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Employ'd their wiles and unavailii-g care
To pass the fences, and surprise the fair !
Like these, Vertumnus own’d his faithful flame,
Like these, rejected by the scornful dame.
To gain her sight a thousand forms he wears :
And first a reaper from the field appears ;
Sweating he walks, while loads of golden grain
O’ercharge the shoulders of the seeming swain.
Oft o'er his back a crooked scythe is laid,
And wreaths of bay his sun-burnt temples shade :
Oft in his harden'd hand a goad, he bears,
Like one who late unyok'd the sweating steers.
Sometimes his pruning-hook corrects the vines,
And the loose stragglers to their ranks confines :
Now gath’ring what the bounteous year allows,
He pulls ripe apples from the bending boughs.
A soldier now, he, with his sword appears;
A fisher next, his trembling angle bears ;
Each shape he varies, and each art he tries,
On her bright charms to feast his longing eyes.
A female form at last Vertumnus wears,
With all the marks of rev'rend age appears,
His temples thinly spread with silver hairs :
Propp'd on his staff, and stooping as he goes,
A painted mitre shades his furrow'd brows.
The god, in this decrepit form array'd,
The gardens enter'd, and the fruit survey'd ;
And, Happy you l'he thus address'd the maid, )
· Whose charms as far all other nymphs outshine,
• As other gardens are excell'd by thine !
Then kiss'd the fair ; (his kisses warmer grow
Than such as women on their sex bestow)
Then plac'd beside her on the flow'ry ground,
Beheld the trees with autumn's bounty crown'd.
An elm was near, to whose embraces led,
The curling vine her swelling clusters spread ;
He view'd her twining branches with delight,
And prais'd the beauty of the pleasing sight.
Yet this tall elm, but for this vine,' he said,
"Had stood neglected, and a barren shade ;
And this fair vine, but that her arms surround
Her marry'd elm, had crept along the ground.
Ah beauteous Maid ! let this example move
Your mind averse from all the joys of love.
Deign to be lov’d, and ev'ry heart subdue !
What fymph could e'er attract such crowds as you ?
Not she whose beauty urg'd the Centaur's arms,
Ulysses' queen, nor Helen's fatal charms.
Ev'n now, when silent scorn is all they gain,
A thousand court you, though they court in vain;
A thousand sylvans, demi-gods, and gods,
That haunt our mountains and our Alban woods.
But if you'll prosper, mark what I advise,
Whom age and long experience render wise,
And one, whose tender care is far above
All that these lovers ever felt of love,
(Far more than e'er can by yourself be guess’d)
Fix on Vertumnus, and reject the rest :
For his firm faith I dare engage my own;
Scarce to himself, himself is better known.
To distant lands Vertumnus never roves;
Like you contented with his native groves;
Nor at first sight, like most, admires the fair:
For you he lives ; and you alone shall share
His last affection, as his early care.
Besides, he's lovely far above the rest,
With youth immortal, and with beauty blest.
Add, that he varies ev'ry shape with ease,
And tries all forms that may Pomona please.
But what should most excite a mutual flame,
Your rural cares and pleasures are the same.
To him your, orchard's early fruits are due ;
(A pleasing off'ring when ʼtis made by you)
He values these ; but yet, alas ! complains
That still the best and dearest gift remains.
Not the fair fruit that on yon branches glows
With that ripe red th' autumnal sun bestows;
Nor tasteful herbs that in these gardens rise,
Which the kind soil with milky sap supplies;
You, only you, can move the god's desire ;
Oh! crown so constant and so pure a fire !
Let soft compassion touch your gentle mind;
Think 'tis Vertumnus begs you to be kind:
So may no frost, when early buds appear,
Destroy the promise of the youthful year;
Nor winds, when first your florid orchard blows,
Shake the light blossoms from their blasted boughs !'
This, when the various god had urg'd in vain, He strait assum'd his native form again ;
Such, and so bright an aspect now he bears,
As when through clouds th' emerging sun appears,
And thence exerting his refulgent ray,
Dispels the darkness, and reveals the day.
Force he prepar'd, but check'd the rash design ;
For when, appearing in a form divine,
The nymph surveys him, and beholds the grace
Of charming features and a youthful face,
In her soft breast consenting passions move,
And the warm maid confess'd a mutual love.
OF ENGLISH POETS.
[Done by the Author in his Youth.]
I. CHAUCER. Women ben full of ragerie, ' Yet swinken nat sans secresie. Thilke moral shall ye understond, From schoole-boy's tale of fayre Irelond; Which to the fennes hath him betake, To filch the grey ducke fro the lake. Right then there passen by the way His aunt, and eke her daughters tway. Ducke in his trowses hath he hent, Not to be spy'd of ladies gent. But 'ho ! our nephew,' crieth one, “ Ho !" quoth another, “ Cozen John;" And stoppen, and lough, and callen out, This silly clerke full low doth lout: They asken that, and talken this, "Lo, here is Coz, and here is Miss.' But, as he glozeth with speeches soote, The ducke sore tickleth his erse roote : Fore-piece and buttons all-to-brest Forth thrust a white neck and red crest. · Te-hee;' cry'd ladies ; clerke nought spake : Miss star'd, and grey ducke crieth “ quaake."