The epigram is not here translated.
Elegy I: By DrydenFor mighty wars I thought to tune my lute,
And make my measures to my subject suit.
Six feet for ev'ry verse the muse design'd,
But Cupid laughing, when he saw my mind,
From ev'ry second verse a foot purloin'd.
"Who gave thee, boy, this arbitrary sway,
On subjects, not thy own, commands to lay,
Who Phoebus only, and his laws obey ?
'Tis more absurd, than if the queen of love
Should in Minerva's arms to battle move;
Or manly Pallas from that queen should take
Her torch, and o'er the dying lover shake.
In fields as well may Cynthia sow the corn,
Or Ceres wind in woods the bugle-horn;
As well may Phoebus quit the trembling string,
For sword and shield; and Mars may learn to sing.
Already thy dominions are too large;
Be not ambitious of a foreign charge.
If thou wilt reign o'er all, and ev'ry where,
The god of music for his harp may fear.
Thus when with soaring wings I seek renown,
Thou pluck'st my pinions, and I flutter down.
Could I on such mean thoughts my muse employ,
I want a mistress, or a blooming boy."
Thus I complain'd; his bow the stripling bent,
And chose an arrow fit for his intent.
The shaft his purpose fatally pursues;
" Now, poet, there's a subject for thy muse,"
He said: (too well, alas, he knows his trade,)
For in my breast a mortal wound he made.
Far hence ye proud Hexameters remove,
My verse is pac'd, and tramell'd into love.
With myrtle wreaths my thoughtful brows enclose,
While in unequal verse I sing my woes.
Elegy II: By CreechAh me! why am I so uneasy grown?
Ah! why so restless on my bed of down?
Why do I wish to sleep, but wish in vain?
Why am I all the tedious night in pain?
What cause is this, that ease, that rest denies?
And why my words break forth in gentle sighs?
Sure I should know if love had fix'd his dart;
Or creeps he softly in with treacherous art,
And then grows tyrant, there and wounds the heart?
'Tis so, the shaft sticks deep, and galls my breast;
'Tis tyrant love, that robs my thoughts of rest!
Well, shall I tamely yield, or must I fight?
I'll yield; 'tis patience makes a burden light:
A shaken torch grows fierce, and sparks arise;
But, if unmov'd, the fire looks pale and dies.
The hard-mouth'd horse smarts for his fierce disdain
The gentle's ridden with a looser rein.
Love smooths the gentle, but the fierce reclaims;
He fires their breasts, and fills their souls with flames.
I yield; great Love, my former crimes forgive,
Forget my rebel thoughts, and let me live;
No need of force: I willingly obey,
And now unarm'd, shall prove no glorious prey.
Go take thy mother's doves, thy myrtle crown,
And for thy chariot, Mars shall lend his own;
There thou shalt sit in thy triumphant pride,
And, whilst glad shouts resound on ev'ry side,
Thy gentle hands thy mother's doves shall guide.
And there to make thy glorious pomp and state,
A train of sighing youths, and maids shall wait,
Yet none complain of an unhappy fate.
There newly conquer'd I, still fresh my wound,
Will march along, my hands with myrtle bound;
There modesty, with veils thrown o'er her face,
Now doubly blushing at her own disgrace;
There sober thoughts, and whatso'er disdains
Love's rules, shall feel his power, and bear his chains:
Then all shall fear, all bow, yet all rejoice;
"Io triumphe" be the public voice.
Thy constant guards, soft fancy, hope and fear,
Anger, and soft caresses shall be there:
By these strong guards are men and gods o'erthrown;
These conquer for thee, Love, and these alone,
Thy mother, from the sky thy pomp shall grace,
And scatter sweetest roses in thy face:
There glorious Love shall ride, profusely dress'd
With all the richest jewels of the east:
Rich gems thy quiver, and thy wheels infold,
And hide the poorness of the baser gold.
Then thou shalt conquer many, then.thy darts
Shall scatter thousand wounds on tender hearts:
Thy shafts themselves will fly, thy neighb'ring fire
Will catch mens' breasts, and kindle warm desire.
Thus conqu'ring Bacchus looks in Indian groves,
He drawn by tigers, thou by murm'ring doves.
Well then, since I too can increase thy train,
Spend not thy force on me, and rage in vain;
Look on thy kinsman Caesar's happy slaves,
The same victorious arm that conquers, saves.
