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On impious realms and barbarous kings impose And now by chance, by fate, or furies led, Thy plagues, and curse them with such sons, as From Bacchus consecrated caves he fled, those',
Where the shrill cries of frantic matrons sound, Thus, in reproach and prayer, the queen ex And Pentheus' blood enrich'd the rising ground.
Then sees Cithæron towering o'er the plain, The rage and grief contending in her breast. And thence declining gently to the main Unmoved remain'd the ruler of the sky,
Next to the bounds of Nisus' realm repairs, And from his throne return'd this stern reply: Where treacherous Scylla cut the purple hairs : 'Twas thus I deem'd thy haughty soul would bear The hanging cliffs of Scyron's rock explores, The dire, though just, revenge which I prepare And hears the murmurs of the different shores: Against a nation thy peculiar care:
Passes the strait that parts the foaming seas, No less Dione might for Thebes contend,
And stately Corinth's pleasing site surveys. Nor Bacchus less his native town defend,
'Twas now the time when Phæbus yields to Yet these in silence see the fates fulfil
night, Their work, and reverence our superior will. And rising Cynthia sheds her silver light, For by the black infernal Styx I swear,
Wide o'er the world in solemn pomp she drew (That dreadful oath which binds the Thunderer) Her airy chariot hung with pearly dew; 'Tis fix'd; the irrevocable doom of Jove;
All birds and beasts lie hush'd ; sleep steals away No force can bend me, no persuasion move. The wild desires of men, and toils of day, Haste then, Cyllenius, through the liquid air; And brings, descending through the silent air, Go, mount the winds, and to the shades repair; A sweet forgetfulness of human care. Bid hell's black monarch my commands obey, Yet no red clouds, with golden borders gay, And give up Laius to the realms of day,
Promise the skies the bright return of day; Whose ghost yet shivering on Cocytus' sand, No faint reflections of the distant light Expects its passage to the further strand :
Streak with long gleams the scattering shades of Let the pale sire revisit Thebes, and bear
night: These pleasing orders to the tyrant's ear;
From the damp earth impervious vapours rise, That from his exiled brother, swelld with pride Increase the darkness, and involve the skies. Of foreign forces, and his Argive bride,
At once the rushing winds with roaring sound Almighty Jove commands him to detain
Burst from the Æolian caves, and rend the ground, The promised empire, and alternate reign :
With equal rage their airy quarrel try, Be this the cause of more than mortal hate : And win by turns the kingdom of the sky: The rest, succeeding times shall ripen into fate. But with a thicker night black Auster shrouds The god obeys, and to his feet applies
The heavens, and drives on heaps the rolling clouds, Those golden wings that cut the yielding skies. From whose dark womb a rattling tempest pours, His ample hat his beamy locks o'erspread, Which the cold north congeals to haily showers. And veil'd the starry glories of his head.
From pole to pole the thunder roars aloud, He seized the wand that causes sleep to fly, And broken lightnings flash from every cloud. Or, in soft slumbers, seals the wakeful eye; Now smokes with showers the misty mountainThat drives the dead to dark Tartarean coasts,
ground, Or back to life compels the wandering ghosts. And Hoated fields lie undistinguish'd round. Thus, through the parting clouds, the son of The Inachian streams with headlong fury run, May
And Erasinus rolls a deluge on: Wings on the whistling winds his rapid way; The foaming Lerna swells above its bounds, Now sinoothly steers through air his equal flight, And spreads its ancient poisons o'er the grounds: Now springs aloft, and towers the ethereal height; Where late was dust, now rapid torrents play, Then wheeling down the steep of heaven he flies, Rush through the mounds, and bear the dams And draws a radiant circle o'er the skies.
away: Meantime the banish'd Polynices roves
Old limbs of trees, from crackling forests torn, (His Thebes abandon'd) through the Aonian groves, Are whirl'd in air, and on the winds are borne: While future realms his wandering thoughts de The storm the dark Lycæan groves display'd, light,
And first to light exposed the sacred shade. His daily vision and his dream by night;
The intrepid Theban hears the bursting sky, Forbidden Thebes appears before his eye,
Sees yawning rocks in massy fragments fly, From whence he sees his absent brother fly, And views astonish'd, from the hills afar, With transport views the airy rule his own,
The floods descending, and the watery war, And swells on an imaginary throne.
