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 him, when first his infant 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'rs; but, warn'd by me,
Believe a goddess shrin'd in ev'ry tree.
My sire, my sister, and my spouse,
If in your breasts or love or pity dwell,
Protect your plant, nor let my branches feel
The browzing cattle or the piercing steel.
Farewell! 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; 100 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.