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When bold to battle march'd th* accoutred frogs,
And now the day of woe drew on apace,
When genial gales the frozen air unbind, The screaming legions wheel, and mount the wind; Far in the sky they form their long array, And land and ocean stretch/d immense survey Deep deep beneath; and, triumphing in pride, With clouds and winds commix'd, innumerous ride: 'Tis wild obstreperous clangour all, and heaven Whirls, in tempestuous undulation driven.
Nor less th' alarm that shook the world below, Where march'd in pomp of war th* embattled foe: Where mannikins with haughty step advance, And grasp the shield, and couch the quivering lance:
To right and left the lengthening lines they form, And rank'd in deep array await the storm.
High in the midst the chieftain-dwarf was seen, Of giant stature, and imperial mien: Full twenty inches tall, he strode along, And view'd with lofty eye the wondering throng: And while with many a scar his visage frown'd, Bared his broad bosom, rough with many a wound Of beaks and claws, disclosing to their sight The glorious meed of high heroic might. For with insatiate vengeance he pursued, And never-ending hate, the feathery brood. Unhappy they, confiding in the length Of horny beak, or talon's crooked strength, Who durst abide his rage ; the blade descends, And from the panting trunk the pinion rends: Laid low in dust the pinion waves no more, The trunk disfigured stiffens in its goie. What hosts of heroes fell beneath his force! What heaps of chicken carnage marked his course! How oft., 0 Strymon, thy lone banks along, Did wailing Echo waft the funeral song!
And now from far the mingling clamours rise, Loud and more loud rebounding through the skies. From skirt to skirt of Heaven, with stormy sway, A cloud rolls on, and darkens all the day. Rear and more near descends the dreadful shade, And now in battailous array display'd, On sounding wings, and screaming in their ire, The cranes rush onward, and the fight require.
The pygmy warriors eye with fearless glare The host thick swarming o'er the burtheu'd air; Thick swarming now, but to their native land Doom'd to return a scanty straggling band.— When sudden, daniug down the depth of Heaven, Fierce on th' expecting foe the cranes are driven,
The kindling frenzy every bosom warms,
The region echoes to the crash of arms:
Loose feathers from th* encountering armies fly,
And in careering whirlwinds mount the sky.
To breathe from toil upsprings the panting crane,
Then with fresh vigour downward darts again.
Success in equal balance hovering hangs.
Here, on the sharp spear, mad with mortal pangs,
The bird transfiVd in bloody vortex whirls,
Yet fierce in death the threatening talon curls;
There, while the life-blood babbles from his wound,
With little feet the pygmy beats the ground;
Deep from his breast the short short sob he draws,
And, dying, curses the keen pointed claws.
Trembles the thundering field, thick coverM o'er
With falchions, mangled wings, and streaming go'/e,
And pygmy arms, and beaks of ample size,
And here a claw, and there a finger lies.
Enr.ompass'd round witli heaps of slaughter^ foes, All grim in blood the pigmy champion glows, And on tb/ assailing host impetuous springs, Careless of nibbling bills, and flapping wings; And "midst the tumult, wheresoe'er he turns, The battle with redoubled fury burns; From ev'ry side th' avenging cranes amain Throng, to o'erwhelm this terror of the plain. When suddenly (for such the will of Jove) A fowl enormous, sousing from above, The gallant chieftain clutch'd, and soaring high, (Sad chance of battle !) bore him up the sky. The cranes pursue, and clustering in a ring, Chatter triumphant round the captive king. But ah! what pangs each pygmy bosom wrung, When, now to cranes a prey, on talons hung, High in the clouds they saw their helpless lord, His wriggling form still lessening as he soar'd.
Lo! yet again, with unabated rage, In mortal stri-fe the mingling hosts engage. The crane with darted bill assaults the foe, Hovering; then wheels aloft to 'scape the blow: The dwarf in anguish aims the vengeful wound: But whirls in empty air the falchion round.
Such was the scene, when 'midst the loud alarms
But now at length the pygmy legions yield,
And uow with lofty chiefs of ancient time,
Their frisking forms, in gentle green array'd,