That, driven by storms, and pouring o'er the plain, Fain would he cast a tedious age away,
Swept herds, and hinds, and houses to the main. And live out all in one triumphant day.
Through the brown horrors of the night he fled, He chides the lazy progress of the sun,
Nor knows, amazed, what doubtful path to tread; And bids the year with swifter motion run. His brother's image to his mind appears, With anxious hopes his craving mind is toss'd, Inflames his heart with rage, and wings his feet And all his joys in length of wishes lost.
with fears. The hero then resolves his course to bend
So fares a sailor on the stormy main, Where ancient Danaus' fruitful fields extend, When clouds conceal Boötes' golden wain, And famed Mycene's lofty towers ascend,
When not a star its friendly lustre keeps, (Where late the sun did Atreus' crimes detest, Nor trembling Cynthia glimmers on the deeps; Ànd disappeard in horror of the feast)
He dreads the rocks, and shoals, and seas, and
skies, ! Eteocles and Polynices.
| While thunder roars, and lightning round him flies.
Thus strove the chief, on every side distress'd, The sable flock shall fall beneath the stroke,
Thus, seized with sacred fear, the monarch pray'd;
And dust yet white upon each altar lies, On this side Lerna's poisonous water lies,
The relics of a former sacrifice. On that Prosymna's grove and temple rise : The king once more the solemn rites requires, He pass'd the gates which then unguarded lay, And bids renew the feasts, and wake the fires. And to the regal palace bent his way;
His train obey, while all the courts around On the cold marble, spent with toil, he lies, With noisy care and various tumult sound. And waits till pleasing slumbers seal his eyes. Embroider'd purple clothes the golden beds ; Adrastus here his happy people sways,
This slave the floor, and that the table spreads; Blest with calm peace in his declining days, A third dispels the darkness of the night, By both his parents of descent divine,
And fills depending lamps with beams of light. Great Jove and Phæbus graced his noble line: Here loaves in canisters are piled on high, Heaven had not crown'd his wishes with a son, And there in flames the slaughter'd victims fry. But two fair daughters heir'd his state and throne. Sublime in regal state Adrastus shone, To him Apollo (wondrous to relate !
Stretch'd on rich carpets on his ivory throne; But who can pierce into the depths of fate?) A lofty couch receives each princely guest; Had sung—“Expect thy sons on Argos' shore, Around, at awful distance, wait the rest. A yellow lion and a bristly boar.”
And now the king, his royal feast to grace, This long revolved in his paternal breast,
Acestis calls, the guardian of his race, Sate heavy on his heart, and broke his rest; Who first their youth in arts of virtue train'd, This, great Amphiaraus, lay hid from thee,
And their ripe years in modest grace maintain'd. Though skill'd in fate, and dark futurity.
Then softly whisperd in her faithful ear, The father's care and prophet's art were vain, And bade his daughters at the rites appear. For thus did the predicting god ordain.
When from the close apartments of the night, Lo hapless Tydeus, whose ill-fated hand
The royal nymphs approach divinely bright; Had slain his brother, leaves his native land, Such was Diana's, such Minerva's face; And seized with horror in the shades of night, Nor shine their beauties with superior grace, Through the thick deserts headlong urged his | But that in these a milder charm endears, flight:
And less of terror in their looks appears, Now by the fury of the tempest driven,
As on the heroes first they cast their eyes, He seeks a shelter from the inclement heaven, O'er their fair cheeks the glowing blushes rise, Till, led by fate, the Theban's steps he treads, Their downcast looks a decent shame confessid, And to fair Argos' open court succeeds.
Then on their father's reverend features rest.
There from the chase Jove's towering eagle bears, Enides' manly shoulders overspread.
On golden wings, the Phrygian to the stars : Oblique his tusks, erect his bristles stood,
Still as he rises in the ethereal height, Alive, the pride and terror of the wood.
His native mountains lessen to his sight; Struck with the sight, and fix'd in deep amaze, While all his sad companions upward gaze, The King the accomplished oracle surveys,
Fix'd on the glorious scene in wild amaze; Reveres Apollo's vocal caves, and owns
And the swift hounds, affrighted as he fies, The guiding godhead, and his future sons.