Elegy III: To His Mistress. By Charles Hopkins.Be just, dear maid, an equal passion prove,
Or show me cause why I should ever love.
I do not at your cold disdain repine,
Nor ask your love, do you but suffer mine.
I dare not aim at more exalted bliss,
And Venus will bestow her vot'ry this.
Take hin, who will for endless ages serve:
Take him whose faithful flame will never swerve
Though no illustrious names my race adorn;
Who am but of equestrian order born;
Though a few ploughs serve my paternal fields,
Nor my small table many dishes yields;
Yet Bacchus, Phoebus, and the tuneful nine,
Are all my friends, and to my side incline,
And love's great god, at last, will make me thine.
Heav'n knows, dear maid, I love no other fair;
In thee lives all my love, my heav'n lies there.
Oh! may I by indulgent Fate's decree,
With thee lead all my life, and die with thee.
Thy beauties yield me my transporting theme;
And while I celebrate thy charming name,
My verse shall be as sacred as my flame.
Jove's sev'ral rapes, his injur'd Io's wrongs,
Are made immortal in his poet's songs.
Verse still reveals where Leda's flames began,
Rais'd by the secret godhead in the swan,
The story of the rape Europa bore,
Shall last while winds shall rage, or waters roar.
Your name shall live like theirs, while verse endures,
And mine be ever writ, and read with yours.
Elegy IV: To His Mistress, whose husband is invited to a feast with him. The poet instructed her how to behave herself in his company. By Dryden.Your husband will be with us at the treat,
May that be the last supper he shall eat.
And am poor I, a guest invited there,
Only to see, while he may touch the fair?
To see you kiss, and hug your nauseous lord,
While his lewd hand descends below the board?
No wonder that Hippodamia's charms,
At such a sight, the Centaurs urg'd to arms:
That in a rage, they threw their cups aside,
Assail'd the bridegroom, and would force the bride.
I am not half a horse, (I would I were :)
Yet hardly can from you my hands forbear.
Take, then, my counsel; which observ'd, may be,
Of some importance both to you and me.
Be sure to come before your man be there,
There's nothing can be done, but come howe'er.
Sit next him, (that belongs to decency;)
But tread upon my foot in passing by.
Read in my looks what silently they speak,
And slily, with your eyes, your answer make.
My lifted eye-brow shall declare my pain,
My right hand to his fellow shall complain;
And on the back a letter shall design,
Beside a note that shall be writ in wine.
Whene'er you think upon our last embrace,
With your fore-finger gently touch your face.
If any word of mine offend my dear,
Pull with your hand the velvet of your ear;
If you are pleas'd with what I do or say,
Handle your rings, or vith your fingers play.
As suppliants use at altars, hold the board,
Whene'er you wish the devil may take your lord.
When he fills for you, never touch the cup,
But bid th' officious cuckold drink it up:
The waiter on those services employ;
Drink you, and I will snatch it from the boy,
Watching the part where your sweet mouth hath been,
And thence, with eager lips, will suck it in.
If he, with clownish manners, thinks it fit
To taste, and offer you the nasty bit,
Reject his greasy kindness, and restore
Th' unsav'ry morsel he had chew'd before.
Nor let his arms embrace your neck, nor rest
Your tender cheek upon his hairy breast;
Let not his hand within your bosom stray,
And rudely with your pretty bubbies play.
But, above all, let him no kiss receive,
That's an offence I never can forgive;
Do not, oh! do not that sweet mouth resign,
Lest I rise up in arms, and cry 'tis mine.
I shall thrust in betwixt, and void of fear
The manifest adult'rer will appear.
These things are plain to sight, but more I doubt
What you conceal beneath your petticoat;
Take not his leg between your tender thighs,
Nor with your hand provoke my foe to rise.
How many love inventions I deplore,
Which I myself have practis'd all before !
How oft have I been forc'd the robe to lift
In company; to make a homely shift
For a bare bout, ill huddled o'er in haste,
While o'er my side the fair her mantle cast!
You to your husband shall not be so kind,
But lest you should, your mantle leave behind.
Encourage him to tope, but kiss him not,
Nor mix one drop of water in his pot.
If he be fuddled well, and snores apace,
Then we may take advice from time and place.
