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But (since dread ills both bees and man molest) If e'er disease the languid hive infest,
290 A horrid leanness the dread sign displays, Their vigor wastes away, their hue decays: The dead are carried forth, and sad and slow The long procession swells the pomp of woe ; Or round the doors they cling with pensile feet, 295 Or all lie loitering in their dark retreat, Their drooping pinions, weak with famine, close, Or, shrunk with cold, their torpid limbs repose. Then long-drawn hums wind on from cell to cell, Like gales that murmur down the woodland dell, 300 Or ebbing waves that roll along the shore, Or flames that in the furnace inly roar. Then round the hive in many a smoky wreath, Let burning galbanum rich incense breathe, Through reedy channels pour the honey'd flood, 305 Lure their coy taste, and court with tempting food. There the dried rose and pounded galls combine, There by slow fires matured the thicken’d wine, There the strong centaury's reviving pow'r, The Psythian grape, and thyme's odorous flow'r. 310 In fields there grows a flow'r of pastoral fame, Amellus, so the shepherds call its name ; Sprung from one root its stalk profusely spread, A golden circle glitters on its head, But many a leaf with purple violet crown'd 315 Throws a soft shade the yellow disk around. Tho'rough to taste, it wreaths with flow'rs the fane, And tempts by Mella's stream the shepherd swain.
309 This herb was so called from the centaur Chiron, who was said to have been cured by that herb of a wound'acci. dentally inflicted by an arrow of Hercules.-Martyn.
312 The plant here described is the aster Atticus, or purple Italian starwort.- Martyn.
Seethe in rich wine its roots, and, oft renew'd,
But should the nation fail, none left alive
330 And painted gallies float the fields around; And where nigh quiver'd Persia's neighboring bound The flood's dark slime from tawny India glides, Green Egypt feeds and parts its seven-mouth'd tides. All on this art rely. Provide a place,
335 Where four close walls a low pitch'd roof embrace, And from each wind that, fourfold, heaven divides, Through adverse lights where day obliquely glides, There drag a bullock, on whose threat’ning brow His horns, a two years' crescent, aim the blow. 340
329 Canopus is the west angle of the triangular Delta of Egypt: Pelusium is the east angle, where it presses on Persia (including under that name the countries conquered by Cyrus and Cambyses). Canopus, so called from the pilot of Menelaus who died there : called Pellæan, from its vicinity to Alexandria, founded by Alexander, born at Pella in Macedonia.-Stawell.
339 Varro says that the bees are called bull-born (Bovyovai), because they proceed from putrid oxen. In the fourteenth chapter of Judges we read that Samson, after having rent a lion, turned aside to see the carcase of the lion, and behold there was a swarm of bees, and honey in the carcase of the lion. The mother bee chooses putrid bodies to lay her eggs in, that the fermenting juices may help to hatch them.Martyn. Stawell.
In vain his struggling limbs their power oppose,
350 Meanwhile the moisture with fermenting strife Boils in the tender bones, and teems with life; First on the sight, all wondrous to behold, Forms without feet a shapeless growth unfold, Now buzz upon the wing, and burst amain, 355 Countless as drops from summer's streaming rain, Or arrows whizzing from the Parthian bow That, preluding the fight, o'ercloud the foe.
Say, Muse, what god this art to mortals brought, Or man first practised, by experience taught? 360
From Tempe's vale when Aristæus fled, His swarms by long disease and famine dead, At Peneus' fount he stood, and, bow'd with woe, Breathed his deep murmurs to the nymph below: • Cyrene! thou, whom these fair springs revere, 365 The sorrows of thy son, O mother! hear:
363 The river Peneus rises in Pindus, a mountain of Thessaly, and flows through the vale of Tempe.
365 Virgil makes Cyrene the daughter of Peneus; but Pindar, in the ninth Pythian ode, makes her the daughter of Hypseus, king of the Lapithæ, son of the Naiad Creusa, by Peneus. Her delight was to hunt wild beasts. Apollo was enamored of her, and carried her into Africa, where she was delivered of Aristæus, and gave her name to the celebrated city Cyrene.-. Martyn.
Why, (such thy boast) if Heaven my lineage claim,
my full stalls, destroy my ripening fruit, Fell my rich vineyards, wrap my fields in flame, If thus thou loathe the praise that graced my name.'
Deep in the chambers of the stream profound Cyrene heard the melancholy sound,
380 While by her side, the nymphs, a sister train, Wound the Milesian fleece of azure grain. Phyllodoce, Thalia, Spio, there O’er their white bosoms spread their golden hair; There chaste Cydippe, there Lycorias came, 385 A virgin this, this own'd a mother's naine ; There Clio, Beroe, both of ocean born, Gold wreathes their limbs, and painted skins adorn ; There Deiopeia, and, her bow unstrung, Fleet Arethuse reposed the choir among.
390 Gay Clymene there sung, how vainly strove The god of fire against the frauds of love ; How Mars and Venus mix'd the stol'n embrace, And all the wiles of Saturn's amorous race. While the rapt nymphs, enchanted with the sound, The silver fleeces from their distaffs wound, 396 Cyrene heard again her offspring groan, Each nereid started on her glassy throne,
391 This story of the amour of Mars and Venus is sung by Demodocus in the eighth book of the Odyssey.
And Arethusa, foremost of the train,
405 Hither, 0 hither, nymph! the mourner guide; He, unreproved, may touch this hallow'd seat.'
She spoke, and bade the billows far retreat: O'er him the curving wave, a mountain, stood, Its mighty bosom oped, and arch'd the flood. 410 Onward he went along her vast domain, Through opening wonders of the watery reign, And awe-struck at the rolling of the waves, Hoarse-thundering groves, and lakes engulf’d in
caves. 'Mid the foundations of the world below,
415 Each in its source, beheld the rivers flow, Phasis, and Lycus, and the secret head, Whence bold Enipeus' bursting waters spread,
411 This descent of Aristæus seems founded on an ancient superstition of the Egyptians. On certain days, as Servius observes, sacred to the Nile, some boys, born of holy parents, were delivered to the nymphs by the priests. When they were grown up, and returned back, they related that there were groves under the earth, and an immense water containing all things, and from which every thing is procreated. Whence, according to Thales, the ocean is the source of all things. Plato supposed all rivers to arise from a great cavern, the Barathrum and Tartarus of the poets.--Stawell.
411 Phasis and Lycus, rivers in Armenia, which fall into the Euxine. Enipeus, a river of Thessaly. Anio, a river of Italy. Hypanis, a river of Scythia. The Caïcus rises in Mysia. The Eridanus (Po) soon after its source, flows through the vale of Piedmont, and afterwards traverses all the rich vale of Lombardy.-Stawell.