Imatges de pÓgina


To those who are unskilled in its sweet tongue, Though they should question most impetuously Its hidden soul, it gossips something wrong

Some senseless and impertinent reply. But thou who art as wise as thou art strong Can compass all that thou desirest. I Present thee with this music-flowing shell, Knowing thou canst interrogate it well.


"And let us two henceforth together feed On this green mountain slope and pastoral plain, The herds in litigation-they will breed

Quickly enough to recompense our pain,

If to the bulls and cows we take good heed;

And thou, though somewhat over fond of gain, Grudge me not half the profit."-Having spoke, The shell he proffered, and Apollo took.


And gave him in return the glittering lash,
Installing him as herdsman;-from the look
Of Mercury then laughed a joyous flash.

And then Apollo with the plectrum strook
The chords, and from beneath his hands a crash
Of mighty sounds rushed up, whose music shook
The soul with sweetness, as of an adept

His sweeter voice a just accordance kept.


The herd went wandering o'er the divine mead,
Whilst these most beautiful Sons of Jupiter
Won their swift way up to the snowy head
Of white Olympus, with the joyous lyre
Soothing their journey; and their father dread
Gathered them both into familiar

Affection sweet, and then, and now, and ever,
Hermes must love Him of the Golden Quiver,


To whom he gave the lyre that sweetly sounded, Which skilfully he held and played thereon. He piped the while, and far and wide rebounded The echo of his pipings; every one

Of the Olympians sat with joy astounded,

While he conceived another piece of fun, One of his old tricks-which the God of Day Perceiving, said :-"I fear thee, Son of May;


"I fear thee and thy sly chameleon spirit,
Lest thou should steal my lyre and crooked bow;
This glory and power thou dost from Jove inherit,
To teach all craft upon the earth below;

Thieves love and worship thee-it is thy merit
To make all mortal business ebb and flow
By roguery:-now, Hermes, if you dare,
By sacred Styx a mighty oath to swear


"That you
will never rob me, you will do
A thing extremely pleasing to my heart."
Then Mercury sware by the Stygian dew,

That he would never steal his bow or dart,
Or lay his hands on what to him was due,
Or ever would employ his powerful art
Against his Pythian fane. Then Phoebus swore
There was no God or man whom he loved more.


"And I will give thee as a goodwill token,
The beautiful wand of wealth and happiness;
A perfect three-leaved rod of gold unbroken,
Whose magic will thy footsteps ever bless;
And whatsoever by Jove's voice is spoken
Of earthly or divine from its recess,
It, like a loving soul to thee will speak,
And more than this, do thou forbear to seek.


"For, dearest child, the divinations high

Which thou requirest, 'tis unlawful ever

That thou, or any other deity,

Should understand-and vain were the endeavour;

For they are hidden in Jove's mind, and I

In trust of them, have sworn that I would never

Betray the counsels of Jove's inmost will

To any God-the oath was terrible.


"Then, golden-wanded brother, ask me not
To speak the fates by Jupiter designed;
But be it mine to tell their various lot

To the unnumbered tribes of human kind.
Let good to these, and ill to those be wrought
As I dispense-but he who comes consigned
By voice and wings of perfect augury
To my great shrine, shall find avail in me.


"Him will I not deceive, but will assist;
But he who comes relying on such birds
As chatter vainly, who would strain and twist
The purpose of the Gods with idle words,

And deems their knowledge light, he shall have mist
His road-whilst I among my other hoards

His gifts deposit. Yet, O Son of May,

I have another wondrous thing to say.


"There are three Fates, three virgin Sisters, who
Rejoicing in their wind-outspeeding wings,
Their heads with flour snowed over white and new,
Sit in a vale round which Parnassus flings
Its circling skirts-from these I have learned true
Vaticinations of remotest things.

My father cared not. Whilst they search out dooms,
They sit apart and feed on honeycombs.

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They, having eaten the fresh honey, grow
Drunk with divine enthusiasm, and utter
With earnest willingness the truth they know,
But if deprived of that sweet food, they mutter
All plausible delusions;-these to you

I give; if you inquire, they will not stutter:
Delight your own soul with them:-any man
You would instruct, may profit, if he can.


