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The Argument.

The commentators can by no means agree on the person of Alexis, but are all of opinion that some beautiful youth is meant by him, to whom Virgil here makes love, in Corydon's language and simplicity. His way of courtship is wholly pastoral: he complains of the boy's coyness; recommends himself for his beauty and skill in piping; invites the youth into the country, where he promises him the diversions of the place, with a suitable present of nuts and apples. But when he finds nothing will prevail, he resolves to quit his troublesome amour, and betake himself again to his former business.

YOUNG Corydon, the' unhappy shepherd swain,
The fair Alexis loved, but loved in vain;
And underneath the beechen shade, alone,
Thus to the woods and mountains made his


Is this, unkind Alexis, my reward?

And must I die unpitied, and unheard?
Now the green lizard in the grove is laid;
The sheep enjoy the coolness of the shade;
And Thestylis wild thyme and garlic beats
For harvest hinds, o'erspent with toil and heats;
While in the scorching sun I trace in vain
Thy flying footsteps o'er the burning plain.

The creaking locusts with my voice conspire,
They fried with heat, and I with fierce desire.
How much more easy was it to sustain
Proud Amaryllis, and her haughty reign,
The scorns of young Menalcas, once my care,
Though he was black, and thou art heavenly fair.
Trust not too much to that enchanting face;
Beauty's a charm; but soon the charm will pass.
White lilies lie neglected on the plain,
While dusky hyacinths for use remain.
My passion is thy scorn; nor wilt thou know
What wealth I have, what gifts I can bestow;
What stores my dairies and my folds contain-
A thousand lambs that wander on the plain;
New milk, that all the winter never fails,
And all the summer overflows the pails.
Amphion sung not sweeter to his herd,

When summon'd stones the Theban turrets rear'd.
Nor am I so deform'd; for late I stood
Upon the margin of the briny flood:

The winds were still; and, if the glass be true,
With Daphnis I may vie, though judged by you.
O leave the noisy town! O come and see
Our country cots, and live content with me!
To wound the flying deer, and from their cotes
With me to drive afield the browzing goats;
To pipe and sing, and, in our country strain,
To copy, or perhaps contend with, Pan.
Pan taught to join with wax unequal reeds;
Pan loves the shepherds, and their flocks he feeds.
Nor scorn the pipe: Amyntas, to be taught,
With all his kisses would my skill have bought.
Of seven smooth joints a mellow pipe I have,
Which with his dying breath Damœtas gave,

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And said-" This, Corydon, I leave to thee;
For only thou deservest it after me.”

His eyes Amyntas durst not upward lift; [gift.--
For much he grudged the praise, but more the
Besides, two kids, that in the valley stray'd,
I found by chance, and to my fold convey'd :
They drain two bagging udders every day;
And these shall be companions of thy play;
Both fleck'd with white, the true Arcadian strain,
Which Thestylis had often begg’d in vain :
And she shall have them, if again she sues,
Since you the giver and the gift refuse.
Come to my longing arms, my lovely care!
And take the presents which the nymphs prepare.
White lilies in full canisters they bring,
With all the glories of the purple spring.
The daughters of the flood have search'd the mead
For violets pale, and cropp'd the poppy's head,
The short narcissus and fair daffodil, [smell;
Pansies to please the sight, and cassia sweet to
And set soft hyacinths with iron-blue,

To shade marsh marigolds with shining hue;
Some bound in order, others loosely strow'd,
To dress thy bower, and trim thy new abode.
Myself will search our planted grounds at home,
For downy peaches and the glossy plum;
And thrash the chesnuts in the neighbouring grove,
Such as my Amaryllis used to love.

The laurel and the myrtle sweets agree,
And both in nosegays shall be bound for thee.
Ah, Corydon! ah, poor unhappy swain!
Alexis will thy homely gifts disdain :
Nor, shouldst thou offer all thy little store,
Will rich Iolas yield, but offer more.

What have I done, to name that wealthy swain?
So powerful are his presents, mine so mean!
The boar amidst my crystal streams I bring,
And southern winds to blast my flowery spring.
Ah cruel creature! whom dost thou despise?
The gods, to live in woods, have left the skies;
And godlike Paris, in the' Idæan grove,
To Priam's wealth preferr'd none's love.

In cities, which she built, let Pallas reign;
Towers are for gods, but forests for the swain.
The greedy lioness the wolf pursues,

The wolf the kid, the wanton kid the browze;
Alexis, thou art chased by Corydon :

All follow several games, and each his own.
See, from afar, the fields no longer smoke;
The sweating steers, unharness'd from the yoke,
Bring, as in triumph, back the crooked plough;
The shadows lengthen as the sun goes low;
Cool breezes now the raging heats remove:
Ah, cruel Heaven! that made no cure for love!
I wish for balmy sleep, but wish in vain;
Love has no bounds in pleasure, or in pain.
What frenzy, shepherd, has thy soul possess'd?
Thy vineyard lies half pruned, and half undress'd.
Quench, Corydon, thy long unanswer'd fire!
Mind what the common wants of life require;
On willow twigs employ thy weaving care;
And find an easier love, though not so fair.'




The Argument.

Damætas and Menalcas, after some smart strokes of country raillery, resolve to try who has the most skill at song: and accordingly make their neighbour Palæmon judge of their performances: who, after a full hearing of both parties, declares himself unfit for the decision of so weighty a controversy, and leaves the victory undetermined.


Ho, swain! what shepherd owns those ragged



Ægon's they are: he gave them me to keep.


Unhappy sheep of an unhappy swain!
While he Neæra courts, but courts in vain,
And fears that I the damsel shall obtain,
Thou, varlet, dost thy master's gains devour;
Thou milk'st his ewes, and often twice an hour;
Of grass and fodder thou defraud'st the dams,
And of their mother's dugs the starving lambs.


Good words, young catamite, at least to men. We know who did your business, how, and when;

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