When all depart, while compliments are loud,
Be sure to mix among the thickest crowd;
There I will be, and there we cannot miss,
Perhaps to grubble, or at least to kiss.
Alas, what length of labor I employ,
Just to secure a short and transient joy!
For night must part us, and when night is come
Tuck'd underneath his arm, he leads you home.
He locks you in, I follow to the door,
His fortune envy, and my own deplore;
He kisses you, he more than kisses too,
Th' outrageous cuckold thinks it all his due.
But add not to his joy by your consent,
And let it not be given, but only lent;
Return no kiss, nor move in any sort,
Make it a dull and a malignant sport.
Had I my wish he should no pleasure take,
But slubber o'er your bus'ness for my sake;
And whate'er fortune shall this night befall,
Coax me to morrow by forswearing all.
Elegy V: By Duke'Twas noon when I, scorch'd with the double fire
Of the hot sun and my more hot desire,
Stretch'd on my downy couch at ease was laid,
Big with expectance of the lovely maid.
The curtains but half drawn, a light let in
Such as in shades of thickest groves is seen,
Such as remains when the sun flies away,
Or when night's gone, and yet it is not day.
This light to modest maids must be allow'd,
Where shame may hope its guilty head to shroud.
And now my love Corinna did appear,
Loose on her neck fell her divided hair;
Loose as her flowing gown, that wanton'd in the air.
In such a garb, with such a grace and mien,
To her rich bed came the Assyrian queen;
So Lais looked when all the youth of Greece
With adoration did her charms confess.
Her envious gown to pull away I tried,
But she resisted still, and still denied;
But so resisted that she seem'd to be
Unwilling to obtain the victory;
So I at last an easy conquest had,
Whilst my fair combatant herself betray'd.
But when she naked stood before my eyes,
Gods, with what charms did she my soul surprise!
What snowy arms did I both see and feel!
With what rich globes did her soft bosom swell!
Plump as ripe clusters rose each glowing breast,
Courting the hand, and suing to be press'd!
What a smooth plain was on her belly spread,
Where thousand little loves and graces play'd!
What thighs! what legs ! but why strive I in vain,
Each limb, each grace, each feature to explain
One beauty did through her whole body shine;
I saw, admir'd, and press'd it close to mine
The rest who knows not? Thus entranc'd we lay,
Till in each other's arms we died away;
0 give me such a noon, ye gods, to ev'ry day!
Elegy VI: To His Mistress's Porter, to open the gate to him. By an unknown hand.Slave, if thou worthy of thy chains wouldst be,
A grateful office do to love and me.
Unbar the wicket, and a friend admit;
The trouble is not much, nor favour great.
I ask thee not to spread the foldings wide;
Keep it at jar,-I'll softly by thee slide.
I to love's labours have so long been us'd,
My shapes are to a lath's lank size reduc'd.
The smallest crevice will my bus'ness do,
It cannot be so straight but I'll slip through.
Love guides me when by night I walk the street,
And when I grope my way directs my feet.
By night I was a youth afraid to walk,
Frighted by children and old nurses' talk;
I wonder'd men could wander in the gloom,
And kept, for fear of spirits, close at home.
Love and his mother, when they knew my care,
Cried, "Fool, thou shalt not long these phantoms fear."
Nor fear'd I long, for love my heart possess'd;
Those visions vanish'd, and my terrors ceas'd:
Nor ghosts nor scourers did I dread, but stroll'd
The streets a-nights, and grew in peril bold.
Thee only do I fear, and trembling stand
To wait the motions of thy tardy hand:
With soft request thy succour I implore,
Nor sue to Jove nor dread the Thund'rer more.
See how the gate is moistened with my tears!
What marks of my impatient love it bears!
Remember, when thou for the lash wert stripp'd
Who sav'd thee, at whose suit thou wert not whipp'd.
Did not I sooth thy angry lady's mind,
And make thy peace? Be thou to me as kind.
Think what soft things to move her soul I said,
And let them in a lover's favour plead.
But ah! the tender things that made her kind,
Work no such wonders on thy cruel mind.
Wouldst thou my friendly offices repay,
Fate throws a fair occasion in thy way;
Unlock the gate, the morning will not stay.
Unlock the gate; and as thou'rt kind to me,
So may thy gentle lady prove to thee;
May she to loose thy hateful chains incline,
And stead of water, be thy portion wine.
