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Elegy XVI: He invites his mistress into the country.

I'm now at -- where my eyes can view,
Their old delights, but what I want in you:
Here purling streams cut thro' my pleasing bowr's,
Adorn my banks, and raise my drooping flow'rs;
Here trees with bending fruit in order stand,
Invite my eye, and tempt my greedy hand;
But half the pleasure of enjoyment's gone;
Since I must pluck them single and alone;
Why could not nature's kindness first contrive,
That faithful lovers should like spirits live,
Mix'd in one point and yet divided lie,
Enjoying an united liberty?
But since we must thro' distant regions go,
Why was not the same way design'd for two?
One single care determined still for both,
And the kind virgin join'd the loving youth?
Then should I think it pleasant way to go
Oe'r Alpine frost, and trace the hills of snow;
Then should I dare to view the horrid moors,
And walk the deserts of the Libyan shores;
Hear Scylla bark, and see Charybdis rave,
Suck in and vomit out the threat'ning wave;
Fearless through all I'd steer my feeble barge,
Secure, and safe with the celestial charge,
But now, though here my grateful fields afford
Choice fruits to cheer their malancholy lord;
Though here obedient streams the gard'ner leads,
In narrow channels through my flow'ry beds;
The poplars rise, and spread a shady grove,
Where I might lie, my little life improve,
And spend my minutes 'twixt a muse and love:
Yet these contributes little to my ease,
For without you they lose the power to please;
I seem to walk oe'r the fields of naked sand,
Or tread an antic maze in fairy land,
Where frightful specires, and pale shades appear,
And hollow groans invade my troubled ear;
Where ev'ry breeze that through my arbour flies,
First sadly murmurs, and then turns to sighs.
The vines love elms; what elms from vines remove?
Then why should I be parted from my love?
And yet by me you once devoutly swore,
By your own eyes, those stars that I adore,
That all my bus'ness you would make your own,
And never suffer me to be alone:
But faithless woman nat'rally deceives,
Their frequent oaths are like the falling leaves,
Which when a storm has from the branches tore
Are lost by ev'ry blast, and seen no more:
Yet if you will be true, your vows retrieve,
Be kind, and I can easily forgive ;
Prepare your coach, to me direct your course,
Drive fiercely on, and lash the lazy horse;
And while you ride I will prolong the day,
And try the power of verse to smooth your way.
Sink down ye mountains, sink ye lofty hills,
Ye vallies be obedient to her wheels,
Ye streams be dry, ye hindr'ing woods remove,
'Tis love that drives, and all must yield to love !

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load focus English (Christopher Marlowe)
load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
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    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 62
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