« AnteriorContinuar »
What has, alas! my unborn infant done,
Her tongue no more distinct complaints affords, That he should fall, and two expire in one ?" But in shrill accents and mis-shapen words This said, in agonies she fetch'd her breath. Pours forth such bideous wailings, as declare The god dissolves in pity at her death;
The human form confounded in the mare: He hates the bird that made her falsehood known, Till by degrees, accomplish'd in the beast, And hates himself for what bimself had done; She neigh'd outright, and all the steed exprest. The feather'd shaft, that sent her to the fates, Her stooping body on ber hands is borne, And bis own hand, that sent the shaft, he hates. Her hands are turn'd to hoofs, and shod in horn; Fain would he heal the wound, and ease her Her yellow tresses ruffle in a mane, pain,
And in her flowing tail she frisks her train. And tries the compass of his art in vain.
The mare was finish'd in her voice and look,
And a new name from the new figure took.
THE TRANSFORMATION OF BATTUS TO A
TOUCHSTONE. And solemniz'd the death himself had wrought.
Sore wept the centaur, and to Phæbus pray'd; But, lest his offspring should her fate partake,
But how could Phæbus give the centaur aid? Spite of th'immortal mixture in his make,
Degraded of his power by angry Jove, He ript her womb, and set the child at large,
In Elis then a herd of beeves he drove, And gave him to the centaur Chiron's charge:
And wielded in his hand a staff of oak, Then in his fury black'd the raven o'er,
And o'er his shoulders threw the shepherd's cloak; And bid bim prate in his wbite plumes no more.
On seven compacted reeds he us’d to play,
And on his rural pipe to waste the day.
As once, attentive to bis pipe, he play'd,
A drove, that separate from their fellows stray'd, OLD Chiron took the babe with secret joy,
The theft an old insidious peasant view'd Proud of the charge of the celestial boy.
(They call’d him Battus in the neighbourhood); His daughter too, whom on the sandy shore,
Hird by a wealthy Pylian prince to feed The nymph Chariclo to the centaur bore,
His favourite mares, and watch the generous With bair disheveld on her shoulders, came
breed, To see the child, Ocyrrhöe was her name;
The thievish god suspected him, and took She knew her father's art, and could rehearse
The hind aside, and thus in whispers spoke: The depths of prophecy in sounding verse.
“ Discover not the theft, whoe'er thou be, Once, as the sacred infant she survey'd,
And take that milk-white heifcr for thy fee.” The god was kindled in the raving maid, And thus she utter'd her prophetic tale;
“ Go, stranger,” cries the clown,“ securely on,
That stone shall sooner tell;" and show'd a stone. “Hail, great physician of the world, all hail; Hail, mighty infant, who in ye:urs to come
The god withdrew, but straight return'd again,
In speech and habit like a country swain; Shall heal the nations, and defraud the tomb;
And cried out, “Neighbour, hast thou seen a stray Swift be thy growth! thy triumphs unconfin'd!
Of bullocks and of heifers pass this way? Make kingdoms thicker, and increase mankind.
In the recovery of my cattle join, Thy daring art shall animate the dead,
A bullock and a heifer shall be thine.” And draw the thunder on thy guilty head:
The peasant quick replies, “ You'll find them Then shalt thou die; but from the dark abode
there Rise up victorious, and be twice a god.
In yon dark vale:” and in the vale they were, And thou, my sire, not destin'd by thy birth
The double bribe had his false heart beguild: To turn to dust, and mix with common earth,
The god, successful in the trial, smilid; How wilt thou toss, and rave, and long to die,
“And dost thou thus betray myself to me? And quit thy claim to immortality;
Me to myself dost thou betray?” says he: When thou shalt feel, enrag'd with inward pains,
Then to a touch-stone turns the faithless spy, The Hydra's venom rankling in thy veins?
And in his name records his infamy.
