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Bat if my Lycidas will ease my pains,
To him the towering ash shall yield in woods ;
MEL. These rhymes I did to memory commend,
THE EIGHTH FASTORAL;
Tuis pastoral contains the songs of Damon and Alphesibus. The first of them bewails the loss of his mistress, and repines at the success of his rival Mopsus. The other repeats the charms of some enchantress, who endeavoured, by her spells and magic, to make Daphnis in love with her.
THE mournful Muse of two despairing swains,
The hungry herd their needful food refuse;
Thine was my earliest Muse; my latest shall be thine.
drew; Searce from the world the shades of night withScarce were the flocks refresh'd with morning dew, When Damon, stretch'd beneath an olive shade, And wildly staring upwards, thus inveigh'd Against the conscious gods, and curs'd the cruel maid:
"Star of the morning, why dost thou delay?
Shall see the hound and hind their thirst asswage
Promiscuous at the spring: prepare the lights,
Then scarce the bending branches I could win,
"Knit with three knots the fillets, knit them
Then say, 'These knots to love I consecrate.'
"As fire this figure hardens, made of clay;
"As when the raging heifer, through the grove, Stung with desire, pursues her wandering love; Faint at the last, she seeks the weedy pools To quench her thirst, and on the rushes rolls: Careless of night, unmindful to return; Such fruitless fires perfidious Daphnis burn. While I so scorn his love; restore, my charms, My lingering Daphnis to my longing arms.
"These garments once were his; and left to me; The pledges of his promis'd loyalty: Which underneath my threshold I bestow; These pawns, O sacred Earth! to me my Daphnis As these were his, so mine is he: my charms, [owe. Restore their lingering lord to my deluded arms. "These poisonous plants, for magic use design'd, (The noblest and the best of all the baneful kind,) Old Moeris brought me from the Pontic strand, And cull'd the mischief of a bounteous land. Smear'd with these powerful juices, on the plain He bowls a wolf among the hungry train: And oft the mighty necromancer boasts, With these, to call from tombs the stalking ghosts; And from the roots to tear the standing corn, Which, whirl'd aloft, to distant fields is borne. Such is the strength of spells: restore, my charms, My lingering Daphnis to my longing arms.
"Bear out these ashes; cast them in the brook; Cast backwards o'er your head, nor turn your look: Since neither gods, nor godlike verse can move, Break out, ye smother'd fires, and kindle smother'd love.
Exert your utmost power, my lingering charms, And force my Daphnis to my longing arms.
"See, while my last endeavours 1 delay, The waking ashes rise, and round our altars play: Run to the threshold, Amaryllis; hark, Our Hylas opens, and begins to bark. Good Heaven! may lovers what they wish believe; Or dream their wishes, and those dreams deceive! No more, my Daphnis comes; no more, my charms; He comes, he runs, he leaps, to my desiring arms."
THE NINTH PASTORAL;
OR, LYCIDAS AND MORIS.
in hope to take possession, he was in danger to be slain by Arius the centurion, to whom those lands were assigned by the emperor, in reward of his service against Brutus and Cassius. This pastoral therefore is filled with complaints of his hard usage; and the persons introduced, are the bailiff of Virgil, Moris, and his friend Lycidas.
Ho, Maris! whither on thy way so fast?
MOR. O Lycidas, at last
WHEN Virgil, by the favour of Augustus, had recovered his patrimony near Mantua, and went
MOR. Such was the news, indeed; but songs and
To shun debate, Menalcas had been slain,
LYC. Now Heaven defend! could barbarous rage
MOER. Or what unfinish'd he to Varus read; Thy name, O Varus, (if the kinder powers Preserve our plains, and shield the Mantuan towers, Obnoxious by Cremona's neighbouring crime,) The wings of swans, and stronger pinion'd rhyme, Shall raise aloft, and soaring bear above Th' immortal gift of gratitude to Jove.
LYC. Sing on, sing on, for I can ne'er be cloy'd,
See, on the shore inhabits purple spring,
Come then, 'and leave the waves' tumultuous roar, Let the wild surges vainly beat the shore.
