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No! howsoe'er the semblance thou assume
My mind with treasure, led'st me far away 90
From city din to deep retreats, to banks And streams Aonian, and, with free consent, Didst place me happy at Apollo's side. I speak not now, on more important themes Intent, of common benefits, and such As nature bids, but of thy larger gifts, My father! who, when I had opened once The stores of Roman rhetoric, and learned The full-toned language of the eloquent Greeks, Whose lofty music graced the lips of Jove, 100
Thyself didst counsel me to add the flowers That Gallia boasts; those too with which the smooth Italian his degenerate speech adorns, That witnesses his mixture with the Goth;And Palestine's prophetic songs divine. To sum the whole, whate'er the heaven contains, The earth beneath it, and the air between, The rivers and the restless deep, may all Prove intellectual gain to me, my wish
Concurring with thy will; Science herself, 110
All cloud removed, inclines her beauteous head, And offers me the lip, if, dull of heart, I shrink not, and decline her gracious boon.
Go now and gather dross, ye sordid minds
As they were insecure, who made the boy 120
The world's vice-luminary, bade him rule The radiant chariot of the day, and bind To his young brows his own all-dazzling wreath?I therefore, although last and least, my place Among the learned in the laurel grove Will hold, and where the conqueror's ivy twines, Henceforth exempt from the unlettered throng Profane, nor even to be seen by such. Away, then, sleepless Care; Complaint, away; And, Envy, with thy "jealous leer malign!" 130
Nor let the monster Calumny shoot forth Her venomed tongue at me. Detested foes!
Ye all are impotent against my peace,
TRANSLA T10NSFor I am privileged, and bear my breastSafe, and too high for your viperean wound.
But thou, my father! since to render thanks
And bear them treasured in a grateful mind! 140 Ye too, the favourite pastime of my youth, My voluntary numbers, if ye dare To hope longevity, and to survive Your master's funeral, not soon absorbed In the oblivious Lethaean gulf, Shall to futurity perhaps convey
This theme, and by these praises of my sire
Improve the fathers of a distant age!
A ROMAN POET, MUCH INDISPOSED.
The original is written in a measure called Scazon, which signifies limping, and the measure is so denominated because, though in other respects Iambic, it terminates with a Spondee, and has consequently a more tardy movement.
The reader will immediately see that this property of the Latin verse cannot be imitated in English.
Mv halting Muse, that dragg'st by choice along Thy slow, slow step, in melancholy song, And likest that pace, expressive of thy cares, Not less than Deiopeia's sprightlier airs, When in the dance she beats with measured tread Heaven's floor, in front of Juno's golden bed;Salute Salsillus, who to verse divine Prefers, with partial love, such lays as mine. Thus writes that Milton, then, who, wafted o'er From his own nest on Albion's stormy shore, 10 Where Eurus, fiercest of the /Eolian band,
Sweeps with ungoverned rage the blasted land, Of late to more serene Ausonia came To view her cities of illustrious name, To prove, himself a witness of the truth, How wise her elders, and how learned her youth.
Much good, Salsillus! and a body free From all disease, that Milton asks for thee, Who now endurest the languor, and the pains, That bile inflicts, diffused through all thy veins, 20 Relentless malady! not moved to spare By thy sweet Roman voice, and Lesbian air!
Health, Hebe's sister, sent us from the skies,
Pythius, or Paean, or what name divine
Soe'er thou choose, haste, heal a priest of thine!
Ye groves of Faunus, and ye hills that melt
With vinous dews, where meek Evander dwelt,
If aught salubrious in your confines grow,
Strive which shall soonest heal your poet's woe, 30
That, rendered to the Muse he loves, again
He may enchant the meadows with his strain.
Numa, reclined in everlasting ease,
Amid the shade of dark embowering trees,
Viewing with eyes of unabated fire
His loved /Egeria, shall that strain admire:
So soothed, the tumid Tiber shall revere
The tombs of kings, nor desolate the year,
Shall curb his waters with a friendly rein,
And guide them harmless, till they meet the main. 40
TO GIOVANNI BATTISTA MANSO,
MARQUIS OF VILLA.
MILTON'S ACCOUNT OF MANSO.
Giovanni Battista Manso, Marquis of Villa, is an Italian nobleman of the highest estimation among his countrymen, for genius, literature, and military accomplishments. To him Torquato Tasso addressed his "Dialogues on Friendship," for he was much the friend of Tasso, who has also celebrated him among the other princes of his country, in his poem entitled "Gerusalemme Conquistata," book xx.
