Page images
PDF
EPUB

From every blast of her contagious breath,
Famine and drought proceed, and plagues, and death.
A robe obscene was o'er her shoulders thrown,
A dress by Fates and Furies worn alone.
She toss'd her meagre arms; her better hand
In waving circles whirl'd a funeral brand:
A serpent from her left was seen to rear
His flaming crest, and lash the yielding air.
But when the Fury took her stand on high,
Where vast Citharon's top salutes the sky,
A hiss from all the snaky tire went round;
The dreadful signal all the rocks rebound,
And through th' Achaian cities send the sound.
Oete, with high Parnassus, heard the voice;
Eurotas' banks remurmur'd to the noise;
Again Lucothoë shook at these alarms,
And press'd Palæmon closer in her arms.
Headlong from thence the glowing Fury springs,
And o'er the Theban palace spreads her wings,
Once more invades the guilty dome, and shrouds
Its bright pavilions in a veil of clouds.
Straight with the rage of all their race possess'd,
Stung to the soul, the brothers start from rest,
And all their Furies wake within their breast.
Their tortur'd minds repining Envy tears,
And Hate, engender'd by suspicious fears;
And sacred thirst of sway; and all the ties
Of Nature broke; and royal perjuries;
And impotent Desire to reign alone,
That scorns the dull reversion of a throne;
Each would the sweets of sovereign rule devour,
While Discord waits upon divided power.

As stubborn steers by brawny plowmen broke,
And join'd reluctant to the galling yoke,
Alike disdain with servile necks to bear
Th' unwonted weight, or drag the crooked share,
But rend the reins, and bound a different way,
And all the furrows in confusion lay;
Such was the discord of the royal pair,
Whom fury drove precipitate to war.

Et populis mors una venit. Riget horrida tergo
Palla, et cærulei redeunt in pectore nodi.
Atropos hos, atque ipsa novat Proserpina cultus.
Tum geminas quatit illa manus: hæc igne rogali
Fulgurat, hæc vivo manus aëria verberat hydro.
Ut stetit, abrupta qua plurimus arce Citharon
Occurrit cœlo, fera sibila crine virenti,
Congeminat, signum terris, unde omnis Achæi
Ora maris late, Pelopiaque regna resultant.
Audiit ct mediis cœli Parnassus, et asper
Eurotas, dubiamque jugo fragor impulit (Eten
In latus, et geminis vix fluctibus obstitit Isthmos.
Ipsa suum genetrix, curvo delphine vagantem
Arripuit frenis, gremioque Palæmona pressit
Atque ea Cadmæo præceps ubi limine primum
Constitit, assuetaque infecit nube penates,
Protinus attoniti fratrum sub pectore motus,
Gentilesque animos subiit furor, ægraque latis
Invidia, atque parens odii metus: inde regendi
Savus amor: ruptæque vices, jurisque secundi
Ambitus impatiens, et summo dulcius unun
Stare loco, sociisque comes discordia regnis.
Sic ubi delectos per torva armenta juvencos
Agricola imposito sociare affectat aratro :
Illi indignantes quis nondum vomere inulto
Arda nodosos cervix descendit in armos,
In diversa trahunt, atque æquis vincula laxant
Viribus, et vario confundunt limite suleos:
Haud secus indomitos præceps discordia fratres

In vain the chiefs contriv'd à specious way,
To govern Thebes by their alternate sway:
Unjust decree! while this enjoys the state,
That mourns in exile his unequal fate,
And the short monarch of a hasty year
Foresees with anguish his returning heir.
Thus did the league their impious arms restrain,
But scarce subsisted to the second reign.

Yet then no proud aspiring piles were rais'd,
No fretted roofs with polish'd metals blaz'd;
No labour'd columns in long order plac'd,
No Grecian stone the pompous arches grac'd;
No nightly bands in glittering armour wait
Before the sleepless tyrant's guarded gate;
No chargers then were wrought in burnish'd gold,
Nor silver vases took the forming mould;

Nor
gems on bowls emboss'd were seen to shine,
Blaze on the brims, and sparkle in the wine-
Say, wretched rivals! what provokes your rage?
Say, to what end your impious arms engage?
Not all bright Phoebus views in early morn,
Or when his evening beams the west adorn,
When the south glows with his meridian ray,
And the cold north receives a fainter day;
For crimes like these, not all those realms suffice,
Were all those realms the guilty victor's prize!

