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Pro molli viola, pro purpureo narcisso,
Me. Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine poeta, 45
50 Dicemus; Daphninque tuum tollemus ad astra ; Daphnin ad astra feremus : amavit nos quoque Daphnis.
Mo. An quidquam nobis tali sit munere majus ? Et puer ipse fuit cantari dignus ; et ista Jam pridem Stimichon laudavit carmina nobis. 55
Me. Candidus insuetum miratur limen Olympi,n
1 Narcissus poeticus, fig. 10.
m Rhamnus paliurus of Linnæus. n Olympus is a high mountain of Thessaly, on the borders of Macedonia, whose tap the poets feigned to reach to heaven; hence it is frequently used for heaven itself; as it evidently is in this place, for, in the next verse, Daphnis is said to see under his feet, not only the clouds, but even the stars,
Sub pedibusque videt nubes et sidera Daphnis.
• The Dryads are the nymphs, who preside over the wouds.
p The Ariusian vine was brought from the island of Chios, now Scio, and was esteemed the best of all the Greck vines. The word nectar is commonly used for the drink of the Gods, and for any thing that is remarkably sweet and pleasant. The Ariusian vine was particularly so called ; and we are informed by Tournefort, that the present inhabitants of Scio give the name of Nectar to a particular sort of wine which is made in the ancient Ariusia.
9 Lyctius. Lyctus was a city of Crete, whence Idomeneus is also called Lyctius, in the third Æneid.
Saltantes Satyros imitabitur Alphesiboeus.
Mo. Quae tibi, quae tali reddam pro carmine dona !.
Me. Hac te nos fragili donabimus ante cicuta ; Haec nos, Formosum Corydon ardebat Alexiu :
The Satyrs were a sort of demi-gods, that attended upon Baca chus.
s Cicada has been usually translated, a Grasshopper, but erroneously. It has a rounder and shorter body, is of a dark green colour, sits upon trees, and makes a noise considerably louder than a grasshopper. The Cicadae begin their song as soon as the sun grows hot, and continue singing till it sels. The wings are streaked as with silver, and marked with brown spots. The outer wings are twice as long as the inner, and more variegated. Aristotle says, that the Cicada has no mouth, but thrusts out a trunk like a tongue, whereby it sucks in the dew.
* In the Pagan mythology, Temples were often erected jointly to Bacchus and Ceres, and those Deities were frequently united in the same mysteries.
Haec eadem docuit, Cujum pecus ? an Meliboei ?
Mo. At tu sume pedum," quod, me cum saepe rogaret, Non tulit Antigenes, et erat tum dignus amari, Formosum paribus nodis atque aere, Menalca. 90
u Pedum is a Shepherd's crook; a staff with a hook at the end, by which the sheep are caught by their legs.
The subject of this Eclogue is, two young Shepherds find Silenus asleep in a cave, intoxicated with wine, his garland fallen from his head, and his battered pitcher hanging down. A nymph assists them in binding him with his own garland, stains his face with mulberries, and compels him to sing; upon which the faunis and wild beasts immediately dance, and the oaks bend their heads. In his Song, Silenus describes the formation of the universe, and the original of animals according to the Epicurean Philosophy, and then recounts the most surprising transformations which have happened in Nature since her birth. This Eclogue was designed as a compliment to Syro, the Epicurean, who instructed Virgil and Varus in the principles of that Philosophy.
By way of introduction, Virgil says, that this Eclogue was his first attempt to write in imitation of Theocritus; that he had once attempted heroic poetry, but Apollo reproved him, and advised him to tend his sheep.
o Theocritus was of Syracuse, a famous city of Sicily: Virgil therefore, writing Bucolics, in imitation of that Poet, calls them Syracusian or Sicilian.