"Take these and the fierce oxen, Maia's childO'er many a horse and toil-enduring mule, O'er jagged-jawed lions, and the wild

White-tusked boars, o'er all, by field or pool, Of cattle which the mighty Mother mild

Nourishes in her bosom, thou shalt ruleThou dost alone the veil of death upliftThou givest not-yet this is a great gift."


Thus king Apollo loved the child of May

In truth, and Jove covered them with love and joy. Hermes with Gods and men even from that day Mingled, and wrought the latter much annoy, And little profit, going far astray

Through the dun night. Farewell, delightful Boy, Of Jove and Maia sprung,-never by me,

Nor thou, nor other songs shall unremembered be.

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Sil. O BACCHUS, what a world of toil, both now
And ere these limbs were overworn with age,
Have I endured for thee! First, when thou fled'st
The mountain-nymphs who nurst thee, driven afar
By the strange madness Juno sent upon thee;
Then in the battle of the sons of Earth,
When I stood foot by foot close to thy side,
No unpropitious fellow combatant,

And driving through his shield my winged spear,
Slew vast Enceladus. Consider now,

Is it a dream of which I speak to thee?

By Jove it is not, for you have the trophies!
And now I suffer more than all before.

For when I heard that Juno had devised
A tedious voyage for you, I put to sea
With all my children quaint in search of you,
And I myself stood on the beaked prow
And fixed the naked mast, and all my boys
Leaning upon their oars, with splash and strain
Made white with foam the green and purple sea,-
And so we sought you, king. We were sailing
Near Malea, when an eastern wind arose,
And drove us to this wild Ætnean rock;
The one-eyed children of the Ocean God,
The man-destroying Cyclopses inhabit,

On this wild shore, their solitary caves,

And one of these, named Polypheme, has caught us

To be his slaves; and so, for all delight

Of Bacchic sports, sweet dance and melody,

We keep this lawless giant's wandering flocks.

My sons indeed, on far declivities,

Young things themselves, tend on the youngling sheep, But I remain to fill the water casks,

Or sweeping the hard floor, or ministering

Some impious and abominable meal

To the fell Cyclops. I am wearied of it!
And now I must scrape up the littered floor
With this great iron rake, so to receive
My absent master and his evening sheep
In a cave neat and clean. Even now I see
My children tending the flocks hitherward.

Ha! what is this? are your Sicinnian measures
Even now the same, as when with dance and song
You brought young Bacchus to Athaa's halls?



Where has he of race divine
Wandered in the winding rocks?
Here the air is calm and fine
For the father of the flocks;
Here the grass is soft and sweet,
And the river-eddies meet
In the trough beside the cave,
Bright as in their fountain wave.
Neither here, nor on the dew
Of the lawny uplands feeding.
Oh, you come !-a stone at you
Will I throw to mend your breeding;
Get along, you horned thing,
Wild, seditious, rambling!


An Iacchic melody

To the golden Aphrodite
Will I lift, as erst did I

Seeking her and her delight

With the Mænads, whose white feet
To the music glance and fleet.
Bacchus, O beloved, where,
Shaking wide thy yellow hair,
Wanderest thou alone, afar?
To the one-eyed Cyclops, we,
Who by right thy servants are,
Minister in misery,

In these wretched goatskins clad,
Far from thy delights and thee.

Sil. Be silent, sons; command the slaves to drive

The gathered flocks into the rock-roofed cave.

Chorus. Go! But what needs this serious haste, O father?

Sil. I see a Greek ship's boat upon the coast,

And thence the rowers with some general

Approaching to this cave. About their necks
Hang empty vessels, as they wanted food,

And water-flasks. O, miserable strangers!

Whence come they, that they know not what and who

My master is, approaching in ill hour

The inhospitable roof of Polypheme,

And the Cyclopian jawbone, man-destroying?

Be silent, Satyrs, while I ask and hear

Whence coming, they arrive the Etnean hill.

The Antistrophe is omitted.

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