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Harsh Daphnis fre me! Such his lot I doomBring from the city, bring, ye charms, my Daphnis
home. "O seize him love like that, when far and near The wearied heifer seeks her wandering steer; 110 And having languish'd much, and rambled long The wide-spread forest's iengthening glades among, Sinks by some sedgy stream: nor quits the grove, Though night's late hours approach! Him seize
such love, Nor deign I his physician to become
115 Bring from the city, bring, ye charms, my Daphnis
home. • To me these relics once the traitor leftDear relics! These I now, of him bereft, Beneath my threshold, earth, to thee consign: These, these again shall make the rover mine ; 120 Though far estranged, 'mid other scenes he roamBring from the city, bring, ye charms, my Daphnis
home. “ These herbs, these poisons culld on Pontic
ground (In Pontus herbs of wondrous power abound) Meeris bestowed: and him I oft have view'd, 125 Changed by their force, in sylvan solitude, Howl a fierce wolf; transport the bearded grain From its first native to a distant plain, And call pale spectres from the yawning tombBring from the city, bring, ye charms, my Daphnis home.
130 “ Forth, Amaryllis, forth the ashes bear And o'er thy shoulder in the streamlet clear Whelm them, with unreverted head: a spell Of different kind his stubborn soul shall quell. Nor gods he heeds, nor dreads the strains of doomBring from the city, bring, ye charms, my Daphnis home.
136 And lo! the altar gleams with quivering blaze, Sell-kindled, while my tardy hand delays
To bear the ashes to the destined flood;
city home !"
In this Eclogue, which was probably composed by Virgil soon
after Tityrus, A.U. C. 713, on his return to Rome from his unsuccessful attempt to take possession of his Mantuan property, are dexterously introduced fragments of his earlier poems; one in particular, addressed to Varus (through whom the poet seems to have been first made known to Pollio), promising him the reward of poetical praise for his intercession in behalf of Mantua; and another in honour of the star which appeared for seven days together after the death of Julius Cæsar, and was supposed to announce his reception among the immortals. Meris, as Servius informs us, Menalcas's, i. e. Virgil's, farming
bailiff, had been directed by his master (during his own absence) to carry matters as fairly as possible with Arrius, the centurion, who had refused with great violence to re-admit him to his "little field.” Catrou, however, stiffly contends (from the nostri agelli, the vestrum Menalcam, &c.) that Meris must have been the father, not the servant, of Virgil.
Lycidas. WHITHER, good Mæris? For the city
bent? Mæris. O Lycidas, our life, with sad extent, Has reach'd to woes beyond my utmost fear;
Begone, old landlords, I am master here !" Our little field's usurper sternly cries.
5 To him, since thus her wheel dame Fortune plies,
These kids-ill-luck go with them !--sad I bear. Lyc. I heard, indeed-and, oh, would such things
were ! That where yon hills slope gently to the plain, Far as to Mincius' banks (his own domain) 10 Their shatter'd tops, where those old beeches raise, Menalcas had protected by his lays.
Mær. So were you told, and fame so blazed abroad: But weak our lays, by clashing arms o'erawed, As when the eagle swoops, Dodona's dove. 15 Nay, but that, croaking from the tree of Jove, The left-hand raven warned me not to strive, Nor Meris nor his lord had been alive. Lyc. And lives there who such deed of death
would dare? Alas! how near had vanish'd into air With thee, Menalcas, all thy soothing verse ! For who the nymphs' soft wailings would rehearse ; "Scatter the ground with leaves,” or “round each
spring Bid wreathed flowers their sacred freshness fling?" Who those sweet lines repeat I slyly heard,
25 As to your Amaryllis you repair'd?
“Till I return my flock, kind Tityrus, feed (Short is my journey) and to water lead ; But as thou lead'st them, Tityrus, have a care : Of that old butting goat, dear boy, beware.”
30 Mor. Or (sung to Varus) that unfinish'd strain; "Varus, thy name; if Mantua still remain,
9 It is generally believed that the poet in this line describes the actual position of his estate, between the foot of the hills and the Mincio. The “old beeches” are too particular for a fictitious
In the first eclogue, vv. 56, 57, the lands of Tityrus are partly “shingly,” and partly “ fenny," which agrees very well with the site here referred to.
12 Most probably, as before observed, by the Daphnis. 22-24 Alludes perhaps to Eclog. v. 24, 48, &c.
27-30 An imitation of Theocritus, as is likewise v. 38, 45-52, '1, 76.
Ah! to Cremona fatally too near!
Lyc. So may thy bees the poisonous yew forego; 35
Mær. Much I in silence have revolved, and long To call to mind—'tis no ignoble song“ Hither to land, O Galatea, haste :
45 What joy can flourish ’mid the wat'ry waste? Here bright-robed spring with verdure decks the
bowers, And every streamlet's brink is strew'd with flowers Here the white poplar quivers o’er each cave, And curling vines their shady foliage wave. 50 Hither, O Galatea, haste to land, And let the surge rave idly on the strand.” Lyc. One moonlight night, thou sang'st too_such
a strain ! The words forgotten, I the air retain. Mær. Why on old constellations, Daphnis, gaze ?
5. See, where its beams the Julian star displays; A star, whence fields draw fatness as it rolls, And grapes grow duskier on their sunny knolls. Plant, Daphnis, for the rising race thy pears :" -Ah! age, which pilfers all, not e'en the memory spares !
6C Oft, when a careless boy, I trod the mead, The lingering sun I caroll’d to his bed : Now every lay is vanish'd from my head.
56 In reference to this phenomenon, Augustus caused th statue of Julius Cæsar in the forum to be adorned by the additior. of a star.-See Martyn on Georg. i. 488.
very voice has hapless Meris lost; His path some wolf's first-darted glance has crost; 65 But well the chasm Menalcas will supply.
Lyc. My wish but grows with your apology. And see the lake's broad plain unruffled spread, Nor moves one murmuring breeze the beech's head. Now midway of our journey we are come, 70 For lo! there rears its head Bianor's tomb. Here sit we, Mæris, where the leafy boughs The farmers trim, and sing as we repose. Here rest thy kids: we soon shall reach the town; Or if we fear the night-storm's gathering frown, 75 Light song will ease the road of half its care: To aid thy song, let me this burden bear.
Mær. Press me no more, but onward let us go : Sprightlier the strain, when He returns, will flow.
As the Silenus appears to have been begun at the command of
Varus, and the Pharmaceutria at that of Pollio, we have some reason to believe that this Eclogue, a fine imitation of Theocritus (in reference to whom he invokes the Sicilian nymph
65 It was the superstitious belief of the ancient Italians that if a wolf saw any man first, it for a time deprived him of the power of speech.-See Plin. Nat. Hist, viii. 22.
71 Sepulchres were anciently placed near the highways, whence their inscriptions are frequently addressed“ to travellers." Bianor, surnamed Ocnus (son, as we learn from the tenth Æneid, of the Tiber by the prophetess Manto, the daughter of Tiresias), is said to have fortified Mantua, and to have given it a name derived from that of his mother.
79 This seems to prove that he (Menalcas, or Virgil) was then at Rome.