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Virginede quem non suspendit gratia formæ ? Quam, candore nives vincentem, ostrumque rubore, Vestra tamen viridis superet (me judice) virtus? Nec foliis certare comæ, nec brachia ramis, Nec possint tremulos voces æquare susurros.
Ah quoties savos vidi (quis credat ?) amantes, Sculpentes dominæ potiori in cortice nomen! Nec puduit truncis inscribere vulnera sacris. Ast ego, si vestras unquam temeravero stirpes, Nulla Neæra, Chloe, Faustina, Corynna, legetur; In proprio sed quæque libro signabitur arbos. O charæ platanus, cyparissus, populus, ulnus !
Hic amor, exutis, crepidatus inambulat, alis. Enerves arcus, et stridula tela reponens, Invertitque faces, nec se cupit usque timeri; Aut exporrectus jacet, indormitque pharetræ Non auditurus, quanquam Cytherea vocârit, Nequitias referunt, nec somnia vana, priores.
Lætantur Superi, defervescente tyranno,
Et licet experti toties Nymphasque Deasque,
Arbore nunc melius potiuntur quisque cupita.
Jupiter annosam, neglectâ conjuge, quercum
Deperit; haud aliâ doluit sic Pellice Juno.
Lemniacum temerant vestigia nulla cubile,
Nec Veneris mavors meminit, si fraxinus absit.
Formosa pressit Daphnes vestigia Phæbus
Ut fieret laurus; sed nil quæsiverat ultra.
Capripes et peteret quód Pan Syringa fugacem,
Hoc erat, ut calamum posset reperire sonorum.
Nec tu, Opifex horti, grato sine carmine abibis ;
Qui brevibus plantis, et læto flore, notâsti
Crescentes horas, atque intervalla diei.
Sol ibi candidior fragrantia signa pererrat;
Proque truci Tauro, stricto pro forcipe Cancri,
Securis violæque rosæque allabitur umbris.
Sedula quin et apis, mellito intenta labori,
Hotologo, sua pensa, thymo, signare videtur.
Temporis 0 suaves lapsus ! O otia sana;
O herbis dignæ, numerari, et floribus, horæ!
The following is Marvell’s translation of this Latin
“ How vainly men themselves amaze,
To win the palm, the oak, or bays:
And their incessant labours see
Crown'd from some single herb, or tree,
Whose short and narrow-verged shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all the flow'rs, and trees, do close,
To weave the garlands of repose.
Fair quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence, thy sister dear?
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men.
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow.
Society is all but rude
To this delicious solitude.
No white nor red was ever seen
So am'rous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name.
Little, alas, they know or heed,
How far these beauties her exceed !
Fair trees! where'er your barks I wound,
No name shall but your own be found.
When we have run our passion's heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat.
The Gods, who mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race,
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow;
And Pan did after Syrinx speed,
Not as a Nymph, but for a reed.
What wond'rous life in this I lead !
Ripe apples drop about my head.
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine.
The nectarine, and curious peach,
Into my hands themselves do reach.
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Insnard with flow'rs, I fall on grass.
Mean while the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness :
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.
Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide:
There, like a bird, it sits and sings,
Then whets, and claps its silver wings;
And, till prepar'd for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.
Such was the happy garden state,
While man there walk'd without a mate :
After a place so pure
What other help could yet be meet!
But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises are in one,
To live in paradise alone.
How well the skilful gard'ner drew
Of flow'rs, and herbs, this dial new :
Where, from above, the milder sud
Does through a fragrant zodiac run:
And, as it works, th' industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we.
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckon'd but with herbs and flow'rs."
We have not extracted any other specimens of Marvell's
or facetious poetry, that we might have space for the more interesting and superior extracts from the foregoing poems, and from his prose writings. His political facetiæ, although extremely witty and caustic, are generally interwoven with references to persons and public occurrences, now gone to the tomb of the Capulets."
