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From the FOURTEENTH Book of
HE fair Pomona flourish'd in his reign;
Of all the virgins of the fylvan train,
None taught the trees a nobler race to bear,
Or more improv'd the vegetable care.
To her the shady grove, the flow'ry field,
The ftreams and fountains, no delights could yield;
'Twas all her joy the ripening fruits to tend,
And see the boughs with happy burthens bend.
The hook the bore, instead of Cynthia's spear,
To lop the growth of the luxuriant year,
To decent form the lawless shoots to bring,
And teach th' obedient branches where to fpring.
Now the cleft rind inferted graffs receives,
And yields an offspring more than nature gives;
Now fliding ftreams the thirsty plants renew,
And feed their fibres with reviving dew.
These cares alone her virgin breaft employ,
Averse from Venus and the nuptial joy.
Her private orchards, wall'd on ev'ry fide,
To lawless fylvans all accefs deny'd.
How oft' the fatyrs and the wanton fawns,
Who haunt the forefts, or frequent the lawns,
The God whofe enfign fcares the birds of prey,
And old Silenus, youthful in decay,
Employ'd their wiles, and unavailing care,
To país the fences, and furprize the fair?
Like thefe, Vertumnus own'd his faithful flame,
Like thefe, rejected by the fcornful dame.
To gain her fight a thousand forms he wears,
And firft a reaper from the field appears,
Sweating he walks, while loads of golden grain
O'ercharge the shoulders of the feeming fwain.
Oft' o'er his back a crooked fcythe is laid,
And wreaths of hay his fun-burnt temples fhade:
Oft' in his harden'd hand a goad he bears,
Like one who late unyok'd the fweating fteers.
Sometimes his pruning-hook corrects the vines,
And the loofe ftragglers to their ranks confines.
Now gathering what the bounteous year allows,
He pulls ripe apples from the bending boughs..
A foldier now, he with his fword appears;
A fisher next, his trembling angle bears;
Each fhape he varies, and each art he tries,
On her bright charms to feaft his longing eyes.
A female form at laft Vertumnus wears,
With all the marks of rev'rend-age appears,
His temples thinly spread with filver hairs;
Prop'd on his staff, and stooping as he goes,
A painted mitre fhades his furrow'd brows.
The god, in this decrepit form array'd,
The gardens enter'd, and the fruits survey'd,
And Happy you! (he thus address'd the maid)
Whofe charms as far all other nymphs out-fhine,
"As other gardens are excell'd by thine!"
Then kifs'd the fair; (his kiffes warmer grow
Than fuch as women on their fex bestow.)
Then plac'd befide her on the flow'ry ground,
Beheld the trees with autumn's bounty crown'd,
An elm was near, to whofe embraces led,
The curling vine her fwelling clusters spread :
He view'd their twining branches with delight,
And prais'd the beauty of the pleafing fight.
Yet this tall elm, but for his vine (he faid)
Had ftood neglected, and a barren fhade;
And this fair vine, but that her arms furround
Her marry'd elm, had crept along the ground.
Ah beauteous maid, let this example move
Your mind, averse from all the joys of lové. Deign to be lov'd, and ev'ry heart fubdue! What nymph cou'd e'er attract fuch crouds as you? 70 Not fhe whose beauty urg'd the Centaur's arms, Ulyffes' queen, nor Helen's fatal charms, Ev'n now, when filent fcorn is all they gain, A thousand court you, tho' they court in vain, A thousand fylvans, demi-geds, and gods, That haunt our mountains and our Alban woods, • But if you'll profper, mark what I advise, Whom age, and long experience render wife, And one whofe tender care is far above All that these lovers ever felt of love, (Far more than e'er can by yourfelf be gueft) Fix on Vertumnus, and reject the reft. For his firm faith I dare engage my own; Scarce to himself, himself is better known. To diftant lands Vertumnus never roves ; Like you, contented with his native groves; Nor at firft fight, like most, admires the fair; For you he lives; and you alone fhall fhare. His laft affection, as his early care. Befides, he's lovely far above the rest, With youth immortal, and with beauty bleft. Add, that he varies ev'ry fhape with eafe, And tries all forms that may Pomona please. But what fhould moft excite a mutual flame, Your rural cares, and pleafures, are the fame : To him your orchards early fruits are due, (A pleafing off'ring when 'tis, made by you) VOL. I. Ꮋ Ꮒ
He values these; but yet, alas, complains,
That still the best and dearest gift remains.
Not the fair fruit that on yon' branches glows
With that ripe red th' autumnal fun bestows;
Nor tafteful herbs that in these gardens rife,
Which the kind foil with milky fap supplies;
You, only you, can move the god's defire :
Oh crown fo conftant and fo pure a fire!
Let foft compaffion touch your gentle mind;
Think, 'tis Vertumnus begs you to be kind!
So may no froft, when early buds appear,
Deftroy the promise of the youthful year;
Nor winds, when firft your florid orchard blows,
Shake the light bloffoms from their blafted boughs!
This when the various god had urg'd in vain,
He ftrait affum'd his native form again;
Such, and fo bright an aspect now he bears,
As when thro' clouds th' emerging fun appears,
And thence exerting his refulgent ray,
Dispels the darkness, and reveals the day.
Force he prepar'd, but check'd the rash defign;
For when, appearing in a form divine,
The nymph furveys him, and beholds the grace
Of charming features, and a youthful face;
In her soft breast consenting paffions move,
And the warm maid confefs'd a mutual love.