Page images
PDF
EPUB

And in what chapel too you play'd your prize, And what the goats observed with leering eyes:The nymphs were kind, and laugh'd; and there your safety lies.

MENALCAS.

Yes, when I cropp'd the hedges of the leys, Cut Micon's tender vines, and stole the stays!

DAMCETAS.

Or rather, when, beneath yon ancient oak,
The bow of Daphnis, and the shafts, you broke,
When the fair boy received the gift of right;
And, but for mischief, you had died for spite.

MENALCAS.

What nonsense would the fool thy master prate, When thou, his knave, canst talk at such a rate! Did I not see you, rascal, did I not,

When you lay snug to snap young Damon's goat? His mongrel bark'd; I ran to his relief, [thief!' And cried There, there he goes! stop, stop the Discover'd, and defeated of your prey,

You skulk'd behind the fence, and sneak'd away.

DAMETAS.

An honest man may freely take his own:
The goat was mine, by singing fairly won.
A solemn match was made; he lost the prize.
Ask Damon, ask if he the debt denies.

I think he dares not; if he does, he lies.

MENALCAS.

Thou sing with him? thou booby!-Never pipe Was so profaned to touch that blubber'd lip. Dunce at the best! in streets but scarce allow'd To tickle, on thy straw, the stupid crowd.

DAMCETAS.

To bring it to the trial, will you dare
Our pipes, our skill, our voices to compare?
My brinded heifer to the stake I lay;
Two thriving calves she suckles twice a day.
And twice beside her biestings never fail
To store the dairy with a brimming pail.
Now back your singing with an equal stake.

MENALCAS.

That should be seen, if I had one to make. You know too well, I feed my father's flock; What can I wager from the common stock? A stepdame too I have, a cursed she, Who rules my hen-peck'd sire, and orders me. Both number twice a day the milky dams; And once she takes the tale of all the lambs. But, since you will be mad, and since you may Suspect my courage, if I should not lay; The pawn I proffer shall be full as good: Two bowls I have, well turn'd, of beechen wood; Both by divine Alcimedon were made; To neither of them yet the lip is laid. The lids are ivy; grapes in clusters lurk Beneath the carving of the curious work. Two figures on the sides emboss'd appearConon, and, what's his name who made the sphere, And show'd the seasons of the sliding year, Instructed in his trade the labouring swain, And when to reap, and when to sow the grain?

DAMCETAS.

And I have two, to match your pair, at home; The wood the same; from the same hand they come, (The kimbo handles seem with bear's-foot carved) And never yet to table have been served;

Where Orpheus on his lyre laments his love, With beasts encompass'd, and a dancing grove. But these, nor all the proffers you can make, Are worth the heifer which I set to stake.

MENALCAS.

No more delays, vain boaster, but begin!
I prophesy beforehand, I shall win.
Palæmon shall be judge how ill you rhyme:
I'll teach you how to brag another time.

DAMŒTAS.

Rhymer, come on! and do the worst you can;
I fear not you, nor yet a better man.

With silence, neighbour, and attention wait:
For 'tis a business of a high debate.

PALEMON.

Sing then; the shade affords a proper place, The trees are clothed with leaves, the fields with

grass;

The blossoms blow, the birds on bushes sing,
And Nature has accomplish'd all the spring.
The challenge to Damotas shall belong;
Menalcas shall sustain his under-song :
Each in his turn your tuneful numbers bring;
By turns the tuneful Muses love to sing.

DAMCETAS.

From the great father of the gods above
My Muse begins; for all is full of Jove;
To Jove the care of heaven and earth belongs;
My flocks he blesses, and he loves my songs.

MENALCAS.

Me Phœbus loves; for he my Muse inspires, And, in her songs, the warmth he gave, requires. For him, the god of shepherds and their sheep, My blushing hyacinths and my bays I keep.

DAMETAS.

My Phyllis me with pelted apples plies:
Then tripping to the woods the wanton hies,
And wishes to be seen, before she flies.

MENALCAS.

But fair Amyntas comes unask'd to me,
And offers love, and sits upon my knee,
Not Delia to my dogs is known so well as he.

DAMETAS.

To the dear mistress of my love-sick mind,
Her swain a pretty present has design'd:
I saw two stock doves billing, and ere long
Will take the nest; and hers shall be the young.

MENALCAS.

Ten ruddy wildings in the wood I found,
And stood on tiptoes, reaching from the ground:
I sent Amyntas all my present store;
And will, to-morrow, send as many more.

DAMCETAS.

The lovely maid lay panting in my arms;
And all she said and did was full of charms.
Winds! on your wings to heaven her accents bear;
Such words as heaven alone is fit to hear.

MENALCAS.

Ah! what avails it me, my love's delight,
To call you mine, when absent from my sight?
I hold the nets, while you pursue the prey,
And must not share the dangers of the day.

.

DAMETAS.

I keep my birthday: send my Phyllis home: At shearing-time, Iolas, you may come.

MENALCAS.

With Phyllis I am more in grace than you;
Her sorrow did my parting steps pursue:

Adieu, my dear! (she said) a long adieu!'

DAMCETAS.

The nightly wolf is baneful to the fold,

Storms to the wheat, to buds the bitter cold;
But from my frowning fair more ills I find
Than from the wolves,and storms, and winter wind.

MENALCAS.

The kids with pleasure browze the bushy plain;
The showers are grateful to the swelling grain;
To teeming ewes the sallow's tender tree;
But, more than all the world, my love to me.

DAMCETAS.

Pollio my rural verse vouchsafes to read:
A heifer, Muses, for your patron breed.

MENALCAS.

My Pollio writes himself::-a bull he bred, With spurning heels, and with a butting head.

DAMCETAS.

Who Pollio loves, and who his Muse admires,
Let Pollio's fortune crown his full desires.
Let myrrh instead of thorn his fences fill,
And showers of honey from his oaks distil.

MENALCAS.

Who hates not living Bavius, let him be [thee! (Dead Mævius) damn'd to love thy works and The same ill taste of sense would serve to join Dog foxes in the yoke, and shear the swine.

DAMETAS.

Ye boys, who pluck the flowers, and spoil the

spring,

Beware the secret snake that shoots a sting.

MENALCAS.

Graze not too near the banks, my jolly sheep; The ground is false; the running streams are deep:

« PreviousContinue »