Mercuri, Nam te.
Come, Mercury, by whose minstrel
Amphion raised the Theban stones,
Come, with thy seven sweet strings, my shell,
Thy “diverse tones,”
Nor vocal once nor pleasant, now
To rich man’s board and temple dear:
Put forth thy power, till Lyde bow
Her stubborn ear.
She, like a three year colt unbroke,
Is frisking o’er the spacious plain,
Too shy to bear a lover’s yoke,
A husband’s rein.
The wood, the tiger, at thy call
Have follow’d: thou canst rivers stay:
The monstrous guard of Pluto’s hall
To thee gave way,
Grim Cerberus, round whose Gorgon head
A hundred snakes are hissing death,
Whose triple jaws black venom shed,
And sickening breath.
Ixion too and Tityos smooth’d
Their rugged brows: the urn stood dry
One hour, while Danaus’ maids were sooth’d
Let Lyde hear those maidens’ guilt,
Their famous doom, the ceaseless drain
Of outpour’d water, ever spilt,
And all the pain
Reserved for sinners, e’en when dead:
Those impious hands, (could crime do more?)
Those impious hands had hearts to shed
Their bridegrooms’ gore!
One only, true to Hymen’s flame,
Was traitress to her sire forsworn:
That splendid falsehood lights her name
Through times unborn.
“Wake!” to her youthful spouse she cried,
“Wake! or you yet may sleep too well:
Fly—from the father of your bride,
Her sisters fell:
They, as she-lions bullocks rend,
Tear each her victim: I, less hard
Than these, will slay you not, poor friend,
Nor hold in ward:
Me let my sire in fetters lay
For mercy to my husband shown:
Me let him ship far hence away,
To climes unknown.
Go; speed your flight o’er land and wave,
While Night and Venus shield you; go
Be blest: and on my tomb engrave
This tale of woe.”
How unhappy are the maidens who
with Cupid may not play,
Who may never touch the wine-cup, but must tremble all the day
At an uncle, and the scourging of his tongue!
Neobule, there’s a robber takes your needle and your thread,
Lets the lessons of Minerva run no longer in your head;
It is Hebrus, the athletic and the young!
O, to see him when anointed he is plunging in the flood!
What a seat he has on horseback! was Bellerophon’s as good?
As a boxer, as a runner, past compare!
When the deer are flying blindly all the open country o’er,
He can aim and he can hit them; he can steal upon the boar,
As it couches in the thicket unaware.
O Fons BANDUSIAE.