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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,
And then Apollo with the plectrum strook
His sweeter voice a just accordance kept.
The herd went wandering o'er the divine mead,
Affection sweet, and then, and now, and ever,
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,
Thieves love and worship thee-it is thy merit
That he would never steal his bow or dart,
"And I will give thee as a goodwill token,
"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 the unnumbered tribes of human kind.
"Him will I not deceive, but will assist;
And deems their knowledge light, he shall have mist
His gifts deposit. Yet, O Son of May,
I have another wondrous thing to say.
"There are three Fates, three virgin Sisters, who
My father cared not. Whilst they search out dooms,
They, having eaten the fresh honey, grow
I give; if you inquire, they will not stutter:
"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.
Sil. O BACCHUS, what a world of toil, both now
And driving through his shield my winged spear,
Is it a dream of which I speak to thee?
By Jove it is not, for you have the trophies!
For when I heard that Juno had devised
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!
Ha! what is this? are your Sicinnian measures
CHORUS OF SATYRS.
Where has he of race divine
An Iacchic melody
To the golden Aphrodite
Seeking her and her delight
With the Mænads, whose white feet
In these wretched goatskins clad,
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
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.