Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Relentless malady! not moved to spare
By thy sweet Roman voice, and Lesbian air!
Health, Hebe's sister, sent us from the skies,
And thou, Apollo, whom all sickness flies,
Pythius, or Pæan, or what name divine
Soe'er thou choose, haste, heal a priest of thine!
Ye groves of Faunus, and ye hills, that melt
With vinous dews, where meek Evander dwelt,
If aught salubrious in your confines grow,
Strive which shall soonest heal your poet's woe,
That, render'd to the Muse he loves, again
He may enchant the meadows with his strain.
Numa, reclined in everlasting ease,

Amid the shade of dark embowering trees,
Viewing with eyes of unabated fire

His loved Ægeria, shall that strain admire
So soothed, the tumid Tiber shall revere
The tombs of kings, nor desolate the year,
Shall curb his waters with a friendly reign,
And guide them harmless, till they meet the main.

:

TO GIOVANNI BATTISTA MANSO,

MARQUIS OF VILLA.

MILTON'S ACCOUNT OF MANSO.

Giovanni Battista Manso, Marquis of Villa, is an Italian nobleman of the highest estimation among his countrymen, for genius, literature, and military accomplishments. To him Torquato Tasso addressed his Dialogues on Friendship, for he was much the friend of Tasso, who has also celebrated him among the other princes of his country, in his poem entitled Gerusalemme Conquistata, book xx.

Fra cavalieri magnanimi, e cortesi,
Risplende il Manso.

During the author's stay at Naples, he received at the hands of the Marquis a thousand kind offices and civilities, and, desirous not to appear ungrateful, sent him this poem a short time before his departure from that city.

THESE verses also to thy praise the Nine,
Oh Manso! happy in that theme design,
For Gallus, and Mæcenas gone, they see
None such besides, or whom they love as thee;
And if my verse may give the meed of fame,
Thine too shall prove an everlasting name.
Already such, it shines in Tasso's page,
(For thou wast Tasso's friend,) from age to age,
And, next, the Muse consign'd, (not unaware
How high the charge,) Marino to thy care,
Who, singing, to the nymphs, Adonis' praise,
Boasts thee the patron of his copious lays.

To thee alone the poet would entrust
His latest vows, to thee alone his dust;
And thou with punctual piety hast paid,
In labour'd brass, thy tribute to his shade.
Nor this contented thee,—but lest the grave
Should aught absorb of theirs, which thou couldst save,
All future ages thou hast deign'd to teach
The life, lot, genius, character of each,
Eloquent as the Carian sage, who true
To his great theme, the life of Homer drew.

I, therefore, though a stranger youth, who come Chill'd by rude blasts, that freeze my northern home, Thee dear to Clio, confident proclaim,

And thine, for Phœbus' sake, a deathless name.
Nor thou, so kind, wilt view with scornful eye
A Muse scarce rear'd beneath our sullen sky,
Who fears not, indiscreet as she is young,
To seek in Latium hearers of her song.
We too, where Thames with his unsullied waves
The tresses of the blue-hair'd Ocean laves,
Hear oft by night, or slumbering seem to hear,
O'er his wide stream, the swan's voice warbling clear,
And we could boast a Tityrus of yore,

Who trod, a welcome guest, your happy shore.
Yes, dreary as we own our northern clime,
Even we to Phoebus raise the polish'd rhyme.
We too serve Phoebus; Phoebus has received
(If legends old may claim to be believed,)
No sordid gifts from us, the golden ear,
The burnish'd apple, ruddiest of the year,
The fragrant crocus, and to grace his fane,
Fair damsels chosen from the Druid train;

Druids, our native bards in ancient time,
Who gods and heroes praised in hallow'd rhyme.
Hence, often as the maids of Greece surround
Apollo's shrine with hymns of festive sound,
They name the virgins, who arrived of yore,
With British off'rings, on the Delian shore;
Loxo, from giant Corineus sprung,

Upis, on whose blest lips the future hung,
And Hecaerge, with the golden hair,

All deck'd with Pictish hues, and all with bosoms bare.
Thou, therefore, happy sage, whatever clime
Shall ring with Tasso's praise in after-time,
Or with Marino's, shalt be known their friend,
And with an equal flight to fame ascend.
The world shall hear how Phoebus and the Nine
Were inmates once, and willing guests of thine.
Yet Phoebus, when of old constrain'd to roam
The earth, an exile from his heavenly home,
Enter'd, no willing guest, Admetus' door,
Though Hercules had ventured there before.
But gentle Chiron's cave was near, a scene
Of rural peace, clothed with perpetual green,
And thither, oft as respite he required
From rustic clamours loud, the god retired.
There, many a time, on Peneus' bank reclined
At some oak's root, with ivy thick entwined,
Won by his hospitable friend's desire,

He soothed his pains of exile with the lyre.
Then shook the hills, then trembled Peneus' shore,
Nor Oeta felt his load of forests more;
The upland elms descended to the plain,
And soften'd lynxes wonder'd at the strain.

Well may we think, O dear to all above!
Thy birth distinguish'd by the smile of Jove,
And that Apollo shed his kindliest power,
And Maia's son, on that propitious hour,
Since only minds so born can comprehend
A poet's worth, or yield that worth a friend.
Hence, on thy yet unfaded cheek appears
The lingering freshness of thy greener years;
Hence, in thy front and features we admire
Nature unwither'd and a mind entire.
Oh might so true a friend to me belong,
So skill'd to grace the votaries of song,
Should I recall hereafter into rhyme
The kings and heroes of my native clime,
Arthur the chief, who even now prepares,
In subterraneous being, future wars,
With all his martial knights, to be restored,
Each to his seat, around the federal board,
And oh, if spirit fail me not, disperse
Our Saxon plunderers, in triumphant verse!
Then, after all, when, with the past content,
A life I finish, not in silence spent,
Should he, kind mourner, o'er my death-bed bend,
I shall but need to say- -"Be yet my friend!"
He, too, perhaps, shall bid the marble breathe
To honour me, and with the graceful wreath
Or of Parnassus, or the Paphian isle,

Shall bind my brows, but I shall rest the while.
Then also, if the fruits of Faith endure,
And Virtue's promised recompense be sure,
Borne to those seats, to which the blest aspire
By purity of soul, and virtuous fire,

« PředchozíPokračovat »