OVID'S Metamorphoses

Translated by the most Eminent Hands.

OVID's METAMORPHOSES IN FIFTEEN BOOKS. Translated by the most Eminent HANDS.

Adorn'd with SCULPTURES.

LONDON: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over-against Katharine-Street in the Strand. MDCCXVII.

Her Royal Highness the PRINCESS of WALES




SINCE I am allow'd the honour, and Privilege of so easy Access to Your Royal Highness, I dare say, I shall not be the worse receiv'd for bringing Ovid along with me. He comes from Ba­nishment to the Fautress of Liberty; from the Barbarous to the Polite; and has this to recom­mend him, which never fails with a Clemency, like Your's; He is Unfortunate.

[Page] Your Royal Highness, who feels for every one, has lately been the mournful Occasion of a like Sensibility in many Others. Scarce an Eye, that did not tell the Danger You were in: Even Parties, tho'different in Prin­ciples, united at that time in their grief, and affectionate concern, for an event of so much consequence to the In­terest of Humanity, and Virtue; whilst Your Self was the only Person, Then, unmov'd.

It was remarkable, That She, who, with a Manner most engaging, taught the innocent Pleasures to appear more desirable, than the criminal; who was every day the Life of some new agreeable Diversion; should be­have Her Self, upon that cruel Tryal, with a Magnanimi­ty so unshaken, that those who were Witnesses might have imagin'd, She scarce ever had done any thing, but study how to Dye.

It is the greatest Happiness can attend an Age un­der a long depravation of Morals, to be blest with Ex­amples, where Virtue is set off by the advantage of Birth. Such Qualifications, when united, do not only persuade an Imitation, but Command it. Humane Nature is al­ways more affected by what it sees, than what it hears of: And as those Ideas, which enter by the Eye, find the su­rest passage to the Heart; so the more the Object, what­ever it be, seems desirable to the One, the longer it con­tinues in the Other.

There are Perfections so shining, that one must be the very Worst of Mortals, or the very Best, not to admire in all Those who possess them. To be blest with a dispo­sition to Charity, not confin'd by any other Limits, than the Modesty of those who ask It: To know, and be rea­dy [Page] to excuse Faults; yet, so strict in Life, as not to want the like Indulgence; To have a Superiority of Genius capable of judging of the highest Affairs, and an Appli­cation so observant, as to penetrate into the most Minute: To be easy to lay down Grandeur upon familiar Occasi­ons, and discerning to take It up, when Dignity of Sta­tion requires; To know the politer Languages of the present Age, as a Native, and the greater Occurrences, and Periods of the Past, as an Historian, make up a Cha­racter, which is so obvious, that Every one will know where to apply it, except the Person, whose it really is: and if in this Your Royal Highness be at a Loss, I think it is the only thing within the Province of Your Sex You are ignorant of.

I shall take up no more of Your time in this Dedicati­on; because, to do every thing that may be most accep­table to You, shall always be the Endeavour of,

Your ROYAL HIGHNESS's most Humble, and most Obedient Servant, S. GARTH.


THE Method I propose in writing this Preface, is to take Notice of some of the Beauties of the Metamorphoses, and also of the Faults, and particular Affectations. After which I shall proceed to hint at some Rules for Translation in ge­neral; and shall give a short Account of the following Version.

I shall not pretend to impose my Opinion on others with the magisterial Authority of a Critic; but only take the Liberty of discovering my own Taste. I shall endeavour to show our Poet's Redundance of Wit, Justness of Comparisons, Elegance of Descriptions, and peculiar Delicacy in touch­ing every Circumstance relating to the Passions, and Affections; and with the same Impartiality, and Frankness, I shall confess the too frequent Pueri­lities of his luxuriant Fancy, and the too great Negligence of his some­times unlabour'd Versification.

I am not of an Opinion, too common to Translators, to think that One is under an Obligation to extoll every thing he finds in the Author he un­dertakes: I am sure one is no more oblig'd to do so, than a Painter is to make every Face that sits to him handsome. 'Tis enough if he sets the best Features he finds in their full, and most advantageous Light. But if the Poet has private Deformities, tho' Good-breeding will not allow to expose him naked, yet surely there can be no Reason to recommend him, as the most finish'd Model of Harmony, and Proportion.

Whoever has this undistinguishing Complaisance, will not fail to vitiate the Taste of the Readers, and misguide many of them in their Judgment, where to Approve, and where to Censure.

It must be granted, that where there appears an infinite Variety of ini­mitable Excellencies, it would be too harsh, and disingenuous to be severe on such Faults, as have escap'd rather thro' want of Leisure, and Opportunity to correct, than thro' the erroneous Turn of a deprav'd Judgment. How sensible Ovid himself was of the Uncorrectness of the Metamorphoses, ap­pears from these Lines prefix'd before some of the Editions by the Care of his Commentators;

Trist. El. vi
Orba parente suo quicunque Volumina tangis,
His saltem veslrâ detur in urbe locus.
Quò (que) magis saveas; non sunt haec edita ab Illo,
Sed quasi de domini funere rapta sui.
Quicquid in his igitur vilii rude carmen habebit,
Emendaturus, si licuisses, erat.

[Page ii] Since therefore the Readers are not solemnly invited to an Entertainment, but come accidentally; they ought to be contented with what they find: And pray what have they to complain of, but too great Variety? where, tho' some of the Dishes be not serv'd in the exactest Order, and Politeness, but hash'd up in haste; there are a great many accommodated to every par­ticular Palate.

To like every thing, shows too little Delicacy; and to like nothing, too much Difficulty. So great is the Variety of this Poem, that the Reader, who is never pleas'd, will appear as monstrous, as he that is always so. Here are the Hurries of Battles for the Heroe, tender Emotions of Soul for the Lover, a Search, and Penetration into Nature for the Philosopher, Fluency of Numbers, and most expressive Figures for the Poet, Morals for the Seri­ous, and Plaisantries for Admirers of Points of Wit.

'Tis certain a Poet is more to be suspected for saying too much, than too little. To add is often hazardous; but to retrench, commonly judicious. If our Author, instead of saying all he could, had only said all he should; Daphne had done well to fly from the God of Wit, in order to crown his Poet: Thus Ovid had been more honour'd, and ador'd in his Exile, than Augustus in his Triumphs.

I shall now attempt to give some Instances of the Happiness, and vast Ex­tent of our Author's Imagination. I shall not proceed according to the Order of the Poem, but rather transcribe some Lines here, and there, as my Reflection shall suggest.

Nec circumsuso pendebat in aere tellus
Ponderibus librata suis—

Thus was the State of Nature before the Creation: And here it is obvi­ous, that Ovid had a discerning Notion of the Gravitation of Bodies. 'Tis now demonstrated, that every Part of Matter tends to every Part of Matter with a Force, which is always in a direct simple Proportion of the Quantity of the Matter, and an inverse duplicate Proportion of the Distance; which Ten­dency, or Gravitating is constant, and universal. This Power, whatever it be, acting always proportionably to the solid Content of Bodies, and never in any Proportion to their Superficies; cannot be explain'd by any material Impulse. For the Laws of Impulse are physically necessary: There can be no [...], or arbitrary Principle in meer Matter; its Parts cannot move unless they be mov'd; and cannot do otherwise, when press'd on by other Parts in Motion; and therefore 'tis evident from the following Lines, that Ovid strictly adher'd to the Opinion of the most discerning Philosophers, who taught that all things were form'd by a wise, and intelligent Mind.

Jussit & extendi campos, subsidere valles,
Fronde tegi sylvas—

The Fiat of the Hebrew Law-giver is not more sublime, than the Jussit of the Latin Poet, who goes on in the same Elevated, and Philosophical Style.

[Page iii]
His super imposuit liquidum, & gravitate carentem

Here the Author spreads a thin Veil of Aether over his Infant Creation; and tho' his asserting the upper Region to be void of Gravitation, may not, in a Mathematical Rigour, be true; yet 'tis found from the Natural Enquities made since, and especially from the learned Dr. Hally's Discourse on the Barometer, that if, on the Surface of the Earth, an Inch of Quicksilver in the Tube be equal to a Cylinder of Air of 300 Foot, it will be at a Mile's height equal to a Cylinder of Air of 2700000: and therefore the Air at so great a Distance from the Earth, must be rarify'd to so great a Degree, that the Space it fills must bear a very small Proportion to that which is entirely void of Matter.

I think, we may be confident from what already appears, as well as from what our Author has writ on the Roman Feasts, that he cou'd not be total­ly ignorant of Astronomy. Some of the Criticks wou'd insinuate from the following Lines, that he mistook the annual Motion of the Sun for the Diurnal.

Met. B. 2.
Sectus in obliquum—

Tho' the Sun be always in one or other of the Signs of the Zodiack, and never goes by either Motion more Northward, or Southward, than is here describ'd; Yet Phaeton being design'd to drive the Chariot but one Day, ought to have been directed in the Aequator, or a Circle Parallel to it, and not round the other Oblique one of the Ecliptick: a Degree of which, and that by a Motion contrary to the Diurnal, he was obliged to go in that length of Time.

I am inclin'd to think, that Ovid had so great an Attention to Poetical Embelishments, that he voluntarily declin'd a strict Observance of any Astro­nomical System. For tho' that Science was far from being neglected in former Ages; yet the Progress which was made in it, by no means equall'd that of our present Time.

Lucretius, tho' in other things most penetrating, describes the Sun scarce bigger, than he appears to the Eye.

Nec nimio solis major rota, nec minor ardor
Esse potest, nostris quam sensibus esse videtur.

And Homer, imagining the Seats of the Gods above the fix'd Stars, re­presents the falling of Vulcan from thence to the Isle of Lemnos, to conti­nue during a whole Day.

[...] B. 1.

The Greek Poet aims here to give a surprising Idea of the height of the Celestial Mansions: but if the Computation of a modern Astronomer be [Page iv] true, they are at so much a greater Distance, that Vulcan wou'd have been more Years in falling, than he was Minutes.

But least I shou'd exceed the usual Length of a Preface, I shall now give some Instances of the Propriety of our Author's Similes, and Epithets; the Perspicuity of his Allegories; the Instructive Excellence of the Morals; the peculiar happy Turn of his Fancy; and shall begin with the Elegance of his Descriptions.

Met. B. 1.
—Madidis Notus evolat alis,
Terribilem piceâ tectus caligine vultum.
Barba gravis nimbis, canis fluit unda capillis,
Fronte sedent nebulae, rorant pennaeque, sinusque.
Sternuntur segetes, & deplorata coloni
Vota jacent, longique labor perit irritus anni.

These Lines introduce those of the Deluge, which are also very Poetical, and worthy to be compar'd with the next, concerning the Golden Age.

—Sine militis usu
Mollia securae peragebant otia gentes.
Ipsa quoque immunis rastroque intacta, nec ullis
Saucia vomeribus, per se dabat omnia tellus.
Contentique cibis, nullo cogente, creatis,
Arbuteos foetus, montanaque sraga legebant,
Et quae deciderant patulâ Jovis arbore glandes.
Ver erat aeternum, placidique tepentibus auris
Mulcebant Zephyri natos sine semine flores.

Virgil has also touch'd upon the same Subject in the end of the Second Georgick.

Aureus hanc vitam in terris Saturnus agebat,
Nec dum etiam audierant inflari classica, nec dum
Impositos duris crepitare incudibus enses.

And again

Aen. B. S. l. 319.
Primus ab aetherio venit Saturnus Olympo
Aurea, quae perhibent, illo sub rege suerunt
Saecula: sic placidà populos in pace regebat.

Some of the Lines, a little foreign to the present Subject, are omitted; but I shall make the most admirable Author amends by transcribing at length his next Description. 'Tis of a Stag, which gave the first Occasion to the War betwixt the Trojans and the Rutulians: I chuse this, because my De­sign is to have these two great Poets seen together, where the Subject hap­pens to be almost the same, tho' the Nature of the Poems be very different.

Aen. B. 7. l. 483.
Cervus erat sormâ praestanti, & cornibus ingens,
Tyrreidae pueri, quem matris ab ubere raptum
[Page v] Nutribant, Tyrrheusque pater, cui regia parent
Armenta, & latè custodia credita campi.
Assuetum imperiis soror omni Sylvia curâ
Mollibus intexens ornabat cornua sertis:
Pectebatque ferum, puroque in fonte lavabat.
Ille manûm patiens, mensaeque assuetus herili
Errabat sylvis—

The Image which Ovid gives of the Favourite Stag slain accidentally by Cyparissus, seems not of less Dignity.

Ingens cervus erat, latéque patentibus altas
Ipse suo capiti praebebat cornibus umbras:
Cornua fulgebant auro, demissaque in armos
Pendebant tereti gemmata monilia collo.
Bulla super frontem parvis argentea loris
Vincta movebatur: parilique ex aere nitebant
Auribus in geminis circum cava tempora baccae.
Isque metu vacuus, naturalique pavore
Deposito, celebrare domos, mulcendaque colla
Quamlibet ignotis manibus praebere solebat.
Gratus erat Cyparisse tibi, Tu pabula cervum
Ad nova, tu liquidi ducebas fontis ad undam.
Tu modo texebas varios per cornua flores:
Nunc, eques in tergo residens, huc latus & illuc
Mollia purpureis fraenabas ora capistris.

In the following Lines, Ovid describes the watry Court of the River Pe­neus, which the Reader may compare with Virgil's Subterranean Grott of Cyrene the Naïad, Mother to Aristaeus.

Met. B. r.
Est nemus Haemoniae, praerupta quod undique claudit
Silva: vocant Tempe, per quae Penëus ab imo
Effusus Pindo spumosis volvitur undis:
Dejectuque gravi tenues agitantia sumos
Nubila conducit, summasque aspergine sylvas
Impluit; & sonitu plus quam vicina fatigat.
Haec domus, hae sedes, haec sunt penetralia magni
Amnis: in hoc residens sacto de cautibus antro.
Undis jura dabat, Nymphisque colentibus undas.
Conveniunt illuc popularia slumina primum;
Nescia gratentur, consolenturvé parentem,
Populiser Spercheos, & irrequietus Enipeus,
Eridanusque senex, lenisque Amphrysos, & Aeas.
Moxque amnes alii, qui, quà tulit impetus illes,
In mare deducunt sesas erroribus undas.
G. B. 4
Tristis Aristaeus Penei genitoris ad undam
Stat lacrymans—
Jamque domum mirans genetricis, & humida regna,
Speluncisque lacus clausos, lucosque sonantes,
Ibat; & ingenti motu stupefactus aquarum,
Omnia sub magnâ labentia flumina terrâ
Spectabat diversa locis, Phasimque, Lycumque,
Et caput, unde altus primum se erumpit Enipeus,
Unde pater Tiberinus, & unde Aniena fluenta,
Et gemina auratus taurino cornua vultu
Eridanus, quo non alius per pinguia culta
In mare purpureum violentior influit amnis.

The Divine Poet goes on in Pomp of Numbers, and easy Magnificence of Words, till he introduces the Story of Orpheus and Euridice; in the Narration of which, he is as much superior to Ovid, as the Reeds of his own Mantuan Shepherds are less Musical, than the Lyre of Orpheus.

That I may not be too long on this Article, I shall recommend to the Reader, Ovid's admirable Description of Sleep—Est prope CimmeriosMet. B. 11.

  • That of Hunger—Est locus extremis Scythiae
    B. 8.
  • That of the Plague—Dira lues
    B. 7.
  • That of Fame—Orbe locus medio est
    B. 12.

Virgil has also touch'd on the two last; in the one he had Lucretius in View; in the other, Homer: and I think it will not be to the Disadvantage of our Author to appear at the same time.

There are many other Descriptions scatter'd in the Metamorphoses, which, for just Expression of Nature, and Majestick Modulation of Words, are on­ly Inferior to those already transcrib'd, as they are shorter; which makes the Objection, that his Diction is commonly loytring into Prose, a great deal too severe.

The Metamorphoses must be consider'd, as is observ'd before, very un­correct; and Virgil's Works as finish'd: tho' his own Modesty wou'd not allow the Aeneids to be so. It seems it was harder for him to please himself, than his Readers. His Judgment was certainly great, nor was his Vivacity of Imagination less; for the first without the last is too heavy, and like a Dress without Fancy; and the last without the first is too gay, and but all Trimming.

Our Author's Similitudes are next to be consider'd, which are always re­markably short, and convey some pleasing Idea to the Imagination. 'Tis in this Branch of the Poem, that he has discover'd as just a Judgement, as a­ny of the Classicks whatever. Poets, to give a Loose to a warm Fancy, are generally too apt, not only to expatiate in their Simile's, but introduce them too frequently; by doing the first, they detain the Attention too long from the principal Narration; and by the latter, they make too frequent Breaches in the Unity of the Poem.

Those two Errors Ovid has most discerningly avoided. How short, and significant are generally his Comparisons! he fails not, in these, to keep a stiff Rein on a High-mettled Pegasus; and takes care not to surfeit here, as he has done on other Heads, by an erroneous Abundance.

[Page vii] His Simile's are thicker sown by much in the Fable of Salmacis, and Her­maphroditus, than in any other Book, but always short.

The Nymph clasps the Youth close to her Breast, and both insensibly grow one.

Met. B. 4.
—Velut si quis conducto cortice ramos
Crescendo jungi, pariterque adolescere cernat.

Again, as Atlanta reddens in the Race with H [...]ppomenes,

Met. B. 10.
Inque puellari corpus candore ruborem
Traxerat; haud aliter quam cum super atria velum
Candida purpureum simulatas inficit umbras.

Philomela's Tongue seem'd to move after it was cut out by Tereus.

B. 6.
Utque salire solet mutilatae cauda colubrae,

Cadmus sows the Dragons Teeth, and the Sons of the Earth rise gradually.

B. 3.
Inde fide majus glebae cepêre moveri;
Primaque de sulcis acies apparuit hastae;
Tegmina mox capitum picto nutantia cono,
Mox humeri, pectusque—
Sic ubi tolluntur festis aulaea theatris
Surgere signa solent, primumque ostendere vultum,
Caetera paulatim, placidoque educta tenore
Tota patent, imoque pedes in margine ponunt.

The Objection to Ovid, that he never knows when to give over, is too manifest. Tho' he frequently expatiates on the same Thought, in different Words; yet in his Simile's, that Exuberance is avoided. There is in them all a Simplicity, and a Confinement to the present Object; always a Fecun­dity of Fancy, but rarely an Intemperance: nor do I remember he has err'd above once by an ill-judg'd Superfluity. After he has describ'd the Labyrinth built by Daedalus, he compares it thus,

B. 8.
Non secus ac liquidus Phrygiis Maenandros in arvis
Ludit, & ambiguo lapsu refluitque, sluitque;
Et nunc ad sontes, nunc ad mare versus apertum
Incertas exercet aquas—

He should have ended at the close of the Second Line, as Virgil should have done at the end of the Fourth in his noble Similè, where Dido proceeds to the Temple with her Court about her.

Aen. B. 4.
Qualis in Eurotae ripis, aut per juga Cynthi
Exercet Diana choros, quam mille secutae
Hinc, atque hinc glomerantur Orëades, illa pharetram
Fert humero, gradiensque deas supereminet omnes:
Latonae tacitum pertentant gaudia pectus.

[Page viii] I see no Reason for the last Line: Tho' the Poet be justly celebrated for a most consummate Judgment, yet by an Endeavour to imitate Homer's Simile's, he is not only very long, but by introducing several Circumstan­ces, he fails of an applicable Relation betwixt the principal Subject, and his new Ideas. He sometimes thinks fit to work into the Piece some diffe­ring Embroidery, which, tho' very rich, yet makes at best but glorious Patch­work. I really believe his excellent Poem had not been the less so, if, in this Article, he had thought fit to have walk'd on in his own regular and Majestick Grace, rather than have been hurry'd forward through broken By-ways by his blind Guide.

I shall transcribe one of his Simile's which is not cull'd out, but exactly of the same Texture with all the rest in the four last Books of the Aeneids.

Turnus leaps in Fury from his Chariot.

Aen. B. 12. L. 684
Ac veluti montis saxum de vertice praeceps
Cum ruit avulsum vento, seu turbidus imber
Proluit, aut annis solvit sublapsa vetustas,
Fertur in abruptum magno mons improbus actu
Exultatque solo, sylvas, armenta, virosque
Involvens secum—

It does not seem to be at all Material, whether the Rock was blown, or wash'd down by Wind, or Rain, or undermin'd by Time.

But to return to Ovid; the Reader may take Notice how unforc'd his Compliments, and how natural his Transitions generally are. With how much Ease does he slide into some new Circumstance, without any Violation of the Unity of the Story. The Texture is so artful, that it may be com­par'd to the Work of his own Arachne, where the Shade dyes so gradually, and the Light revives so imperceptibly, that it is hard to tell where the one ceases, and the other begins.

When he is going off from the Story of Apollo, and Daphne; how hap­pily does he introduce a Compliment to the Roman Conquerors.

Met. B. [...]
—Et conjux quoniam mea non potes esse,
Arbor eris certè—
Tu Ducibus laetis aderis, cum laeta triumphum
Vox canet, & longae visent Capitolia pompae.
Postibus Augustis eadem fidissima custos
Ante sores stabis; mediamque tuebere quercum.

He compliments Augustus upon the Assassination of Julius; and, by way of Similè, takes the Opportunity from the Horror that the Barbarity of Lycaon gave.

—Sic cum manus impia saevit
Sanguine Caesareo Romanum extinguere nomen, &c.

Julius is deify'd, and looks down on his adopted Son.

B. 25.
—Natique videns benesacta, fatetur
Esse suis majora, & vinci gaudet ab illo.

[Page ix] And immediately follows—

Hic sua praeferri quanquam vetat acta paternis;
Libera fama tamen, nullisque obnoxia jussis
Invitum praefert.—

The Author in the two first Lines shows the Affectionate Condescention of the Father; in the three last, the pious Gratitude of the Son.

The Compliments to Augustus are very frequent in the last Book of the Metamorphoses; as those to the same Emperor are in the Georgicks of Vir­gil, which also strike the Imagination by their agreeable Flattery.

G. 1.
Haec super arvorum cultu pecorumque canebam,
Et super arboribus; Caesar dum magnus ad altum
Fulminat Euphratem bello, victorque volentes
Per populos dat jura, viamque affectat Olympo.

Again on Julius,

Aen. B. 1.
Imperium Oceano, famam qui terminet astris

The Compliments have a great Sublimity, and worthy of the Grandeur of the Heroes, and the Wit of the Poet.

Ovid as much deserves Praise, for saying a great deal in a little, as Cen­sure for saying a little in a great deal. None of the Classick Poets had the Talent of expressing himself with more Force, and Perspicuity.

Phaeton desires some Pledge of his Father's Tenderness, and asks to be trusted with his Chariot. He answers,

B. 2.
Pignora certa petis; do pignora certa timendo.

However, the latter complies with his Importunity: the Consequence is fatal, the World is set on Fire, even the Rivers feel the force of the Con­flagration. The Tagus boyls,

—Fluit ignibus Aurum.

The Nile retreats,

Occuluit que caput, quod adhuc latet—

Zanthus is parch'd up,

Arsurusque iterum Zanthus—

The Poet's Fancy is here full of Energy, as well as in the following Lines. Apollo courts Daphne, and promises himself Success, but is disappointed.

Quodque cupit, sperat; suaque illum Oracula sallunt.

And again,

The River Achelous combats Hercules, and assumes several Shapes in vain, then puts on at last that of a Snake; the Heroe smiles in Contempt.

Cunarum labor est angues superare mearum.

[Page x] Ovid never excells himself so much, as when he takes Occasion to touch upon the Passion of Love; all Hearts are in a manner sensible of the same Emotions; and, like Instruments tun'd Unisons, if a String of any one of them be struck, the rest, by consent, vibrate.

Procris is jealous of Cephalus; she endeavours to be confirm'd in her Fears, but hopes the contrary,

—Speratque miserrima falli.

The next is not less Natural,

—Sed cuncta timemus amantes.

Biblis is in love with Caunus. The Struggle is betwixt her unlawful Flame, and her Honour.

She's all Confusion at the Thoughts of discovering her Passion—

—miserere fatentis amorem.

She attempts to write,

Incipit & dubitat: scribit, damnatque tabellas,
Et notat, & delet: mutat, culpatque probatque

In the End, Inclination, as it does always, gets the better of Discretion.

This last Fable shows how touchingly the Poet argues in Love Affairs, as well as those of Medea, and Scylla. The two last are left by their Heroes, and their Reflections are very Natural, and Affecting. Ovid seem'd here to have had Virgil's Passion of Dido in his Eye, but with this difference; the one had convers'd much with Ladies, and knew they lov'd to talk a great deal: The other consider'd no less what was natural for them to say, than what became them to say.

Virgil has, through the whole Management of this Rencounter, discover'd a most finish'd Judgment. Aeneas, like other Men, likes for Convenience, and leaves for greater. Dido, like other Ladies, resents the Neglect, enu­merates the Obligations the Lover is under, upbraids him with Ingratitude, threatens him with Revenge, then by and by submits, begs for Compassi­on, and has recourse to Tears.

It appears from this Piece, that Virgil was a discerning Master in the Passion of Love: And they that consider the Spirit, and Turn of that inimi­table Line—Qui Bavium non odit—cannot doubt but he had an e­qual Talent for Satyr.

Nor does the Genius of Ovid more exert on the Subject of Love, than on all others. In the Contention of Ajax, Ulysses his Elocuti­on is most nervous, and perswading. Where he endeavours to disswade Man­kind from indulging carnivorous Appetites in his Pythagorean Philosophy, how emphatical is his Reasoning!

B. 15.
Quid meruêre hoves, animal sine srande dolisque,
Innocuum, simplex, natum tolerare laborem?
Immemor est demum, nec srugum munere dignus
Qui potuit curvi dempto modò pondere aratri
Ruricolam mactare suum—

[Page xi] I think Agricolam had been stronger, but the Authority of Manuscripts does not warrant that Emendation.

Through the whole Texture of this Work, Ovid discovers the highest Humanity, and a most exceeding good Nature. The Virtuous in Distress are always his Concern; and his Wit contrives to give them an Immortali­ty with himself.

He seems to have taken the most Pains in the first, and second Book of the Metamorphoses, tho' the Thirteenth abounds with Sentiments most moving, and with calamitous Incidents, introduc'd with great Art. The Poet had here in View, the Tragedy of Hecuba in Euripides; and 'tis a won­der, it has never been attempted in our own Tongue. The House of Pri­am is destroy'd, his Royal Daughter a Sacrifice to the Manes of him that occasion'd it. She is forc'd from the Arms of her unhappy Friends, and hur­ry;d to the Altar, where she behaves herself with a Decency becoming her Sex, and a Magnanimity equal to her Blood, and so very affecting, that even the Priest wept.

—Ipse etiam flens, invitusque sacerdos, &c.

She shows no Concern at approaching Death, but on the Account of her old, unfortunate Mother,

Mors tantum vellem matrem mea fallere possit.
Mater obest, minuitque necis mea gaudia; quamvis
Non mea mors illi: verum sua vita gemenda est.

Then begs her Body may be deliver'd to her without Ransom,

—Genetrici corpus inemptum
Reddite; néve, auro redimat jus triste sepulchri,
Sed lacrymis: tunc, cum poterat, redimebat & auro.

The unhappy Queen laments, she is not able to give her Daughter roy­al Burial,

Non haec est fortuna domûs—

Then takes the Body in her decrepid Arms, and halts to the Sea to wash off the Blood,

—Ad littus passu processit anili
Albentes laniata comas.—

The animated Thoughts, and lively Images of this Poem, are numerous. None ever painted more to the Life, than our Author, tho' several Gro­tesque Figures are, now and then, seen in the same Groupe. The most plentiful Season, that gives Birth to the finest Flowers, produces also the rankest Weeds. Ovid has shown in one Line, the brightest Fancy some­times; and in the next, the poorest Affectation.

Venus makes Court to Adonis,

B. 10. l. 550
—Et ecce!
Opportuna suâ blanditur Populus umbrâ
Et requievit humo; pressitque & gramen & ipsum.

Phoebus requests Phaeton to desist from his Request.

[Page xii]
—Consiliis, non curribus utere nostris.

Caeneus in the Battle of the Centaurs wounds Latreus in several Places.

—Vulnusque in vulnere fecit.

These are some of our Poet's Boyisms. There is another Affectation, call'd by Quintil. [...], or a witty Folly, which wou'd not have ap­pear'd quite so trifling, had it been less frequent.

Medea persuades the Daughters of Pelias to kill their Father, in order to have his Youth renew'd. She that loves him best gives the first Wound,

B. 7.
Et, ne sit scelerata, facit scelus—

Althea is enrag'd at her Son Meleager, and to do Justice to the Manes of his Brothers, destroys him,

Impietate pia est—

Envy enters Athens, and beholds the flourishing Condition of the City,

Vixque tenet lacrymas, quia nil lacrymabile cernit.

Ovid was much too fond of such Witticisms, which are more to be won­der'd at, because they were not the Fashion of that Age, as Punns, and Quib­bles are of this. Virgil, as I remember, is not found trifling in this Man­ner above once, or twice.

Deucalion vacuum lapides jactavit in orbem,
Unde homines nati, durum genus—

Juno is in Indignation at Aeneas upon his Arrival in Italy.

Num capti potuere capi? num incensa cremavit
Troja viros?—

The Poet is so far from Affecting this sort of Wit, that he rarely ven­tures on so spirited a Turn of Fancy, as in these following Instances.

Juno upbraids Venus, and Cupid Ironically, that two Deities cou'd be able to get the better of one weak Woman,

—Memorabile nomen,
Una dolo Divûm, si saemina victa duorum est.

Euryalus, going upon an Enterprise, expresses his Concern for his survi­ving Mother, if he shou'd fall, and recommends her to the Care of Ascani­us, who Answers,

Namque erit ista mihi genitrix, nomenque Creûsae
Solum desuerit—

Venus is importunate in her Sollicitations to Vulcan, to make Armour [...] her Son: He Answers,

—Absiste precando
Viribus indubitare tuis—

[Page xiii] At the first kindling of Dido's Passion, he has this most natural Thought,

—Illum absens absentem auditque, videtque.

But to return to Ovid; tho' I cannot vindicate him for his Points, I shall endeavour to mollify his Criticks, when they give him no quarter for his Diction, and attack him so inflexibly for ending his Lines with Monosylla­bles, as—si quis—si non, &c. and as I think he cannot be excus'd more advantagiously, than by affirming that where he has done it once, Virgil has twenty times—Et cum

  • Si quisNec dum
  • Si quamSi quis
  • Jam bosNunc nunc&c.

G. 1. G. 2. G. 2. Aen. 1. Aen. 7. Aen. 12.

There are a great many Endings of Lines in this manner, and more in­deed than seems consistent with the Majesty of Heroick Verse. When Lines are design'd to be sermoni propiores, this Liberty may be allowable, but not so when the Subject requires more sonorous Numbers. Virgil seems to en­deavour to keep up his Versification to an Harmonious Dignity; and there­fore, when fit Words do not offer with some [...]ase, he'll rather break off in an Hemistick, than that the Line shou'd be lazy, and languid. He well knew how essential it was in Poetry to flatter the Ear; and at the same time was sensible, that this Organ grows tir'd by a constant Attention to the same Harmony; and therefore he endeavour'd now and then to relieve it by a Cadence of Pauses, and a Variation of Measures.

Ecl. 2.
Amphion Dircaeus in Actaeo Aracyntho.

This Line seems not tuneful at the first hearing; but by Repetition, it re­conciles it self, and has the same Effect with some Compositions of Musick, which are at the first Performance tiresome, and afterward Entertaining.

The Commentators, and Criticks are of Opinion, that whenever Virgil is less Musical, it is where he endeavours at an Agreement of the Sound with the Sense, as,

—Procumbit humi bos.

It wou'd show as much Singularity to deny this, as it does a fanciful Faci­lity to affirm it, because it is obvious, in many Places he had no such view.

Aen. 3. l. 390.
—Inventa sub ilicibus sus.

G. 3. l. 255.
—Dentesque sabellicus exacuit sus.

Aen. 7. l. 79 [...]
—Jam setis obsita, jam bos.

Aen. 11. l. 355.
—Furor additus, inde Lupi ceu, &c.