Run to the shade, and bark against the skies. O'er all his bosom secret transports reign,
This golden bowl with generous juice was crown'd,
Goddess of shades, beneath whose gloomy reign The courtly train, the strangers, and the rest,
dress'd, Till nature, quicken'd by the inspiring ray, While rich with gums the fuming altars blaze, Wakes to new vigour with the rising day.
Salute the god in numerous hymns of praise. Oh thou who freest me from my doubtful state, Then thus the king : Perhaps, my noble guests, Long lost and wilder'd in the maze of fate ! These honour'd altars, and these annual feasts Be present still, oh goddess ! in our aid;
To bright Apollo's awful name design'd, Proceed, and firm those omens thou hast made. Unknown, with wonder may perplex your mind. We to thy pame our annual rites will pay,
Great was the cause; our old solemnities And on thy altars sacrifices lay;
From no blind zeal, or fond tradition rise ;
But saved from death, our Argives yearly pay The crowd in stupid wonder fix'd appear,
When by a thousand darts the Python slain Some with vast beams the squalid corpse engage,
And ravenous dogs, allured by scented blood, And enters old Crotopus' humble courts.
And starving wolves, ran howling to the wood. This rural prince one only daughter blest,
But fired with rage, from cleft Parnassus' brow That all the charms of blooming youth possess'd; Avenging Phæbus bent his deadly bow, Fair was her face, and spotless was her mind, And hissing flew the feather'd fates below: Where filial love with virgin sweetness join'd. A night of sultry clouds involved around Happy! and happy still she might have proved, The towers, the fields, and the devoted ground: Were she less beautiful, or less beloved!
And now a thousand lives together fled, But Phæbus loved, and on the flowery side Death with his scythe cut off the fatal thread, Of Nemea's stream, the yielding fair enjoy'd: And a whole province in his triumph led. Now, ere ten moons their orb with light adorn, But Phæbus ask'd why noxious fires appear, The illustrious offspring of the god was born, And raging Sirius blasts the sickly year; The nymph, her father's anger to evade,
Demands their lives by whom his monster fell, Retires from Argos to the sylvan shade;
And dooms a dreadful sacrifice to hell.
How mean a fate, unhappy child, is thine ! Undaunted hero ! who divinely brave,
In such a cause disdain'd thy life to save; On flowery herbs in some green covert laid, But view'd the shrine with a superior look, His bed the ground, his canopy the shade,
And its upbraided godhead thus bespoke : He mixes with the bleating lambs his cries,
With piety, the soul's securest guard, While the rude swain his rural music tries
And conscious virtue, still its own reward, To call soft slumbers on his infant eyes.
Willing I come, unknowing how to fear; Yet even in those obscure abodes to live,
Nor shalt thou, Phæbus, find a suppliant here. Was more, alas! than cruel fate would give; Thy monster's death to me was owed alone, For on the grassy verdure as he lay,
And 'tis a deed too glorious to disown.
Impervious clouds conceal'd thy sullen rays;
But if the abandon'd race of human kind With loud complaints she fills the yielding air, From gods above no more compassion find; And beats her breast, and rends her flowing hair; If such inclemency in heaven can dwell, Then wild with anguish to her sire she flies, Yet why must unoffending Argos feel Demands the sentence, and contented dies.
The vengeance due to this unlucky steel?
Unless our desert cities please thy sight,
Or funeral flames reflect a grateful light, The pest a virgin's face and bosom bears;
Discharge thy shafts, this ready bosom rend, High on a crown a rising snake appears,
And to the shades a ghost triumphant send ; Guards her black front, and hisses in her hairs : But for my country let my fate atone, About the realm she walks her dreadful round, Be mine the vengeance, as the crime my own. When night with sable wings o'erspreads the Merit distressed, impartial Heaven relieves: ground,
Unwelcome life relenting Phoebus gives; Devours young babes before their parents' eyes, For not the vengeful power, that glow'd with rage, And feeds and thrives on public miseries.
With such amazing virtue durst engage. But generous rage the bold Chorcebus warms, The clouds dispersed, Apollo's wrath expired, Chorobus, famed for virtue, as for arms;
And from the wondering god the unwilling youth Some few like him, inspired with martial flame,
retired. Thought a short life well lost for endless fame. Thence we these altars in his temple raise, These, where two ways in equal parts divide, And offer annual honours, feasts, and praise ; The direful monster from afar descried ;
These solemn feasts propitious Phæbus please : Two bleeding babes depending at her side; These honours, still renew'd, his ancient wrath Whose panting vitals, warm with life, she draws, appease. And in their hearts embrues her cruel claws.
