Page images

Well pleas'd, thy people's loyalty approve,
Accept their duty, and enjoy their love.
For as when lately mov'd with fierce delight,
You plung'd amidst the tumult of the fight,
Whole heaps of death encompass'd you around,
And steeds o'erturn'd lay foaming on the ground:
So crown'd with laurels now, where'er you go,
Around you blooming joys and peaceful blessings flow.





This translation of Virgil is said by sir Walter Scott to have appeared in the third volume of Dryden's Miscellany, published in 1693. Addison was then in his twenty-second year. Dryden, in the postscript to his translation of Virgil, says: "Whoever has given the world the translation of part of the third Georgic, which he calls the Power of Love, has put me to sufficient pains to make my own not inferior to his; as my lord Roscommon's Silenus had formerly given me the same trouble. The most ingenious Mr. Addison of Oxford has also been as troublesome to me as the other two, and on the same After his Bees, my latter swarm is scarcely worth the hiving." Scott's Dryden, vol. i. 378. xv. 193. Bishop Hurd says of it, that "the version, though it be exact enough, for the most part, and not inelegant, gives us but a faint idea of the original. It has the grace but not the energy of Virgil's manner. The versification, except only the bad rhymes, may be excused; for the frequent triplets and alexandrines, which Dryden's laziness, by the favour of his exuberant genius, had introduced, were esteemed, when this translation was made, not blemishes, but beauties."






ETHEREAL sweets shall next my muse engage,
And this, Mecenas, claims your patronage.
Of little creatures' wondrous acts I treat,
The ranks and mighty leaders of their state,
Their laws, employments, and their wars relate.
A trifling theme provokes my humble lays,
Trifling the theme, not so the poet's praise,
If great Apollo and the tuneful nine
Join in the piece, and make the work divine.
First, for your bees a proper station find,
That's fenc'd about, and shelter'd from the wind;
For winds divert them in their flight, and drive
The swarms, when laden homeward, from their hive.
Nor sheep nor goats must pasture near their stores,
To trample under foot the springing flowers;

Nor frisking heifers bound about the place,

Το spurn the dewdrops off, and bruise the rising grass: Nor must the lizard's painted brood appear,

Nor woodpecks, nor the swallow harbour near.


They waste the swarms, and, as they fly along,
Convey the tender morsels to their young.

Let purling streams, and fountains edg'd with moss,
And shallow rills run trickling through the grass;
Let branching olives o'er the fountain grow,

Or palms shoot up, 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 neighb'ring 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 flow'ry banks with lavender,
With store of sav'ry scent the fragrant air,
Let running betony the field o'erspread,
And fountains soak the violet's dewy bed.

Though barks and 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 drop.
The bees, of both extremes alike afraid,

Their wax around the whistling crannies spread,
And suck out clammy dews from herbs and flow'rs,
To smear the chinks, and plaister up the pores:
For this they hoard up glue, 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;

« PreviousContinue »