But what avail my soothing words? Thy ear
Is deaf, inhuman! to my moving pray'r.
Your gates with posts of pond'rous oak are barr'd,
As if your house was for a siege prepar'd;
Why all this fence? what foe have you to fear?
And why in peace do you provide for war?
Thus rudely if your lady's friends you treat,
What usage must her foes expect to meet?
Unlock the gate,-the morning will not stay;
Unlock the gate, and give my love its way.
Or is it sloth or is it sleep that brings,
This let to love, and pinions down his wings!
Why else do I in vain repeat my prayer,
Is it, thou dost not, or thou wilt not hear?
When first I waited at thy gate, and thought
To 'scape thy care, I was at midnight caught.
With over-dilligence thou then look'st out,
To spy what lover was upon the scout.
These are wild guesses, thou'rt perhaps employ'd
More sweetly, and enjoy'st what I enjoy'd.
And while I'm waiting with impatience here,
Thy envied fortune's with the faithless fair.
Oh, for thy pleasure, give me all thy pains,
Let us change chances, and be mine thy chains.
Unlock the gate, the morning will not stay,
Unlock the gate, and kindness past repay.
Hark: or I dream, or on the hinge I hear
The wicket turn, or bolts unloosen'd jar.
I dream, indeed, the bolts as they were laid,
Stand fix'd: the noise was by my fancy made.
But all, alas! is hush'd, I hear no sound,
All in the silence of the night is drown'd.
Here, hopeless of admittance, I attend,
While on my head the pearly dews descend.
Unlock the gate, the morning will not stay,
Unlock the gate, I will no longer pray,
But force by sword and fire my readier way.
What need of fire or sword? myself alone,
More pow'rful, than or sword or fire am grown.
Around your heads shall flaming torches fly,
And Jove the house shall burn, as well as I.
Night, love, and wine encourage and inflame:
These triumph over fear, and that o'er shame.
All ways I've tried, but all successless prove,
Nor threats can fright thee, nor entreaties move;
Deaf to my pray'rs as to my tears thou'rt blind,
Thy gate is less obdurate than thy mind.
But see, the ruddy morn begins to rise,
And paints with rosy streaks the eastern skies,
While crowing cocks the lab'rer's sloth revile,
And summon wretches to their daily toil.
Throw then, fond man, thy fragrant chaplet by,
And let it at thy lady's threshold lie.
When in the morn thy faded flow'rs she spies,
Kind thoughts of me may in her bosom rise,
Perhaps she may resent her porter's crime,
And grieve that here so ill I spent my time.
Against me though thou shut'st thy lady's gate,
I cannot one, that serves my mistress, hate.
You both who did against my hopes rebel,
Ah, porter; and ah, cruel gate, farewell.
Elegy VII: To His Mistress, whom he had beaten. By Henry Cromwell.Come, if ye're friends, and let these hands be bound,
Which could with impious rage a mistress wound:
What more did Ajax in his fury do,
When all the sacred grazing herd he slew?
Or he1 who spared not her who gave him breath?
So ill the son reveng'd his father's death!
Then I had broke the most religious ties,
Both to my parents and the deities:
I tore (0 heav'ns!) her finely braided hair,
How charming then look'd the disorder'd fair.
So Atalanta in her chaise is drawn,
Where the Arcadian beasts her empire own:
So Ariadne, left upon the shore,
Does all alone her lost estate deplore.
Who would not then have rail'd and talk'd aloud
(Which to the helpless sex might be allowed.)
She only did upbraid me with her eye,
Whose speaking tears did want of words supply.
0, that some merciful superior pow'r
Had struck me lame before that fatal hour,
And not have suffer'd me to pierce my heart
So deeply, in the best and tend'rest part;
To make a lady that subjection own,
Which is not to the meanest Roman known.
'Twas Diomede, who first a goddess struck,
I from his hand that curs'd example took;
But he was far less criminal than I,
I was a lover, he an enemy.
March like a conqueror in triumph now,
With laurel wreaths encompassing your brow,
And render to the mighty gods your vow:
So, as you pass, th' attending gazing crowd,
By their applause shall speak your courage loud:
Let your sad captive in the front appear,
With streaming cheeks, and with dishevell'd hair.
Such lips were form'd for kinder words than these,
Wounds made by lovers' furious ecstasies.
