Poem of the day 13

An Invitation Into The Country, In Imitation Of Horace

From the soft shades, and from the balmy sweets
Of Medford’s flowery vales, and green retreats,
Your absent Delia to her father sends,
And prays to see him ere the summer ends.

Now while the earth’s with beauteous verdure dyed,
And Flora paints the meads in all her pride;
While laden trees Pomona’s bounty own,
And Ceres’ treasures do the fields adorn,
From the thick smokes, and noisy town, O come,
And in these plains awhile forget your home.

Though my small income never can afford,
Like wealthy Celsus to regale a lord;
No ivory tables groan beneath the weight
Of sumptuous dishes, served in massy plate:
The forest ne’er was searched for food for me,
Nor from my hounds the timorous hare does flee:
No leaden thunder strikes the fowl in air,
Nor from my shaft the winged death do fear:
With silken nets I ne’er the lakes despoil,
Nor with my bait the larger fish beguile.
No luscious sweetmeats, by my servants plac’d
In curious order e’er my tables grac’d;
To please the taste, no rich Burgundian wine,
In crystal glasses on my sideboard shine;
The luscious sweets of fair Canary’s isle
Ne’er fill’d my casks, nor in my flagons smile:
No wine, but what does from my apples flow,
My frugal house on any can bestow:
Except when Caesar’s birthday does return,
And joyful fires throughout the village burn;

Then moderate each takes his cheerful glass,
And our good wishes to Augustus pass.

But though rich dainties never spread my board,
Nor my cool vaults Calabrian wines afford;
Yet what is neat and wholesome I can spread, —
My good fat bacon, and our homely bread,
With which my healthful family is fed.
Milk from the cow, and butter newly churn’d,
And new fresh cheese, with curds and cream just turn’d.
For a dessert upon my table’s seen
The golden apple, and the melon green;
The blushing peach, and glossy plum there lies,
And with the mandrake tempt your hands and eyes.

These I can give, and if you’ll here repair,
To slake your thirst a cask of Autumn beer,
Reserv’d on purpose for your drinking here.
Under the spreading elms our limbs we’ll lay,
While fragrant zephyrs round our temples play;
Retired from courts, and crowds, secure we’ll sit
And freely feed upon our country treat;
No noisy faction here shall dare intrude,
Or once disturb our peaceful solitude.

No stately beds my humble roofs adorn,
Of costly purple, by carved panthers borne;
Nor can I boast Arabia’s rich perfumes,
Diffusing odors through our stately rooms.
For me no fair Egyptian plies the loom,
But my fine linen all is made at home.
Though I no down or tapestry can spread,
A clean soft pillow shall support your head,
Fill’d with the wool from off my tender sheep,
On which with ease and safety you may sleep.
The nightingale shall lull you to your rest,
Aud all be calm and still as is your breast.


–Jane Turell



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