The Places, which favour most the first Opinion, are,

G. 3. l. 275
Saxa per & scopulos, & depressas convalles.

G. 4.
—Sepe exiguus mus.
Omnia sub magnâ labentia flumina terrâ.

The last Line is the only Instance, I remember (except one in Ecl. 2.) where the Words terminate in the same Vowel, and seem to represent the constant, and uniform sound of a sliding Stream.

[Page xiv] Those, that are most conversant in Classick Poetry, must be sensible, that Virgil has been much more solicitous, than Ovid, to keep up his Lines to an easy, and a Musical Flow; but tho' the Criticks charge the latter with breaking through Prosody and Grammar, and allowing himself too often the Licence of Graecisms; I take this Censure to be only an arrogant Pe­dantry in the Grammarians, and groundless in it self; but tho' it were true, I dare be confident it is full as just upon Virgil,

Ec. 5. l. 29.
—Curru subjungere Tigres,

For Currui, according to the Grammarians.

Often Adjectives for Adverbs; and the contrary.

  • G. 1.
    —Pinguia culta; an Adjective for a Substantive.
  • —Denso distinguere pingui; the same.
  • Aen. 11. l. 69.
    —Seu languentis Hyacinthi; first Foot of the Dactyl short.
  • Aen. 4.
    —Tulerunt fastidia menses; the penultima of the Verb short.
  • Obstupui steteruntque comae—the same.

So Lucretius, prodiderunt, occiderunt, &c.

  • G. 1. l. 283.
    —Pampineo gravidus autumno; an Iambick for a Spondee.
  • Fluviorum rex Eridanus camposque per omnes; an Anapest for a Dactyl, or a Spondee.
  • Aen. 10. l. 29.
    Nec Clytio genitore minor nec fratre Mnestheo; a Trochee, unless the two Consonants M N of the following Word be allow'd.G. 1. l. 456.Fervere. non illâ quisquam—’

The Penultima commonly short with Virgil, so fulgere, stridere, &c.

  • G. 1. l. 456.
    —Sine me furere ante furorem; a Graecism.
  • Aen. 12. 680.
    —Imponere Pelio Ossam; a Graecism, where there is no E­lision, but the long Vowel before another made short.

The learned, and Reverend Dr. Clark has observ'd, (as he tells me) that tho' there be several short Vowels made long in Homer, yet there is no In­stance on the contrary, of a long Vowel (such as the first Syllable of [...], [...], and the like) made short, except in such a Case as that I have ci­ted, where the next Word begins with a Vowel; which shows, that there is no such thing as a Poetica licentia, properly so call'd.

Certainly no body can imagine but these two celebrated Authors under­stood their own Tongue better, than the scrupulous Grammarians of After­ages, who are too Dogmatical, and Self-sufficient, when they presume to censure Either of them for not attending strictly enough to Syntax, and the Measure of Verse. The Latin Tongue is a dead Language, and none can decide with Confidence on the Harmony, or Disonance of the Numbers of these Times, unless they were thoroughly acquainted with their Pauses, and Cadence. They may indeed pronounce with much more Assurance on their Diction; and distinguish where they have been negligent, and where more finish'd. There are certainly many Lines in Ovid, where he has been downright Lazy, and where he might have avoided the Appearance of being obviously so by a very little application. In recording the Succession of the Alban Kings, thus,

Epitus ex illo est, post hunc Capetusque, Capysque,
Sed Capys ante suit—

[Page xv] There are also several Lines in Virgil, which are not altogether tunable to a modern Ear, and which appear unfinish'd.

G. 2. l. 61.
Scilicet omnibus est labor impendendus, & omnes
Cogendae in sulcum—

G. 2. l. 310.
Praesertim si tempestas a vertice sylvis

Aen. 11 l. 509.
Quasve referre parem? sed nunc, est omnia quando
Iste animus supra—

Aen. 12. l. 808.
Ista quidem quia nota mihi tua, magne, voluntas,

But the Sun has its Spots; and if amongst Thousands of inimitable Lines, there shou'd be some found of an unequal Dignity with the rest, no­thing can be said for their Vindication more, than, if they be Faults, they are the Faults of Virgil.

As I ought to be on this Occasion an Advocate for Ovid, whom I think is too much run down at present by the critical Spirit of this Nation; I dare say, I cannot be more effectually so, than by comparing him in many Places with his admir'd Contemporary Virgil; and tho' the last certainly deserves the Palm, I shall make use of Ovid's own Lines, in the tryal of Strength betwixt Achelous and Hercules, to show how much he is ho­nour'd by the Contention.

Met. B. 9.
—Non tam
Turpe fuit vinci, quam contendisse decorum.

I shall finish my Remarks on our Author, by taking Notice of the Just­ness, and Perspicuity of his Allegories; which are either Physical or Natural; Moral; or Historical. Of the first Kind is the Fable of Apollo, and Python; in the Explanation of this all the Mythologists agree; Exhalations and Mists being the constant Effects of Inundations, are here dissipated by the Rays of the Sun.

Of the Second Kind, are Acteon torn to Pieces by his own Pack of Dogs, and Erisicthon starv'd by the Disease of Hunger. These two Allegories seem to signify, that Extravagance and Luxury end in Want.

Of the Third, is the Story of the Rape of Europa. History says, she was Daughter to Agenor, and carry'd by the Candians in a Gally, bearing a Bull in the Stern, in order to be marry'd to one of their Kings nam'd Jupiter.

This Explanation gives an Occasion for a Digression which is not alto­gether foreign to the present purpose, because it will be of Use to justify Ovid on some other Occasions, where he is censur'd for being too free with the Characters of the Gods. I was once representing the Metamorphoses, as an excellent System of Morality; but an illustrious Lady, whose least Advantage above her Sex, is that of being one of the greatest Princesses in Europe, objected, that the loose and immodest Sallys of Jupiter did by no means confirm my Assertion.

One must consider, that what appear'd an Absurdity in Ovid, is not so much his own Fault, as that of the Times before him. The Characters of the Gods of the old Heroick Age represented them unjust in their Actions; mutable in their Designs; partial in their Favours; ignorant of Events; scur­rilous in their Language. Some of the superior Hierarchy treating one a­nother [Page xvi] with injurious Brutalities, and are often guilty of such Indecencies and Mis-behaviour as the lowest of Mortals would blush to own. Juno calls Diana, the Goddess of Chastity, [...] Brazen-fac'd Bitch.Hom. Il. 1. B. 21. l. 481. Jupi­ter insults his Daughter, the Goddess of Wisdom, for Rashness and Folly; bids Iris tell her, he'll maul her Coach-Horses for her, like a surly Bitch as she is; [...]:Il B. S. from I. 400. to I. 425. then threatens in another Place to beat his Wife, that divinc Vixon, the immortal Partner of the Empyreal Throne, [...].Il. B. 15. l. 17.

The Commentators may endeavour to hide those Absurdities under the Veil of Allegories; but the Reader that considers the whole Texture of the Iliad, will find, that the Author's Meaning, and their Interpretation are often as unlike, as the imaginary Heroes of his time, are to the real ones of Ours.

Allegories should be obvious, and not like Meteors in the Air, which re­present a different Figure to every different Eye. Now they are Armies of Soldiers; now Flocks of Sheep; and by and by, nothing.

Perhaps the Criticks of a more exalted Taste, may discover such Beau­ties in the antient Poetry, as may escape the Comprehension of us Pigmies of a more limited Genius. They may be able to fathom the Divine Sense of the Pagan Theology; whist we aim at no more, than to judge of a little common Sense.

It is, and ever will be a Rule to a great many, to applaud and condemn with the general Vogue, tho' never so ill grounded. The most are affraid of being Particular; and rather than strive against the Stream, are proud of being in the wrong with the Many, rather than desirous of being in the right with the Few: and tho' they be convinc'd of the Reasonableness of dissenting from the common Cry, yet out of a poor fear of Censure, they contribute to establish it, and thus become an Authority against others, who in reality are but of their own Opinion.

Ovid was so far from paying a blind deference to the venerable Name of his Grecian Predecessor, in the Character of his Gods; that when Ju­piter punishes Andromeda for the Crimes of her Mother, he calls him in­justus Ammon, Met. B. 4. and takes commonly an honourable care of the Decorum of the Godhead, when their Actions are consistent with the Divinity of their Cha­racter. His Allegories include some Religious, or instructive Moral, wrap'd up in a peculiar Perspicuity. The Fable of Proserpina, being sometimes in Hell, and sometimes with Ceres her Mother, can scarce mean any thing else than the sowing and coming up of Corn. The various Dresses, that Vertumnus, the God of Seasons, puts on in his Courtship of Pomona the Garden Goddess, seem plainly to express the different and most proper times for Digging, Planting, Pruning, and gathering the Increase. I shall be shorter on this Head, because our Countryman Mr. Sands has, by a laborious Search a­mongst the Mythologists, been very full. He has annex'd his Explanations to the end of each Book, which deserve to be recommended to those, that are Curious in this figurative Learning.

The Reader cannot fail of observing, how many excellent Lessons of Mo­rality Ovid has given us in the course of his Fables.

The Story of Deucalion, and Pyrrba teaches, that Piety and Innocence cannot miss of the divine Protection, and that the only Loss irreparable is that of our Probity, and Justice.

[Page xvii] That of Phaeton; how the too great tenderness of the Parent proves a cruelty to the Child; and that he, who wou'd climb to the Seat of Jupiter, generally meets with his Bolt by the way.

The Tale of Baucis and Philemon is most inimitably told. He omits not the minutest Circumstance of a Cottage Life; and is much fuller than Virgil, where he brings in his contented old Man Corycius. G. 4. Ovid repre­sents a good old Couple; happy, and satisfy'd in a cleanly Poverty; hospi­table, and free of the few things, that Fortune had given them; moderate in Desires; affectionate in their conjugal Relation; so religious in Life, that when they observ'd their homely Cabbin rising to a Temple, all the Boun­ty they ask'd of the Gods they had entertain'd, was, that they might do the Office of Priesthood there; and at their Death, not survive one another.

The Stories of Lycaon, and Pentheus, not only deter from Infidelity, and Irreverence to the Gods; but the last also shows, that too great Zeal produ­ces the same Effects, as none at all; and that Enthusiasm is often more cruel, than Atheism.

The Story of Minos, and Scylla represents the Infamy of selling our Coun­try; and teaches, that even they who love the Crime, abhor the Criminal.

In Cippus we find a noble Magnanimity, and Heavenly Self-denial: he prefer'd the Good of the Republick to his own private Grandeur; and chose with an exemplary Generosity, rather to live a private Free-Man out of Rome, than to command Numbers of Slaves in it.

From the Story of Hercules we learn, that Glory is a Lady, who, like ma­ny others, loves to have her Admirers suffer a great deal for her. The Poet enumerates the Labours of the Heroe; shows how he conquer'd eve­ry thing for Others, but nothing for himself: Then does him the Poe­tical Justice of an Apotheosis; thinking it most fit that one, who had born the Celestial Orbs on his Shoulders, shou'd have a Mansion amongst them.

From the Assumption of Romulus; that when War is at an end, the chief Business of Peace should be the enacting good Laws; that after a People are preserv'd from the Enemy; the next care shou'd be, to preserve them from themselves; and therefore the best Legislators deserve a Place amongst Heroes, and Deities.

From Ariadne being inhumanly deserted by Theseus, and generously re­ceiv'd by Bacchus we find, that as there is nothing we can be sure of, so there is nothing we ought to despair of.

From Althea burning the Brand; that we shou'd take care least under the Notion of Justice, we shou'd do a Cruelty; for they that are set upon Re­venge, only endeavour to imitate the Injury.

From Polyphemus making Love to Galatea one may observe, that the most deform'd can find something to like in thier own Person. He examines his Face in the Stream, combs his ruful Locks with a Rake, grows more exact, and studious of his Dress, and discovers the first Sign of being in Love, by endeavouring at a more, than usual Care to please.

The Fable of Cephalus, and Procrys confirms, that every Trifle contri­butes to heighten the Disease of Jealousy; and that the most convincing Proofs can scarce cure it.

From that of Hippomenes, and Atalanta we may discover, that a gene­rous Present helps to persuade, as well as an agreeable Person.

[Page xviii] From Medea's flying from Pelias's Court; that the offer'd Favours of the Impious should be always suspected; and that they, who design to make eve­ry one fear them, are afraid of every one.

From Myrrha; that Shame is sometimes hard to be overcome, but if the Sex once gets the better of it, it gives them afterwards no more Trouble.

From Cenis; that Effeminacy in Youth may change to Valour in Manhood, and that as Fame perishes, so does Censure.

From Tereus; that one Crime lays the Foundation of many; and that the same Person, who begins with Lust, may conclude with Murther.

From Midas; that no Body can punish a Covetous Man worse, than he punishes himself; that scarce any thing wou'd sometimes prove more fa­tal to us, than the Completion of our own Wishes; and that he who has the most Desires, will certainly meet with the most Disappointments.

From the Pythagorean Philosophy, it may be observ'd, that Man is the only Animal who kills his Fellow-Creature without being angry.

From Proteus we have this Lesson, that a Statesman can put on any Shape; can be a Spaniel to the Lyon, and a Lyon to the Spaniel; and that he knows not to be an Enemy, who knows not how to seem a Friend; that if all Crowns shou'd change their Ministry, as often as they please, tho' they may be call'd other Ministers, they are still the same Men.

The Legend of Aesculapiu's Voyage to Rome in form of a Snake, seems to express the necessary Sagacity requir'd in Professors of that Art, for the readier Insight into Distempers: This Reptile being celebrated by the ancient Naturalists for a quick Sight.

Hor. Sat. 3. L. 1.
Cur in amicorum vitium tam cernis acutum
Quam aut aquilae, aut serpens Epidaurius?—

The venerable Epidaurian assum'd the figure of an Animal without Hands to take Fees; and therefore, grateful Posterity honour'd him with a Temple. In this manner shou'd wealthy Physitians, upon proper Oc­casions, practise; and thus their surviving Patients reward.

If the Metamorphoses be attended to with a just Application, and with­out Prepossession; One will be the less surpriz'd at the Author's Prophe­tick Spirit, relating to the Duration, and Success of the Work;

Jamque opus exegi, &c.—

This Prediction has so far prov'd true, that this Poem has been ever since the Magazine, which has furnish'd the greatest Poets of the following Ages with Fancy, and Allusions; and the most celebrated Painters with Sub­jects, and Designs. Nor has his Poetical Predecessors, and Contemporaries paid less Regard to their own Performances.

Luer. B. 1.
Insignemque meo capiti petere inde coronam,
Unde prius nulli velârint tempora Musae.
Enn. Frag.
Nemo me lacrumeis decoret, nec sunera sletu
Facsit; quur volito viv [...] per ora virûm.
Virg. G. 3
—Tentanda via est, quâ me quoque possim
Tollere humo, victorque virûm volitare per ora.
[Page xix]
Hor. Od. 1.
Me doctarum Ederae praemia frontium
Diis miscent superis—


Hor. B. 3. Od. 30.
Exegi monumentum aere perennius,
Regalique situ Pyramidum altius,
Quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens
Possit diruere, aut innumerabilis
Annorum series, & fuga temporum.
Non omnis moriar.—

The whole Ode is in a manner a continu'd Compliment to his own Wri­tings; nor, in Imitation of this celebrated Author, want we Poets of our present Age, who have been pleas'd to rank themselves amongst their own Admirers.

I have done with the Original, and shall make no Excuse for the length of the Preface, because it is in the power of the Reader to make is as short as he pleases. I shall now conclude with a Word or two about the Ver­sion.

Translation is commonly either Verbal, or Paraphrase, or Imitation; of the first sort is Mr. Sands's, which I think the Metamorphoses can by no means allow of. It is agreed, the Author left it unfinish'd; if it had under­gone his last Hand, it is more than probable, that many Superfluities had been retrench'd. Where a Poem is perfectly finish'd; the Translation, with regard to particular Idioms, cannot be too exact; by doing this, the Sense of the Author is more entirely his own, and the Cast of the Periods more faith­fully preserv'd: But where a Poem is tedious through Exuberance, or dark through a hasty Brevity, I think the Translator may be excus'd for doing what the Author upon revising, wou'd have done himself.

If Mr. Sands had been of this Opinion, perhaps other Translations of the Metamorphoses had not been attempted.

A Critick has observ'd, that in his Version of this Book, he has scrupu­lously confin'd the Number of his Lines to those of the Original. 'Tis fit I should take the Summ upon Content, and be better bred, than to count after him.

The Manner that seems most suited for this present Undertaking, is nei­ther to follow the Author too close out of a Critical Timorousness; nor aban­don him too wantonly through a Poetick Boldness. The Original should always be kept in View, without too apparent a Deviation from the Sense. Where it is otherwise; it is not a Version, but an Imitation. The Translator ought to be as intent to keep up the Gracefulness of the Poem, as artful to hide its Imperfections; to copy its Beauties, and to throw a Shade over its Blemi­shes; to be faithful to an Idolatry, where the Author excells; and to take the Licence of a little Paraphrase; where Penury of Fancy, or Dryness of Expression seem to ask for it.

The Ingenious Gentlemen concern'd in this Undertaking seem to be of this Opinion; and therefore they have not only consulted the Reputation of the Author, but their own also. There is one of them has no other Share in this Compliment, than by being the Occasion of engaging them that have, in obliging the Publick. He has also so just to the Memo­ry, [Page xx] and Reputation of Mr. Dryden, as to give his incomparable Lines the Advantage of appearing so near his Own.

I cannot pass by that Admirable English Poet, without endeavouring to make his Country sensible of the Obligations they have to his Muse. Whe­ther they consider the flowing Grace of his Versification; the vigorous Sal­lies of his Fancy; or the peculiar Delicacy of his Periods; they'll discover Excellencies never to be enough admir'd. If they trace him from the first Productions of his Youth, to the last Performances of his Age, they'll find, that as the Tyranny of Rhyme never impos'd on the Perspicuity of the Sense; so a languid Sense never wanted to be set off by the Harmony of Rhyme. And as his earlier Works wanted no Maturity; so his latter want­ed no Force, or Spirit. The falling off of his Hair, had no other Con­sequence, than to make his Lawrels be seen the more.

As a Translator he was just; as an Inventer he was rich. His Versions of some parts of Lucretius, Horace, Homer, and Virgil throughout, gave him a just pretence to that Compliment which was made to Monsieur d'Ablan­court, a celebrated French Translater; It is uncertain who have the great­est Obligations to Him, the Dead or the Living.

With all these wondrous Talents, He was Libell'd in his Life-time by the very Men, who had no other Excellencies, but as they were his Imitators. Where he was allow'd to have Sentiments superior to all others, they charg­ed him with Theft: But how did he Steal? no otherwise, than like those, that steal Beggars Children, only to cloath them the better.

'Tis to be lamented, that Gentlemen still continue this unfair Behaviour, and treat one another every Day with most injurious Libels. The Muses should be Ladies of a chaste and fair Behaviour: when they are otherwise, they are Furies. 'Tis certain that Parnassus is at best but a barren Moun­tain, and its Inhabitants contrive to make it more so by their un-neighbour­ly Deportment; the Authors are the only Corporation that endeavour at the Ruin of their own Society. Every Day may convince them, how much a rich Fool is respected above a poor Wit. The only Talents in Esteem at present are those of Exchange-Ally; one Tally is worth a Grove of Bays; and 'tis of much more Consequence to be well read in the Tables of Inte­rest, and the Rise and Fall of Stocks, than in the Revolution of Empires.

Mr. Dryden is still a sad, and shameful Instance of this Truth: The Man, that cou'd make Kings immortal, and raise triumphant Arches to Heroes, now wants a poor square Foot of Stone, to show where the Ashes of one of the greatest Poets, that ever was upon Earth, are deposited.



  • THE Creation of the World. Page 1.
  • The Golden Age. p. 5
  • The Silver Age. p. 6
  • The Brazen Age. ibid.
  • The Iron Age. ibid.
  • The Giants War. p. 7
  • The Transformation of Daphne into a Lawrel. p. 20
  • The Transformation of Io into a Heyfar. p. 26
  • The Eyes of Argus transform'd into a Peacock's Train. p. 30
  • The Transformation of Syrinx into Reeds. p. 31


  • The Story of Phaeton. p. 37
  • Phaeton's Sisters transform'd into Trees. p. 49
  • The Transformation of Cycnus into a Swan. p. 51
  • The Story of Calisto. p. 53
  • The Story of Coronis, and Birth of Aesculapius. p. 58
  • Ocyrrhoe transform'd to a Mare. p. 62
  • The Transformation of Battus to a Touch-stone. p. 64
  • The Story of Aglauros, transform'd into a Statue. p. 65
  • Europa's Rape. p. 70


  • The Story of Cadmus. p. 73
  • The Transformation of Actaeon into a Stag. p. 79
  • The Birth of Bacchus. p. 83
  • The Transformation of Tiresias. p. 86
  • The Transformation of Echo. p. 87
  • The Story of Narcissus. p. 89
  • The Story of Pentheus. p. 93
  • The Mariners transform'd to Dolphins. p. 95
  • The Death of Pentheus. p. 99


  • The Story of Alcithoüe and her Sisters, by Mr. Eusden. p. 101
  • The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe, by the same Hand. p. 104
  • The Story of Leucothöe and the Sun, by the same Hand. p. 109
  • The Transformation of Clytie, by the same Hand. p. 114
  • The Story of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, by Mr. Addison. p. 115
  • [Page] Alcithöe and her Sisters transform'd to Batts, by Mr. Eusden. p. 119
  • The Transformation of Ino and Melicerta to Sea Gods, by the same Hand. p. 120
  • The Transformation of the Theban Matrons, by the same Hand. p. 127
  • Cadmus and his Queen transform'd to Serpents, by the same Hand. p. 128
  • The Story of Perseus, by the same Hand. p. 130
  • Atlas transform'd to a Mountain, by the same Hand. ibid.
  • Andromeda rescu'd from the Sea Monster, by the same Hand. p. 132
  • The Story of Medusa's Head, by the same Hand. p. 137


  • The Story of Perseus continu'd p. 141
  • Minerva's Interview with the Muses. p. 153
  • The Fate of Pyreneus. p. 154
  • The Story of the Pierides. p. 156
  • The Song of the Pierides. p. 157
  • The Song of the Muses. p. 158
  • The Rape of Proserpine. p. 160
  • Cyane dissolves to a Fountain. p. 162
  • A Boy transform'd to an Est. p. 163
  • The Transformation of Ascalaphus into an Owl. p. 167
  • The Daughters of Achelous transform'd to Syrens. p. 168
  • The Story of Arethusa. p. 169
  • The Transformation of Lyncus. p. 173
  • The Pierides transform'd to Magpies. p. 174


  • The Transformation of Arachne into a Spider. p. 175
  • The Story of Niobe. p. 182
  • The Transformation of Niobe. p. 189
  • The Peasants of Lycia transform'd to Froggs. ibid.
  • The Fate of Marsyas. p. 193
  • The Story of Pelops. ibid.
  • The Story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela. p. 194
  • Boreas in Love. p. 209


  • The Story of Medea and Jason, by Mr. Tate. p. 213
  • The Dragon's Teeth transform'd to Men, by the same Hand. p. 218
  • Old Aeson restor'd to Youth, by the same Hand. p. 221
  • The Death of Pelias, by the same Hand. p. 227
  • The Story of Aegeus, by the same Hand. p. 232
  • The Story of Ants chang'd to Men, by Mr. Stonestreet. p. 238
  • The Story of Cephalus and Procris, by Mr. Tate. p. 245


  • The Story of Nisus and Scylla, by Mr. Croxall. p. 253
  • The Labyrinth, by the same Hand. p. 260
  • The Story of Daedalus and Icarus, by the same Hand. p. 262
  • [Page] The Story of Meleager and Atalanta, by Mr. Dryden. p. 266
  • The Transformation of the Naiads, by Mr. Vernon. p. 279
  • Perimele turn'd into an Island, by the same Hand. p. 281
  • The Story of Baucis and Philemon, by Mr. Dryden. p. 282
  • The Changes of Proteus, by Mr. Vernon. p. 289
  • The Story of Erisichthon, by the same Hand. ibid.
  • The Description of Famine, by the same Hand. p. 292
  • The Transformations of Erisichthon's Daughter, by the same Hand. p. 295


  • The Story of Achelös and Hercules, by Mr. Gay. p. 297
  • The Death of Nessus the Centaur, by the same Hand. p. 301
  • The Death of Hercules, by the same Hand. p. 302
  • The Transformation of Lychas into a Rock, by the same Hand. p. 305
  • The Apotheosis of Hercules, by the same Hand. p. 306
  • The Transformation of Galanthis, by the same Hand. p. 308
  • The Fable of Dryope, by Mr. Pope. p. 310
  • Iolaus restor'd to Youth, by Mr. Gay. p. 314
  • The Prophecy of Themis, by the same Hand. ibid.
  • The Debate of the Gods, by the same Hand. p. 315
  • The Passion of Biblis, by Stephen Harvey, Esq p. 316
  • The Fable of Iphis and Ianthe, by Mr. Dryden. p. 323


  • The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice, by Mr. Congreve. p. 331
  • The Fable of Cyparissus, by the same Hand. p. 336
  • —Continu'd Mr. Croxall. p. 338
  • Hyacinthus transform'd into a Flower, by Mr. Ozell. p. 339
  • The Transformations of the Cerastae and Propoetides, by the same Hand. p. 341
  • The Story of Pigmalion and the Statue, by Mr. Dryden. p. 343
  • The Story of Cinyras and Myrrha, by the same Hand. p. 346
  • The Story of Venus and Adonis, by Mr. Eusden. p. 358


  • The Death of Orpheus, by Mr. Croxall. p. 371
  • The Thracian Women transform'd to Trees, by the same Hand. p. 374
  • The Fable of Midas, by the same Hand. p. 375
  • The Building of Troy, by the same Hand. p. 381
  • The Story of Thetis and Peleus, &c. by the same Hand. p. 382
  • The Transformation of Daedalion, by the same Hand. p. 384
  • A Wolf turn'd into Marble, by the same Hand. p. 387
  • The Story of Ceyx and Alcyone, by Mr. Dryden. p. 389
  • The House of Sleep, by the same Hand. p. 398
  • Aesacus transform'd into a Cormorant, by the same Hand. p. 405


  • The Trojan War. p. 407
  • The House of Fame. p. 409
  • The Story of Cygnus. p. 410
  • [Page] The Story of Caeneus. p. 415
  • The Skirmish between the Centaurs and Lapithites. p. 416
  • The Story of Cyllarus and Hilonome. p. 424
  • Caeneus transform'd to an Eagle. p. 427
  • The Fate of Periclymenos. p. 430
  • The Death of Achilles. p. 432


  • The Speeches of Ajax and Ulysses, by Mr. Dryden. p. 435
  • The Death of Ajax, by the same Hand. p. 454
  • The Story of Polyxena and Hecuba, by Mr. Temple Stanyan. ibid.
  • The Funeral of Memnon, by Mr. Croxall. p. 462
  • The Voyage of Aeneas, by Mr. Catcott. p. 464
  • The Story of Acis, Polyphemus and Galatea, by Mr. Dryden. p. 470
  • The Story of Glaucus and Scylla, by Mr. Rowe. p. 477


  • The Transformation of Scylla. p. 481
  • The Voyage of Aeneas continued. p. 483
  • The Transformation of Cercopians into Apes. p. 484
  • Aeneas descends to Hell. ibid.
  • The Story of the Sibyll. p. 485
  • The Adventures of Achaemenides. p. 486
  • The Adventures of Macareus. p. 487
  • The Enchantments of Circe. p. 488
  • The Story of Picus and Canens. p. 489
  • Aeneas arrives in Italy. p. 493
  • The Adventures of Diomedes. p. 494
  • The Transformation of Appulus. p. 496
  • The Trojan Ships transform'd to Sea Nymphs. ibid.
  • The Deification of Aeneas. p. 498
  • The Line of the Latian Kings. p. 499
  • The Story of Vertumnus and Pomona. p. 500
  • The Story of Iphis and Anaxarete. p. 504
  • The Latian Line continu'd. p. 504
  • The Assumption of Romulus. p. 505
  • The Assumption of Hersilia. p. 506


  • The Pythagorean Philosophy, by Mr. Dryden. p. 509
  • The Story of Hippolytus, by Mr. Catcott. p. 532
  • The Story of Cippus, by Sir Samuel Garth. p. 535
  • The Occasion of Aesculapius being brought to Rome, by Mr. Welsted. p. 537
  • The Deification of Julius Caesar, by the same Hand. p. 542
  • The Reign of Augustus, in which Ovid flourish'd, by the same Hand. p. 547
  • The Poet concludes, by the same Hand. p. 548
To Her Grace the Dutchess of Kingston.


OF Bodies chang'd to various Forms I sing:
Ye Gods, from whom these Miracles did spring,
Inspire my Numbers with Coelestial Heat;
Till I, my long laborious Work compleat:
And add perpetual Tenour to my Rhimes,
Deduc'd from Nature's Birth, to Caesar's Times.
Before the Seas, and this Terrestrial Ball,
And Heav'ns high Canopy, that covers all,
One was the Face of Nature; if a Face,
Rather a rude and indigested Mass:
A lifeless Lump, unfashion'd, and unfram'd,
Of jarring Seeds; and justly Chaos nam'd.
No Sun was lighted up, the World to view;
No Moon did yet her blunted Horns renew:
Nor yet was Earth suspended in the Sky;
Nor pois'd, did on her own Foundations lye:
Nor Seas about the Shoars their Arms had thrown;
But Earth and Air and Water were in one.
[Page 2] Thus Air was void of Light, and Earth unstable,
And Waters dark Abyss unnavigable.
No certain Form on any was imprest;
All were confus'd, and each disturb'd the rest.
For hot and cold were in one Body fixt;
And soft with hard, and light with heavy mixt.
But God or Nature, while they thus contend,
To these intestine Discords put an end:
Then Earth from Air, and Seas from Earth were driv'n,
And grosser Air sunk from Aetherial Heav'n.
Thus disembroil'd, they take their proper place;
The next of kin, contiguously embrace;
And foes are sunder'd, by a larger space.
The force of Fire ascended first on high,
And took its dwelling in the vaulted Sky:
Then Air succeeds, in Lightness next to Fire;
Whose Atoms from unactive Earth retire.
Earth sinks beneath, and draws a numerous throng
Of pondrous, thick, unwieldy Seeds along.
About her Coasts, unruly Waters roar;
And, rising on a ridge, insult the Shoar.
Thus when the God, whatever God was he,
Had form'd the whole, and made the parts agree,
That no unequal Portions might be found,
He moulded Earth into a spacious Round:
Then with a breath, he gave the Winds to blow;
And bad the congregated Waters flow.
He adds the running Springs, and standing Lakes;
And bounding Banks for winding Rivers makes.
Some part, in Earth are swallow'd up, the most
In ample Oceans, disembogu'd, are lost.
[Page 3] He shades the Woods, the Vallies he restrains
With Rocky Mountains, and extends the Plains.
And as five Zones th' Aetherial Regions bind,
Five, Correspondent, are to Earth assign'd:
The Sun with Rays, directly darting down,
Fires all beneath, and fries the middle Zone:
The two beneath the distant Poles, complain
Of endless Winter, and perpetual Rain.
Betwixt th' extreams, two happier Climates hold
The Temper that partakes of Hot and Cold.
The Fields of liquid Air, inclosing all,
Surround the Compass of this Earthly Ball:
The lighter parts lye next the Fires above;
The grosser near the watry Surface move:
Thick Clouds are spread, and Storms engender there,
And Thunder's Voice, which wretched Mortals fear,
And Winds that on their Wings cold Winter bear.
Nor were those blustring Brethren left at large,
On Seas and Shoars, their fury to discharge:
Bound as they are, and circumscrib'd in place,
They rend the World, resistless, where they pass;
And mighty marks of mischief leave behind;
Such is the Rage of their tempestuous kind.
First Eurus to the rising Morn is sent,
(The Regions of the balmy Continent;)
And Eastern Realms, where early Persians run,
To greet the blest appearance of the Sun.
Westward, the wanton Zephyr wings his flight;
Pleas'd with the remnants of departing light:
Fierce Borcas, with his Off-spring, issues forth
T' invade the frozen Waggon of the North.
[Page 4] While frowning Auster seeks the Southern Sphere;
And rots, with endless Rain, th' unwholsom Year.
High o'er the Clouds and empty Realms of Wind,
The God a clearer space for Heav'n design'd;
Where Fields of Light, and liquid Aether flow;
Purg'd from the pondrous dregs of Earth below.
Scarce had the Pow'r distinguish'd these, when streight
The Stars, no longer overlaid with weight,
Exert their Heads, from underneath the Mass;
And upward shoot, and kindle as they pass,
And with diffusive Light, adorn their heav'nly place.
Then, every void of Nature to supply,
With forms of Gods he fills the vacant Sky:
New Herds of Beasts, he sends the Plains to share:
New Colonies of Birds, to people Air:
And to their Oozy Beds, the finny Fish repair.
A Creature of a more exalted Kind
Was wanting yet, and then was Man design'd:
Conscious of Thought, of more capacious Breast,
For Empire form'd, and fit to rule the rest:
Whether with particles of heavenly Fire
The God of Nature did his Soul inspire,
Or Earth, but new divided from the Sky,
And, pliant, still, retain'd th' Aetherial Energy:
Which wise Prometheus temper'd into paste,
And mixt with living Streams, the Godlike Image cast.
Thus, while the mute Creation downward bend
Their Sight, and to their Earthy Mother tend,
Man looks aloft; and with erected Eyes
Beholds his own hereditary Skies.
From such rude Principles our Form began;
And Earth was Metamorphos'd into Man.