LYC. Or that sweet song I heard with such delight: The same you sung alone one starry night; The tune I still retain, but not the words. MER. Why, Daphnis, dost thou search in old To know the seasons when the stars arise?
See Cæsar's lamp is lighted in the skies:
My voice grows hoarse; I feel the notes decay,
LYC. Thy faint excuses but inflame me more;
Here, where the labourer's hands have form'd a
THE TENTH PASTORAL;
GALLUS, a great patrou of Virgil, and an excellent poet, was very deeply in love with one Cytheris, whom he calls Lycoris; and who had forsaken him for the company of a soldier. The poet therefore supposes his friend Gallus retired in his height of melancholy into the solitudes of Arcadia (the celebrated scene of pastorals); where he represents him in very languishing condition, with all the rural deities about him, pitying his hard usage, and condoling his misfortune.
THY sacred succour, Arethusa, bring,
So may thy silver streams beneath the tide,
And for thy rival tempts the raging sea,
Why, Gallus, this immoderate grief," he cry'd: "Think'st thou that love with tears is satisfy'd? The meads are sooner drunk with morning dews; The bees with flowery shrubs, the goats with browse."
Unmov'd, and with dejected eyes he mourn'd;
How light would lie the turf upon my breast,
And strive in winter camps with toils of war;
And climb the frozen Alps, and tread th' eternal
Ye frosts and snows, her tender body spare ; Those are not limbs for icicles to tear,
For me, the wilds and deserts are my choice;
As if with sports my sufferings I could ease,
On mountain tops to chase the tusky boar;
Love alters not for us his hard decrees,
occasion offered, of presenting to you the best poem of the best poet. If I balked this opportunity, I was in despair of finding such another; and if I took it, I was still uncertain whether you would vouchsafe to accept it from my hands. It was a bold venture which I made, in desiring your permission to lay my unworthy labours at your feet. But my rashness has succeeded beyond my hopes: and you have been pleased not to suffer an old man to go discontented out of the world for want of that protection, of which he had so long been ambitious. I have known a gentleman in disgrace, and not daring to appear before king Charles the Second, though he much desired it. At length he took the confidence to attend a fair lady to the court, and told his majesty, that under
Not though beneath the Thracian clime we freeze; her protection he had presumed to wait on him.
Or Italy's indulgent heaven forego;
And in mid-winter tread Sithonian snow.
Or when the barks of elms are scorch'd, we keep
With the same humble confidence 1 present myself before your lordship, and attending on Virgil hope a gracious reception. The gentleman succeeded, because the powerful lady was his friend; but I have too much injured my great author, to expect he should intercede for me. I would have translated him; but, according to the literal French and Italian phrases, I fear I have traduced him. It is the fault of many a well-meaning man, to be officious in a wrong place, and do a prejudice, where he had endeavoured to do a service. Virgil wrote his Georgics in the full strength and vigour of his age, when his judgment was at the height, and before his fancy was declining. He had (according to our homely saying) his full swing at this poem, beginning it at about the age of thirty-five; and scarce concluding it before he arrived at forty. It is observed both of him and Horace, and I believe it will hold in all great poets: that though they wrote before with a certain heat of genius which inspired them, yet that heat was not perfectly digested. There is required a continuance of warmth to ripen the best and noblest fruits. Thus Horace, in his first and second book of Odes, was still rising, but came not to his meridian till the third. After which his judgment was an overpoise to his imagination; he grew too cautious to be bold enough, for he
CANNOT begin my address to your lordship, better descended in his fourth by slow degrees, and in than in the words of Virgil,
Quod optanti Divûm promittere nemo Auderet, volvenda dies, en, attulit ultro. Seven years together I have concealed the longing which I had to appear before you: a time as tedious as Æneas passed in his wandering voyage, before he reached the promised Italy. But I considered that nothing which my meanness could produce, was worthy of your patronage. At last this happy
his Satires and Epistles, was more a philosopher and a critic than a poet. In the beginning of summer the days are almost at a stand, with little variation of length or shortness, because at that time the diurnal motion of the Sun partakes more of a right line, than of a spiral. The same is the method of nature in the frame of man. He seems at forty to be fully in his summer tropic; somewhat before, and somewhat after, he finds in bis
soul but small increases or decays. From fifty to threescore the balance generally holds even, in our colder climates: for he loses not much in fancy; and judgment, which is the effect of observation, still increases: his succeeding years afford him little more than the stubble of his own harvest: yet if his constitution be healthful, his mind may still retain a decent vigour; and the gleanings of that Ephraim, in compafison with others, will surpass the vintage of Abiezer. I have called this somewhere, by a bold metaphor, a green old age, but Virgil has given me his authority for the figure.
