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For this they hoard up glew, whose clinging drops,
Like pitch, or birdlime, hang in stringy ropes.
They oft, 'tis faid, in dark retirements dwell,
And work in fubterraneous caves their cell ;
At other times th’industrious insects live
In hollow rocks, or make a tree their hive.
Point all their chinky lodging round with mud,
And leaves must thinly on your work be strow'd;
But let no baleful yew-tree flourish near,
Nor rotten marshes send out steams of mire ;
Nor burning crabs grow red, and crackle in the fire. J
Nor neighb’ring caves return the dying sound,
Nor echoing rocks the doubled voice rebound.
Things thus prepar'd-
When th’ under-world is seized with cold and night,
And summer here descends in streams of light,
The bees thro’ woods and forests take their flight.
They rifle every flow'r, and lightly skim
The crystal brook, and sip the running stream:
And thus they feed their young with strange delight.
And knead the yielding wax, and work the llimy sweet.
But when on high you see the Bees repair,
Borne on the wind, thro’ distant tracts of air, .
And view the winged cloud all blackening from afar;
While shady coverts, and fresh streams they chuse,
Milfoil and common honeysuckles bruise,
And sprinkle on their hives the fragrant juice.
On brazen vessels beat a tinkling sound,
And shake the cymbals of the goddess round;
Then all will hastily retreat, and fill
The warm resounding hollow of their cell.
If once two rival kings their right debate,
And factions and cabals embroil the state,
The people's actions will their thoughts declare;
All their hearts tremble and beat thick with war ;
Hoarse broken founds, like trumpets’ harsh alarms,
Run thro' the hive, and call 'em to their arms;
All in a hurry spread their shiv’ring wings,
And fit their claws, and point their angry stings:
In crowds before the king's pavillion meet,
And boldly challenge out the foe to fight;
At last, when all the heav'ns are warm and fair,
They rush together out, and join; the air
Swarm thick, and echoes with the humming war.
All in a firm round cluster mix, and strow
With heaps of little corps the earth below;
As thick as hail-stones from the floor rebound,
Or shaken acorns ratile on the ground.
No sense of danger can their minds control,
Their little bodies lodge a mighty foul :
Each obstinate in arms pursue his blow,
"Till shameful flight secures the routed foe,
This hot dispute and all this mighty fray
A little dust flung upwards will allay.
But when both kings are settled in their hive;
Mark him who tooks the worst, and left he live
Idle at home in ease and luxury,
The lazy monarch must be doom'd to die ;
So let the royal infect rule alone,
And reign without a rival in his throne.
The kings are diffrent: one of better note,
All speckt with gold, and many a shining spot,
Looks gay, and gliftens in a gilded coat;
But love of ease,, and sloth in one prevails,
That scarce his hanging paunch behind him trails: .
The people's looks are diff'rent as their kings ;
Some sparkle bright, and glitter in their wings;
Others look loathsome and diseas’d with sloth,
Like a faint traveller whose dusty mouth
Grows dry with heat, and spits a maukish froth.
The first are best
From their o'erflowing combs, you'll often press
Pure luscious sweets that mingling in the glass
Correct the harshness of the racy juice,
And a rich flavour through the wine diffuse.
But when they sport abroad, and rove from home,
And leave the cooling hive, and quit th’unfinish'd comb;
Their airy ramblings are with ea se confin’d,
Clip their king's wings, and if they stay behind
No bold ufurper dare invade their right,
Nor found a march, nor give the sign for flight.
Let flow'ry banks entice 'em to their cells,
And gardens all perfum'd with native smells ;
Where carv'd Priapus has his fix'd abode,
The robber's terror, and the scare-crow god.
Wild Thyme and Pine-trees from their barren hill
Transplant, and nurse 'em in the neighb’ring foil,
Set fruit-trees round, nor e’er indulge thy Noth,
But water 'em, and urge their shady growth.
And here, perhaps, were not I giving o'er,
And striking fail, and making to the shore,
I'd shew what art the Gardner's toils rcquire,
Why rosy Pæftum blushes twice a year;
What streams the verdant Succory supply,
And how the thirsty plant drinks rivers dry;
What with a chearful green does Parlly grace,
And writhesthe bellying cucumberalong the twisted grass;
Nor would I pass the soft acanthus o'er,
Ivy nor myrtle-trees that love the shore ;
Nor daffodils, that late from earth's slow womb
Unrumple their swoln buds, and shew their yellow bloom.
For once I saw in the Tarentine vale,
Where flow Galesus drencht the washy soil,
An old Corician yeoman, who had got
A few neglected acres to his lot,
Where neither corn nor pasture grac'd the field.;
Nor would the vine her purple harveft yield ;
But sav'ry herbs among the thorns were found,
Vervain and poppy-flow’rs his garden crown'd,
And drooping lilies whiten'd all the ground.
Bleft with these riches he cou'd empires flight,
And when he retted from his toils at night,
The earth unpurchas'd dainties would afford,
And his own garden furnish out his board:
The spring did first his opening roses blow,
First ripening autumn bent his fruitful bough.
When piercing colds had burst the brittle stone,
And freezing rivers stiffen'd as they run,
He then would prune the tender'st of his trees,
Chide the late spring, and lingring western breeze ::
His bees first swarm’d, and made his vessels foam
With the rich squeezing of the juicy comb.
Here lindons and the fappy pine increasid;
Here, when gay flow'rs his smiling orchard drest,
As many blossoms as the spring cou'd show,
So many dangling apples mellow'd on the bough.
In rows his elms and knotty pear-trees bloom,
And thorns ennobled now to bear a plumb,
And spreading plane-trees, where supinely laid
He now enjoys the cool, and quaffs beneath the shade.
But these for want of room I must omit,
And leave for future Poets to recite.
Now I'll proceed their natures to declare,
Which Jove himself did on the bees confer;