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• Ah! then with me this now-neglected dell Deign to frequent, in this poor hut to dwell; With me to pierce the stag, and to the mead Drive the young kids, with verdant switch, to feed. Here we, in song conjoin’d, with Pan will vie : 35 Pan, who first taught the art with waxen tie To bind the reeds unequal ; Pan, whose arm Protects the shepherd and the sheep from harm. Nor with the reed to wear thy lip disdain : This skill how long’d Amyntas to attain !
40 Mine is a pipe of sevenfold tube combined, Which old Damætas to my hand consign’d:
Its second master thou,' he dying said :He said ; and weak Amyntas droop'd the head. And mine two kids, their hides still dappled round, 45 (As late I roved, in no safe valley found,)
33 Figere cervos might also signify, to ' raise the forked poles,’ (called furca and cervus) applied to the supporting of cottages, as cottages had been mentioned just before. But the more probable interpretation refers the passage to hunting.
The viridi compellere hibisco is likewise variously expounded. By some it is supposed to mean to drive the kids to the marsh-mallows;' while others explain it as signifying to drive them with a wand of hibiscus. To this latter opinion Martyn inclines ; though he forbears to determine whether the hibiscus was the same as the althæa, and both meant the marsh-mallow.
35 Pan was the god of shepherds, and presided generally over rural affairs. He was characterised also as making fine melody with his 'seven compacted reeds.' The fable of the nymph Syrinx, whom he pursued till she reached a river's brink and was turned into reeds, &c. &c. is told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses. The cicuta, rendered ' tube,' in v. 41, is commonly translated 'hemlock,' but may be taken for any hollow stalk. Servius says it probably signifies' the space between two joints of a reed.'
45 These two kids' were probably wild ones, found among rocks of dangerous access, without their mother—as they required a foster-dam; and young ones, before they had lost their beauty-spots. In the same manner two bear cubs are
Which daily of two ewes the udders drain ;
And let her take them, since despised by thee! 50
• O come! The Nymphs for thee in baskets bring Their lilied stores : for thee the blooming spring The white-arm’d Naiad rifles; violets pale, The poppy's flush, and dill which scents the gale,
appropriately tendered by the Cyclops in the Metamorphoses. Theocritus in his Third Idyl supplies the original of v. 49.
52 On lilia, see Martyn on Georg. iv. 130.
53 The pallentes violas Martyn believes to be the stockgilliflower, or wall-flower,' called by the old writers leucorum, (qu. Nevkov Lov, or 'white violet,') not from the color of its flowers, but the hoariness of its leaves. His ingenious note explains how, in several instances, the ancients gave almost the same name to different sorts of plants; e. g. in this case, in that of the lily of the valley, ground ivy, &c. The 'gillyflower, not July-flower, but derived from the Lat. caryophyllum, through the Fr. girofle or giroflier, by a transposition of letters (as appears from Chaucer's (clowe-gylofre, and Turner's gelover and gely-floure), with the prefix of stock, comprehends the wall-flower; with that of clove, comprises the several species of carnations and pinks !'
It ought farther to be added that pallentes, or the appearance of the countenance when no longer animated by the cir. culation of the blood, though it implies a faint dead whiteness in these northern regions, in warmer countries (where the people are generally of a swarthy complexion) is ' rather yellow.' Thus Virgil applies it to the olive. Thé Greeks call paleness wxpos (whence our English ochre). Horace speaks of the violet-tinctured paleness (as Petrarch of the vago impallidir) of lovers; and Ovid ascribes this hue even to box-wood and to gold.
54 The ' poppy,' the common red species which grows wild among corn, is mentioned both by Virgil and by Theocritus, as anciently used in amorous divinations.-See Martyn on Georg. i. 78.
The anethum, or' dill, an annual smaller and less green than fennel, which however it greatly resembles, is combined with wall-flowers and roses in a love-garland described by Theocritus. Thus also in the Paradise Lost, Adam weaves for Eve
Cassia, and hyacinth, and daffodil,
55 With yellow marigold the chaplet fill. The downy apricot be mine to bear, And chestnuts, once to Amaryllis dear : Nor shall the bloomy plum unhonor'd pine ; And ye, proud bays, shall with the myrtle twine : 60 For, blended so, ye breathe an odour all divine.
