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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Translations
Amaryllis;
Or, the Third Idyllium of Theocritus, paraphras’d
 
TO 1 Amaryllis Love compells my way,
My browzing Goats upon the Mountains stray:
O Tityrus, tend them well, and see them fed
In Pastures fresh, and to their watring led;
And ’ware 2 the Ridgling with his butting 3 head.        5
Ah, beauteous Nymph, can you forget your Love,
The conscious Grottos, and the shady Grove;
Where stretcht at ease your tender Limbs were laid,
Your nameless Beauties nakedly display’d?
Then I was call’d your darling, your desire,        10
With Kisses such as set my Soul on fire:
But you are chang’d, yet I am still the same;
My heart maintains for both a double Flame;
Griev’d, but unmov’d, and patient of your scorn:
So faithfull I, and you so much forsworn!        15
I dye, and Death will finish all my pain;
Yet e’er I dye, behold me once again:
Am I so much deform’d, so chang’d of late?
What partial Judges are our Love and Hate!
Ten Wildings have I gather’d for my Dear;        20
How ruddy like your Lips their streaks appear!
Far off you view’d them with a longing Eye
Upon the topmost branch (the Tree was high;)
Yet nimbly up, from bough to bough I swerv’d,
And for to Morrow have Ten more reserv’d.        25
Look on me Kindly, and some pity shew,
Or give me leave at least to look on you.
Some God transform me by his Heavenly pow’r
Ev’n to a Bee to buzz within your Bow’r,
The winding Ivy-chaplet to invade,        30
And folded Fern, that your fair Forehead shade.
Now to my cost the force of Love I find;
The heavy hand he bears on humane kind.
The Milk of Tygers was his Infant food,
Taught from his tender years the tast of blood;        35
His Brother whelps and he ran wild about the wood.
Ah nymph, train’d up in his Tyrannick Court,
To make the suff’rings of your Slaves your sport!
Unheeded Ruine! treacherous delight!
O polish’d hardness, soften’d to the sight!        40
Whose radiant Eyes your Ebon Brows adorn,
Like Midnight those, and these like break of Morn!
Smile once again, revive me with your Charms:
And let me dye contented in your Arms.
I would not ask to live another Day,        45
Might I but sweetly Kiss my Soul away.
Ah, why am I from empty Joys debarr’d?
For Kisses are but empty, when Compar’d!
I rave, and in my raging fit shall tear
The Garland which I wove for you to wear,        50
Of Parsley with a wreath of Ivy bound,
And border’d with a Rosie edging round.
What pangs I feel, unpity’d and unheard!
Since I must dye, why is my Fate deferr’d!
I strip my Body of my Shepherds Frock:        55
Behold that dreadfull downfall of a Rock,
Where yon old Fisher views the Waves from high!
’Tis that Convenient leap I mean to try.
You would be pleas’d to see me plunge to shoar,
But better pleas’d if I should rise no more.        60
I might have read my Fortune long agoe,
When, seeking my success in Love to know,
I try’d th’ infallible Prophetique way,
A Poppy leaf upon my palm to lay;
I struck, and yet no lucky crack did follow,        65
Yet I struck hard, and yet the leaf lay hollow.
And, which was worse, if any worse cou’d prove
The withring leaf foreshew’d your withring Love.
Yet farther (Ah, how far a Lover dares!)
My last recourse I had to Seive and Sheeres;        70
And told the Witch Agreo my disease,
(Agreo, that in Harvest us’d to lease;
But Harvest done, to Chare-work did aspire;
Meat, drink, and Tow-pence was her daily hire;)
To work she went, her Charms she mutter’d o’er,        75
And yet the resty Seive wagg’d ne’er the more;
I wept for Woe, the testy Beldame swore,
And foaming with her God, foretold my Fate;
That I was doom’d to Love, and you to Hate.
A milk-white Goat for you I did provide;        80
Two milk-white 4 Kids run frisking by her side,
For which the Nut-brown Lass, Erithacis,
Full often offer’d many a savoury Kiss.
Hers they shall be, since you refuse the price,
What madman would o’erstand his Market twice!        85
My right Eye itches, some good-luck is near,
Perhaps my Amaryllis may appear;
I’ll set up such a Note as she shall hear.
What Nymph but my melodious Voice would move?
She must be Flint, if she refuse my Love.        90
Hippomenes, who ran with Noble strife
To win his Lady, or to lose his Life,
(What shift some men will make to get a Wife!)
Threw down a Golden Apple in her way;
For all her haste she could not chuse but stay:        95
Renown said run; the glitt’ring Bribe cry’d hold;
The Man might have been hang’d, but for his Gold.
Yet some suppose ’twas Love (some few indeed,)
That stopt the fatal fury of her Speed:
She saw, she sigh’d; her nimble Feet refuse        100
Their wonted Speed, and she took pains to lose.
A Prophet some, and some a Poet cry,
(No matter which, so neither of them lye)
From steepy Othrys top to Pylus drove
His herd; and for his pains enjoy’d his Love:        105
If such another Wager shou’d be laid,
I’ll find the Man, if you can find the Maid.
Why name I Men, When Love extended finds
His pow’r on high, and in Celestial Minds?
Venus the Shepherd’s homely habit took,        110
And manag’d something else besides the Crook;
Nay, when Adonis dy’d, was heard to roar,
And never from her heart forgave the Boar.
How blest is fair Endymion with his Moon,
Who sleeps on Latmos top from Night to Noon!        115
What Jason from Medea’s Love possest,
You shall not hear, but know ’tis like the rest.
My aking Head can scarce support the pain;
This cursed Love will surely turn my Brain:
Feel how it shoots, and yet you take no Pity,        120
Nay then ’tis time to end my doleful Ditty.
A clammy Sweat does o’er my Temples creep;
My heavy Eyes are urg’d with Iron sleep:
I lay me down to gasp my latest Breath,
The Wolves will get a Breakfast by my Death;        125
Yet scarce enough their hunger to supply,
For Love has made me Carrion e’er I dye.
 
Note 1. Text from the original edition of 1692. [back]
Note 2. ’ware] w’are 1692. [back]
Note 3. butting] The editors absurdly give budding. [back]
Note 4. milk-white] milk-whit 1693. [back]
 
 
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