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Up, youths, and lead the choral dance
Brandish the torches and advance;

The marriage-feast awaiteth thee,

Hymen ades O Hymenaee!
Virgins.

Joy flits round on purple wing,
Garlands balmiest odours fling,
Which the nymphs' deft fingers wove
Deep in consecrated grove ;

The marriage feast awaiteth thee,

Hymen ades (Hymenaee!
Youths.

King of all the starry train,
Ere thou dip beneath the main,
Shake from out thy golden hair
Influences soft and fair.

The marriage-feast awaiteth thee,

Hymen ades O Hymenaee !
Virgins.

Builder of the sacred house,
Invoked by parent, maiden, spouse,
Wave thy torch and go before,
Lead her from her parent's door,

Receive the bride her hands bes w:

Talassius, Talassio !
Youths.

Thee invokes the trembling sire,
Thee the husband doth desire,
Swayed by love and swayed by fear,
Nought can win his eager ear,

Which longs thy glad approach to know :

Talassius, Talassio ! (The door of the house opens and enter the bride veiled, led by

two boys, and escorted by the bridesmaids.) Virgins.

See! the beauteous bride appears,
Her veil bedewed with sacred tears ;

The last tears that shall ever fall,
Love shall wipe them once for all ;

With joy henceforth her heart shall glow :

Talassius, Talassio !
Youths.

Bear aloft the torches, boys !
Sing, ye maidens, wedlock's joys!
Matrons, lead the loveliest flower
E'er fostered in Italian bower!

To the marriage-feast we go:

Talassius, Talassio ! (The procession moves across the stage, led by the boys bearing

torches, and disappears at the further side.)

SCENE II.-The front of Thaliarchus' house. Music within, and illuminations. Enter from within the

house HORACE, VIRGIL, and CRISPINUS. Music heard, the marriage procession appears, and the Epithalamium is

sung. Virgins.

From thy sapphire-tinctured halls,

Which the quenchless stars do pave,
Where the spheric music calls

To the voice of that soft wave,
Which from Joy's ethereal shore
The Fates roll to thy golden floor,
From thy jewelled throne above,

Spouse and sister of great Jove,
Look down and bless the nuptial rite,

With murmur of divine consent,
While the youth and maiden plight

With holy vows their glad and pure intent.
Youths.

Let the mighty gods of Rome,

Who blessed the weddings of our sires,

Sweep to-night into this home,

Stir with sacred hands its fires,
For a chaster youth than this,
Ne'er did lips of virgin kiss,
Nor cleaner hands nor heart more true

E'er to the sweet gods bring their due.
Come near and bless the nuptial rite

With murmur of divine consent,
While the youth and virgin plight

With holy vows their glad and pure intent.
Virgins.

Let the snow-white sheets be spread,

Its scent the precious casket yield,
That to-night the nuptial bed

Smell like the odours of a field.
Let silken curtains wrap them round,
Safe from harmful spell or sound;
Nor baleful eye nor shade affright,
But deep-veiled Darkness bring delight,
Until

yon star lead rosy Morn,
Driving her flocks all silver-fleeced,

And crimson-kirtled Day adorn, With loveliness all dew-empearled the bird-rejoicing East.

Youths.

May a tiny Thaliarch smile *

Sweetly on its mother's breast,
Its tender hand with baby-wile

Reaching out to be caressed.
May he carry in his face
The stamp of his paternal race,
And the passing stranger own
The father's image in his son.
And his mother's faith be proved
By the features of her child,

* See Catullus, Carm. 61, verse 210.

P

And her husband, sole beloved,

Joy in his beauteous spouse, his own, his undefiled. Lucius (to Horace).

Now's the time for me to strike in while they're taking deep breaths for another start. If some one doesn't hold up the shady side to all this gladness, Fortune, the vixen, may transfix us with the evil eye, or trip up our heels with

some calamity. (Sings.)

Although she's fair she'll sulk and pout,
Hang like a cloud the house about,
And turn her face unto the wall,
For little cause or none at all,
Wish she were back again at home,
Think she's the worst used out of Rome.
Poor fellow, how her moods will tease thee,
Sometimes she'll vex, sometimes she'll please thee,
Now make thy breast thrill with desire,
Now make thee stamp for very ire,
Yet have so much to charm about her,
Thou'lt not live half a day without her.
Now she'll be loving, then so cold,
She would make Joy himself feel old.
Wed by all means, but be thou sure
All this and more thou must endure,
No more for thee will life move slow,
A wife's the thing to make it go;
She'll keep work and thee together,
Whate'er the wages or the weather ;
And shine and shade so deftly mingle,

Thou'lt scarcely wish that thou wert single.
Youths and Virgins,

Avaunt, vile slanderer! Bring not thy croaking ditties here. Away, and take thy lies with thee !

(They beat him with their torches.)

Beat him, burn him ;
Pinch him, spurn him ;
Drive him off, and may he marry
The ills his saucy verses carry.

(Exit Lucius, driven off.) Virgins.

See how powerful and how blest

Thy husband's house awaits thee here;
Share henceforth its wealth and rest,

Be its joy for many a year.
With his best friends by his side,
Thy husband waits to kiss his bride,
With omens good and music sweet,
Lift her golden-sandaled feet

Over the threshold to the floor.
Loose her arm and lead her, boy,

To the bridal-chamber door, And give thy sweet charge to the care of purple-winged Joy. (They lift the bride as they sing and carry her up the steps and

into the house.) Crispinus.

'Tis well Aristius Fuscus is not here,

His heart would break with envy.
Horace.

Ay, poor old soul !
Amid the joy and laughter of the feast,
The fair and happy faces all around,
I can't help thinking of him and his love,
So youthful, artless, genuine and pure,
Without a kind of heart-ache. My dear bard (to Virgil),
Thy wine of life contains no bunch of myrrh
To make it bitter-sweet, and yet ripe tears
Are sparkling in thine eyes.
Virgil.

For joy, my friend ;
These are the scenes which make Italian fields

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