This closing effort, Arethusa, aid;
A few brief strains be to my Gallus paid:
What bard to Gallus can a lay refuse?
And may Lycoris' eye that lay peruse.
So, as thou glidest beneath Sicilia's brine,
Her wave no bitter sea-nymph blend with thine!
Begin: record we Gallus, love's sad prey;
Our goats, meanwhile, will browse the tender spray.
Nor sing we to the deaf: the woods reply,
And bear the strains of sadness to the sky.
Nymphs, o'er what lawns, what forests did ye rove,
When Gallus faded in disastrous love?
For then nor Pindus nor the Phocian mount
Detain'd your steps, nor Aganippe's fount.
For him the bay, for him the tamarisk pined;
For him, beneath their craggy feet reclined,
Even Mænalus the dews of sorrow shed,
And cold Lycæus on his craggy bed.
The sheep stand round, nor slight their master's pain;
--Nor thou, bright bard, the humble flock disdain:
In beauty's prime beside the lucid flood,
Well pleased, Adonis fed his fleecy brood.--
The shepherd came; and, with the herdsmen last,
Menalcas dripping from the snow-soak'd mast.
All seek thy passion's source. Apollo came;
And, 'Whence this frenzy, Gallus? She, thy flame
Lycoris for another swain,' he cries,
'Braves barbarous camps and winter's dreary skies.'
With woodland wreath came old Sylvanus crown'd,
Fennel and largest lilies nodding round.
Pan, too, we saw: th' Arcadian god appear'd
With vermil dye and elder-berries smear'd;
'And yet this grief?' he asks. 'In vain it flows:
No glut of tears insatiate Cupid knows.
Sooner shall herbage moisture cease to love,
The bee his trefoil, goats the budding grove.'
--'But you, Arcadians, deign (sad Gallus cried)
To sing my sorrows on each mountain's side:
You, only, of the poet's art possest;
And softly, sweetly, will my relics rest,
If by your simple reeds my suffering be exprest.
'Ah! had I, one of you, your flocks or fed,
Or pluck'd the grape with luscious ripeness red!
Then, whomsoe'er had woo'd my amorous strain--
Or Phyllis, or Amyntas--we had lain
In willowy bower o'erhung with flaunting vine;
And he would sing, or she the chaplet twine.
Nor had I cared that dusky he to view:
Dusky the hyacinth's, the violet's hue.
Here cooling springs, Lycoris, meadows gay
With flowers, and winding glades invite to stray;
Here could I, blest with thee, wile life's fleet hours away.
'Me reckless love in iron fields detains,
Where all the fury of the battle reigns:
Thou tread'st--and is it true? perfidious fair,
No Gallus at thy side to shield or share--
Dauntless tread'st Alpine snows, and ice-bound Rhine!
Ah! may no ice wound those soft feet of thine,
No arrowy sleet that tender person pierce!
For me, adapting my Chalcidian verse
To pastoral pipe, I'll sylvan strains rehearse.
Yes, 'tis resolved: 'mid wildest lairs I'll go,
And there in solitude endure my woe;
Carve on the tender rind my tale of love,
And mark it growing with the growing grove.
Or Mænalus, with mingling nymphs, I'll tread;
Or chase the tusky savage, undismay'd:
Nor storms shall stay me, as with faithful hound
Arcadia's forest-depths I girdle round.
Now over rocks, through groves, I seem to go;
Now twang my shafts from Parthia's horned bow:
As if such toils the tyrant could remove,
Or any human art could medicine love!
'Ah! nor by wood-nymphs I, nor woodland strain,
Solaced or soothed! Farewell, ye woods, again.
Vainly to tame th' obdurate god we try:
Not should our lip drain wintry Hebrus dry,
Not though our foot 'mid storms trod Thracia's snows,
Not though we fed our flocks where Cancer glows
On Indian sands, and peels the towering grove--
Love conquers all; and we must yield to love.'
Enough, ye Muses, has your bard essay'd,
Weaving his rushy basket in the shade.
These numbers you to Gallus will endear;
Gallus for whom, as year succeeds to year,
My love still grows, as in the vernal prime
The alder's shoots with strong luxuriance climb.
Rise we; shades, e'en of juniper, annoy
The minstrel choir, the ripening grain destroy:
Goats, from your pastures sated, homeward hie--
See, where bright Hesper fires the evening sky!