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The sparrow, meanest of the feather'd race,
His fit companion finds in every place,
With whom he picks the grain that suits him best,
Flirts here and there, and late returns to rest,
And whom if chance the falcon make his prey,
Or hedger with his well-aim'd arrow slay,
For no such loss the gay survivor grieves ;
New love he seeks, and new delight receives.
We only, an obdurate kind, rejoice,
Scorning all others in a single choice.
We scarce in thousands meet one kindred mind,
And if the long-sought good at last we find,
When least we fear it, Death our treasure steals,
And gives our heart a wound, that nothing heals.
"Go, go, my lambs, unpastured as ye are;
My thoughts are all now due to other care.
Ah, what delusion lured me from my flocks,
To traverse Alpine snows and rugged rocks!
What need so great had I to visit Rome,
Now sunk in ruins, and herself a tomb?
Or had she flourish'd still as when, of old,
For her sake Tityrus forsook his fold,
What need so great had I to incur a pause
Of thy sweet intercourse for such a cause,
For such a cause to place the roaring sea,
Rocks, mountains, woods, between my friend and me?
Else, had I grasp'd thy feeble hand, composed
Thy decent limbs, thy drooping eyelids closed,
And, at the last, had said—' Farewell,-ascend,-
Nor even in the skies forget thy friend!'
"Go, go, my lambs, untended homeward fare; My thoughts are all now due to other care.
Although well pleased, ye tuneful Tuscan swains!
My mind the memory of your worth retains,
Yet not your worth can teach me less to mourn
My Damon lost;-he too was Tuscan born,
Born in your Lucca, city of renown!
And wit possess'd, and genius, like your own.
Oh how elate was I, when stretch'd beside
The murmuring course of Arno's breezy tide,
Beneath the poplar grove I pass'd my hours,
Now cropping myrtles, and now vernal flowers,
And hearing, as I lay at ease along,
Your swains contending for the prize of song!
I also dared attempt, (and, as it seems,
Not much displeased attempting,) various themes,
For even I can presents boast from you,
The shepherd's pipe, and osier basket too,
And Dati, and Francini, both have made
My name familiar to the beechen shade,
And they are learn'd, and each in every place
Renown'd for song, and both of Lydian race.
"Go, go, my lambs, untended homeward fare; My thoughts are all now due to other care. While bright the dewy grass with moon-beams shone, And I stood hurdling in my kids alone, How often have I said, (but thou hadst found Ere then thy dark cold lodgment under ground,) Now Damon sings, or springes sets for hares, Or wicker-work for various use prepares! How oft, indulging fancy, have I plann'd New scenes of pleasure, that I hoped at hand, Call'd thee abroad as I was wont, and cried, 'What hoa! my friend,-come lay thy task aside,
Haste, let us forth together, and beguile
The heat beneath yon whispering shades awhile,
Or on the margin stray of Colne's clear flood,
Or where Cassibelan's grey turrets stood!
There thou shalt cull me simples, and shalt teach
Thy friend the name and healing powers of each,
From the tall blue-bell to the dwarfish weed,
What the dry land and what the marshes breed,
For all their kinds alike to thee are known,
And the whole art of Galen is thy own.'
Ah, perish Galen's art, and wither'd be
The useless herbs that gave not health to thee!
Twelve evenings since, as in poetic dream
I meditating sat some statelier theme,
The reeds no sooner touch'd my lip, though new,
And unessay'd before, than wide they flew,
Bursting their waxen bands, nor could sustain
The deep-toned music of the solemn strain;
And I am vain perhaps, but I will tell
How proud a theme I choose,-ye groves, farewell!
"Go, go, my lambs, untended homeward fare;
My thoughts are all now due to other care.
Of Brutus, Dardan chief, my song shall be,
How with his barks he plough'd the British sea,
First from Rutupia's towering headland seen,
And of his consort's reign, fair Imogen;
Of Brennus and Belinus, brothers bold,
And of Arviragus, and how of old
Our hardy sires the Armorican controll'd,
And of the wife of Gorloïs, who, surprised
By Uther, in her husband's form disguised,
(Such was the force of Merlin's art,) became
Pregnant with Arthur of heroic fame.
These themes I now revolve, and oh-if Fate
Porportion to these themes my lengthen'd date,
Adieu my shepherd's reed! yon pine-tree bough
Shall be thy future home; there dangle thou
Forgotten and disused, unless ere long
Thou change thy Latian for a British song;
A British ?-even so,-the powers of man
Are bounded; little is the most he can :
And it shall well suffice me, and shall be
Fame, and proud recompense enough for me,
If Usa, golden-hair'd, my verse may learn,
If Alain bending o'er his crystal urn,
Swift-whirling Abra, Trent's o'ershadow'd stream,
Thames, lovelier far than all in my esteem,
Tamar's ore-tinctured flood, and, after these,
The wave-worn shores of utmost Orcades.
"Go, go, my lambs, untended homeward fare; My thoughts are all now due to other care. All this I kept in leaves of laurel-rind Enfolded safe, and for thy view design'd, This, and a gift from Manso's hand beside, (Manso, not least his native city's pride,) Two cups, that radiant as their giver shone, Adorn'd by sculpture with a double zone. The spring was graven there; here slowly wind The Red-sea shores with groves of spices lined; Her plumes of various hues amid the boughs The sacred, solitary Phoenix shows, And watchful of the dawn, reverts her head, To see Aurora leave her watery bed.—
In other part, the expansive vault above,
And there too, even there, the god of love;
With quiver arm'd he mounts, his torch displays
A vivid light, his gem-tipt arrows blaze,
Around his bright and fiery eyes he rolls,
Nor aims at vulgar minds, or little souls,
Nor deigns one look below, but aiming high
Sends every arrow to the lofty sky;
Hence forms divine, and minds immortal, learn
The power of Cupid, and enamour'd burn.
"Thou also Damon, (neither need I fear
That hope delusive,) thou art also there;
For whither should simplicity like thine
Retire? where else such spotless virtue shine?
Thou dwell'st not (thought profane) in shades below,
Nor tears suit thee;-cease then my tears to flow!
Away with grief, on Damon ill bestow'd!
Who, pure himself, has found a pure abode,
Has pass'd the showery arch, henceforth resides
With saints and heroes, and from flowing tides
Quaffs copious immortality and joy,
With hallow'd lips!-Oh! blest without alloy,
And now enrich'd, with all that faith can claim,
Look down, entreated by whatever name,
If Damon please thee most (that rural sound
Shall oft with echoes fill the groves around),
Or if Diodatus, by which alone
In those ethereal mansions thou art known.
Thy blush was maiden, and thy youth the taste
Of wedded bliss knew never, pure and chaste,
The honours, therefore, by divine decree
The lot of virgin worth, are given to thee;
Thy brows encircled with a radiant band,
And the green palm-branch waving in thy hand,