Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

No more let mortals Juno's pow'r invoke,
Her fanes no more with eaftern incenfe fmoke,
Nor victims fink beneath the facred ftroke;
But to your Ifis all my rights transfer,
Let altars blaze and temples fmoke for her;
For her, thro' Ægypt's fruitful clime renown'd,
Let weeping Nilus hear the timbrel found.
But if thou must reform the ftubborn times,
Avenging on the fons the father's crimes,
And from the long records of diftant age
Derive incitements to renew thy rage;
Say, from what period then has Jove defign'd
To date his vengeance; to what bounds confin'd?
Begin from thence, where firft Alpheus hides
His wandring ftream, and thro' the briny tides
Unmix'd, to his Sicilian river glides.
Thy own Arcadians there the thunder claim,
Whofe impious rites difgrace thy mighty name;
Who raise thy temples where the chariot flood
:Of fierce Oenomaus, defil'd with blood;
Where once his fteeds their favage banquet found,
And human bones yet whiten all the ground.
Say, can thofe honours pleafe and canft thou love
Prefumptuous Crete, that boasts the tomb of Jove?
And fhall not Tantalus his kingdoms fhare
"Thy wife and fifter's tutelary care ?
Reverse, O Jove, thy too fevere decree,
Nor doom to war a race deriv'd from thee;
On impious realms, and barb'rous kings, impofe
Thy plagues, and curfe "em with fuch fons as those.
Thus, in reproach and pray'r, the queen exprefs'd 400
The rage and grief contending in her breast;
Unmov'd remain'd the ruler of the sky,

[ocr errors]

370

375

380

385

390

390

405

And from his throne return'd this ftern reply.
"Twas thus I deem'd thy haughty foul would bear
The dire, tho' juft, revenge which I prepare
Against a nation thy peculiar care :
No lefs Dione might for Thebes contend,
Nor Bacchus lefs his native town defend,
E e 2

Yet

Yet these in filence fee the Fates fulfil
Their work, and reverence our fuperior will.
For by the black infernal Styx I fwear,
(That dreadful oath which binds the Thunderer)
'Tis fix'd; th' irrevocable doom of Jove;
No force can bend me, no perfuafion move.
Hafte then, Cyllenius, thro' the liquid air;
Go mount the winds, and to the fhades repair;
Bid hell's black monarch my commands obey,
And give up Laius to the realms of day,
Whose ghost yet shiv'ring on Cocytus' sand,
Expects its paffage to the farther ftrand:
Let the pale fire revifit Thebes, and bear
These pleafing orders to the tyrant's ear;
That, from his exil'd brother, fwell'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 reft, fucceeding times fhall ripen into fate,
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 feiz'd the wand that causes fleep to fly,
Or in foft flumbers feals the wakeful eye;
That drives the dead to dark Tartarean coafts,
Or back to life compels the wand'ring ghosts.
Thus, thro' the parting clouds, the son of May
Wings on the whistling winds his rapid way,、
Now fimoothly fteers thro' air his equal flight,
Now fprings aloft, and tow'rs th' ethereal height: 440
Then wheeling down the steep of heav'n he flies,
And draws a radiant circle o'er the fkies.

410

A

415

420

425

430

435

Meantime the banish'd Polynices roves

(His Thebes abandon'd) thro' th' Aonian groves, While future realms his wand'ring thoughts delight, 445 His daily vifion and his dream by night;

5

Forbid

@

Forbidden Thebes appears before his eye,
From whence he fees his abfent brother fly,
With transport views the airy rule his own,
And fwells on an imaginary throne.
Fain would he caft a tedious age away,
And live out all in one triumphant day.
He chides the lazy progrefs of the fun,
And bids the year with swifter motion run.
With anxious hopes his craving mind is toft,
And all his joys in length of wishes loft.

The hero then refolves his courfe to bend
Where ancient Danaus' fruitful fields extend,
And fam'd Mycene's lofty tow'rs afcend,
(Where late the fun did Atreus crimes deteft,
And disappear'd in horror of the feaft.)
And now by chance, by fate, or furies led,
From Bacchus' confecrated caves he fled,
Where the fhrill cries of frantic matrons found,
And Pentheus' blood enrich'd the rifing ground.
Then fees Cythæron tow'ring o'er the plain,
And thence declining gently to the main.
Next to the bounds of Nifus' realm repairs,
Where treach'rous Scylla cut the purple hairs:
The hanging cliffs of Scyron's rock explores,
And hears the murmurs of the diff'rent shores:
Paffes the ftrait that parts the foaming feas,
And ftately Corinth's pleafing fite furveys.