Though like a torrent I was hurried on,
A slave to passion which I could not shun,
I might have only pierc'd her tender ear
With threatening language, such as virgins fear.
Fear having chill'd the current of her blood,
She pale as Parian marble statue stood;
Tears, which suspense did for a while restrain,
Gush'd forth, and down her cheeks the deluge ran.
As when the sun does by a powerful beam
Dissolve the frost, it runs into a stream.
The lamentable objects struck me dead,
And tears of blood to quench those tears I shed;
Thrice at her feet the prostrate suppliant fell,
And thrice did she repulse the criminal.
What would I not your anger to abate,
Redeem your favour, or remove your hate?
To your revenge no means or method spare;
Revenge, alas! is easy to the fair.
Elegy VIII: He Curses a Bawd, for going about to debauch his mistress. By Sir Charles Sedley.There is a bawd renown'd in Venus' wars,
Aud dreadful still with honorable scars;
Her youth and beauty, craft and guile supply,
Sworn foe to all degrees of chastity.
Dypsas, who first taught love-sick maids the way
To cheat the bridegroom on the wedding-day,
And then a hundred subtle tricks devis'd,
Wherewith the am'rous theft might be disguis'd;
Of herbs and spells she tries the guilty force,
The poison of a mare that goes to horse.
Cleaving the midnight air upon a switch,
Some for a bawd, most take her for a witch.
Each morning sees her reeling to her bed,
Her native blue o'ercome with drunken red:
Her ready tongue ne'er wants a useful lie,
Soft moving words, nor charming flattery.
Thus I o'erheard her to my Lucia speak:
"Young Damon's heart wilt thou for ever break
He long has lov'd thee, and by me he sends
To learn thy motions, which he still attends;
If to the park thou go'st, the plays are ill;
If to the plays, he thinks the air would kill.
The other day he gaz'd upon thy face,
As he would grow a statue in the place;
And who indeed does not? like a new star,
Beauty like thine strikes wonder from afar.
Alas! methinks thou art ill-dress'd to-night;
This point's too poor; thy necklace is not right;
This gown was by some botching tailor made,
It spoils thy shape; this fucus is ill laid.
Hear me, and be as happy as thou'rt fair:
Damon is rich, and what thou wanst, can spare.
Like thine his face, like thine his eyes are thought.
Would he not buy, he might himself be bought."
Fair Lucia blush'd. "It is a sign of grace,
(Dypsas replied,) that red becomes thy face.
All lovers now by what they give are weighed,
And she is best belov'd that best is paid;
The sun-burnt Latins, in old Tatius' reign,
Did to one man perhaps their love restrain:
Venus in her Aeneas' city rules,
And all adore her deity but fools.
Go on, ye fair, chaste only let such live
As none will ask, and know not how to give.
Life steals away, and our best hours are gone
Ere the true use or worth of them be known.
Things long neglected, of themselves decay;
What we forbear, time rudely makes his prey.
Beauty is best preserv'd by exercise,
Nor for that task can one or few suffice.
Wouldst thou grow rich, thou must from many take:
From one 'twere hard continually to rake.
Without new gowns and coaches, who can live ?
What does thy poet but new verses give?
A poet, the last thing that earth does breed,
Whose wit, for sixpence, any one may read.
Hang the poor lover, and his pedigree;
The thriving merchant, or fat judge, give me.
Love truly none, but seem in love with all,
And at old friends to thy new lovers rail.
Sometimes deny, 'twill appetite procure;
The sharp-set hawks will stoop to any lure.
Then grant again, lest he a habit get
Of living from thee; but be sure thou let
No empty lover in; murmur sometimes,
And at first hurt, reproach him with thy crimes.
Seem jealous, when thou'st been thyself to blame;
'Twill stop his mouth, if thou the first complain.
All thou hast done be ready to forswear:
For lovers' oaths fair Venus has no ear.
Whilst lie is with thee, let some woman bring
Some Indian stuff or foreign precious thing;
Which thou must say thou want'st, and he must buy,
Though for it six months hence in gaol he lie.
Thy mother, sister, brother, and thy nurse,
Must have a pull each at thy lover's purse.
Let him from rivals never be secure,
That hope once gone, love will not long endure;
Show him the presents by those rivals sent,
So shall his bounty thy request prevent.
