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No. IX.


It is supposed that the lady designated under the fictitious name of Arethusa was Ælia Galla; and that by Lycotas was meant Posthumus, to whom the twelfth elegy of the third book is addressed on his parting from his wife Galla, and who is

thought to have served with Ælius Gallus, governor of Egypt, in his campaign against Arabia Felix.This elegy is conjectured to have been the model of Ovid's Epistles of Heroines.

Sæpe mihi solitus recitare Propertius ignes.

To her Lycotas Arethusa, these—

If thou, so oft away, canst still be mine;
Tears caused the blots thine eye bewilder'd sees,
The faltering hand has marr'd the wavering line.

The twice-track'd East beholds thee; Bactria's plain,
And the steel'd Parth on breast-mail'd courser borne;
Now the cold Briton whirl'd on pictured wain,

Now the swarth Indian horsed on steeds of morn.

Is this the husband-faith? the love-pledged hour,
When a coy maid I yielded to thy claim?
Th'ill-omen'd torch, that led me to thy bower,
Caught from some smouldering pyre its murky flame.

The sprinkling vase was dipp'd in Stygian lake,
The wreath reversed, without a God the train ;
I dress the temples vainly for thy sake,

And weave the mantle of thy fourth campaign.

Ah wretch! who fell'd for stakes the harmless tree,
And with hoarse shell contrived the trumpet's blast!
Worthy to twist the cord of Ocnus he,*

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?
But rather this-than that thy wife bewail
The livid pressure of some leman's clasp.

They say thy cheek has wann'd: yet welcome this
If the pale hue bespeak regret of me:
When Hesper brings my bitter night, I kiss

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 Araxes, 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 cliffs 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; savin 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 story of Tarpeia, as told by Livy, i. 11. and Florus, i. 1. 12. is well known. She required, as the price of her admitting the Sabine army into the fortress of the capitol, what the soldiers wore on their left arms; meaning their bracelets: they perversely interpreted the boon she asked-of their bucklers; and by this quibble affected to save their honour while they crushed her. Propertius seems to have thought that avarice was not a sufficiently poetical subject; and by supposing Tarpeia's motive to be a passion for Tatius, the Sabine chieftain, he certainly succeeds in making her a more interesting personage; but he forgot that he was at the same time rendering Tatius proportionably more odi

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Tarpeia's grave inglorious shall be told,
The grove, the capitol surprised of old.
There rose a wood; a cave where ivy clung;
And many a rustling tree o'er purling rivulets hung:
Pan's branchy house; where from the sultry rocks
The breathed pipe softly urged the thirsting flocks.
With beachen rampire Tatius fenced the fount,
And trench'd his trusty camp with heapy mount.
What then was Rome? when Sabines dared to rove,
Shaking with trumpet clang the rocks of Jove?
When Sabine spears stood bristling in the space

Where Rome's proud edicts curb earth's vanquish'd race?
Hills were her ramparts; where we now behold

Th' Hortilian court, which guarding walls infold,

At that Numician fountain's lonely brink

The war-horse of the foe would stoop to drink.
Tarpeia sought those hallowing waters now,
The earthen pitcher pressing on her brow.
And could one death atone? the maid aspires,
Oh Vesta! to deceive thy living fires.

She saw where Tatius scour'd the sandy plain,

His chased arms glanced and shook through the steed's tawny mane;
She saw the monarch mien, the regal dress,
And dropp'd the vase in stunn'd forgetfulness.
Oft feign'd she omens in the guiltless moon,
And dipp'd her tresses in the stream too soon;
Oft the mild nymphs with silvery lilies woo'd,
Lest Tatius' face be scarr'd by javelin rude;
And climbing, with the city's earliest smoke,
Through rolling mists of morn that round her broke,
The Capitolian cliff, her arms betray'd

With bleeding briery marks the nightly-wandering maid.
On her own rock she sate, and wept the love
Whose deeper wounds were sins to listening Jove.

"O ye camp-fires! O central princely tent!
O Sabine weapons, beauteous in these eyes!
Would I were now with you! to bondage sent,
So I might look upon the face I prize.
Adieu ye mountains! Rome, thou mountain-pile!
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.
What wonder if her father's locks were shorn,

And dogs raged fierce round Scylla's snowy waist?
If stoop'd the brother Minotaur his horn,

And back the gather'd clue the labyrinth traced?
Ah! what a crime for Latian maids is mine!

The chosen handmaid of a virgin hearth:

And thou, that wonderest at th' extinguish'd shrine,
Forgive my tears have drown'd the flaming earth!
Fame tells, to-morrow will the storm be made;
Ah! shun the thorny mountain's oozy side!
Slippery and false the way: the feet betray'd
By treacherous track on silent waters slide.
Would heav'n I knew th' enchantress' lay! this tongue
Might also aid a lovely chief's distress;

Thee the wrought robe becomes; not him who hung
On a she-wolf inhuman, motherless.