THE STORY OF AGLAUROS, TRANSFORMED INTO The secrets of offended Jove betray'd:
A STATUE. Mure had she still to say; but now appears Oppress’d with sobs and sighs, and drown'd in tears. This done, the god flew up on high, and pass'd “My voice," says she, “is gone, my language O’er lofty Athens, by Minerva grac'd, fails;
And wide Munichia, whilst bis eyes survey Through every limb my kindred shape prevails; All the vast region that beneath him lay. Why did the god this fatal gift impart,
'Twas now the feast, when each Athenian maid And with prophetic raptures swell my heart? Her yearly homage to Minerva paid; What new desires are these? I long to pace
In canisters, with garlands cover'd o'er, O'er flowery meadows, and to feed on grass;
High on their heads their mystic gifts they bore; I hasten to a brute, a inaid no more;
And now, returning in a solemn train,
The god well-pleas'd beheld the pompous show, And in bis upper parts preserves the man." And was the bright procession pass below;
Then veer'd about, and took a wheeling light, A hoard of gall her inward parts possessid,
She never smiles but when the wretched weep, And in slow winding circles round them flew. Nor lulls her malice with a moment's sleep. As Lucifer excels the meanest star,
Restless in spite: while, watchful to destroy, Or, as the full-orb'd Phæbe Luciter;
She pines and sickens at another's joy; So much did Hersè all the rest outvy,
Foe to herself, distressing and distrest, And gave a grace to the solemnity.
She bears her own tormentor in her breast. Hermes was fir'd, as in the clouds he hung: The goddess gave (for she abhorrd her sight) So the cold bullet, that with fury slung
A short command: “ To Athens speed thy flight; From Balearic engines mounts on high,
On curst Aglauros try thy utmost art, Glows in the whirl, and burns along the sky. And fix thy rankest venoms in her heart." At length he pitch'd upon the ground, and show'd This said, her spear she push'd against the ground, The form divine, the features of a god.
And, mounting from it with an active bound, He knew tbeir virtue o'er a female heart,
Fiew off' to Heaven: the hag with eyes askew And yet he strives to better them by art.
Look'd up, and mutter'd curses as she flex; He hangs his mantle loose, and sets to show For sore she fretted, and began to grieve The golden edging on the seam below;
At the success which she herself must give. Adjusts his flowing curls, and in his hand
Then takes her staff, hung round with wreaths of Waves with an air the sleep-procuring wand:
thorn, The glittering sandals to his feet applies,
And sails along, in a black whirlwind bone, And to each heel the well-trimm'd pinion ties. O'er fields and Howery meadows: where she steers
His ornaments with nicest art display'd, Her baneful course a mighty blast appears, He seeks th’apartment of the royal maid.
Mildews and blights; the meadows are defac'd, The roof was all with polish'd ivory lin'd, The fields, the flowers, and the whole ycar, laid That, richly mixd, in clouds of tortoise shin'd.
waste: Three rooms contiguous in a range were plac'd; On mortals next, and peopled towns she falls, The inidmost by the beauteous Hersè grac'd; Aud breathes a burning plague among their walls, Her virgin sisters lodg'd on either side.
When Athens she beheld, for arts renown'd, Agiauros tirst th' approaching god desery'd, With peace made happy, and with plenty crown'd, And, as he cross'd her chamber, ask'd his name, Scarce could the hideous fiend from tears forbear, And what bis business was, and whence he came. To find out nothing that deserv'd a tear. "I come," eply'd the god, “ from Heaven to woo Th’apartment now she enter'd, where at rest Yo'lr sister, aud to make an aunt of you;
Aglauros lay, with gentle sleep opprest. I am the son and messenger of Jove,
To execute Minerva's dire command, My name is Mercury, my business love;
She strok'd the virgin with her cankerd hand, Do you, kind damsel, take a lover's part,
Then prickly thorns into her breast convey'd, And gain admittance to your sister's heart." That stung to madness the devoted maid:
She star'd him in the face with looks amaz'd, Her subtle venom still improves the smart, As when she on Minerva's secret gaz'd,
Frets in the blood, and festers in the heart. And asks a mighty treasure for her hire,
To make the work more sure, a
scene she And, till he brings it, makes the god retire,
drew, Minerva griev'd to see the nymph succeed; And plac'd before the dreaming virgin's view And now remembring the late impious deed, Her sister's marriage, and her glorions fate; When, disobedient to her strict command, Th’imaginary bride appears in state; She touch'd the chest with an unhallow'd hand; The bridegroom with unwonted beauty glows; In big-swoln sighs her inward rage expressid, For Envy magpifies whate'er she shows. That heav'd the rising Æris on her breast;
Full of the dream, Aglauros pin’d away Then sought out Envy in her dark abode, In tears all night, in darkness all the day; Defi'd with ropy gore and clots of blood: Consum'd like ice, that just begins to run, Shut from the winds, and from the wholesome skies, | When feebly smitten by the distant Sun; In a deep vale the gloomy dungeon lies,
Or like unwholesome weeds, that set on fire Dismal and cold, where not a beam of light Are slowly wasted, and in smoke expire. lovades the winter, or disturbs the night.