When he will give no more, ask him to lend:
If he wants money, find a trusting friend.
Get hangings, cabinets, and looking-glass,
Or any thing for which his word will pass.
Practise these rules, thou'lt find the benefit!
I lost my beauty ere I got this wit."
I at that word step'd from behind the door,
And scarce my nails from her thin cheeks forbore.
Her few gray hairs in rage I vow'd to pull,
And thrust her drunken eyes into her skull.
"Poor in a dungeon's bottom may'st thou rot,
Die with a blow with thy beloved pot;
No brandy, and eternal thirst, thy lot."
Elegy IX: Of Love and War. By Henry Cromwell.Trust me, my Atticus, in love are wars;
And Cupid has his camp, as well as Mars:
The age that's fit for war best suits with love,
The old in both unserviceable prove,
Infirm in war, and impotent in love.
The soldiers which a general does require,
Are such as ladies would in bed desire:
Who but a soldier, and a lover, can
Bear the night's cold, in show'rs of hail and rain?
One in continual watch his station keeps,
Or on the earth in broken slumbers sleeps;
The other takes his still repeated round
By mistress' house — then lodges on the ground.
Soldiers, and lovers, with a careful eye,
Observe the motions of the enemy:
One to the walls makes his approach in form,
Pushes the siege, and takes the town by storm:
The other lays his close to Celia's fort,
Presses his point, and gains the wish'd-for port.
As soldiers, when the foe securely lies
In sleep, and wine dissolv'd, the camp surprise;
So when the jealous to their rest remove,
And all is hush'd, — the other steals to love.
You then, who think that love's an idle fit,
Know, that it is the exercise of wit.
In flames of love the fierce Achilles burns,
And, quitting arms, absent Briseis mourns:
From the embraces of Andromache
Went Hector arm'd for war, and victory.
As Agamemnon saw Cassandra pass
With hair dishevell'd, and disorder'd dress,
H' admir'd the beauties of the prophetess:
The god of war was caught in th' act of love;
A story know to all the court above.
Once did I pass my hours in sloth and ease,
Cool shades and beds of down could only please;
When a commanding beauty rais'd my mind,
I left all little trifling thoughts behind,
And to her service all my heart resign'd:
Since, like an active soldier, have I spent
My time in toils of war, in beauty's tent:
And for so sweet a pay all dangers underwent.
You see, my Atticus, by what I prove,
Who would not live in idleness-must love.
Poem 10, in which the poet complains that his mistress has asked him for money, is not here translated.
Elegy XI: To Nape, praying her to deliver his letter to her mistress. By Henry Cromwell.Nape, who know'st so well to set the hair,
And all the fashions of the modish fair,
Like thee no lady's woman in the town
Can forward an intrigue, or pin a gown;
No maid than thee can boast a quicker eye,
Nor sooner the sour husband's coming spy.
Here, Nape, take this billet-doux, and bear
My soul's soft wishes to the absent fair.
If I can guess, thy heart is not of flint,
Nor is there the least vein of iron in't;
I something in thy looks and manners see
Above the rudeness of thy low degree;
A softer turn, to pity more inclined,
Than vulgar souls, a more complacent mind;
Thou feel'st, if I can guess, an equal flame,
And thine and my distemper is the same.
If how I do, she asks, do thou reply,
For the dear night, and night's dear joys, I die.
Tell her the letter will the rest explain,
And does my soul, and all its hopes contain.
But time, while I am speaking, flies: be sure
To give the billet in a leisure hour:
Don't be content with her imperfect view,
But make her, when she has it, read it through.
I charge thee, as she reads, observe her eyes,
Catch, if thou canst, her gentle looks and sighs;
As these are sure presages of my joy,
So frowns and low'rs my flattering hopes destroy.
Pray her, when she has read it, to indite
An answer, and a long epistle write.
I hate a billet, where at once I view
A page all empty, but a line or two.
Let her without a margin fill it up,
And crowd it from the bottom to the top.
But why should I her pretty fingers tire?
A word's enough, and all that I desire.
Ah, Nape, let her only bid me come;
The page is large, which for that word has room.
Her letter, like a conqu'ror's, shall be bound
With bays, for it with conquests shall be crown'd.
Elegy XII: He curses his letter because it was not answered.Ah, pity me, my friends! the cruel fair
Will neither read my just complaint, nor hear.
