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These cares alone her virgin breast employ,
Averse from Venus and the nuptial joy.
Her private orchards, wall'd on every side,
To lawless sylvans all access denied.
How oft the satyrs and the wanton fauns,
Who haunt the forests, or frequent the lawns,
The god whose ensigns scares the birds of prey
And old Silenus, youthful in decay,
Employ'd their wiles and unavailing 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 hay his sun-burnt temples shade
Oft in his harden'd hand a goad he bears,
Like one who late unyoked the sweating steers
Sometimes his pruning-hook corrects the vines,
And the loose stragglers to their ranks confines.
Now gathering 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 reverend 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 entered, and the fruit survey'd;
And Happy you!' he thus address'd the maid,
'Whose charms as far all other nymphs out-shine,
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, placed beside her on the flowery 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 praised the beauty of the pleasing sight.
'Yet this tall elm, but for his vine,' he said,
'Had stood neglected, and a barren shade;
And this fair vine, but that her arms surround
Her married 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 loved, and every heart subdue:
What nymph could e'er attract such crowds
Not she whose beauty urged the Centaur's arms,
Ulysses' queen, nor Helen's fatal charms.
E'en now, when silent scorn is all they gain,
A thousand court you, though they court in vain
A thousand sylvans, demigods, and gods,
nat 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 for 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 bless'd.
Add, that he varies every 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 fruit are due,
(A pleasing offering when 'tis 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 the 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 urged in vain,
He straight assumed his native form again
Such, and so bright an aspect now he bears
As when through clouds the emerging sun appears
And, thence exerting his refulgent ray,
Dispels the darkness, and reveals the day.
Force he prepared, 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.
IMITATIONS OF ENGLISH POETS Done by the Author in his Youth.
WOMEN ben full of ragerie,
Yet swinken nat sans secresie.
Thilka moral shall ye understond,
From schoole-boy's tale of fayre Irelond:
Which to the fennes hath him betake,
To filch the gray ducke fro the lake.
Right then, there passen by the way
His aunt, and eke her daughters tway,
Ducke in his trowsers hath he hent,
Not to be spied 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-he,' cried ladies; clerke nought spake;
Miss stared, and gray ducke cryeth, 'Quaake.
'O moder, moder,' quoth the daughter,
'Be thilke same thing maids longen a'ter?
Bette is to pine on coals and chalke,
Then trust on mon, whose yerde can talke.'
In every town where Thamis rolls his tyde,
A narrow pass there is with houses low:
Where, ever and anon, the stream is eyed,
And many a boat, soft sliding to and fro.
There oft are heard the notes of infant woe,
The short thick sob, loud scream, and shriller squall
How can ye, mothers, vex your children so?
Some play, some eat, some cack against the wall,
And as they crouchen low, for bread and butter call
And on the broken pavement, here and there,
Doth many a stinking sprat and herring lie;
A brandy and tobacco shop is near,
And hens, and dogs, and hogs are feeding by;
And here a sailor's jacket hangs to dry.
At every door are sun-burnt matrons seen,
Mending old nets to catch the scaly fry,
Now singing shrill, and scolding eft between; Scolds answer foul-mouth'd scolds; bad neighbourhood I ween.
he snappish cur (the passenger's annoy) Close at my heel with yelping treble flies;
The whimpering girl, and hoarser screaming boy,
Join to the yelping treble, shrilling cries;
The scolding quean to louder notes doth rise,
And her full pipes those shrilling cries confound;
To her full pipes the grunting hog replies;
The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round, And curs, girls, boys, and scolds, in the deep base are drown'd.
Hard by a sty, beneath a roof of thatch,
Dwelt Obloquy, who in her early days
Baskets of fish at Billingsgate did watch,
Cod, whiting, oyster, mackrel, sprat, or plaice;
There learn'd she speech from tongues that never
Slander beside her, like a magpie, chatters,
With Envy (spitting cat,) dread foe to peace;
Like a cursed cur, Malice before her clatters,
And, vexing every wight, tears clothes and all