Slike strani

If to the bulls and cows we take good heed;And thou, though somewhat over-fond of gain, Grudge me not half the profit.”—Having spoke, The shell he proffered, and Apollo took;


And gave him in return the glittering lash,
Installing him as herdsman. From the look
Of Mercury then laughed a joyous flash.

And then Apollo with the plectrum strook
The chords, and from beneath his hands a crash
Of mighty sounds rushed up, whose music shook
The soul with sweetness, and like an adept
His sweeter voice a just accordance kept.


The herd went wandering o'er the divine mead,
Whilst these most beautiful Sons of Jupiter
Won their swift way up to the snowy head
Of white Olympus, with the joyous lyre
Soothing their journey; and their Father dread

Gathered them both into familiar

Affection sweet,--and then, and now, and ever,
Hermes must love Him of the Golden Quiver,


To whom he gave the lyre that sweetly sounded,
Which skilfully he held, and played thereon.
He piped the while, and far and wide rebounded
The echo of his pipings,-every one
Of the Olympians sat with joy astounded:
While he conceived another piece of fun,
One of his old tricks-which the God of Day
Perceiving said :-"I fear thee, Son of May;—


"I fear thee and thy sly chameleon spirit,

Lest thou shouldst steal my lyre and crooked bow. This glory and power thou dost from Jove inherit, To teach all craft upon the earth below; Thieves love and worship thee-it is thy merit To make all mortal business ebb and flow By roguery. Now, Hermes, if you dare By sacred Styx a mighty oath to swear,


"That you will never rob me, you will do A thing extremely pleasing to my heart." Then Mercury sware by the Stygian dew

That he would never steal his bow or dart, Or lay his hands on what to him was due,

Or ever would employ his powerful art Against his Pythian fane. Then Phoebus swore There was no God or man whom he loved more.


"And I will give thee as a good-will token
The beautiful wand of wealth and happiness;
A perfect three-leaved rod of gold unbroken,
Whose magic will thy footsteps ever bless ;
And whatsoever by Jove's voice is spoken

Of earthly or divine from its recess
It like a living soul to thee will speak,—
And more than this do thou forbear to seek :


"For, dearest child, the divinations high Which thou requirest 'tis unlawful ever

That thou or any other deity

Should understand-and vain were the endeavour;

For they are hidden in Jove's mind, and I,

In trust of them, have sworn that I would never

Betray the counsels of Jove's inmost will

To any God-the oath was terrible.


"Then, golden-wanded brother, ask me not

To speak the fates by Jupiter designed;

But be it mine to tell their various lot

To the unnumbered tribes of humankind.
Let good to these and ill to those be wrought
As I dispense. But he who comes consigned
By voice and wings of perfect augury
To my great shrine shall find avail in me :


"Him will I not deceive, but will assist.

But he who comes relying on such birds
As chatter vainly, who would strain and twist
The purpose of the Gods with idle words,

And deems their knowledge light, he shall have missed

His road-whilst I among my other hoards

His gifts deposit. Yet, O Son of May,

I have another wondrous thing to say :


"There are three Fates, three virgin Sisters, who,
Rejoicing in their wind-outspeeding wings,
Their heads with flour snowed over white and new,
Sit in a vale round which Parnassus flings

Its circling skirts-from these I have learned true
Vaticinations of remotest things.

My father cared not. Whilst they search out dooms,
They sit apart and feed on honeycombs.


"They, having eaten the fresh honey, grow
Drunk with divine enthusiasm, and utter
With earnest willingness the truth they know;
But, if deprived of that sweet food, they mutter
All plausible delusions. These to you

I give ;-if you enquire, they will not stutter.
Delight your own soul with them :—any man
You would instruct may profit if he can.


"Take these and the fierce oxen, Maia's child.
O'er many a horse and toil-enduring mule,
O'er jagged-jawèd lions, and the wild

White-tusked boars, o'er all, by field or pool,
Of cattle which the mighty Mother mild
Nourishes in her bosom, thou shalt rule.
Thou dost alone the veil of death uplift:
Thou givest not-yet this is a great gift."


Thus King Apollo loved the child of May

In truth, and Jove covered them with love and joy. Hermes with Gods and men even from that day

Mingled, and wrought the latter much annoy

And little profit, going far astray

Through the dun night.-Farewell, delightful Boy,
Of Jove and Maia sprung !-never by me,

Nor thou nor other songs shall unremembered be.
July 1820.


[V. 1-55, with some omissions.]

MUSE, sing the deeds of golden Aphrodite,
Who wakens with her smile the lulled delight
Of sweet desire, taming the eternal kings
Of heaven, and men, and all the living things
That fleet along the air, or whom the sea,
And earth with her maternal ministry,
Nourish innumerable! Thy delight
All seek, . . . O crowned Aphrodite.

Three spirits canst thou not deceive or quell :-
Minerva, child of Jove, who loves too well
Fierce war and mingling combat, and the fame
Of glorious deeds, to heed thy gentle flame;-
Diana, . . . golden-shafted queen,

Is tamed not by thy smiles; the shadows green
Of the wild woods, the bow, the . . .
And piercing cries amid the swift pursuit
Of beasts among waste mountains, such delight
Is hers, and men who know and do the right ;-
Nor Saturn's first-born daughter, Vesta chaste,
Whom Neptune and Apollo wooed the last
(Such was the will of ægis-bearing Jove),
But sternly she refused the ills of love,
And by her mighty Father's head she swore,
An oath not unperformed, that evermore
A virgin she would live 'mid Deities
Divine. Her Father, for such gentle ties
Renounced, gave glorious gifts; thus in his hall
She sits, and feeds luxuriously. O'er all
In every fane, her honours first arise
From men-the eldest of Divinities.

These Spirits she persuades not nor deceives;
But none beside escape, so well she weaves
Her unseen toils: nor mortal men, nor Gods
Who live secure in their unseen abodes.

She won the soul of him whose fierce delight
Is thunder-first in glory and in might;

And as she willed, his mighty mind deceiving, With mortal limbs his deathless limbs inweaving,VOL. II.

2 E


Concealed him from his spouse and sister fair,
Whom to wise Saturn ancient Rhea bare.

But in return

In Venus Jove did soft desire awaken;
That, by her own enchantments overtaken,
She might, no more from human union free,
Burn for a nursling of mortality.
For once, amid the assembled Deities,
The laughter-loving Venus from her eyes
Shot forth the light of a soft starlight smile,
And boasting said that she, secure the while,
Could bring at will to the assembled Gods
The mortal tenants of earth's dark abodes,
And mortal offspring from a deathless stem
She could produce in scorn and spite of them.
Therefore he poured desire into her breast
Of young Anchises,

Feeding his herds among the mossy fountains
Of the wide Ida's many-folded mountains;
Whom Venus saw, and loved, and the love clung
Like wasting fire her senses wild among.


YE wild-eyed Muses, sing the Twins of Jove,
Whom the fair-ankled Leda, mixed in love
With mighty Saturn's heaven-obscuring Child,
On Taygetus, that lofty mountain wild,

Brought forth in joy; mild Pollux void of blame,
And steed-subduing Castor, heirs of fame.
These are the Powers who earth-born mortals save,
And ships whose flight is swift along the wave.
When wintry tempests o'er the savage sea
Are raging, and the sailors tremblingly
Call on the twins of Jove with prayer
Gathered in fear upon the lofty prow,
And sacrifice with snow-white lambs, -the wind,
And the huge billow bursting close behind,

and vow,

« PrejšnjaNaprej »