But say, illustrious guest, (adjoin'd the King) The youths surround her with extended spears; What name you bear, from what high race you But brave Chorcebus in the front appears,
spring! Deep in her breast he plunged his shining sword, The noble Tydeus stands confess’d, and known And hell's dire monster back to hell restored. Our neighbour prince, and heir of Calydon. The Inachians view the slain with vast surprise, Relate your fortunes, while the friendly night Her twisting volumes and her rolling eyes, And silent hours to various talk invite. Her spotted breast, and gaping womb embrued The Theban bends on earth his gloomy eyes, With livid poison, and our children's blood. | Confused, and sadly thus at length replies:
Before these altars how shall I proclaim
FROM THE NINTH POOK OF
She said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs,'
When the fair consort of her son replies : Replies:-Ah why forbears the son to name
Since you a servant's ravish'd form bemoan, His wretched father known too well by fame?
And kindly sigh for sorrows not your own, Fame, that delights around the world to stray,
Let me (if tears and grief permit) relate Scorns not to take our Argos in her way;
A nearer woe, a sister's stranger fate. Even those who dwell where suns at distance roll,
No nymph of all Echalia could compare
For beauteous form with Dryope the fair,
Her tender mother's only hope and pride,
(Myself the offspring of a second bride.) Or drink of Ganges in their eastern grounds;
This nymph compress'd by him who rules the day,
Whom Delphi and the Delian isle obey, All these the woes of Edipus have known,
Andræmon loved; and, bless'd in all those charms Your fates, your furies, and your haunted town.
That pleased a god, succeeded to her arms. If on the sons the parents' crimes descend,
A lake there was, with shelving banks around, What prince from those his lineage can defend ?
Whose verdant summit fragrant myrtles crown'd: Be this thy comfort, that 'tis thine to efface
These shades, unknowing of the fates, she sought, With virtuous acts thy ancestor's disgrace,
And to the Naiads flowery garlands brought; And be thyself the honour of thy race.
Her smiling babe (a pleasing charge) she prest But see! the stars begin to steal away,
Within her arms, and nourish'd at her breast. And shine more faintly at approaching day;
Not distant far a watery Lotos grows, Now pour the wine ; and in your tuneful lays
The spring was new, and all the verdant boughs Once more resound the great Apollo's praise. Oh father Phoebus! whether Lycia's coast
Adorn'd with blossoms promised fruits that vie
In glowing colours with the Tyrian dye: And snowy mountain, thy bright presence boast;
Of these she cropp'd to please her infant son, Whether to sweet Castalia thou repair,
And I myself the same rash act had done :
But lo! Í saw (as near her side I stood)
The violated blossoms drop with blood; Delight in Cynthus, and the shady shore ;
Upon the tree I cast a frightful look ; Or choose thy seat in Ilion's proud abodes,
The trembling tree with sudden horror shook, The shining structures raised by labouring gods;
Lotis the nymph (if rural tales be true) By thee the bow and mortal shafts are borne ;
As from Priapus' lawless lust she flew, Eternal charms thy blooming youth adorn :
Forsook her form; and fixing here became Skill'd in the laws of secret fate above,
A flowery plant, which still preserves her name. And the dark counsels of almighty Jove,
This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight, 'Tis thine the seeds of future war to know, The change of sceptres, and impending woe;
My trembling sister strove to urge her flight:
And first the pardon of the nymphs implored, When direful meteors spread through glowing air
And those offended sylvan powers adored: Long trails of light, and shake their blazing hair.
But when she backward would have fled, she found Thy rage the Phrygian felt, who durst aspire
Her stiffening feet were rooted in the ground: To excel the music of thy heavenly lyre;
In vain to free her fasten'd feet she strove,
And, as she struggles, only moves above;
She feels the encroaching bark around her grow Thy hand slew Python, and the dame who lost
By quick degrees, and cover all below:
Surprised at this, her trembling hand she heaves
To rend her hair; her hand is fill'd with leaves : Condemn'd to furies and eternal fears;
Where late was hair the shooting leaves are seen He views his food, but dreads, with lifted eye,
To rise, and shade her with a sudden green. The mouldering rock that trembles from on high.