But Fortune now (the lots of empire thrown)
Decrees to proud Eteocles the crown:
What joys, oh tyrant! swell'd thy soul that day,
When all were slaves thou couldst around survey,
Pleas'd to behold unbounded power thy own,
And singly fill a fear'd and envy'd throne!
But the vile vulgar, ever discontent,
Their growing fears in secret murmurs vent;

Asperat. Alterni placuit sub legibus anni Exilio mutare duccm. sic jure maligno Fortunam transire jubent, ut sceptra tenentem Fodere præcipiti semper novus angeret hæres. Hæc inter fratres pietas erat; hæc mora pugnæ Sola, nec in regem perduratura secundum.

Et nondum crasso laquearia fulva metallo, Montibus aut alte Graiis effulta nitebant Atria, conjestos satis explicitura clientes. Non impacatis regum advigilantia somnis Pila, nec alterna ferri statione gementes Excubiæ, nec cura mero committere gemmas, Atque aurum violare cibis. Sed nuda potestas Armavit fratres: pugna est de paupere regno. Dumque uter angustæ squalentia jugera Dirces Verteret, aut Tyrii solio non altus ovaret Exulis, ambigitur; periit jus fasque, bonumque, Et vitæ, mortisque pudor. Quo tenditis iras, Ah miseri? quid si peteretur crimine tanto Limes uterque poli, quem Sol emissus Foo Cardine, quem porta vergens prospectat Ibera? Quasque procul terras obliquo sidere tangit Avius, aut Borea gelidas, madidive tepentes Igne Noti; quid si Tyriæ Phrygiæve sub unum Convectentur opes? loca dira, arcesque nefanda Suffecere odio, furtisque immanibus emptum est Oedipoda sedisse loco. Jam sorte carebat Dilatus Polynicis honos.. quis tum tibi, save, Quis fuit ille dies? vacua cum solus in aula Respiceres jus omne tuum, cunctoșque minores, Et nusquan. parstare caput? Jam murmura serpunt Plebis Echionia, tacitumque a principe vulgus Dissidet, et (qui mos populis) venturus amatur. Atque aliquis, cui mens humili læsisse veneno Sumina, nec impositos unquam cervice volenti

1

Still prone to change, though still the slaves of | And doubtful still, and still distracted stands,

state,

[sea.

While that prince threatens, and while this com-
And now th' almighty father of the gods [mands."
Convenes a council in the blest abodes:
Far in the bright recesses of the skies,
High o'er the rolling heavens, a mansion lies,
Whence, far below, the gods at once survey
The realms of rising and declining day,
And all th' extended space of earth, and air, and
Full in the midst, and on a starry throne,
The majesty of Heaven superior shone;
Serene he look'd, and gave an awful nod,
And all the trembling spheres confess'd the god.
At Jove's assent, the deities around
In solemn state the consistory crown'd.
Next a long order of inferior powers

Ascend from hills, and plains, and shady bowers
Those from whose urns the rolling rivers flow;
And those that give the wandering winds to blow:
Here all their rage, and ev'n their murmurs cease,
And sacred silence reigns, and universal peace.
A shining synod of majestic gods

Gilds with new lustre the divine abodes;
Heaven seems improv'd with a superior ray,
And the bright arch reflects a double day.
The monarch then his solemn silence broke,
The still creation listen'd while he spoke;
Each sacred accent bears eternal weight,
And each irrevocable word is fate.