The billet-doux I sent her she return'd,
And e'en to ope the tender letter scorn'd
Ill was the omen, for the slave I sent
Trip'd at the sill as out of doors he went.
If e'er you on an errand go for me,
More careful, sirrah! how you stumble, be;
Step soberly, and warily along;
The end's ne'er right if the beginning's wrong.
Sinee thus in vain her pity I implore,
I'll ne'er to tablets trust my passion more;
Nor with my wax for death my warrant seal;
Worse than her scorn, what torture can I feel?
From combs of Cosica the wax was ta'en,
The latent poison was the lover's bane.
Bees there from venom'd flow'rs their honey suck,
And surely to my wax that venom stuck.
Chance on the seal did my misfortune paint,
And show'd my doom by the vermilion teint.
Curse on the instruments of my disgrace !
May you lie rotting in some filthy place;
By carts run o'er may you to bits be torn,
And your mishap revenge Corinna's scorn !
The man that first to smooth your surface toil'd,
The wooden work with hands impure defil'd;
Gibbets and racks should of the wood be made,
And the rough tools of all the murd'ring trade.
Bats roosted in its branches as it grew,
And birds of prey for shelter thither flew:
The vulture, and all kind of rav'nous fowl,
There hatch their young, and there the om'nous owl.
How mad to use such tablets must I be?
Curst and ill fated, as their parent tree!
Were these fit things soft sentiments to bear,
And to a lady tell a lover's care?
Lawyers, on you, might horrid jargon write,
With sound the ear, with sense the soul to flight.
Well might your plain the wicked writings bear
Where the rich miser robs the ruin'd heir.
When I first purchas'd you, I feared no less,
Your numbers even made me doubt success:
May you by worms be in old age devour'd,
And by all mortals as by me abhor'd.
Elegy XIII: To the Morning, not to make haste. By an unknown hand.Aurora, rising from old Tithon's bed,
Does o'er the eastern skies her roses spread:
Stay, beauteous morn, awhile thy chariot stay,
Awhile with lagging wheels retard the day.
So may young birds, as often as the spring
Renews the year, o'er Memnon's ashes sing.
Now I lie folded in Corinna's arms,
And all her soul is mine, and all her charms;
I now am to her panting bosom press'd,
And now, if ever lover was, am bless'd.
As yet sweet sleep sits heavy on our eyes,
And warbling birds forbid, as yet to rise.
Stay, beauteous morning, for to love-sick maids
And youths, how grateful are these dusky shades!
All stay, and do not, from the blushing east,
With dawning glories break our balmy rest.
When night's black mantle does those glories hide,
The pilot by the stars his ship can guide,
And in mid-sea a certain course pursue,
As safe as when he has the sun in view.
What pleasure in thy light should mortals take?
Thou dost the weary traveller awake;
Though to the down his heavy head reclines,
Up he must lift it for the morning shines.
The soldier braces on his brazen shield,
Quits his warm tent, and fits him for the field:
The lab'ring hind his harrow takes, and now
The peasant yokes his oxen to the plough:
The boy half wak'd, and rubbing still his eyes,
Is loth alike to go to school, or rise;
While o'er his task he does imperfect nod,
He fears the ferula, he dreads the rod.
The bridegroom, starting from his bride's embrace,
Runs to his lawyer to consult his case;
A word is wanting in the dower deed,
And what to save the portion must he plead?
Now hungry serjeants quit their tempting ease,
To haunt the crowded courts and pick up fees.
Thy rise brings labour to the female band,
And puts the spindle in the spinster's hand:
Light are these toils, and little is the pain
To rise to work, and rest at night again;
But who that e'er knew love's transporting joys,
Could from the arms of youth and beauty rise?
Oft have I wish'd that night would keep her ground,
And all her stars be at thy rising found;
Oft have I wish'd the winds would stop thy way,
Repel thy car, or clouds involve the day.
Dost thou in envy lash each lazy steed,
And whirl thy chariot with unwonted speed?
Black was thy son, and in his hue's express'd
The gloomy passions of his parent's breats;
He, born of Cephalus, his ravish'd sire,
Is a known proof of thy adult'rous fire.
Thou, by his colour, wouldst thy crime conceal;
Ah, that to Tithon I the tale could tell!
