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Alexander Pope (1688–1744). Complete Poetical Works. 1903.


III. Autumn; or, Hylas and Ægon

To Mr. Wycherley

BENEATH the shade a spreading beech displays,

Hylas and Ægon sung their rural lays;

This mourn’d a faithless, that an absent love,

And Delia’s name and Doris’ fill’d the grove.

Ye Mantuan Nymphs, your sacred succour bring,

Hylas and Ægon’s rural lays I sing.

Thou, whom the Nine with Plautus’ wit inspire,

The art of Terence, and Menander’s fire;

Whose sense instructs us, and whose humour charms,

Whose judgment sways us, and whose spirit warms!

O, skill’d in Nature! see the hearts of swains,

Their artless passions, and their tender pains.

Now setting Phœbus shone serenely bright,

And fleecy clouds were streak’d with purple light;

When tuneful Hylas, with melodious moan,

Taught rocks to weep, and made the mountains groan.

Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!

To Delia’s ear the tender notes convey.

As some sad turtle his lost love deplores,

And with deep murmurs fills the sounding shores;

Thus, far from Delia, to the winds I mourn,

Alike unheard, unpitied, and forlorn.

Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along!

For her, the feather’d quires neglect their song;

For her, the limes their pleasing shades deny;

For her, the lilies hang their heads and die.

Ye flowers that droop, forsaken by the spring,

Ye birds that, left by Summer, cease to sing,

Ye trees, that fade when Autumn-heats remove,

Say, is not absence death to those who love?

Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!

Curs’d be the fields that cause my Delia’s stay!

Fade ev’ry blossom, wither ev’ry tree,

Die ev’ry flower, and perish all but she!

What have I said? Where’er my Delia flies,

Let Spring attend, and sudden flowers arise!

Let op’ning roses knotted oaks adorn,

And liquid amber drop from ev’ry thorn!

Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along!

The birds shall cease to tune their ev’ning song,

The winds to breathe, the waving woods to move,

And streams to murmur, ere I cease to love.

Not bubbling fountains to the thirsty swain,

Not balmy sleep to lab’rers faint with pain,

Not showers to larks, nor sunshine to the bee,

Are half so charming as thy sight to me.

Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!

Come, Delia, come; ah, why this long delay?

Thro’ rocks and caves the name of Delia sounds,

Delia, each cave and echoing rock rebounds.

Ye Powers, what pleasing frenzy soothes my mind!

Do lovers dream, or is my Delia kind?

She comes, my Delia comes!—Now cease, my lay,

And cease, ye gales, to bear my sighs away!

Next Ægon sung, while Windsor groves admired:

Rehearse, ye Muses, what yourselves inspired.

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain!

Of perjur’d Doris dying I complain:

Here where the mountains, less’ning as they rise,

Lose the low vales, and steal into the skies:

While lab’ring oxen, spent with toil and heat,

In their loose traces from the field retreat:

While curling smokes from village-tops are seen,

And the fleet shades glide o’er the dusky green.

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!

Beneath yon poplar oft we pass’d the day:

Oft on the rind I carv’d her am’rous vows,

While she with garlands hung the bending boughs:

The garlands fade, the vows are worn away;

So dies her love, and so my hopes decay.

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain!

Now bright Arcturus glads the teeming grain,

Now golden fruits on loaded branches shine,

And grateful clusters swell with floods of wine;

Now blushing berries paint the yellow grove:

Just Gods! shall all things yield returns but love?

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!

The shepherds cry, ‘Thy flocks are left a prey’—

Ah! what avails it me the flocks to keep,

Who lost my heart while I preserv’d my sheep!

Pan came, and ask’d, ‘What magic caus’d my smart,

Or what ill eyes malignant glances dart?’

What eyes but hers, alas, have power to move!

And is there magic but what dwells in love?

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strains!

I ’ll fly from shepherds, flocks, and flow’ry plains;

From shepherds, flocks, and plains, I may remove,

Forsake mankind, and all the world—but Love!

I know thee, Love! on foreign mountains bred,

Wolves gave thee suck, and savage tigers fed.

Thou wert from Ætna’s burning entrails torn,

Got by fierce whirlwinds, and in thunder born!

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!

Farewell, ye woods; adieu the light of day!

One leap from yonder cliff shall end my pains,

No more, ye hills, no more resound my strains!

Thus sung the shepherds till th’ approach of night,

The skies yet blushing with departing light,

When fallen dews with spangles deck’d the glade,

And the low sun had lengthen’d ev’ry shade.