And sure the monarch whom they have, to hate;
New lords they madly make, then tamely bear,
And softly curse the tyrants whom they fear.
And one of those who groan beneath the sway
Of kings impos'd, and grudgingly obey,
(Whom envy to the great and vulgar spite
With scandal arm'd, th' ignoble mind's delight)
Exclaim'd-" O Thebes! for thee what fates re-
What woes attend this inauspicious reign! [main!
Must we, alas! our doubtful necks prepare,
Each haughty master's yoke by turns to bear,
And still to change whom chang'd we still must fear?
These now control a wretched people's fate,
These can divide, and these reverse the state:
Ev'n Fortune rules no more:-O servile land,
Where exil'd tyrants still by turns command!
Thou sire of gods and men, imperial Jove!
Is this th' eternal doom decreed above?
On thy own offspring hast thou fix'd this fate,
From the first birth of our unhappy state;
When banish'd Cadmus, wandering o'er the main,
For lost Europa search'd the world in vain,
And, fated in Bocotian fields to found
A rising empire on a foreign ground,

First rais'd our walls on that ill-omen'd plain,
Where earth-born brothers were by brothers slain?
What lofty looks th' unrival'd monarch bears!
How all the tyrant in his face appears!
What sullen fury clouds his scornful brow?
Gods! how his eyes with threatning ardour glow!
Can this imperious lord forget to reign,
Quit all his state, descend, and serve again?
Yet who, before, more popularly bow'd,
Who more propitious to the suppliant croud?
Patient of right, familiar in the throne?
What wonder then? he was not then alone.
O wretched we, a vile submissive train,
Fortune's tame fools, and slaves in every reign!

"As when two winds with rival force contend, This way and that, the wavering sails they bend, While freezing Boreas and black Eurus blow, Now here, now there, the reeling vessel throw: Thus on each side, alas! our tottering state Feels all the fury of resistless fate;

Ferre duces: Hancne Ogygiis, ait, aspera rebus
Fata tulere vicem? toties mutare timendos,
Alternoque jugo dubitantia subdere colla!
Partiti versant populorum fata, manuque
Fortunam fecere levem. semperne vicissim
Exulibus servire dabor? tibi, summè deorum,
Terrarumque sator, sociis hanc addere mentem
Sedit? an inde vetus Thebis extenditur omen,
Ex quo Sidonii nequicquam blanda juvenci
Pondera, Carpathio jussùs sale quærere Cadmus
Exul Hyanteos invenit regna per agros:
Fraternasque acies fœtæ telluris hiatu,
Augurium, seros dimisit adusque nepotes?
Cernis ut erectum torva sub fronte minetur
Savior assurgens dempto consorte potestas?
Quas gerit ore minas? quanto premit omnia fastu?
Hiene unquam privatus erit? tamen ille precanti
Mitis et affatu bonus et patientior æqui.
Quid mirum ? non solus erat. nos vilis in omnes
Prompta manus casus domino cuicunque parati.
Qualitur hinc gelidus Boreas, hine nubifer Eurus
Vela trahunt, nutat media fortuna carina

"How long shall man the wrath of Heaven defy,
And force unwilling vengeance from the sky!
Oh race confederate into crimes, that prove
Triumphant o'er th' cluded rage of Jove!
This weary arm can scarce the bolt sustain,
And unregarded thunder rolls in vain :
Th' o'erlabour'd Cyclop from his task retires;
Th' Folian forge exhausted of its fires.
For this I suffer'd Phœbus' steeds to stray,
And the mad ruler to misguide the day,
When the wide Earth to heaps of ashes turn'd,
And Heaven itself the wandering chariot burn'd.`

Heu dubio suspensa metu, tolerandaque nullis
Aspera sors populis! hic imperat; ille minatur.
At Jovis imperiis rapidi super atria cœli
Lectus concilio divûm convenerat ordo
Interiore polo. spatiis hinc omnia juxta,
Primæque occiduæque domus, `effusa sub omni
Terra atque unda die. mediis sese ardnus infert
Ipse deis, placido quatiens tamen omnia vultu,
Stellantique locat solio. nec protinus ausi
Calicolæ, veniam donec pater ipse sedendi
Tranquilla jubet esse manu. mox turba vagorum
Semideûm, et suminis cognati nubibus Amnes,
Et compressa metu servantes murmura Venti.
Aurea tecta replent; mixta convexa deorum
Majestate tremunt: radiant majore sereno
Culmina, et arcano florentes lumine postes.
Postquam jussa quies, filuitque exterritus orbis
Incipit ex alto, (grave et immutabile sauctis
Pondus adest verbis, et vocem fata sequuntur)
Terrarum delicta, nec exsuperabile diris