Given up to envy (for in every thought Directly to the cave her course she steerd; The thorns, the venom, and the vision wrought Against the gates her martial lance she rear'd; Ost did she call on death, as oft decreed, The gates flew open, and the fiend appear'd. Rather than see her sister's wish succeed, A poisonous morsel in her teeth she chew'd, To tell her awful father what had past: And gorg'd the flesh of vipers for her food. At length before the door herself she cast; Minerva, loathing, turn’d away her eye;
And, sitting on the ground with sullen pride, The hideous monster, rising heavily,
A passage to the love-sick god deny'd.
And south'd in softest words th’envenom'd maid,
And touch'd the door, wide opening to his rod.
Fain would she rise, and stop him, but she found She plac'd herself upon his back, and rode
Left the dry meadow, and approach'd the seas; As when a cancer in the body feeds,
Where now he dips his hoofs, and wets his thighs, And gradual death from limb to limb proceeds; Now plunges in, and carries off the prize. So does the chillness to each vital part
The frighted nymph looks backward on the shore, Spread by degrees, and creeps into her heart; And hears the tumbling billows round her roar; Till, hardening every where, and speechless grown, But still she holds him fast: one hand is borne She sits unmov'd, and freezes to a stone.
Upon his back; the other grasps a horn: But still her envious hue and sullen mieu
Her train of rufling garments flies behind, Are in the sedentary figure seen.
Swells in the air, and hovers in the wind.
Through storms and tempests be the virgin boren EUROPA'S RAPE.
And lands her safe on the Dictean shore;
Where now, in his divinest form array'd,
And all the god discover'd to her sight.
THE STORY OF CADMUS.
Thus spoke the god, concealing his intent. He sent his son to search on every coast;
And sternly bid him to his arms restore
But how can Jove in his amours be found?
There asks the god what new-appointed home
“Behold among the fields a lonely cow, His skin was whiter than the snow that lies Unworn with yokes, unbroken to the plough ; Uosully'd by the breath of southern skies; Mark well the place where first she lays her down, Small shining horns on his curl'd forehead stand, There measure out thy walls, and build thy town, As turn'd and polish'd by the workman's hand; And from thy guide Baotia call the land, His eye-balls roll’d, not formidably bright, In which the destin'd walls and town shall stand.” But gaz'd and languish'd with a gentle light. No sooner had he left the dark abode, His every look was peaceful, and exprest
Big with the promise of the Delphic god, The softness of the lover in the beast.
When in the fields the fatal cow he view'd, Agenor's royal daughter, as she play'd
Nor gall’d with yokes, nor worn with servitude; Among the fields, the milk-white bull survey'd, Her gently at a distance he pursued; and view'd his spotless body with delight,
And, as he walk'd aloof, in silence pray'd And at a distance kept him in her sight.
To the great power whose counsels he obey'd. At length she pluck'd the rising flowers, and fed Her way through flowery Panope she took, The gentle beast, and fondly strok'd bis head, And now, Cephisus, cross'd thy silver brook; He stood well-pleas'd to touch the charming fair, When to the Heavens her spacious front she rais'd, But bardly could contine his pleasure there. And bellow'd thrice, then backward turning gaz'd And now he wantons o'er the neighbouring strand, On those behind, till on the destin'd place Now rolls his body on the yellow sand;
She stoop'd, and couch'd amid the rising grass. And now, perceiving all her fears decay'd,
Cadmus salutes the soil, and gladly hails Comes tossing forward to the royal maid; The new-found mountains, and the nameless vales, Gives her bis breast to stroke, and downward turns Aud thanks the gods, and turns about his eye His grisly brow, and gently stoops his horns. To see his new dominions round him lie; In flowery wreaths the royal virgin drest
Then sends his servants to a neighbouring grove. Mis bending horns, and kindly clapt bis breast. For living streams, a sacrifice to Jove. Till now growu wanton, and devoid of fear, O'er the wide plain there rose a shady wood Dut knowing tbat she prest the thunderer, Qf aged trees; in its dark boxom stuud
A bushy thicket, pathless and unworn,
Such as th' infernal Stygian waters cast: O’er-run with brambles, and perplex'd with thorn. The plants around him wither in the blast, Amidst the brake a hollow den was found,
Now in a maze of rings he lies enrollid, With rocks and shelving arches vaulted round. Now all unravell’d, and without a fold;
