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My youth, no more; and let us do what we are about. We shall then sing better verses, when he himself returns.
O Arethusa, favour this my last labour. A few verses must be sung to my Gallus, but which Lycoris herself may read : who can refuse verses to Gallus? So may the briny Doris not mix her wave with thine, when thou glidest beneath the Sicilian sea. Begin; let us sing the anxious love of Gallus, whilst the flat-nosed kids crop the tender twigs. We do not sing to the deaf: the woods re-echo all. What woods, or glades retain you, O Naiad Nymphs, when Gallus perished by cruel love? for neither the tops of Parnassus, nor of Pindus, nor the Aonian Aganippe, laid any restraint on you. The laurels even, even the tamarisks mourned for him; even pine-bearing Mænalus, and the cold stones of Lycaeus wept for him, lying under the solitary rock. Even the sheep stand around him; nor are they ashamed of us; neither mayst thou be ashamed of flocks and herds, O divine poet: even the beautiful Adonis fed his sheep on the banks of rivers.
The shepherd came; even the slow herdsmen came; Menalcas came, wet from gathering winter mast. All ask, whence art thou infected with this passion? Apollo came :
and says, Gallus, why art thou so infatuated? Lycoris, thy favourite, has followed another through the snows, and through tremendous camps. Silvanus came, crowned with rural honours, shaking his flowering ferula and noble lilies. Pan, the God of Arcadia, came; whom we ourselves saw stained with vermillion, and the blood red berries of the elder, who says, are there no bounds? love cares not for such things as these. Cruel love is not satiated with tears, nor grass, with rivulets, nor bees with the cytisus, nor goats with browzing. But he in sadness says, O Arcadians, you shall however sing these things on your own mountains; Arcadians, you who are alone, skilled in singing. O then how softly will my bones rest, if hereafter your pipe shall sing my passion! and I wish I had been one of you, either a keeper of your flocks, or the gatherer of your ripe clusters! Surely, whether Phyllis, or Amyntas, or any other had been my flame, (what, if Amyntas be not fair? violets are dark, and hyacinths are dark,) he might sit down with me among willows, and under the pliant vine; Phyllis might gather garlands for me, and Amyntas sing.
Here are cool fountains; here are soft meadows, O Lycoris, here is wood; here could I spend all my days with thee. Now ungovernable love detains me in the arms of cruel Mars, in the midst of spears and hostile enemies. Thou, far from my country, (let me not think of it!) seest only Alpine snows, and the frozen Rhine. O cruel fate! Ah, may the frost not hurt thee! ah, may the sharp ice not cut thy tender feet! I will go and play the tunes on the pipe of the Sicilian shepherd, which I composed in Chalcidian measure. I a determined to dwell in woods, among the dens of wild
beasts, carve my passion on the young trees; and as they grow, so my passion will increase. In the mean time, I'll beat the round of Manalus, with the Nymphs; or hunt the fierce wild boars; nor shall any cold hinder me from surrounding with dogs, the Parthenian glades. Already I seem to go over the rocks and resounding groves; .I delight to huil Cydonian darts, with a Parthian bow as if these things can be a cure for my passion, or the Deity can learn to be appeased by the miseries of men. Now again, neither the Hamadriades, nor even verses can please me; again, woods farewell. Our labours cannot bend him; although we both drink the Hebrus in the midst of frost, and endure the Sithonian snows of the watery winter, not even when the dying bark withers on the lofty elm, and we feed the sheep of the Ethiopians, under a vertical sun. Love conquers all things; and let us yield to love.
Divine Muses, it is enough for your poet to have sung these verses, whilst sitting and weaving a basket of twigs; you shall make them more worthy of Gallus: Gallus, for whom my love increases every hour, as much the green alder shoots in the early spring.
Let us rise: the shade hurts those who sing under it; the shade of the juniper is hurtful; and shade hurts the corn. My well fed goats, go home, go, Hesperus comes on.
Plants referred to in the Eclogues.
1. Quercus ilex.
9. Cheiranthus incanus.
17. Reseda luteola.
18. Olea europaea.
19. Lolium temulentum.
20. Fraxinus ornus.
21. Ranunculus hirsutus.
22. Sambucus ebulus.
T. Bensley, Printer,
Bolt Court, Fleet Street, London.