One of the pleasantest of Marvell's poems, is his character of Holland, with which we shall conclude our poetical extracts. It is pregnant with wit, and deserves to be quoted entire. We can only afford room for the first half of it.
“ Holland, that scarce deserves the name of land,
As but th' off-scouring of the British sand ;
And so much earth as was contributed
By English pilots when they heav'd the lead ;
Or what by th' ocean's slow alluvion fell,
Of shipwreck'd cockle and the muscle-shell;
This indigested vomit of the sea
Fell to the Dutch by just propriety.
Glad then, as miners who have found the ore,
They, with mad labour, fish'd the land to shore:
And div'd as desperately for each piece
Of earth, as if't had been of Ambergreece ;
Collecting anxiously small loads of clay,
Less than what building swallows bear away ;
Or than those pills which sordid beetles rowl,
Transfusing into them their dunghill soul.
How did they rivet, with gigantic piles, Thorough the centre their new-catched miles ; And to the stake a struggling country bound, Where barking waves still bait the forced ground; Building their watry Babel far more high To reach the sea, than those to scale the sky.
Yet still his claim the injur'd ocean lay'd, And oft at leap-frog o'er their steeples play'd ; As if on purpose it on land had come To shew them what's their mare liberum. A daily deluge over them does boil ; The earth and water play at level-coyl. The fish oft-times the burgher dispossess'd, And sat, not as a meat, but as a guest ; And oft the Tritons, and the sea-nymphs, saw Whole shoals of Dutch serv'd up for Cabillau ; Or, as they over the new level rang’d, For pickled herring, pickled heeren chang'd. Nature, it seem'd, asham'd of her mistake, Would throw their land away at duck and drake, Therefore necessity, that first made kings, Something like government among them brings. Por, as with Pygmys, who best kills the crane, Among the hungry he that treasures grain, Among the blind the one-ey'd blinkard reigns, So rules among the drowned he that drains. Not who first see the rising sun commands : But who could first discern the rising lands. Who best could know to pump an earth so leak, Him they their lord, and country's father, speak.
To make a bank, was a great plot of state ;
Invent a shov'l, and be a magistrate.
Hence some small dyke grave, unperceiv'd invades
The pow'r, and grows, as 'twere, a king of spades ;
But, for less envy some join'd states endures,
Who look like a commission of the sewers :
For these half-anders, half wet, and half dry,
Nor bear strict service, nor pure liberty.
'Tis probable religion, after this,
Came next in order; which they could not miss.
How could the Dutch but be converted, when
Th' Apostles were so many fishermen ?
Besides, the waters of themselves did rise,
And, as their land, so them did re-baptize;
Tho' herring for their God few voices miss'd,
And Poor-John to have been th' Evangelist.
Faith, that could never twins conceive before,
Never so fertile, spawn'd upon this shore
More pregnant than their Marg'ret, that lay'd down
For Hands-in-Kelder of a whole Hans-Town.
Sure when religion did itself embark,
And from the east would westward steer its ark,
It struck, and splitting on this unknown ground,
Each one thence pillag'd the first piece he found :
Hence Amsterdam, Turk, Christian, Pagan, Jew,
Staple of sects, and mint of schism grew;
That bank of conscience, where not one so strange
Opinion, but finds credit, and exchange.
In vain for Catholics ourselves we bear :
The universal church is only there.”
Captain Thompson was a very incorrect and injudicious editor of Marvell's works. He omits, altogether, his authority for various insertions and assertions of doubtful character. The celebrated ballad of William and Margaret, published and claimed by Mallet, is transferred to Marvell, by Captain Thompson, simply because it is said to exist in the hand-writing of Marvell, but where we are not told! As the property of Mallet, the ballad, to say the least, is extremely dubious; but Mallet has more occasion for it, and Thompson need not have appropriated it to Marvell, whose reputation stands not in need of a doubtful claim. A very contemptible charge of plagiarism is also preferred by the editor against Addison, for the insertion of three hyinns, in the Spectator, Nos. 453, 461, and 465: no proof whatever is vouchsafed that they belong to Marvell ; and