Elegy IX: Upon the Death of Tibullus. By Stepney.If Memnon's fate bewail'd with constant dew,
Does, with the day, his mother's grief renew,
If her son's death mov'd tender Thetis' mind
To swell with tears the waves, with sighs the wind;
Sad Cupid now despairs of conqu'ring hearts,
Throws by his empty quiver, breaks his darts:
Eases his useless bows from idle strings;
Nor flies, but humbly creeps with flagging wings.
He wants, of which he robb'd fond lovers, rest;
And wounds with furious hands his pensive breast.
Those graceful curls which wantonly did flow,
The whiter rivals of the falling snow,
Forget their beauty, and in discord lie,
Drunk with the fountain from his melting eye.
Nor Phoebus, nor the muses' queen, could give
Their son, their own prerogative, to live.
Orpheus, the heir of both his parents' skill,
Tam'd wond'ring beasts, not death's more cruel will.
Linus' sad strings on the dumb lute do lie.
In silence forc'd to let their master die.
His mother weeping does his eyelids close,
And on his urn, tears, her last gift, bestows.
His sister too, with hair dishevell'd, bears
Part of her mother's nature, and her tears.
With those, two fair, two mournful rivals come,
And add a greater triumph to his tomb:
Both hug his urn, both his lov'd ashes kiss,
And both contend which reap'd the greater bliss.
Thus Delia spoke (when sighs no more could last)
Renewing by remembrance pleasures past;
"When youth with vigour did for joy combine,
I was Tibullus' life, Tibullus mine;
1 entertained his hot, his first desire,
And kept alive, till age, his active fire."
To her then Nemesis (when groans gave leave)
"As I alone was lov'd, alone I'll grieve;
Spare your vain tears, Tibullus' heart was mine,
About my neck his dying arms did twine:
I snatch'd his soul, which true to me did prove;
Age ended yours, death only stopp'd my love."
If any poor remains survive the flames,
Except thin shadows, and more empty names;
Free in Elysium shall Tibullus rove,
Nor fear a second death should cross his love.
There shall Catullus, crown'd with bays, impart
To his far dearer friend his open heart.
There Gallus (if fame's hundred tongues all lie)
Shall, free from censure, no more rashly die.
Such shall our poet's bless'd companions be,
And in their deaths, as in their lives, agree.
But thou, rich urn, obey my strict commands,
Guard thy great charge from sacrilegious hands.
Thou, earth, Tibullus' ashes gently use,
And be as soft and easy as his muse.