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Page 273


Melibœus here gives us the Relation of a sharp Poetical Contest between Thyrsis and Corydon; at which he himself and Daphnis were present; who both declar'd for Corydon.

Beneath a Holm, repair'd two jolly Swains;
Their Sheep and Goats together graz'd the Plains.
Both young Arcadians, both alike inspir'd
To sing, and answer as the Song requir'd.
Daphnis, as Umpire, took the middle Seat;
And Fortune thether led my weary Feet.
For while I fenc'd my Myrtles from the Cold,
The Father of my Flock had wander'd from the Fold.
Of Dalphnis I enquir'd; he, smiling, said,
Dismiss your Fear, and pointed where he fed.
And, if no greater Cares disturb your Mind,
Sit here with us, in covert of the Wind.
Your lowing Heyfars, of their own accord,
At wat-ring time will seek the neighb'ring Ford.
Here wanton Mincius windes along the Meads,
And shades his happy Banks with bending Reeds:
And see from yon old Oak, that mates the Skies,
How black the Clouds of swarming Bees arise.
What shou'd I do! nor was Alcippe nigh,
Nor absent Phillis cou'd my care supply,
To house, and feed by hand my weaning Lambs,
And drain the strutting Udders of their Dams?
Great was the strife betwixt the Singing Swains:
And I preferr'd my Pleasure to my Gains.
Alternate Rhime the ready Champions chose:
These Corydon rehears'd, and Thyrsis those.
Yee Muses, ever fair, and ever young,
Assist my Numbers, and inspire my Song.
With all my Codrus O inspire my Breast,
For Codrus after Phœbus sings the best.
Or if my Wishes have presum'd too high,
And stretch'd their bounds beyond Mortality,
The praise of artful Numbers I resign:
And hang my Pipe upon the Sacred Pine.
Arcadian Swains, your Youthful Poet crown
With Ivy Wreaths; tho surly Codrus, frown.
Or if he blast my Muse with envious Praise,
Then fence my Brows with Amuletts of Bays.
Lest his ill Arts or his malicious Tongue
Shou'd poyson, or bewitch my growing Song.


Page 274
These Branches of a Stag, this tusky Boar
(The first essay of Arms untry'd before)
Young Mycon offers, Delia, to thy Shrine;
But speed his hunting with thy Pow'r divine,
Thy Statue then of Parian Stone shall stand;
Thy Legs in Buskins with a Purple Band.
This Bowl of Milk, these Cakes, (our Country Fare,)}
For thee, Priapus, yearly we prepare,}
Because a little Garden is thy care.}
But if the falling Lambs increase my Fold,
Thy Marble Statue shall be turn'd to Gold.
Fair Galathea, with thy silver Feet,
O, whiter than the Swan, and more than Hybla sweet;
Tall as a Poplar, taper as the Bole,
Come charm thy Shepherd, and restore my Soul.
Come when my lated Sheep, at night return;
And crown the silent Hours, and stop the rosy Morn.
May I become as abject in thy sight,
As Sea-weed on the Shore, and black as Night:
Rough as a Bur, deform'd like him who chaws
Sardinian Herbage to contract his Jaws;
Such and so monstrous let thy Swain appear,
If one day's Absence looks not like a Year.
Hence from the Field, for Shame: the Flock deserves
No better Feeding, while the Shepherd starves.
Ye mossy Springs, inviting easie Sleep,
Ye Trees, whose leafy Shades those mossy Fountains keep,
Defend my Flock, the Summer heats are near,
And Blossoms on the swelling Vines appear.
With heapy Fires our chearful Hearth is crown'd;
And Firs for Torches in the Woods abound:
We fear not more the Winds, and wintry Cold,
Than Streams the Banks, or Wolves the bleating Fold.
Our Woods, with Juniper and Chesnuts crown'd}
With falling Fruits and Berries paint the Ground;} 75
And lavish Nature laughs, and strows her Stores around.}
But if Alexis from our Mountains fly,
Ev'n running Rivers leave their Channels dry.


Page 275
Parch'd are the Plains, and frying is the Field,
Nor with'ring Vines their juicy Vintage yield.
But if returning Phillis bless the Plain,}
The Grass revives; the Woods are green again;}
And Jove descends in Show'rs of kindly Rain.}
The Poplar is by great Alcides worn:
The Brows of Phœbus his own Bays adorn.
The branching Vine the jolly Bacchus loves;
The Cyprian Queen delights in Mirtle Groves.
With Hazle, Phillis crowns her flowing Hair;}
And while she loves that common Wreath to wear,}
Nor Bays, nor Myrtle Bows, with Hazle shall compare.} 90
The towring Ash is fairest in the Woods;
In Gardens Pines, and Poplars by the Floods:
But if my Lycidas will ease my Pains,
And often visit our forsaken Plains;
To him the tow'ring Ash shall yield in Woods;
In Gardens Pines, and Poplars by the Floods.
These Rhymes I did to Memory commend,
When Vanquish'd Thyrsis did in vain contend;
Since when, tis Corydon among the Swains,
Young Corydon without a Rival Reigns.
If, as I believe and hope to demonstrate in another article, Dryden borrowed extensively from the Fourth Earl of Lauderdale for his translation of Virgil, one should also add the following to the possible indebtedness in the seventh Eclogue: said (the rhyme-word in l. 9, with which Lauderdale rhymes "speed"), wanton (l. 15), bending (l. 16), Lambs/Dams (ll. 21-2), ever fair and. . . young/inspire my Song (ll. 27-8), crown (l. 39, in the rhyme position) bewitch (l. 40), Parian (l. 45, without justification in Virgil's Latin), chaws (l. 60, Lauderdale has "chew," also in the rhyme position), leafy shades (l. 67).

Most interest attaches to Dryden's use of the 1684 translations, hence I list the lines in his version of the Eclogues (always except the fourth and ninth, which he translated himself for the 1684 Miscellany Poems) most directly indebted to those translations. I., 1-2, 32-33, 36-37, 69-70, 72, 97, 99, 105, 113-114, 117-118; II., 1-2, 18, 33-34, 53; III., 24, 60-62, 82, 144-145, 150-153, 169-170; V., 3, 17-18, 47-48, 101-102, 105-106, 117, 127-128, 134; VI., 1-2, 8, 38, 57-58; VII., 25-26, 47, 49, 83, 98; VIII., 11, 21, 26-27, 30, 60, 84, 96, 105, 129, 147-148; X., 5, 12, 53-54, 58, 69, 99. It will be noted that I have listed eighty lines; there are the sixty-nine of the table above plus eleven of the phrases.

Dr. Johnson, tracing the relationship between Pope and William Warburton


Page 276
in his life of the former, quotes from or paraphrases a letter from Warburton to Matthew Concanen in which he writes, "Dryden I observe borrows for want of leisure, and Pope for want of genius." In the first edition of the Lives of English Poets, from which the above is quoted, Johnson had written "he tells Concanen that Milton borrowed by affectation, Dryden by idleness, and Pope by necessity."[13] Dryden took a little less than three years to translate Virgil, having already translated a few passages in his work; whether for "want of leisure" or "by idleness" there can be no doubt that he did borrow, and extensively, for his translation of the Eclogues.