The Golden Age was first; when Man yet New,
No Rule but uncorrupted Reason knew:
And, with a Native bent, did Good pursue.
Unforc'd by Punishment, un-aw'd by Fear,
His Words were simple, and his Soul sincere:
Needless was written Law, where none opprest:
The Law of Man was written in his Breast:
No suppliant Crowds before the Judge appear'd,
No Court erected yet, nor Cause was heard:
But all was safe, for Conscience was their Guard.
The Mountain-Trees in distant prospect please,
E'er yet the Pine descended to the Seas:
E'er Sails were spread, new Oceans to explore:
And happy Mortals, unconcern'd for more,
Confin'd their Wishes to their Native Shoar.
No Walls were yet; nor Fence, nor Mote, nor Mound,
Nor Drum was heard, nor Trumpet's angry sound:
Nor Swords were forg'd; but void of Care and Crime
The soft Creation slept away their time.
The teeming Earth, yet guiltless of the Plough,
And unprovok'd, did fruitful Stores allow:
Content with Food, which Nature freely bred,
On Wildings, and on Strawberries they fed;
Cornels and Bramble-berries gave the rest,
And falling Acorns furnisht out a Feast.
The Flow'rs unsown, in Fields and Meadows reign'd:
And Western Winds immortal Spring maintain'd
In following Years, the bearded Corn ensu'd,
From Earth unask'd, nor was that Earth renew'd.
From Veins of Vallies, Milk and Nectar broke;
And Honey sweating through the pores of Oak.


But when Good Saturn, banish'd from above,
Was driven to Hell, the World was under Jove.
Succeeding times a Silver Age behold,
Excelling Brass, but more excell'd by Gold.
Then Summer, Autumn, Winter did appear:
And Spring was but a Season of the Year.
The Sun his Annual Course obliquely made,
Good days contracted, and enlarg'd the bad.
Then Air with sultry heats began to glow;
The wings of Winds were clogg'd with Ice and Snow;
And shivering Mortals, into Houses driv'n,
Sought shelter from th' inclemency of Heav'n.
Those Houses, then, were Caves, or homely Sheds;
With twining Oziers fenc'd; and Moss their Beds.
Then Ploughs, for Seed, the fruitful Furrows broke,
And Oxen labour'd first, beneath the Yoke.


To this came next in course, the Brazen Age:
A Warlike Offspring, prompt to Bloody Rage,
Not Impious yet—


—Hard Steel succeeded then:
And stubborn as the Mettal, were the Men.
Truth, Modesty, and Shame, the World forsook:
Fraud, Avarice, and Force, their places took.
Then Sails were spread, to every Wind that blew.
Raw were the Sailors, and the Depths were new:
Trees rudely hollow'd, did the Waves sustain;
E'er Ships in Triumph plough'd the watry Plain.
Then Land-marks limited to each his Right:
For all before was common, as the Light.
[Page 7] Nor was the Ground alone requir'd to bear
Her annual Income to the crooked Share,
But greedy Mortals, rummaging her Store,
Digg'd from her Entrails first the precious Oar;
Which next to Hell, the prudent Gods had laid;
And that alluring Ill, to sight displaid.
Thus cursed Steel, and more accursed Gold
Gave mischief Birth, and made that mischief bold;
And double Death did wretched Man invade,
By Steel assaulted, and by Gold betray'd.
Now (brandish'd Weapons glittering in their Hands)
Mankind is broken loose from moral Bands;
No rights of Hospitality remain:
The Guest by him who harbour'd him, is slain.
The Son in Law pursues the Father's Life;
The Wife her Husband murders, he the Wife.
The Step-dame Poyson for the Son prepares;
The Son inquires into his Father's years.
Faith flies, and Piety in Exile mourns;
And Justice, here opprest, to Heav'n returns.


Nor were the Gods themselves more safe above;
Against beleaguer'd Heav'n, the Gyants move.
Hills pil'd on Hills, on Mountains, Mountains lie,
To make their mad approaches to the Skie.
Till Jove, no longer patient, took his time
T' avenge with Thunder their audacious Crime;
Red Light'ning plaid along the Firmament,
And their demolish'd Works to pieces rent.
Sing'd with the Flames, and with the Bolts transfixt,
With Native Earth, their Blood the Monsters mixt:
[Page 8] The Blood, indu'd with animating heat,
Did in th' impregnant Earth new Sons beget:
They, like the Seed from which they sprung, accurst,
Against the Gods immortal Hatred nurst.
An impious, arrogant, and cruel Brood;
Expressing their Original from Blood.
Which when the King of Gods beheld from high,
(Withal revolving in his Memory,
What he himself had found on Earth of late,
Lycaon's Guilt, and his inhumane Treat,)
He sigh'd; nor longer with his Pity strove;
But kindled to a Wrath becoming Jove:
Then call'd a General Council of the Gods;
Who Summon'd, issue from their Blest Abodes,
And fill th' Assembly with a shining Train.
A way there is, in Heav'n's expanded Plain,
Which, when the Skies are clear, is seen below,
And Mortals, by the Name of Milky, know.
The Ground-work is of Stars; through which the Road
Lyes open to the Thunderer's Abode:
The Gods of greater Nations dwell around,
And, on the Right and Left, the Palace bound;
The Commons where they can: The Nobler sort
With Winding-doors wide open, front the Court.
This Place, as far as Earth with Heav'n may vie,
I dare to call the Loovre of the Skie.
When all were plac'd, in Seats distinctly known,
And he, their Father, had assum'd the Throne,
Upon his Iv'ry Sceptre first he leant,
Then shook his Head, that shook the Firmament:
Air, Earth, and Seas, obey'd th' Almighty Nod;
And, with a gen'ral Fear, confess'd the God.
[Page 9] At length with Indignation, thus he broke
His awful silence, and the Pow'rs bespoke.
I was not more concern'd in that debate
Of Empire, when our Universal State
Was put to hazard, and the Giant Race
Our Captive Skies were ready to imbrace:
For tho' the Foe was fierce, the Seeds of all
Rebellion; sprung from one Original;
Now, wheresoever ambient Waters glide,
All are corrupt, and all must be destroy'd.
Let me this Holy Protestation make,
By Hell, and Hell's inviolable Lake,
I try'd whatever in the God-Head lay:
But gangren'd Members must be lopt away,
Before the Nobler Parts are tainted to decay.
There dwells below, a Race of Demi-Gods,
Of Nymphs in Waters, and of Fawns in Woods:
Who, tho' not worthy yet, in Heav'n to live,
Let 'em, at least, enjoy that Earth we give.
Can these be thought securely lodg'd below,
When I my self, who no Superior know,
I, who have Heav'n and Earth at my Command,
Have been attempted by Lycaon's Hand?
At this a Murmur through the Synod went,
And with one Voice they vote his Punishment.
Thus, when conspiring Traytors dar'd to doom
The fall of Caesar, and in him of Rome,
The Nations trembled with a pious fear;
All anxious for their Earthly Thunderer:
Nor was their Care, O Caesar, less esteem'd
By thee, than that of Heav'n for Jove was deem'd:
[Page 10] Who with his Hand and Voice, did first restrain
Their Murmurs, then resum'd his Speech again.
The Gods to silence were compos'd, and sate
With reverence, due to his Superior State.
Cancel your pious Cares; already he
Has paid his Debt to Justice, and to me.
Yet what his Crimes, and what my Judgments were,
Remains for me thus briefly to declare.
The Clamours of this vile degenerate Age,
The Cries of Orphans, and th' Oppressor's Rage
Had reach'd the Stars: I will descend, said I,
In hope to prove this loud Complaint a Lye.
Disguis'd in Humane Shape, I travell'd round
The World, and more than what I heard, I found.
O'er Maenalus I took my steepy way,
By Caverns infamous for Beasts of Prey:
Then cross'd Cyllené, and the piny Shade
More infamous, by curst Lycaon made.
Dark Night had cover'd Heav'n and Earth, before
I enter'd his Unhospitable Door.
Just at my entrance, I display'd the Sign
That somewhat was approaching of Divine.
The prostrate People pray; the Tyrant grins;
And, adding Prophanation to his Sins,
I'll try, said he, and if a God appear,
To prove his Deity shall cost him dear.
Twas late; the graceless Wretch my Death prepares,
When I shou'd soundly sleep, opprest with Cares:
This dire Experiment he chose, to prove
If I were Mortal, or undoubted Jove:
But first he had resolv'd to taste my Pow'r;
Not long before, but in a luckless hour
[Page 11] Some Legates, sent from the Molossian State,
Were on a peaceful Errand come to treat:
Of these he murders one, he boils the Flesh;
And lays the mangl'd Morsels in a Dish:
Some part he roasts; then serves it up, so drest,
And bids me welcome to this humane Feast.
Mov'd with disdain, the Table I o'er-turn'd;
And with avenging Flames, the Palace burn'd.
The Tyrant in a fright, for shelter gains
The neighb'ring Fields, and scours along the Plains.
Howling he fled, and fain he wou'd have spoke;
But humane Voice his Brutal Tongue forsook.
About his Lips the gather'd Foam he churns,
And, breathing slaughters, still with rage he burns,
But on the bleating Flock his fury turns.
His Mantle, now his Hide, with rugged Pairs
Cleaves to his Back; a famish'd Face he bears;
His Arms descend, his Shoulders sink away
To multiply his Legs for chace of Prey.
He grows a Wolf, his hoariness remains,
And the same Rage in other members reigns.
His Eyes still sparkle in a narr'wer space:
His Jaws retain the grin, and violence of his Face.
This was a single ruin, but not one
Deserves so just a Punishment alone.
Mankind's a Monster, and th' Ungodly times
Confed'rate into Guilt, are sworn to Crimes.
All are alike involv'd in ill, and all
Must by the same relentless Fury fall.
Thus ended he; the greater Gods assent;
By Clamours urging his severe intent;
The less fill up the Cry for Punishment.
[Page 12] Yet still with pity they remember Man;
And mourn as much as heav'nly Spirits can.
They ask, when those were lost of humane Birth,
What he wou'd do with all this waste of Earth:
If his dispeopl'd World he would resign
To Beasts, a mute, and more ignoble Line;
Neglected Altars must no longer smoke,
If none were left to worship and invoke.
To whom the Father of the Gods reply'd,
Lay that unnecessary fear aside:
Mine be the care, new People to provide.
I will from wondrous Principles ordain
A Race unlike the first, and try my Skill again.
Already had he toss'd the flaming Brand;
And roll'd the Thunder in his spacious Hand;
Preparing to discharge on Seas and Land:
But stopt, for fear, thus violently driven,
The Sparks should catch his Axle-tree of Heaven.
Remembring in the Fates, a time when Fire
Shou'd to the Battlements of Heav'n aspire.
And all his blazing Worlds above shou'd burn;
And all th' inferior Globe to Cinders turn.
His dire Artill'ry thus dismist, he bent
His thoughts to some securer Punishment:
Concludes to pour a Watry Deluge down;
And what he durst not burn, resolves to drown.
The Northern Breath, that freezes Floods, he binds;
With all the race of Cloud-dispelling Winds:
The South he loos'd, who Night and Horror brings;
And Foggs are shaken from his flaggy Wings.
From his divided Beard two Streams he pours,
His Head and rhumy Eyes distill in Showers.
[Page 13] With Rain his Robe and heavy Mantle flow:
And lazy Mists are lowring on his Brow;
Still as he swept along, with his clench'd Fist
He squeez'd the Clouds, th' imprison'd Clouds resist:
The Skies from Pole to Pole, with peals resound;
And Show'rs inlarg'd, come pouring on the Ground.
Then, clad in Colours of a various Dye,
Junonian Iris breeds a new supply
To feed the Clouds: Impetuous Rain descends;
The bearded Corn beneath the Burden bends:
Defrauded Clowns deplore their perish'd Grain
And the long Labours of the Year are vain.
Nor from his Patrimonial Heaven alone
Is Jove content to pour his Vengeance down;
Aid from his Brother of the Seas he craves,
To help him with Auxiliary Waves.
The watry Tyrant calls his Brooks and Floods,
Who rowl from mossie Caves (their moist abodes;)
And with perpetual Urns his Palace fill:
To whom in brief, he thus imparts his Will.
Small Exhortation needs; your Pow rs employ:
And this bad World, so Jove requires, destroy.
Let loose the Reins to all your watry Store:
Bear down the Damms, and open every door.
The Floods, by Nature Enemies to Land,
And proudly swelling with their new Command,
Remove the living Stones, that stopt their way,
And gushing from their Source, augment the Sea.
Then, with his Mace, their Monarch struck the Ground;
With inward trembling Earth receiv'd the Wound:
And rising Streams a ready passage found.
[Page 14] Th' expanded Waters gather on the Plain:
They float the Fields, and over-top the Grain;
Then rushing onwards, with a sweepy sway,
Bear Flocks and Folds, and lab'ring Hinds away.
Nor safe their Dwellings were, for, sap'd by Floods,
Their Houses fell upon their Household Gods.
The solid Piles, too strongly built to fall,
High o'er their Heads, behold a watry Wall:
Now Seas and Earth were in confusion lost;
A World of Waters, and without a Coast.
One climbs a Cliff; one in his Boat is born;
And ploughs above, where late he sow'd his Corn.
Others o'er Chimney-tops and Turrets row,
And drop their Anchors on the Meads below:
Or downward driv'n, they bruise the tender Vine,
Or tost aloft, are knock'd against a Pine.
And where of late the Kids had cropt the Grass,
The Monsters of the deep now take their place.
Insulting Nereids on the Cities ride,
And wond'ring Dolphins o'er the Palace glide.
On leaves and masts of mighty Oaks they brouze;
And their broad Finns entangle in the Boughs.
The frighted Wolf now swims amongst the Sheep;
The yellow Lion wanders in the deep:
His rapid force no longer helps the Boar:
The Stag swims faster, than he ran before.
The Fowls, long beating on their Wings in vain,
Despair of Land, and drop into the Main.
Now Hills and Vales no more distinction know;
And levell'd Nature lies oppress'd below.
The most of Mortals perish in the Flood:
The small remainder dies for want of Food.
[Page 15] A Mountain of stupendous height there stands
Betwixt th' Athenian and Boeotian Lands,
The bound of fruitful Fields, while Fields they were,
But then a Field of Waters did appear:
Parnassus is its name; whose forky rise
Mounts through the Clouds, and mates the lofty Skies.
High on the Summet of this dubious Cliff,
Deucalion wafting, moor'd his little Skiff.
He with his Wife were only left behind
Of perish'd Man; they two were human Kind.
The Mountain Nymphs and Themis they adore,
And from her Oracles relief implore.
The most upright of Mortal Men was he;
The most sincere and holy Woman, she.
When Jupiter, surveying Earth from high,
Beheld it in a Lake of Water lie,
That where so many Millions lately liv'd,
But two, the best of either Sex, surviv'd;
He loos'd the Northern Wind; fierce Boreas flies
To puff away the Clouds and purge the Skies:
Serenely, while he blows, the Vapours, driv'n,
Discover Heav'uto Earth, and Earth to Heav'n.
The Billows fall, while Neptune lays his Mace
On the rough Sea, and smooths its furrow'd Face.
Already Triton, at his call, appears
Above the Waves; a Tyrian Robe he wears;
And in his hand a crooked Trumpet bears.
The Soveraign bids him peaceful sounds inspire;
And give the Waves the signal to retire.
His writhen Shell he takes; whose narrow vent
Grows by degrees into a large extent,
[Page 16] Then gives it breath; the Blast with doubling sound,
Runs the wide Circuit of the World around:
The Sun first heard it, in his early East,
And met the rattling Eccho's in the West.
The Waters, listning to the Trumpet's roar,
Obey the Summons, and forsake the Shoar.
A thin Circumference of Land appears,
And Earth, but not at once, her Visage rears,
And peeps upon the Seas from upper Grounds;
The Streams, but just contain'd within their bounds,
By slow degrees into their Channels crawl;
And Earth increases, as the Waters fall.
In longer time the tops of Trees appear,
Which Mud on their dishonour'd Branches bear.
At length the World was all restor'd to view;
But desolate, and of a sickly hue:
Nature beheld her self, and stood aghast,
A dismal Desert, and a silent Waste.
Which when Deucalton, with a piteous look
Beheld, he wept, and thus to Pyrrha spoke:
Oh Wife, oh Sister, oh of all thy kind.
The best and only Creature left behind,
By Kindred, Love, and now by Dangers joyn'd;
Of Multitudes, who breath'd the common Air,
We two remain; a Species in a Pair:
The rest the Seas have swallow'd; nor have we
Ev'n of this wretched Life a certainty.
The Clouds are still above; and, while I speak,
A second Deluge o'er our heads may break.
Shou'd I be snatch'd from hence, and thou remain,
Without relief, or Partner of thy pain,
How cou'dst thou such a wretched Life sustain?
[Page 17] Shou'd I be left, and thou be lost, the Sea
That bury'd her I lov'd, shou'd bury me.
Oh cou'd our Father his old Arts inspire,
And make me Heir of his informing Fire,
That so I might abolisht Man retrieve,
And perisht People in new Souls might live.
But Heav'n is pleas'd, nor ought we to complain,
That we, th' Examples of Mankind, remain.
He said; the careful Couple joyn their Tears:
And then invoke the Gods, with pious Prayers.
Thus, in Devotion having eas'd their Grief,
From sacred Oracles they seek Relief;
And to Cephysus Brook their way pursue:
The Stream was troubled, but the Foord they knew;
With living Waters, in the Fountain bred,
They sprinkle first their Garments, and their Head,
Then took the way, which to the Temple led.
The Roofs were all defil'd with Moss and Mire,
The desart Altars void of Solemn Fire.
Before the Gradual, prostrate they ador'd;
The Pavement kiss'd, and thus the Saint implor'd.
O Righteous Themis, if the Pow'rs above
By Pray'rs are bent to pity, and to love;
If humane Miseries can move their Mind;
If yet they can forgive, and yet be kind;
Tell, how we may restore, by second birth,
Mankind, and people desolated Earth.
Then thus the gracious Goddess, nodding, said;
Depart, and with your Vestments veil your head:
And stooping lowly down, with loosen'd Zones,
Throw each behind your backs, your mighty Mother's Bones.
[Page 18] Amaz'd the Pair and mute with wonder stand,
Till Pyrrha first refus'd the dire Command.
Forbid it Heav'n, said she, that I shou'd tear
Those Holy Reliques from the Sepulcher.
They ponder'd the mysterious words again,
For some new sense; and long they sought in vain:
At length Deucalion clear'd his cloudy brow,
And said, the dark Aenigma will allow
A meaning, which if well I understand,
From Sacrilege will free the God's Command:
This Earth our mighty Mother is, the Stones
In her capacious Body, are her Bones:
These we must cast behind. With hope and fear
The Woman did the new Solution hear:
The Man diffides in his own Augury,
And doubts the Gods; yet both resolve to try.
Descending from the Mount, they first unbind
Their Vests, and veil'd, they cast the Stones behind:
The Stones (a Miracle to Mortal View,
But long Tradition makes it pass for true)
Did first the Rigour of their Kind expel,
And suppled into softness, as they fell;
Then swell'd, and swelling, by degrees grew warm;
And took the Rudiments of Humane Form.
Imperfect Shapes: in Marble such are seen,
When the rude Chizzel does the Man begin;
While yet the roughness of the Stone remains,
Without the rising Muscles, and the Veins.
The sappy parts, and next resembling juice,
Were turn'd to moisture, for the Bodies use:
Supplying humours, blood, and nourishment;
The rest, too solid to receive a bent,
[Page 19] Converts to Bones; and what was once a Vein,
Its former Name and Nature did retain.
By help of Pow'r Divine, in little space,
What the Man threw, assum'd a Manly Face;
And what the Wife, renew'd the Female Race.
Hence we derive our Nature; born to bear
Laborious Life; and harden'd into Care.
The rest of Animals, from teeming Earth
Produc'd, in various forms receiv'd their birth.
The native moisture, in its close retreat,
Digested by the Sun's Aetherial Heat,
As in a kindly Womb, began to breed:
Then swell'd, and quicken'd by the vital Seed.
And some in less, and some in longer space,
Were ripen'd into form, and took a sev'ral face.
Thus when the Nile from Pharian Fields is fled,
And seeks, with Ebbing Tides, his Ancient Bed,
The fat Manure with Heav'nly Fire is warm'd;
And crusted Creatures, as in Wombs, are form'd;
These, when they turn the Glebe, the Peasants find;
Some rude and yet unfinish'd in their kind:
Short of their Limbs, a lame imperfect Birth:
One half alive; and one of lifeless Earth.
For heat and moisture, when in Bodies joyn'd,
The temper that results from either Kind
Conception makes; and fighting till they mix,
Their mingled Atoms in each other fix.
Thus Nature's hand the Genial Bed prepares
With friendly Discord, and with fruitful Wars.
From hence the surface of the Ground with Mud
And Slime besmear'd, (the faeces of the Flood)
[Page 20] Receiv'd the Rays of Heav'n; and sucking in
The Seeds of Heat, new Creatures did begin:
Some were of sev'ral sorts produc'd before,
But of new Monsters, Earth created more.
Unwillingly, but yet she brought to light
Thee, Python too, the wondring World to fright,
And the new Nations, with so dire a sight:
So monstrous was his bulk, so large a space
Did his vast Body, and long Train embrace.
Whom Phoebus basking on a Bank espy'd;
E'er now the God his Arrows had not try'd
But on the trembling Deer, or Mountain Goat;
At this new Quarry he prepares to shoot.
Though every Shaft took place, he spent the Store
Of his full Quiver; and 'twas long before
Th' expiring Serpent wallow'd in his Gore.
Then, to preserve the Fame of such a deed,
[...] Python slain, he Pythian Games decreed.
Where Noble Youths for Mastership shou'd strive,
To Quoit, to Run, and Steeds and Chariots drive.
The Prize was Fame: In witness of Renown
An Oaken Garland did the Victor crown.
The Lawrel was not yet for Triumphs born;
But every Green alike by Phoebus worn,
Did, with promiscuous Grace, his flowing Locks adorn.

The Transformation of DAPHNE into a Lawrel.

The first and fairest of his Loves, was she
Whom not blind Fortune, but the dire decree
Of angry Cupid forc'd him to desire:
Daphne her Name, and Peneus was her Sire.
[Page 21] Swell'd with the Pride, that new Success attends,
He sees the Stripling, while his Bow he bends,
And thus insults him; Thou lascivious Boy,
Are Arms like these for Children to employ?
Know, such Atchievements are my proper claim;
Due to my vigour, and unerring aim:
Resistless are my Shafts, and Python late
In such a feather'd Death, has found his fate.
Take up thy Torch, (and lay my Weapons by)
With that the feeble Souls of Lovers fry.
To whom the Son of Venus thus reply'd,
Phoebus, thy Shafts are sure on all beside,
But mine on Phoebus, mine the Fame shall be
Of all thy Conquests, when I conquer thee.
He said, and soaring, swiftly wing'd his flight:
Nor stopt but on Parnassus airy height.
Two diff'rent Shafts he from his Quiver draws;
One to repel Desire, and one to cause.
One Shaft is pointed with refulgent Gold;
To bribe the Love, and make the Lover bold:
One blunt, and tipt with Lead, whose base allay
Provokes Disdain, and drives Desire away.
The blunted Bolt against the Nymph he drest:
But with the sharp transfixt Apollo's Breast.
Th' enamour'd Deity pursues the Chace;
The scornful Damsel shuns his loath'd Embrace:
In hunting Beasts of Prey, her Youth employs;
And Phoebe rivals in her rural Joys.
With naked Neck she goes, and Shoulders bare;
And with a Fillet binds her flowing Hair.
By many Suitors sought, she mocks their pains,
And still her vow'd Virginity maintains,
[Page 22] Impatient of a Yoke, the name of Bride
She shuns, and hates the Joys she never try'd.
On Wilds and Woods she fixes her desire:
Nor knows what Youth and kindly Love inspire.
Her Father chides her oft; Thou ow'st, says he,
A Husband to thy self, a Son to me.
She, like a Crime, abhors the Nuptial Bed:
She glows with Blushes, and she hangs her Head.
Then casting round his Neck her tender Arms,
Sooths him with Blandishments, and filial Charms:
Give me, my Lord, she said, to live and die
A spotless Maid, without the Marriage Tye.
'Tis but a small Request; I beg no more
Than what Diana's Father gave before.
The good old Sire was soften'd to consent;
But said her Wish wou'd prove her Punishment:
For so much Youth, and so much Beauty joyn'd,
Oppos'd the State, which her desires design'd.
The God of Light, aspiring to her Bed,
Hopes what he seeks, with flattering Fancies fed;
And is, by his own Oracles, mis-led.
And as in empty Fields, the Stubble burns,
Or nightly Travellers, when day returns,
Their useless Torches on dry Hedges throw,
That catch the Flames, and kindle all the row;
So burns the God, consuming in desire,
And feeding in his Breast a fruitless Fire:
Her well-turn'd Neck he view'd (her Neck was bare)
And on her Shoulders her dishevel'd Hair;
Oh were it comb'd, said he, with what a grace
Wou'd every waving Curl become her Face!
[Page 23] He view'd her Eyes, like Heavenly Lamps that shone,
He view'd her Lips, too sweet to view alone,
Her taper Fingers, and her panting Breast;
He praises all he sees, and for the rest
Believes the Beauties yet unseen are best:
Swift as the Wind, the Damsel fled away,
Nor did for these alluring Speeches stay:
Stay Nymph, he cry'd, I follow, not a Foe.
Thus from the Lyon trips the trembling Doe;
Thus from the Wolf the frighten'd Lamb removes,
And, from pursuing Faulcons, fearful Doves;
Thou shunn'st a God, and shunn'st a God that loves.
Ah, lest some Thorn shou'd pierce thy tender Foot,
Or thou shou'dst fall in flying my pursuit!
To sharp uneven Ways thy steps decline;
Abate thy Speed, and I will bate of mine.
Yet think from whom thou dost so rashly fly;
Nor basely born, nor Shepherd's Swain am I.
Perhaps thou know'st not my superior State;
And from that Ignorance proceeds thy Hate.
Me Claros, Delphos, Tenedos obey;
These Hands the Patareian Scepter sway.
The King of Gods begot me: What shall be,
Or is, or ever was, in Fate, I see.
Mine is th' invention of the charming Lyre;
Sweet Notes, and Heavenly Numbers I inspire.
Sure is my Bow, unerring is my Dart;
But ah more deadly his, who pierc'd my Heart.
Med'cine is mine; what Herbs and Simples grow
In Fields and Forrests, all their pow'rs I know;
And am the great Physician call'd, below.
[Page 24] Alas that Fields and Forrests can afford
No Remedies to heal their Love-sick Lord!
To cure the pains of Love, no Plant avails:
And his own Physick, the Physician fails.
She heard not half; so furiously she flies;
And on her Ear th' imperfect Accent dies.
Fear gave her Wings: and as she fled, the Wind
Increasing, spread her flowing Hair behind;
And left her Legs and Thighs expos'd to view:
Which made the God more eager to pursue.
The God was young, and was too hotly bent
To lose his time in empty Compliment:
But led by Love, and fir'd with such a sight,
Impetuously pursu'd his near delight.
As when th' impatient Greyhound slipt from far,
Bounds o'er the Glebe to course the fearful Hare,
She in her speed does all her safety lay;
And he with double speed pursues the Prey;
O'er-runs her at the sitting turn, and licks
His Chaps in vain, and blows upon the Flix:
She scapes, and for the neighb'ring Covert strives,
And gaining shelter, doubts if yet she lives:
If little things with great we may compare,
Such was the God, and such the flying Fair.
She urg'd by Fear, her feet did swiftly move,
But he more swiftly, who was urg'd by Love.
He gathers ground upon her in the chace:
Now breaths upon her Hair, with nearer pace;
And just is fast'ning on the wish'd Embrace.
The Nymph grew pale, and in a mortal fright,
Spent with the labour of so long a flight;
[Page 25] And now despairing, cast a mournful Look
Upon the Streams of her Paternal Brook:
Oh help, she cry'd, in this extreamest need,
If Water Gods are Deities indeed:
Gape Earth, and this unhappy Wretch intomb;
Or change my form, whence all my sorrows come.
Scarce had she finish'd, when her Feet she found
Benum'd with cold, and fasten'd to the Ground:
A filmy Rind about her Body grows;
Her Hair to Leaves, her Arms extend to Boughs:
The Nymph is all into a Lawrel gone:
The smoothness of her Skin remains alone.
Yet Phoebus loves her still, and casting round
Her Bole, his Arms, some little warmth he found
The Tree still panted in th' unfinish'd part:
Not wholly vegetive, and heav'd her Heart.
He fixt his Lips upon the trembling Rind;
It swerv'd aside, and his Embrace declin'd.
To whom the God, Because thou canst not be
My Mistress, I espouse thee for my Tree:
Be thou the prize of Honour and Renown;
The deathless Poet, and the Poem crown.
Thou shalt the Roman Festivals adorn,
And, after Poets, be by Victors worn.
Thou shalt returning Caesar's Triumph grace;
When Pomps shall in a long Procession pass.
Wreath'd on the Posts before his Palace wait;
And be the sacred Guardian of the Gate.
Secure from Thunder, and unharm'd by Jove,
Unfading as th' immortal Pow'rs above:
And as the locks of Phoebus are unshorn,
So shall perpetual Green thy Boughs adorn.
[Page 26] The grateful Tree was pleas'd with what he said;
And shook the shady Honours of her Head.

The Transformation of IO into a Heyfar.

