Saturday, March 12, 2011


Revenge of the Dryads

Robert Fergusson (1750-1774), The Bugs, lines 21-46:
Of old the DRYADS near Edina's walls
Their mansions rear'd, and groves unnumber'd rose
Of branching oak, spread beech, and lofty pine,
Under whose shade, to shun the noontide blaze,
Did Pan resort, with all his rural train
Of shepherds and of nymphs.—The Dryads pleas'd,
Would hail their sports, and summon echo's voice,
To send her greetings thro' the waving woods;
But the rude ax, long brandish'd by the hand
Of daring innovation, shav'd the lawns;
Then not a thicket or a copse remain'd
To sigh in concert with the breeze of eve.

Edina's mansions with lignarian art
Were pil'd and fronted.—Like an ARK she seem'd
To lie on mountain's top, with shapes replete,
Clean and unclean, that daily wander o'er
Her streets, that once were spacious, once were gay.
To JOVE the Dryads pray'd, nor pray'd in vain,
For vengeance on her sons.—At midnight drear
Black show'rs descend, and teeming myriads rise
Of Bugs abhorrent, who by instinct steal
Thro' the diseased and corrosive pores
Of sapless trees, that late in forest stood
With all the majesty of summer crown'd.

By Jove's command dispers'd, they wander wide
O'er all the city.


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