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PASTORALS.

I.

TITYRUS AND MELIBUS.

The Argument.

The occasion of the first Pastoral was this. When Augustus had settled himself in the Roman empire, that he might reward his veteran troops for their past service, he distributed among them all the lands that lay about Cremona and Mantua; turning out the right owners for having sided with his enemies. Virgil was a sufferer among the rest; who afterwards recovered his estate by Mæcenas's inter› cession; and, as an instance of his gratitude, composed the following pastoral, where he sets out his own good fortune in the person of Tityrus, and the calamities of his Mantuan neighbours in the character of Melibus.

MELIBUS.

BENEATH the shade which beechen boughs diffuse,

You, Tityrus, entertain your silvan muse. Round the wide world in banishment we roam, Forced from our pleasing fields and native home; While,stretch'd at ease, you sing your happy loves, And Amaryllis fills the shady groves.

TITYRUS.

These blessings, friend, a deity bestow'd;
For never can I deem him less than god.
The tender firstlings of my woolly breed
Shall on his holy altar often bleed.

He gave my kine to graze the flowery plain,
And to my pipe renew'd the rural strain.

MELIBUS.

I envy not your fortune, but admire,

That, while the raging sword and wasteful fire
Destroy the wretched neighbourhood around,
No hostile arms approach your happy ground.
Far different is my fate; my feeble goats
With pains I drive from their forsaken cotes:
And this, you see, I scarcely drag along,
Who, yeaning, on the rocks has left her young;
The hope and promise of my failing fold.
My loss, by dire portents, the gods foretold;
For, had I not been blind, I might have seen :-
Yon riven oak, the fairest of the green,
And the hoarse raven, on the blasted bough,
By croaking from the left, presaged the coming
blow.

But tell me, Tityrus, what heavenly power
Preserved your fortunes in that fatal hour?

TITYRUS.

Fool that I was! I thought imperial Rome
Like Mantua, where on market-days we come,
And thither drive our tender lambs from home.
So kids and whelps their sires and dams express,
And so the great I measured by the less.
But country towns, compared with her, appear
Like shrubs, when lofty cypresses are near.

MELIBUS.

What great occasion call'd you hence to Rome?

TITYRUS.

Freedom, which came at length, though slow to Nor did my search of liberty begin,

[come.
Till my black hairs were changed upon my chin;
Nor Amaryllis would vouchsafe a look,
Till Galatea's meaner bonds I broke.

Till then a helpless, hopeless, homely swain,
I sought not freedom, nor aspired to gain:
Though many a victim from my folds was bought,
And many a cheese to country markets brought,
Yet all the little that I got, I spent,

And still return'd as empty as I went.

MELIBUS.

We stood amazed to see your mistress mourn,
Unknowing that she pined for your return;
We wonder'd why she kept her fruit so long,
For whom so late the' ungather'd apples hung.
But now the wonder ceases, since I see
She kept them only, Tityrus, for thee;
For thee the bubbling springs appear'd to mourn,
And whispering pines made vows for thy return.

TITYRUS.

What should I do?-While here I was enchain'd,
No glimpse of godlike liberty remain'd;
Nor could I hope, in any place but there,
To find a god so present to my prayer.
There first the youth of heavenly birth I view'd,
For whom our monthly victims are renew'd.
He heard my vows, and graciously decreed
My grounds to be restored, my former flocks to
feed.

MELIBUS.

O fortunate old man! whose farm remainsFor you sufficient and requites your pains; Though rushes overspread the neighbouring plains,

Though here the marshy grounds approach your fields,

And there the soil a stony harvest yields.

Your teeming ewes shall no strange meadows try,
Nor fear a rot from tainted company.

Behold! yon bordering fence of sallow trees
Is fraught with flowers, the flowers are fraught with

bees:

The busy bees, with a soft murmuring strain,
Invite to gentle sleep the labouring swain.
While, from the neighbouring rock, with rural

songs,

The pruner's voice the pleasing dream prolongs, Stock-doves and turtles tell their amorous pain, And, from the lofty elms, of love complain.

TITYRUS.

The' inhabitants of seas and skies shall change,
And fish on shore, and stags in air, shall range,
The banish'd Parthian dwell on Arar's brink,
And the blue German shall the Tigris drink,
Ere I, forsaking gratitude and truth,

Forget the figure of that godlike youth.

MELIBUS.

But we must beg our bread in climes unknown,
Beneath the scorching or the freezing zone :
And some to far Oaxis shall be sold,
Or try the Libyan heat, or Scythian cold;
The rest among the Britons be confined,
A race of men from all the world disjoin'd.

O! must the wretched exiles ever mourn,
Nor, after length of rolling years, return?
Are we condemn'd by Fate's unjust decree,
No more our houses and our homes to see?
Or shall we mount again the rural throne,
And rule the country kingdoms, once our own?
Did we for these barbarians plant and sow?
On these, on these, our happy fields bestow?
Good Heaven! what dire effects from civil dis-
cord flow!

Now let me graff my pears, and prune the vine;
The fruit is theirs, the labour only mine.
Farewell, my pastures, my paternal stock,
My fruitful fields, and my more fruitful flock!
No more, my goats, shall I behold you climb
The steepy cliffs, or crop the flowery thyme!
No more, extended in the grot below,
Shall see you browsing on the mountain's brow
The prickly shrubs; and after on the bare,
Lean down the deep abyss, and hang in air.
No more my sheep shall sip the morning dew;
No more my song shall please the rural crew:
Adieu, my tuneful pipe! and all the world, adieu!

TITYRUS.

This night, at least, with me forget your care;
Chesnuts, and curds and cream, shall be your fare;
The carpet ground shall be with leaves o'erspread;
And boughs shall weave a covering for your head,
For see, yon sunny hill the shade extends;
And curling smoke from cottages ascends.

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