Imatges de pàgina
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When thus the chiefs from diff'rent lands refort To Adrastus' realms, and hospitable court; The king surveys his guests with curious eyes, 565 And views their arms and habit with surprize. Alion's yellow skin the Theban wears, Horrid his mane, and rough with curling hairs; Such once employ'd Alcides' youthful toils, E'er yet adorn'd with Nemea's dreadful spoils. 576 A boar's stiff hide, of Calydonian breed, Oenides' manly shoulders overspread, Oblique his tutks, erect his bristles stood, Alive, the pride and terror of the wood.

Struck with the fight, and fix'd in deep amaze, 1.575 The king th' accomplisi'd oracle surveys, Reveres Apollo's vocal caves, and owns The guiding godhead, and his future fons, O’er all his bolom secret transports reign, And a glad horror shoots thro' ev'ry vein.

580 To heav'n he lifts his hands, erects his fight, And thus invokes the filent queen of night.

Goddess of shades, beneath whose gloomy reign Yon' spangled arch glows with the starry train : You who the cares of heav'n and earth allay,

585 ?Till nature quicken'd by the inspiring ray Wakes to new vigour with the rising day. Oh thou who freeft me from my doubtful state, Long lost and wilder'd in the maze of fate ! Be present still, oh goddess'! in our aid;

590 Proceed, and firm those omens thou haft made. We to thy name our annual rites will

pay, And on thy altars sacrifices lay; The sable flock shall fall beneath the stroke, And fill thy temples with a grateful smoke. 595 Hail, faithful Tripos! hail, ye dark abodes Of awful Phoebus : I confess the gods !

Thus, seiz’d with sacred fear, the monarch pray'd; Then to his inner court the guests convey'd ;

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Where yet thin fumes from dying sparks arise, 600
And duft yet white upon each altar lies,
The relicks of a former facrifice.
The king once more the folemn rites requires,
And bids renew the feasts, and wake the fires.
His train obcy, while all the courts around
Witli noisy care and various tumult found.
Embroider'd purple clothes the golden beds;
This slave the floor, and that the table spreads ;
A third difpels the darkness of the night,
And fills depending lamps with beams of light; 610
Here loaves in canisters are pild on high,
And there, in flames the slaughter'd vi&tims fry.
Sublime in regal ftate, Adraftus shone,
Stretch'd on rich carpets, on his iv'ry throne ;
A lofty couch receives each princely guest ;
Arbund, at awful distance, wait the rest.

And now the king, his royal feast to grace,
Acestis calls, the guardian of his race,
Who first their youth in arts of virtue train'd,
And their ripe years in modest grace maintain'd. 620
Then softly whisper'd in her faithful ear,
And bade his daughters at the rites appear.
When from the clofe apartments of the night,
The royal nymphs approach divinely bright;
Such was Diana's, fuch Minerva's face ;
Nor shine their beauties with superior grace,
But that in these a milder charm endears,
And less of terror in their looks appears.
As on the heroes first they caft their eyes,
O'er their fair cheeks the glowing blushes rise, 630
Their down-cast looks a decent lhame confefs'd,
Then, on their father's rev’rend features reft.

The banquet done, the monarch gives the sign, To fill the goblet high with sparkling wine, Which Danaus us'd in facred rites of old,

635 With sculpture grac’d, and rough with rising gold. Vol.I.

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Here to the clouds victorious Perseus flies;
Medusa seems to move her languid eyes,
And ev’n in gold, turns paler as she dies,
There from the chace Jove's tow'ring eagle bears 640
On golden wings, the Phrygian to the stars ;
Still as he rises in th' æthereal height,
His native mountains lefsen to his fight;
While all his sad companions upward gaze,
Fix'd on the glorious scene in wild amaze ;
And the swift hounds, affrighted as he flies,
Run to the shade, and bark against the skies. 4.

This golden bowl with gen'rous juice was crown'd,
The first libations sprinkled on the ground :
By turns on each celestial pow'r they call ;
With Phoebus' name resounds the vaulted hall.
The courtly train, the strangers, and the reft,
Crown'd with chaste laurel, and with garlands dress’d,
While with rich gums the faming altars blaze,
Salute the god in num'rous hymns of praise.