Search all the records of Heaven's lechers round,
A fouler story cannot there be found.
In Cephalus' embraces when you lay,
And oft by theft renew'd your wanton play;
When Tithon's impotence you made your sport,
Did you not think the joyous moments short?
Lock'd in his arms did you in transports lie,
Ah! would you not, like me, to Phoebus cry,
"Stop, stop thy rapid course? Am I to blame
That Tithon's old, and cannot feel thy flame?
See how the moon does her Endymion keep
In night conceal'd, and drown'd in dewy sleep.
As lovely is the moon, as fair as thou,
Who freely, where she loves, her favours does bestow.
Jove, when he rob'd Amphitryon of his joy,
Did two whole nights in am'rous thefts employ;
Unknown when in Alcmena's arms he lay,
The night he doubles and suspends the day."
The morning heard my railing, and for shame
Blush'd that by force she must disturb my flame;
Bright Phoebus rushing forth, the glorious day
Drove the dear shades, that hid our joys, away.
Elegy XIV: He comforts his mistress for the loss of her hair by the means she took to beautify it. By an unknown hand.I us'd to warn you, not with so much care,
And waste of ointment, to adorn your hair:
That warning now is useless, you have none,
And with your hair that trouble too is gone.
Where are the silken tresses, which adown
Your shoulders hung? A web was never spun
So fine, but, ah! those flowing curls are gone.
Ah fatal art! ah fatal care, and pains!
That robb'd me of the dearest of my chains.
Nor of a black, nor of a golden hue
They were, but of a dye between the two.
How could you hurt, or poison with perfume,
Those curls that were so easy to the comb?
That to no pains expos'd you, when you set
Their shining tresses for young hearts a net?
That ne'er provok'd you with your maids to war,
For hurting you with your entangled hair?
You ne'er were urg'd to some indecent fray,
Nor in a fury snatch'd the comb away.
The teeth ne'er touch'd you, and her constant care,
Without ill arts, would have preserv'd your hair.
Behind your chair I oft have seen her stand,
And comb and curl it with a gentle hand:
Oft have I seen it on your shoulders play
Uncomb'd, as on your purple bed you lay.
Your artless tresses with more charms appear,
Than when adorn'd with all your cost and care.
When on the grass the Thracian nymphs recline,
Of Bacchus full, and weary of their wine,
Less lovely are their locks, than yours, less fair
The ringlets of their soft dishevell'd hair:
Softer was thine, like fleecy down it felt,
And to the finger did as freely yield,
How didst thou torture it, the curls to turn,
Now with hot irons at thy toilet burn?
This rack, with what obedience did it bear?
"Ah spare," I cried, "thy patient tresses spare!
To hurt them is a sin: this needless toil
Forbear, and do not, what adorns thee, spoil.
'Tis now too late to give your labour o'er,
Those tortur'd ringlets are, alas ! no more.
Ah, cease the cruel thought, and cease to pass
Such irksome minutes at your faithful glass !
In vain thou seek'st thy silken locks to find;
Banish the dear remembrance from thy mind.
No weeds destroy'd them with their pois'nous juice,
Nor canst thou witches' magic charms accuse,
Nor rival's rage, nor dire enchantment blame,
Nor envy's blasting tongue, nor fever's flame.
The mischief by thy own fair hands was wrought;
Nor dost thou suffer for another's fault.
How oft I bade thee, but in vain, beware
The venom'd essence, that destroy'd thy hair?
Now with new arts thou shalt thy pride amuse,
And curls, of German captives borrow'd, use.
Drusus to Rome their vanquish'd nation sends
And the fair slave to thee her tresses lends.
With alien locks thou wilt thy head adorn,
And conquests gain'd by foreign beauties scorn.
How wilt thou blush, with other charms to please,
And cry, "How fairer were my locks than these !"
By heav'ns, to heart she takes her head's disgrace,
She weeps, and covers with her hands her face.
She weeps, as in her lap her locks she views;
What woman would not weep, such locks to lose!
Ah, that they still did on her shoulders flow,
Ah, that they now, where once they grew, did grow!
Take courage, fair Corinna, never fear,
Thou shalt not long these borrow'd tresses wear:
Time for your beauty shall this loss repair
And you again shall charm with native hair.
Poem 15, in which the poet boasts his work will outlive him, is not here translated.