The child Amphissus, to her bosom prest,
Perceived a colder and a harder breast,
And found the springs, that ne'er till then denied Whose purple rays the Achæmenes adore;
Their milky moisture, on a sudden dried.
| I saw, unhappy! what I now relate, Or great Osiris, who first taught the swain
And stood the helpless witness of thy fate,
Embraced thy boughs, thy rising bark delay'd, And pays, in hollow rocks, his awful vows;
There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade. Mitra, whose head the blaze of light adorns, Who grasps the struggling heifer's lunar horns.
i Upon occasion of the death of Hercules, his mother Alcmena recounts her misfortunes to lole, who answers with a relation of those of her own family, in particular the transformation of her sister Dryope, which is the subject of the ensuing fable.
Behold Andræmon and the unhappy sire Appear, and for their Dryope inquire : A springing tree for Dryope they find, And print warm kisses on the panting rind. Prostrate, with tears their kindred plant bedew, And close embrace as to the roots they grew. The face was all that now remain’d of thee, No more a woman, nor yet quite a tree; Thy branches hung with humid pearls appear, From every leaf distils a trickling tear, And straight a voice, while yet a voice remains, Thus through the trembling boughs in sighs com
If to the wretched any faith be given, (plains. I swear, by all the unpitying powers of heaven, No wilful crime this heavy vengeance bred; In mutual innocence our lives we led : If this be false, let these new greens decay, Let sounding axes lop my limbs away, And crackling flames on all my honours prey. But from my branching arms this infant bear, Let some kind nurse supply a mother's care: And to his mother let him oft be led, Sport in her shades, and in her shades be fed ; Teach him, when first his infant voice shall frame Imperfect words, and lisp his mother's name, To hail this tree, and say with weeping eyes, Within this plant my hapless parent lies; And when in youth he seeks the shady woods, Oh! let him fy the crystal lakes and floods, Nor touch the fatal flowers; but, warn’d by me, Believe a goddess shrined in every tree. My sire, my sister, and my spouse, farewell ! If in your breasts or love or pity dwell, Protect your plant, nor let my branches feel The browzing cattle or the piercing steel. Farewell! and since I cannot bend to join My lips to yours, advance at least to mine. My son, thy mother's parting kiss receive, While yet thy mother has a kiss to give. I can no more; the creeping rind invades My closing lips, and hides my head in shades; Remove your hands, the bark shall soon suffice Without their aid to seal these dying eyes.
She ceased at once to speak, and ceased to be; And all the nymph was lost within the tree; Yet latent life through her new branches reign'd, And long the plant a human heat retain'd.
Now sliding streams the thirsty plants renew,
These cares alone her virgin breast employ,
A female form at last Vertumnus wears, With all the marks of reverend age appears, His temples thinly spread with silver hairs; Propp'd on his staff, and stooping as he goes, A painted mitre shades his furrow'd brows. The god in this decrepit form array'd, The gardens enter'd, and the fruit survey'd ; And “ Happy you! (he thus address'd the maid) Whose charms as far all other nymphs' outshine, As other gardens are excell'd by thine !" Then kiss'd the fair (his kisses warmer grow Than such as women on their sex bestow). Then, placed beside her on the flowery ground, Beheld the trees with autumn's bounty crown'd. An elm was near, to whose embraces led, The curling Vine her swelling clusters spread: He view'd her twining branches with delight, And praised the beauty of the pleasing sight.
Yet this tall elm, but for his vine (he said) Had stood neglected, and a barren shade; And this fair vine, but that her arms surround Her married elm, had crept along the ground. Ah ! beauteous maid, let this example move Your mind, averse from all the joys of love. Deign to be loved, and every heart subdue ! What nymph could e'er attract such crowds as you? Not she whose beauty urged the centaur's arms, Ulysses' queen, nor Helen's fatal charms. Even now, when silent scorn is all they gain, A thousand court you, though they court in vain; A thousand sylvans, demigods, and gods, That haunt our mountains and our Alban woods, But if you'll prosper, mark what I advise, Whom age and long experience render wise, And one whose tender care is far above All that these lovers ever felt of love, (Far more than e'er can by yourself be guess'd) Fix on Vertumnus, and reject the rest. For his firm faith í dare engage my own; Scarce to himself, himself is better known.
VERTUMNUS AND POMONA:
FROM THE FOURTEENTH BOOK OF
The fair Pomona flourish'd in his reign;