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FIRST our Thalia deigned to dally with the verse of Syracuse, nor blushed to dwell in the woodland. When I was singing of kings and battles, the Cynthian twitched my ear and counselled me: A shepherd, Tityrus, should feed fat sheep but utter a slender song. Now will I--for thou wilt have many who long to utter thy praises, Varus, and to chronicle dreadful wars--brood on my slim pipe over the Muse of the country, Yet if one, if one there be to read this also for love of it, of thee, O Varus, our tamarisks, of thee all the forest shall sing; nor is any page dearer to Phoebus than that which writes in front of it Varus' name.

Proceed, maidens of Pieria. The boys Chromis and Mnasylos saw Silenus lying asleep in a cavern, his veins swollen as ever with the wine of yesterday: just apart lay the garlands slid from his head, and the heavy wine-jar hung by its worn handle. Falling on him, for often the old man had mocked them both with expectation of a song, they fetter him in his own garlands. Aegle joins company and reinforces their faint courage, Aegle fairest of the Naiads; and, now his eyes are open, stains his brow and temples with blood-red mulberries. He, laughing at their wiles, cries, Why tie these bonds? release me, boys: enough that you fancied you were so strong. Mark the songs you desire; for you songs, for her shall be another payment. And with that he begins. Then indeed thou mightest see Fauns and wild creatures sporting in measure, then massy oaks swaying their tops: nor so much does the Parnassian cliff rejoice in Phoebus nor so much Rhodope and Ismarus marvel at Orpheus.

For he sang how throughout the vast void were gathered together the seeds of earth and air and sea, and withal of fluid fire; how from these originals all the beginnings of

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things and the young orbed world itself grew together; then began to, harden its floor and set ocean-bars to Nereus and gradually take shape in things: while now earth in amaze sees the new-born sun rise shining higher, and the rains fall as the clouds uplift; when the forests first begin to spring, and when live creatures roam thinly over the unknowing hills. Next he tells of the stones cast by Pyrrha, of the realm of Saturn, and the birds of Caucasus and the theft of Prometheus: thereto he adds how the sailors called on Hylas left at the fountain till Hylas! Hylas! echoed from all the shore: and consoles Pasiphaë (happy, had herds but never been!) with the love of her snowy steer. Ah hapless maiden, what frenzy hath hold of thee? Proetus' daughters filled the fields with counterfeited lowings, but yet none of them pursued such inhuman and shameful union, though her neck had shuddered as from the plough and she often had sought for horns on her smooth forehead. Ah hapless maiden, thou now wanderest on the hills: he, resting his snowy side on soft hyacinth blooms, under a back ilex munches the pale grass, or follows one among the vast herd. Bar, O Nymphs, Nymphs of Crete, bar now the forest glades, if haply that steer's wandering footprints may somewhere meet our eyes; peradventure he, either lured by green herbage or following the herbs, may come home on the cows' track to the yards of Gortyna. Then he sings of the maiden's marvel at the apples of the Hesperides: then enrings Phaethon's sisters with moss on bitter bark, and makes them spring tall in alder from the ground. Then he sings how as Gallus strayed by the streams of Permessus, one of the sisterhood led him to Aonian hills, and how before him all the choir of Phoebus rose up; bow Linus the divine shepherd-singer, with blossoms and bitter parsley twined in his hair, spoke thus to him: These pipes, see, take them! the Muses give thee, the same they once gave the old man of Ascra; wherewith he was wont, singing, to draw down stubborn ash trees from the hills. On these be told by thee the birth of the Grynean forest, that there be no grove in which Apollo shall pride himself more. Why should I tell this tale either of Nisus' Scylla, whose

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after story is that girt with barking monsters round her white loins she harried the ships of Dulichium, and deep in her whirlpool, ah! tore their shivering crews with her sea-hounds? or of the changed limbs of Tereus; of that feast, that gift Philomela made ready for him; of her flight to desolate places, and of the wings on which she wretchedly hovered high in front of her home?

All that long ago happy Eurotas heard from brooding Phoebus and bade his laurels learn by heart, he sings: the smitten vales echo it to the sky: till bidding him gather the sheep to their cotes and tell their tale, the evening star came out in the unwilling heaven.

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Next: Eclogue VII.--Meliboeus