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THE VIGIL OF VENUS.
WRITTEN IN THE
TIME OF JULIUS CÆSAR,
AND BY SOME ASCRIBED TO CATULLUS.
"LET those love now, who never loved before;
"Let these love now, who never loved before; Let those who always loved, now love the more."
"Twas on that day which saw the teeming flood Swell round, impregnate with celestial blood; Wandering in circles stood the finny crew, The midst was left a void expanse of blue, There parent ocean work'd with heaving throes, And dropping wet the fair Dione rose.
"Let those love now, who never loved before; Let those who always loved, now love the more."
She paints the purple year with varied show, Tips the green gem, and makes the blossom glow. She makes the turgid buds receive the breeze, Expand to leaves, and shade the naked trees. When gathering damps the misty nights diffuse, She sprinkles all the morn with balmy dews; Bright trembling pearls depend at every spray, And, kept from falling, seem to fall away. A glossy freshness hence the rose receives, And blushes sweet through all her silken leaves; (The drops descending through the silent night, While stars serenely roll their golden light,) Close till the morn, her humid veil she holds; Then, deck'd with virgin pomp, the flower unfolds. Soon will the morning blush: ye maids! prepare; In rosy garlands bind your flowing hair; 'Tis Venus' plant: the blood fair Venus shed, O'er the gay beauty pour'd immortal red; From love's soft kiss a sweet ambrosial smell Was taught for ever on the leaves to dwell; From gems, from flames, from orient rays of light The richest lustre makes her purple bright; And she to-morrow weds; the sporting gale Unties her zone, she bursts the verdant veil; Through all her sweets the rifling lover flies, And as he breathes, her glowing fires arise.
"Let those lové now, who never loved before Let those who always loved, now love the more." Now fair Dione to the myrtle grove
Sends the gay nymphs, and sends her tender Love.
His torch extinct, his quiver useless hung,
"Let those love now, who never loved before; Let those who always loved, now love the more.” From Venus' bower to Delia's lodge repairs A virgin train complete with modest airs: 'Chaste Delia! grant our suit! or shun the wood, Nor stain this sacred lawn with savage blood. Venus, O Delia! if she could persuade, Would ask thy presence; might she ask a maid.' Here cheerful choirs for three auspicious nights With songs prolong the pleasurable rites : Here crowds in measures lightly-decent rove; Or seek by pairs the covert of the grove, Where meeting greens for arbours arch above, And mingling flowerets strow the scenes of love: Here dancing Ceres shakes her golden sheaves: Here Bacchus revels, deck'd with viny leaves: Here Wit's enchanting god, in laurel crown'd, Wakes all the ravish'd hours with silver sound. Ye fields, ye forests, own Dione's reign, And Delia, huntress Delia, shun the plain.
"Let those love now, who never loved before; Let those who always loved, now love the more.' Gay with the bloom of all her opening year, The queen at Hybla bids her throne appear; And there presides, and there the favourite band (Her smiling Graces) share the great command. Now, beauteous Hybla! dress thy flowery beds With all the pride the lavish season sheds; Now all thy colours, all thy fragrance yield, And rival Enna's aromatic field.
To fill the presence of the gentle court
From waters curling with the wanton gales. Pleased with the joyful train, the laughing queen In circles seats them round the bank of green; And 'lovely girls, (she whispers) guard your hearts; My boy, though stripp'd of arms, abounds in arts.'
"Let those love now, who never loved before; And those who always loved, now love the more."
Let tender grass in shaded alleys spread,
"Let those love now, who never loved before;
Decoy'd by shows the Sabine dames she led, And taught our vigorous youth the means to wed. Hence sprung the Romans, hence the race divine Through which great Cæsar draws his Julian line.
"Let those love now, who never loved before; Let those who always loved, now love the more." In rural seats the soul of pleasure reigns; The life of beauty fills the rural scenes ; Even Love (if fame the truth of love declare) Drew first the breathings of a rural air. Some pleasing meadow pregnant beauty press'd, She laid her infant on its flowery breast, From Nature's sweets he sipp'd the fragrant dew, He smiled, he kiss'd them, and by kissing grew.
"Let those love now, who never loved before, Let those who always loved, now love the more."
Now bulls o'er stalks of broom extend their sides, Secure of favours from their lowing brides. Now stately rams their fleecy consorts lead, Who bleating follow through the wandering shade. And now the goddess bids the birds appear, Raise all their music, and salute the year: Then deep the swan begins, and deep the song Runs o'er the water where he sails along; While Philomela tunes a treble strain, And from the poplar charms the listening plain. We fancy love express'd at every note, It melts, it warbles, in her liquid throat. Of barbarous Tereus she complains no more, But sings for pleasure, as for grief before. And still her graces rise, her airs extend, And all is silence till the siren end.
How long in coming is my lovely Spring! And when shall I, and when the swallow sing?