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Translations from Virgil.


“Scribis, ut oblectum,"


OU bid me write t'amuse the tedious hours,

And save from with'ring my poetic pow'rs. Hard is the task, my friend, for verse should flow From the free mind, not fettered down by woe; Restless amidst unceasing tempests tost, Whoe'er has cause for sorrow, I have most. Would you bid Priam laugh, his sons all slain, Or childless Niobe from tears refrain, Join the gay dance, and lead the festive train ? Does grief or study most befit the mind, To this remote, this barb'rous nook confin'd ? Could you impart to my unshaken breast The fortitude by Socrates possess'd Soon would it sink beneath such woes as mine, For what is human strength to wrath divine ? Wise as he was, and heaven pronounced him so, My suff rings would have laid that wisdom low. Could I forget my country, thee and all, And even th' offence to which I owe my fall, Yet fear alone would freeze the poet's vein, While hostile troops swarm o'er the dreary plain. Add that the fatal rust of long disuse Unfits me for the service of the Muse. Thistles and weeds are all we can expect From the best soil impov'rish'd by neglect; Unexercis'd and to his stall confined, The fleetest racer would be left behind ;

The best built bark that cleaves the wat'ry way,
Laid useless by, would moulder and decay-
No hope remains that time shall me restore,
Mean as I was, to what I was before.
Think how a series of desponding cares
Benumbs the genius and its force impairs.
How oft, as now, on this devoted sheet,
My verse constrain’d to move with measur'd feet,
Reluctant and laborious limps along,
And proves itself a wretched exile's song.
What is it tunes the most melodious lays ?
'Tis emulation and the thirst of praise,
A noble thirst, and not unknown to me,
While smoothly wafted on a calmer sea.
But can a wretch like Ovid pant for fame ?
No, rather let the world forget my name.
Is it because that world approv'd my strain,
You prompt me to the same pursuit again ?
No, let the Nine th' ungrateful truth excuse,
I charge my hopeless ruin on the Muse,
And, like Perillus, meet my just desert,
The victim of my own pernicious art.
Fool that I was to be so warn'd in vain,
And shipwreck'd once to tempt the deep again.
Ill fares the bard in this unletter'd land,
None to consult and none to understand.
The purest verse has no admirers here,
Their own rude language only suits their ear.
Rude as it is, at length familiar grown,
I learn it, and almost unlearn my own
Yet to say truth, ev'n here the Muse disdains
Confinement, and attempts her former strains,
But finds the strong desire is not the pow'r,
And what her taste condemns, the flames devour,
A part, perhaps, like this, escapes the doom,


And though unworthy, finds a friend at Rome;
But oh, the cruel art, that could undo
It's vot'ry thus, would that could perish too !


“ Vides, ut altâ stet nive candidum


"EEST thou yon mountain laden with deep snow,

The streams congeal'd forget to flow;
Come, thaw the cold, and lay a cheerful pile

Of fuel on the hearth ;
Broach the best cask, and make old winter smile

With seasonable mirth.

This be our part—let Heaven dispose the rest;

If Jove command, the winds shall sleep, That now wage war upon the foamy deep,

And gentle gales spring from the balmy West.
E'en let us shift to-morrow as we may,

When to-morrow's past away,
We at least shall have to say,

We have lived another day;
Your auburn locks will soon be silver'd o'er,
Old age is at our heels, and youth returns no more.

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“Persicos odi, puer, apparatus"

OY, I hate their empty shows,

Persian garlands I detest; Bring not me the late-blown rose

Ling'ring after all the rest :


Plainer myrtle pleases me

Thus outstretched beneath my vine ; Myrtle more becoming thee,

Waiting with thy master's wine.


“Otium Divos rogat in patenti."

Who ploughs beneath th' Ægean flood, When neither moon nor stars appear,

Or faintly glimmer through the cloud.

For ease the Mede with quiver graced,

For ease the Thracian hero sighs ; Delightful ease all pant to taste,

A blessing which no treasure buys.
For neither gold can lull to rest,

Nor all a Consul's guard beat off
The tumults of a troubled breast,
The cares that haunt a gilded roof.

Happy the man, whose table shows

A few clean ounces of old plate, No fear intrudes on his repose,

No sordid wishes to be great. Poor short-lived things, what plans we lay !

Ah, why forsake our native home ! To distant climates speed away ;

For self sticks close where'er we roam.

Care follows hard ; and soon o'ertakes

The well-rigg'd ship, the warlike steed, Her destined quarry ne'er forsakes,

Not the wind flies with half her speed. From anxious fears of future ill

Guard well the cheerful, happy now;
Gild e'en your sorrows with a smile,

No blessing is unmix'd below.
Thy neighing steeds and lowing herds,

Thy num'rous flocks around thee graze, And the best purple Tyre affords

Thy robe magnificent displays. On me indulgent Heav'n bestow'd

A rural mansion, neat and small ; This Lyre—and as for yonder crowd,

The happiness to hate them all.


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