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How lucky that I left the child at home!

Gorgo. Courage, Praxinoe; they have passed us now;
They've gone into the courtyard.
Prax.

Good! I breathe again. I never could abide in all

my

life A horse and a cold snake. Gorgo. [Addressing an old woman.] From court, mother?

? Old Woman. Yes, child. Gorgo.

Pray, is it easy to get in? Old Woman. The Greeks got into Troy. Everything's

done By trying

[Exit Old Woman.
Gorgo. Bless us! How she bustles off!
Why, the old woman's quite oracular.
But women must know everything; ev’n what Juno
Wore on her wedding-day. See now, Praxinoe,
How the gate's crowded.
Prax.

Frightfully, indeed.
Give me your hand, dear Gorgo; and do you
Hold fast of Eutychis's, Eunoe.
Don't let her go; don't stir an inch; and so
We'll all squeeze in together. Stick close now.
Oh me! oh me! my veil's torn right in two!
Do take care, my good man, and mind my

cloak. Man. 'Twas not my fault; but I'll take care. Prax.

What heaps! They drive like pigs! Man.

Courage, old girl! all's safe. Prax. Blessings upon you, sir, now and forever, for taking care of us—a good, kind soul. How Eunoe squeezes us! Do, child, make way for your own self. There; now, we've all got in, is the man said, when he was put in prison.

Gorgo. Praxinoe, do look there! What lovely tapestry! How fine and showy! One would think the gods did it.

Prax. Holy Minerva! how those artists work! How they do paint their pictures to the life! The figures stand so like, and move so like! They're quite alive! not worked!—Well, certainly, Man's a wise creature. See now-only lookSee- lying on the silver couch, all budding, With the young down about his face! Adonis! Charming Adonis—charming ev’n in Acheron! Second Man. Do hold your tongues there; chatter, chatter,

chatter. The turtles stun one with their yawning gabble. Gorgo. Hey-day! Whence comes the man? What is't to

you,
If we do chatter? Speak where you've a right.
You're not the master here. And as for that,
Our people are from Corinth, like Bellerophon.
Our tongue's Peloponnesiac; and we hope
It's lawful for the Dorians to speak Doric!
Prax. We've but one master, by the Honey-sweet!

.
And don't fear you, nor all your empty blows.

Gorgo. Hush, hush, Praxinoe!—there's the Grecian girl, A most amazing creature, going to sing About Adonis; she that sings so well The song of Sperchis: she'll sing something fine, I warrant.-Scc how sweetly she prepares!

1

The Song

O Lady, who dost take delight
In Golgos and the Erycian height,
And in the Idalian dell,
Venus, ever amiable;

1 An epithet applied by the Sicilians to Proserpine. [Translator's note. I

Lo, the long-expected Hours,
Slowest of the blessed powers,
Yet who bring us something ever,
Ceasing their soft dancing never,
Bring thee back thy beauteous one
From perennial Acheron.
Thou, they say, from earth hast given
Berenice place in heaven,
Dropping to her woman's heart
Ambrosia; and for this kind part,
Berenice's daughter-she
That's Helen-like-Arsinoë,
O thou many-named and shrined,
Is to thy Adonis kind.
He has all the fruits that now
Hang upon the timely bough:
He has green young garden plots,
Basketed in silver pots;
Syrian scents in alabaster,
And whate'er a curious taster
Could desire, that women make
With oil or honey, of meal cake;
And all shapes of beast or bird,
In the woods by huntsman stirred;
And a bower to shade his state
Heaped with dill, an amber weight;
And about him Cupids flying,
Like young nightingales, that—trying
Their new wings-go half afraid,
Here and there, within the shade.
See the gold!

Id! The ebony see!
And the eagles in ivory,
Bearing the young Trojan up

To be filler of Jove's cup;
And the tapestry's purple heap,
Softer than the feel of sleep;
Artists, contradict who can,
Samian or Milesian.
But another couch there is
For Adonis, close to his;
Venus has it, and with joy
Clasps again her blooming boy
With a kiss that feels no fret,
For his lips are downy yet.
Happy with her love be she;
But to-morrow morn will we,
With our locks and garments flowing
And our bosoms gently showing,
Come and take him, in a throng,
To the sea-shore, with this song:-
Go, beloved Adonis, go
Year by year thus to and fro;
Only privileged demigod;
There was no such open road
For Atrides; nor the great
Ajax, chief infuriate;
Nor for Hector, noblest once
Of his mother's twenty sons;
Nor Patroclus, nor the boy
That returned from taken Troy;
Nor those older buried bones,
Lapiths and Deucalions;
Nor Pelopians, and their boldest;
Nor Pelasgians, Greece's oldest.
Bless us then, Adonis dear,
And bring us joy another year;

Dearly hast thou come again,
And dearly shalt be welcomed then.

Gorgo. Well, if that's not a clever creature, trust me! Lord! what a quantity of things she knows! And what a charming voice!—'Tis time to go, though, For there's my husband hasn't had his dinner, And you'd best come across him when he wants it! Good-by, Adonis, darling. Come again.

Theocritus

29

MY LAST DUCHESS

FERRARA

THAT

"HAT'S my last Duchess painted on the wall,

Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Frà Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say, “Her mantle laps
Over my lady's wrist too much,” or “Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff

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