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• While Troy in heaps of ruin lies,
In vain the sea's intruding tide
• Riches the hardy soldiers shall despise,
• This only law the victor shall restrain,
• A curse there cleaves to the devoted place,
• Thrice should Apollo's self the city raise, And line it round with walls of brass, Thrice should my favourite Greeks his works
confound, And hew the shining fabric to the ground; Thrice should her captive dames to Greece return, And their dead sons and slaughter'd husbands
mourn.' But hold, my Muse, forbear thy towering flight, Nor bring the secrets of the gods to light; In vain would thy presumptuous verse The' immortal rhetoric rehearse ; The mighty strains, in lyric numbers bound, Forget their majesty, and lose their sound.
VIRGIL'S FOURTH GÉORGIC,
EXCEPT THE STORY OF ARISTÆUS.
ETHERIAL sweets shall next my Muse engage,
First for your bees a proper station find,
Norsheep, nor goats, must pasture near their stores,
moss, And shallow rills run trickling through the grass : Let branching olives o'er the fountain grow, Or palms shoot
and shade the streams below, That when the youth, led by their princes, shun The crowded hive, and sport it in the sun, Refreshing springs may tempt them from the heat, And shady coverts yield a cool retreat.
Whether the neighbouring water stands or runs, Lay twigs across, and bridge it o'er with stones, That if rough storms or sudden blasts of wind Should dip, or scatter those that lag behind, Here they may settle on the friendly stone, And dry their reeking pinions at the sun. Plant all the flowery banks with lavender, With store of savory scent the fragrant air, Let running betony the field o'erspread, And fountains soak the violet's dewy bed.
Though barks or plaited willows make your hive, A narrow inlet to their cells contrive; For colds congeal and freeze the liquors up, And melted down with heat the waxen buildings The bees, of both extremes alike afraid, [drop. Their wax around the whistling crannies spread,
And suck out clammy dews from herbs and flowers To smear the chinks,
and plaster up
pores : For this they hoard up glew, whose clinging drops Like pitch or birdlime, hang in stringy ropes. They oft, 'tis said, in dark retirements dwell, And work in subterraneous caves their cell ; At other times the industrious insects live In hollow rocks, or make a tree their hive.
Point all their chinky lodgings round with mud, And leaves must thinly on your work be strow'd; But let no baleful yew-tree flourish near, Nor rotten marshes send out steams of mire, Nor burning crabs grow red, and crackle in the fire. Nor neighbouring caves return the dying sound, Nor echoing rocks the doubled voice rebound. Things thus prepared —
[night, When the under world is seized with cold and And summer here descends in streams of light, The bees through woods and forests take their
flight; They rifle every flower, and lightly skim The crystal brook, and sip the running stream; And thus they feed their young with strange delight, And knead the yielding wax, and work the slimy
sweet. But when on high you see the bees repair, Borne on the wind through distant tracts of air, And view the winged cloud all blackening from afar, While shady coverts and fresh streams they choose, Milfoil and common honeysuckles bruise, And sprinkle on their hives the fragrant juice: On brazen vessels beat a tinkling sound, And shake the cymbals of the goddess round; Then all will hastily retreat, and fill The warm resounding hollow of their cell.
If once two rival kings their right debate, And factions and cabals embroil the state, The people's actions will their thoughts declare; All their hearts tremble, and beat thick with war; Hoarse broken sounds, like trumpets' harsh alarms, Run through the hive, and call them to their arms; All in a hurry spread their shivering wings, And fit their claws, and point their angry stings; In crowds before the king's pavilion meet, And boldly challenge out the foe to fight ! At last, when all the heavens are warm and fair, They rush together out, and join ; the air Swarms thick, and echoes with the humming war All in a firm round cluster mix, and strow With heaps of little corps the earth below; As thick as hailstones from the floor rebound, Or shaken acorns rattle on the ground. No sense of danger can their kings control, Their little bodies lodge a mighty soul; Each obstinate in arms pursues his blow, Till shameful flight secures the routed foe: This hot dispute, and all this mighty fray, A little dust flung upward will allay.
But when both kings are settled in their hive, Mark him who looks the worst, and lest he live Idle at home in ease and luxury, The lazy monarch must be doom'd to die; So let the royal insect rule alone, And reign without a rival in his throne.
The kings are different; one of better note, All speck d with gold, and many a shining spot, Looks gay, and glistens in a gilded coat; But love of ease and sloth in one prevails, That scarce his hanging paunch behind him trails.