Friday, January 7, 2011

Eclogue IV Muraeana and Palaemon

MUR. From this high cliff is an unusual view,
And here our eyes uncommon scenes persue.
I see the verdure of yon distant plains,
Where bleating flocks are fed by tuneful swains.
But ah! How wretched are those earth-born slaves,
Compar'd with us, who cut thro' shining waves!
They are expos'd to cold, expos'd to heat,
In different seasons mourn a different fate;
Uneasy still the wretched Caitiff moves
To breezy mountains, or to shelt'ring groves.
While we no cloathing need, no change of rules,
The sea in winter warms, in summer cools.
I've sen the labouring plowman's daily toil
For a new crop to fit the stubborn soil,
While heav'n supplies our wants without our sweat,
We ne'er are hungry, but we have to eat,
Why should we thus by partial heaven be blest;
While neither grief, nor doubt, not toil opprest;
While those on earth of happiness despair,
In pain, and anguish die, and live in care?

PAL. I've heard (for thus the wise Melampus* said)
Two different kinds of men by heav'n were made,
The one to swim, and sport in briny seas,
Th' other to range on earth, or sit at ease,
Under the covert of the shadowing trees.
To each a guardian spirit was assign'd
to guide their passions, and inform their mind;
But he on earth, ingrate! Would wildly rove,
Despis'd his maker, and abus'd his love.
Enraged at this the guardian daemon flew,
And bid him his own blinded will persue;
Thus earthy men deserted buy their guide
Can't rule their giddy thoughts, not stem the coming tide;
But still are doom'd slaves to their darling lust,
Are all deceitful, cruel, and unjust; 
Restless desires their wearied soul distract,
They know not what they are, nor - why they act.
While we content with what the gods approve, 
Do nought but ever sing, and - ever love.

MUR. But see - 
The tide swells on the shore, and forwards creeps, 
And with new slime besmears the sandy heaps.
What makes this constant flux, I've often thought
The cause is wond'rous, and in vain I sought.

PAL.  The cause is wond'rous plain; the wise will prove
The nature of a fluid is to move:
In every liquid there's a constant rowl;
An eddy, tho' unseen, disturbs the whole.
The gliding parts with secret motion flow;
Were they at rest, they would to hardness grow.
As washings left in rocks, buy winter's frost
Are fixt to solid ice, and all the motion's lost.

MUR. Happy are those who know the secret cause
Of strange effects, and nature's hidden laws.
But leave the rocks; for rising fogs appear,
And cold land-breezes chill the troubled air.

*Melampus was a seer that was featured in various myths.

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