Make me thy guest, if not thy wife and queen;
Surrender'd Rome, no vulgar dower, is thine;
At least avenge the outrage that has been;
At least repay the Sabine rape with mine.
"Tis I can break the long battalion's range;
My nuptial robe, ye brides! the pledge of
The fierce-toned trump for marriage flute exchange;
This ring shall make the clash of weapons cease.
The fourth-watch clarion speaks the dawning light!
Ev'n the stars wink and glide beneath the sea:
I'll try if dreams will bring thee to my sight;
Kind be the phantom that resembles thee!"

She spoke; her arms relax'd in slumber slide;
She knew not love's worst furies couch'd beside.
Guard of Troy-fire, beside her Vesta stood,

And blew the faulty flames and hurl'd her torch within her blood.
She rushes forth, as runs some Amazon

Bare-bosom'd on the banks of tumbling Thermodon.

'Twas Pales' holy day; ancestral rite;

Rome's natal morn now tipp'd her walls with light.

"Twas the swains' revel-feast within the gates,

Where rustic tables steam with village cates ;*
And midst the scatter'd strawy bonfires reel

Th' inebriate crowd, with soil'd and trampling heel.
Then Romulus relax'd the watch around,

The garrison restrain'd the trumpet's stated sound.
Tarpeia knows her time: the foe she leads,

Plights mutual faith, and shares the plighted deeds.

The guard remiss had left the steepy way

To bar ascent: her sword prevents the watch-dog's bay:
All favours sleep: but Jupiter alone

For retribution wakes, and guards his own.

Her trust, her prostrate country she betray'd,
And "name the day that makes me thine!

she said:

Rome's foe the treason scorn'd; and haughty cried,

"Climb thus my throne and bed, my queen and bride!"
They hurl'd their bucklers down, and crush'd the maid;
Thus virgin! was thy dowry fitliest paid:

*The guide Tarpeia gave the mount a name;

O ill-starr'd vestal! thy atoning fame.

• The common reading, "A duce Tarpeio," (who never once appears) is nonsense : I beg to read, "A duce Tarpeiâ," which is sense.


While Malvern, king of hills, fair Severn overlooks,
And how the fertile fields of Hereford do lye,

And from his many heads, with many an amorous eye
Beholds his goodly sight, how toward the pleasant rise,

Abounding in excess, the vale of Eusham lies. Drayton's Polyolbion.


ONCE more Malvern, after years of absence, I behold thy lofty ridge, as I descend the red heights that impend over the Severn, and pace with "wandering steps and slow towards Upton Bridge. What a scene of fertility lies before me, displaying the affluence of nature's beauty as fresh in colour as when I last visited it.

Then my sensations were as vivid as the thousand hues that at this moment decorate the landscape: now the colours are less refreshing to a mind grown duller in perception, and tinging all objects with the mellowness of age. Hills of my fathers! at whose feet many generations of my progenitors are mouldering, how keenly ye recal to my mind the feelings I experienced when I last visited you, and greeted your purple summits in my way from this very spot, darkened as they were from the evening sun setting behind them, and defining your undulations in a long wavy line across the horizon. Then youth deepened every tint, and made every smiling object around minister to enjoyment. I ran across the meadows; I swam in the Severn; I paced the lovely fields that intervene between the river and your sequestered village; brimful of hope, joy, and enthusiasm. I climbed your steep sides, and inhaled the vivifying air of their elevated region, with a sparkling elasticity of feeling that I shall experience no more; for though I now see you tower on high with delight, it is with a delight less exquisite, a feeling less calculated to afford an idea of its value. My season of youth is irrecoverably flown, and it now seems as if it had only been given to me that I might experience the pain of parting with it. In youth, the price of our pleasurable sensations is at its maximum, and declines as we get older, till arriving at the gates of death-what are they worth? And yet the realities of life are of as little value, and VOL. VI.

would be worth nothing even in youth but for the seasoning of hopes and fancies given us to make them palatable. As I looked upon those hills, I reflected how many eyes had gazed upon them to which they had presented exactly the same appearance, and excited the same sensations as with me, in past ages. Time makes little alteration in the great outlines of nature, or at all events proceeds slowly in his work, and when the author of "The Vision of William concerning Piers Plowman," saw them four hundred years ago, and when I visited them last month, these beautiful hills, no doubt, presented the same aspect to us both. Mountains and rivers are among the more stable things of nature; the surface of a plain is altered by man, and valleys may be changed by torrents and floods, but the eternal hills" are seen unchanged by successive generations of men. They are visual records of the past, pregnant with sublime associations, and awaken sympathies with the sons of forgotten ages, and call up the shadowy images of beings that have long ago fretted their hour" on the stage of life. Sober and sad are the feelings at such moments, when they pry into the darkness of past time-sad even to tears. Even fugitive rivers flow by the ruins of mighty cities as they flowed when the buildings were entire and the streets swarmed with population, while things apparently more stable perish. Cervantes has prettily noticed this in a Sonnet to Rome. Johnson thought the idea was originally in Janus Vitalis.

O Roma! en tu grandeza en tu hermosura,
Lo fugitivo permanece y dura,
Huyó lo que era firme, y solamente

"fugitivo" referring to the Tiber mentioned in a preceding stanza.

Such were my thoughts when I had left the coach, and turning R

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