An ancient Forrest in Thessalia grows;
Which Tempe's pleasing Valley does inclose:
Through this the rapid Peneus takes his course;
From Pindus rowling with impetuous force;
Mists from the Rivers mighty fall arise;
And deadly damps inclose the cloudy Skies:
Perpetual Fogs are hanging o'er the Wood;
And sounds of Waters deaf the Neighbourhood.
Deep, in a Rocky Cave, he makes abode:
(A Mansion proper for a mourning God.)
Here he gives Audience; issuing out Decrees
To Rivers, his dependant Deities.
On this occasion hither they resort;
To pay their homage and to make their Court.
All doubtful, whether to congratulate
His Daughter's Honour, or lament her Fate.
Sperchaeus, crown'd with Poplar, first appears;
Then old Apidanus came crown'd with Years:
Enipeus turbulent, Amphrysos tame;
And Aeas last with lagging Waters came.
Then, of his Kindred Brooks, a numerous throng
Condole his loss, and bring their Urns along.
Not one was wanting of the watry Train,
That fill'd his Flood, or mingled with the Main:
But Inachus, who in his Cave, alone,
Wept not another's Losses, but his own.
For his dear Io, whether stray'd or dead,
To him uncertain, doubtful Tears he shed.
[Page 27] He sought her through the World; but sought in vain;
And no where finding, rather fear'd her slain.
Her, just returning from her Father's Brook,
Jove had beheld, with a desiring look:
And, Oh fair Daughter of the Flood, he said,
Worthy alone of Jove's Imperial Bed,
Happy whoever shall those Charms possess;
The King of Gods (nor is thy Lover less)
Invites thee to yon cooler Shades; to shun
The scorching Rays of the Meridian Sun.
Nor shalt thou tempt the dangers of the Grove
Alone, without a Guide; thy Guide is Jove.
No puny Pow'r, but he whose high Command
Is unconfin'd, who rules the Seas and Land;
And tempers Thunder in his awful hand.
Oh fly not: For she fled from his Embrace
O'er Lerna's Pastures: he pursu'd the Chace
Along the Shades of the Lyrcaean Plain;
At length the God, who never asks in vain,
Involv'd with Vapours, imitating Night,
Both Air and Earth; and then suppress'd her flight,
And mingling Force with Love, enjoy'd the full delight.
Mean time the jealous Juno, from on high,
Survey'd the fruitful Fields of Arcady:
And wonder'd that the Mist shou'd over-run
The face of Day-light, and obscure the Sun.
No Nat'ral Cause she found, from Brooks, or Bogs,
Or marshy Lowlands, to produce the Fogs:
Then round the Skies she sought for Jupiter;
Her faithless Husband; but no Jove was there:
Suspecting now the worst, Or I, she said,
Am much mistaken, or am much betray'd.
[Page 28] With fury she precipitates her flight:
Dispels the shadows of dissembled Night;
And to the Day restores his native Light.
Th' Almighty Leacher, careful to prevent
The consequence, foreseeing her descent,
Transforms his Mistress in a trice; and now
In Io's place appears a lovely Cow.
So sleek her Skin, so faultless was her Make,
Ev'n Juno did unwilling pleasure take
To see so fair a Rival of her Love;
And what she was, and whence, enquir'd of Jove:
Of what fair Herd, and from what Pedigree?
The God, half caught, was forc'd upon a lye:
And said she sprung from Earth. She took the word,
And begg'd the beauteous Heyfar of her Lord.
What should he do? 'twas equal shame to Jove
Or to relinquish, or betray his Love:
Yet to refuse so slight a Gift, wou'd be
But more t' increase his Consort's Jealousie:
Thus fear and love, by turns, his heart assail'd;
And stronger love had sure, at length, prevail'd:
But some faint hope remain'd, his jealous Queen
Had not the Mistress through the Heyfar seen.
The cautious Goddess, of her Gift possest,
Yet harbour'd anxious thoughts within her Breast;
As she who knew the falshood of her Jove;
And justly fear'd some new relapse of Love.
Which to prevent, and to secure her care,
To trusty Argus she commits the fair.
The head of Argus (as with Stars the Skies)
Was compass'd round, and wore an hundred Eyes.
[Page 29] But two by turns their Lids in Slumber steep;
The rest on duty still their station keep;
Nor cou'd the total Constellation sleep.
Thus, ever present, to his Eyes and Mind,
His Charge was still before him, tho' behind.
In Fields he suffer'd her to feed by Day,
But when the setting Sun to Night gave way,
The Captive Cow he summon'd with a call;
And drove her back, and ty'd her to the Stall.
On Leaves of Trees and bitter Herbs she fed,
Heav'n was her Canopy, bare Earth her Bed:
So hardly lodg'd, and to digest her Food,
She drank from troubled Streams, defil'd with Mud.
Her woeful Story fain she wou'd have told,
With hands upheld, but had no hands to hold.
Her Head to her ungentle Keeper bow'd,
She strove to speak, she spoke not, but she low'd:
Affrighted with the Noise, she look'd around,
And seem'd t' inquire the Author of the Sound.
Once on the Banks where often she had play'd,
(Her Father's Banks) she came, and there survey'd
Her alter'd Visage, and her branching Head;
And starting, from her self she wou'd have fled.
Her fellow Nymphs, familiar to her Eyes,
Beheld, but knew her not in this disguise.
Ev'n Inachus himself was ignorant;
And in his Daughter, did his Daughter want.
She follow'd where her Fellows went, as she
Were still a Partner of the Company:
They stroak her Neck, the gentle Heyfar stands,
And her Neck offers to their stroaking Hands.
[Page 30] Her Father gave her Grass; the Grass she took;
And lick'd his Palms, and cast a piteous Look;
And in the language of her Eyes, she spoke.
She wou'd have told her Name, and ask'd relief,
But wanting Words, in Tears she tells her Grief.
Which, with her Foot she makes him understand;
And prints the name of Io in the Sand.
Ah wretched me, her mournful Father cry'd,
She, with a sigh, to wretched me reply'd;
About her Milk-white Neck, his Arms he threw;
And wept, and then these tender Words ensue.
And art thou she, whom I have sought around
The World, and have at length so sadly found?
So found is worse than lost: with mutual Words
Thou answer'st not, no Voice thy Tongue affords:
But Sighs are deeply drawn from out thy Breast;
And Speech deny'd, by Lowing is express'd.
Unknowing I, prepar'd thy Bridal Bed;
With empty hopes of happy Issue fed.
But now the Husband of a Herd must be
Thy Mate, and bell'wing Sons thy Progeny.
Oh, were I mortal, Death might bring relief:
But now my God-head but extends my Grief:
Prolongs my Woes, of which no end I see,
And makes me curse my Immortality!
More had he said, but fearful of her stay,
The Starry Guardian drove his Charge away,
To some fresh Pasture; on a hilly height
He sate himself, and kept her still in sight.

The Eyes of ARGUS Transform'd into a Peacock's Train.

Now Jove no longer cou'd her suff'rings bear;
But call'd in haste his airy Messenger,
[Page 31] The Son of Maïa, with severe decree
To kill the Keeper, and to set her free.
With all his Harness soon the God was sped,
His flying Hat was fastned on his Head,
Wings on his Heels were hung, and in his Hand
He holds the Vertue of the Snaky Wand.
The liquid Air his moving Pinions wound,
And, in the moment, shoot him on the Ground.
Before he came in sight, the crafty God
His Wings dismiss'd, but still retain'd his Rod:
That Sleep-procuring Wand wise Hermes took,
But made it seem to sight a Shepherd's Hook.
With this, he did a Herd of Goats controul;
Which by the way he met, and slily stole.
Clad like a Country Swain, he Pip'd and Sung;
And playing drove his jolly Troop along.
With pleasure, Argus the Musician heeds;
But wonders much at those new vocal Reeds.
And whosoe'er thou art, my Friend, said he,
Up hither drive thy Goats, and play by me:
This Hill has Browz for them, and Shade for thee.
The God, who was with case induc'd to climb,
Began Discourse to pass away the time;
And still betwixt, his Tuneful Pipe he plyes;
And watch'd his Hour, to close the Keeper's Eyes.
With much ado, he partly kept awake;
Not suff'ring all his Eyes Repose to take:
And ask'd the Stranger, who did Reeds invent,
And whence began so rare an Instrument?

The Transformation of SYRINX into Reeds.

Then Hermes thus; A Nymph of late there was,
Whose Heav'nly Form her Follows did surpass.
[Page 32] The Pride and Joy of fair Arcadia's Plains,
Belov'd by Deities, ador'd by Swains:
Syrinx her Name, by Sylvans oft pursu'd,
As oft she did the Lustful Gods delude:
The Rural, and the Woodland Pow'rs disdain'd;
With Cynthia hunted, and her Rites maintain'd:
Like Phoebe clad, even Phoebe's self she seems,
So Tall, so Streight, such well-proportion'd Limbs:
The nicest Eye did no distinction know,
But that the Goddess bore a Golden Bow,
Distinguish'd thus, the sight she cheated too.
Descending from Lycaeus, Pan admires
The matchless Nymph, and burns with new Desires.
A Crown of Pine upon his Head he wore;
And thus began her Pity to implore.
But e'er he thus began, she took her flight
So swift, she was already out of sight.
Nor stay'd to hear the Courtship of the God;
But bent her course to Ladon's gentle Flood:
There by the River stopt, and tir'd before;
Relief from Water Nymphs her Pray'rs implore.
Now while the Lustful God, with speedy pace,
Just thought to strain her in a strict Embrace,
He fill'd his Arms with Reeds, new rising on the place.
And while he sighs, his ill success to find,
The tender Canes were shaken by the Wind;
And breath'd a mournful Air, unheard before;
That much surprizing Pan, yet pleas'd him more.
Admiring this new Musick, Thou, he said,
Who canst not be the Partner of my Bed,
At least shalt be the Consort of my Mind:
And often, often to my Lips be joyn'd.
[Page 33] He form'd the Reeds, proportion'd as they are,
Unequal in their length, and wax'd with Care,
They still retain the Name of his Ungrateful Fair.
While Hermes pip'd and sung, and told his Tale,
The Keeper's winking Eyes began to fail,
And drowsie Slumber on the Lids to creep;
Till all the Watchman was, at length, asleep.
Then soon the God his Voice and Song supprest;
And with his pow'rful Rod confirm'd his Rest:
Without delay his crooked Faulchion drew,
And at one fatal stroke the Keeper slew.
Down from the Rock fell the dissever'd Head,
Opening its Eyes in Death; and falling, bled;
And mark'd the passage with a Crimson trail:
Thus Argus lies in pieces cold and pale;
And all his hundred Eyes, with all their light,
Are clos'd at once, in one perpetual Night.
These Juno takes, that they no more may fail,
And spreads them in her Peacock's gaudy Tail.
Impatient to revenge her injur'd Bed,
She wreaks her Anger on her Rival's head;
With Furies frights her from her Native Home;
And drives her gadding, round the World to roam
Nor ceas'd her Madness and her Flight, before
She touch'd the limits of the Pharian Shoar.
At length, arriving on the Banks of Nile,
Weary'd with length of ways, and worn with toil,
She laid her down; and leaning on her Knees,
Invok'd the Cause of all her Miseries:
And cast her languishing regards above,
For help from Heav'n and her ungrateful Jove.
She sigh'd, she wept, she low'd, 'twas all she cou'd
And with Unkindness seem'd to tax the God
[Page 34] Last, with an humble Pray'r, she beg'd Repose,
Or Death at least, to finish all her Woes.
Jove heard her Vows, and with a flatt'ring look,
In her behalf, to jealous Juno spoke.
He cast his Arms about her Neck, and said,
Dame, rest secure; no more thy Nuptial Bed
This Nymph shall violate; by Styx I swear,
And every Oath that binds the Thunderer.
The Goddess was appeas'd; and at the word
Was Io to her former Shape restor'd.
The rugged Hair began to fall away;
The sweetness of her Eyes did only stay,
Tho' not so large: her crooked Horns decrease;
The Wideness of her Jaws and Nostrils cease:
Her Hoofs to Hands return, in little space:
The five long taper Fingers take their place.
And nothing of the Heyfar now is seen,
Beside the native whiteness of the Skin.
Erected on her Feet she walks again;
And Two the duty of the Four sustain.
She tries her Tongue; her Silence softly breaks,
And fears her former Lowings when she speaks:
A Goddess now, through all th' Aegyptian State:
And serv'd by Priests, who in white Linnen wait.
Her Son was Epaphus, at length believ'd
The Son of Jove, and as a God receiv'd;
With Sacrifice ador'd, and publick Pray'rs,
He common Temples with his Mother shares.
Equal in Years and Rival in Renown
With Epaphus, the youthful Phaeton
Like Honour claims; and boasts his Sire the Sun.
His haughty Looks, and his assuming Air,
The Son of Isis cou'd no longer bear:
[Page 35] Thou tak'st thy Mother's word too far, said he,
And hast usurp'd thy boasted Pedigree.
Go, base Pretender to a borrow'd Name.
Thus tax'd, he blush'd with Anger, and with Shame;
But Shame repress'd his Rage: The daunted Youth
Soon seeks his Mother, and enquires the truth:
Mother, said he, this Infamy was thrown
By Epaphus on you, and me your Son.
He spoke in publick, told it to my Face;
Nor durst I vindicate the dire Disgrace:
Even I, the bold, the sensible of Wrong,
Restrain'd by Shame, was forc'd to hold my Tongue.
To hear an open Slander, is a Curse:
But not to find an Answer, is a worse.
If I am Heav'n-begot, assert your Son
By some sure Sign; and make my Father known,
To right my Honour, and redeem your own.
He said, and saying cast his Arms about
Her Neck, and begg'd her to resolve the Doubt.
'Tis hard to judge if Clymenè were mov'd
More by his Pray'r, whom she so dearly lov'd,
Or more with Fury fir'd, to find her Name
Traduc'd, and made the sport of common Fame.
She stretch'd her Arms to Heav'n, and fix'd her Eyes
On that fair Planet, that adorns the Skies;
Now by those Beams, said she, whose holy Fires
Consume my Breast, and kindle my Desires;
By him, who sees us both, and chears our sight,
By him the publick Minister of Light,
I swear that Sun begot thee; if I lye,
Let him his chearful Influence deny:
Let him no more this perjur'd Creature see;
And shine on all the World, but only me.
[Page 36] If still you doubt your Mother's Innocence,
His Eastern Mansion is not far from hence;
With little pains you to his Levè go,
And from himself your Parentage may know.
With joy th' ambitious Youth his Mother heard
And eager, for the Journey soon prepar'd.
He longs the World beneath him to survey;
To guide the Chariot; and to give the Day.
From Meroe's burning Sands he bends his Course,
Nor less in India feels his Father's force:
His Travel urging, till he came in sight;
And saw the Palace by the Purple Light.
The End of the First Book.
To Her Grace the Dutchess of Roxbu [...]


The Story of PHAETON.

THE Sun's bright Palace, on high Columns rais'd,
With burnish'd Gold and flaming Jewels blaz'd;
The Folding-Gates diffus'd a Silver Light,
And with a milder Gleam refresh'd the Sight;
Of polish'd Iv'ry was the Cov'ring wrought:
The Matter vied not with the Sculptor's Thought,
For in the Portal was display'd on high
(The Work of Vulcan) a fictitious Sky;
A waving Sea th' inferiour Earth embrac'd,
And Gods and Goddesses the Waters grac'd.
Aegeon here a mighty Whale bestrode;
Triton, and Proteus (the deceiving God)
With Doris here were carv'd, and all her Train,
Some loosely swimming in the figur'd Main,
While some on Rocks their dropping Hair divide,
And some on Fishes through the Waters glide:
[Page 38] Tho' various Features did the Sisters grace,
A Sister's Likeness was in ev'ry Face.
On Earth a diff'rent Landskip courts the Eyes,
Men, Towns, and Beasts in distant Prospects rise,
And Nymphs, and Streams, and Woods, and rural Deities.
O'er all, the Heav'ns refulgent Image shines;
On either Gate were six engraven Signs.
Here Phaeton, still gaining on th' Ascent,
To his suspected Father's Palace went,
Till pressing forward through the bright Abode,
He saw at Distance the illustrious God:
He saw at Distance, or the dazling Light
Had flash'd too strongly on his aking Sight.
The God sits high, exalted on a Throne
Of blazing Gems, with Purple Garments on;
The Hours, in order rang'd on either Hand,
And Days, and Months, and Years, and Ages stand.
Here Spring appears with flow'ry Chaplets bound;
Here Summer in her wheaten Garland crown'd;
Here Autumn the rich trodden Grapes besmear;
And hoary Winter shivers in the Reer.
Phoebus beheld the Youth from off his Throne;
That Eye, which looks on All, was fix'd in One.
He saw the Boy's Confusion in his Face,
Surpriz'd at all the Wonders of the Place;
And cries aloud, " What wants my Son? for know
" My Son thou art, and I must call thee so.
" Light of the World, the trembling Youth replies,
" Illustrious Parent! since you don't despise
" The Parent's Name, some certain Token give,
" That I may Clymenè's proud Boast believe,
" Nor longer under false Reproaches grieve.
[Page 39] The tender Sire was touch'd with what he said,
And flung the Blaze of Glories from his Head,
And bid the Youth advance: " My Son, said he,
" Come to thy Father's Arms! for Clymenè
" Has told thee true; a Parent's Name I own,
" And deem thee worthy to be call'd my Son.
" As a sure Proof, make some Request, and I,
" Whate'er it be, with that Request comply;
" By Styx I swear, whose Waves are hid in Night,
" And roul impervious to My piercing Sight.
The Youth transported, asks, without Delay,
To guide the Sun's bright Chariot for a Day.
The God repented of the Oath he took,
For Anguish thrice his radiant Head he shook;
" My Son, says he, some other Proof require,
" Rash was my Promise, rash is thy Desire.
" I'd fain deny this Wish which thou hast made,
" Or, what I can't deny, wou'd fain disswade.
" Too vast and hazardous the Task appears,
" Nor suited to thy Strength, nor to thy Years.
" Thy Lot is Mortal, but thy Wishes fly
" Beyond the Province of Mortality:
" There is not one of all the Gods that dares
" (However skill'd in other great Affairs)
" To mount the burning Axle-tree, but I;
" Not Jove himself, the Ruler of the Sky,
" That hurles the three-fork'd Thunder from above,
" Dares try his Strength; yet who so strong as Jove?
" The Steeds climb up the first Ascent with Pain,
" And when the middle Firmament they gain,
" If downward from the Heav'ns my Head I bow,
" And see the Earth and Ocean hang below,
[Page 40] "Ev'n I am seiz'd with Horror and Affright,
" And my own Heart misgives me at the Sight.
" A mighty Downfal steeps the Ev'ning Stage,
" And steddy Reins must curb the Horses Rage.
" Tethys her self has fear'd to see me driv'n
" Down headlong from the Precipice of Heav'n.
" Besides, consider what impetuous Force
" Turns Stars and Planets in a diff'rent Course.
" I steer against their Motions; nor am I
" Born back by all the Current of the Sky.
" But how cou'd you resist the Orbs that roul
" In adverse Whirls, and stem the rapid Pole?
" But you perhaps may hope for pleasing Woods,
" And stately Domes, and Cities fill'd with Gods;
" While through a thousand Snares your Progress lies,
" Where Forms of starry Monsters stock the Skies:
" For, shou'd you hit the doubtful Way aright,
" The Bull with stooping Horns stands Opposite;
" Next him the bright Haemonian Bow is strung,
" And next, the Lion's grinning Visage hung:
" The Scorpion's Claws here clasp a wide Extent,
" And here the Crab's in lesser Clasps are bent.
" Nor wou'd you find it easie to compose
" The mettled Steeds, when from their Nostrils flows
" The scorching Fire, that in their Entrails glows.
" Ev'n I their head-strong Fury scarce restrain,
" When they grow warm and restif to the Rein.
" Let not my Son a fatal Gift require,
" But, O! in time, recall your rash Desire;
" You ask a Gift that may your Parent tell,
" Let these my Fears your Parentage reveal;
[Page 41] "And learn a Father from a Father's Care:
" Look on my Face; or if my Heart lay bare,
" Cou'd you but look, you'd read the Father there.
" Chuse out a Gift from Seas, or Earth, or Skies,
" For open to your Wish all Nature lies,
" Only decline this one unequal Task,
" For 'tis a Mischief, not a Gift you ask.
" You ask a real Mischief, Phaeton:
" Nay hang not thus about my Neck, my Son:
" I grant your Wish, and Styx has heard my Voice,
" Chuse what you will, but make a wiser Choice.
Thus did the God th' unwary Youth advise;
But he still longs to travel through the Skies.
When the fond Father (for in vain he pleads)
At length to the Vulcanian Chariot leads.
A Golden Axle did the Work uphold,
Gold was the Beam, the Wheels were orb'd with Gold.
The Spokes in Rows of Silver pleas'd the Sight,
The Seat with party-colour'd Gems was bright;
Apollo shin'd amid the Glare of Light.
The Youth with secret Joy the Work surveys,
When now the Morn disclos'd her purple Rays;
The Stars were fled, for Lucifer had chase't
The Stars away, and fled himself at last.
Soon as the Father saw the rosy Morn,
And the Moon shining with a blunter Horn,
He bid the nimble Hours, without Delay,
Bring forth the Steeds; the nimble Hours obey:
From their full Racks the gen'rous Steeds retire,
Dropping ambrosial Foams, and snorting Fire.
Still anxious for his Son, the God of Day,
To make him Proof against the burning Ray,
His Temples with Celestial Ointment wet,
Of sov'raign Virtue to repel the Heat;
[Page 42] Then fix'd the beamy Circle on his Head,
And fetch'd a deep foreboding Sigh, and said,
" Take this at least, this last Advice, my Son,
" Keep a stiff Rein, and move but gently on:
" The Coursers of themselves will run too fast,
" Your Art must be to Moderate their Haste.
" Drive 'em not on Directly through the Skies,
" But where the Zodiac's Winding Circle lies,
" Along the midmost Zone; but sally forth
" Nor to the distant South, nor stormy North.
" The Horses Hoofs a beaten Track will show,
" But neither mount too high, nor sink too low.
" That no new Fires, or Heav'n, or Earth infest;
" Keep the mid Way, the middle Way is best.
" Nor, where in radiant Folds the Serpent twines,
" Direct your Course, nor where the Altar shines.
" Shun both Extreams; the rest let Fortune guide,
" And better for thee than thy self provide!
" See, while I speak, the Shades disperse away,
" Aurora gives the Promise of a Day;
" I'm call'd, nor can I make a longer Stay.
" Snatch up the Reins; or still th' Attempt forsake,
" And not my Chariot, but my Counsel take,
" While yet securely on the Earth you stand;
" Nor touch the Horses with too rash a Hand.
" Let Me alone to light the World, while You
" Enjoy those Beams which you may safely view.
He spoke in vain; the Youth with active Heat
And sprightly Vigour vaults into the Seat;
And joys to hold the Reins, and fondly gives
Those Thanks his Father with Remorse receives.
Mean while the restless Horses neigh'd aloud,
Breathing out Fire, and pawing where they stood.
[Page 43] Tethys, not knowing what had past, gave way,
And all the Waste of Heav'n before 'em lay.
They spring together out, and swiftly bear
The flying Youth through Clouds and yielding Air;
With wingy Speed outstrip the Eastern Wind,
And leave the Breezes of the Morn behind.
The Youth was light, nor cou'd he fill the Seat,
Or poise the Chariot with its wonted Weight:
But as at Sea th' unballass'd Vessel rides,
Cast to and fro, the Sport of Winds and Tides;
So in the bounding Chariot toss'd on high,
The Youth is hurry'd headlong through the Sky.
Soon as the Steeds perceive it, they forsake
Their stated Course, and leave the beaten Track.
The Youth was in a Maze, nor did he know
Which way to turn the Reins, or where to go;
Nor wou'd the Horses, had he known, obey.
Then the Sev'n Stars first felt Apollo's Ray,
And wish'd to dip in the forbidden Sea.
The folded Serpent next the frozen Pole,
Stiff and benum'd before, began to roll,
And rag'd with inward Heat, and threaten'd War,
And shot a redder Light from ev'ry Star;
Nay, and 'tis said Bootes too, that fain
Thou wou'd'st have fled, tho' cumber'd with thy Wane.
Th' unhappy Youth then, bending down his Head,
Saw Earth and Ocean far beneath him spread.
His Colour chang'd, he startled at the Sight,
And his Eyes Darken'd by too great a Light.
Now cou'd he wish the fiery Steeds untry'd,
His Birth obscure, and his Request deny'd:
Now wou'd he Merops for his Father own,
And quit his boasted Kindred to the Sun.
[Page 44] So fares the Pilot, when his Ship is tost
In troubled Seas, and all its Steerage lost,
He gives her to the Winds, and in Despair
Seeks his last Refuge in the Gods and Pray'r.
What cou'd he do? his Eyes, if backward cast,
Find a long Path he had already past;
If forward, still a longer Path they find:
Both he compares, and measures in his Mind;
And sometimes casts an Eye upon the East,
And sometimes looks on the forbidden West.
The Horses Names he knew not in the Fright,
Nor wou'd he loose the Reins, nor cou'd he hold 'em right.
Now all the Horrors of the Heav'ns he spies,
And monstrous Shadows of prodigious Size,
That, deck'd with Stars, lye scatter'd o'er the Skies.
There is a Place above, where Scorpio bent
In Tail and Arms surrounds a vast Extent;
In a wide Circuit of the Heav'ns he shines,
And fills the Space of Two Coelestial Signs.
Soon as the Youth beheld him, vex'd with Heat,
Brandish his Sting, and in his Poison sweat,
Half dead with sudden Fear he dropt the Reins;
The Horses felt 'em loose upon their Mains,
And, flying out through all the Plains above,
Ran uncontroul'd where-e'er their Fury drove;
Rush'd on the Stars, and through a pathless Way
Of unknown Regions hurry'd on the Day.
And now above, and now below they flew,
And near the Earth the burning Chariot drew.
The Clouds disperse in Fumes, the wond'ring Moon
Beholds her Brother's Steeds beneath her own;
The Highlands smoak, cleft by the piercing Rays,
Or, clad with Woods, in their own Fewel blaze.
[Page 45] Next o'er the Plains, where ripen'd Harvests grow,
The running Conflagration spreads Below.
But these are trivial Ills: whole Cities burn,
And peopled Kingdoms into Ashes turn.
The Mountains kindle as the Car draws near,
Athos and Tmolus red with Fires appear;
Oeagrian Haemus (then a single Name)
And Virgin Helicon increase the Flame;
Taurus and Oetè glare amid the Sky,
And Ida, spight of all her Fountains, Dry.
Eryx, and Othrys, and Cithaeron, glow,
And Rhodopè, no longer cloath'd in Snow;
High Pindus, Mimas, and Parnassus, sweat,
And Aetna rages with redoubled Heat.
Ev'n Scythia, through her hoary Regions warm'd,
In vain with all her native Frost was arm'd.
Cover'd with Flames, the tow'ring Appennine,
And Caucasus, and proud Olympus, shine;
And, where the long-extended Alpes aspire,
Now stands a huge continu'd Range of Fire.
Th' astonisht Youth, where-e'er his Eyes cou'd turn,
Beheld the Universe around him burn:
The World was in a Blaze; nor cou'd he bear
The sultry Vapours and the scorching Air,
Which from below, as from a Furnace, flow'd;
And now the Axle-tree beneath him glow'd:
Lost in the whirling Clouds, that round him broke,
And white with Ashes, hov'ring in the Smoke,
He flew where-e'er the Horses drove, nor knew
Whither the Horses drove, or where he flew.
'Twas then, they say, the swarthy Moor begun
To change his Hue, and Blacken in the Sun.
[Page 46] Then Libya first, of all her Moisture drain'd,
Became a barren Waste, a Wild of Sand.
The Water-Nymphs lament their empty Urns,
Baeotia, robb'd of Silver Dirce, mourns,
Corinth Pyrene's wasted Spring bewails,
And Argos grieves whilst Amymonè fails.
The Floods are drain'd from ev'ry distant Coast,
Ev'n Tanaïs, tho' fix'd in Ice, was lost.
Enrag'd Caïcus and Lycormas roar,
And Xanthus, fated to be burnt once more.
The fam'd Maeander, that unweary'd strays
Through mazy Windings, smoaks in ev'ry Maze.
From his lov'd Babylon Euphrates flies;
The big-swoln Ganges and the Danube rise
In thick'ning Fumes, and darken half the Skies.
In Flames Ismenos and the Phasis roul'd,
And Tagus floating in his melted Gold.
The Swans, that on Caÿster often try'd
Their tuneful Songs, now sung their last and dy'd.
The frighted Nile ran off, and under Ground
Conceal'd his Head, nor can it yet be found:
His sev'n divided Currents all are dry,
And where they roul'd, sev'n Gaping Trenches lye.
No more the Rhine or Rhone their Course maintain,
Nor Tiber, of his promis'd Empire vain.
The Ground, deep-cleft, admits the dazling Ray,
And startles Pluto with the Flash of Day.
The Seas shrink in, and to the Sight disclose
Wide naked Plains, where once their Billows rose;
Their Rocks are all discover'd, and increase
The Number of the scatter'd Cyclades.
[Page 47] The Fish in Sholes about the Bottom creep,
Nor longer dares the crooked Dolphin leap:
Gasping for Breath, th' unshapen Phocae die,
And on the boiling Wave extended lye.
Nereus, and Doris with her Virgin Train,
Seek out the last Recesses of the Main;
Beneath unfathomable Depths they faint,
And secret in their gloomy Caverns pant.
Stern Neptune thrice above the Waves upheld
His Face, and thrice was by the Flames repell'd.
The Earth at length, on ev'ry Side embrac'd
With scalding Seas, that floated round her Waste,
When now she felt the Springs and Rivers come,
And crowd within the Hollow of her Womb,
Up-lifted to the Heav'ns her blasted Head,
And clapt her Hand upon her Brows, and said;
(But first, impatient of the sultry Heat,
Sunk deeper down, and sought a cooler Seat:)
" If you, great King of Gods, my Death approve,
" And I deserve it, let me die by Jove;
" If I must perish by the Force of Fire,
" Let me transfix'd with Thunderbolts expire.
" See, whilst I speak, my Breath the Vapours choak,
(For now her Face lay wrapt in Clouds of Smoak)
" See my singe'd Hair, behold my faded Eye,
" And wither'd Face, where Heaps of Cinders lye!
" And does the Plow for This my Body tear?
" This the Reward for all the Fruits I bear,
" Tortur'd with Rakes, and harrass'd all the Year?
" That Herbs for Cattle daily I renew,
" And Food for Man, and Frankincense for You?
[Page 48] "But grant Me guilty; what has Neptune done?
" Why are his Waters boiling in the Sun?
" The wavy Empire, which by Lot was giv'n,
" Why does it waste, and further shrink from Heav'n?
" If I nor He your Pity can provoke,
" See your own Heav'ns, the Heav'ns begin to smoke!
" Shou'd once the Sparkles catch those bright Abodes,
" Destruction seizes on the Heav'ns and Gods;
" Atlas becomes unequal to his Freight,
" And almost faints beneath the glowing Weight.
" If Heavn'n, and Earth, and Sea, together burn,
" All must again into their Chaos turn.
" Apply some speedy Cure, prevent our Fate,
" And succour Nature, e'er it be too late.
She ceas'd, for choak'd with Vapours round her spread,
Down to the deepest Shades she sunk her Head.
Jove call'd to witness ev'ry Pow'r above,
And ev'n the God, whose Son the Chariot drove,
That what he acts he is compell'd to do,
Or universal Ruin must ensue.
Strait he ascends the high Aethereal Throne,
From whence he us'd to dart his Thunder down,
From whence his Show'rs and Storms he us'd to pour,
But now cou'd meet with neither Storm nor Show'r.
Then, aiming at the Youth, with lifted Hand,
Full at his Head he hurl'd the forky Brand,
In dreadful Thund'rings. Thus th' Almighty Sire
Suppress'd the Raging of the Fires with Fire.
At once from Life, and from the Chariot driv'n,
Th' ambitious Boy fell Thunder-struck from Heav'n.
The Horses started with a sudden Bound,
And flung the Reins and Chariot to the Ground:
[Page 49] The studded Harness from their Necks they broke,
Here fell a Wheel, and here a Silver Spoke,
Here were the Beam and Axle torn away;
And, scatter'd o'er the Earth, the shining Fragments lay.
The Breathless Phaeton, with flaming Hair,
Shot from the Chariot, like a falling Star,
That in a Summer's Ev'ning from the Top
Of Heav'n drops down, or seems at least to drop;
Till on the Po his Blasted Corps was hurl'd,
Far from his Country, in the Western World.

PHAETON's Sisters transform'd into Trees.