| Ingeniurn mortale queror. quonam usque nocen-
Exigar in pœnas? tædet sævire corusco [tum
Fulmine; jampridem Cyclopum operosa fatiscunt
Brachia, et Æoliis desunt incudibus ignes.
Atque ideo tuleram falso rectore solutos
Solis equos, cœlumque rotis errantibus uri,
Et Phaëtontæa mundum squallere favilla.

For this, my brother of the watery reign Releas'd th' impetuous sluices of the main: But flames consum'd, and billows rag'd in vain. Two races now, ally'd to Jove, offend: To punish these, see Jove himself descend. The Theban Kings their line from Cadmus trace, From godlike Perseus those of Argive race. Unhappy Cadmus' fate who does not know, And the long series of succeeding woe? How oft the Furies, from the deeps of night, Arose, and mix'd with men in mortal fight: Th' exulting mother, stain'd with filial blood; The savage hunter, and the haunted wood 2 The direful banquet why should I proclaim, And crimes that grieve the trembling gods to name? Ere I recount the sins of these prophane, The Suri would sink into the western main, And rising gild the radiant east again. Have we not seen (the blood of Laius shed) The murdering son ascend his parent's bed, Through violated nature force his way, And stain the sacred womb where once he lay? Yet now in darkness and despair he groans, And for the crimes of guilty fate attones; His sons with scorn their eyeless father view, Insult his wounds, and make them bleed anew, Thy curse, oh Oedipus, just Heaven alarms, And sets th' avenging Thunderer in arms. I from the root thy guilty race will tear, And give the nations to the waste of war. Adrastus soon, with gods averse, shall join In dire alliance with the Theban line: Hence strife shall rise, and mortal war succeed; The guilty realms of Tantalus shall bleed: Fix'd is their doom; this all-remembering breast Yet harbours vengeance for the tyrant's feast."

He said; and thus the queen of Heaven return'd (With sudden grief her labouring bosom burn'd);

Nil actum est: neque tu valida quod cuspide late
Ire per illicitum pelago, germane, dedisti.
Nunc geminas punire domos, quis sanguinis autor
Ipse ego, descendo. Perseos alter in Argos
Scinditur, Aonias fluit hic ab origine Thebas.
Mens cunctis impôsta manet. Quis funera Cadmi|
Nesciat et toties excitam a sedibus imis
Eumenidum bellasse aciem mala gaudia matrum,
Erroresque feros nemorum, et reticenda deorum
Crimina? vix lucis spatio, vix noctis abactæ
Enumerare queam mores, gentemque profanam.
Scandere quinetiam thalamos hic impius hæres
Patris, et immeritæ gremium incestare parentis
Appetiit, proprios monstro revolutus in ortus.
Ille tamen Superis æterna piacula solvit,
Projecitque diem: nec jani amplius æthere nostro
Vescitur: at nati (faciuus sine more!) cadentes
Calcavere oculos. jam jam rata vota tulisti,
Dire senex; meruere tuæ, meruere tenebræ
Ultorem sperare Jovem. nova sontibus arma
Injiciam regnis, totumque a stirpe revellam
Exitiale genus. belli mihi semina sunto
Adrastus socer, et superis adjuncta sinistris
Connubia. Hanc etiam pœnis incessere gentem
Decretum; neque enim arcano de pectore fallax
Tantalus, et sævæ periit injuria mensæ.

