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OVID TO HIS WIFE.

IMITATED FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF HIS TRISTIA.

Jam mea cygneas imitantur tempora plumas,
Inficit et nigras alba senecta comas.

Trist. Lib. iv. Eleg. 8.

My aged head now stoops its honours low,

Bowed with the load of fifty winters' snow;

And for the raven's glossy black assumes
The downy whiteness of the cygnet's plumes :
Loose scattered hairs around my temples stray,
And spread the mournful shade of sickly gray:
I bend beneath the weight of broken years,

Averse to change, and chilled with causeless fears.

The season now invites me to retire

To the dear lares of my household fire ;

To homely scenes of calm domestic peace,
A poet's leisure, and an old man's ease;
To wear the remnant of uncertain life

In the fond bosom of a faithful wife;

In safe repose my last few hours to spend,
Nor fearful nor impatient of their end.
Thus a safe port the wave-worn vessels gain,
Nor tempt again the dangers of the main :
Thus the proud steed, when youthful glory fades,
And creeping age his stiffening limbs invades,
Lies stretched at ease on the luxuriant plain,
And dreams his morning triumphs o’er again :
The hardy veteran from the camp retires,
His joints unstrung, and feeds his household fires;
Satiate with fame, enjoys well-earned repose,
And sees his stormy day serenely close.

Not such my lot! Severer fates decree
My shattered bark must plough an unknown sea.

Forced from my native seats and sacred home,

Friendless, alone, through Scythian wilds to roam ;
With trembling knees o'er unknown hills I go,
Stiff with blue ice and heaped with drifted snow.
Pale suns there strike their feeble rays in vain,
Which faintly glance against the marble plain :
Red Ister there, which madly lashed the shore,
His idle urn sealed up, forgets to roar :
Stern Winter in eternal triumph reigns,
Shuts

up the bounteous year and starves the plains.
My failing eyes the weary waste explore,
The savage mountains and the dreary shore,
And vainly look for scenes of old delight;--
No loved familiar objects meet my sight;
No long-remembered streams nor conscious bowers
Wake the gay memory of youthful hours.
I fondly hoped, content with learned ease,

To walk amidst cotemporary trees;

In every scene some favourite spot to trace,
And meet in all some kind domestic face;

To stretch my limbs upon my native soil,
With long vacation from unquiet toil;
Resign my breath where first that breath I drew,
And sink into the spot from whence I grew.

But if my feeble age is doomed to try
Unusual seasons and a foreign sky,

To some more genial clime let me repair,
And taste the healing balm of milder air;
Near to the glowing sun's directer ray,
And pitch my tent beneath the eye of day.
Could not the winter in

my veins suffice, Without the added rage of Scythian skies ? The snow of time

my

vital heat exhaust, And hoary age, without Sarmatian frost ?

Yet storm and tempest are of ills the least
Which this inhospitable land infest :
Society than solitude is worse,

And man to man is still the greatest curse.

A savage race my fearful steps surround,
Practised in blood and disciplined to wound
Unknown alike to pity as to fear,

;

Hard as their soil, and as their skies severe.

Skilled in each mystery of direst art,
They arm with double death the poisoned dart;
Uncombed and horrid grows their spiky hair ;

Uncouth their vesture, terrible their air;

The lurking dagger at their side hung low, Leaps in quick vengeance on the hapless foe.

No steadfast faith is here, no sure repose ;

An armed truce is all this nation knows :

The rage of battle works, when battles cease;

And wars are brooding in the lap of peace.
Since Cæsar wills, and I a wretch must be,

Let me be safe at least in misery!

To my sad grave in calm oblivion steal,

Nor add the woes of fear to all I feel !

Ye tuneful maids! who once in happier days Beneath the myrtle grove inspired my lays,

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