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· ECLOGUE VIII.-PHARMACEUTRIA.

ARGUMENT.

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. v. 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 favourite. 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 Damon, when the heifer wondering hung (Forgetful of her food) upon the strain, And headlong torrents paused, nor sought the main; And lynxes couch'd, to list the lay divine

5 That tale to give posterity be mine.

O Pollio ! whether now thou bend'st thy way Where huge Timavus glitters on the day, 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; Thyrsis imprecatory. In the rest, Corydon's subjects are generally pleasing; those of Thyrsis the contrary.”

7 It should be remarked, that though Martyn agrees with Joseph Scaliger and De la Rue in supposing this Eclogue 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 saxa Timavi, like the fons Timavi in the first Æneid, relates to the mountains where that river rises, which it was necessary to surmount in passing from Italy into Illyricum

66

Or tread'st Illyrian strands: when, when will be
The happy hour that I may sing of thee;

10
To distant lands thy deeds of war rehearse,
And hymn thee lord of Sophoclean verse ?
From thee the Muse began, with thee shall end :
Framed at thy bidding, to her song extend
Thy favouring smile.; and O forgive the lay 15
Which twines this ivy with thy victor-bay.

Scarce from the sky had night's cold shadow fled, When herds delighted crop the dewy mead; Propp'd 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 : For not a god, who witness'd, heals the wrong! Yet, yet to them my parting strains belongBegin with me, my pipe, the soft Mænalian song. 25

Still blooms on Mænalus the rustling grove, And vocal pines resound the shepherd's love: Still Pan is heard its echoing bowers among ; Pan, who first bade the reed its notes prolongBegin with me, my pipe, the soft Mænalian song. 30

*To Mopsus now is faithful 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.

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's “ 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 olive, “leaning against the round olive-tree;" as deeming the image of the olivestaff too humble even for a shepherd.

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

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'dst my reed and humble herd,
My shaggy eyebrows and my lengthened beard !
Nor deem'st the gods, resentful, visit wrong-
Begin with me, my pipe, the soft Mænalian song.

“First didst thou to these doting eyes appear 45
Within our orchard's bound; thy mother near;
Thy little hands the dewy apples pile:
I was your guide—too happy I the while!
Just enter'd on my teens, with utmost stretch
On tiptoe rising I the boughs could reach :
I saw, I died, by passion borne along-
Begin with me, my pipe, the soft Mænalian song.
“Now know I Love's dire source: in Thracia

bred,
Where Rhodope in tempests veils its head;
Or rock'd 'mid Garamantian crags to rest, 55
He tears, remorseless tears the human breast:

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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
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd

The guarded gold.
35 Five pine-torches used to precede the bride when led to
her new home. The “nuts,” of mystical meaning, were wal-
nuts; on which see Martyn on Georg. ii. 187. Eta was a lofty
mountain in Thessaly.

55 The Garamantes were a savage people of Africa, living as far southward (it was thought) as the earth was habitable, and therefore called extremi.

Not to our nature does the boy belong-
Begin with me, my pipe, the soft Mænalian song.

" Love taught the mother barbarous lore and wild, To plunge the dagger in her guiltless child : 60 - savage mother, who such lore couldst learn! o, boy, too savage, teaching lore so stern! Savage alike who urged, and did, the wrongBegin with me, my pipe, the soft Mænalian song.

“Fly now, ye hungry wolves, th’unguarded fold, 65 And glow each oak with vegetable gold; All gay with daffodils let alders tower, And lowliest tamarisks weep their amber shower: Vie owls with swans : let Tityrus Orpheus be; Orpheus amid the woods, or in the sea

70 Arion, sovereign of the dolphin throng Begin with me, my pipe, the soft Mænalian song.

“ Be earth one wat'ry waste ! ye woods, farewell! Headlong, amid the sweeping surges' swell

, From some sky-piercing cliff I'll spring to death: 75 Accept these strains, thy lover's latest breath, His dying legacy, withheld too long !Cease now, o cease, my pipe, the soft Mænalian

song." Thus Damon: next Alphesibæus' strain Record, ye Muses! for our powers are vain. 80

Bring water, and with fleecy fillet wreathe
This altar's frame, and bid rich incense breathe,
And vervain burn; that so my spells may fire
The cold swain's sense, and force him to admire.

59 The “mother” here alluded to was Medea, who when Jason married Creusa, murdered her children.

66 Swans were erroneously supposed by the ancients to sing sweetly, especially just before their death. The story of Arion of Corinth, who captivated a dolphin by his music, when he was on the point of being thrown overboard by some sailors, and was borne safely by it to shore, is told by Herodotus.

81 Alphesibæus assumes the person of a sorceress engaged in magical incantations.

Those spells, unseconded, will stamp his doom- 85
Bring from the city, bring, ye charms, my Daphnis

home.
“ The spell of verse can drag th’ obedient moon
From heaven, when riding in her highest noon:
Ulysses' comrades with the numerous spell
Circe transform'd: cold serpents writhe and swell, 90
Compell’d by mighty song, and burst in foam-
Bring from the city, bring, ýe charms, my Daphnis

home. “First, these three threads, in mystic union join'd, Three-colour'd, I around his image bind; And with that image circle thrice the shrine 95 (Uneven numbers please the powers divine) : So may he at my potent summons comeBring from the city, bring, ye charms, my Daphnis

home. “ In threefold knot now, Amaryllis, tie The triple threads : and still, in tightening, cry, 100 • With these, love's knots, I knit him ne'er to roam'Bring from the city, bring, ye charms, my Daphnis

home. " As shrivels in one fire this moulded clay, And melts the wax, so Daphnis melt away! So shrivels in my love! The salted meal 105 Now sprinkle ; burn the crackling bay: I feel

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85 Spells. The carmen, where our word “ charm," means here a particular form of words used in these superstitious ceremonies; probably the recurring line, or formula, " Bring from the city," &c.

103 This was continued ever in later times. James I., in his “Dæmonologie,” says, “ To some others at these times he (the devil) teacheth how to make pictures of waxe or claye, that by the roasting thereof, the persons that they beare the name of may be continually melted, or dried away by continual sick. nesse,

105 The “meal” salted, parched, and kneaded (molita) was called mola, and sprinkled on the foreheads of the victims, &c.; whence our term * immolation."

» &c.

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