Elegia quarta. Anno ætatis 18.
Ad Thomam Junium præceptorem
suum apud mercatores Anglicos Hamburgæ
agentes Pastoris munere fungentum.

Curre per immensum subitò mea littera pontum,
I, pete Teutonicos læve per æquor agros,

Segnes rumpe moras, & nil, precor, obstet eunti,
Et festinantis nil remoretur iter.

Ipse ego Sicanio frænantem carcere ventos [ 5 ]
Æolon, & virides sollicitabo Deos;

Cæruleamque suis comitatam Dorida Nymphis,
Ut tibi dent placidam per sua regna viam.

At tu, si poteris, celeres tibi sume jugales,
Vecta quibus Colchis fugit ab ore viri. [ 10 ]

Aut queis Triptolemus Scythicas devenit in oras
Gratus Eleusinâ missus ab urbe puer.

Atque ubi Germanas flavere videbis arenas
Ditis ad Hamburgæ mœnia flecte gradum,

Dicitur occiso quæ ducere nomen ab Hamâ, [ 15 ]
Cimbrica quem fertur clava dedisse neci.

Vivit ibi antiquæ clarus pietatis honore
Præsul Christicolas pascere doctus oves;

Ille quidem est animæ plusquam pars altera nostræ,
Dimidio vitæ vivere cogor ego. [ 20 ]

Hei mihi quot pelagi, quot montes interjecti
Me faciunt aliâ parte carere mei!

Charior ille mihi quam tu doctissime Graium
Cliniadi, pronepos qui Telamonis erat.

Quámque Stagirites generoso magnus alumno, [ 25 ]
Quem peperit Libyco Chaonis alma Jovi.

Qualis Amyntorides, qualis Philyrëius Heros
Myrmidonum regi, talis & ille mihi.

Primus ego Aonios illo præeunte recessus
Lustrabam, & bifidi sacra vireta jugi, [ 30 ]

Pieriosque hausi latices, Clioque favente,
Castalio sparsi læta ter ora mero.

Flammeus at signum ter viderat arietis Æthon,
Induxitque auro lanea terga novo,

Bisque novo terram sparsisti Chlori senilem [ 35 ]
Gramine, bisque tuas abstulit Auster opes:

Necdum ejus licuit mihi lumina pascere vultu,
Aut linguæ dulces aure bibisse sonos.

Vade igitur, cursuque Eurum præverte sonorum,
Quàm sit opus monitis res docet, ipsa vides. [ 40 ]

Invenies dulci cum conjuge forte sedentem,
Mulcentem gremio pignora chara suo,

Forsitan aut veterum prælarga volumina patrum
Versantem, aut veri biblia sacra Dei.

Cælestive animas saturantem rore tenellas, [ 45 ]
Grande salutiferæ religionis opus.

Utque solet, multam, sit dicere cura salutem,
Dicere quam decuit, si modo adesset, herum.

Hæc quoque paulum oculos in humum defixa modestos,
Verba verecundo sis memor ore loqui: [ 50 ]

Hæc tibi, si teneris vacat inter prælia Musis
Mittit ab Angliaco littore fida manus.

Accipe sinceram, quamvis sit sera, salutem;
Fiat & hoc ipso gratior illa tibi.

Sera quidem, sed vera fuit, quam casta recepit [ 55 ]
Icaris a lento Penelopeia viro.

Ast ego quid volui manifestum tollere crimen,
Ipse quod ex omni parte levare nequit.

Arguitur tardus meritò, noxamque fatetur,

Et pudet officium deseruisse suum. [ 60 ]

Tu modò da veniam fasso, veniamque roganti,
Crimina diminui, quæ patuere, solent.

Non ferus in pavidos rictus diducit hiantes,
Vulnifico pronos nec rapit ungue leo.

Sæpe sarissiferi crudelia pectora Thracis [ 65 ]
Supplicis ad mœstas delicuere preces.

Extensæque manus avertunt fulminis ictus,
Placat & iratos hostia parva Deos.

Jamque diu scripsisse tibi fuit impetus illi,
Neve moras ultra ducere passus Amor. [ 70 ]

Nam vaga Fama refert, heu nuntia vera malorum!
In tibi finitimis bella tumere locis,

Teque tuàmque urbem truculento milite cingi,
Et jam Saxonicos arma parasse duces.