Sle pater omnipotens. Ast illi saucia dictis,
Flammato versans inopinum corde dolorem,
Talia Juno refert: Mene, ô justissime divûm,
Me bello certare jubes? scis semper ut arces

"Must I, whose cares Phoroneus! towers defend,
Must I, oh Jove, in bloody wars contend?
Thou know'st those regions my protection claim,
Glorious in arms, in riches, and in fame:
Though there the fair Ægyptian heifer fed,
And there deluded Argus slept, and bled;
Though there the brazen tower was storm'd of old
When Jove descended in almighty gold.
Yet I can pardon those obscurer rapes,
Those bashful crimes disguis'd in borrow'd shapes
But Thebes, where, shining in celestial charms,
Thou cam'st triumphant to a mortal's arms,
When all my glories o'er her limbs were spread,
And blazing lightnings danc'd around her bed;
Curs'd Thebes the vengeance it deserves may

prove

Ah, why should Argos feel the rage of Jove?
Yet, since thou wilt thy sister queen control,
Siące still the lust of discord fires thy soul,
Go, raise my Samos, let Mycene fall,
And level with the dust the Spartan wall;
No more let mortals Juno's power invoke,
Her fanes no more with eastern incense smoke,
Nor victims sink beneath the sacred stroke ;
But to your Isis all my rights transfer,
Let altars blaze and temples smoke for her;
For her, through Egypt's fruitful clime renown'd,
Let weeping Nilus hear the timbrel sound.
But if thou must reform the stubborn times,
Avenging on the sons the father's crimes,
And from the long records of distant age
Derive incitements to renew thy rage;
Say, from what period then has Jove design'd
To date his vengeance; to what bounds confin'd
Begin from thence, where first Alpheus hides
His wandering stream, and through the briny tides
Unmix'd to his Sicilian river glides.

|

Cyclopum, magnique Phoroneos inclyta fama
Sceptra viris, opibusque juvem; licet improbus illic
Custodem Phariæ, somno letoque juvenca
Extinguas, septis et turribus aureus intres,
Mentitis ignosco toris: illam odimus urbem,
Quam vultu confessus adis: ubi conscia magni
Signa tori, tonitrus agis, et mea fulmina torques
Facta luant Theba: cur hostes eligis Argos?
Quin age, si tanta est thalami discordia sancti,
Et Samon, et veteres armis exscinde Mycenas.
Verte solo Sparten. cur usquam sanguine festo
Conjugis ara tuæ, cumulo cur thuris Eoï
Læta calet melius votis Mareotica fumat
Coptos, et ærisoni lugentia flumina Nili.
Quod si prisca luunt autoruin crimina gentes,
Subvenitque tuis sera hæc sententia curis ;
Percensere ævi senjum, quo tempore tandem
Terrarum furias abolere, et secula retro
Emendare sat est jamdudum ab sedibus illis
Incipe, fluctivaga qua præterlabitur unda
Sicanos longe relegens Alpheus amores.
Arcades hic tua (nec pudor est) delubra nefastis
Imposuere locis: illic Mavortius axis
Oenomai, Geticoque pecus stabulare şub Æmo
Dignius: abruptis etiamnum inhumata procorum
Relliquiis trunca ora rigent. tamen hic tibi templi
Gratus honos. placet Ida nocens, mentitaque*
Creta tuos. me Tantaleis consistere tectis, [manes
Quæ tandem invidia est? belli deflecte tumultus,
Et generis miseresce tui. sunt impia late
Regna tibi, melius generos passura nocentes.

Thy own Arcadians there the thunder claim,
Whose impious rites disgrace thy mighty name;
Who raise thy temples where the chariot stood
Of fierce Oenomäus, defil'd with blood;
Where once his steeds their savage banquet found,
And human bones yet whiten all the ground.
Say, can those honours please? and canst thou

love

Presumptuous Crete, that boasts the tomb of
Jove!

And shall not Tantalus's kingdom share
Thy wife and sister's tutelary care?
Reverse, O Jove, thy too severe decree,
Nor doom to war a race deriv'd from thee;
On impious realins and barbarqus kings impose
Thy plagues, and curse them with such sons as
those."

