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-But who this god of your idolatry?
Tit. The city they call Rome, ah silly me!
Mel. And what to Rome seduced your vagrant foot?
Tit. Freedom: who, though her visit late she paid, Approach'd at length my long-neglected shed ; When ripening age now clad with grey my chin, And Amaryllis ruled the heart within.
35 That heart, I own, while Galatea sway'd, Hopeless was freedom, profitless my trade: Though many a victim issued from my fold, And to sad Mantua many a cheese I sold ; Yet unproductive were my thriftiest pains,
40 And ne'er return’d I burthen'd with my gains.
Mel. Oft have I wonder'd, why with sorrowing cries Thou, Amaryllis, did’st invoke the skies; For whom thine apples linger’d on the spray : Now, 'tis explain’d-thy Tityrus was away! 45 Thee, Tityrus, thee the pines, the brooks, the bowers Call’d, fondly call’d from Rome's imperial towers.
Tit. What could I do? For there, and only there, Freedom I hoped, and gods to hear my prayer.
30 Implying, with delicate flattery, a difference in kind, as well as in magnitude.--Servius.
46 The arbusta, here rendered (perhaps too generally) .bowers,' were large pieces of ground planted with elms, or other trees, at the distance commonly of forty feet, to leave room for corn to grow between them. These trees were pruned in such a manner, as to serve for stages to the vines which were planted near them.'-Martyn.
There first to view that heaven-sprung youth was mine,
Mel. Happy old man! to you then shall remain,
55 Though shingles here the sterile wild o'erspread, And there the fenny bulrush rears its head. With no new food your yeaning ewes shall faint ; Your herds no neighboring herd with sickness taint! Happy old man ! here by this hallow'd spring, 60 These well-known streams, the breeze its health shall
fling: Here by the neighboring hedge that bounds your farm, Whose willow-flowers allure the busy swarm, The wild bee's hum shall oft persuade to sleep, And oft the pruner's song shall echo from the steep: 65 While, from yon lofty elm, your darling dove With ceaseless plaints shall woo her turtle's love.
Tit. Sooner in air shall stags then seek their food, And fishes change for earth the ocean-flood : Sooner, with toil their distant confines past, 70 Germania's nations shall the Tigris taste,
50 Octavius was now about twenty-two years of age. 51 On one day in each month, probably the kalends or the ides; along with the lares, perhaps, who (as Tibullus informs us) were honored by a monthly worship.
56, 57 This sterility seems only to have been partial on Virgil's lands; as we read previously of fattened * victims' and rich cheeses,' and subsequently of a 'vine-pruner, home-grown • apples and chestnuts,' and “thickened curds.' The country round Mantua is, indeed, moist; as the Mincio flows from the Benacus (hod. Lago di Garda), and expands near that city into a broad lake before it falls into the Po, which frequently overflows its banks.
61 The Po and the Mincio. 71,72 On the geography of this passage Martyn has a long
Or Parthian hordes the Sâone's slow current trace,
Mel. We, we meanwhile to Afric's thirsty sands,
Tit. Yet here with me one night, I ask not much, Forget your woes upon this leafy couch : Here 'mid ripe apples and soft chestnuts piled, And thicken'd curds, your anguish be beguiled! 95 Curling from distant roofs the smokes rise slow, And the tall hills their lengthening shadows throw.
note, proving that at this time both the Parthians had extended their conquests westward even beyond the Tigris, and the Germans also (on the invitation of the Sequani, hod. Franche Comté) had spread themselves in the same direction as far as the Arar, or the Saône.
94 Mitia (poma) may also mean ‘mild' by nature, as opposed to the harsher species; or by cultivation, as opposed to crabs. So likewise molles (castanee) may signify ripe,' or 'fresh,' or 'smooth,' as distinguished from the hirsuta or roasted.'
From the fifth Eclogue, vv. 104, 105, it may be inferred that
the Alexis, as well as the Palæmon, preceded in the dates of their composition the Daphnis, which itself appears to have been written A. C. 42, A. U.C. 712. The former was probably written before the death of Julius Cæsar, which took place on March 25, A. U.C. 710, and gained his approbation.--See Eclog. v. 64.
Alexis, beauteous, and his lord's delight,
9 The 'green lizard' is very common in Italy, and is said to be found also in Ireland. It is larger than our common eft, or swift.- Martyn.
11 With these herbs the Roman farmers were accustomed to recruit the spirits of their laborers when exhausted by the heat. Garlic indeed, as we learn from Pliny, formed an ingredient in many rustic medicaments.
13 The cicada (Ital. cigale) sing or chirp most in hot weather, and in the middle of the day.
Of Amaryllis happier had it been
sight: The hyacinth we pluck, the privet slight; Though that, sweet boy! be dark, and this all snowy white.
20 -Still am I scorn’d; nor dost thou ask, or know, What milk my pails, my folds what flocks o'erflow. A thousand gimmers roam across my hills ; And summer's, winter's milk my dairy fills : Nor breathed Amphion notes more soft than mine 25 When he on Aracynthus call’d his kine. Nor so unsightly I; as late I stood Upon the beach, beside th' unruffled flood, Myself I view'd; and might I trust the wave, E'en Daphnis self I'd in thy judgment brave. 30
19 Of the ligustrum all that we know is, that its flowers were white and valueless. It is perhaps the privet;' as that is called by the Italians guistrico, which seems to be a corruption of the Latin word : though Martyn, in opposition to Pliny (who pronounces it to be probably a tree growing in Egypt and in watery places), seems rather to incline to the convolvulus major, or greater bindweed.
25 Amphion and Zethus, the sons of Jupiter and Antiope, built the walls of Thebes, according to Homer. That they did it by the instrumentality of a magical harp received from Mercury, as averred by Euripides, Horace, Propertius, &c. appears to have been the figment of a later age.
26 The ancient shepherds used to go before their flocks, playing on the pipe, which call they readily followed. To this custom allusion is made in the sacred writings. -See Psalm xxiii. lxxvii. lxxx. and John x.
27 Thus the herdsman, and even the Cyclops, in Theocritus, speak of their personal appearance; the latter with the additional mention of the calm smooth sea, in which he had viewed it reflected.