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In fearful thunders on that barbarous shore,
90 What foods, what gifts the vengeful dame pre
pared ? How fleetly to the desert she is flown: How wing’d she skims o'er domes, ah! once her
own? All, all he chants, which erst the god of verse Taught blest Eurotas' laurels to rehearse. 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'
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 Amcebæan contention between two shepherds, Corydon and Thyrsis. Daphnis appears to have been appointed their judge. Melibæus happening to pass by in quest of a stray goat, is detained to hear the dispute and
95 The bank of the Eurotas, which rises (like the Alpheus) near Megalopolis, and runs by Sparta, abounds with bay-trees; and hence perhaps that river partook so eminently of Apollo's favour.
98 Eve's bright star ; i. e. Venus, which when a morning star, preceding the sun, is called Lucifer; when following him, Hes perus, or Vesper. Cic. de Nat. Deor. ii.
VIR. VOL. I.--E
records its result in favour
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,
are your goats, your kids,” delighted cries :
10 “Here, friend, this niorning be the truant play'd Haste, Melibæus, 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 “chest nut” (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 strains the sacred Muses please; Those Thyrsus sang, and Corydon's were these. I
Cor. “ Dear to my heart, ye Muses, or bestow 25 Such lays, as from the reed of Codrus flowCodrus, who Phæbus all but mates in verse; Or, if denied such numbers to rehearse (Since not to all is given the power divine), My pipe shall hang upon yon hallow'd pine.
30 Thyr. “Shepherds of Arcady, with ivy crown Your rising bard, though furious Codrus frown, And eating jealousy consume his heart: Or should mock praise betray the envier's art, With spikenard amulet protect my head,
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; But wouldst thou grant success like this were mine, Whole in bright marble thou shouldst stand enshrined,
41 And purple buskins should thy ankles 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.
Thyr. “This bowl of milk, these annual cakes,
Cor. “O Galatea, thou who scent'st the air Sweeter than Hybla's thyme, than swans more fair,
50 More graceful than the ivy's flexile twine0, 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 thee,
55 Which glows on far Sardinia's yellow lea; Rougher than gorse with prickles cover'd o'er, And viler than the seaweed 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
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. Pri. apus 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, üi. 300.
With constant smoke, bespeak the warmth within:
Cor. “ Now wears the juniper its leafy pride,
prest, The russet meads have lost their summer vest: 80 No shade, so Bacchus wills, the vineyards rearBut should my beauteous Phyllis reappear, 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
95 The pine in garden-bower less fair would be.”
Thus, I remember, vanquish'd Thyrsis strove ; And Corydon, thenceforward, rules the grove.
I 73–84 Imitated from Theocritus, and copied by Pope, in his first Pastoral: “ All nature mourns,” &c.
92 Pines : probab, the pinus saliva, or manured pine, which is commonly cultivated in gardens.
99 After a sedulous estimate of the merits of each successive tetrastich, Martyn agrees with Daphnis and Melibous in adjudging the victory to Corydon. De la Rue briefly sums up the