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ELEGIES OF PROPERTIUS.
ARETHUSA TO LYCOTAS.-TALE OF TARPEIA,
EPISTLE OF ARETHUSA TO LYCOTAS.-EL. 3. LIB. IV.
It is supposed that the lady desig- thought to have served with Ælius nated under the fictitious name of Gallus, governor of Ægypt, in his Arethusa was Ælia Galla ; and that campaign against Arabia Felix.by Lycotas was meant Posthumus, This elegy is conjectured to have to whom the twelfth elegy of the been the model of Ovid's Epistles of third book is addressed on his parting Heroines. from his wife Galla, and who is Sæpe mihi solitus recitare Propertius ignes.
To her Lycotas Arethusa, these
If thou, so oft away, canst still be mine;
The faltering hand has marr’d the wavering line.
And the steeld Parth on breast-maild courser borne;
Now the swarth Indian horsed on steeds of morn.
Is this the husband faith? the love-pledged hour,
When a coy maid 1 yielded to thy claim ?
Caught from some smouldering pyre its murky flame.
The wreath reversed, without a God the train ;
And weave the mantle of thy fourth campaign.
And with hoarse shell contrived the trumpet's blast!
While near the ass for ever fed his fast.
Say does the mail thy tender shoulders gall?
And chafes the spear thy war-unpractised grasp?
The livid pressure of some leman's clasp.
If the pale hue bespeak regret of me:
Each chance-left weapon—all that's left of thee.
• There is mention in Pliny 35, 11, 40, of a picture by the painter Socrates, which represents Ocnus twisting a rope, and too lazy to drive away the ass that is browsing on the hemp “ Such a man twists Ocnus's rope," was a proverb of the Ionians. Pausan. lib. 10.
Then tossing on my ruffled couch I sigh,
And chide the bird that heralds morning skies; Or my camp-task in wintery midnights ply,
And cull the purple as the shuttle flies :
Or learn where flows traxes, soon to yield,
How wide the Parthian scours his fountless waste; Con regions on the tablet's painted field,
And how the skilful God his world has traced:
What land is bound with frost, what riv'n with heat;
What breeze to Italy conveys the sail; My soothing sister keeps her wakeful seat,
My nurse protests, and blames the winter gale. Envied Hippolita !-with breast half-bare
The soft barbarian helm'd her gentle head; Ah! did thy camp admit our Roman fair,
Close would I follow where thy banner led.
Not Scythia's cli should bar my way with frost,
Where warps the floods to ice the father-blast; All love has power, the bride's deserted most,
For Venus fans the flame to live and last.
What though my robe with Punic crimson glow?
The crystal's richest water gem my hands? All is dull silence here; one damsel slow
Unbars the door, the whilst her spindle stands. The lap-dog's voice most pleasing sounds to me,
Whose whining cry her master's absence chides; Glaucis alone supplies the place of thee,
Usurps my bosom and my bed divides.
I deck the shrines with flowers, the cross-roads veil
With vervain; sayin crackles on our hearth; Whether on neighbouring roofs the night-birds wail,
Or wine-dash'd tapers sparkle into mirth. That day, on which those brighter omens shine,
Foretells the slaughterous hour to yearling ewes; The sacrificing priests surround the shrine,
Gird the long robe, and kindle for their dues. Ah ! let not fire-wrapt Bactra tempt thy fates,
Nor linen vest from perfumed chieftain rent; When from writhen cord are shower'd the leaden weights,
And twangs the bow from wheeling courser bent. But (so may Parthia's foster-sons be quell’d,
Thy headless spear pursue the triumph-train) Still let thy nuptial troth be spotless held;
On these sole terms I wish thee back again.
Thus thy doff'd armour will I hang above
The gate Capena, and inscribe the scroll “ This for a husband safe his wedded love
Vows as the offering of a grateful soul.”
THE TALE OF TARPEIA. The story of Tarpeia, as told by ous. The poet in vain endeavours to Livy, i. 11. and Florus, i. 1. 12. is play the Roman patriot and pious well known. She required, as the pagan: we care nothing for the saprice of her admitting the Sabine crilege of the vestal, and we excuse the army into the fortress of the capitol, treason of the maid of Rome. She what the soldiers wore on their left still pleads with us in the words of arms; meaning their bracelets: they Tibullus, perversely interpreted the boon she Non ego te læsi prudens ; ignosce fatenti ; asked—of their bucklers ; and by this Jussit amorquibble affected to save their honour She still heaps inextricable infamy
on while they crushed her. Propertius the head of the barbarian, by exseems to have thought that avarice was not a sufficiently poetical sub claiming with Dido, ject; and by supposing Tarpeia’s Num lacrymas victus dedit aut miseratus motive to be a passion for Tatius,
amantem est ? the Sabine chieftain, he certainly This is a great fault, and could succeeds in making her a more in- only have been avoided by the poet teresting personage; but he forgot taking part with Tarpeia : but the that he was at the same time render- tale is prettily told. ing Tatius proportionably more odi
Tarpeia's grave inglorious shall be told,
trusty camp with heapy mount.