Thus, in reproach and prayer, the queen ex-
press'd

The rage and grief contending in her breast;
Unmov'd remain'd the ruler of the sky,
And from his throne return'd this stern reply:
""Twas thus I deem'd thy haughty soul would bear
The dire, though just, revenge which I prepare
Against a nation, thy peculiar care:
No less Dione might for Thebes contend,
Nor Bacchus less his native town defend;
Yet these in silence see the Fates fulfil
Their work, and reverence our superior will.
For, by the black infernal Styx I sware,
(That dreadful oath which binds the Thunderer)
Tis fix'd; th' irrevocable doom of Jove;
No force can bend me, no persuasion move.
Haste then, Cyllenius, through the liquid air;
Go mount the winds, and to the shades repair;
Bid Hell's black monarch my commands obey,'
And give up Laius to the realms of day,
Whose ghost, yet shivering on Cocytus' sand,
Expects its passage to the farther strand:
Let the pale sire revisit Thebes, and bear
These pleasing orders to the tyrant's ear;
That from his exil'd brother, swell'd with pride
Of foreign forces, and his Argive bride,
Almighty Jove commands him to detain
The promis'd empire, and alternate reign:
Be this the cause of more than mortal hate:
The rest, succeeding times shall ripen into fate.”

Finic rat miscens precibus convicia Juno, At non ille gravis, dictis, quanquam aspera, motus Reddidit hæc: Equidem haud rebar te mente secunda

Laturam, quodcunque tuos (licet æquis) in Argos
Consulerem, neque me (detur si copia) fallit
Multa super Thebis Bacchum, ausuramque Dionem
Dicere, sed nostri reverentia ponderis obstat.
Horrendos etenim latices, Stygia æquora fratris
Obtestor, mansurum et non revocabile verum,
Nil fore qui dictis flectar. quare impiger ales
Portantes præcedi Notos Cyllenia proles:
Aëra per liquidum, regnisque illapsus opacis
Dic patruo, superas senior se tollat ad auras
Laius extinctum nati quem vulnere, nondum
Ulterior Lethes accepit ripa profundi
Lege Erebi: ferat hæc diro mea jussa nepoti;
Germanum exilio fretum, Argolicisque tumentem
Hospitiis, quod sponte cupit, procul impius aula
Arceat, alternum regni inficiatus honorem:
Hinc causæ irarum: certo reliqua ordine ducam.

The god obeys, and to his feet applies
Those golden wings that cut the yielding skies.
His ample hat his beamy locks o'erspread,
And veil'd the starry glories of his head.
He seiz'd the wand that causes sleep to fly,
Or in soft slumbers seals the wakeful eye;
That drives the dead to dark Tartarian coasts,
Or back to life compels the wandering ghosts.
Thus, through the parting clouds, the son of May
Wings on the whistling winds his rapid way;
Now smoothly steers through air his equal flight,
Now springs aloft, and towers th' etherial height;
Then wheeling down the steep of Heaven he flies,
And draws a radiant circle o'er the skies,
Meantime the banish'd Polynices roves
(His Thebes abandon'd) through th' Aonian groves,
While future realms his wandering thoughts delight,
His daily vision, and his dream by night;
Forbidden Thebes appears before his eye,
From whence he sees his absent brother fly,
With transport views the airy rule his own,
And swells on an imaginary throne.
Fain would he cast a tedious age away,
And live out all in one triumphant day.
He chides the lazy progress of the Sun,
And bids the year with swifter motion run,
With anxious hopes his craving mind is tost,
And all his joys in length of wishes lost.

The hero then resolves his course to bend
Where ancient Danaus' fruitful fields extend,
And fam'd Mycene's lofty towers ascend,
(Where late the Sun did Atreus' crimes detest,
And disappear'd in horrour of the feast.)
And now, by Chance, by Fate, or Furies led,
From Bacchus' consecrated caves he fled,
Where the shrill cries of frantic matrons sound,
And Penthous' blood enrich'd the rising ground,
Then see Citharon towering o'er the plain,
And thence declining gently to the main.

