Alexis, beauteous, and his lord's delight,
Was loved by Corydon, in hope's despite.
Oft 'mid the solitary beechen glade,
As with his pipe the pensive shepherd stray'd,
These simple lays he pour'd to hill and grove:
'And cannot aught my plaint, Alexis, move?
Unpitying youth! thy frowns my death will prove.
Now herds for cooling shade their meads forsake:
Now the green lizard lurks within the brake;
And for the mowers, all faint with summer airs,
Wild thyme and garlic Thestylis prepares:
Whilst, as I trace thee o'er the sun-struck ground,
The copses wild with hoarse cicadas sound.
Of Amaryllis happier had it been
Still to endure the wayward scorn, or spleen;
Happier Menalcas' caprice to bear,
Though he so dusky dark, and thou so fair!
Trust not too much that hue, which charms the sight:
The hyacinth we pluck, the privet slight;
Though that, sweet boy! be dark, and this all snowy white,
--Still am I scorn'd; nor dost thou ask, or know,
What milk my pails, my folds what flocks o'erflow.
A thousand gimmers roam across my hills;
And summer's, winter's milk my dairy fills:
Nor breathed Amphion notes more soft than mine
When he on Aracynthus call'd his kine.
Nor so unsightly I: as late I stood
Upon the beach, beside th' unruffled flood,
Myself I view'd; and might I trust the wave,
E'en Daphnis self I'd in thy judgment brave.
'Ah! then with me this now-neglected dell
Deign to frequent, in this poor hut to dwell;
With me to pierce the stag, and to the mead
Drive the young kids, with verdant switch, to feed.
Here we, in song conjoin'd, with Pan will vie:
Pan, who first taught the art with waxen tie
To bind the reeds unequal; Pan, whose arm
Protects the shepherd and the sheep from harm.
Nor with the reed to wear thy lip disdain:
This skill how long'd Amyntas to attain!
Mine is a pipe of sevenfold tube combined,
Which old Damoetas to my hand consign'd:
'It's second master thou,' he dying said:--
He said; and weak Amyntas droop'd the head.
And mind two kids, their hides still dappled round,
(As late I roved, in no safe valley found,)
Which daily of two ewes the udders drain;
These I for thee preserve--alas! in vain:
These oft has Thestylis implored of me;
--And let her take them, since despised by thee!
'O come! The Nymphs for thee in baskets bring
Their lilied stores: for thee the blooming spring
The white-arm'd Naiad rifles; violets pale,
The poppy's flush, and dill which scents the gale,
Cassia, and hyacinth, and daffodil,
With yellow marigold the chaplet fill.
The downy apricot be mine to bear,
And chestnuts, once to Amaryllis dear:
Nor shall the bloomy plum unhonor'd pine;
And ye, proud bays, shall with the myrtle twine:
For, blended so, ye breathe an odour all divine.
'Ah! clownish Corydon, thy gifts he'll none:
Nor would Iölas be in gifts outdone--
Wretch that I am! that name--not south winds more
Can vex my flowers, my streams the wallowing boar!
Whom shunn'st thou, inconsiderate boy? The gods,
And Dardan Paris, whilom dwelt in woods.
Let Pallas love the towers 'twas hers to rear:
To us the woodlands be for ever dear!
The lioness pursues the wolf, her prey;
The wolf the kid, the kid the trefoil's spray;
And Corydon Alexis: bound by laws
Peculiar, each his special pleasure draws.
'And see! their ploughs upon their light yokes hung,
Homeward the weary bullocks plod along:
The sun, cool setting, whelms in shade the grove;
Yet still I burn--for what can temper love?
'Ah! Corydon, what madness fires thy brain!
Thy vines, half-pruned, on leafy elms remain.
Rather of osiers thou, with happier care,
Or plaited rushes useful frails prepare;
Nor fear, should still Alexis frown, to find
Some love, though not so fair, yet far more kind.'