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O: Mithra, to whose beams the Persian bows, And pays, in hollow rocks, his aweful vows; Mithra! whose head the blaze of light adorns, Who grasps the struggling heifer's lunar horns.”
THE FABLE OF DRYOPE.
FROM THE NINTU BOOK OF
OVID'S METAMORPHOSES. She said ; and for her lost Galanthis sighs, When the fair consort of her son replies ; " Since you a servant's ravish'd form bemoan, And kindly sigh for sorrows not your own, Let me (if tears and grief permit) relate A nearer woe, a sister's stranger fate. No nymph of all chalia could compare For beauteous form with Dryopè the fair ; Her tender mother's only hope and pride, (Myself the offspring of a second bride.) This nymph compress’d by him who rules the day, Whom Delphi and the Delian isle obey, Andræmon lov'd; and bless'd in all those charms That pleas'd a god, succeeded to her arms.
A lake there was, with shelving banks around, Whose verdant summit fragrant myrtles crown'd; These shades unknowing of the Fates, she sought, And to the Naiads flow'ry garlands brought ;
Her smiling babe (a pleasing charge) she prest
Within her arms, and nourish'd at her breast.
Not distant far, a wat’ry lotos grows;
The spring was new, and all the verdant boughs,
Adorn'd with blossoms, promis'd fruits that vie
In glowing colors with the Tyrian dye :
Of these she cropp'd to please her infant son, .
And I myself the same rash act had done ;
But lo! I saw (as near her side I stood)
The violated blossoms drop with blood;
Upon the tree I cast a frightful look ;
The trembling tree with sudden horror shook.
Lotis the nymph (if rural tales be true)
As from Priapus' lawless lust she flew,
Forsook her form ; and fixing here, became
A flow'ry plant, which still preserves her name.
This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight,
My trembling sister strove to urge her flight ;
And first the pardon of the nymphs implor'd,
And the offended sylvan pow'rs ador'd :
But when she backward would have fled, she found
Her stiffning feet were rooted in the ground:
In vain to free her fasten'd feet she strove,
And as she struggles only moves above;
She feels th' encroaching bark around her grow
By quick degrees, and cover all below.
Surpris'd at this, her trembling hand she heaves
To rend her hair ; her hand is fill'd with leaves :
Where late was hair, the shooting leaves are seen
To rise and shade her with a sudden green.
The child Amphissus, to her bosom prest,
Perceiv'd a colder and a harder breast,
And found the springs, that ne'er till then deny'd
Their milky moisture, on a sudden dry'd.
I saw, unhappy ! what I now relate,
And stood the helpless witness of thy fate,
Embrac'd thy boughs, thy raising bark delay'd,
There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade.
Behold Andræmon and th' unhappy sire
Appear, and for their Dryopè inquire ;
A springing tree for Dryopè they find,
And print warm kisses on the panting rind.
Prostrate, with tears their kindred plant bedew.
And close embrace as to the roots they grew.
The face was all that now remain'd of thee,
No more a woman, nor yet quite a tree;
Thy branches hung with humid pearls appear,
From ev'ry leaf distils a trickling tear;
And strait a voice, while yet a voice remains,
Thus through the trembling boughs in sighs com-
• If to the wretched any faith be giv'n,
I swear by all th' unpitying pow’rs of heav'n,
No wilful crime this heavy vengeance bred:
In mutual innocence our lives we led.
If this te false, let these new greens decay,
Let sounding axes lop my limbs away,
And crackling flames on all my honors prey.
But from my branching arms this infant bear,
Let some kind nurse supply a mother's care ;
And to his mother let him oft be led,
Sport in her shades, and in her shades be fed.
Teach hiin, when first his infart voice shall frame
Imperfect words, and lisp his mother's name,
To hail this tree; and say, with weeping eyes,
Within this plant my hapless parent lies ;
And when in youth he seeks the shady woods,
Oh ! let him fly the crystal lakes and floods,
Nor touch the fatal flow'ıs; but, warn’d by me,
Believe a goddess shrin'd in ev'ry tree.
My sire, my sister, and my spouse, farewel !
If in your breast, or love, or pity, dwell,
Protect your plant, nor let my branches feel
The browsing cattle, or the piercing steel.
Farewel ! and since I cannot bend to join
My lips to yours, advance, at least, to mine.
My son, thy mother's parting kiss receive,
While yet thy mother has a kiss to give.
I can no more ; the creeping rind invades
My closing lips, and hides my head in shades :
Remove your hands, the bark shall soon suffice
Without their aid to seal these dying eyes.'
She ceas'd at once to speak, and ceas'd to be,
And all the nymph was lost within the tree :
Yet latent life through her new branches reign'd,
And long the plant a human heat retain'd.
FROM THE FOURTEENTH BOOK OF
The fair Pomona flourish'd in his reign;
Of all the virgins of the sylvan train
None taught the trees a nobler race to bear,
Or mose improv'd the vegetable care.
To her the shady grove, the flow'ry field,
The streams and fountains, no delights could yield;
Twas all her joy the rip’ning fruits to tend,
And see the boughs with happy burthens bend.
The hook she bore instead of Cynthia's spear,
To top the growth of the luxuriant year,
To decent forms the lawless shoots to bring,
And teach th' obedient branches where to spring.
Now the cleft rind inserted graffs receives,
And yields an offspring more than Nature gives ;
Now sliding streams the thirsty plants renew,
And feed their fibres with reviving dew.
These cares alone her virgin breast employ,
Averse from Venus and the nuptial joy.
Her private orchards, wallid on ev'ry side,
To lawless sylvans all access deny’d.
How oft the Satyrs and the wanton Fawns,
Who haunt the forests, or frequent the lawns,
The god, whose ensign scares the birds of prey,
And old Silenus, youthful in decay,