* Ah! clownish Corydon, thy gifts he'll none : Nor would lölas be in gifts outdoneWretch that I am! that name—not south winds more Can vex my flowers, my streams the wallowing boar! 65 Whom shunn’st thou, inconsiderate boy? The gods, And Dardan Paris, whilom dwelt in woods. Let Pallas love the towers 'twas hers to rear : To us the woodlands be for ever dear! The lioness pursues the wolf, her prey;
70 The wolf the kid, the kid the trefoil's spray ; And Corydon Alexis : bound by laws Peculiar, each his special pleasure draws.
• And see! their ploughs upon their light yokes hung, Homeward the weary bullocks plod along :
75 The sun, cool setting, whelms in shade the grove; Yet still I burn-for what can temper love ?
Of choicest flowers a garland to adorn
As reapers oft are wont their harvest queen. 58 · Nor-unhonor'd. So in Eclog. vii.
• Long as the hazel is to Phyllis dear,
Nor bay nor myrtle lovelier shall appear.' The pomum of the original, it may be observed, means almost any edible fruit.
70 • The lioness.' Theocritus has a precisely similar passage.
74 In returning from labor the plough is drawn backward; in which case, from its relative lightness, it may be said to be only just hung on the yoke.
"Ah! Corydon, what madness fires thy brain !
79 This involves a double charge of neglect: the vines are only half-pruned; and the elms are suffered to make longshoots, to the overshadowing of the grapes.
This Eclogue, an imitation of the fourth and fifth Idyls of
Theocritus, was probably written A. C. 43, A. U. C. 711, when Mantua, as a portion of the Venetian territory, was under the government of C. Asinius Pollio; as he alone, of all the illustrious then living, is celebrated in it for his patronage of the poet, and for his own poetical powers. It is of the species denominated Amæbæan, in which two dispu. tants speak alternately; the latter always endeavoring to surpass, or at least to equal the former; in which, if he fails, he loses the victory. Menalcas begins the strife by casting some reflexions on his rival Ægon, the wealthy master of his antagonist Damætas, whom he represents as defrauding his employer while that employer is throwing away his time in following Neæra. This draws a retort from Damætas, who hints at some secret profligacy of Menalcas. They subsequently proceed to a regular competition on the relative beauty of the corresponding couplets, of which Martyn pronounces seriatim, ·
The whole poem nearly is interpreted under different allego
ries by Servius and Catrou,
Menalcas. Are these, Damætas, Melibeus' sheep ?
Dametas. No, Ægon's; Ægon gave them me to keep.
Men. Ah! ever luckless flock! While he pursues Neæra's love, and trembles still to lose Her favor’d suitor 1-this varlet swain
5 Dares twice an hour their milky juices drain, And the wrong'd lambs with hungry bleats complain. Dam. These taunts on men be cautious how you
throw! We know, who saw you—in what chapel, toom With glance oblique while goats congenial peer’d; 10 But the indulgent nymphs look'd on, and leer'd.
Men. Aye, 'twas, I trow, upon that self-same day, When arm’d with rusty knife for fierce affray, I hack'd poor Micon's shrubs and vines away!
Dam. Or when by these old beeches, envy-rapt, 15 The bow of Daphnis and his shafts you snapt ! These, when presented to the blooming boy, You mark’d, Menalcas, with malignant eye; And, had you not found means to vent your spite, In very passion you had burst outright.
20 Men. Slaves thus audacious, what will masters dare? Did I not see you, rascal as you are,
9 The sacella were commonly smaller edifices, dedicated to the deities; sometimes, in the country, mere caves were consecrated to the Napææ, and so called.
14 According to Servius, it was a capital crime to cut another man's trees; and Caius, in the Digest, states that those who were guilty of so doing (more especially in the case of vines) were to be punished as thieves. The malice and the injury in this place are aggravated by the rustiness of the knife, and the tenderness (intimated by the epithet novellas in the original) of the vines so treated.