Te circum latè campos populatur Enyo, [ 75 ]
Et sata carne virum jam cruor arva rigat.

Germanisque suum concessit Thracia Martem,
Illuc Odrysios Mars pater egit equos.

Perpetuóque comans jam deflorescit oliva,
Fugit & ærisonam Diva perosa tubam, [ 80 ]

Fugit io terris, & jam non ultima virgo
Creditur ad superas justa volasse domos.

Te tamen intereà belli circumsonat horror,
Vivis & ignoto solus inópsque solo;

Et, tibi quam patrii non exhibuere penates [ 85 ]
Sede peregrinâ quæris egenus opem.

Patria dura parens, & saxis sævior albis
Spumea quæ pulsat littoris unda tui,

Siccine te decet innocuos exponere fætus;
Siccine in externam ferrea cogis humum, [ 90 ]

Et sinis ut terris quærant alimenta remotis
Quos tibi prospiciens miserat ipse Deus,

Et qui læta ferunt de cælo nuntia, quique
Quæ via post cineres ducat ad astra, docent?

Digna quidem Stygiis quæ vivas clausa tenebris, [ 95 ]
Æternâque animæ digna perire fame!

Haud aliter vates terræ Thesbitidis olim
Pressit inassueto devia tesqua pede,

Desertasque Arabum salebras, dum regis Achabi
Effugit atque tuas, Sidoni dira, manus. [ 100 ]

Talis & horrisono laceratus membra flagello,
Paulus ab Æmathiâ pellitur urbe Cilix.

Piscosæque ipsum Gergessæ civis Jesüaut;m
Finibus ingratus jussit abire suis.

At tu sume animos, nec spes cadat anxia curis [ 105 ]
Nec tua concutiat decolor ossa metus.

Sis etenim quamvis fulgentibus obsitus armis,
Intententque tibi millia tela necem,

At nullis vel inerme latus violabitur armis,
Deque tuo cuspis nulla cruore bibet. [ 110 ]

Namque eris ipse Dei radiante sub ægide tutus,
Ille tibi custos, & pugil ille tibi;

Ille Sionææ qui tot sub mœnibus arcis
Assyrios fudit nocte silente viros;

Inque fugam vertit quos in Samaritidas oras, [ 115 ]
Misit ab antiquis prisca Damascus agris,

Terruit & densas pavido cum rege cohortes,
Aere dum vacuo buccina clara sonat,

Cornea pulvereum dum verberat ungula campum,
Currus arenosam dum quatit actus humum, [ 120 ]

Auditurque hinnitus equorum ad bella ruentûm,
Et strepitus ferri, murmuraque alta virûm.

Et tu (quod superest miseris) sperare memento,
Et tua magnanimo pectore vince mala.

Nec dubites quandoque frui melioribus annis, [ 125 ]
Atque iterum patrios posse videre lares.

The Fourth Elegy. At the Age of 18
To Thomas Young, His Teacher
Serving Now as Chaplain among the English
Merchants Resident in Hamburg

Away, my letter, speed through the boundless sea; go, seek the Teutonic lands over the smooth expanse of the deep; have done with lingering delays, and let nothing, I pray, thwart your going, nothing stay the haste of your course. I shall myself implore Aeolus, who curbs the winds in his Sicilian cave, and the green gods, and cerulean Doris with her company of nymphs, to give you a peaceful journey through their realms. But procure for yourself, if you may, the swift team wherewith the Colchian woman fled from the face of her husband, or that with which young Triptolemus reached the Scythian shores, a welcome messenger from the city of Eleusis. And when you descry the yellow sands of Germany, turn your course to the walls of rich Hamburg, which, as the legend runs, derives its name from Hama, slain, it is said, with a Cimbrian club. There dwells a pastor, renowned for his simple piety, instructed to feed the flocks of Christ. In truth he is more than half my soul, and I am forced to live half my life without him. Alas, how many seas, how many mountains, intervene and part me from my other dearer self! Dearer is he to me than were you, Socrates, wisest of the Greeks, to Cliniades of the stock of Telamon; dearer even than the great Stagirite to his noble pupil, whom a Chaonian mother bore to Libyan Jove. What the son of Amyntor and what the half-divine son of Philyra were to the king of the Myrmidons, such is this man to me. He was my guide when I was first threading the Aonian shades, and the sacred greenswards of the cloven hill; he first led me to drink of the Pierian water, and favored by Clio I thrice wet my lips with Castalian wine. But thrice has flaming Aethon passed the sign of the Ram, and newly clothed his fleecy back with gold; and twice, Chloris, you have bestrewn the old earth with new grass, and twice Auster has swept away your wealth, since my eyes were permitted to feast on his face, or my ears to drink in the sweet music of his voice. Go, then, and in your course outstrip the roaring East Wind. Whatever admonition you may need, circumstances will teach, and you yourself will see. You will find him perhaps sitting with his charming wife, fondling on his knee the pledges of their love; or perchance turning over some stout volume of the ancient Fathers, or the Holy Scriptures of the one true God; or shedding the heavenly dew upon the souls of feeble men, which is religion's sublime work of healing. But only let it be your care to greet him, as the custom is, and to speak as would befit your master were he present. Fix your shy glances for a brief space on the ground, then remember with modest lips to speak these words:

"If in the midst of battles there is leisure for the gentle Muses, a faithful hand sends you these verses from the shores of England. Though it be late, accept this cordial greeting; and may it be the more welcome because it is late. Late indeed, but true, was the greeting that chaste Penelope, daughter of Icarius, received from her tardy husband. But why should I wish to blot out so manifest a fault, which even the offender himself could in no wise excuse? He is justly charged with delay; he confesses his fault, and is ashamed to have left a duty unfulfilled. But forgive me, since I thus confess and crave your favor, for sins confessed are half-atoned.

"The wild beast with gaping jaws does not rend its trembling prey; the lion with wounding claw will not tear his cowering victim. Even the cruel hearts of Thracian lancers have often yielded to the sorrowful appeals of a suppliant. Uplifted hands will stay the thunderbolt, and a little offering may appease the angry gods.

"He has long been moved to write to you, and now love will suffer him no longer to delay, for uncertain Rumor — Rumor a truthful messenger of evils — reports the districts round about you rife with war, you and your city besieged by ravaging armies, and the Saxon leaders already prepared for conflict. Enyo is devastating the surrounding fields far and wide, and blood drenches the earth now sown with the flesh of men. Thrace has yielded Mars to Germany, and thither the father of war now urges his Odrysian horses. The ever-verdant olive now withers, and the goddess of peace who hates the blare of the brazen trumpet has fled from the earth; and, see the righteous Virgin is believed not to have been the last to flee to a home in the heavens. Yet where you dwell alone and helpless in a foreign land, about you still resounds the horror of war. Poor, you must seek in foreign parts the sustenance that your Fatherland denies you. O Fatherland, ruthless parent, harsher than the white cliffs where the foaming waves beat on your shores, does it become you thus to cast off your innocent children, thus, O heart of iron, to drive them forth upon a foreign soil? And will you permit those whom God himself in his providence sent to bear you glad tidings from heaven, and to teach you the way that leads through death to heaven, will you permit them to seek their sustenance in lands remote? You are worthy then to live confined in Stygian darkness, and to perish from the everlasting hunger of the soul! Even so the Tishbite prophet trod of old with unaccustomed feet the lonely paths of the desert and the rugged wastes of Arabia, when he fled from the hand of king Ahab and from you, cursed Sidonian woman. Thus Cilician Paul, tortured and bleeding from the stripes of the harsh-sounding scourges, was cast out of the Aemathian city. Thus the ungrateful people of fishy Gergessa bade even Jesus depart out of their coasts.

"But take courage; and, though hope be spent with care, let it not fail; let not wan fear send a shudder through your bones. For though you are beset with gleaming arms, and a thousand darts threaten death, yet no weapon shall wound your defenceless breast, no spear shall drink your blood. You shall dwell in safety under the radiant aegis of God. He will be your protector and your champion — he who in the silence of night overthrew the hosts of Assyria beneath the walls of the citadel of Zion, and put to flight those whom venerable Damascus from her ancient plains sent forth upon the fields of Samaria. He made their king tremble, and terrified their dense cohorts, when on the empty air the clear-voiced trumpet sounded, when horny hoofs beat the dusty plain, and the routed chariot shook the sandy ground, and there was heard the neighing of horses rushing to battle, the clash of steel, and the deep roar of men's voices.

"But remember still to hope, for hope is left even to the wretched, and with high-souled courage conquer your misfortune. Doubt not that in future you will enjoy happier times, and once more see your native home."