nuptial promise: she
Turnd; and, half-choked through dewy glens, some great,
Some magic drone of revel
Of glorious fruit, indeed, must be thy choice!
Such as has fully ripend on the branch,
due rain, then sunshine, made rejoice,
Which, pulpd and colourd, now deep bloom doth blanch!
like odes for victors in the games,
Strophe on strophe globed, pure nectar all!
Spread such to dry! if Helios
grant thee grace,
Exposed unto his flames
Two days, or, if not, three, or, should rain fall,
Stretch them on
hurdles in the house four days!
Grapes are not sharded chestnuts, which the tree
Lets fall to burst them on the ground, where
Rolls forth the fruit, from white-lined wards set free,
And all undamaged glows mid husks it shed;
they are soft and should be singly strippd
From off the bunch, by maidens dainty hand,
through the cool silent depth to sink
(Coy, as herself hath slippd,
Bathing, from shelves in caves along
Till round each dark grape water barely wink;
Since some nine measures of sea-water fill
A butt of fifty, ere the plump fruit peep,
dolphin shoals when nights are still,
Which pennd in Proteus wizard circle sleep,
And twixt them glinting
curves of silver glance
If Zephyr, dimpling dark calm, counts them oer.
Let soak thy fruit for two days
thus, then tread!
While bare-leggd bumpkins dance,
Bright from thy bursting press archd spouts shall
And gurgling torrents towards thy vats run red.
Meanwhile the maidens, each with wooden rake,
Drag back the skins and laugh at aprons
Or youths rest, boasting how their brown arms ache,
So fast their shovels for so long have flashd,
their comrades legs with mounting heaps.
Treble their labour! still the happier they,
Who, at this genial
task, wear out long hours,
Till vast night round them creeps,
When soon the torch-light dance whirls them
For gods, who love wine, double all their powers.
Iacchus is the always grateful god!
His vineyards are more fair than gardens far;
like those of Babylon, they nod
Oer each Ionian cliff and hill-side scar!
While Cypris lends him saltness,
depth, and peace;
The brown earth yields him sap for richest green;
And he has borrowd laughter from
Wildness from winds; and bees
Bring honey.Then choose casks which thou hast seen
very wholesome, and quite dry!
That Coan wine the very finest is,
I do assure thee, who have travelld much
And learnd to
judge of diverse vintages.
Faint not before the toil! this wine is such
As tempteth princes launch long
From which may Zeus protect Sicilian bays,
And, ere long, me safe home from Egypt bring,
no black-saild sharks
Scent this kings gifts, for whom I sweeten praise
With those same songs thou didst
to Chloëe sing!
I wrote them neath the vine-cloakd elm, for thee.
Recall those nights! our couches were
Of scented lentisk; upward, tree by tree,
Thy fathers orchard sloped, and past us flowd
sluiced for his vineyards; when, above,
The apples fell, they on to us were rolld,
But kept us not awake,O
How thou didst rave of love!
Now art thou staid, thy son is three years old;
But I, who made
thee love-songs, live alone.
Muse thou at dawn oer thy yet slumbering wife!
Not chary of her best was Nature there,
though a third of her full gift of life
Was spent, still added beauties still more rare;
What calm slow days,
what holy sleep at night,
Evolved her for long twilight trystings fraught
With panic blushes and tip-toe
And then, what mystic might
All, with a crowning boon, through travail brought!
and give thy best likewise!
Ungrateful be not! Laco, neer be that!
Well worth thy while to make such wine twould be:
see thy red face neath thy broad straw hat,
I see thy house, thy vineyards, Sicily!
Thou dost demur,
good, but too easy, friend:
Come put those doubts away! thou hast strong lads,
Brave wenches; on the