O Sabine weapons, beauteous in these eyes!
So I might look upon the face I prize.
Thou Vesta ! blushing at thy love-sick maid ;
The steed shall bear me to the camp erewhile,
The steed whose mane my chieftain's fingers braid.
And dogs raged fierce round Scylla's snowy waist?
And back the gather'd clue the labyrinth traced ?
The chosen handmaid of a virgin hearth :
Forgive-my tears have drown'd the flaming earth!
Ah! shun the thorny mountain's oozy side!
By treacherous track on silent waters slide.
Might also aid a lovely chief's distress;
On a she-wolf inhuman, motherless.
Surrender'd Rome, no vulgar dower, is thine;
At least repay the Sabine rape with mine.
My nuptial robe, ye brides ! the pledge of peace;
This ring shall make the clash of weapons cease.
Ev'n the stars wink and glide beneath the sea :
Kind be the phantom that resembles thee!
• The common reading, “ A duce Tarpeio," (who never once appears) is nonsense : I beg to read, “ A duce Tarpeiâ,” which is sense.
THE MALVERN HILLS.
While Malvern, king of hills, fair Severn overlooks,
Once more Malvern, after years would be worth nothing even in youth of absence, I behold thy lofty ridge, but for the seasoning of hopes and as I descend the red heights that im- fancies given us to make them papend over the Severn, and
with latable. As I looked upon those « wandering steps and slow to- hills, I reflected how many eyes had wards Upton Bridge. What a scene gazed upon them to which they had of fertility lies before me, displaying presented exactly the same appearthe affluence of nature's beauty as ance, and excited the same sensafresh in colour as when I last visited tions as with me, in past ages. Time
Then my sensations were as makes little alteration in the great vivid as the thousand hues that at outlines of nature, or at all events this moment decorate the landscape: proceeds slowly in his work, and now the colours are less refreshing to when the author of “The Vision of a mind grown duller in perception, William concerning Piers Plowman," and tinging all objects with the mele saw them four hundred years ago, and lowness of age. Hills of my fathers ! when I visited them last month, these at whose feet many generations of beautiful hills, no doubt, presented my progenitors are mouldering, how the same aspect to us both. Mounkeenly ye recal to my mind the feel- tains and rivers are among the more ings I experienced when I last visit- stable things of nature; the surface ed you, and greeted your purple of a plain is altered by man, and summits in my way from this very valleys may be changed by torrents spot, darkened as they were from the and floods, but the eternal hills' evening sun setting behind them, and are seen unchanged by successive defining your undulations in a long generations of men. They are viwavy line across the horizon. Then sual records of the past, pregnant youth deepened every tint, and made with sublime associations, and aevery smiling object around minister waken sympathies with the sons of to enjoyment. I ran across the mea- forgotten ages, and call up the shadows; I swam in the Severn; I dowy images of beings that have paced the lovely fields that intervene long ago is fretted their hour” on between the river and your seques- the stage of life. Sober and sad are tered village ; brimful of hope, joy, the feelings at such moments, when and enthusiasm. I climbed your they pry into the darkness of past steep sides, and inhaled the vivifying time-sad even to tears. Even fuair of their elevated region, with a gitive rivers flow by the ruins of sparkling elasticity of feeling that I mighty cities as they flowed when shall experience no more ; for though the buildings were entire and the I now see you tower on high with streets swarmed with population, delight, it is with a delight less ex- while things apparently more stable quisite, a feeling less calculated to perish. Cervantes has prettily noafford an idea of its value. My ticed this in a Sonnet to Rome. Johnseason of youth is irrecoverably son thought the idea was originally flown, and it now seems as if it had in Janus Vitalis. only been given to me that I might O Roma! en tu grandeza en tu hermosura, experience the pain of parting with Huyó lo que era firme, y solamente it. In youth, the price of our plea- Lo fugitivo permanece y dura, surable sensations is at its maximum, and declines as we get older, till ar- fugitivo” referring to the Tiber riving at the gates of death—what mentioned in a preceding stanza. are they worth? And yet the realities Such were my thoughts when I of life are of as little value, and had left the coach, and turning Vol. VI.