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These shades, unknowing of the fates, she sought,
This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight,
Embraced thy boughs, thy rising bark delay'd, There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade.
Behold Andræmon and the unhappy sire Appear, and for their Dryope inquire; A springing tree for Dryope 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 every leaf distils a trickling tear, And straight a voice, while yet a voice remains, Thus through the trembling boughs in sighs com
plains : 'If to the wretched any faith be given, I swear by all the unpitying powers of heaven, No wilful crime this heavy vengeance bred; In mutual innocence our lives we led : If this be false, let these new greens decay, Let sounding axes lop my limbs away, And crackling flames on all my honours 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 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 flowers; but, warn’d by me, Believe a goddess shrined in every tree. My sire, my sister, and my spouse, farewell! If in your breast or love or pity dwell, Protect your plant, nor let my branches feel The browsing catile, or the piercing steel.
Farewell! and since I cannot bend' to join
She ceased at once to speak, and ceased to be ;
VERTUMNUS AND POMONA.
The fair Pomona flourish'd in his reign :
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
'Yet this tall elm, but for his vine,' he said,
you ? 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 sylvang, demigods, 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 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.