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BACCHUS, OR THE PIRATES.
FROM HOMER. HYMN V.
Of Bacchus let me tell a sparkling story. 'Twas by the sea-side, on a promontory, As like a blooming youth he sat one day, His dark locks ripening in the sunny ray, And wrapt in a loose cloak of crimson bright, Which half gave out his shoulders, broad and white, That making up, a ship appear'd at sea, Brushing the wine-black billows merrily, A Tuscan trim, and pirates were the crew; A fatal impulse drove them as they flew; For looking hard, and nodding to each other, Concluding him, at least, some prince's brother, They issued forth along the breezy bay, Seiz'd him with jovial hearts, and bore away.
No sooner were they off, than gath'ring round him They mark'd his lovely strength, and would have bound When lo, instead of this, the ponderous bands [him; Snapp'd of themselves from off his legs and hands, He, all the while; discovering no surprise, But keeping, as before, his calm black eyes.
At this, the Master, struck beyond the rest,
O wretched as ye are, have ye your brains,
He said; and thus, in bitterness of heart
Stick to thy post, and leave these things to men.
He said ; and hauling up the sail and mast, Drew the tight vessel stiff before the blast; The sailors, under arms, observe their prize, When lo, strange doings interrupt their eyes; For first, a fountain of sweet-smelling wine 1 Came gushing o'er the deck with sprightly shine; And odours, not of earth, their senses took ; The pallid wonder spread from look to look; And then a vine-tree over-ran the sail, It's green arms tossing to the pranksome gale; And then an ivy, with a flowering shoot, Ran up the mast in rings, and kiss'd the fruit, Which here and there the dipping vine let down; On every oar there was a garland crown.
But now the crew call'd out. To shore! To shore !
The God then turning to the Master, broke In happy-making smiles, and stoutly spoke :