Paret Atlantiades dictis genitoris, et inde Suuma pedum propere plantaribus illigat alis, Obnubitque comas, et temperat astra galero. Tum dextræ virgam inseruit, qua pellere dulces Aut suadere iterum somnos, qua nigra subire Tartara, et exangues animare assueverat umbras Desiluit; tenuique exceptus inhorruit aura. Nec mora, sublimes raptim per inane volatus Carpit, et ingenti designat nubila gyro.

Interea patriis olim vagus exul ab oris Oedipodionides furto deserta pererrat Aoniæ. jam jamque animis inale debita regna Concipit, et longum signis cunctantibus annuin Stare gemit. tenet una dies noctesque recursans Cura virum, si quando humilem decedere regno Germanum, et semet Thebis, opibusque potitum, Cerneret: hac ævum cupiat pro luce pacisci. Nunc queritur ceu tarda fugæ dispendia: sed mox Attollit flatus ducis, et sedisse superbum Dejecto se fratre putat. spes anxia mentem Extrahit, et longo consumit gaudia voto. Tunc sedet uachias urbes, Danaëiaque arva, Et caligantes abrupto sole Mycenas, Ferre iter impavidum. seu prævia ducit Erynnis Seu fors illa viæ, sive hac immota vocabat Atropos. Ogygiis ululata furoribus antra Deserit, et pingues Bacchæo sanguine colles, Inde plagam, qua molle sedens in plana Citharon Porrigitur, lassumque inclinat ad æquora montem,

Next to the bounds of Nisus' realm repairs,
Where treacherous Scylla cut the purple hairs:
The hanging cliffs of Scyron's rock explores,
And hears the murmurs of the different shores:
Passes the strait that parts the foaming seas,
And stately Corinth's pleasing site surveys.

'Twas now the time when Phoebus yields to night
And rising Cynthia sheds her silver light,
Wide o'er the world in solemn pomp she drew
Her airy chariot hung with pearly dew;
All birds and beasts lie hush'd: Sleep steals away
The wild desires of men, and toils of day,
And brings, descending through the silent air,
A sweet forgetfulness of human care.

Yet no red clouds, with golden borders gay,
Promise the skies the bright return of day;
No faint reflections of the distant light [night;
Streak with long gleams the scattering shades of
From the damp earth impervious vapours rise,
Increase the darkness, and involve the skies.
At once the rushing winds with roaring sound
Burst from th' Eolian caves and rend the ground,
With equal rage their airy quarrel try,
And win by turns the kingdom of the sky;
But with a thicker night black Auster shrouds
The heavens, and drives on heaps the rolling clouds,
From whose dark womb a rattling tempest pours,
Which the cold North congeals to haily showers.
From pole to pole the thunder roars aloud,
And broken lightnings flash from every cloud.
Now smoaks with showers the misty mountain
And floated fields lie undistinguish'd round. [ground,
Th' Inachian streams with headlong fury run,
And Erisinus rolls a deluge on:

The foaming Lerna swells above its bounds,
And spread its ancient poisons o'er the grounds:
Where late was dust, now rapid torrents play,
Rush through the mounds, and bear the dams away:

Præterit, hinc arcte scopuloso in limite pendens,
Infames Scyrone petras, Scyllæaque rura
Purpureo regnata seni, mitemque Corinthon
Linquit, et in mediis audit duo littora campis.

Jamque per emeriti surgens confinia Phobi
Titanis, late mundo subvecta silenti
Rorifera gelidum tenuaverat aëra biga.

Old limbs of trees from crackling forests torn,
Are whirl'd in air, and on the winds are borne:
The storm the dark Lycæan groves display'd,
And first to light expos'd the sacred shade.
Th' intrepid Theban hears the bursting sky,
Sees yawning rocks in massy fragments fly,
And views astonish'd from the hills afar,
The floods descending, and the watery war,
That, driven by storins, and pouring o'er the plain,
Swept herds, and hinds, and houses to the main.
Through the brown horrours of the night he fled,
Nor knows, amaz'd, what doubtful path to tread ;
His brother's image to his mind appears,
Inflames his heart with rage, and wings his feet with
So fares a sailor on the stormy main,
When clouds conceal Bootes' golden wain,
When not a star its friendly lustre keeps,
Nor trembling Cynthia glimmers on the deeps;
He dreads the rocks, and shoals, and seas, and skies,
While thunder roars, and lightning round him flies.

