
BLANDUSIA! more than crystal clear!
Whose soothing murmurs charm the ear!
Whose margin soft with flowrets crown'd
Invites the festive band around,
Their careless limbs diffused supine,
To quaff the soul-enlivening wine.
To thee a tender kid I vow,
That aims for fight his budding brow;
In thought, the wrathful combat proves,
Or wantons with his little loves:
But vain are all his purposed schemes,
Delusive all his flattering dreams;
To-morrow shall his fervent blood
Stain the pure silver of thy flood.
When fiery Sirius blasts the plain,
Untouch'd thy gelid streams remain.
To thee, the fainting flocks repair,
To taste thy cool reviving air;
To thee, the ox with toil opprest,
And lays his languid limbs to rest.
As springs of old renown'd, thy name,
Blest fountain ! I devote to fame;
Thus while I sing in deathless lays,
The verdant holm, whose waving sprays,
Thy sweet retirement to defend,
High o'er the moss-grown rock impend,
Whence prattling in loquacious play
Thy sprightly waters leap away.
Non ita certandi cupidus, quam propter amorem
Quod te imitari aveo
WHERE the broad beech an ample shade displays,
Your slender reed resounds the sylvan lays,
* It has been observed by some critics, who have treated of pastoral poetry, that, in every poem of this kind, it is proper that the scene or landscape, connected with the little plot or fable on which the poem is founded, be delineated with at least as much accuracy as is sufficient to render the description particular and picture ue. How far Virgil has thought fit to attend to such a rule may appear from the remarks which the translator has subjoined to every pastoral.
The scene of the first pastoral is pictured out with great accuracy. The shepherds Melibæus and Tityrus are represented as conversing together beneath a spreading beech-tree. Flocks and herds are feeding hard by. At a little distance we behold, on the one hand a great rock, and on the other a fence of Aowering willows. The prospect as it widens is diversified with groves, and streams, and some tall trees, particularly elms. Beyond alí these appear marshy grounds, and rocky hills. The ragged and drooping flock of the unfortunate shepherd, particularly the shegoat which he leads along, are no inconsiderable figures in this picture.-The time is the evening of a summer-day, a little before sunset. See of the original, v. 1. 5. 9. 52. 54. 57. 59. 81, &c.
This pastoral is said to have been written on the following occasion. Augustus, in order to reward the services of his veterans, by means of whom he had established himself in the Roman empire, distributed among them the lands that lay contiguous to Mantua and Cremona. To make way for these intruders, the rightful owners, of whom Virgil was one, were turned out. But our poet, by the intercession of Mecænas, was reinstated in his possessions. . Melibæus here personates one of the unhappy exiles, and Virgil is represented under the character of Tityrus.
O happy Tityrus! while we, forlorn,
Driven from our lands, to distant climes are borne,
Stretch'd careless in the peaceful shade you sing,
And all the groves with Amaryllis ring.
This peace to a propitious god I owe;
None else, my friend, such blessings could bestow.
Him will I celebrate with rights divine,
And frequent lambs shall stain his sacred shrine.
By him, these feeding herds in safety stray;
By him, in peace I pipe the rural lay.
Meliboeus. I envy not, but wonder at your fate, That no alarms invade this blest retreat; While neighbouring fields the voice of woe resound, And desolation rages all around. Worn with fatigue I slowly onward bend, And scarce my feeble fainting goats attend. My hand this sickly dam can hardly bear, Whose young new-yean’d (ah once an hopeful pair!) Amid the tangling hazels as they lay, On the sharp flint were left to pine away. These ills I had foreseen, but that my mind To all portents and prodigies was blind. Oft have the blasted oaks foretold my woe: And ofte has the inauspicious crow, Perch'd on the wither'd holm, with fateful cries Scream'd in my ear her dismal prophecies. But say,
O Tityrus, what god bestows
This blissful life of undisturb'd repose ?
Imperial Rome, while yet to me unknown,
I vainly liken'd to our country-town,
Our little Mantua, at which is sold
The yearly offspring of our fruitful fold:
As in the whelp the father's shape appears,
And as the laid its mother's semblance bears.
Thus greater things my inexperienced mind
Rated by others of inferior kind.
But she, 'midst other cities, rears her head
High, as the cypress overtops the reed.