Henry James Pye

(20 February 1745 – 11 August 1813 / London, England)

The Last Elegy Of The Third Book Of Tibullus - Poem by Henry James Pye

Propitious Bacchus come—so round thy brow
Be with the mystic vine the ivy wove;
Come, kindly come, and heal thy suppliant's woe:
Oft sinks beneath thy arm the power of love.
Fill, fill, dear youth, the mantling goblet high,
Pour the Falernian juice with liberal hand;
Fly hence ye heart-felt cares, ye sorrows fly,
Fly by the Delian god's white pinions fann'd.
Indulge, my friends, indulge my fond design,
Nor fear to follow where I lead the way;
If any scorn the jovial strife of wine,
Still may his hopes some treacherous nymph betray!
The jolly god the generous breast inflames,
To savage souls can gentle thoughts impart;
The Libyan pard and yellow lion tames,
And bows to beauty's sway the stubborn heart.
All this, and more, can Love—But generous wine
We ask—ah! whom can empty bowls delight?
Just is the god to those who grace his shrine
With the full goblet in the festal rite.
He comes with wrath, with vengeance fir'd—assuage
His glowing ire; swift let the vintage flow:
How fierce his anger, and how dire his rage,
The bleeding spoils of mad Agave show.
Far, far from us such fear.—But let my fair,
My perjur'd fair, alone his vengeance find:
What have I wish'd? ah! may the frantic prayer
Be scatter'd wide before the driving wind!
Ah, dear Neæra! though I'm lov'd no more,
May bliss and smiling fortune wait on thee;
While social joys my banish'd peace restore,
And years of storm one tranquil moment see.
'Tis hard with mirth our sufferings to beguile,
'Tis hard to trifle with an aching breast;
Ill sits on sorrow's lip the labour'd smile,
Ill sounds to pensive ears the drunken jest.
Why do I weep? Disgraceful cares, away!
Insult the cheerful god with tears no more;
He lenient heal'd the Cretan maid, who lay
By Theseus left upon a lonely shore.
Daughter of Minos! thus Catullus sung;
Whose learned strains thy lover's crimes have shown:
Happy, ye youths who hear my warning tongue,
And by another's sufferings heal your own.
No—While her snowy arms were round you twin'd,
Tho' her fond tongue the softest accents spoke;
Tho' by her eyes she swear, tho' her false mind
The Queen of Heaven and Queen of Love invoke,
Believe her not;—for to the viewless air
Gives laughing Jove the perjuries of love.—
Why dwell for ever on my perjur'd fair?
Far, far away ye words of anguish move!
Ah! how I long with thee the winter night,
With thee the summer's livelong day to wear!
Perfidious maid! a love so true to slight;
Perfidious maid! yet, though perfidious, dear.
Bacchus the Naiad loves.—Haste, lingering boy,
Cool from the lucid spring the full-ag'd wine;
If the vain nymph fly from our social joy
To seek a stranger bed, still must I pine?
Still sigh away the night's revolving hours?
Boy, be the bowl with stronger beverage crown'd;
With Tyrian perfumes wet, should blooming flowers
Long long ere this about my brows be bound.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 27, 2010

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