« PreviousContinue »
Say, Daphnis, say, in what glad soil appears, A wondrous treel that sacred monarchs bears? Tell me but this, and I'll disclaim the prize, And give the conquest to thy Sylvia's eyes.
Nay, tell me first, in what more happy fields
The thistle springs, to which the lily3 yields?
And then a nobler prize I will resign;
For Sylvia, charming Sylvia shall be thine.
Cease to contend, for, Daphnis, I decree,
The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee:
Blest swains, whose nymphs in every grace excel;
Blest nymphs, whose swains those graces sing so well!
Now rise, and haste to yonder woodbine bowers,
A soft retreat from sudden vernal showers;
The turf with rural dainties shall be crown'd,
While opening blooms diffuse their sweets around. 100
For see! the gath'ring flocks to shelter tend,
And from the Pleiads fruitful showers descend.
''Wondrous tree:' an allusion to the royal oak.—2 Thistle:' of Scotland.— Lily:' of France.
VER. 99, 100, was originally—
The turf with country dainties shall be spread.
And trees with twining branches shade your heal.
THE SECOND PASTORAL, OR ALEXIS.
A SHEPHERD'S boy (he seeks no better naine)
Led forth his flocks along the silver Thame,
Where dancing sunbeams on the waters play'd,
And verdant alders form'd a quiv'ring shade.
Soft as he mourn'd, the streams forgot to flow,
The flocks around a dumb compassion show :
The Naïads wept in every watery bower,
And Jove consented in a silent shower.
Accept, O Garth!1 the Muse's early lays,
That adds this wreath of ivy to thy bays;
Hear what from love unpractised hearts endure:
From love, the sole disease thou canst not cure.
Ye shady beeches, and ye cooling streams,
Defence from Phoebus', not from Cupid's beams,
To you I mourn, nor to the deaf I sing,
The woods shall answer, and their echo ring.' 2
The hills and rocks attend my doleful lay;
Why art thou prouder and more hard than they?
The bleating sheep with my complaints agree,
They parch'd with heat, and I inflamed by thee.20
The sultry Sirius burns the thirsty plains,
While in thy heart eternal winter reigns.
1 Garth :' Dr Samuel Garth, author of the 'Dispensary. The woods,' &c., from Spenser.
VER. 1-4 were thus printed in the first edition-
A faithful swain, whom Love had taught to
Bewail'd his fate beside a silver spring;
Where gentle Thames his winding waters leads
Through verdant forests, and through flowery meads.
VER. 3, 4. Originally thus in the MS.There to the winds he plain'd his hapless love. And Amaryllis fill'd the vocal grove.
Where stray ye, Muses, in what lawn or grove, 23
While your Alexis pines in hopeless love?
In those fair fields where sacred Isis glides,
Or else where Cam his winding vales divides?
As in the crystal spring I view my face,
Fresh rising blushes paint the watery glass;
But since those graces please thy eyes no more,
I shun the fountains which I sought before.
Once I was skill'd in every herb that grew,
And every plant that drinks the morning dew;
Ah, wretched shepherd, what avails thy art,
To cure thy lambs, but not to heal thy heart!
Let other swains attend the rural care,
Feed fairer flocks, or richer fleeces shear :
But nigh yon mountain let me tune my lays,
Embrace my love, and bind my brows with bays.
That flute is mine which Colin's tuneful breath
Inspired when living, and bequeath'd in death; 40
He said, Alexis, take this pipe-the same
That taught the groves my Rosalinda's name:'
But now the reeds shall hang on yonder tree,
For ever silent, since despised by thee.
Oh! were I made by some transforming power
The captive bird that sings within thy bower!
Then might my voice thy listening ears employ,
And I those kisses he receives, enjoy.
And yet my numbers please the rural throng,
Rough Satyrs dance, and Pan applauds the song: 50
The Nymphs, forsaking every cave and spring,
Their early fruit, and milk-white turtles bring;
Each amorous nymph prefers her gifts in vain,
On you their gifts are all bestow'd again.
For you the swains the fairest flowers design,
And in one garland all their beauties join ;
Accept the wreath which you deserve alone,
In whom all beauties are comprised in one.
See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray'd,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come, lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow'rs,
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown'd with corn their thanks to Ceres yield ;
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,
But your Alexis knows no sweets but
Oh, deign to visit our forsaken seats,
The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!
Where'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade :
Where'er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
Oh, how I long with you to pass my days,
Invoke the Muses, and resound your praise!
Your praise the birds shall chant in every grove,
And winds shall waft it to the Powers above.
But would you sing, and rival Orpheus' strain,
The wond'ring forests soon should dance again,
Your praise the tuneful birds to heaven shall bear,
And listening wolves grow milder as they hear.
The moving mountains hear the powerful call,
And headlong streams hang listening in their fall!
But see, the shepherds shun the noonday heat,
The lowing herds to murm'ring brooks retreat,
To closer shades the panting flocks remove;
Ye gods! and is there no relief for love?
But soon the sun with milder rays descends
To the cool ocean, where his journey ends:
On me Love's fiercer flames for ever prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.
THE THIRD PASTORAL, OR HYLAS AND ÆGON.
BENEATH the shade a spreading beech displays,
Hylas and Ægon sung their rural lays ;
This mourn'd a faithless, that an absent love,
And Delia's name and Doris' fill'd the grove.
Ye Mantuan nymphs, your sacred succour bring;
Hylas and Ægon's rural lays I sing.
Thou, whom the Nine with Plautus' wit inspire,
The art of Terence, and Menander's fire;
Whose sense instructs us, and whose humour charms,
Whose judgment sways us, and whose spirit warms! 10
Oh, skill'd in Nature! see the hearts of swains,
Their artless passions, and their tender pains.
Wycherley:' the dramatist. See Life.
Me love inflames, nor will his fires allay.