clining. The blaze is not so fierce as at the first, but the smoke is wholly vanished; and your friends who stand about you are not only sensible of a cheerful warmth, but are kept at an awful distance by its force. In my small observations of mankind, I have ever found, that such as are not rather too full of spirit when they are young, degenerate to dulness in their age. Sobriety in our riper years is the effect of a well-concocted warmth; but where the principles are only phlegm, what can be expected from the waterish matter, but an insipid manhood, and a stupid old infancy; discretion in leading strings, and a confirmed ignorance on crutches? Virgil, in his third Georgic, when he describes a colt, who promises a courser for the race, or for the field of battle, shows him the first to pass the bridge, which trembles under him, and to stem the torrent of the flood. His beginnings must be in rashness; a noble fault: but time and experience will correct that errour, and tame it into a deliberate and wellweighed courage; which knows both to be cautious and to dare, as occasion offers. Your lordship is a man of honour, not only so unstained, but so unquestioned, that you are the living standard of that heroic virtue: so truly such, that if I would flatter you, I could not. It takes not from you, that you were born with principles of generosity and probity; but it adds to you, that you have cultivated nature, and made those principles the rule and measure of all your actions. The world knows this, without my telling; yet poets have a right of recording it to all posterity.
Jam senior; sed cruda Deo, viridisque senectus. Among those few who enjoy the advantage of a latter spring, your lordship is a rare example: who being now arrived at your great climacteric, yet give no proof of the least decay of your excellent judgment, and comprehension of all things which are within the compass of human understanding. Your conversation is as easy as it is instructive, and I could never observe the least vanity or the least assuming in any thing you said: but a natural unaffected modesty, full of good sense, and well digested. A clearness of notion, expressed in ready and unstudied words. No man has complained, or ever can, that you have discoursed too long on any subject; for you leave in us an eagerness of learning more; pleased with what we hear, but not satisfied, because you will not speak so much as we could wish. I dare not excuse your lordship from this fault; for though it is none in you, it is one to all who have the happiness of being known to you. I must Confess the critics make it one of Virgil's beauties, that having said what he thought convenient, he always left somewhat for the imagination of his readers to supply: that they might gratify their fancies, by finding more in what he had written, than at first they could, and think they had added to his thoughts when it was all there beforehand, and he only saved himself the expense of words. However it was, I never went from your lordship, but with a longing to return, or without a hearty curse to him who invented ceremonies in the world, and put me on the necessity of withdrawing, when it was my interest, as well To be nobly born, and of an ancient family, is as my desire, to have given you a much longer in the extremes of fortune, either good or bad; trouble. I cannot imagine (if your lordship will for virtue and descent are no inheritance. A long give me leave to speak my thoughts) but you series of ancestors shows the native with great have had a more than ordinary vigour in your advantage at the first; but if he any way deyouth. For too much of heat is required at first, generate from his line, the least spot is visible on that there may not too little be left at last. A ermine. But to preserve this whiteness in its prodigal fire is only capable of large remains: original purity, you, my lord, have, like that and yours, my lord, still burns the clearer in de-ermine, forsaken the common track of business,
Dignum laude virum, Musa vetat mori. Epaminondas, Lucullus, and the two first Cæsars, were not esteemed the worse commanders, for having made philosophy and the liberal arts their study. Cicero might have been their equal, but that he wanted courage. To have both these virtues, and to have improved them both, with a softness of manners, and a sweetness of conversa
tion, few of our nobility can fill that character: one there is, and so conspicuous by his own light, that he needs not
Digito monstrari, et dicier hie est.