Deep in the dreary den, conceal'd from day, Now, like a torrent, with a mighty force Sacred to Mars, a mighty dragon lay,
Bears down the forest in his boisterous course. Bloated with poison to a monstrous size;
Cadmus gave back, and on the lion's spoil Fire broke in flashes when he glanc'd his eyes: Sustain'd the shock, then forc'd him to recoil; His towering crest was glorious to behold, The pointed javelin warded off his rage: His shoulders and his sides were scald with gold; Mad with his pains, and furious to engage, Three tongues he brandish'd when he charg'd his The serpent champs the steel, and bites the spear, foes:
Till blood and venom all the point besmear. His teeth stood jaggy in three dreadful rows. But still the hurt he yet receiv'd was slight; The Tyrians in the den for water sought,
For, whilst the champion with redoubled inight And with their urns explor'd the hollow vault; Strikes home the jarelin, his retiring foe From side to side their empty urns rebound, Shrinks from the wound, and disappoints the blow And rouse the sleepy serpent with the sound. The dauntless hero still pursues his stroke, Straight he bestirs him, and is seen to rise; And presses forward, till a knotty oak And now with dreadful hissings 6lls the skies, Retards his foe, and stops him in the rear; And darts bis forky tongue, and rolls his glaring Full in his throat he plung‘d the fatal spear, eyes.
That in th’extended neck a passage found,
Cadmus be held him wallow in a flood
When suddenly a speech was heard from high, That stretches over half the northern skies. (The speech was heard, nor was the speaker nigh) In vain the Tyrians on their arms rely,
“Why dost thou thus with secret pleasure see, In vain attempt to fight, in vain to fly:
Insulting man! what thou thyself shalt be?” All their endeavours and their hopes are vain; Astonish'd at the voice, he stood amaz’d, Some die entangled in the winding train;
And all around with inward horrour gaz'd: Some are devour'd; or feel a loathsome death, When Pallas swift descending from the skies, Swoln up with blasts of pestilential breath. Pallas, the guardian of the bold and wise,
And now the scorching Sun was mounted high, Bids bim plough up the field, and scatter round In all its lustre, to the noon-day sky;
The dragon's teeth o'er all the furrow'd ground; When, anxious for his friends, and hili'd with cares, Then tells the youth how to bis wondering eyes To search the woods th'impatient chief prepares. Embattled armies from the field should rise. A lion's hide around his loins he wore,
He sows the teeth at Pallas's command, The well-pois'd javelin to the field he bore And flings the future people from his hand. Inurd to blood; the far-destroying dart,
The clocs grow warm, and crumble where he sows: And, the best weapon, an undaunted heart. And now the pointed spears advance in rows; Soon as the youth approachid the fatal place, Now no'lding plumes appear, and shining crests, He saw his servants breathless on the grass; Now the broad shoulders and the rising breasts: The scaly foe amid their corpse he view'd, O'er all the field the breatbing harvest swarms, Basking at ease, and feasting in their blood." A growing host, a crop of meu and arms. * Such friends," lie cries, “ deserv'd a longer date: So through the parting stage a figure rears But Cadmus will revenge, or share their fate." Its body up, and limb by limb appears Then heav'd a stone, and, rising to the throw, By just degrees; till all the man arise, He sent it in a whirlwind at the foe:
And in his full proportion strikes the eyes. A tower, assaulted by so rude a stroke,
Cadmus, surpris'd, and startled at the sight With all its lofty battlements had shook;
Of his new foes, prepar'd himself for fight:
Himself expiring by another's wound;
The dire example ran through all the field,
Till heaps of brothers were by brothers killid; The monster hiss'd aloud, and rag'd in vain, The furrows swam in blood: and only five And writh'd his body to and fro with pain;
Of all the vast increase were left alive.
Let fall the guiltless weapon from his hand;
Here Cadmus reign'd; and now one would have | With blushes glow'd; such blushes as adorn guess'd
The ruddy welkin, or the purple morn: The royal founder in his exile blest:
And though the crowding nymphs her body bide, Long did he live within his new abodes,
Half backward shrunk, and view'd him from aside. Ally'd by marriage to the deathless gods; Surpris'd, at first she would have snatch'd her And, in a fruitful wife's embraces old,
bow, A long increase of children's children told: But sees the circling waters round ber flow; But no frail man, howerer great or high,
These in the hollow of her hand she took, Can be concluded blest before he die.
