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Its firmness how the soil, the sea its bed
Happy had herds ne'er been, Pasiphäe next
55 Oft though they fear'd the plough, and o'er their face Trembling essay'd the sprouting horn to trace. Ah, wretched fair! thy heart in absence pines : He on soft hyacinths his side reclines ; Or in some shade reposed the cud he chews, 60 Or some congenial paramour pursuese Close, nymphs of Crete ! ye nymphs, now close the
groves : Some friendly chance, as near my favorite roves,
47–49, &c. Of Pyrrha and Prometheus, the 'miser-maid' Atalanta, and the ' sad sisters of Phaëton,' the reader can hardly require an account; but he may be less acquainted with Hylas, the young companion of Hercules in the Argonautic expedition, who was lost in a fountain where he went to draw water. Hence he was said to have been carried off by a Naiad. The Argonauts called for him a long time, but in vain. See Theocr. Idyl. xiii. Pasiphäe and the daughters of Prætus are better left in silence. Gortyna, however (it may be geogra.. phically remarked), was a city of Crete, near which the remains of the famous Labyrinth, it is said, are still to be seen; including columns of marble, granite, and red and white jasper.
May give the rambler to my longing view;
And now his verse laments the miser-maid,
Why should I tell, how Scylla's deed he sungScylla the false, of royal Nisus sprung;
85 Or her, who girt with howling monsters shook Ulysses' keels, and as the surges broke In fearful thunders on that barbarous shore, Their shuddering crews with savage sea-dogs tore ? Tereus' changed form; and, ere that change de
clared, What foods, what gifts the vengeful dame prepared ? 91
82 See Martyn in loc.; as also for the fables (here slightly referred to in the close of Silenus' song) of Scylla ‘ of royal Nisus sprung, and Tereus, vv. 85-90. Dulichium, whenoe
Ulysses' keels' are in the original called ' Dulichian,' was one of the Echinades, islands in the Ionian sea, subject to the chieftain of Ithaca.
How fleetly to the desert she is flown :
All, all he chaunts, which erst the god of verse
95 The echoing vales, as swell the notes along, Throw to the skies the far-resounding song : Till eve's bright star the folding-hour led on, Bade count their flocks, and claim’d, constrain’d, th’
95 The bank of the Eurotas, which rises (like the Alpheus) near Megalopolis, and runs by Sparta, abounds with bays trees; and hence perhaps that river partook so eminently of Apollo's favor.
98 Eve's bright star; i. e. Venus, which when a morning star preceding the sun, is called Lucifer; when following him, Hesperus, or Vesper. Cic. De Nat. Deor. ii.
The Melibæus is the only Eclogue which contains nothing
within itself to ascertain its date. Martyn thinks it may be referred to A. U. C. 716, as ' that year would otherwise have passed without any apparent mark of the poet's genius.' It contains the report of an Amæhæan contention between two shepherds, Corydon and Thyrsis. Daphnis appears to have been appointed their judge. Melibus happening to pass by in quest of a stray goat is detained to hear the dispute, and records its result in favor of Corydon. The commentators Servius, Vives, La Cerda, De la Rue, &c. &c. are, as usual, divided about the persons supposed to be represented under the above names. To
Martyn it more correctly appears to be, in imitation of Theocritus (vv. 2. 16. 62. 67.70.73–84, &c.), purely pastoral.
DAPHNIS beneath a whispering holm reclined,
5 Skill’d or to lead the lay, or to reply. Here, as I seek the father of my fold (Stray'd hither, while my shrubs I shield from cold), Daphnis I see; who, soon as me he spies, 'Safe are your goats, your kids,' delighted cries : 10 Here, friend, this morning be the truant play'd! Haste, Melibous, join us in the shade. Hither your steers will cross the meads to drink : Here with slim reeds green Mincius veils his brink ; And, cheering so his toils, the tiny bee
15 Hums his low music round Jove's sacred tree.'
1 Holm. This tree, as well as the 'pine,' and the chestnut' (Ray informs us), grows abundantly in most of the provinces of Italy; as does likewise, if we may believe Matthioli, a learned botanist of that country, the ‘juniper,' which is also mentioned below. Castelvetri, it seems (as quoted by Burman), has affirmed that none of them are to be found in the Mantuan territory.
5 Not really of Arcady,' for the scene is laid near Mantua; but so skilful in singing, that they might be taken for Arcadians, who were celebrated for their musical talents.
8 The myrtus communis Italica C. B., which grows plentifully in Italy, especially on the coast of the Tyrrhene sea, does not even there (we are told by Matthioli) - love cold.' The season of this Eclogue appears~from the greenness of the banks, the growing of the reeds, the buzzing of the bees, and the shade of the holm-oak--to be the early spring, perhaps March or April, when the weather is usually cold enough to require a shelter for the more tender trees.
What should I do? for no Alcippe mine, No Phyllis, who my lambkins might confine Wean’d from their bleating dams : and, rivals long, The shepherds twain were met to vie in song. 20 To their sweet play my graver cares I yield; In strains alternate they dispute the field : Alternate ains the sacred Muses please ; Those Thyrsis sung, and Corydon's were these.
Cor. 'Dear to my heart, ye Muses, or bestow 25
Thyr. “Shepherds of Arcady, with ivy crown
35 That no ill tongue malignant influence shed.'
Cor. “ Dian, this head, the boar's late bristled pride, These branching antlers by the stag supplied, My little Micon hangs upon thy shrine ;
39 But would'st thou grant success like this were mine, Whole in bright marble thou should'st stand enshrined, And purple buskins should thy ancles bind.'
30 i. e. ' I will never attempt to make any more verses.' This custom of devoting the instrument after it had ceased to be used, and hanging it up in some sacred place, is referred to both by Horace and Propertius.
31 The ivy with yellow berries is said by Pliny to be the sort used in the crowns of poets.
40 i.e.' As I have succeeded in the hunting of the boar and the stag, so may this success be perpetual.'—De la Rue.
41 Whole, 'It was a frequent practice to make only the head and neck of a statue in marble.'-Martyn.