Fra cavalier magnanimi, e cortesi,
During the Author's stay at Naples, he received at the hands of the Marquis a thousand kind offices and civilities, and, desirous not to appear ungrateful, sent him this poem a short time before his departure from that city.
These verses also to thy praise the Nine—
For, Gallus and Maecenas gone, they see j
None such besides, or whom they love as thee;
And if my verse may give the meed of fame,
Thine too shall prove an everlasting name.
Already such, it shines in Tasso's page
(For thou wast Tasso's friend) from age to age,
And, next, the Muse consigned (not unaware
How high the charge) Marino to thy care, 10
Who, singing to the nymphs Adonis' praise,
Boasts thee the patron of his copious lays.
To thee alone the poet would entrust
His latest vows, to thee alone his dust;
And thou with punctual piety hast paid,
In laboured brass, thy tribute to his shade.
Nor this contented thee,—but lest the grave
Should aught absorb of theirs which thou couldst save,
All future ages thou hast deigned to teach
The life, lot, genius, character of each, 20
Eloquent as the Carian sage, who, true
To his great theme, the life of Homer drew.
I, therefore, though a stranger youth, who come Chilled by rude blasts that freeze my northern home, Thee dear to Clio, confident proclaim, And thine, for Phcebus' sake, a deathless name. Nor thou, so kind, wilt view with scornful eye A Muse scarce reared beneath our sullen sky, Who fears not, indiscreet as she is young, To seek in Latium hearers of her song. We too, where Thames with his unsullied waves The tresses of the blue-haired Ocean laves, Hear oft by night, or slumbering seem to hear, O'er his wide stream, the swan's voice warbling clear, And we could boast a Tityrus of yore, Who trod, a welcome guest, your happy shore. Yes, dreary as we own our northern clime, Even we to Phcebus raise the polished rhyme. We too serve Phcebus; Phcebus has received (If legends old may claim to be believed) No sordid gifts from us, the golden ear, The burnished apple, ruddiest of the year, The fragrant crocus, and, to grace his fane, Fair damsels chosen from the Druid train;Druids, our native bards in ancient time, Who gods and heroes praised in hallowed rhyme. Hence, often as the maids of Greece surround Apollo's shrine with hymns of festive sound, They name the virgins, who arrived of yore, With British offerings, on the Delian shore; Loxo, from giant Corineus sprung, Upis, on whose blest lips the future hung, And Hecaerge, with the golden hair, All decked with Pictish hues, and all with bosoms bare. Thou, therefore, happy sage, whatever clime Shall ring with Tasso's praise in after time, Or with Marino's, shalt be known their friend, And with an equal flight to fame ascend. The world shall hear how Phrebus and the Nine Were inmates once, and willing guests of thine. Yet Phcebus, when of old constrained to roam The earth, an exile from his heavenly home, Entered, no willing guest, Admetus' door, Though Hercules had ventured there before. But gentle Chiron's cave was near, a scene Of rural peace, clothed with perpetual green,
And thither, oft as respite he required From rustic clamours loud, the god retired. There, many a time, on Peneus' bank reclined At some oak's root, with ivy thick entwined, 70
Won by his hospitable friend's desire, He soothed his pains of exile with the lyre. Then shook the hills, then trembled Peneus' shore, Nor CEta felt his load of forests more;The upland elms descended to the plain, And softened lynxes wondered at the strain. Well may we think, O dear to all above!
The kings and heroes of my native clime, 90 Arthur the chief, who even now prepares, In subterraneous being, future wars, With all his martial knights, to be restored Each to his seat around the federal board;And oh, if spirit fail me not, disperse Our Saxon plunderers, in triumphant verse:Then, after all, when, with the past content, A life I finish, not in silence spent, Should he, kind mourner, o'er my death-bed bend, I shall but need to say—" Be yet my friend!" 100
He, too, perhaps, shall bid the marble breathe To honour me, and with the graceful wreath, Or of Parnassus or the Paphian isle, Shall bind my brows,—but I shall rest the wh'le.
Then also, if the fruits of faith endure, And virtue's promised recompense be sure, Borne to those seats to which the blest aspire By purity of soul and virtuous fire, These rites, as fate permits, I shall survey
With eyes illumined by celestial day, IIO
And, every cloud from my pure spirit driven, Joy in the bright beatitude of heaven!