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Then thus the king : Perhaps my noble guests,
These honour'd altars, and these annual feasts
To bright Apollo's awful name design'd,
Unknown, with wonder may perplex your mind.

660 Great was the cause ; our old folemnities From no blind zeal or fond tradition rise ; But sav*d from death, our Argives yearly pay These grateful horours to the god of day. When by a thousand darts the Python stain

665 With orbs unroll'd lay covering all the plain,' (Transfix'd as o'er Caftalia's streams he hung, And suck'd new poisons with his triple tongue) To Argos' realmıs the vietor god resorts, And enters old Crotopus' humble courts.

670 This rural prince one only daughter bleft, That all the charms of blooming youth possess’d; Fair was her face, and spotless was her mind, Where filial love with virgin sweetness join'do

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Happy! and happy ftill the might have prov'd,
Were she less beautiful, or less belov'd!
But Phæbus lovod, and on the flow'ry side
Of Nemea's stream, the yielding fair enjoy’d;
Now, e'er ten moons their orb with light adorn,
Th' illustrious offspring of the god was born.
The nymph, her father's anger to evade,

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Retires from Argos to the sylvan shade,
To woods and wilds the pleasing burden bears,
And trufts her infant to a shepherd's cares.

How mcan a fate, unhappy child ! is thine ?
Ah how unworthy those of race divine ?
On flow'ry herbs in some green covert laid,
His bed the ground, his canopy the shade,
He mixes with the bleating lambs his cries,
While the rude fwain his rural mufic trics,
To call foft Aumbers on his infant eyes,

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Yet ev’n in those obscure abodes to live,
Was more, alas ! than cruel fate would give,
For on the grafly verdure as he lay;
And breath'd the freshness of the early day,
Devouring dogs the helpless infant tore,

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Fed on his trembling limbs, and lapp'd the gore.
Th' astonish'd mother, when the rumour came,
Forgets her father, and neglects her fame,
With loud complaints she fills the yielding air,
And beats her breast, and rends her flowing hair; 700
Then wild with anguish to her fire she flies;
Demands the fentence, and contented dies.

But touch'd with sorrow for the deed, too late,
The raging god prepares t'avenge her fate,
He sends a monster, horrible and fell,

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Begot' by furies in the depths of he!l.
The peft a virgin's face and bosom bears ;
High on her crown a rising snake appears,
Guards her black front, and hisses in her hairs :
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About the realm The walks her dreadful round, 710
When night with fable wings o'erspreads the ground,
Devours.young babes before their parent's eyes,
And feeds and thrives on public miferies.

But gen'rous rage the bold Choroebus warms,
Choroebus, fam'd for virtue, as for arms;

715 Some few like him, inspir'd with martial fame, Thought a short life well loft for endless fame. These, where two ways in equal parts divide, The direful monfter from afar discry'd ; Two bleeding babes depending at her side s 720 Whose panting vitals, warm witli life, she draws, And in their hearts embrues her cruel claws. The youth surround her with extended 1pears; But brave Chorcbus in the front appears, Deep in her breaft he plung'd his shining fword; 723 And hell's dire monster back to hell restor'd. Th’ Inachians view the slain with vast surprize, Her twisting volumes, and her rolling eyes, Her spotted breast, and gaping womb embru'd With livid poison, and our children's blogd. 739 The croud in ftupid wonder fix'd appear, Pale ev'n in joy, nor yet forget to fear. Some with vast beams the fqualid corps engage, And weary all the wild efforts of rage, The birds obscene, that nightly flock'd to taste,

736 With hollow screeches fled the dire repast; And ravenous dogs, allur'd by scented blood, And starving wolves, ran howling to the wood,

But fir’d with rage, from cleft Parnassus' brow Avenging Pbæbus' bent his deadly bow,

740 And hissing flew the feather’d fates below; A night of sultry clouds involy'd around The tow’rs, the fields, and the devoted ground: And now a thousand lives together fled, Death with his fcythe cut off the fatal thread, And a whole province in his triumph led,

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