The Latian Nymphs came round him, and amaz'd
On the dead Youth, transfix'd with Thunder, gaz'd;
And, whilst yet smoaking from the Bolt he lay,
His shatter'd Body to a Tomb convey,
And o'er the Tomb an Epitaph devise:
" Here He who drove the Sun's bright Chariot lies;
" His Father's fiery Steeds he cou'd not guide,
" But in the glorious Enterprize he dy'd.
Apollo hid his Face, and pin'd for Grief,
And, if the Story may deserve Belief,
The Space of One whole Day is said to run,
From Morn to wonted Ev'n, without a Sun:
The burning Ruins, with a fainter Ray,
Supply the Sun, and counterfeit a Day,
A Day, that still did Nature's Face disclose:
This Comfort from the mighty Mischief rose.
But Clymenè, enrag'd with Grief, laments,
And as her Grief inspires, her Passion vents:
Wild for her Son, and frantick in her Woes,
With Hair dishevel'd, round the World she goes,
[Page 50] To seek where-e'er his Body might be cast;
Till, on the Borders of the Po, at last
The Name inscrib'd on the new Tomb appears.
The dear, dear Name she bathes in flowing Tears,
Hangs o'er the Tomb, unable to depart,
And hugs the Marble to her throbbing Heart.
Her Daughters too lament, and sigh, and mourn,
(A fruitless Tribute to their Brother's Urn)
And beat their naked Bosoms, and complain,
And call aloud for Phaeton in vain:
All the long Night their mournful Watch they keep,
And all the Day stand round the Tomb and weep.
Four times, revolving, the full Moon return'd;
So long the Mother and the Daughters mourn'd:
When now the Eldest, Phaethusa, strove
To rest her weary Limbs, but cou'd not move;
Lampetia wou'd have help'd her, but she found
Her self with-held, and rooted to the Ground:
A Third in wild Affliction, as she grieves,
Wou'd rend her Hair, but fills her Hand with Leaves;
One sees her Thighs transform'd, Another views
Her Arms shot out, and branching into Boughs.
And now their Legs, and Breasts, and Bodies stood
Crusted with Bark, and hard'ning into Wood;
But still Above were Female Heads display'd,
And Mouths, that call'd the Mother to their Aid.
What cou'd, alas! the weeping Mother do?
From this to that with eager Haste she flew,
And kiss'd her Sprouting Daughters as they grew.
She tear's the Bark that to each Body cleaves,
And from their verdant Fingers strips the Leaves:
[Page 51] The Blood came trickling, where she tore away
The Leaves and Bark: The Maids were heard to say,
" Forbear, mistaken Parent, Oh! forbear;
" A wounded Daughter in each Tree you tear;
" Farewell for ever." Here the Bark encreas'd,
Clos'd on their Faces, and their Words suppress'd.
The new-made Trees in Tears of Amber run,
Which, harden'd into Value by the Sun,
Distill for ever on the Streams below:
The limpid Streams their radiant Treasure show,
Mixt in the Sand; whence the rich Drops convey'd
Shine in the Dress of the bright Latian Maid.

The Transformation of CYCNUS into a Swan.

Cycnus beheld the Nymphs transform'd, ally'd
To their dead Brother, on the Mortal Side,
In Friendship and Affection nearer bound;
He left the Cities and the Realms he own'd,
Thro' pathless Fields and lonely Shores to range,
And Woods, made Thicker by the Sisters Change▪
Whilst here, within the dismal Gloom, alone,
The melancholy Monarch made his Moan,
His Voice was lessen'd, as he try'd to speak,
And issu'd through a long extended Neck;
His Hair transforms to Down, his Fingers meet
In skinny Films, and shape his oary Feet;
From both his Sides the Wings and Feathers break;
And from his Mouth proceeds a blunted Beak:
All Cycnus now into a Swan was turn'd,
Who, still remembring how his Kinsman burn'd,
To solitary Pools and Lakes retires,
And loves the Waters as oppos'd to Fires.
[Page 52] Mean-while Apollo in a gloomy Shade
(The native Lustre of his Brows decay'd)
Indulging Sorrow, sickens at the Sight
Of his own Sun-shine, and abhors the Light:
The hidden Griefs, that in his Bosom rise,
Sadden his Looks, and over-cast his Eyes,
As when some dusky Orb obstructs his Ray,
And sullies, in a Dim Eclipse, the Day.
Now secretly with inward Griefs he pin'd,
Now warm Resentments to his Griefs he joyn'd,
And now renounc'd his Office to Mankind.
" E'er since the Birth of Time, said he, I've born
" A long ungrateful Toil without Return;
" Let now some Other manage, if he dare,
" The fiery Steeds, and mount the burning Carr;
" Of, if none else, let Jove his Fortune try,
" And learn to lay his murd'ring Thunder by;
" Then will he own, perhaps, but own too late,
" My Son deserv'd not so severe a Fate.
The Gods stand round him, as he mourns, and pray
He would resume the Conduct of the Day,
Nor let the World be lost in endless Night:
Jove too himself, descending from his Height,
Excuses what had happen'd, and intreats,
Majestically mixing Pray'rs and Threats.
Prevail'd upon at length, again he took
The harness'd Steeds, that still with Horror shook,
And plies 'em with the Lash, and whips 'em on,
And, as he whips, upbraids 'em with his Son.

The Story of CALISTO.

The Day was settled in its Course; and Jove
Walk'd the wide Circuit of the Heav'ns above,
To search if any Cracks or Flaws were made;
But all was Safe: The Earth he then survey'd,
And cast an Eye on ev'ry diff'rent Coast,
And ev'ry Land; but on Arcadia most.
Her Fields he cloath'd, and chear'd her blasted Face
With running Fountains, and with springing Grass.
No Tracks of Heav'ns destructive Fire remain,
The Fields and Woods revive, and Nature smiles again.
But as the God walk'd to and fro the Earth,
And rais'd the Plants, and gave the Spring its Birth,
By Chance a fair Arcadian Nymph he view'd,
And felt the lovely Charmer in his Blood.
The Nymph nor Spun, nor dress'd with artful Pride,
Her Vest was gather'd up, her Hair was ty'd;
Now in her Hand a slender Spear she bore,
Now a light Quiver on her Shoulders wore;
To chaste Diana from her Youth inclin'd
The sprightly Warriors of the Wood she joyn'd.
Diana too the gentle Huntress lov'd,
Nor was there One of all the Nymphs that rov'd
O'er Maenalus, amid the Maiden Throng,
More favour'd once; but Favour lasts not long.
The Sun now shone in all its Strength, and drove
The heated Virgin panting to a Grove;
The Grove around a grateful Shadow cast:
She dropt her Arrows, and her Bow unbrac'd;
She flung her self on the cool grassy Bed;
And on the painted Quiver rais'd her Head.
[Page 54] Jove saw the charming Huntress unprepar'd,
Stretch'd on the verdant Turf, without a Guard.
" Here I am safe, he cries, from Juno's Eye;
" Or shou'd my jealous Queen the Theft descry,
" Yet wou'd I venture on a Theft like This,
" And stand her Rage for such, for such a Bliss!
Diana's Shape and Habit strait he took,
Soften'd his Brows, and smooth'd his awful Look,
And mildly in a Female Accent spoke.
" How fares my Girl? How went the Morning Chase?
To whom the Virgin, starting from the Grass,
" All-hail, bright Deity, whom I prefer
" To Jove himself, tho' Jove himself were here.
The God was nearer than she thought, and heard
Well-pleas'd Himself before Himself prefer'd.
He then salutes her with a warm Embrace;
And, e're she half had told the Morning Chase,
With Love enflam'd, and eager on his Bliss,
Smother'd her Words, and stop'd her with a Kiss:
His Kisses with unwonted Ardour glow'd,
Nor cou'd Diana's Shape conceal the God.
The Virgin did whate'er a Virgin cou'd;
(Sure Juno must have pardon'd, had she view'd)
With all her Might against his Force she strove;
But how can mortal Maids contend with Jove?
Possest at length of what his Heart desir'd,
Back to his Heav'ns th' exulting God retir'd.
The lovely Huntress, rising from the Grass,
With down-cast Eyes, and with a blushing Face,
By Shame confounded, and by Fear dismay'd,
Flew from the Covert of the guilty Shade,
And almost, in the Tumult of her Mind,
Lest her forgotten Bow and Shafts behind.
[Page 55] But now Diana, with a sprightly Train
Of quiver'd Virgins, bounding o'er the Plain,
Call'd to the Nymph; the Nymph began to fear
A second Fraud, a Jove disguis'd in Her,
But, when she saw the Sister Nymphs, suppress'd
Her rising Fears, and mingled with the rest.
How in the Look does conscious Guilt appear!
Slowly she mov'd, and loiter'd in the Rear;
Nor lightly tripp'd, nor by the Goddess ran,
As once she us'd, the foremost of the Train.
Her Looks were flush'd, and sullen was her Mien,
That sure the Virgin Goddess (had she been
Aught but a Virgin) must the Guilt have seen.
'Tis said the Nymphs saw all, and guess'd aright:
And now the Moon had nine times lost her Light,
When Dian, fainting in the mid-day Beams,
Found a cool Covert, and refreshing Streams
That in soft Murmurs through the Forest flow'd,
And a smooth Bed of shining Gravel show'd.
A Covert so obscure, and Streams so clear,
The Goddess prais'd: " And now no Spies are near,
" Let's strip, my gentle Maids, and wash, she cries.
Pleas'd with the Motion, ev'ry Maid complies;
Only the blushing Huntress stood confus'd,
And form'd Delays, and her Delays excus'd;
In vain excus'd: her Fellows round her press'd,
And the Reluctant Nymph by Force undress'd.
The Naked Huntress all her Shame reveal'd,
In vain her Hands the pregnant Womb conceal'd;
" Begone! the Goddess cries with stern Disdain,
" Begone! nor dare the hallow'd Stream to stain:
She fled, for-ever Banish'd from the Train.
[Page 56] This Juno heard, who long had watch'd her Time
To punish the detested Rival's Crime;
The Time was come: for, to enrage her more,
A lovely Boy the teeming Rival bore.
The Goddess cast a furious Look, and cry'd,
" It is enough! I'm Fully satisfy'd!
" This Boy shall stand a living Mark, to prove
" My Husband's Baseness and the Strumpet's Love:
" But Vengeance shall Awake: those guilty Charms,
" That drew the Thunderer from Juno's Arms,
" No longer shall their wonted Force retain,
" Nor please the God, nor make the Mortal vain.
This said, her Hand within her Hair she wound,
Swung her to Earth, and drag'd her on the Ground:
The prostrate Wretch lifts up her Arms in Pray'r;
Her Arms grow shaggy, and deform'd with Hair,
Her Nails are sharpen'd into pointed Claws,
Her Hands bear Half her Weight, and turn to Paws;
Her Lips, that once cou'd tempt a God, begin
To grow distorted in an ugly Grin.
And, lest the supplicating Brute might reach
The Ears of Jove, she was depriv'd of Speech:
Her surly Voice thro' a hoarse Passage came
In savage Sounds: her Mind was still the same.
The Furry Monster fix'd her Eyes above,
And heav'd her new unwieldy Paws to Jove,
And beg'd his Aid with inward Groans; and tho'
She could not call him False, she thought him so.
How did she fear to lodge in Woods alone,
And haunt the Fields and Meadows, once her own!
How often wou'd the deep-mouth'd Dogs pursue,
Whilst from her Hounds the frighted Huntress flew!
[Page 57] How did she fear her Fellow-Brutes, and shun
The shaggy Bear, tho' now her self was one!
How from the Sight of rugged Wolves retire,
Although the grim Lycaon was her Sire!
But now her Son had fifteen Summers told,
Fierce at the Chase, and in the Forest Bold;
When, as he beat the Woods in quest of Prey,
He chanc'd to rouze his Mother where she lay.
She knew her Son, and kept him in her Sight,
And fondly gaz'd: The Boy was in a Fright,
And aim'd a pointed Arrow at her Breast,
And would have slain his Mother in the Beast;
But Jove forbad, and snatch'd 'em through the Air
In Whirlwinds up to Heav'n, and fix'd 'em there:
Where the new Constellations nightly rise,
And add a Lustre to the Northern Skies.
When Juno saw the Rival in her Height,
Spangled with Stars, and circled round with Light,
She sought Old Ocean in his deep Abodes,
And Tethys; both Rever'd among the Gods.
They ask what brings her there: " Ne'er ask, says she,
" What brings me here, Heav'n is no Place for Me.
" You'll see, when Night has cover'd all things o'er,
" Jove's starry Bastard and triumphant Whore
" Usurp the Heav'ns; You'll see 'em proudly roul
" In their new Orbs, and brighten all the Pole.
" And who shall now on Juno's Altars wait,
" When Those she hates grow Greater by her Hate?
" I on the Nymph a Brutal Form impress'd,
" Jove to a Goddess has transform'd the Beast;
" This, This was all my weak Revenge could do:
" But let the God his chaste Amours pursue,
[Page 58] "And, as he acted after Io's Rape,
" Restore th' Adultress to her former Shape;
" Then may he cast his Juno off, and lead
" The great Lycaon's Offspring to his Bed.
" But you, ye venerable Pow'rs, be kind,
" And, if my Wrongs a due Resentment find,
" Receive not in your Waves their Setting Beams,
" Nor let the glaring Strumpet taint your Streams.
The Goddess ended, and her Wish was giv'n.
Back she return'd in Triumph up to Heav'n;
Her gawdy Peacocks drew her through the Skies,
Their Tails were Spotted with a thousand Eyes;
The Eyes of Argus on their Tails were rang'd,
At the same time the Raven's Colour chang'd.

The Story of CORONIS, and Birth of AESCULAPIUS.

The Raven once in Snowy Plumes was drest,
White as the whitest Dove's unsully'd Breast,
Fair as the Guardian of the Capitol,
Soft as the Swan; a large and lovely Fowl;
His Tongue, his prating Tongue had chang'd him quite
To sooty Blackness from the purest White.
The Story of his Change shall here be told;
In Thessaly there liv'd a Nymph of old,
Coronis nam'd; a peerless Maid she hins'd,
Confest the Fairest of the fairer Kind.
Apollo lov'd her, till her Guilt he knew,
While true she was, or whilst he thought her true.
But his own Bird the Raven chanc'd to find
The false one with a secret Rival joyn'd.
Coronis begg'd him to suppress the Tale,
But could not with repeated Pray'rs prevail.
[Page 59] His milk-white Pinions to the God he ply'd;
The busy Daw flew with him, Side by Side,
And by a thousand teizing Questions drew
Th' important Secret from him as they flew.
The Daw gave honest Counsel, tho' despis'd,
And, tedious in her Tattle, thus advis'd.
" Stay, silly Bird, th'ill-natur'd Task refuse,
" Nor be the Bearer of unwelcome News.
" Be warn'd by My Example: you discern
" What now I am, and what I was shall learn.
" My foolish Honesty was all my Crime;
" Then hear my Story. Once upon a Time,
" The two-shap'd Ericthonius had his Birth
" (Without a Mother) from the teeming Earth;
" Minerva nurs'd him, and the Infant laid
" Within a Chest, of twining Osiers made.
" The Daughters of King Cecrops undertook
" To guard the Chest, commanded not to look
" On what was hid within. I stood to see
" The Charge obey'd, perch'd on a neighb'ring Tree.
" The Sisters Pandrosos and Hersè keep
" This strict Command; Aglauros needs would Peep,
" And saw the monstrous Infant in a Fright,
" And call'd her Sisters to the hideous Sight:
" A Boy's soft Shape did to the Waste prevail,
" But the Boy ended in a Dragon's Tail.
" I told the stern Minerva all that pass'd,
" But for my Pains, discarded and disgrac'd,
" The frowning Goddess drove me from her Sight,
" And for her Fav'rite chose the Bird of Night.
" Be then no Tell-Tale; for I think my Wrong
" Enough to teach a Bird to hold her Tongue.
[Page 60] "But you, perhaps, may think I was remov'd,
" As never by the heav'nly Maid belov'd:
" But I was lov'd: ask Pallas if I lye;
" Tho' Pallas hate me now, she won't deny:
" For I, whom in a feather'd Shape you view,
" Was once a Maid (by Heav'n the Story's true)
" A blooming Maid, and a King's Daughter too.
" A Crowd of Lovers own'd my Beauty's Charms;
" My Beauty was the Cause of all my Harms;
" Neptune, as on his Shores I wont to rove,
" Observ'd me in my Walks, and fell in Love.
" He made his Courtship, he confess'd his Pain,
" And offer'd Force when all his Arts were vain;
" Swift he pursu'd: I ran along the Strand,
" Till, spent and weary'd on the sinking Sand,
" I shriek'd aloud, with Cries I fill'd the Air
" To Gods and Men; nor God nor Man was there:
" A Virgin Goddess heard a Virgin's Pray'r.
" For, as my Arms I lifted to the Skies,
" I saw Black Feathers from my Fingers rise;
" I strove to fling my Garment on the Ground;
" My Garment turn'd to Plumes, and girt me round:
" My Hands to beat my naked Bosom try;
" Nor naked Bosom now nor Hands had I.
" Lightly I tript, nor weary as before
" Sunk in the Sand, but skim'd along the Shore;
" Till, rising on my Wings, I was prefer'd
" To be the chaste Minerva's Virgin Bird:
" Prefer'd in vain! I now am in Disgrace:
" Nyctimene the Owl enjoys my Place.
" On Her incestuous Life I need not dwell,
" (In Lesbos still the horrid Tale they tell)
[Page 61] "And of her dire Amours you must have heard,
" For which she now does Penance in a Bird,
" That, conscious of her Shame, avoids the Light,
" And loves the gloomy Cov'ring of the Night;
" The Birds, where-e'er she flutters, scare away
" The Hooting wretch, and drive her from the Day.
The Raven, urg'd by such Impertinence,
Grew Passionate, it seems, and took Offence,
And curst the harmless Daw; the Daw withdrew:
The Raven to her injur'd Patron flew,
And found him out, and told the fatal Truth
Of false Coronis and the favour'd Youth.
The God was wroth; the Colour left his Look,
The Wreath his Head, the Harp his Hand forsook:
His Silver Bow and feather'd Shafts he took,
And lodg'd an Arrow in the tender Breast,
That had so often to his own been prest.
Down fell the wounded Nymph, and sadly groan'd,
And pull'd his Arrow reeking from the Wound;
And weltring in her Blood, thus faintly cry'd,
" Ah cruel God! tho' I have justly dy'd,
" What has, alas! my unborn Infant done,
" That He should fall, and Two expire in One?
This said, in Agonies she fetch'd her Breath.
The God dissolves in Pity at her Death;
He hates the Bird that made her Falshood known,
And hates himself for what himself had done;
The feather'd Shaft, that sent her to the Fates,
And his own Hand, that sent the Shaft, he hates.
Fain would he heal the Wound, and case her Pain,
And tries the Compass of his Art in vain.
[Page 62] Soon as he saw the lovely Nymph expire,
The Pile made ready, and the kindling Fire,
With Sighs and Groans her Obsequies he kept,
And, if a God could weep, the God had wept.
Her Corps he kiss'd, and heav'nly Incense brought,
And solemniz'd the Death Himself had wrought.
But, lest his Offspring should her Fate partake,
Spight of th'Immortal Mixture in his Make,
He ript her Womb, and set the Child at large,
And gave him to the Centaur Chiron's Charge:
Then in his Fury Black'd the Raven o'er,
And bid him Prate in his White plumes no more.

OCYRRHOE transform'd to a Mare.

Old Chiron took the Babe with secret Joy,
Proud of the Charge of the Celestial Boy.
His Daughter too, whom on the sandy Shore
The Nymph Chariclo to the Centaur bore,
With Hair dishevel'd on her Shoulders came
To see the Child, Ocyrrhoe was her Name;
She knew her Father's Arts, and could rehearse
The Depths of Prophecy in sounding Verse.
Once, as the sacred Infant she survey'd,
The God was kindled in the raving Maid,
And thus she utter'd her Prophetick Tale;
" Hail, great Physician of the World, All-hail;
" Hail, mighty Infant, who in Years to come,
" Shalt heal the Nations, and defraud the Tomb;
" Swift be thy Growth! thy Triumphs unconfin'd!
" Make Kingdoms thicker, and increase Mankind.
" Thy daring Art shall animate the Dead,
" And draw the Thunder on thy guilty Head:
[Page 63] "Then shalt thou dye, but from the dark Abode
" Rise up Victorious, and be Twice a God.
" And Thou, my Sire, not destin'd by thy Birth
" To turn to Dust, and mix with common Earth,
" How wilt thou toss, and rave, and long to dye,
" And quit thy Claim to Immortality;
" When thou shalt feel, enrag'd with inward Pains,
" The Hydra's Venom rankling in thy Veins?
" The Gods, in Pity, shall contract thy Date,
" And give thee over to the Pow'r of Fate.
Thus, ent'ring into Destiny, the Maid
The Secrets of offended Jove betray'd:
More had she still to say; but now appears
Oppress'd with Sobs and Sighs, and drown'd in Tears.
" My Voice, says she, is gone, my Language fails;
" Through ev'ry Limb my kindred Shape prevails:
" Why did the God this fatal Gift impart,
" And with prophetick Raptures swell my Heart!
" What new Desires are these? I long to pace
" O'er flow'ry Meadows, and to feed on Grass;
" I hasten to a Brute, a Maid no more;
" But why, alas! am I transform'd all o'er?
" My Sire does Half a human Shape retain,
" And in his upper Parts preserves the Man.
Her Tongue no more distinct Complaints affords,
But in shrill Accents and mis-shapen Words
Pours forth such hideous Wailings, as declare
The Human Form confounded in the Mare:
Till by degrees accomplish'd in the Beast,
She neigh'd outright, and all the Steed exprest.
Her stooping Body on her Hands is born,
Her Hands are turn'd to Hoofs, and shod in Horn,
[Page 64] Her yellow Tresses ruffle in a Mane,
And in a flowing Tail she frisks her Train.
The Mare was finish'd in her Voice and Look,
And a new Name from the new Figure took.

The Transformation of BATTUS to a Touch-stone.

Sore wept the Centaur, and to Phoebus pray'd;
But how could Phoebus give the Centaur Aid?
Degraded of his Pow'r by angry Jove,
In Elis Then a Herd of Beeves he drove;
And wielded in his Hand a Staff of Oak,
And o'er his Shoulders threw the Shepherd's Cloak;
On sev'n compacted Reeds he us'd to play,
And on his Rural Pipe to waste the Day.
As once, attentive to his Pipe, he play'd,
The crafty Hermes from the God convey'd
A Drove, that sep'rate from their Fellows stray'd.
The Theft an old insidious Peasant view'd,
(They call'd him Battus in the Neighbourhood)
Hir'd by a wealthy Pylian Prince to feed
His fav'rite Mares, and watch the gen'rous Breed.
The thievish God suspected him, and took
The Hind aside, and thus in Whispers spoke;
" Discover not the Theft, whoe'er thou be,
" And take that milk-white Heifer for thy Fee.
" Go, Stranger, cries the Clown, securely on,
" That Stone shall sooner tell, and show'd a Stone.
The God withdrew, but strait return'd again,
In Speech and Habit like a Country Swain;
And cries out, " Neighbour, hast thou seen a Stray
" Of Bullocks and of Heifers pass this Way?
[Page 65] "In the Recov'ry of my Cattle join,
" A Bullock and a Heifer shall be thine.
The Peasant quick replies, " You'll find 'em there
" In yon dark Vale; and in the Vale they were.
The Double Bribe had his false Heart beguil'd:
The God, successful in the Tryal, smil'd;
" And dost thou thus betray my self to Me?
" Me to my self dost thou betray? says he:
Then to a Touch-stone turns the faithless Spy,
And in his Name records his Infamy.

The Story of AGLAUROS, transform'd into a Statue.

This done, the God flew up on high, and pass'd
O'er lofty Athens, by Minerva grac'd,
And wide Munichia, whilst his Eyes survey
All the vast Region that beneath him lay.
'Twas now the Feast, when each Athenian Maid
Her yearly Homage to Minerva paid;
In Canisters, with Garlands cover'd o'er,
High on their Heads their mystick Gifts they bore:
And now, returning in a solemn Train,
The Troop of shining Virgins fill'd the Plain.
The God well-pleas'd beheld the pompous Show,
And saw the bright Procession pass below;
Then veer'd about, and took a wheeling Flight,
And hover'd o'er them: As the spreading Kite,
That smells the slaughter'd Victim from on high,
Flies at a Distance, if the Priests are nigh,
And sails around, and keeps it in her Eye;
So kept the God the Virgin Quire in view,
And in slow winding Circles round them flew.
[Page 66] As Lucifer excells the meanest Star,
Or, as the full-orb'd Phoebe Lucifer;
So much did Hersè all the rest outvy,
And gave a Grace to the Solemnity.
Hermes was fir'd, as in the Clouds he hung:
So the cold Bullet, that with Fury slung
From Balearick Engines mounts on high,
Glows in the Whirl, and burns along the Sky.
At length he pitch'd upon the Ground, and show'd
The Form Divine, the Features of a God.
He knew their Vertue o'er a Female Heart,
And yet he strives to better them by Art.
He hangs his Mantle loose, and sets to show
The golden Edging on the Seam below;
Adjusts his flowing Curls, and in his Hand
Waves, with an Air, the Sleep-procuring Wand;
The glitt'ring Sandals to his Feet applies,
And to each Heel the well trim'd Pinion ties.
His Ornaments with nicest Art display'd,
He seeks th' Apartment of the Royal Maid.
The Roof was all with polish'd Iv'ry lin'd,
That, richly mix'd, in Clouds of Tortoise shin'd.
Three Rooms, contiguous, in a Range were plac'd,
The Midmost by the beauteous Hersè grac'd;
Her Virgin Sisters lodg'd on either Side.
Aglauros first th' approaching God descry'd,
And, as he cross'd her Chamber, ask'd his Name,
And what his Business was, and whence he came.
" I come, reply'd the God, from Heav'n to woo
" Your Sister, and to make an Aunt of you;
" I am the Son and Messenger of Jove,
" My Name is Mercury, my Bus'ness Love;
[Page 67] "Do you, kind Damsel, take a Lover's Part,
" And gain Admittance to your Sister's Heart.
She star'd him in the Face with Looks amaz'd,
As when she on Minerva's Secret gaz'd,
And asks a mighty Treasure for her Hire,
And, till he brings it, makes the God retire.
Minerva griev'd to see the Nymph succeed;
And now remembring the late impious Deed,
When, disobedient to her strict Command,
She touch'd the Chest with an unhallow'd Hand;
In big-swoln Sighs her inward Rage express'd,
That heav'd the rising Aegis on her Breast;
Then sought out Envy in her dark Abode,
Defil'd with ropy Gore and Clots of Blood:
Shut from the Winds and from the wholesome Skies,
In a deep Vale the gloomy Dungeon lies,
Dismal and Cold, where not a Beam of Light
Invades the Winter, or disturbs the Night.
Directly to the Cave her Course she steer'd;
Against the Gates her martial Lance she rear'd;
The Gates flew open, and the Fiend appear'd.
A pois'nous Morsel in her Teeth she chew'd,
And gorg'd the Flesh of Vipers for her Food.
Minerva loathing, turn'd away her Eye;
The hideous Monster, rising Heavily,
Came stalking forward with a sullen Pace,
And left her mangled Offals on the Place.
Soon as she saw the Goddess gay and bright,
She fetch'd a Groan at such a chearful Sight.
Livid and meagre were her Looks, her Eye
In foul distorted Glances turn'd awry;
A Hoard of Gall her inward Parts possess'd,
And spread a Greenness o'er her canker'd Breast;
[Page 68] Her Teeth were brown with Rust, and from her Tongue,
In dangling Drops, the stringy Poison hung.
She never smiles but when the Wretched weep,
Nor lulls her Malice with a Moment's Sleep,
Restless in Spite: while watchful to destroy,
She pines and sickens at Another's Joy;
Foe to her self, distressing and distrest,
She bears her own Tormenter in her Breast.
The Goddess gave (for she abhorr'd her Sight)
A short Command: " To Athens speed thy Flight;
" On curst Aglauros try thy utmost Art,
" And fix thy rankest Venoms in her Heart.
This said, her Spear she push'd against the Ground,
And mounting from it with an active Bound,
Flew off to Heav'n: The Hag with Eyes askew
Look'd up, and mutter'd Curses as she flew;
For sore she fretted, and began to grieve
At the Success which she her self must give.
Then takes her Staff, hung round with Wreaths of Thorn,
And sails along, in a black Whirlwind born,
O'er Fields and flow'ry Meadows: Where she steers
Her banesul Course, a mighty Blast appears,
Mildews and Blights; the Meadows are defac'd,
The Fields, the Flow'rs, and the whole Year laid waste:
On Mortals next, and peopled Towns she falls,
And breathes a burning Plague among their Walls.
When Athens she beheld, for Arts renown'd,
With Peace made happy, and with Plenty crown'd,
Scarce could the hideous Fiend from Tears forbear,
To find out nothing that Deserv'd a Tear.
Th' Apartment now she enter'd, where at rest
Aglauros lay, with gentle Sleep opprest.
[Page 69] To execute Minerva's dire Command,
She stroak'd the Virgin with her canker'd Hand,
Then prickly Thorns into her Breast convey'd,
That stung to Madness the devoted Maid:
Her subtle Venom still improves the Smart,
Frets in the Blood, and festers in the Heart.
To make the Work more sure, a Scene she drew,
And plac'd before the dreaming Virgin's View
Her Sister's Marriage, and her glorious Fate:
Th' imaginary Bride appears in State;
The Bride-groom with unwonted Beauty glows;
For Envy Magnifies what-e'er she shows.
Full of the Dream, Aglauros pin'd away
In Tears all Night, in Darkness all the Day;
Consum'd like Ice, that just Begins to run,
When feebly smitten by the distant Sun;
Or like unwholsome Weeds, that set on Fire
Are slowly wasted, and in Smoke expire.
Giv'n up to Envy (for in ev'ry Thought
The Thorns, the Venom, and the Vision wrought)
Oft did she call on Death, as oft decreed,
Rather than see her Sister's Wish succeed,
To tell her awfull Father what had past:
At length before the Door her self she cast;
And, sitting on the Ground with sullen Pride,
A Passage to the Love-sick God deny'd.
The God caress'd, and for Admission pray'd,
And sooth'd in softest Words th' envenom'd Maid.
In vain he sooth'd; " Begone! the Maid replies,
" Or here I keep my Seat, and never rise.
" Then keep thy Seat for ever, cries the God,
And touch'd the Door, wide-op'ning to his Rod.
[Page 70] Fain would she rise, and stop him, but she found
Her Trunk too heavy to forsake the Ground;
Her Joynts are all benum'd, her Hands are pale,
And Marble now appears in ev'ry Nail.
As when a Cancer in the Body feeds,
And gradual Death from Limb to Limb proceeds;
So does the Chilness to each vital Part
Spread by degrees, and creeps into her Heart;
Till hard'ning ev'ry where, and speechless grown,
She sits unmov'd, and freezes to a Stone.
But still her envious Hue and sullen Mien
Are in the Sedentary Figure seen.

EUROPA's Rape.

When now the God his Fury had allay'd,
And taken Vengeance of the stubborn Maid,
From where the bright Athenian Turrets rise
He mounts aloft, and re-ascends the Skies.
Jove saw him enter the sublime Abodes,
And, as he mix'd among the Crowd of Gods,
Beckon'd him out, and drew him from the Rest,
And in soft Whispers thus his Will exprest.
" My trusty Hermes, by who's Ready Aid
" Thy Sire's Commands are through the World convey'd,
" Resume thy Wings, exert their utmost Force,
" And to the Walls of Sidon speed thy Course;
" There find a Herd of Heifers wandring o'er
" The neighb'ring Hill, and drive 'em to the Shore.
Thus spoke the God, concealing his Intent.
The trusty Hermes on his Message went,
And found the Herd of Heifers wandring o'er
A neighb'ring Hill, and drove 'em to the Shore;
[Page 71] Where the King's Daughter, with a lovely Train
Of Fellow-Nymphs, was sporting on the Plain.
The Dignity of Empire laid aside,
(For Love but ill agrees with Kingly Pride.)
The Ruler of the Skies, the Thund'ring God,
Who shakes the World's Foundations with a Nod,
Among a Herd of lowing Heifers ran,
Frisk'd in a Bull, and bellow'd o'er the Plain.
Large Rolls of Fat about his Shoulders clung,
And from his Neck the double Dewlap hung.
His Skin was whiter than the Snow that lies
Unfully'd by the Breath of Southern Skies;
Small shining Horns on his curl'd Forehead stand,
As turn'd and polish'd by the Work-man's Hand;
His Eye-balls rowl'd, not formidably bright,
But gaz'd and languish'd with a gentle Light.
His ev'ry Look was peaceful, and exprest
The Softness of the Lover in the Beast.
Agenor's Royal Daughter, as she plaid
Among the Fields, the Milk-white Bull survey'd,
And view'd his spotless Body with Delight,
And at a Distance kept him in her Sight.
At length she pluck'd the rising Flow'rs, and fed
The gentle Beast, and fondly stroak'd his Head.
He stood well-pleas'd to Touch the charming Fair,
But hardly could confine his Pleasure there.
And now he wantons o'er the neighb'ring Strand,
Now rowls his Body on the yellow Sand;
And, now perceiving all her Fears decay'd,
Comes tossing forward to the Royal Maid;
Gives her his Breast to stroke, and downward turns
His grisly Brow, and gently stoops his Horns.
[Page 72] In flow'ry Wreaths the Royal Virgin drest
His bending Horns, and kindly clapt his Breast.
Till now grown wanton, and devoid of Fear,
Not knowing that she prest the Thunderer,
She plac'd her self upon his Back, and rode
O'er Fields and Meadows, seated on the God.
He gently march'd along, and by degrees
Left the dry Meadow, and approach'd the Seas;
Where now he dips his Hoofs and wets his Thighs,
Now plunges in, and carries off the Prize.
The frighted Nymph looks backward on the Shoar,
And hears the tumbling Billows round her roar;
But still she holds him fast: one Hand is born
Upon his Back; the other grasps a Horn:
Her Train of ruffling Garments flies behind,
Swells in the Air, and hovers in the Wind.
Through Storms and Tempests he the Virgin bore,
And lands her safe on the Dictean Shore;
Where now, in his Divinest Form array'd,
In his true Shape he captivates the Maid;
Who gazes on him, and with wond'ring Eyes
Beholds the new majestick Figure rise,
His glowing Features, and celestial Light,
And all the God discover'd to her Sight.
The End of the Second Book.
To Her Grace the Dutchess of Newca [...]


