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Virgins and youths bend em'lous, piling high
The clustering treasures in their osier vats. 430
Then groans the wine-press, then with measur'd step
The swain treads pond'rous on the bruised mash;
The juice express'd around his ankles bare
Flows redolent, and through deep channels pour'd,
Dilates the goat-skin with its ruddy stream. 43 5
Now ring the shouts of revel, vintage songs
Of rustic merriment, and uproar loud
Of brawling chorus, such as thy wild rout,
O Bromius, rais'd upon Cithaeron's heights
Amidst the ivy-wreathed Bacchanals, 440
When thy loud-rattling cymbals gave the sign
For frantic riot and rude dissonance.
Seek we the peasant's cot; its humble roof Peeps from the covert of yon verdant grove Of fig and almond, which intwining shades 445 A limpid fountain; the Arcadian hinds Who tenanted these vales ere Happiness Had fled from man, ne'er rear'd a simpler hut. The door, scarce moving on its wooden hinge, Touches th' impending eaves; the mud-brick wall, 450 Cleft into hole and cranny, lattic'd o'er,
Admits a dubious light; the roof is ridg'd
With lay'rs of stone, worn smooth by wint'ry streams,
And gather'd from the torrent's neighb'ring bed.
Within, large wicker jars of corn, and skins 455
Of wine in order rang'd are seen, the stores
Of winter, and against the whiten'd wall,
Confus'dly mix'd, the homely treasures hang,
Cauldron and burnish'd pan, and crook and lamp,
And pictur'd saint; whilst from the beams transverse 460
Swing gun, and shepherd's cloak, and rustic pipe,
And goat-skin, dripping with the new-made cheese.
Mournful and crowding round the wooden dish,
The boors recline upon the clayey floor,
And snatch their scanty meal; unwholesome bread 46 5
And olives, curdled milk, and roasted maize,
Hard fare—yet such as form'd their ancestors
To daring feats, and steel'd their breasts to meet
The shock of battle on their country's shores.
No more of peaceful scenes, of vales which sleep 4 70 In mountain shadow, of transparent streams Gurgling o'er golden beds of sand, and lawns
Vocal with shepherd's song, we now must change
Imbibing thence the colour of his soul.
Long passes, winding underneath the gloom Of crags, and wood-rob'd mountains, cleft abrupt In precipice, and torrents dashing white Their wint'ry stream across the dang'rous path, 4 80 Mark the bleak bulwarks of Laconia's land. Through these defiles the march of hostile men Ne'er pass'd unseen; upon a rocky height Freedom kept guard, and when her trumpet blew The loud alarum, all her warlike sons 485 Clasp'd on their burnish'd helmets, pois'd their spears, And mark'd the lightning of her eye, to guide The storm of battle on th' invading host.
Stern were her sons—Upon Eurotas' bank, Where black Taygetus o'er cliff and peak 490 Waves his dark pines, and spreads his glist'ning snows, On five low hills their city rose; no walls, No ramparts clos'd it round; its battlements
4 Nemorum noctem. Gray.