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Thyr. “This bowl of milk, these annual cakes, we
give; Wealthier, Priapus, hope not to receive : The fruits 'tis thine to guard, alas ! are mean-- 45 Now poorly form'd in marble thou art seen; But, should a teeming season bless my fold, My grateful voice should bid that form be gold.'
Cor. 10 Galatea, thou who scent'st the air Sweeter than Hybla’s thyme, than swans more fair, 50 More graceful than the ivy's flexile twineO if one thought of Corydon be thine, Soon as the herd shall seek its nightly rest, O come, and clasp thy shepherd to thy breast!' Thyr. • Bitterer than crowfoot be I deem'd by
55 Which glows on far Sardinia's yellow lea; Rougher than gorse with prickles cover'd o'er, And viler than the sea-weed cast ashore, If this long lingering day outlast not years ! Homeward, for shame! haste homeward, well-fed steers.'
60 Cor. “Ye springs, whose margins are with moss in
laid ; Thou grassy couch, than slumber softer made ; And thou, green arbutus, whose slender bough Can but a thin and scanty shade bestow : O screen my flock! 'Tis summer's sultry day ; 65 See, the glad vines their turgid buds display !'
43 Cakes. Libum was a kind of cake made of flour, honey, and oil; so called because part of it was thrown by the sacrificers (in the way of a libation) into the fire. They were offered, with milk and fruits, instead of victims, to the inferior deities. Priapus was the guardian of vineyards and gardens.
62 Than slumber softer. This, says Martyn,' does not seem a harsher figure than downy sleep.' 'On the arbutus, see id. on Georg. i. 148. iii, 300.
Thyr. 'Here on this hearth, with resinous billets
piled, The pine-branch blazes ; and the rafters, soil'd With constant smoke, bespeak the warmth within: Nor more we care for winter's snow-clad scene 70 Than wolves respect the numbers of the fold, Or streams their banks, in mountain-torrent roll’d.'
Cor. “Now wears the juniper its leafy pride, And the rough chestnut throws its branches wide ; Fall’n from their boughs, the apples here survey: 75 All nature laughs, and every bower is gay! But, if Alexis from these mountains hie, All nature sickens, and each stream is dry.' Thyr. “The fields are parch'd: by sultriness op
prest, The russet meads have lost their summer vest : 80 No shade, so Bacchus wills, the vineyards rearBut should my beauteous Phyllis re-appear, The vines shall robe themselves in green again, And welcome showers shall gladden all the plain.'
Cor. “Dear to Alcides are his poplar groves ; 85 Bacchus the vine, the myrtle Venus loves ; Apollo glories in his own green bay, And Phyllis doats upon the hazel gray“ Long as the hazel is to Phyllis dear, Nor bay nor myrtle lovelier shall appear.'
90 Thyr. "Graceful the ash amidst the woodland towers, Poplars by brooks, and pines in garden-bowers; By spiry firs the mountain is possest, But be thou, Lycidas, my frequent guest,
73–84 Imitated from Theocritus, and copied by Pope, in his first Pastoral ; ' All nature mourns,' &c.
92 Pines : probably the pinus sativa, or manured pine, which is commonly cultivated in gardens.
Less fair the woodland ash would seem to me,
Thus, I remember, vanquish'd Thyrsis strove:
98 After a sedulous estimate of the merits of each succes. sive tetrastich, Martyn agrees with Daphnis and Melibæus in adjudging the victory to Corydon. De la Rue briefly sums up the comparison as follows :- Corydon, in his first Amebæan, begins with piety to the gods; Thyrsis, with rage against his adversary. In the second, Corydon invokes Diana, a chaste goddess ; Thyrsis, Priapus. In the third, Corydon is mild ; Thrysis imprecatory. In the rest, Corydon's subjects are generally pleasing; those of Thyrsis, the contrary.'
During the march of Pollio, A. U. C. 715, into Illyricum,
where he obtained a triumph for his victory over the Parthians, Virgil addressed his Pharmaceutria, another exquisitely beautiful imitation of Theocritus (cf. vv. 25, &c. 42. 45–51. 53, 73, 74. 93. 104. 106. 117. 123.), to that noble person ; most probably • framed at his bidding.' It seems to have been the poet's especial favorite. The first part contains the complaints of a shepherd despised by his mistress; the second the incantations used by a sorceress to regain the lost affections of her lover.
The tale of love Alphesibæus sung
And lynxes couch'd, to list the lay divine
O Pollio! whether now thou bend'st thy way
Scarce from the sky had night's cold shadow fled, When herds delighted crop the dewy mead ; Propt on his staff, sad Damon thus begun:
* Rise, Phosphor, and lead on the lingering sun ; 20 While duped by Nisa's love I mourn in vain, And to the gods of broken faith complain :
7 It should be remarked, that though Martyn agrees with Joseph Scaliger and De la Rue in supposing this Ěclogue to be addressed to Pollio, Servius (and after him most of the commentators) considers it as dedicated to Augustus Cæsar. -See Martyn in loc.
8 The saca Timavi, like the fons T'imavi in the first Æneid, relates to the mountains where that river rises, which it was necessary to surmount in passing from Italy into Illyricum. 12 This line furnishes a strong proof that Pollio is the
person addressed, as he was an eminent writer of tragedies. This we know on the authority of Horace; whereas Augustus’ · Ajax' appears to have been, even in the opinion of Suetonius himself, only a sorry composition. Sophocles was the first who introduced the cothurnus, or' buskin,' a kind of boot reaching to the sura, or calf of the leg, and having thick soles of cork, in order to give increased height to the wearer.
19 Martyn interprets the incumbens tereti olivæ, ' leaning against the round olive-tree; as deeming the image of the olive-staff too humble even for a shepherd.
For not a god, who witness’d, heals the wrong!
* To Mopsus now is faithless Nisa given: What may not lovers dread from angry Heaven! Henceforth shall blend the griffin with the steed, And dogs and trembling deer together feed. Prepare thy torches, Mopsus, thou art wed; 35 Scatter thy nuts : for thee his (Eta's head Hesper forsakes, and speeds the night along Begin with me, my pipe, the soft Mænalian song.
Well worthy, Nisa, of thy conquer'd swain, For whom thy other suitors met disdain ;
40 For whom thou scorn’d'st my reed and humble herd, My shaggy eyebrows, and my lengthen'd beard !
26 Mænalus was a high mountain in Arcadia, sacred to Pan, and abounding with pines.
33 The ‘griffin'is a fabulous monster, said to have the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle, to be occupied in digging gold out of the mines of the north of Europe, and to be engaged in continual wars with the one-eyed Arimaspians for this precious metal. See Herodotus and Pliny. To this Milton alludes in the second book of his Paradise Lost:
As when a griffin through the wilderness
The guarded gold. 35 Five pine-torches used to precede the bride, when led to her new home. The ‘nuts,' of mystical meaning, were walnuts, on which see Martyn on Georg. ii. 187. Eta was a lofty mountain in Thessaly.