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Studious, yet indolent, and urged by youth,
That worst of teachers ! from the ways of truth;
Till learning taught me in his shady bower
To quit love's servile yoke, and spurn his power.
Then, on a sudden, the fierce Alame supprest,
A frost continual settled on my breast,
Whence Cupid fears his flames extinct to see,
And Venus dreads a Diomede in me.
PRAISE in old time the sage Prometheus won,
Who stole ethereal radiance from the sun ;
But greater he, whose bold invention strove
To emulate the fiery bolts of Jove.
[The Poems on the subject of the Gunpowder Treason I have not translated, both because the matter of them is unpleasant, and because they are written with an asperity, which, however it might be warranted in Milton's day, would be extremely unseasonable now.]
TO LEONORA SINGING AT ROME.*
ANOTHER Leonora once inspired
Tasso, with fatal love to phrensy fired;
But how much happier, lived he now, were he,
Pierced with whatever pangs for love of thee !
Since could he hear that heavenly voice of thine,
With Adriana's lute of sound divine,
Fiercer than Pentheus' though his eye might roll,
Or idiot apathy benumb his soul,
You still, with medicinal sounds might cheer
His senses wandering in a blind career ;
And, sweetly breathing through his wounded breast,
Charm, with soul-soothing song, his thoughts to
NAPLES, too credulous, ah! boast no more
The sweet-voiced syren buried on thy shore,
That, when Parthenope deceased, she gave
Her sacred dust to a Chalcidic grave,
For still she lives, but has exchanged the hoarse
Pausilipo for Tiber's placid course,
Where, idol of all Rome, she now in chains
Of magic song both gods and men detains.
THE COTTAGER AND HIS LANDLORD.
A PEASANT to his lord paid yearly court,
Presenting pippins of so rich a sort
That he, displeased to have a part alone,
Removed the tree, that all might be his own.
The tree, too old to travel, though before
So fruitful, wither'd, and would yield no more.
The squire, perceiving all his labour void,
Cursed his own pains, so foolishly employ’d,
And,“ Oh,” he cried, “ that I had lived content
With tribute, small indeed, but kindly meant !
My avarice has expensive proved to me,
Has cost me both my pippins and my tree.”
TO CHRISTINA, QUEEN OF SWEDEN, WITH
CHRISTINA, maiden of heroic mien !
Star of the North! of northern stars the queen !
Behold what wrinkles I have earn'd, and how
The iron casque still chafes my veteran brow,
While following Fate's dark footsteps, I fulfill
The dictates of a hardy people's will.
But soften'd in thy sight my looks appear,
Not to all queens or kings alike severe.
ON THE DEATH OF THE VICE-CHANCELLOR,
LEARN, ye nations of the earth,
The condition of your birth,
Now be taught your feeble state!
Know, that all must yield to fate!
If the mournful rover, Death, Say but once—“ Resign your breath!” Vainly of escape you dream, You must pass the Stygian stream. Could the stoutest overcome Death's assault, and baffle doom, Hercules had both withstood, Undiseased by Nessus' blood. Ne'er had Hector press'd the plain By a trick of Pallas slain, Nor the chief to Jove allied By Achilles' phantom died. Could enchantments life prolong, Circe, saved by magic song, Still had lived, and equal skill Had preserved Medea still. Dwelt in herbs and drugs a power To avert man's destined hour, Learn'd Machaon should have known Doubtless to avert his own. Chiron had survived the smart Of the hydra-tainted dart, And Jove's bolt had been, with ease, Foil'd by Asclepiades. Thou too, sage! of whom forlorn Helicon and Cirrha mourn, Still hadst fillid thy princely place, Regent of the gowned race:
Hadst advanced to higher fame
Still thy much ennobled name,
Nor in Charon's skiff explored
The Tartarean gulf abhorr'd.
But resentful Proserpine,
Jealous of thy skill divine,
Snapping short thy vital thread,
Thee too number'd with the dead.
Wise and good ! untroubled be
The green turf that covers thee!
Thence, in gay profusion, grow
All the sweetest flowers that blow!
Pluto's consort bid thee rest!
Æacus pronounce thee blest !
To her home thy shade consign!
Make Elysium ever thine !
ON THE DEATH OF THE BISHOP OF ELY.
My lids with grief were tumid yet,
And still my sullied cheek was wet
With briny dews, profusely shed
For venerable Winton dead;
When fame, whose tales of saddest sound,
Alas! are ever truest found,
The news through all our cities spread
Of yet another mitred head