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But Phoebus, afk'd why noxious fires appear,
And raging Sirius blafts the fickly year;
Demands their lives by whom his monfter fell,
And dooms a dreadful facrifice to hell.
Blefs'd be thy duft, and let eternal fame
Attend thy manes, and preserve thy name;
Undaunted hero! who, divinely brave,
In fuch a caufe difdain'd thy life to fave;
But view'd the fhrine with a fuperior look,
And its upbraided Godhead thus bespoke.
With piety, the foul's fecureft guard,
And confcious virtue, ftill its own reward,
Willing I come, unknowing how to fear;
Nor fhalt thou, Phoebus, find a fuppliant here.
Thy monfter's death to me was ow'd alone,
And 'tis a deed too glorious to disown.
Behold him here, for whom, fo many days,
Impervious clouds conceal'd thy fullen rays;
For whom, as man no longer claim'd thy care,
Such numbers fell by peftilential air!
But if th' abandon'd race of human kind
From gods above no more compaffion find;
If fuch inclemency in heav'n can dwell,
Yet why muft un-offending Argos feel
The vengeance due to this unlucky steel?
On me, on me, let all thy fury fall,
Nor err from me, fince I deferve it all:
Unless our defart cities please thy fight,
Our fun'ral flames reflect a grateful light.
Discharge thy fhafts, this ready bofom rend,
And to the shades a ghoft triumphant fend;
But for my country let my fate atone,
Be mine the vengeance, as the crime my own.
Merit diftrefs'd, impartial heav'n relieves ;
Unwelcome life relenting Phoebus gives;
For not the vengeful pow'r, that glow'd with rage,
With fuch amazing virtue durft engage.
The clouds difpers'd, Apollo's wrath expir'd,
And from the wond'ring god th' unwilling youth retir'd,
Thence we these altars in his temple raise,
And offer annual honours, feafts, and praise;
Thefe folemn feafts propitious Phoebus pleafe,
Thefe honours, ftill renew'd, his antient wrath appease.
But fay, illuftrious gueft (adjoin'd the king)
What name you bear, from what high race, you fpring?
The noble Tydeus ftands confefs'd, and known
Our neighbour prince, and heir of Calydon.
Relate your fortunes, while the friendly night
And filent hours to various talk invite.
The Theban bends on earth his gloomy eyes,
Confus'd, and 'fadly thus at length replies:
Before thefe altars how fhall I proclaim
(Oh gen'rous prince) my nation or my name,
Or thro' what veins our ancient blood has roll'd? 800
Let the fad tale for ever reft untold!
Yet if propitious to a wretch unknown,
You feek to fhare in forrows not your own ;
Know then, from Cadmus I derive my race,
Jocafta's fon, and Thebes my native place,
To whom the king, (who felt his gen'rous breaft
Touch'd with concern for his unhappy guest).
Replies-Ah why forbears the fon to name
His wretched father, known too well by fame?
Fame, that delights around the world, to ftray,
Scorns not to take our Argos in her way,
Ev'n those who dwell where funs at diftance roll,
In northern wilds, and freeze beneath the pole;
And those who tread the burning Libyan lands,
The faithlefs Syrtes and the moving fands;
Who view the western fea's extremeft bounds,
Or drink of Ganges in their eastern grounds;
All these the woes of Oedipus have known,
Your fates, your furies, and your haunted town.
If on the fons the parents crimes descend,
What prince from those his lineage can defend?
Be this thy comfort, that 'tis thine t'efface
With virtuous acts thy ancestors difgrace,
And be thyself the honour of thy race.
But fee! the ftars begin to fteal away,
And fhine more faintly at approaching day;
Now pour the wine; and in your tuneful lays,
Once more refound the great Apollo's praife.
Oh father Phoebus! whether Lycia's coaft
And fnowy mountains, thy bright presence boast;
Whether to fweet Caftalia thou repair,
And bathe in filver dews thy yellow hair;
Or pleas'd to find fair Delos float no more,
Delight in Cynthus, and the fhady fhore;
Or chufe thy feat in Ilion's proud abodes,
The fhining ftructures rais'd by lab'ring gods.
By thee the bow and mortal fhafts are born;
Eternal charms thy blooming youth adorn :
Skill'd in the laws of fecret fate above,
And the dark counfels of almighty Jove,
"Tis thine the feeds of future war to know,
The change of fcepters, and impending woe ;
When direful meteors fpread thro' glowing air
Long trails of light, and fhake their blazing hair.
Thy rage the Phrygian felt, who durft aspire
T'excel the mufic of thy heav'nly lyre;
Thy fhafts aveng'd leud Tityus' guilty flame,
Th' immortal victim of thy mother's fame;
Thy hand flew Python, and the dame who loft
Her num'rous offspring for a fatal boast.
In Phlegias' doom thy juft revenge appears,
Condemn'd to furies and eternal fears;
He views his food, but dreads, with lifted eye,
The mouldring rock that trembles from on high.
Propitious hear our pray'r, O pow'r divine!
And on thy hospitable Argos fhine,
Whether the ftile of Titan please thee more,
Whose purple rays th' Achæmenes adore;
Or great Ofyris, who first taught the fwain
In Pharian fields to fow the golden grain;
Or Mitra, to whose beams the Perfian bows,
And pays, in hollow rocks, his awful vows;
Mitra, whofe head the blaze of light adorns,
Who grafps the ftruggling heifer's lunar horns.