My Phidyle, retir'd in shady wild,
If thou thy virgin hands shalt suppliant raise,
If primal fruits are on thy altars pil'd,
And incense pure thy duteous care conveys,
To sooth the LARES, when the moon adorns,
With their first modest light, her taper horns;
And if we pierce the throat of infant swine,
A frugal victim, not the baleful breath
Of the moist South shall blast our tender vine;
Nor shall the lambs sink in untimely death
When the unwholesome gales of Autumn blow,
And shake the ripe fruit from the bending bough.
Let snowy Algidum's wide vallies feed,
Beneath their stately holme, and spreading oak,
Or the rich herbage of Albania's mead,
The Steer, whose blood on lofty Shrines shall smoke!
Red may it stain the Priest's uplifted knife,
And glut the higher Powers with costly life!
The rosemary and myrtle's simple crown
Thou on our household Gods, with decent care
Art gently placing; and they will not frown;
No stern demand is theirs, that we prepare
Rich Flocks, and Herds, at Duty's solemn call,
And, in the pomp of slaughter, bid them fall.
O! if an innocent hand approach the shrine,
The little votive cake it humbly lays,
The crackling salt, that makes the altar shine,
Flung on the cheerful sacrificial blaze,
To the mild LARES shall be grateful found
As the proud Steer, with all his garlands crown'd.