Obrázky stránek

Might she the wise Latona be,
Or the tower'd Cybele,
Mother of a hundred gods?
Juno dares not give her odds.

Who had thought this clime had held
A deity so unparallel'd?

As they come forward, the Genius of the wood appears, and, turning toward them, speaks:

Gen. Stay, gentle swains; for, though in this disguise,

I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes:
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung
Of that renowned flood, so often sung,
Divine Alpheus, who by secret sluice
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse;
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskin'd nymphs, as great and good;
I know, this quest of yours, and free intent,
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine;
And, with all helpful service, will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
And lead ye, where ye may more near behold
What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold;
Which I full oft, amidst these shades alone,
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon:
For know, by lot from Jove I am the power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,

To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove:

And all my plants I save from nightly ill Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill: And from the boughs brush off the evil dew, And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue, Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites, Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites. When evening grey doth rise, I fetch my round Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground; And early, ere the odorous breath of morn Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tassel'd horn Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about, Number my ranks, and visit every sprout With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless. But else, in deep of night, when drowsiness Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I To the celestial sirens' harmony, That sit upon the nine infolded spheres, And sing to those that hold the vital sheers, And turn the adamantine spindle round, On which the fate of gods and men is wound. Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie, To lull the daughters of Necessity, And keep unsteady Nature to her law, And the low world in measured motion draw After the heavenly tune, which none can hear Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear; And yet such music worthiest were to blaze The peerless height of her immortal praise, Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit, If my inferior hand or voice could hit Inimitable sounds: yet, as we go,

Whate'er the skill of lesser gods can show,
I will assay her worth to celebrate,
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all, that are of noble stem,
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem


O'er the smooth enamell'd green Where no print of step hath been, Follow me, as I sing,

And touch the warbled string,
Under the shady roof

Of branching elm star-proof.
Follow me;

I will bring you where she sits,
Clad in splendour as befits
Her deity.

Such a rural queen

All Arcadia hath not seen.


Nymphs and shepherds, dance no more

By sandy Ladon's lilied banks;
On old Lycæus, or Cyllene hoar,

Trip no more in twilight ranks;
Though Erymanth your loss deplore,

A better soil shall give ye thanks.
From the stony Mænalus
Bring your flocks, and live with us;
Here ye shall have greater grace,
To serve the Lady of this place.

Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.
Such a rural queen

All Arcadia hath not seen.



YET once more, O ye laurels, and once more
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,

I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude;
And, with forced fingers rude,

Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year:
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,
Compels me to disturb your season due:
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer.
Who would not sing for Lycidas? He knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He must not float upon his watery bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of some melodious tear.

Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well,
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring;
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string.
Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse:
So may some gentle Muse

With lucky words favour my destined urn;
And as he passes, turn,

And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nursed upon the self-same hill;

« PředchozíPokračovat »