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ELEGIA 5

Ad amnem, dum iter faceret ad amicam


Floud with reede-growne slime bankes, till I be past
Thy waters stay: I to my mistris hast.
Thou hast no bridge, nor boate with ropes to throw,
That may transport me without oares to rowe.
Thee I have pass'd, and knew thy streame none such,
When thy waves brim did scarse my anckles touch.
With snow thaw'd from the next hill now thou rushest,
And in thy foule deepe waters thicke thou gushest.
What helpes my hast: what to have tane small rest?
What day and night to travaile in her quest?
If standing here I can by no meanes get,
My foote upon the further banke to set.
Now wish I those wings noble Perseus had,
Bearing the head with dreadfull Adders clad,
Now wish the chariot, whence corne seedes were found,
First to be throwne upon the untill'd ground.
I speake old Poets wonderfull inventions,
Nere was, nor shall be, what my verse mentions.
Rather thou large banke over-flowing river,
Slide in thy bounds, so shalt thou runne for ever.
(Trust me) land-streame thou shalt no envie lack,
If I a lover bee by thee held back.
Great flouds ought to assist young men in love,
Great flouds the force of it do often prove.
In mid Bithynia'tis said Inachus,
Grew pale, and in cold foords hot lecherous.
Troy had not yet beene ten yeares siege out-stander,
Whem nimph-Necera rapt thy lookes Scamander.
What? not Alpheus in strange lands to runne,
Th'ArcadianVirgins constant love hath wunne?
And Crusa unto Zanthus first affide,
They say Peneus neere Phthias towne did hide.
What should I name Aesope, that Thebe lov'd,
Thebe who Mother of five Daughters prov'd?
If Achelous, I aske where thy hornes stand,
Thou saiest broke with Alcides angry hand.
Not Calydon, nor Aetolia did please:
One Dejanira was more worth then these.
Rich Nile by seaven mouthes to the vast sea flowing,
Who so well keepes his waters head from knowing,
Is by Evadne thought to take such flame,
As his deepe whirle-pooles could not quench the same.
Drye Enipeus, Tyro to embrace,
Flye backe his streame chargd, the streame chargd, gave place.
Nor passe I thee, who hollow rocks downe tumbling,
In Tiburs field with watry fome art rumbling,
Whom Ilia pleasd, though in her lookes griefe reveld,
Her cheekes were scratcht, her goodly haires discheveld.
She wailing Mars sinne, and her uncles crime,
Strayd bare-foote through sole places on a time.
Her, from his swift waves, the bold floud perceav'd,
And from the mid foord his hoarse voice upheav'd,
Saying, why sadly treadst my banckes upon,
Iija, sprung from Idaen Laomedon?
Where's thy attire? why wand'rest heere alone?
To stay thy tresses white veyle hast thou none?
Why weepst? and spoilst with teares thy watry eyes?
And fiercely knockst thy brest that open lyes?
His heart consists of flint, and hardest steele,
That seeing thy teares can any joy then feele.
Feare not: to thee our Court stands open wide,
There shalt be lov'd: Ilia lay feare aside.
Thou ore a hundreth Nimphes, or more shalt raigne:
For five score Nimphes, or more our flouds conteine.
Nor Romane stocke scorne me so much (I crave)
Gifts then my promise greater thou shalt have.
This said he: shee her modest eyes held downe,
Her wofull bosome a warme shower did drowne.
Thrice she prepar'd to flie, thrice she did stay,
By feare depriv'd of strength to runne away.
Yet rending with enraged thumbe her tresses,
Her trembling mouth these unmeete sounds expresses.
O would in my fore-fathers tombe deepe layde,
My bones had beene, while yet I was a maide.
Why being a vestall am I wooed to wed,
Deflowr'd and stained in unlawfull bed?
Why stay I? men point at me for a whore,
Shame, that should make me blush, I have no more.
This said: her coate hood-winckt her fearefull eyes,
And into water desperately she flies.
Tis said the slippery streame held up her brest,
And kindly gave her, what she liked best.
And I beleeve some wench thou hast affected:
But woods and groves keepe your faults undetected.
While thus I speake, the waters more abounded:
And from the channell all abroad surrounded.
Mad streame, why doest our mutuall joyes deferre?
Clowne, from my journey why doest me deterre?
How wouldst thou flowe wert thou a noble floud,
If thy great fame in every region stood?
Thou hast no name, but com'st from snowy mountaines;
No certaine house thou hast, nor any fountaines.
Thy springs are nought but raine and melted snowe:
Which wealth, cold winter doth on thee bestowe.
Either th'art muddy in mid winter tide:
Or full of dust doest on the drye earth slide.
What thirstie traveller ever drunke of thee?
Who sayd with gratefull voyce perpetuall bee?
Harmefull to beasts, and to the fields thou proves:
Perchance these, others, me mine owne losse mooves.
To this I fondly loves of flouds told plainly:
I shame so great names to have usde so vainly:
I know not what expecting, I ere while
Nam'd Achelaus, Inachus, and Nile,
But for thy merits I wish thee, white streame,
Drye winters aye, and sunnes in heate extreame.

load focus Latin (R. Ehwald, 1907)
load focus English (various, 1855)
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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • John Conington, Commentary on Vergil's Aeneid, Volume 1, 2.180
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