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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 unyoak'd 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. 40
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, 45
With all the marks of reverend age appears,
His temples thinly spread with silver hairs;
Tempora faepe gerens foeno religata recenti,
Defectum poterat gramen verfasse videri.
Saepe manu stimulos rigida portabat; ut illum
Jurares fessos modo disjunxisse juvencos.
Falce data frondator erat, vitisque putator :
Induerat scalas, lecturum poma putares :
Miles erat gladio, piscator arundine fumta.
Denique per multas aditum fibi faepe figuras
Repperit, ut caperet fpectatae gaudia formae.
Ille etiam picta redimitus tempora mitra,
Prop'd on his staff, and stooping as he goes,
A painted mitre fhades his furrow'd brows.
The God in this decrepit form array’d,
The gardens enter’d, and the fruit survey’d;
And“ Happy you! (he thus address’d the maid)
66 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 55
Than such as women on their sex bestow.)
Then plac'd 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 : 60
He view'd her twining branches with delight,
And prais'd the beauty of the pleasing fight.
Yet this tall elm, but for his vine (he said)
Had stood neglected, and a barren shade;
Innitens baculo, positis ad tempora canis,
Adsimulavit anum: cultosque intravit in hortos;
Pomaque mirata est : Tantoque potentior, inquit.
Paucaque laudatae dedit ofcula : qualia nunquam
Vera dedisset anus : glebaque incurva resedit,
Sufpiciens pandos autumni pondere ramos.
Ulmus erat contra, spatiosa tumentibus uvis :
Quam socia poftquam pariter cum vite probavit;
At fi staret, ait, coelebs, fine palmite truncus,
Nil praeter frondes, quare peteretur, haberet.
And this fair vine, but that her arms surround 63
Her marry'd 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 lov’d, and every heart subdue !
What nymph could e'er attract such crouds as you ? 70
Not the whose beauty urg'd the Centaur's arms,
Ulysses' Queen, nor Helen's fatal charms.
Ev’n now, when silent scorn is all they gain,
A thousand court you, though they court in vain,
A thousand fylvans, 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 of love,
Haec quoque, quae juncta vitis requiescit in ulmo, 65
Si non nupta foret, terrae adclinata jaceret.
Tu tamen exemplo non tangeris arboris hujus;
Concubitusque fugis : nec te conjungere curas.
Atque utinam velles ! Helene non pluribus esset
Sollicitata procis: nec quae Lapitheïa movit
Proelia, nec conjux timidis audacis Ulyssei.
Nunc quoque. cum fugias averserisque petentes,
Mille proci cupiunt; et semideique deique,
tenent Albanos numina montes. Sed tu, fi fapies, fi te bene jungere, anumque Hanc audire voles, (quae te plus omnibus illis 80
(Far more than e'er can by yourself be guefs’d)
Fix on Vertumnus, and reject the rest.
For his firm faith I dare engage my own;
Scarce to himself, himfelf 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 bleft.
Add, that he varies every shape with ease,
And tries all forms that may Pomona please.
But what should moft excite à mutual flame,
Your rúral cares and pleasures are the same. 95
To him your orchard's early fruit are due,
(A pleasing offering when 'tis made by you)
Plus quam credis, amo) vulgares rejice taedas :
Vertumnumque tori socium tibi selige : pro quo
quoque pignus habe, neque enim sibi notior ille est,
Quam mihi, nec toto passım vagus errat in orbe.
Haec loca sola colit; nec, uti pars magna procorum,
Quam modo vidit, amat. tu primus et ultimus illi
Ardor eris; solique suos tibi devovet annos.
Adde, quod eft juvenis: quod naturale decoris 90
Munus habet; formasque apte fingetur in omnes :
Et, quod erit juffus (jubeas licet omnia) fiet.
Quid, quod amatis idem ? quod, quae tibi poma co-
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 th' 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 fo 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 urg'd in vain, He strait assuin'd his native form again; Such, and so bright an aspect now he bears, As when through clouds th' emerging sun appears, 115
Primus habet; laetaque tenet tua munera dextra?
Sed neque jam foetus desiderat arbore demtos,
Nec, quas hortus alit, cum fuccis mitibus herbas; 100
Nec quidquam, nisi te. miserere ardentis : et ipsum,
Qui petit, ore meo praesentem crede precari. -
Sic tibi nec vernum nascentia frigus adurat
Poma; nec excutiant rapidi florentia venti.
Haec ubi nequicquam formas Deus aptus in omnes,
Edidit; in juvenem rediit: et anilia demit
Instrumenta fibi : talisque adparuit illi,
Qualis ubi oppositas nitidissima solis imago I15