The thirsty mother.
Place me where on the ice-bound plain
No tree is cheer’d by summer breezes,
Where Jove descends in sleety rain
Or sullen freezes;
Place me where none can live for heat,
‘Neath Phoebus’ very chariot plant me,
That smile so sweet, that voice so sweet,
Shall still enchant me.
You fly me, Chloe, as o’er
A young fawn runs her timorous dam to find,
Whom empty terror thrills
Of woods and whispering wind.
Whether ’tis Spring’s first shiver, faintly heard
Through the light leaves, or lizards in the brake
The rustling thorns have stirr’d,
Her heart, her knees, they quake.
Yet I, who chase you, no grim lion am,
No tiger fell, to crush you in my gripe:
Come, learn to leave your dam,
For lover’s kisses ripe.
Why blush to let our tears unmeasured
For one so dear? Begin the mournful stave,
Melpomene, to whom the Sire of all
Sweet voice with music gave.
And sleeps he then the heavy sleep of death,
Quintilius? Piety, twin sister dear
Of Justice! naked Truth! unsullied Faith!
When will ye find his peer?
By many a good man wept. Quintilius dies;
By none than you, my Virgil, trulier wept:
Devout in vain, you chide the faithless skies,
Asking your loan ill-kept.
No, though more suasive than the bard of Thrace
You swept the lyre that trees were fain to hear,
Ne’er should the blood revisit his pale face
Whom once with wand severe
Mercury has folded with the sons of night,
Untaught to prayer Fate’s prison to unseal.
Ah, heavy grief! but patience makes more light
What sorrow may not heal.
The Muses love me: fear and
The winds may blow them to the sea;
Who quail before the wintry chief
Of Scythia’s realm, is nought to me.
What cloud o’er Tiridates lowers,
I care not, I. O, nymph divine
Of virgin springs, with sunniest flowers
A chaplet for my Lamia twine,
Pimplea sweet! my praise were vain
Without thee. String this maiden lyre,
Attune for him the Lesbian strain,
O goddess, with thy sister quire!
Natis in USUM.
What, fight with cups
that should give joy?
’Tis barbarous; leave such savage ways
To Thracians. Bacchus, shamefaced boy,
Is blushing at your bloody frays.
The Median sabre! lights and wine!
Was stranger contrast ever seen?
Cease, cease this brawling, comrades mine,