[fears.

Thus strove the chief, on every side distress'd,
Thus still his courage with his toils increas'd;
With his broad shield oppos'd, he forc'd his way
Through thickest woods, and rous'd the beasts of
Till he beheld, where from Larissa's height [prey.
The shelving walls reflect a glancing light:
Thither with haste the Theban hero flies;
On this side Lerna's poisonous water lies,
On that Prosymna's grove and temple rise :
He pass'd the gates, which then unguarded lay,
And to the regal palace bent his way;
On the cold marble, spent with toil, he lies,
And waits till pleasing slumbers seal his eyes.
Adrastus here his happy people sways,
Blest with calm peace in his declining days.

Brachia sylvarum, nullisque aspecta per ævum
Solibus umbrosi patuere astiva Lycæi.
Ille tamen modo saxa jugis fugientia ruptis
Miratur, modo nubigenas e montibus amnes
Aure pavens, passimque insano turbine raptas
Pastorum pecorumque domos. non segnius amens
Incertusque viæ, per nigra silentia vastus,
Haurit iter: pulsat metus undique, et undique
frater.

Ac velut hiberno deprensus navita ponto,
Cui neque temo piger, neque amico sidere monstrat

Jam pecudes volucresque tacent; jam Somnus avaris Luna vias, medio cœli pelagique tumultu
Inserpit curis, pronusque per aëra nutat,
Grata laboratæ referrens oblivia vitæ.
Sed nec puniceo rediturum nubila cœlo
Promisere jubar, nec rarescentibus umbris
Longa repercusso nituere crepuscula Phœbo.
Densior a terris, et nulli pervia flammæ
Subtexit nox atra polos. jam claustra rigentis
Holiæ percussa sonant, venturaque rauco
Ore minatur hiems; venti transversa frementes
Confligunt, axemque emoto cardine vellunt, ́
Dum cælum sibi quisque rapit, sed plurimus Auster
Inglomerat noctem, et tenebrosa volumina torquet,
Defunditque imbres, sicco quos asper hiatu
Persolidat Boreas, nec non abrupta tremescunt
Fulgura, et attritus subita face rumpitur æther.
Jam Nemea, jam Tænarcis contermina lucis
Arcadia capita alta madent: ruit agmine facto
Inachus, et gelidas surgens Erasinus ad Arctos.
Pulverulenta prius, calcandaque flumina nullæ
Aggeribus tenuere moræ, stagnoque refusa est
Funditus, et veteri spumavit Lerna veneno.
Frangitur omne nemus; rapiunt antiqua procellæ

Stat rationis inops: jam jamque aut saxa malignis
Expectat submersa vadis, aut vertice acuto
Spumantes scopulos erectæ incurrere proræ :
Talis opaca legens nemorum Cadmeïus heros
Accelerat, vasto metuenda umbone ferarum
Excutiens stabula, et prono virgulta refringit
Pectore: dat stimulos animo vis mæsta timoris.
Donec ab Inachiis victa caligine tectis
Emicuit lucem devexta in mœnia fundens
Larissæus apex. illò spe concitus omni
Evolat. hinc celsa Junonia templa Prasymnæ
Lævus habet hinc Herculeo signata vapore
Lernæi stagna atra vadi, tandemque reclusis
Infertur portis. actutum regia cernit
Vestibula. Hic artus imbri, ventoque rigentes
Projicit, ignotæque acclinis postibus aulæ
Invitat tenues ad dura cubilia sommos.

Rex ibi tranquillæ medio de limite vitæ
In senium vergens populos Adrastus habebat,
Dives avis, et utroque Jove de sanguine ducens.
Hic sexûs melioris inops, sed prole virebat
Fœminæa, gemnino nataram pignore fultus

« PreviousContinue »