The Works of Virgil (Dryden)/Pastorals (Dryden)/Book 5

Illustration of Pastoral 5, "Since on the Downs our Flocks together feed"

The Fifth Pastoral.




Mopsus and Menalcas, two very expert Shepherds at a Song, begin one by consent to the Memory of Daphnis; who is suppos'd, by the best Criticks, to represent Julius Cæsar. Mopsus laments his Death, Menalcas proclaims his Divinity. The whole Eclogue consisting of an Elegie and an Apotheosis.


SINCE on the Downs our Flocks together feed,

And since my Voice can match your tuneful Reed,
Why sit we not beneath the grateful Shade,
Which Hazles, intermix'd with Elms, have made?


Whether you please that Silvan Scene to take,5

Where whistling Winds uncertain Shadows make:

Or will you to the cooler Cave succeed,
Whose Mouth the curling Vines have overspread?


Your Merit and your Years command the Choice:

Amyntas only rivals you in Voice.10


What will not that presuming Shepherd dare,

Who thinks his Voice with Phœbus may compare?


Begin you first; if either Alcon's Praise,

Or dying Phillis have inspir'd your Lays:
If her you mourn, or Codrus you commend,15
Begin, and Tityrus your Flock shall tend.


Or shall I rather the sad Verse repeat,

Which on the Beeches Bark I lately writ:
I writ, and sung betwixt; now bring the Swain
Whose Voice you boast, and let him try the Strain.20


Such as the Shrub to the tall Olive shows,

Or the pale Sallow to the blushing Rose;
Such is his Voice, if I can judge aright,
Compar'd to thine, in sweetness and in height.


No more, but sit and hear the promis'd Lay,25

The gloomy Grotto makes a doubtful day.
The Nymphs about the breathless Body wait
Of Daphnis, and lament his cruel Fate.

The Trees and Floods were witness to their Tears:
At length the rumour reach'd his Mother's Ears.30
The wretched Parent, with a pious haste,
Came running, and his lifeless Limbs embrac'd.
She sigh'd, she sob'd, and, furious with despair,
She rent her Garments, and she tore her Hair:
Accusing all the Gods and every Star.35
The Swains forgot their Sheep, nor near the brink
Of running Waters brought their Herds to drink.
The thirsty Cattle, of themselves, abstain'd
From Water, and their grassy Fare disdain'd.
The death of Daphnis Woods and Hills deplore,40
They cast the sound to Lybia's desart Shore;
The Lybian Lyons hear, and hearing roar.
Fierce Tygers Daphnis taught the Yoke to bear;
And first with curling Ivy dress'd the Spear:
Daphnis did Rites to Bacchus first ordain;45
And holy Revels for his reeling Train.
As Vines the Trees, as Grapes the Vines adorn,
As Bulls the Herds, and Fields the Yellow Corn;
So bright a Splendor, so divine a Grace,
The glorious Daphnis cast on his illustrious Race.50
When envious Fate the Godlike Daphnis took,
Our guardian Gods the Fields and Plains forsook:
Pales no longer swell'd the teeming Grain,
Nor Phœbus fed his Oxen on the Plain:
No fruitful Crop the sickly Fields return;55
But Oats and Darnel choak the rising Corn.

And where the Vales with Violets once were crown'd,
Now knotty Burrs and Thorns disgrace the Ground.
Come, Shepherds, come, and strow with Leaves the Plain;
Such Funeral Rites your Daphnis did ordain.
With Cypress Boughs the Crystal Fountains hide,61
And softly let the running Waters glide;
A lasting Monument to Daphnis raise;
With this Inscription to record his Praise,
Daphnis, the Fields Delight, the Shepherd's Love,65
Renown'd on Earth, and deify'd above.
Whose Flock excell'd the fairest on the Plains,
But less than he himself surpass'd the Swains.


Oh Heavenly Poet! such thy Verse appears,

So sweet, so charming to my ravish'd Ears,70
As to the weary Swain, with Cares opprest,
Beneath the Silvan Shade, refreshing Rest:
As to the feavorish Travellor, when first
He finds a Crystal Stream to quench his Thirst.
In singing, as in piping, you excell;75
And scarce your Master could perform so well.
O fortunate young Man, at least your Lays
Are next to his, and claim the second Praise.
Such as they are my rural Songs I join,
To raise our Daphnis to the Pow'rs Divine;80
For Daphnis was so good, to love what-e'er was mine.


How is my Soul with such a Promise rais'd!

For both the Boy was worthy to be prais'd,
And Stimichon has often made me long,
To hear, like him, so soft so sweet a Song.85


Daphnis, the Guest of Heav'n, with wondring Eyes,

Views in the Milky Way, the starry Skies:
And far beneath him, from the shining Sphere,
Beholds the moving Clouds, and rolling Year,
For this, with chearful Cries the Woods resound;90
The Purple Spring arrays the various ground:
The Nymphs and Shepherds dance; and Pan himself is corwn'd.
The Wolf no longer prowls for nightly Spoils,
Nor Birds the Sprindges fear, nor Stags the Toils:
For Daphnis reigns above; and deals from thence95
His Mother's milder Beams, and peaceful Influence.
The Mountain tops unshorn, the Rocks rejoice;
The lowly Shrubs partake of Humane Voice.
Assenting Nature, with a gracious nod,
Proclaims him, and salutes the new-admitted God.100
Be still propitious, ever good to thine:
Behold four hallow'd Altars we design;
And two to thee, and two to Phœbus rise;
On each is offer'd Annual Sacrifice.

The holy Priests, at each returning year,105
Two Bowls of Milk, and two of Oil shall bear;
And I my self the Guests with friendly Bowls will chear.
Two Goblets will I crown with sparkling Wine,
The gen'rous Vintage of the Chian Vine;109
These will I pour to thee, and make the Nectar thine.
In Winter shall the Genial Feast be made
Before the Fire; by Summer in the shade.
Damætas shall perform the Rites Divine;
And Lictian Ægon in the Song shall join.
Alphesibæus, tripping, shall advance;115
And mimick Satyrs in his antick Dance.
When to the Nymphs our annual Rites we pay,
And when our Fields with Victims we survey:
While savage Boars delight in shady Woods,
And finny Fish inhabit in the Floods;120
While Bees on Thime, and Locusts feed on Dew,
Thy grateful Swains these Honours shall renew.
Such Honours as we pay to Pow'rs Divine,
To Bacchus and to Ceres, shall be thine.124
Such annual Honours shall be giv'n, and thou
Shalt hear, and shalt condemn thy Suppliants to their Vow.


What Present worth thy Verse can Mopsus find!

Not the soft Whispers of the Southern Wind,
That play through trembling Trees, delight me more;
Nor murm'ring Billows on the sounding Shore;130

Nor winding Streams that through the Valley glide;
And the scarce cover'd Pebbles gently chide.


Receive you first this tuneful Pipe; the same

That play'd my Coridon's unhappy Flame.
The same that sung Neæra's conqu'ring Eyes;135
And, had the Judge been just, had won the Prize.


Accept from me this Sheephook in exchange,

The Handle Brass; the Knobs in equal range.
Antigenes, with Kisses, often try'd
To beg this Present, in his Beauty's Pride;140
When Youth and Love are hard to be deny'd.
But what I cou'd refuse, to his Request,
Is yours unask'd, for you deserve it best.

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