'Twas now the time when Phoebus yields to night,
And rifing Cynthia fheds her filver light,
Wide o'er the world in folemn pomp fhe drew
Her airy chariot hung with pearly dew;
All birds and beafts lie hufh'd; fleep fteals away
The wild defires of men, and toils of day,
And brings, defcending thro' the filent air,
A fweet forgetfulness of human care.
Yet no red clouds, with golden borders gay,
Promise the fkies the bright returns of day;
No faint reflections of the diftant light

450

455

460

465

470

475

480

Streak with long gleams the scatt'ring shades of night: 485

From

From the damp earth impervious vapours rise,
Encreafe the darkness, and involve the fkies.
At once the rushing winds with roaring found
Burft 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 Aufter shrouds

The heav'ns, and drives on heaps the rolling clouds,
From whofe dark womb a rattling tempeft pours,
Which the cold north congeals to haily fhow'rs.
From pole to pole the thunder roars aloud,
And broken lightnings flash from ev'ry cloud.
Now fmoaks with fhow'rs the mifty mountain-ground,
And floated fields lie undiftinguish'd round:
Th' Inachian ftreams with headlong fury run,
And Erafinus rolls a deluge on:

495

When clouds conceal Boötes' golden wain,
When not a ftar its friendly luftre keeps,
Nor trembling Cynthia glimmers on the deeps;

509

The foaming Lerna fwells above its bounds,
And fpreads its ancient poisons o'er the grounds:
Where late was duft, now rapid torrents play,
Rufh thro' the mounds, and bear the damms away: 505
Old limbs of trees from crackling forefts torn,
Are whirl'd in air, and on the winds are born;
The ftorm the dark Lycæan groves display'd,
And firft to light expos'd the facred fhade.
Th' intrepid Theban hears the bursting sky,
Sees yawning rocks in maffy fragments fly,
And views aftonifh'd from the hills afar,
The floods defcending and the wat'ry war,
That driv'n by ftorms, and pouring o'er the plain,
Swept herds, and hinds, and houfes to the main,
Thro' the brown horrors 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 fears,
So fares a failor on the ftormy main,.

530

[ocr errors]

515

He

-1

530

He dreads the rocks, and fhoals, and feas, and fkies,
While thunder roars, and light'ning round him flics. 525
Thus ftrove the chief on ev'ry fide diftrefs'd,
Thus ftill his courage, with his toils encreas'd;
With his broad fhield oppos'd, he forc'd his way
Thro' thickest woods, and rouz'd the beafts of prey.
"Till he beheld, where from Lariffa's height
The fhelving walls reflect a glancing light:
Thither with hafte the Theban hero flies;
On this fide Lerna's pois'nous water lies,
On that, Profymna's grove and temple rise :
He pafs'd the gates which then unguarded lay,
And to the regal palace bent his way;
On the cold marble fpent with toil he lies,
And waits 'till pleafing flumbers feal his eyes.
Adraftus here his happy people sways,
Blefs'd with calm peace in his declining days,
By both his parents of descent divine,
Great Jove and Phoebus grac'd his noble line;
Heav'n had not crown'd his wifhes with a fon,
But two fair daughters heir'd his ftate and throne.
To him Apollo (wond'rous to relate!
But who can pierce into the depths of fate?)
Had fung-" Expect thy fons on Argos' fhore,
A yellow lion and a briftly boar."
This, long revolv'd in his paternal breaft,
Sate heavy on his heart, and broke his reft;
This, great Amphiaraus, lay hid from thee,
Tho' fkill'd in fate, and dark futurity.
The father's care and prophet's art were vain,
For thus did the predicting god ordain.

Lo hapless Tydeus, whofe ill-fated hand
Had flain his brother, leaves his native land,
And feiz'd with horror, in the fhades of night,
Thro' the thick defarts headlong urg'd his flight:
Now by the fury of the tempefts driv'n,
He feeks a fhelter from th' inclement heav'n 1,
'Till led by fate, the Theban's fteps he treads,
And to fair Argos' open court fucceeds.

}

535

540

545

559*

555

560

When

« AnteriorContinua »