The Story of CADMUS.

WHEN now Agenor had his Daughter lost,
He sent his Son to search on ev'ry Coast;
And sternly bid him to his Arms restore
The Darling Maid, or see his Face no more,
But live an Exile in a foreign Clime;
Thus was the Father Pious to a Crime.
The restless Youth search'd all the World around;
But how can Jove in his Amours be found?
When tir'd at length with unsuccessful Toil,
To shun his angry Sire and Native Soil,
He goes a Suppliant to the Delphick Dome;
There asks the God what new-appointed Home
Should end his Wandrings, and his Toils relieve.
The Delphick Oracles this Answer give.
" Behold among the Fields a lonely Cow,
" Unworn with Yokes, unbroken to the Plow;
[Page 74] "Mark well the Place where first she lays her down,
" There measure out thy Walls, and build thy Town,
" And from thy Guide Baeotia call the Land,
" In which the destin'd Walls and Town shall stand.
No sooner had he left the dark Abode,
Big with the Promise of the Delphick God,
When in the Fields the fatal Cow he view'd,
Nor gall'd with Yokes, nor worn with Servitude:
Her gently at a Distance he pursu'd;
And, as he walk'd aloof, in Silence pray'd
To the great Pow'r whose Counsels he obey'd.
Her Way through flow'ry Panopè she took,
And now, Cephisus, cross'd thy Silver Brook;
When to the Heav'ns her spacious Front she rais'd,
And bellow'd thrice, then backward turning gaz'd
On those behind, till on the destin'd Place
She stoop'd, and couch'd amid the rising Grass.
Cadmus salutes the Soil, and gladly hails
The new-found Mountains, and the nameless Vales,
And thanks the Gods, and turns about his Eye
To see his new Dominions round him lye;
Then sends his Servants to a neighb'ring Grove
For living Streams, a Sacrifice to Jove.
O'er the wide Plain there rose a shady Wood
Of aged Trees; in its dark Bosom stood
A bushy Thicket, pathless and unworn,
O'er-run with Brambles, and perplex'd with Thorn:
Amidst the Brake a hollow Den was found,
With Rocks and shelving Arches vaulted round.
Deep in the dreary Den, conceal'd from Day,
Sacred to Mars, a mighty Dragon lay,
Bloated with Poison to a monstrous Size;
Fire broke in Flashes when he glanc'd his Eyes:
[Page 75] His tow'ring Crest was glorious to behold,
His Shoulders and his Sides were scal'd with Gold;
Three Tongues he brandish'd when he charg'd his Foes;
His Teeth stood jaggy in Three dreadful Rows.
The Tyrians in the Den for Water sought,
And with their Urns explor'd the hollow Vault:
From Side to Side their empty Urns rebound,
And rowse the sleeping Serpent with the Sound.
Strait he bestirs him, and is seen to rise;
And now with dreadful Hissings fills the Skies,
And darts his forky Tongues, and rouls his glareing Eyes.
The Tyrians drop their Vessels in the Fright,
All pale and trembling at the hideous Sight.
Spire above Spire uprear'd in Air he stood,
And gazing round him, over-look'd the Wood:
Then floating on the Ground, in Circles rowl'd;
Then leap'd upon them in a mighty Fold.
Of such a Bulk, and such a monst'rous Size,
The Serpent in the Polar Circle lyes,
That stretches over half the Northern Skies.
In vain the Tyrians on their Arms rely,
In vain attempt to fight, in vain to fly:
All their Endeavours and their Hopes are vain;
Some die entangl'd in the winding Train;
Some are devour'd, or feel a loathsom Death,
Swoln up with Blasts of Pestilential Breath.
And now the scorching Sun was mounted high,
In all its Lustre, to the Noon-day Sky;
When, anxious for his Friends, and fill'd with Cares,
To search the Woods th' impatient Chief prepares.
A Lion's Hide around his Loins he wore,
The well-poiz'd Jav'lin to the Field he bore
[Page 76] Inur'd to Blood; the far-destroying Dart;
And, the best Weapon, an undaunted Heart.
Soon as the Youth approach'd the fatal Place,
He saw his Servants breathless on the Grass;
The scaly Foe amid their Corps he view'd,
Basking at Ease, and feasting in their Blood.
" Such Friends, he cries, deserv'd a longer Date;
" But Cadmus will revenge, or share their Fate.
Then heav'd a Stone, and rising to the Throw,
He sent it in a Whirlwind at the Foe:
A Tow'r, assaulted by so rude a Stroke,
With all its lofty Battlements had shook;
But nothing here th' unweildy Rock avails,
Rebounding harmless from the plaited Scales,
That, firmly join'd, preserv'd him from a Wound,
With native Armour crusted all around.
The pointed Jav'lin more successful flew,
Which at his Back the raging Warriour threw;
Amid the plaited Scales it took its Course,
And in the spinal Marrow spent its Force.
The Monster hiss'd aloud, and rag'd in vain,
And writh'd his Body to and fro with Pain;
And bit the Spear, and wrench'd the Wood away;
The Point still buried in the Marrow lay.
And now his Rage, increasing with his Pain,
Reddens his Eyes, and beats in ev'ry Vein;
Churn'd in his Teeth the foamy Venom rose,
Whilst from his Mouth a Blast of Vapours flows,
Such as th' Infernal Stygian Waters cast.
The Plants around him wither in the Blast.
Now in a Maze of Rings he lies enrowl'd,
Now all unravel'd, and without a Fold;
[Page 77] Now, like a Torrent, with a mighty Force
Bears down the Forest in his boist'rous Course.
Cadmus gave back, and on the Lion's Spoil
Sustain'd the Shock, then forc'd him to recoil;
The pointed Jav'lin warded off his Rage:
Mad with his Pains, and furious to engage,
The Serpent champs the Steel, and bites the Spear,
'Till Blood and Venom all the Point besmear.
But still the Hurt he yet receiv'd was slight;
For, whilst the Champion with redoubled Might
Strikes home the Jav'lin, his retiring Foe
Shrinks from the Wound, and disappoints the Blow.
The dauntless Heroe still pursues his Stroke,
And presses forward, 'till a knotty Oak
Retards his Foe, and stops him in the Rear;
Full in his Throat he plung'd the fatal Spear,
That in th' extended Neck a Passage found,
And pierc'd the solid Timber through the Wound.
Fix'd to the reeling Trunk, with many a Stroke
Of his huge Tail, he lash'd the sturdy Oak;
Till spent with Toil, and lab'ring hard for Breath,
He now lay twisting in the Pangs of Death.
Cadmus beheld him wallow in a Flood
Of swimming Poison, intermix'd with Blood;
When suddenly a Speech was heard from high,
(The Speech was heard, nor was the Speaker nigh)
" Why dost thou thus with secret Pleasure see,
" Insulting Man! what thou thy self shalt be?
Astonish'd at the Voice, he stood amaz'd,
And all around with inward Horror gaz'd:
When Pallas swift descending from the Skies,
Pallas, the Guardian of the Bold and Wise,
[Page 78] Bids him plow up the Field, and scatter round
The Dragon's Teeth o'er all the furrow'd Ground;
Then tells the Youth how to his wond'ring Eyes
Embattled Armies from the Field should rise.
He sows the Teeth at Pallas's Command,
And flings the future People from his Hand.
The Clods grow warm, and crumble where he sows;
And now the pointed Spears advance in Rows;
Now nodding Plumes appear, and shining Crests,
Now the broad Shoulders and the rising Breasts;
O'er all the Field the breathing Harvest swarms,
A growing Host, a Crop of Men and Arms.
So through the parting Stage a Figure rears
Its Body up, and Limb by Limb appears
By just Degrees; 'till all the Man arise,
And in his full Proportion strikes the Eyes.
Cadmus surpriz'd, and startled at the Sight
Of his new Foes, prepar'd himself for Fight:
When one cry'd out, " Forbear, fond Man, forbear
" To mingle in a blind promiscuous War.
This said, he struck his Brother to the Ground,
Himself expiring by another's Wound;
Nor did the Third his Conquest long survive,
Dying e'er scarce he had begun to live.
The dire Example ran through all the Field,
'Till Heaps of Brothers were by Brothers kill'd;
The Furrows swam in Blood: and only five
Of all the vast Increase were left alive.
Echion One, at Pallas's Command,
Let fall the guiltless Weapon from his Hand;
And with the rest a peaceful Treaty makes,
Whom Cadmus as his Friends and Partners takes:
[Page 79] So founds a City on the promis'd Earth,
And gives his new Baeotian Empire Birth.
Here Cadmus reign'd; and now one would have guess't
The Royal Founder in his Exile blest:
Long did he live within his new Abodes,
Ally'd by Marriage to the deathless Gods;
And, in a fruitful Wife's Embraces old,
A long Increase of Children's Children told:
But no frail Man, however great or high,
Can be concluded blest before he die.
Actaeon was the first of all his Race,
Who griev'd his Grandsire in his borrow'd Face;
Condemn'd by stern Diana to bemoan
The branching Horns, and Visage not his own;
To shun his once-lov'd Dogs, to bound away,
And from their Huntsman to become their Prey.
And yet consider why the Change was wrought,
You'll find it his Misfortune, not his Fault;
Or if a Fault, it was the Fault of Chance:
For how can Guilt proceed from Ignorance?

The Transformation of ACTAEON into a Stag.

In a fair Chace a shady Mountain stood,
Well stor'd with Game, and mark'd with Trails of Blood
Here did the Huntsmen 'till the Heat of Day
Pursue the Stag, and load themselves with Prey;
When thus Actaeon calling to the rest:
" My Friends, says he, our Sport is at the best.
" The Sun is high advanc'd, and downward sheds
" His burning Beams directly on our Heads;
" Then by Consent abstain from further Spoils,
" Call off the Dogs, and gather up the Toiles;
[Page 80] "And e'er to Morrow's Sun begins his Race,
" Take the cool Morning to renew the Chace.
They all consent, and in a chearful Train
The jolly Huntsmen, loaden with the Slain,
Return in Triumph from the sultry Plain.
Down in a Vale with Pine and Cypress clad,
Refresh'd with gentle Winds, and brown with Shade,
The chaste Diana's private Haunt, there stood
Full in the Centre of the darksome Wood
A spacious Grotto, all around o'er-grown
With hoary Moss, and arch'd with Pumice-stone.
From out its rocky Clefts the Waters flow,
And trickling swell into a Lake below.
Nature had ev'ry where so plaid her Part,
That ev'ry where she seem'd to vie with Art.
Here the bright Goddess, toil'd and chaf'd with Heat,
Was wont to bathe her in the cool Retreat.
Here did she now with all her Train resort,
Panting with Heat, and breathless from the Sport;
Her Armour-bearer laid her Bow aside,
Some loos'd her Sandals, some her Veil unty'd;
Each busy Nymph her proper Part undrest;
While Crocale, more Handy than the rest,
Gather'd her flowing Hair, and in a Noose
Bound it together, whilst her own hung loose.
Five of the more ignoble sort by turns
Fetch up the Water, and unlade their Urns.
Now all undrest the shining Goddess stood,
When young Actaeon, wilder'd in the Wood,
To the cool Grott by his hard Fate betray'd,
The Fountains fill'd with naked Nymphs survey'd.
The frighted Virgins shrick'd at the Surprize,
(The Forest echo'd with their piercing Cries.)
[Page 81] Then in a Huddle round their Goddess prest:
She, proudly eminent above the rest,
With Blushes glow'd; such Blushes as adorn,
The ruddy Welkin, or the purple Morn;
And tho' the crowding Nymphs her Body hide,
Half backward shrunk, and view'd him from aside.
Surpriz'd, at first she would have snatch'd her Bow,
But sees the circling Waters round her flow;
These in the Hollow of her Hand she took,
And dash'd 'em in his Face, while thus she spoke:
" Tell if thou can'st the wond'rous Sight disclos'd,
" A Goddess naked to thy View expos'd.
This said, the Man begun to disappear
By slow Degrees, and ended in a Deer.
A rising Horn on either Brow he wears,
And stretches out his Neck, and pricks his Ears;
Rough is his Skin, with sudden Hairs o'er-grown,
His Bosom pants with Fears before unknown.
Transform'd at length, he flies away in haste,
And wonders why he flies away so fast.
But as by Chance, within a neighb'ring Brook,
He saw his branching Horns and alter'd Look,
Wretched Actaeon! in a doleful Tone
He try'd to speak, but only gave a Groan;
And as he wept, within the watry Glass
He saw the big round Drops, with silent Pace,
Run trickling down a savage hairy Face.
What should he do? Or seek his old Abodes,
Or herd among the Deer, and sculk in Woods?
Here Shame dissuades him, there his Fear prevails,
And each by turns his aking Heart assails.
[Page 82] As he thus ponders, he behind him spies
His op'ning Hounds, and now he hears their Cries:
A gen'rous Pack, or to maintain the Chace,
Or snuff the Vapour from the scented Grass.
He bounded off with Fear, and swiftly ran
O'er craggy Mountains, and the flow'ry Plain;
Through Brakes and Thickets forc'd his Way, and flew
Through many a Ring, where once he did pursue.
In vain he oft endeavour'd to proclaim
His new Misfortune, and to tell his Name;
Nor Voice nor Words the brutal Tongue supplies;
From shouting Men, and Horns, and Dogs he flies,
Deafen'd and stunn'd with their promiscuous Cries.
When now the fleetest of the Pack, that prest
Close at his Heels, and sprung before the rest,
Had fasten'd on him, straight another Pair
Hung on his wounded Haunch, and held him there,
'Till all the Pack came up, and ev'ry Hound
Tore the sad Huntsman grov'ling on the Ground,
Who now appear'd but one continu'd Wound.
With dropping Tears his bitter Fate he moans,
And fills the Mountain with his dying Groans.
His Servants with a piteous Look he spies,
And turns about his supplicating Eyes.
His Servants, ignorant of what had chanc'd,
With eager Haste and joyful Shouts advanc'd,
And call'd their Lord Actaeon to the Game:
He shook his Head in answer to the Name;
He heard, but wish'd he had indeed been gone,
Or only to have stood a Looker on.
But to his Grief he finds himself too near,
And feels his rav'nous Dogs with Fury tear
Their wretched Master panting in a Deer.

The Birth of BACCHUS.

Actae [...]n's Suff'rings, and Diana's Rage,
Did all the Thoughts of Men and Gods engage;
Some call'd the Evils, which Diana wrought,
Too great, and disproportion'd to the Fault:
Others again, esteem'd Actaeon's Woes
Fit for a Virgin Goddess to impose.
The Hearers into diff'rent Parts divide,
And Reasons are produc'd on either Side.
Juno alone, of all that heard the News,
Nor would condemn the Goddess, nor excuse:
She heeded not the Justice of the Deed,
But joy'd to see the Race of Cadmus bleed;
For still she kept Europa in her Mind,
And, for her sake, detested all her Kind.
Besides, to aggravate her Hate, she heard
How Semele, to Jove's Embrace preferr'd,
Was now grown big with an immortal Load,
And carry'd in her Womb a future God.
Thus terribly incens'd, the Goddess broke
To sudden Fury, and abruptly spoke.
" Are my Reproaches of so small a Force?
" 'Tis time I then pursue another Course:
" It is decreed the guilty Wretch shall die,
" If I'm indeed the Mistress of the Sky,
" If rightly stil'd among the Pow'rs above
" The Wife and Sister of the thund'ring Jove;
" (And none can sure a Sister's Right deny)
" It is decreed the guilty Wretch shall die.
" She boasts an Honour I can hardly claim,
" Pregnant she rises to a Mother's Name;
[Page 84] "While proud and vain she triumphs in her Jove,
" And shows the glorious Tokens of his Love:
" But if I'm still the Mistress of the Skies,
" By her own Lover the fond Beauty dies.
This said, descending in a yellow Cloud,
Before the Gates of Semele she stood.
Old Beroe's decrepit Shape she wears,
Her wrinkled Visage, and her hoary Hairs;
Whilst in her trembling Gait she totters on,
And learns to tattle in the Nurse's Tone.
The Goddess, thus disguis'd in Age, beguil'd
With pleasing Stories her false Foster-Child.
Much did she talk of Love, and when she came
To mention to the Nymph her Lover's Name,
Fetching a Sigh, and holding down her Head,
" 'Tis well, says she, if all be true that's said.
" But trust me, Child, I'm much inclin'd to fear
" Some Counterfeit in this your Jupiter.
" Many an honest well-designing Maid,
" Has been by these pretended Gods betray'd.
" But if he be indeed the thund'ring Jove,
" Bid him, when next he court the Rites of Love,
" Descend triumphant from th' Etherial Sky,
" In all the Pomp of his Divinity;
" Encompas'd round by those Celestial Charms,
" With which he fills th' immortal Juno's Arms.
Th' unwary Nymph, ensnar'd with what she said,
Desir'd of Jove, when next he sought her Bed,
To grant a certain Gift which she would chuse;
" Fear not, reply'd the God, that I'll refuse
" Whate'er you ask: May Styx confirm my Voice,
" Chuse what you will, and you shall have your Choice.
[Page 85] "Then, says the Nymph, when next you seek my Arms,
" May you descend in those Celestial Charms,
" With which your Juno's Bosom you enflame,
" And fill with Transport Heav'n's Immortal Dame.
The God surpriz'd would fain have stopp'd her Voice,
But he had sworn, and she had made her Choice.
To keep his Promise he ascends, and shrowds
His awful Brow in Whirl-winds and in Clouds;
Whilst all around, in terrible Array,
His Thunders rattle, and his Light'nings play.
And yet, the dazzling Lustre to abate,
He set not out in all his Pomp and State,
Clad in the mildest Light'ning of the Skies,
And arm'd with Thunder of the smallest Size:
Not those huge Bolts, by which the Giants slain
Lay overthrown on the Phlegrean Plain.
'Twas of a lesser Mould, and lighter Weight;
They call it Thunder of a Second-Rate.
For the rough Cyclops, who by Jove's Command
Temper'd the Bolt, and turn'd it to his Hand,
Work'd up less Flame and Fury in its Make,
And quench'd it sooner in the standing Lake.
Thus dreadfully adorn'd, with Horror bright,
Th' illustrious God, descending from his Height,
Came rushing on her in a Storm of Light.
The mortal Dame, too feeble to engage
The Light'ning's Flashes, and the Thunder's Rage,
Consum'd amidst the Glories she desir'd,
And in the Terrible Embrace expir'd.
But, to preserve his Offspring from the Tomb,
Jove took him smoaking from the blasted Womb,
And, if on ancient Tales we may rely,
Inclos'd th' abortive Infant in his Thigh.
[Page 86] Here when the Babe had all his Time fulfill'd,
Ino first took him for her Foster-Child;
Then the Niseans, in their dark Abode,
Nurs'd secretly with Milk the thriving God.

The Transformation of TIRESIAS.

'Twas now, while these Transactions past on Earth,
And Bacchus thus procur'd a second Birth,
When Jove, dispos'd to lay aside the Weight
Of Publick Empire, and the Cares of State;
As to his Queen in Nectar Bowls he quaff'd,
" In troth, says he, and as he spoke he laugh'd,
" The Sense of Pleasure in the Male is far
" More dull and dead, than what you Females share.
Juno the Truth of what was said deny'd;
Tiresias therefore must the Cause decide,
For he the Pleasure of each Sex had try'd.
It happen'd once, within a shady Wood,
Two twisted Snakes he in Conjunction view'd;
When with his Staff their slimy Folds he broke,
And lost his Manhood at the fatal Stroke.
But, after sev'n revolving Years, he view'd
The self-same Serpents in the self-same Wood;
" And if, says he, such Virtue in you lye,
" That he who dares your slimy Folds untie
" Must change his Kind, a second Stroke I'll try.
Again he struck the Snakes, and stood again
New-Sex'd, and strait recover'd into Man.
Him therefore both the Deities create
The Sov'raign Umpire, in their grand Debate;
And he declar'd for Jove: When Juno fir'd,
More than so trivial an Affair requir'd,
[Page 87] Depriv'd him, in her Fury, of his Sight,
And left him groping round in sudden Night.
But Jove (for so it is in Heav'n decree'd,
That no one God repeal Another's Deed)
Irradiates all his Soul with inward Light,
And with the Prophet's Art relieves the want of Sight.

The Transformation of ECHO.

Fam'd far and near for knowing things to come,
From him th' enquiring Nations sought their Doom;
The fair Liriope his Answers try'd,
And first th' unerring Prophet justify'd;
This Nymph the God Cephisus had abus'd,
With all his winding Waters circumfus'd,
And on the Nereid got a lovely Boy,
Whom the soft Maids ev'n then beheld with Joy.
The tender Dame, sollicitous to know
Whether her Child should reach old Age or no,
Consults the Sage Tiresias, who replies,
" If e'er he knows himself, he surely dies.
Long liv'd the dubious Mother in Suspence,
'Till Time unriddled all the Prophet's Sense.
Narcissus now his Sixteenth Year began,
Just turn'd of Boy, and on the Verge of Man;
Many a Friend the blooming Youth caress'd,
Many a Love-sick Maid her Flame confess'd:
Such was his Pride, in vain the Friend caress'd,
The Love-sick Maid in vain her Flame confess'd.
Once, in the Woods, as he pursu'd the Chace,
The babbling Echo had descry'd his Face;
She, who in other's Words her Silence breaks,
Nor speaks her self but when another speaks.
[Page 88] Echo was then a Maid, of Speech bereft,
Of wonted Speech; for tho' her Voice was left,
Juno a Curse did on her Tongue impose,
To sport with ev'ry Sentence in the Close.
Full often when the Goddess might have caught
Jove and her Rivals in the very Fault,
This Nymph with subtle Stories would delay
Her Coming, 'till the Lovers slipp'd away.
The Goddess found out the Deceit in time,
And then she cry'd, " That Tongue, for this thy Crime,
" Which could so many subtle Tales produce,
" Shall be hereafter but of little use.
Hence 'tis she prattles in a fainter Tone,
With mimick Sounds, and Accents not her own.
This Love-sick Virgin, over-joy'd to find
The Boy alone, still follow'd him behind;
When glowing warmly at her near Approach,
As Sulphur blazes at the Taper's Touch,
She long'd her hidden Passion to reveal,
And tell her Pains, but had not Words to tell:
She can't begin, but waits for the Rebound,
To catch his Voice, and to return the Sound.
The Nymph, when nothing could Narcissus move,
Still dash'd with Blushes for her slighted Love,
Liv'd in the shady Covert of the Woods,
In solitary Caves and dark Abodes;
Where pining wander'd the rejected Fair,
'Till harrass'd out, and worn away with Care,
The sounding Skeleton, of Blood bereft,
Besides her Bones and Voice had nothing left.
Her Bones are petrify'd, her Voice is found
In Vaults, where still it Doubles ev'ry Sound.

The Story of NARCISSUS.

Thus did the Nymphs in vain caress the Boy,
He still was Lovely, but he still was Coy;
When one fair Virgin of the slighted Train
Thus pray'd the Gods, provok'd by his Disdain,
" Oh may he love like me, and love like me in vain!
Rhamnusia pity'd the neglected Fair,
And with just Vengeance answer'd to her Pray'r.
There stands a Fountain in a darksom Wood,
Nor stain'd with falling Leaves nor rising Mud;
Untroubled by the Breath of Winds it rests,
Unsully'd by the Touch of Men or Beasts;
High Bow'rs of shady Trees above it grow,
And rising Grass and chearful Greens below.
Pleas'd with the Form and Coolness of the Place,
And over-heated by the Morning Chace,
Narcissus on the grassie Verdure lyes:
But whilst within the Chrystal Fount he tries
To quench his Heat, he feels new Heats arise.
For as his own bright Image he survey'd,
He fell in Love with the fantastick Shade;
And o'er the Fair Resemblance hung unmov'd,
Nor knew, fond Youth! it was himself he lov'd.
The well-turn'd Neck and Shoulders he descries,
The spacious Forehead, and the spark'ling Eyes;
The Hands that Bacchus might not scorn to show,
And Hair that round Apollo's Head might flow;
With all the Purple Youthfulness of Face,
That gently blushes in the wat'ry Glass.
By his own Flames consum'd the Lover lyes,
And gives himself the Wound by which he dies.
[Page 90] To the cold Water oft he joins his Lips,
Oft catching at the beauteous Shade he dips
His Arms, as often from himself he slips.
Nor knows he who it is his Arms pursue
With eager Clasps, but loves he knows not who.
What could, fond Youth, this helpless Passion move?
What kindle in thee this unpity'd Love?
Thy own warm Blush within the Water glows,
With thee the colour'd Shadow comes and goes,
Its empty Being on thy self relies;
Step Thou aside, and the frail Charmer dies.
Still o'er the Fountain's watry Gleam he stood,
Mindless of Sleep, and negligent of Food.
Still view'd his Face, and languish'd as he view'd,
At length he rais'd his Head, and thus began
To vent his Griefs, and tell the Woods his Pain.
" You Trees, says he, and thou surrounding Grove,
" Who oft have been the kindly Scenes of Love,
" Tell me, if e'er within your Shades did lye
" A Youth so tortur'd, so perplex'd as I?
" I, who before me see the Charming [...]
" Whilst there he stands, and yet he [...]:
" In such a Maze of Love my [...];
" And yet no Bulwark'd Town, nor [...] Coast,
" Preserves the beauteous Youth from being seen,
" No Mountains rise, nor Oceans flow between.
" A shallow Water hinders my Embrace;
" And yet the lovely Mimick wears a Face
" That kindly smiles, and when I bend to join
" My Lips to his, he fondly bends to mine.
" Hear, gentle Youth, and [...] my Complaint,
" Come from thy Well, [...] Inhabitant.
[Page 91] "My Charms an easy Conquest have obtain'd
" O'er other Hearts, by Thee alone disdain'd.
" But why should I despair? I'm sure he burns
" With equal Flames, and languishes by turns.
" When-e'er I stoop he offers at a Kiss,
" And when my Arms I stretch, he stretches his.
" His Eye with Pleasure on my Face he keeps,
" He smiles my Smiles, and when I weep he weeps.
" When-e'er I speak, his moving Lips appear
" To utter something, which I cannot hear.
" Ah wretched me! I now begin too late
" To find out all the long-perplex'd Deceit;
" It is my self I love, my self I see;
" The gay Delusion is a Part of me.
" I kindle up the Fires by which I burn,
" And my own Beauties from the Well return.
" Whom should I Court? how utter my Complaint?
" Enjoyment but produces my Restraint,
" And too much Plenty makes me die for Want.
" How gladly would I from my self remove!
" And at a distance set the Thing I love.
" My Breast is warm'd with such unusual Fire,
" I wish him absent whom I most desire.
" And now I faint with Grief; my Fate draws nigh;
" In all the Pride of blooming Youth I die.
" Death will the Sorrows of my Heart relieve.
" Oh might the Visionary Youth survive,
" I should with Joy my latest Breath resign!
" But oh! I see his Fate involv'd in mine.
This said, the weeping Youth again return'd
To the clear Fountain, where again he burn'd;
His Tears defac'd the Surface of the Well,
With Circle after Circle, as they fell:
[Page 92] And now the lovely Face but half appears,
O'er-run with Wrinkles, and deform'd with Tears.
" Ah whither, cries Narcissus, dost thou fly?
" Let me still feed the Flame by which I die;
" Let me still See, tho' I'm no further blest.
Then rends his Garment off, and beats his Breast:
His naked Bosom redden'd with the Blow,
In such a Blush as purple Clusters show,
E're yet the Sun's Autumnal Heats refine
Their sprightly Juice, and mellow it to Wine.
The glowing Beauties of his Breast he spies,
And with a new redoubled Passion dies.
As Wax dissolves, as Ice begins to run,
And trickle into Drops before the Sun;
So melts the Youth, and languishes away,
His Beauty withers, and his Limbs decay;
And none of those attractive Charms remain,
To which the slighted Echo su'd in vain.
She saw him in his present Misery,
Whom, spight of all her Wrongs, she griev'd to see.
She answer'd sadly to the Lover's Moan,
Sigh'd back his Sighs, and groan'd to ev'ry Groan:
" Ah Youth! belov'd in vain, Narcissus cries;
" Ah Youth! belov'd in vain, the Nymph replies.
" Farewel, says he; the parting Sound scarce fell
From his faint Lips, but she reply'd, " Farewel.
Then on th' unwholsome Earth he gasping lyes,
'Till Death shuts up those self-admiring Eyes.
To the cold Shades his flitting Ghost retires,
And in the Stygian Waves it self admires.
For him the Naiads and the Dryads mourn,
Whom the sad Echo answers in her turn;
And now the Sister-Nymphs prepare his Urn:
[Page 93] When, looking for his Corps, they only found
A rising Stalk, with yellow Blossoms crown'd.

The Story of PENTHEUS.

This sad Event gave blind Tiresias Fame,
Through Greece establish'd in a Prophet's Name.
Th' un-hallow'd Pentheus only durst deride
The cheated People, and their Eyeless Guide.
To whom the Prophet in his Fury said,
Shaking the hoary Honours of his Head;
" 'Twere well, presumptuous Man, 'twere well for thee
" If thou wert Eyeless too, and blind, like me:
" For the Time comes, nay, 'tis already here,
" When the young God's Solemnities appear;
" Which, if thou dost not with just Rites adorn,
" Thy impious Carcass, into Pieces torn,
" Shall strew the Woods, and hang on ev'ry Thorn.
" Then, then, remember what I now foretel,
" And own the blind Tiresias saw too well.
Still Pentheus scorns him, and derides his Skill,
But Time did all the Prophet's Threats fulfil.
For now thro' prostrate Greece young Bacchus rode,
Whilst howling Matrons celebrate the God.
All Ranks and Sexes to his Orgies ran,
To mingle in the Pomps, and fill the Train.
When Pentheus thus his wicked Rage express'd;
" What Madness, Thebans, has your Souls possess'd?
" Can hollow Timbrels, can a drunken Shout,
" And the lewd Clamours of a beastly Rout,
" Thus quell your Courage? Can the weak Alarm
" Of Womens Yells those stubborn Souls disarm,
" Whom nor the Sword nor Trumpet e'er could fright,
" Nor the loud Din and Horror of a Fight?
[Page 94] "And you, our Sires, who left your old Abodes,
" And fix'd in foreign Earth your Country Gods;
" Will you without a Stroak your City yield,
" And poorly quit an undisputed Field?
" But you, whose Youth and Vigour should inspire
" Heroick Warmth, and kindle Martial Fire,
" Whom burnish'd Arms and crested Helmets grace,
" Not flow'ry Garlands and a painted Face;
" Remember him to whom you stand ally'd:
" The Serpent for his Well of Waters dy'd.
" He fought the Strong; do you his Courage show,
" And gain a Conquest o'er a Feeble Foe.
" If Thebes must fall, oh might the Fates afford
" A nobler Doom from Famine, Fire, or Sword!
" Then might the Thebans perish with Renown:
" But now a beardless Victor sacks the Town;
" Whom nor the prancing Steed, nor pond'rous Shield,
" Nor the hack'd Helmet, nor the dusty Field,
" But the soft Joys of Luxury and Ease,
" The purple Vests, and flow'ry Garlands please.
" Stand then aside, I'll make the Counterfeit
" Renounce his God-head, and confess the Cheat.
" Acrisius from the Grecian Walls repell'd
" This boasted Pow'r; why then should Pentheus yield?
" Go quickly, drag th' audacious Boy to Me;
" I'll try the Force of his Divinity.
Thus did th' audacious Wretch those Rites profane;
His Friends dissuade th' audacious Wretch in vain;
In vain his Grandsire urg'd him to give o'er
His impious Threats; the Wretch but raves the more.
So have I seen a River gently glide,
In a smooth Course, and inoffensive Tide;
But if with Dams its Current we restrain,
It bears down all, and Foams along the Plain.
[Page 95] But now his Servants came besmear'd with Blood,
Sent by their haughty Prince to seize the God;
The God they found not in the frantick Throng,
But dragg'd a zealous Votary along.

