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But lo! Destruction, running with soft feet,
Unlook'd for, and unseen, bows suddenly
The loftiest heads. Deceitfully she steals
In unexpected forms upon their sins;
To youthful follies wears the face of age;
To aged crimes the features of a maid;
And her dread deed is pleasant in the sight
Of Justice, and of him who rules the Gods.


DEXIONICA, with a limed thread,

Her snare, beneath a verdant plane-tree, spread;
And caught a blackbird by the quivering wing;
The struggling bird's shrill outcries piping ring.
Oh God of love! oh Graces, blooming fair!
I would that I a thrush, or blackbird, were:
So, in her grasp, to breathe my murmur'd cries,
And shed a sweet tear from my silent eyes!



Bef. Ch. 150.


English Translators:


BION was a native of Smyrna, in Ionia, and lived some time under Ptolemy Philometer. We collect, from the monody on his death by Moschus, that he was poisoned; and it has been thought, that there is an obscure intimation of the poison having been administered by the command of some person in power.

What man so hard could mix the draught for thee,
Or bid be mix'd, nor feel thy melody?

By those who do not read poetry with a poetical feeling, it may be thought, that the "Epitaph on Adonis" is possessed of little interest to a modern reader. Yet "Venus and Adonis" was the first poetical effort of our darling Shakspeare. It is an ignorance of the nature of poetry, which places its excellence in the expression of real feelings on real occasions. The poet is he that is the maker : he that counterfeits passion, where it is not; and identifies himself with imaginary situations, feelings, and characters. It is this creative faculty, this plasticity of ideal feeling, which confers a value on the " Elegy on Adonis" far exceeding that of mere amenity of numbers, or delicacy of painting. Every thing of Bion partakes essentially of the poet. His apologues are beautiful models of allegory, and delight by their unaffected archness and the sweetness of their simplicity.

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