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Upon the tree I cast a frightful look ;
The trembling tree with sudden horror shook.
Lotis the nymph (if rural tales be true)
As from Priapus' lawless lust she flew,
Forsook her form, and, fixing here, became
A flowery plant, which still preserves her name.
* This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight
My trembling sister strove to urge her flight;
And first the pardon of the nymphs implor'd,
And those offended silvan powers ador'd:
But when she backward would have fled, she found
Her stiffening feet were rooted in the ground:
In vain to free ber fasten'd feet she strove,
And as she struggles only moves above;
She feels the encroaching bark around her grow
By quick degrees, and cover all below :
Surpris'd at this, her trembling hand she heaves
To rend her hair; her hand is fill’d with leaves!
Where late was hair the shooting leaves are seen
To rise, and shade ber with a sudden green.
The child Amphissus, to her bosom press’d,
Perceiv'd a colder and a harder breast,
And found the springs, that ne'er till then denied
Their milky moisture, on a sudden dried.
I saw, unbappy! what I now relate,
And stood the helpless witness of thy fate,
Embrac'd thy boughs, thy rising bark delay'd,
There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade.
• Behold Andramon and the' unhappy sire Appear, and for their Dryope inquire : A springing tree for Dryope they find, And print warm kisses on the panting rind. Prostrate, with tears their kindred plant bedew, And close embrace as to the roots they grew.
The face was all that now remain'd of thee,
No more a woman, nor yet quite a tree;
Thy branches hung with humid pearls appear,
From every leaf distils a trickling tear;
And straight a voice, while yet a voice remains,
Thus through the trembling boughs in sighs com-
“ If to the wretched any faith be giv'n,
I swear by all the' unpitying powers of heav'n,
No wilful crime this heavy vengeance bred;
In mutual innocence our lives we led :
If this be false, let these new greens decay,
Let sounding axes lop my limbs away,
And crackling flames on all my honours prey.
But from my branching arms this infant bear,
Let some kind nurse supply a mother's care;
And to his mother let him oft be led,
Sport in her shades, and in her shades be fed :
Teach him, when his first infant voice shall frame
Imperfect words, and lisp his mother's name,
To hail this tree, and say, with weeping eyes,
• Within this plant my hapless parent lies :'
And when in youth he seeks the shady woods,
Oh ! let him fly the crystal lakes and floods,
Nor touch the fatal flowers; but, warn’d by me,
Believe a goddess shrin'd in every tree.
My sire, my sister, and my spouse farewell!
If in your breasts or love or pity dwell,
Protect your plant, nor let my branches feel
The browsing cattle or the piercing steel.
Farewell! and since I cannot bend to join
My lips to yours, advance at least to mine.
My son, thy mother's parting kiss receive,
While yet thy mother has a kiss to give.
I can no more; the creeping rind invadés
My closing lips, and hides my head in sbades':
Remove your hands, the bark shall soon suffice
Without their aid to seal these dying eyes."
She ceas'd at once to speak and ceas’d to be,
And all the nymph was lost within the tree;
Yet latent life through her new branches reign'd,
And long the plant a human heat retain'd.”
FOURTEENTH BOOK OF OviD'S METAMORPHOSES.
The fair Pomona flourislı'd in his reign;
· Of all the virgins of the silvan train
None taught the trees a nobler race to bear,
Or more improv'd the vegetable care.
To her the shady grove, the flowery field,
The streams and fountains, no delights could yield;
'Twas all her joy the ripening fruits to tend,
And see the boughs with happy burdens bend.
The hook she bore instead of Cynthia's spear,
To lop the growth of the luxuriant year,
To decent forms the lawless shoots to bring,
And teach the obedient branches where to spring,
Now the cleft rind inserted grafts receives,
And yields an offspring more tban nature gives :
Now sliding streams the thirsty plants renew,
Avd feed their fibres with reviving dew.
These cares alone her virgin breast employ,
Averse from Venus and the nuptial joy.
Her private orchards, wall'di on every side,
To lawless silvans all aceess denied.
How oft the satyrs and the wanton fawns,
Who haunt the forests or frequent the lawns,
The god whose ensign scares the birds of prey,
And old Silenus, youthful in decay,
Employ'd their wiles and unavailing care
To pass the fences, and surprise the fair?
Like these Vertumpus own'd his faithful flame,
Like these rejected by the scornful dame.
To gain her sight a thousand forms be 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 sunburnt temples shade :
Oft in his hardep'd had a goad he bears,
Like one who late unyok'd the sweating steers :
Sometimes his pruning hook corrects the vines,
And the laose stragglers to their ranks confines:
Now gathering what the bonnteous year allows,
He pulls ripe apples from the bending boughs :
A soldier now, he with his sword appears :
A tisher next, bis 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 Vertumpas wears,
With all the marks of reverend age appears,
His temples thinly spread with silver hairs :
Prop'd on his staff, and stooping as he goes,
A painted mitre shades his furrow'd brows.
The god in this decrepit form array'd
The gardens enler'd, apd the fruit survey'd;
And, Happy you! he thns address'd the maid,
• Whose charms as far all other nymphs outshine,
As other gardens are excell'd by thine!!
Then kiss'd the fair ; (his kisses warmer grow
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 :
He view'd her twining branches with delight,
And prais'd the beauty of the pleasing sight.
• Yet this tall elm, but for this vine,' he said,
Had stood neglected, and a barren-shade ;
And this fair vine, but that her arms surround
Her married 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 crowds as you ?
Not she whose beauty urg'd the Centaur's arms,
Ulysses' queen, nor Helen's fatal charms.
Ev’n now, wben silent scorn is all they gain,
A thousand court you, though they court in vain,
A thousand silvans, 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,
(Far more than e'er can by yourself be guess'd)
Fix on Vertumpus, and reject the rest :
For his firm faith I dare engage my own ;
Scarce to himself himself is better known.
To distant lands Vertumnus never roves;
Like you, contented with his pative groves ;
Nor at first sight, like most, adınires the fair;
For you he lives ; and you alone shall share
His last affection as his early care.