And dash'd them in his face, while thus she spoke; Actæon was the first of all his race,
“ Tell, if thou canst, the wondrous sight disclos'd; Who griev'd bis grandsire in his borrow'd face; A goddess naked to thy view expos'd.” Condemn’d by stern Diana to bemoan
This said, the man begun to disappear The branching horns, and visage not his own; By slow degrees, and ended in a deer. .To shun his once-lov'd dogs, to bound away, A rising born on either brow he wears, And from their huntsman to become their prey. And stretches out his neck, and pricks his ears; And yet consider why the change was wrought, Rough is his skin, with sudden hairs o'er-grown, You'll find it bis misfortune, not bis fault; His bosom pants with fears before unknown. Or if a fault, it was the fault of chance:
Transform'd at length, he flies away in haste, For how can guilt proceed from ignorance? And wonders why he flies away so fast.
But as by chance, within a neighbouring brook,
He saw his branching horns and alter'd look,
He try'd to speak, but only gave a groan;
And as he wept, within the watery glass In a fair chase a shady mountain stood,
He saw the big round drops, with silent pace, Well stor'd with game, and mark'd with trails of Run trickling down a savage hairy face. blood.
What should he do? Or seek his old abodes, Here did the huntsmen till the heat of day Or herd among the deer, and skulk in woods? Pursue the stag, and load themselves with prey; Here shame dissuades him, there his fear prevails, When thus Actæon calling to the rest:
And each by turns his aking heart assails. “ My friends,” says he, “our sport is at the best. As he thus ponders, he behind him spies The Sun is high advanc'd, and downward sheds His opening hounds, and now he hears their cries: His burning beams directly on our heads;
A generous pack, or to maintain the chase, Then by consent abstain from further spoils, Or snuff the vapour from the scented grass. Call off the dogs, and gather up the toils;
He bounded off with fear, and swiftly ran And ere to morrow's Sun begins his race,
O'er craggy mountains, and the flowery plain; Take the cool morning to renew the chase." Through brakes and thickets forc'd his way, and They all consent, and in a cheerful train
few The jolly huntsmen, loaden with the slain, Through many a ring, where once he did pursue. Return in triumph from the sultry plain.
In vain he oft endeavour'd to proclaim Down in a vale with pine and cypress clad, His new inisfortune, and to tell his name; Refresh'l with gentle winds, and brown with shade, Nor voice nor words the brutal tongue supplies; The chaste Diana's private haunt, there stood Froin shouting men, and horns, and dogs, he flies, Full in the centre of the darksome wood
Deafen'd and stunn'd with their promiscuous cries. A spacious grotto, all around o'er-grown
When now the fleetest of the pack, that prest With hoary moss, and arch'd with pumice-stone: Close at his heels, and sprung before the rest, Froin out its rocky clefts the waters flow,
Had fasten'd on him, straight another pair And trickling swell into a lake below,
Hung on his wounded haunch, and held him there, Nature had every where so play'd her part, Till all the pack came up, and every hound That every where she seem'd to vie with art. Tore the sad huntsman groveling on the ground, Here the bright goddess, toil'd and chal'd with heat, who now appear'd but one continued wound. Was wont to bathe her in the cool retreat.
With dropping tears his bitter fate he moans, Here did she now with all her train resort, And fills the mountains with his dying groans. Panting with heat, and breathless from the sport; His servants with a piteous look he spies, Her armour-bearer laid her bow aside,
And turns about his supplicating eyes. Some loos'd her sandals, some her veil unty'd; His servants, ignorant of what had chanc'd, Each busy nymph her proper part undrest; With eager haste and joyful shouts advanca, While Crocalè, more handy than the rest,
And call'd their lord Actæon to the game; Gather'd her flowing hair, and in a noose
Ile shook his head in answer to the name; Bound it together, wbilst her own hang loose. He heard, but wish'd he had indeed been gone, Five of the more ignoble sort by turns
Or only to bave stood a looker-on. Fetch up the water, and unlade their urns. But, to his grief, he finds himself too near,
Now all undrest the shining goddess stood, And fcels his ravenous dogs with fury tear
THE BIRTH OF BACCHUS.
Did all the thoughts of men and gods engage;