Dear to my heart, ye Muses, or bestow
Such lays, as from the reed of Codrus flow--
Codrus, who Phoebus 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.'
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,
That no ill tongue malignant influence shed.'
Dian, this head, the boar's late bristled pride,
These branching antlers by the stag supplied,
My little Micon hangs upon thy shrine;
But would'st thou grant success like this were mine,
Whole in bright marble thou should'st stand enshrined,
And purple buskins should thy ankles bind.
This bowl of milk, these annual cakes, we give;
Wealthier, Priapus, hope not to receive:
The fruits 'tis thine to guard, alas! are mean--
Now poorly form'd in marble thou art seen;
But, should a teeming season bless my fold,
My grateful voice should bid that form be gold.'
O Galatea, thou who scent'st the air
Sweeter than Hybla's thyme, than swans more fair,
More graceful than the ivy's flexile twine--
O 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!
Bitterer than crowfoot be I deem'd by thee,
Which glows on far Sardinia's yellow lea;
Rougher than gorse with prickles cover'd o'er,
And viler than the sea-weed cast ashore,
If this long lingering day outlast not years!
Homeward, for shame! haste homeward, well-fed steers.
Ye springs, whose margins are with moss inlaid;
Thou grassy couch, than slumber softer made;
And thou, green arbutus, whose slender bough
Can but a thin and scanty shade bestow:
O screen my flock! 'Tis summer's sultry day;
See, the glad vines their turgid buds display!
Here on this hearth, with resinous billets piled,
The pine-branch blazes; and the rafters, soil'd
With constant smoke, bespeak the warmth within:
Nor more we care for winter's snow-clad scene
Than wolves respect the numbers of the fold,
Or streams their banks, in mountain-torrent roll'd.
Now wears the Juniper its leafy pride,
And the rough chestnut throws its branches wide;
Fall'n from their boughs, the apples here survey:
All nature laughs, and every bower is gay!
But, if Alexis from these mountains hie,
All nature sickens, and each stream is dry.
The fields are parch'd: by sultriness opprest,
The russet meads have lost their summer vest:
No shade, so Bacchus wills, the vineyards rear--
But should my beauteous Phyllis re-appear,
The vines shall robe themselves in green again,
And welcome showers shall gladden all the plain.
Dear to Alcides are his poplar groves;
Bacchus the vine, the myrtle Venus loves;
Apollo glories in his own green bay,
And Phyllis doats upon the hazel gray--
Long as the hazel is to Phyllis dear,
Nor bay nor myrtle lovelier shall appear.
Graceful the ash amidst the woodland towers,
Poplars by brooks, and pines in garden-bowers;
By spiry firs the mountain is possest--
But be thou, Lycidas, my frequent guest,
Less fair the woodland ash would seem to me,
The pine in garden-bower less fair would be.'