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SHE said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs, When the fair Consort of her son replies. Since you a servant's ravish'd form bemoan, And kindly sigh for sorrows not your own, Let me (if tears and grief permit) relate A nearer woe, a sister's stranger fate. No nymph of all chalia could compare For beauteous form with Dryope the fair, Her tender mother's only hope and pride (Myself the offspring of a second bride). This Nymph compress'd by him who rules the day, Whom Delphi and the Delian isle obey, Andræmon lov'd; and, bless'd in all those charms That pleas'd a God, succeeded to her arms.
A lake there was, with shelving banks around, 15 Whose verdant summit fragrant myrtles crown'd. These shades, unknowing of the fates, she sought, And to the Naiads flow'ry garlands brought; Her smiling babe (a pleasing charge) she prest Within her arms, and nourish'd at her breast.
DRYOPE.] Upon occasion of the death of Hercules, his mother Alcmena recounts her misfortunes to Iole, who answers with a relation of those of her own family, in particular the transformations of her sister Dryope, which is the subject of the ensuing fable. P.
Haud procul a stagno, Tyrios imitata colores,
In spem baccarum florebat aquatica lotos.
Carpserat hinc Dryope, quos oblectamina nato
Porrigeret, flores: et idem factura videbar;
Namque aderam. vidi guttas e flore cruentas
Decidere; et tremulo ramos horrore moveri.
Scilicet, ut referunt tardi nunc denique agrestes,
Lotis in hanc Nymphe, fugiens obscœna Priapi,
Contulerat versos, servato nomine, vultus.
Nescierat soror hoc; quæ quum perterrita retro 35 Ire et adoratis vellet discedere Nymphis, Hæserunt radice pedes. convellere pugnat : Nec quidquam, nisi summa, movet. succrescit ab imo, Totaque paulatim lentus premit inguina cortex. Ut vidit, conata manu laniare capillos, Fronde manum implevit, frondes caput omne tenebant.
At puer Amphissos (namque hoc avus Eurytus illi
Addiderat nomen) materna rigescere sentit
Ubera nec sequitur ducentem lacteus humor. 50
Not distant far a watry Lotos grows,
The spring was new, and all the verdant boughs
Adorn'd with blossoms promis'd fruits that vie
In glowing colours with the Tyrian die :
Of these she cropp'd to please her infant son,
And I myself the same rash act had done :
But lo! I saw (as near her side I stood),
The violated blossoms drop with blood;
Upon the tree I cast a frightful look ;
The trembling tree with sudden horror shook.
Lotis the nymph (if rural tales be true)
As from Priapus' lawless lust she flew,
Forsook her form; and fixing here became
A flow'ry plant, which still preserves her name.
This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight, 35
My trembling sister strove to urge her flight:
And first the pardon of the nymphs implor'd
And those offended sylvan pow'rs ador'd:
But when she backward would have fled, she found
Her stiff'ning feet were rooted in the ground: 40
In vain to free her fasten'd feet she strove,
And, as she struggles, only moves above;
She feels th' encroaching bark around her grow
By quick degrees, and cover all below:
Surpris'd at this, her trembling hand she heaves 45
To rend her hair; her hand is fill'd with leaves :
Where late was hair the shooting leaves are seen
To rise, and shade her with a sudden green.
The child Amphissus, to her bosom prest,
Perceiv'd a colder and a harder breast.
And found the springs, that ne'er till then deny'd
Their milky moisture, on a sudden dry'd.
Spectatrix aderam fati crudelis: opemque
Non poteram tibi ferre, soror: quantumque valebam,
Crescentem truncum ramosque amplexa, morabar:
Et (fateor) volui sub eodem cortice condi.
Ecce vir Andræmon, genitorque miserrimus, adsunt ;
Et quærunt Dryopen: Dryopen quærentibus illis
Ostendi loton. tepido dant oscula ligno:
Adfusique suæ radicibus arboris hærent.
Nil nisi jam faciem, quod non foret arbor, habebas,
Cara soror. lacrymæ verso de corpore factis
Irrorant foliis ac, dum licet, oraque præstant
Vocis iter, tales effundit in aëra questus :
qua fides miseris, hoc me per numina juro
Non meruisse nefas. patior sine crimine pœnam.
Viximus innocuæ: si mentior, arida perdam,
Quas habeo, frondes; et cæsa securibus urar. 75
I saw, unhappy! what I now relate,
And stood the helpless witness of thy fate,
Embrac'd thy boughs, thy rising bark delay'd,
There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade.
Behold Andræmon and th' unhappy sire
Appear, and for their Dryope inquire:
A springing tree for Dryope they find,
And print warm kisses on the panting rind.
Prostrate, with tears their kindred plant bedew,
And close embrace as to the roots they grew.
The face was all that now remain'd of thee,
No more a woman, nor yet quite a tree;
Thy branches hung with humid pearls appear,
From ev'ry leaf distils a trickling tear,
And straight a voice, while yet a voice remains,
Thus through the trembling boughs in sighs complains.
If to the wretched any faith be given,
I swear by all th' unpitying pow'rs of heav'n,
No wilful crime this heavy vengeance bred ;
In mutual innocence our lives we led:
If this be false, let these new greens decay,
Let sounding axes lop my limbs away,
And crackling flames on all my honours prey.
Ver. 69. If to the wretched] This translation is faulty. To clear herself from the imputation of falling under this judgment of heaven, by any crime of hers, she bears witness to the behaviour of her husband and father, equally at least with her own; but why that introduction, "Si qua fides," believe me? And by what figure is mutual innocence put for mutual harmony? Nothing is more common in verse than to use the first plural for the singular: "Patior sine crimine, et viximus innocua," is but one and the same person; a testimony of her own innocence, but not of the mutual concord between her relations. From Mr. Bowyer.