The Mariners transform'd to Dolphins.

Him Pentheus view'd with Fury in his Look,
And scarce with-held his Hands, whilst thus he spoke:
" Vile Slave! whom speedy Vengeance shall pursue,
" And terrify thy base seditious Crew:
" Thy Country, and thy Parentage reveal,
" And, why thou join'st in these mad Orgies, tell.
The Captive views him with undaunted Eyes,
And, arm'd with inward Innocence, replies.
" From high Meonia's rocky Shores I came,
" Of poor Descent, Acoetes is my Name:
" My Sire was meanly born; no Oxen plow'd
" His fruitful Fields, nor in his Pastures low'd.
" His whole Estate within the Waters lay;
" With Lines and Hooks he caught the finny Prey.
" His Art was all his Livelihood; which he
" Thus with his dying Lips bequeath'd to me:
" In Streams, my Boy, and Rivers take thy Chance;
" There swims, said he, thy whole Inheritance.
" Long did I live on this poor Legacy;
" 'Till tir'd with Rocks, and my old native Sky,
" To Arts of Navigation I inclin'd;
" Observ'd the Turns and Changes of the Wind:
" Learn'd the fit Havens, and began to note
" The stormy Hyades, the rainy Goat,
" The bright Taygete, and the shining Bears,
With all the Sailor's Catalogue of Stars.
" Once, as by chance for Delos I design'd,
" My Vessel, driv'n by a strong Gust of Wind,
[Page 96] "Moor'd in a Chian Creek; ashore I went,
" And all the following Night in Chios spent.
" When Morning rose, I sent my Mates to bring
" Supplies of Water from a neighb'ring Spring,
" Whilst I the Motion of the Winds explor'd;
" Then summon'd in my Crew, and went aboard.
" Opheltes heard my Summons, and with Joy
" Brought to the Shoar a soft and lovely Boy,
" With more than Female Sweetness in his Look,
" Whom straggling in the neighb'ring Fields he took.
" With Fumes of Wine the little Captive glows,
" And nods with Sleep, and staggers as he goes.
" I view'd him nicely, and began to trace
" Each heav'nly Feature, each immortal Grace,
" And saw Divinity in all his Face.
" I know not who, said I, this God should be;
" But that he is a God I plainly see:
" And Thou, who-e'er thou art, excuse the Force
" These Men have us'd; and oh befriend our Course!
" Pray not for us, the nimble Dictys cry'd,
" Dictys, that could the Main-top-Mast bestride,
" And down the Ropes with active Vigour slide.
" To the same Purpose old Epopeus spoke,
" Who over-look'd the Oars, and tim'd the Stroke;
" The same the Pilot, and the same the rest;
" Such impious Avarice their Souls possest.
" Nay, Heav'n forbid that I should bear away
" Within my Vessel so divine a Prey,
" Said I; and stood to hinder their Intent:
" When Lycabas, a Wretch for Murder sent
" From Tuscany, to suffer Banishment,
" With his clench'd Fist had struck me over-board,
" Had not my Hands in falling grasp'd a Cord.
[Page 97] "His base Confederates the Fact approve;
" When Bacchus, (for 'twas he) begun to move,
" Wak'd by the Noise and Clamours which they rais'd;
" And shook his drowsie Limbs, and round him gaz'd:
" What means this Noise? he cries; am I betray'd?
" Ah! whither, whither must I be convey'd?
" Fear not, said Proreus, Child, but tell us where
" You wish to land, and trust our friendly Care.
" To Naxos then direct your Course, said he;
" Naxos a hospitable Port shall be
" To each of you, a joyful Home to me.
" By ev'ry God, that rules the Sea or Sky,
" The perjur'd Villains promise to comply,
" And bid me hasten to unmoor the Ship.
" With eager Joy I launch into the Deep;
" And, heedless of the Fraud, for Naxos stand.
" They whisper oft, and beckon with the Hand,
" And give me Signs, all anxious for their Prey,
" To tack about, and fsteer another Way.
" Then let some other to my Post succeed,
" Said I, I'm guiltless of so foul a Deed.
" What, says Ethalion, must the Ship's whole Crew
" Follow your Humour, and depend on you?
" And strait himself he seated at the Prore,
" And tack'd about, and sought another Shore.
" The beauteous Youth now found himself betray'd,
" And from the Deck the rising Waves survey'd,
" And seem'd to weep, and as he wept he said;
" And do you thus my easy Faith beguile?
" Thus do you bear me to my native Isle?
" Will such a Multitude of Men employ
" Their Strength against a weak defenceless Boy?
[Page 98] "In vain did I the God-like Youth deplore,
" The more I begg'd, they thwarted me the more.
" And now by all the Gods in Heav'n that hear
" This solemn Oath, by Bacchus self, I swear,
" The mighty Miracle that did ensue,
" Although it seems beyond Belief, is true.
" The Vessel, fix'd and rooted in the Flood,
" Unmov'd by all the beating Billows stood.
" In vain the Mariners would plow the Main
" With Sails unfurl'd, and strike their Oars in vain;
" Around their Oars a twining Ivy cleaves,
" And climbs the Mast, and hides the Cords in Leaves:
" The Sails are cover'd with a chearful Green,
" And Berries in the fruitful Canvase seen.
" Amidst the Waves a sudden Forrest rears
" Its verdant Head, and a new Spring appears.
" The God we now behold with open'd Eyes;
" A Herd of spotted Panthers round him lyes
" In glaring Forms; the grapy Clusters spread
" On his fair Brows, and dangle on his Head.
" And whilst he frowns, and brandishes his Spear,
" My Mates, surpriz'd with Madness or with Fear,
" Leap'd over-board; first perjur'd Madon found
" Rough Scales and Fins his stiff'ning Sides surround;
" Ah what, cries one, has thus transform'd thy Look?
" Strait his own Mouth grew wider as he spoke;
" And now himself he views with like Surprize.
" Still at his Oar th' industrious Libys plies;
" But, as he plies, each busy Arm shrinks in,
" And by degrees is fashion'd to a Fin.
" Another, as he catches at a Cord,
" Misses his Arms, and, tumbling over-board,
[Page 99] "With his broad Fins and forky Tail he laves
" The rising Surge, and flounces in the Waves.
" Thus all my Crew transform'd around the Ship,
" Or dive below, or on the Surface leap,
" And spout the Waves, and wanton in the Deep.
" Full nineteen Sailors did the Ship convey,
" A Shole of nineteen Dolphins round her play.
" I only in my proper Shape appear,
" Speechless with Wonder, and half dead with Fear,
" 'Till Bacchus kindly bid me fear no more.
" With him I landed on the Chian Shore,
" And him shall ever gratefully adore.
" This forging Slave, says Pentheus, would prevail,
" O'er our just Fury by a far-fetch'd Tale:
" Go, let him feel the Whips, the Swords, the Fire,
" And in the Tortures of the Rack expire.
Th' officious Servants hurry him away,
And the poor Captive in a Dungeon lay.
But, whilst the Whips and Tortures are prepar'd,
The Gates fly open, of themselves unbarr'd;
At Liberty th' unfetter'd Captive stands,
And flings the loosen'd Shackles from his Hands.

The Death of PENTHEUS.

But Pentheus, grown more furious than before,
Resolv'd to send his Messengers no more,
But went himself to the distracted Throng,
Where high Cithaeron echo'd with their Song.
And as the fiery War-horse paws the Ground,
And snorts and trembles at the Trumpet's Sound;
Transported thus he heard the frantick Rout,
And rav'd and madden'd at the distant Shout.
A spacious Circuit on the Hill there stood,
Level and wide, and skirted round with Wood;
[Page 100] Here the rash Pentheus, with unhallow'd Eyes,
The howling Dames and mystick Orgies spies.
His Mother sternly view'd him where he stood,
And kindled into Madness as she view'd:
Her leafy Jav'lin at her Son she cast,
And cries, " The Boar that lays our Country waste!
" The Boar, my Sisters! Aim the fatal Dart,
" And strike the brindled Monster to the Heart.
Pentheus astonish'd heard the dismal Sound,
And sees the yelling Matrons gath'ring round;
He sees, and weeps at his approaching Fate,
And begs for Mercy, and repents too late.
" Help, help! my Aunt Autonöe, he cry'd;
" Remember how your own Actaeon dy'd.
Deaf to his Cries, the frantick Matron crops
One stretch'd-out Arm, the other Ino lops.
In vain does Pentheus to his Mother sue,
And the raw bleeding Stumps presents to view:
His Mother howl'd; and, heedless of his Pray'r,
Her trembling Hand she twisted in his Hair,
" And This, she cry'd, shall be Agave's Share.
When from the Neck his struggling Head she tore,
And in her Hands the ghastly Visage bore,
With Pleasure all the hideous Trunk survey;
Then pull'd and tore the mangled Limbs away,
As starting in the Pangs of Death it lay.
Soon as the Wood its leafy Honours casts,
Blown off and scatter'd by autumnal Blasts,
With such a sudden Death lay Pentheus slain,
And in a thousand Pieces strow'd the Plain.
By so distinguishing a Judgment aw'd,
The Thebans tremble, and confess the God.
The End of the Third Book.
To the Right Honourable the Countess of Hartford.


The Story of ALCITHÖE and her Sisters.

YET still Alcithöe perverse remains,
And Bacchus still, and all his Rites disdains.
Too rash, and madly bold, she bids him prove
Himself a God, nor owns the Son of Jove.
Her Sisters too unanimous agree,
Faithful Associates in Impiety.
Be this a solemn Feast, the Priest had said,
Be, with each Mistress, unemploy'd each Maid.
With Skins of Beasts your tender Limbs enclose,
And with an Ivy-Crown adorn your Brows.
The leafy Thyrsus high in Triumph bear,
And give your Locks to wanton in the Air.
These Rites profan'd, the holy Seer foreshow'd.
A mourning People, and a vengeful God.
Matrons, and pious Wives Obedience show,
Distaffs, and Wooll, half-spun, away they throw▪
[Page 102] Then Incense burn, and, Bacchus, thee adore,
Or lov'st thou Nysêus, or Lyaeus more?
O! doubly got, O! doubly born, they sung,
Thou mighty Bromius, hail, from Light'ning sprung!
Hail, Thyon! Elelêus! each Name is thine:
Or listen Parent of the genial Vine!
Iäcchus! Evan! loudly they repeat,
And not one Greecian Attribute forget,
Which to thy Praise, Great Deity, belong,
Stil'd justly Liber in the Roman Song.
Eternity of Youth is thine! enjoy
Years roul'd on Years, yet still a blooming Boy.
In Heav'n thou shin'st with a superior Grace;
Conceal thy Horns, and 'tis a Virgin's Face.
Thou taught'st the tawny Indian to obey,
And Ganges, smoothly flowing, own'd thy Sway.
Lycurgus, Pentheus, equally profane,
By thy just Vengeance equally were slain.
By thee the Tuscans, who conspir'd to keep
Thee Captive, plung'd, and cut with Finns the Deep.
With painted Reins, all-glitt'ring from afar,
The spotted Lynxes proudly draw thy Car.
Around, the Bacchae, and the Satyrs throng;
Behind, Silenus, drunk, lags slow along:
On his dull Ass he nods from Side to Side,
Forbears to fall, yet half forgets to ride.
Still at thy near Approach, Applauses loud
Are heard, with Yellings of the Female Crowd.
Timbrels, and Boxen Pipes, with mingled Cries,
Swell up in Sounds confus'd, and rend the Skies.
Come, Bacchus, come propitious, all implore,
And act thy sacred Orgies o'er and o'er.
[Page 103] But Mineus' Daughters, while these Rites were pay'd,
At home, impertinently busie, stay'd.
Their wicked Tasks they ply with various Art,
And thro' the Loom the sliding Shuttle dart;
Or at the Fire to comb the Wooll they stand,
Or twirl the Spindle with a dext'rous Hand.
Guilty themselves, they force the Guiltless in;
Their Maids, who share the Labour, share the Sin.
At last one Sister cries, who nimbly knew
To draw nice Threads, and winde the finest Clue,
While others idly rove, and Gods revere,
Their fancy'd Gods! they know not who, or where;
Let us, whom Pallas taught her better Arts,
Still working, cheer with mirthful Chat our Hearts:
And to deceive the Time, let me prevail
With each by turns to tell some antique Tale.
She said, her Sisters lik'd the Humour well,
And smiling, bad her the first Story tell.
But she awhile profoundly seem'd to muse,
Perplex'd amid Variety to chuse:
And knew not, whether she should first relate
The poor Dircetis, and her wond'rous Fate.
The Palestines believe it to a Man,
And show the Lake, in which her Scales began.
Or if she rather should the Daughter sing,
Who in the hoary Verge of Life took Wing;
Who soar'd from Earth, and dwelt in Tow'rs on high,
And now a Dove, she flits along the Sky.
Or how lewd Naïs, when her Lust was cloy'd,
To Fishes turn'd the Youths, she had enjoy'd,
By pow'rful Verse, and Herbs; Effect most strange!
At last the Changer shar'd herself the Change.
[Page 104] Or how the Tree, which once white Berries bore,
Still crimson bears, since stain'd with crimson Gore.
The Tree was new; she likes it, and begins
To tell the Tale, and as she tells, she spins.

The Story of PYRAMUS and THISBE.

In Babylon, where first her Queen, for State
Rais'd Walls of Brick magnificently great,
Liv'd Pyramus, and Thisbe, lovely Pair!
He found no Eastern Youth his Equal there,
And she beyond the fairest Nymph was fair.
A closer Neighbourhood was never known,
Tho' two the Houses, yet the Roof was one.
Acquaintance grew, th' Acquaintance they improve
To Friendship, Friendship ripen'd into Love:
Love had been crown'd, but impotently mad,
What Parents could not hinder, they forbad.
For with fierce Flames young Pyramus still burn'd,
And grateful Thisbe Flames as fierce return'd.
Aloud in Words their Thoughts they dare not break,
But silent stand, and silent Looks can speak.
The Fire of Love the more it is supprest,
The more it glows, and rages in the Breast.
When the Division-wall was built, a Chink
Was left, the Cement unobserv'd to shrink.
So slight the Cranny, that it still had been
For Centuries unclos'd, because unseen.
But oh! what thing so small, so secret lies,
Which scapes, if form'd for Love, a Lover's Eyes?
Ev'n in this narrow Chink they quickly found
A friendly Passage for a trackless Sound.
[Page 105] Safely they told their Sorrows, and their Joys
In whisper'd Murmurs, and a dying Noise.
By turns to catch each other's Breath they strove,
And suck'd in all the balmy Breeze of Love.
Oft as on diff'rent Sides they stood, they cry'd,
Malicious Wall, thus Lovers to divide!
Suppose, thou should'st awhile to us give Place
To lock, and fasten in a close Embrace:
But if too much to grant so sweet a Bliss,
Indulge at least the Pleasure of a Kiss.
We scorn Ingratitude: To thee, we know,
This safe Conveyance of our Minds we owe.
Thus they their vain Petition did renew
Till Night, and then they softly sigh'd Adieu.
But first they strove to kiss, and that was all;
Their Kisses dy'd untasted on the Wall.
Soon as the Morn had o'er the Stars prevail'd,
And warn'd by Phoebus, Flow'rs their Dews exhal'd,
The Lovers to their well-known Place return,
Alike they suffer, and alike they mourn.
At last their Parents they resolve to cheat,
(If to deceive in Love be call'd Deceit)
To steal by Night from home, and thence unknown
To seek the Fields, and quit th' unfaithful Town.
But to prevent their wand'ring in the Dark,
They both agree to fix upon a Mark;
A Mark, that could not their Designs expose:
The Tomb of Ninus was the Mark they chose.
There they might rest secure beneath the Shade,
Which Boughs, with snowy Fruit encumber'd, made:
A wide-spread Mulberry its Rise had took
Just on the Margin of a gurgling Brook.
[Page 106] Impatient for the friendly Dusk they stay;
And chide the Slowness of departing Day;
In Western Seas down sunk at last the Light,
From Western Seas up-rose the Shades of Night.
The loving Thisbe ev'n prevents the Hour,
With cautious Silence she unlocks the Door,
And veils her Face, and marching thro' the Gloom
Swiftly arrives at th' Assignation-Tomb.
For still the fearful Sex can fearless prove;
Boldly they act, if spirited by Love.
When lo! a Lioness rush'd o'er the Plain,
Grimly besmear'd with Blood of Oxen slain;
And what to the dire Sight new Horrors brought,
To slake her Thirst the neighb'ring Spring she sought
Which, by the Moon, when trembling Thisbe spies,
Wing'd with her Fear, swift, as the Wind, she flies;
And in a Cave recovers from her Fright,
But drop'd her Veil, confounded in her Flight.
When sated with repeated Draughts, again
The Queen of Beasts scour'd back along the Plain,
She found the Veil, and mouthing it all o'er,
With bloody Jaws the lifeless Prey she tore.
The Youth, who could not cheat his Guards so soon,
Late came, and noted by the glimm'ring Moon
Some savage Feet, new printed on the Ground,
His Cheeks turn'd pale, his Limbs no Vigour found:
But, when advancing on, the Veil he spied
Distain'd with Blood, and ghastly torn, he cried,
One Night shall Death to two young Lovers give,
But she deserv'd unnumber'd Years to live!
'Tis I am guilty, I have thee betray'd,
Who came not early, as my charming Maid.
[Page 107] Whatever slew thee, I the Cause remain,
I nam'd, and fix'd the Place, where thou wast slain.
Ye Lions from your neighb'ring Dens repair,
Pity the Wretch, this impious Body tear!
But Cowards thus for Death can idly crie;
The Brave still have it in their Pow'r to die.
Then to th'appointed Tree he hastes away,
The Veil first gather'd, tho' all rent it lay:
The Veil all rent, yet still itself endears,
He kist, and kissing, wash'd it with his Tears.
Tho' rich (he cry'd) with many a precious Stain,
Still from my Blood a deeper Tincture gain.
Then in his Breast his shining Sword he drown'd,
And fell supine, extended on the Ground.
As out again the Blade he, dying, drew,
Out spun the Blood, and streaming upwards flew.
So if a Conduit-pipe e'er burst you saw,
Swift spring the gushing Waters thro' the Flaw:
Then spouting in a Bow, they rise on high,
And a new Fountain plays amid the Sky.
The Berries, stain'd with Blood, began to show
A dark Complexion, and forgot their Snow;
While fatten'd with the flowing Gore, the Root
Was doom'd for ever to a purple Fruit.
Mean time poor Thisbe fear'd, so long she stay'd,
Her Lover might suspect a perjur'd Maid.
Her Fright scarce o'er, she strove the Youth to find
With ardent Eyes, which spoke an ardent Mind.
Already in his Arms, she hears him sigh
At her Destruction, which was once so nigh.
The Tomb, the Tree, but not the Fruit she knew,
The Fruit she doubted for its alter'd Hue.
[Page 108] Still as she doubts, her Eyes a Body found
Quiv'ring in Death, and gasping on the Ground.
She started back, the Red her Cheeks forsook,
And ev'ry Nerve with thrilling Horrors shook.
So trembles the smooth Surface of the Seas,
If brush'd o'er gently with a rising Breeze.
But when her View her bleeding Love confest,
She shriek'd, she tore her Hair, she beat her Breast.
She rais'd the Body, and embrac'd it round,
And bath'd with Tears unfeign'd the gaping Wound.
Then her warm Lips to the cold Face apply'd,
And is it thus, ah! thus we meet, she cry'd!
My Pyramus! whence sprung thy cruel Fate?
My Pyramus!— ah! speak, e'er 'tis too late.
I, thy own Thisbe, but one Word implore,
One Word thy Thisbe never ask'd before.
At Thisbe's Name, awak'd, he open'd wide
His dying Eyes; with dying Eyes he try'd
On her to dwell, but clos'd them slow, and dy'd.
The fatal Cause was now at last explor'd,
Her Veil she knew, and saw his sheathless Sword:
From thy own Hand thy Ruin thou hast found,
She said, but Love first taught that Hand to wound.
Ev'n I for thee as bold a Hand can show,
And Love, which shall as true direct the Blow.
I will against the Woman's Weakness strive,
And never thee, lamented Youth, survive.
The World may say, I caus'd, alas! thy Death,
But saw thee breathless, and resign'd my Breath.
Fate, tho' it conquers, shall no Triumph gain,
Fate, that divides us, still divides in vain.
[Page 109] Now, both our cruel Parents, hear my Pray'r,
My Pray'r to offer for us both I dare:
Oh! see our Ashes in one Urn confin'd,
Whom Love at first, and Fate at last has joyn'd.
The Bliss, you envy'd, is not our Request;
Lovers, when dead, may sure together rest.
Thou, Tree, where now one lifeless Lump is laid,
E'er long o'er two shalt cast a friendly Shade.
Still let our Loves from thee be understood,
Still witness in thy purple Fruit our Blood.
She spoke, and in her Bosom plung'd the Sword,
All warm and reeking from it's slaughter'd Lord.
The Pray'r, which dying Thisbe had preferr'd,
Both Gods, and Parents with Compassion heard.
The Whiteness of the Mulberry soon fled,
And rip'ning, sadden'd in a dusky Red:
While both their Parents their lost Children mourn,
And mix their Ashes in one golden Urn.
Thus did the melancholy Tale conclude,
And a short, silent Interval ensu'd.
The next in Birth unloos'd her artful Tongue,
And drew attentive all the Sister-Throng.

The Story of LEUCOTHÖE and the SUN.

The Sun, the Source of Light, by Beauty's Pow'r
Once am'rous grew; then hear the Sun's Amour.
Venus, and Mars, with his far-piercing Eyes
This God first spy'd; this God first all things spies.
Stung at the Sight, and swift on Mischief bent,
To haughty Juno's shapeless Son he went:
The Goddess, and her God-Gallant betray'd,
And told the Cuckold, where their Pranks were play'd.
[Page 110] Poor Vulcan soon desir'd to hear no more,
He drop'd his Hammer, and he shook all o'er:
Then Courage takes, and full of vengeful Ire
He heaves the Bellows, and blows fierce the Fire.
From liquid Brass, tho' sure, yet subtle Snares
He forms, and next a wond'rous Net prepares,
Drawn with such curious Art, so nicely sly,
Unseen the Mashes cheat the searching Eye.
Not half so thin their Webs the Spiders weave,
Which the most wary, buzzing Prey deceive.
These Chains, obedient to the Touch, he spread
In secret Foldings o'er the conscious Bed:
The conscious Bed again was quickly prest
By the fond Pair, in lawless Raptures blest.
Mars wonder'd at his Cytherëa's Charms,
More fast than ever lock'd within her Arms.
While Vulcan th' Iv'ry Doors unbarr'd with Care,
Then call'd the Gods to view the sportive Pair;
The Gods throng'd in, and saw in open Day,
Where Mars, and Beauty's Queen, all naked, lay.
O! shameful Sight, if shameful that we name,
Which Gods with Envy view'd, and could not blame,
But for the Pleasure wish'd to bear the Shame.
Each Deity, with Laughter tir'd, departs,
Yet all still laugh'd at Vulcan in their Hearts.
Thro' Heav'n the News of this Surprizal run,
But Venus did not thus forget the Sun.
He, who stol'n Transports idly had betray'd,
By a Betrayer was in kind repay'd.
What now avails, great God, thy piercing Blaze,
That Youth, and Beauty, and those golden Rays?
[Page 111] Thou, who can'st warm this Universe alone,
Feel'st now a Warmth more pow'rful than thy own:
And those bright Eyes, which all things should survey,
Know not from fair Leucothöe to stray.
The Lamp of Light, for human Good design'd,
Is to one Virgin niggardly confin'd.
Sometimes too early rise thy Eastern Beams,
Sometimes too late they set in Western Streams:
'Tis then her Beauty thy swift Course delays,
And gives to Winter Skies long Summer Days.
Now in thy Face thy love-sick Mind appears,
And spreads thro' impious Nations empty Fears:
For when thy beamless Head is wrapt in Night,
Poor Mortals tremble in despair of Light.
'Tis not the Moon, that o'er thee casts a Veil,
'Tis Love alone, which makes thy Looks so pale.
Leucothöe is grown thy only Care,
Not Phäeton's fair Mother now is fair.
The youthful Rhodos moves no tender Thought,
And beauteous Persa is at last forgot.
Fond Clytiè, scorn'd, yet lov'd, and sought thy Bed,
Ev'n then thy Heart for other Virgins bled.
Leucothöe has all thy Soul possest,
And chas'd each rival Passion from thy Breast.
To this bright Nymph Eurynomè gave Birth
In the blest Confines of the spicy Earth.
Excelling others, she herself beheld
By her own blooming Daughter far excell'd.
The Sire was Orchamus, whose vast Command,
The Seventh from Belus, rul'd the Persian Land.
Deep in cool Vales, beneath th'Hesperian Sky,
For the Sun's fiery Steeds the Pastures lye.
[Page 112] Ambrosia there they eat, and thence they gain
New Vigour, and their daily Toils sustain.
While thus on heav'nly Food the Coursers fed,
And Night, around, her gloomy Empire spread,
The God assum'd the Mother's Shape, and Air,
And pass'd, unheeded, to his darling Fair.
Close by a Lamp, with Maids encompass'd round,
The Royal Spinster, full-employ'd, he found:
Then cry'd, A-while from Work, my Daughter, rest;
And, like a Mother, scarce her Lips he prest.
Servants, retire!—nor Secrets dare to hear
Intrusted only to a Daughter's Ear.
They swift obey'd: Not one, suspicious, thought
The Secret, which their Mistress would be taught.
Then he: Since now no Witnesses are near,
Behold! the God, who guides the various Year!
The World's vast Eye, of Light the Source serene,
Who all things sees, by whom are all things seen.
Believe me, Nymph! (for I the Truth have show'd)
Thy Charms have Pow'r to charm so great a God.
Confus'd, she heard him his soft Passion tell,
And on the Floor, untwirl'd, the Spindle fell:
Still from the sweet Confusion some new Grace
Blush'd out by stealth, and languish'd in her Face.
The Lover, now inflam'd, himself put on,
And out at once the God, all-radiant, shone.
The Virgin startled at his alter'd Form,
Too weak to bear a God's impetuous Storm:
No more against the dazling Youth she strove,
But silent yielded, and indulg'd his Love.
This Clytiè knew, and knew she was undone,
Whose Soul was fix'd, and doated on the Sun.
[Page 113] She rag'd to think on her neglected Charms,
And Phoebus, panting in another's Arms.
With envious Madness fir'd, she flies in haste,
And tells the King, his Daughter was unchaste.
The King, incens'd to hear his Honour stain'd,
No more the Father, nor the Man retain'd.
In vain she stretch'd her Arms, and turn'd her Eyes
To her lov'd God, th' Enlight'ner of the Skies.
In vain she own'd, it was a Crime, yet still
It was a Crime not acted by her Will.
The brutal Sire stood deaf to ev'ry Pray'r,
And deep in Earth entomb'd alive the Fair.
What Phoebus could do, was by Phoebus done,
Full on her Grave with pointed Beams he shone:
To pointed Beams the gaping Earth gave way,
Had the Nymph Eyes, her Eyes had seen the Day,
But lifeless now, yet lovely still, she lay.
Not more the God wept, when the World was fir'd,
And in the Wreck his blooming Boy expir'd.
The vital Flame he strives to light again,
And warm the frozen Blood in ev'ry Vein:
But since resistless Fates deny'd that Pow'r,
On the cold Nymph he rain'd a Nectar-show'r.
Ah! undeserving thus (he said) to die,
Yet still in Odours thou shalt reach the Sky.
The Body soon dissolv'd, and all around
Perfum'd with heav'nly Fragrancies the Ground.
A Sacrifice for Gods up-rose from thence,
A sweet, delightful Tree of Frankincense.

The Transformation of CLYTIE.

Tho' guilty Clytiè thus the Sun betray'd,
By too much Passion she was guilty made.
Excess of Love begot Excess of Grief,
Grief fondly bad her hence to hope Relief.
But angry Phoebus hears, unmov'd, her Sighs,
And scornful from her loath'd Embraces flies.
All Day, all Night, in trackless Wilds, alone
She pin'd, and taught the list'ning Rocks her Moan.
On the bare Earth she lies, her Bosom bare,
Loose her Attire, dishevel'd is her Hair.
Nine times the Morn unbarr'd the Gates of Light,
As oft were spread th' alternate Shades of Night,
So long no Sustenance the Mourner knew,
Unless she drunk her Tears, or suck'd the Dew.
She turn'd about, but rose not from the Ground,
Turn'd to the Sun, still as he roul'd his Round:
On his bright Face hung her desiring Eyes,
Till fix'd to Earth, she strove in vain to rise.
Her Looks their Paleness in a Flow'r retain'd,
But here, and there, some purple Streaks they gain'd.
Still the lov'd Object the fond Leafs pursue,
Still move their Root, the moving Sun to view,
And in the Heliotrope the Nymph is true.
The Sisters heard these Wonders with Surprise,
But part receiv'd them, as Romantick Lies;
And pertly rally'd, that they could not see
In Pow'rs Divine so vast an Energy.
Part own'd, true Gods such Miracles might do,
But own'd not Bacchus, one among the True.
[Page 115] At last a common, just Request they make,
And beg Alcithöe her Turn to take.
I will (she said) and please you, if I can,
Then shot her Shuttle swift, and thus began.
The Fate of Daphnis is a Fate too known,
Whom an enamour'd Nymph transform'd to Stone,
Because she fear'd another Nymph might see
The lovely Youth, and love as much as she:
So strange the Madness is of Jealousie!
Nor shall I tell, what Changes Scython made,
And how he walk'd a Man, or tripp'd a Maid.
You too would peevish frown, and Patience want
To hear, how Celmis grew an Adamant.
He once was dear to Jove, and saw of old
Jove, when a Child, but what he saw, he told.
Crocus, and Smilax may be turn'd to Flow'rs,
And the Curetes spring from bounteous Show'rs;
I pass a hundred Legends stale, as these,
And with sweet Novelty your Taste will please.


How Salmacis, with weak enfeebling Streams
Softens the Body, and unnerves the Limbs,
And what the secret Cause, shall here be shown;
The Cause is secret, but th' Effect is known.
The Naïds nurst an Infant heretofore,
That Cytherea once to Hermes bore:
From both th' Illustrious Authors of his Race
The Child was nam'd; nor was it hard to trace
Both the bright Parents thro' the Infant's Face.
[Page 116] When fifteen Years, in Ida's cool Retreat,
The Boy had told, he left his Native Seat,
And sought fresh Fountains in a foreign Soil:
The Pleasure lessen'd the attending Toil.
With eager Steps the Lycian Fields he crost,
And Fields that border on the Lycian Coast;
A River here he view'd so lovely bright,
It shew'd the Bottom in a fairer Light,
Nor kept a Sand conceal'd from Human sight.
The Stream produc'd nor slimy Ooze, nor Weeds,
Nor miry Rushes, nor the spiky Reeds;
But dealt enriching Moisture all around,
The fruitful Banks with chearful Verdure crown'd,
And kept the Spring Eternal on the Ground.
A Nymph presides, nor practis'd in the Chace,
Nor skilful at the Bow, nor at the Race;
Of all the Blue-ey'd Daughters of the Main,
The only Stranger to Diana's Train:
Her Sisters often, as 'tis said, wou'd cry
" Fie Salmacis, what always idle! fie,
" Or take thy Quiver, or thy Arrows seize,
" And mix the Toils of Hunting with thy Ease.
Nor Quiver she nor Arrows e'er wou'd seize,
Nor mix the Toils of Hunting with her Ease.
But oft would bathe her in the Chrystal Tide,
Oft with a Comb her dewy Locks divide;
Now in the limpid Streams she views her Face,
And drest her Image in the floating Glass:
On Beds of Leaves she now repos'd her Limbs,
Now gather'd Flow'rs that grew about her Stream
And then by chance was gathering, as she stood
To view the Boy, and long'd for what she view'd.
[Page 117] Fain wou'd she meet the Youth with hasty Feet,
She fain wou'd meet him, but refus'd to meet
Before her Looks were set with nicest Care,
And well deserv'd to be reputed Fair.
" Bright Youth, she cries, whom all thy Features prove
" A God, and, if a God, the God of Love;
" But if a Mortal, blest thy Nurse's Breast,
" Blest are thy Parents, and thy Sisters blest:
" But oh how blest! how more than blest thy Bride.
" Ally'd in Bliss, if any yet ally'd.
" If so, let mine the stoln Enjoyments be;
" If not, behold a willing Bride in me.
The Boy knew nought of Love, and toucht with Shame,
He strove, and blusht, but still the Blush became:
In rising Blushes still fresh Beauties rose;
The sunny Side of Fruit such Blushes shows,
And such the Moon, when all her Silver White
Turns in Eclipses to a ruddy Light.
The Nymph still begs, if not a nobler Bliss,
A cold Salute at least, a Sister's Kiss:
And now prepares to take the lovely Boy
Between her Arms. He, innocently coy,
Replies, " Or leave me to my self alone,
" You rude uncivil Nymph, or I'll be gone.
" Fair Stranger then, says she, it shall be so;
And, for she fear'd his Threats, she feign'd to go:
But hid within a Covert's neighbouring Green,
She kept him still in sight, herself unseen.
The Boy now fancies all the Danger o'er,
And innocently sports about the Shore,
Playsul and wanton to the Stream he trips,
And dips his Foot, and shivers, as he dips.
[Page 118] The Coolness pleas'd him, and with eager haste
His airy Garments on the Banks he cast;
His Godlike Features, and his Heav'nly Hue,
And all his Beauties were expos'd to View.
His naked Limbs the Nymph with Rapture spies,
While hotter Passions in her Bosom rise,
Flush in her Cheeks, and sparkle in her Eyes.
She longs, she burns to clasp him in her Arms,
And looks, and sighs, and kindles at his Charms.
Now all undrest upon the Banks he stood,
And clapt his Sides, and leapt into the Flood:
His lovely Limbs the Silver Waves divide,
His Limbs appear more lovely through the Tide;
As Lilies shut within a Chrystal Case,
Receive a glossy Lustre from the Glass.
He's mine, he's all my own, the Naïd cries,
And flings off all, and after him she flies.
And now she fastens on him as he swims,
And holds him close, and wraps about his Limbs.
The more the Boy resisted, and was coy,
The more she clipt, and kist the strugling Boy.
So when the wrigling Snake is snacht on high
In Eagle's Claws, and hisses in the Sky,
Around the Foe his twirling Tail he flings,
And twists her Legs, and wriths about her Wings.
The restless Boy still obstinately strove
To free himself, and still refus'd her Love.
Amidst his Limbs she kept her Limbs intwin'd,
" And why, coy Youth, she cries, why thus unkind!
" Oh may the Gods thus keep us ever join'd!
" Oh may we never, never part again!
So pray'd the Nymph, nor did she pray in vain:
[Page 119] For now she finds him, as his Limbs she prest,
Grow nearer still, and nearer to her Breast;
Till, piercing each the other's Flesh, they run
Together, and incorporate in One:
Last in one Face are both their Faces join'd,
As when the Stock and grafted Twig combin'd
Shoot up the same, and wear a common Rind:
Both Bodies in a single Body mix,
A single Body with a double Sex.
The Boy, thus lost in Woman, now survey'd
The River's guilty Stream, and thus he pray'd.
(He pray'd, but wonder'd at his softer Tone,
Surpriz'd to hear a Voice but half his own)
You Parent-Gods, whose Heav'nly Names I bear,
Hear your Hermaphrodite, and grant my Pray'r;
Oh grant, that whomsoe'er these Streams contain,
If Man he enter'd, he may rise again
Supple, unsinew'd, and but half a Man!
The Heav'nly Parents answer'd, from on high,
Their two-shap'd Son, the double Votary;
Then gave a secret Virtue to the Flood,
And ting'd it's Source to make his Wishes good.

ALCITHÖE and her Sisters transform'd to Bats.

But Mineus' Daughters still their Tasks pursue,
To Wickedness most obstinately true:
At Bacchus still they laugh, when all around,
Unseen, the Timbrels hoarse were heard to sound.
Saffron, and Myrrh their fragrant Odours shed,
And now the present Deity they dread.
[Page 120] Strange to relate! Here Ivy first was seen,
Along the Distaff crept the wond'rous Green.
Then sudden-springing Vines began to bloom,
And the soft Tendrils curl'd around the Loom:
While purple Clusters, dangling from on high,
Ting'd the wrought Purple with a second Die.
Now from the Skies was shot a doubtful Light,
The Day declining to the Bounds of Night.
The Fabrick's firm Foundations shake all o'er,
False Tigers rage, and figur'd Lions roar.
Torches, aloft, seem blazing in the Air,
And angry Flashes of red Light'nings glare.
To dark Recesses, the dire Sight to shun,
Swift the pale Sisters in Confusion run.
Their Arms were lost in Pinions, as they fled,
And subtle Films each slender Limb o'er-spread.
Their alter'd Forms their Senses soon reveal'd;
Their Forms, how alter'd, Darkness still conceal'd.
Close to the Roof each, wond'ring, upwards springs,
Born on unknown, transparent, plumeless Wings.
They strove for Words; their little Bodies found
No Words, but murmur'd in a fainting Sound.
In Towns, not Woods, the sooty Batts delight,
And never, till the Dusk, begin their Flight;
Till Vesper rises with his Ev'ning Flame;
From whom the Romans have deriv'd their Name.

The Transformation of INO and MELICERTA to Sea-Gods.

The Pow'r of Bacchus now o'er Thebes had flown,
With awful Rev'rence soon the God they own.
[Page 121] Proud Ino, all around, the Wonder tells,
And on her Nephew-Deity still dwells.
Of num'rous Sisters, she alone yet knew
No Grief, but Grief, which she from Sisters drew.
Imperial Juno saw her with Disdain,
Vain in her Offspring, in her Consort vain,
Who rul'd the trembling Thebans with a Nod,
But saw her vainest in her Foster-God.
Could then (she cry'd) a Bastard-Boy have Pow'r
To make a Mother her own Son devour?
Could he the Tuscan Crew to Fishes change,
And now three Sisters damn to Forms so strange?
Yet shall the Wife of Jove find no Relief?
Shall she, still unreveng'd, disclose her Grief?
Have I the mighty Freedom to complain?
Is that my Pow'r? is that to ease my Pain?
A Foe has taught me Vengeance; and who ought
To scorn that Vengeance, which a Foe has taught?
What sure Destruction frantick Rage can throw,
The gaping Wounds of slaughter'd Pentheus show.
Why should not Ino, fir'd with Madness, stray,
Like her mad Sisters her own Kindred slay,
Why, she not follow, where they lead the way.
Down a steep, yawning Cave, where Yews display'd
In Arches meet, and lend a baleful Shade,
Thro' silent Labyrinths a Passage lies
To mournful Regions, and infernal Skies.
Here Styx exhales its noisome Clouds, and here,
The fun'ral Rites once paid, all Souls appear.
Stiff Cold, and Horror with a ghastly Face
And staring Eyes, infest the dreary Place.
[Page 122] Ghosts, new-arriv'd, and Strangers to these Plains,
Know not the Palace, where grim Pluto reigns.
They journey doubtful, nor the Road can tell,
Which leads to the Metropolis of Hell.
A thousand Avenues those Tow'rs command,
A thousand Gates for ever open stand.
As all the Rivers, disembogu'd, find Room
For all their Waters in old Ocean's Womb:
So this vast City Worlds of Shades receives,
And Space for Millions still of Worlds she leaves.
The unbody'd Spectres freely rove, and show
Whate'er they lov'd on Earth, they love below.
The Lawyers still, or right, or wrong, support,
The Courtiers smoothly glide to Pluto's Court.
Still airy Heroes Thoughts of Glory fire,
Still the dead Poet strings his deathless Lyre,
And Lovers still with fancy'd Darts expire.
The Queen of Heav'n, to gratifie her Hate,
And sooth immortal Wrath, forgets her State.
Down from the Realms of Day, to Realms of Night,
The Goddess swift precipitates her Flight.
At Hell arriv'd, the Noise Hell's Porter heard,
Th' enormous Dog his triple Head up-rear'd:
Thrice from three grizly Throats he howl'd profound,
Then suppliant couch'd, and stretch'd along the Ground.
The trembling Threshold, which Saturnia prest,
The Weight of such Divinity confest.
Before a lofty, adamantine Gate,
Which clos'd a Tow'r of Brass, the Furies sate:
Mishapen Forms, tremendous to the Sight,
Th' implacable, foul Daughters of the Night.
[Page 123] A sounding Whip each bloody Sister shakes,
Or from her Tresses combs the curling Snakes.
But now great Juno's Majesty was known,
Thro' the thick Gloom, all-heav'nly bright, she shone:
The hideous Monsters their Obedience show'd,
And rising from their Seats, submissive bow'd.
This is the Place of Woe, here groan the Dead;
Huge Tityus o'er nine Acres here is spread.
Fruitful for Pain, th' immortal Liver bleeds,
Still grows, and still th' insatiate Vulture feeds.
Poor Tantalus to taste the Water tries,
But from his Lips the faithless Water flies:
Then thinks, the bending Tree he can command,
The Tree starts backwards, and eludes his Hand.
The Labour too of Sisyphus is vain,
Up the steep Mount he heaves the Stone with Pain,
Down from the Summit rouls the Stone again.
The Belides their leaky Vessels still
Are ever filling, and yet never fill:
Doom'd to this Punishment for Blood they shed,
For Bridegrooms slaughter'd in the Bridal Bed.
Stretch'd on the rouling Wheel Ixion lies;
Himself he follows, and himself he flies.
Ixion, tortur'd, Juno sternly cy'd,
Then turn'd, and toiling Sisyphus espy'd:
And why (she said) so wretched is the Fate
Of him, whose Brother proudly reigns in State?
Yet still my Altars unador'd have been
By Athamas, and his presumptuous Queen.
What caus'd her Hate, the Goddess thus confest,
What caus'd her Journey now was more than guest.
[Page 124] That Hate, relentless, its Revenge did want,
And that Revenge the Furies soon could grant:
They could the Glory of proud Thebes efface,
And hide in Ruin the Cadmëan Race.
For this she largely promises, entreats,
And to Entreaties adds Imperial Threats.
Then fell Tisiphonè with Rage was stung,
And from her Mouth th' untwisted Serpents flung.
To gain this trifling Boon, there is no need
(She cry'd) in formal Speeches to proceed.
Whatever thou command'st to do, is done;
Believe it finish'd, tho' not yet begun.
But from these melancholy Seats repair
To happier Mansions, and to purer Air.
She spoke: The Goddess, darting upwards, flies,
And joyous re-ascends her native Skies:
Nor enter'd there, 'till 'round her Iris threw
Ambrosial Sweets, and pour'd Celestial Dew.
The faithful Fury, guiltless of Delays,
With cruel Haste the dire Command obeys.
Girt in a bloody Gown, a Torch she shakes,
And 'round her Neck twines speckled Wreaths of Snakes.
Fear, and Dismay, and agonizing Pain,
With frantick Rage, compleat her loveless Train.
To Thebes her Flight she sped, and Hell forsook;
At her Approach the Theban Turrets shook:
The Sun shrunk back, thick Clouds the Day o'er-cast,
And springing Greens were wither'd, as she past.
Now, dismal Yellings heard, strange Spectres seen
Confound as much the Monarch, as the Queen.
In vain to quit the Palace they prepar'd,
Tisiphonè was there, and kept the Ward.
[Page 125] She wide-extended her unfriendly Arms,
And all the Fury lavish'd all her Harms.
Part of her Tresses loudly hiss, and part
Spread Poyson, as their forky Tongues they dart.
Then from her middle Locks two Snakes she drew,
Whose Merit from superior Mischief grew:
Th' envenom'd Ruin, thrown with spiteful Care,
Clung to the Bosoms of the hapless Pair.
The hapless Pair soon with wild Thoughts were fir'd,
And Madness, by a thousand ways inspir'd.
'Tis true, th' unwounded Body still was sound,
But 'twas the Soul, which felt the deadly Wound.
Nor did th' unsated Monster here give o'er,
But dealt of Plagues a fresh, unnumber'd Store.
Each baneful Juice too well she understood,
Foam, churn'd by Cerberus, and Hydra's Blood.
Hot Hemlock, and cold Aconite she chose,
Delighted in Variety of Woes.
Whatever can untune th' harmonious Soul,
And its mild, reas'ning Faculties controul,
Give false Ideas, raise Desires profane,
And whirl in Eddies the tumultuous Brain,
Mix'd with curs'd Art, she direfully around
Thro' all their Nerves diffus'd the sad Compound.
Then toss'd her Torch in Circles still the same,
Improv'd their Rage, and added Flame to Flame.
The grinning Fury her own Conquest spy'd,
And to her rueful Shades return'd with Pride,
And threw th' exhausted, useless Snakes aside.
Now Athamas cries out, his Reason fled,
Here, Fellow-hunters, let the Toils be spread.
[Page 126] I saw a Lioness, in quest of Food,
With her two Young, run roaring in this Wood.
Again the fancy'd Savages were seen,
As thro' his Palace still he chac'd his Queen;
Then tore Learchus from her Breast: The Child
Stretch'd little Arms, and on its Father smil'd:
A Father now no more, who now begun
Around his Head to whirl his giddy Son,
And, quite insensible to Nature's Call,
The helpless Infant slung against the Wall.
The same mad Poyson in the Mother wrought,
Young Melicerta in her Arms she caught,
And with disorder'd Tresses, howling, flies,
O! Bacchus, Evôe, Bacchus! loud she cries.
The Name of Bacchus Juno laugh'd to hear,
And said, thy Foster-God has cost thee dear.
A Rock there stood, whose Side the beating Waves
Had long consum'd, and hollow'd into Caves.
The Head shot forwards in a bending Steep,
And cast a dreadful Covert o'er the Deep.
The wretched Ino, on Destruction bent,
Climb'd up the Cliff; such Strength her Fury lent:
Thence with her guiltless Boy, who wept in vain,
At one bold Spring she plung'd into the Main.
Her Neice's Fate touch'd Cytherëa's Breast,
And in soft Sounds she Neptune thus addrest.
Great God of Waters, whose extended Sway
Is next to his, whom Heav'n and Earth obey:
Let not the Suit of Venus thee displease,
Pity the Floaters on th' Ionian Seas.
Encrease thy Subject-Gods, nor yet disdain
To add my Kindred to that glorious Train.
[Page 127] If from the Sea I may such Honours claim,
If 'tis Desert, that from the Sea I came,
As Greecian Poets artfully have sung,
And in the Name confest, from whence I sprung.
Pleas'd Neptune nodded his Ascent, and free
Both soon became from frail Mortality.
He gave them Form, and Majesty Divine,
And bad them glide along the foamy Brine.
For Melicerta is Palaemon known,
And Ino, once, Leucothöe is grown.

The Transformation of the THEBAN Matrons.

The Theban Matrons their lov'd Queen pursu'd,
And tracing to the Rock, her Footsteps view'd.
Too certain of her Fate, they rend the Skies
With piteous Shrieks, and lamentable Cries.
All beat their Breasts, and Juno all upbraid,
Who still remember'd a deluded Maid:
Who, still revengeful for one stol'n Embrace,
Thus wreak'd her Hate on the Cadmëan Race.
This Juno heard; And shall such Elfs, she cry'd,
Dispute my Justice, or my Pow'r deride?
You too shall feel my Wrath not idly spent;
A Goddess never for Insults was meant.
She, who lov'd most, and who most lov'd had been,
Said, Not the Waves shall part me from my Queen.
She strove to plunge into the roaring Flood;
Fix'd to the Stone, a Stone herself she stood.
This, on her Breast would fain her Blows repeat,
Her stiffen'd Hands refus'd her Breast to beat.
That, stretch'd her Arms unto the Seas; in vain
Her Arms she labour'd to unstretch again.
[Page 128] To tear her comely Locks another try'd,
Both comely Locks, and Fingers petrify'd.
Part thus; but Juno with a softer Mind
Part doom'd to mix among the feather'd Kind.
Transform'd, the Name of Theban Birds they keep,
And skim the Surface of that fatal Deep.

CADMUS and his QUEEN transform'd to Serpents.

Mean time, the wretched Cadmus mourns, nor knows,
That they who mortal fell, immortal rose.
With a long Series of new Ills opprest,
He droops, and all the Man forsakes his Breast.
Strange Prodigies confound his frighted Eyes;
From the fair City, which he rais'd, he flies:
As if Misfortune not pursu'd his Race,
But only hung o'er that devoted Place.
Resolv'd by Sea to seek some distant Land,
At last he safely gain'd th' Illyrian Strand.
Chearless himself, his Consort still he chears,
Hoary, and loaden'd both with Woes, and Years.
Then to recount past Sorrows they begin,
And trace them to the gloomy Origin.
That Serpent sure was hallow'd, Cadmus cry'd,
Which once my Spear transfix'd with foolish Pride;
When the big Teeth, a Seed before unknown,
By me along the wond'ring Glebe were sown,
And sprouting Armies by themselves o'erthrown.
If thence the Wrath of Heav'n on me is bent,
May Heav'n conclude it with one sad Event;
To an extended Serpent change the Man,
And while he spoke, the wish'd-for Change began.
[Page 129] His Skin with Sea-green Spots was vary'd 'round▪
And on his Belly prone he prest the Ground.
He glitter'd soon with many a golden Scale,
And his shrunk Legs clos'd in a spiry Tail.
Arms yet remain'd, remaining Arms he spread
To his lov'd Wife, and human Tears yet shed.
Come, my Harmonia, come, thy Face recline
Down to my Face; still touch, what still is mine.
O! let these Hands, while Hands, be gently prest,
While yet the Serpent has not all possest.
More he had spoke, but strove to speak in vain,
The forky Tongue refus'd to tell his Pain,
And learn'd in Hissings only to complain.
Then shriek'd Harmonia, Stay, my Cadmus, stay,
Glide not in such a monstrous Shape away!
Destruction, like impetuous Waves, rouls on,
Where are thy Feet, thy Legs, thy Shoulders gone?
Chang'd is thy Visage, chang'd is all thy Frame;
Cadmus is only Cadmus now in Name.
Ye Gods, my Cadmus to himself restore,
Or me like him transform; I ask no more.
The Husband-Serpent show'd, he still had Thought,
With wonted Fondness an Embrace he sought;
Play'd 'round her Neck in many a harmless Twist,
And lick'd that Bosom, which, a Man, he kist.
The Lookers on (for Lookers on there were)
Shock'd at the Sight, half-dy'd away with Fear.
The Transformation was again renew'd,
And, like the Husband, chang'd the Wife they view'd.
Both, Serpents now, with Fold involv'd in Fold,
To the next Covert amicably roul'd.
[Page 130] There curl'd they lie, or wave along the Green,
Fearless see Men, by Men are fearless seen,
Still mild, and conscious, what they once have been.

The Story of PERSEUS.

Yet tho' this harsh, inglorious Fate they found,
Each in the deathless Grandson liv'd renown'd.
Thro' conquer'd India Bacchus nobly rode,
And Greece with Temples hail'd the conqu'ring God.
In Argos only proud Acrisius reign'd,
Who all the consecrated Rites profan'd.
Audacious Wretch! thus Bacchus to deny,
And the great Thunderer's great Son defie!
Nor him alone: Thy Daughter vainly strove
Brave Perseus of Celestial Stem to prove,
And herself pregnant by a golden Jove.
Yet this was true, and Truth in time prevails;
Acrisius now his Unbelief bewails.
His former Thought, an impious Thought he found,
And both the Heroe, and the God were own'd.
He saw, already one in Heav'n was plac'd,
And one with more, than mortal Triumphs grac'd.
The Victor Perseus with the Gorgon-head,
O'er Libyan Sands his airy Journey sped.
The gory Drops distill'd, as swift he flew,
And from each Drop envenom'd Serpents grew.
The Mischiefs brooded on the barren Plains,
And still th' unhappy Fruitfulness remains.

ATLAS transform'd to a Mountain.

Thence Perseus, like a Cloud, by Storms was driv'n
Thro' all th' Expanse beneath the Cope of Heav'n.
[Page 131] The jarring Winds unable to controul,
He saw the Southern; and the Northern Pole:
And Eastward thrice, and Westward thrice was whirl'd,
And from the Skies survey'd the nether World.
But when grey Ev'ning show'd the Verge of Night,
He fear'd in Darkness to pursue his Flight.
He pois'd his Pinions, and forgot to soar,
And sinking, clos'd them on th' Hesperian Shore:
Then beg'd to rest, till Lucifer begun
To wake the Morn, the Morn to wake the Sun.
Here Atlas reign'd, of more than human Size,
And in his Kingdom the World's Limit lies.
Here Titan bids his weary'd Coursers sleep,
And cools the burning Axle in the Deep.
The mighty Monarch, uncontroul'd, alone,
His Sceptre sways: no neighb'ring States are known.
A thousand Flocks on shady Mountains fed,
A thousand Herds o'er grassy Plains were spread.
Here wond'rous Trees their shining Stores unfold,
Their shining Stores too wond'rous to be told,
Their Leafs, their Branches, and their Apples, Gold.
Then Perseus the gigantick Prince addrest,
Humbly implor'd a hospitable Rest.
If bold Exploits thy Admiration fire,
He said, I fancy, mine thou wilt admire.
Or if the Glory of a Race can move,
Not mean my Glory, for I spring from Jove.
At this Confession Atlas ghastly star'd,
Mindful of what an Oracle declar'd,
That the dark Womb of Time conceal'd a Day,
Which should, disclos'd, the bloomy Gold betray:
[Page 132] All should at once be ravish'd from his Eyes,
And Jove's own Progeny enjoy the Prize.
For this, the Fruit he loftily immur'd,
And a fierce Dragon the strait Pass secur'd.
For this, all Strangers he forbad to land,
And drove them from th' inhospitable Strand.
To Perseus then: Fly quickly, fly this Coast,
Nor falsly dare thy Acts, and Race to boast.
In vain the Heroe for one Night entreats,
Threat'ning he storms, and next adds Force to Threats.
By Strength not Perseus could himself defend,
For who in Strength with Atlas could contend?
But since short Rest to me thou wilt not give,
A Gift of endless Rest from me receive.
He said, and, backward turn'd, no more conceal'd
The Present, and Medusa's Head reveal'd.
Soon the high Atlas a high Mountain stood,
His Locks, and Beard became a leafy Wood.
His Hands, and Shoulders into Ridges went,
The Summit-head still crown'd the steep Ascent.
His Bones a solid, rocky Hardness gain'd:
He, thus immensely grown, (as Fate ordain'd)
The Stars, the Heav'ns, and all the Gods sustain'd.

ANDROMEDA rescued from the Sea-Monster.

Now Aeolus had with strong Chains confin'd,
And deep imprison'd ev'ry blust'ring Wind.
The rising Phospher with a purple Light
Did sluggish Mortals to new Toils invite.
His Feet again the valiant Perseus plumes,
And his keen Sabre in his Hand resumes:
[Page 133] Then nobly spurns the Ground, and upwards springs,
And cuts the liquid Air with sounding Wings.
O'er various Seas, and various Lands he past,
Till Aethiopia's Shore appear'd at last.
Andromeda was there, doom'd to attone
By her own Ruin Follies not her own:
And if Injustice in a God can be,
Such was the Libyan God's unjust Decree.
Chain'd to a Rock she stood; young Perseus stay'd
His rapid Flight, to view the beauteous Maid.
So sweet her Frame, so exquisitely fine,
She seem'd a Statue by a Hand Divine,
Had not the Wind her waving Tresses show'd,
And down her Cheeks the melting Sorrows flow'd.
Her faultless Form the Heroe's Bosom fires,
The more he looks, the more he still admires.
Th' Admirer almost had forgot to fly,
And swift descended, flutt'ring from on high.
O! Virgin, worthy no such Chains to prove,
But pleasing Chains in the soft Folds of Love;
Thy Country, and thy Name (he said) disclose,
And give a true Rehearsal of thy Woes.
A quick Reply her Bashfulness refus'd,
To the free Converse of a Man unus'd.
Her rising Blushes had Concealment found
From her spread Hands, but that her Hands were bound.
She acted to her full Extent of Pow'r,
And bath'd her Face with a fresh, silent Show'r.
But by degrees in Innocence grown bold,
Her Name, her Country, and her Birth she told:
And how she suffer'd for her Mother's Pride,
Who with the Nercids once in Beauty vy'd.
[Page 134] Part yet untold, the Seas began to roar,
And mounting Billows tumbled to the Shore.
Above the Waves a Monster rais'd his Head,
His Body o'er the Deep was widely spread:
Onward he flounc'd, aloud the Virgin cries,
Each Parent to her Shrieks in Shrieks replies,
But she had deepest Cause to rend the Skies.
Weeping, to her they cling; no Sign appears
Of Help, they only lend their helpless Tears.
Too long you vent your Sorrows, Perseus said,
Short is the Hour, and swift the time of Aid.
In me the Son of thund'ring Jove behold,
Got in a kindly Show'r of fruitful Gold.
Medusa's Snaky Head is now my Prey,
And thro' the Clouds I boldly wing my Way.
If such Desert be worthy of Esteem,
Add, if your Daughter I from Death redeem,
Shall she be mine? Shall it not then be thought,
A Bride, so lovely, was too cheaply bought?
For her my Arms I willingly employ,
If I may Beauties, which I save, enjoy.
The Parents eagerly the Terms embrace,
For who would slight such Terms in such a Case?
Nor her alone they promise, but beside,
The Dowry of a Kingdom with the Bride.
As well-rigg'd Gallies, which Slaves, sweating, row,
With their sharp Beaks the whiten'd Ocean plough;
So when the Monster mov'd, still at his Back
The furrow'd Waters left a foamy Track.
Now to the Rock he was advanc'd so nigh,
Whirl'd from a Sling a Stone the Space would fly.
[Page 135] Then bounding, upwards the brave Perseus sprung,
And in mid Air on hov'ring Pinions hung.
His Shadow quickly floated on the Main,
The Monster could not his wild Rage restrain,
But at the floating Shadow leap'd in vain.
As when Jove's Bird, a speckled Serpent spies,
Which in the Shine of Phoebus basking lies,
Unseen, he souses down, and bears away,
Truss'd from behind, the vainly hissing Prey.
To writh his Neck the Labour nought avails,
Too deep th' imperial Talons pierce his Scales.
Thus the wing'd Heroe now descends, now soars,
And at his Pleasure the vast Monster gores.
Full in his Back, swift-stooping from above,
The crooked Sabre to its Hilt he drove.
The Monster rag'd, impatient of the Pain,
First bounded high, and then sunk low again.
Now, like a savage Boar, when chaf'd with Wounds,
And bay'd with op'ning Mouths of hungry Hounds,
He on the Foe turns with collected Might,
Who still eludes him with an airy Flight;
And wheeling round, the scaly Armour tries
Of his thick Sides; his thinner Tail now plies:
Till from repeated Strokes out-gush'd a Flood,
And the Waves redden'd with the streaming Blood.
At last the dropping Wings, befoam'd all o'er,
With flaggy Heaviness their Master bore:
A Rock he spy'd, whose humble Head was low,
Bare at an Ebb, but cover'd at a Flow.
A ridgy Hold, he, thither flying, gain'd,
And with one Hand his bending Weight sustain'd;
[Page 136] With th' other, vig'rous Blows he dealt around,
And the Home-thrusts th' expiring Monster own'd.
In deaf'ning Shouts the glad Applauses rise,
And Peal on Peal runs ratling thro' the Skies.
The Saviour-Youth the Royal Pair confess,
And with heav'd Hands their Daughter's Bridegroom bless.
The beauteous Bride moves on, now loos'd from Chains,
The Cause, and sweet Reward of all the Heroe's Pains.
Mean time, on Shore triumphant Perseus stood,
And purg'd his Hands, smear'd with the Monster's Blood:
Then in the Windings of a sandy Bed
Compos'd Medusa's execrable Head.
But to prevent the Roughness, Leafs he threw,
And young, green Twigs, which soft in Waters grew.
There soft, and full of Sap, but here, when lay'd,
Touch'd by the Head, that Softness soon decay'd.
The wonted Flexibility quite gone,
The tender Scyons harden'd into Stone.
Fresh, juicy Twigs, surpris'd, the Nereids brought,
Fresh, juicy Twigs the same Contagion caught.
The Nymphs the petrifying Seeds still keep,
And propagate the Wonder thro' the Deep.
The pliant Sprays of Coral yet declare
Their stiff'ning Nature, when expos'd to Air.
Those Sprays, which did, like bending Osiers, move,
Snatch'd from their Element, obdurate prove,
And Shrubs beneath the Waves, grow Stones above.
The great Immortals grateful Perseus prais'd,
And to three Pow'rs three turfy Altars rais'd.
To Hermes this, and that he did assign
To Pallas: The mid Honours, Jove, were thine.
[Page 137] He hastes for Pallas a white Cow to cull,
A Calf for Hermes, but for Jove a Bull.
Then seiz'd the Prize of his victorious Fight,
Andromeda, and claim'd the Nuptial Rite.
Andromeda alone he greatly sought,
The Dowry-Kingdom was not worth his Thought.
Pleas'd Hymen now his golden Torch displays;
With rich Oblations fragrant Altars blaze.
Sweet Wreaths of choicest Flow'rs are hung on high,
And cloudless Pleasure smiles in ev'ry Eye.
The melting Musick melting Thoughts inspires,
And warbling Songsters aid the warbling Lyres.
The Palace opens wide in pompous State,
And by his Peers surrounded, Cepheus sate.
A Feast was serv'd, fit for a King to give,
And fit for God-like Heroes to receive.
The Banquet ended, the gay, chearful Bowl
Mov'd round, and brighten'd, and enlarg'd each Soul.
Then Perseus ask'd, what Customs there obtain'd,
And by what Laws the People were restrain'd.
Which told; the Teller a like Freedom takes,
And to the Warrior his Petition makes,
To know, what Arts had won Medusa's Snakes.

The Story of MEDUSA's Head.

The Heroe with his just Request complies,
Shows, how a Vale beneath cold Atlas lies,
Where, with aspiring Mountains fenc'd around,
He the two Daughters of old Phorcus found.
Fate had one common Eye to both assign'd,
Each saw by turns, and each by turns was blind.
[Page 138] But while our strove to lend her Sister Sight,
He stretch'd his Hand, and stole their mutual Light,
And left both Eyeless, both involv'd in Night.
Thro' devious Wilds, and trackless Woods he past,
And at the Gorgon-Seats arriv'd at last:
But as he journey'd, pensive he survey'd,
What wasteful Havock dire Medusa made.
Here, stood still breathing Statues, Men before;
There, rampant Lions seem'd in Stone to roar.
Nor did he, yet affrighted, quit the Field,
But in the Mirror of his polish'd Shield
Reflected saw Medusa Slumbers take,
And not one Serpent by good chance awake.
Then backward an unerring Blow he sped,
And from her Body lop'd at once her Head.
The Gore prolifick prov'd; with sudden Force
Sprung Pegasus, and wing'd his airy Course.
The Heav'n-born Warrior faithfully went on,
And told the num'rous Dangers which he run.
What subject Seas, what Lands he had in view,
And nigh what Stars th' advent'rous Heroe flew.
At last he silent sate; the list'ning Throng
Sigh'd at the Pause of his delightful Tongue.
Some beg'd to know, why this alone should wear
Of all the Sisters such destructive Hair.
Great Perseus then: With me you shall prevail,
Worth the Relation, to relate a Tale.
Medusa once had Charms; to gain her Love
A rival Crowd of envious Lovers strove.
They, who have seen her, own, they ne'er did trace
More moving Features in a sweeter Face.
[Page 139] Yet above all, her Length of Hair, they own,
In golden Ringlets wav'd, and graceful shone.
Her Neptune saw, and with such Beauties fir'd,
Resolv'd to compass, what his Soul desir'd.
In chaste Minerva's Fane, he, lustful, stay'd,
And seiz'd, and rifled the young, blushing Maid.
The bashful Goddess turn'd her Eyes away,
Nor durst such bold Impurity survey;
But on the ravish'd Virgin Vengeance takes,
Her shining Hair is chang'd to hissing Snakes.
These in her Aegis Pallas joys to bear,
The hissing Snakes her Foes more sure ensnare,
Than they did Lovers once, when shining Hair.
The End of the Fourth Book.
To the Right Honourable the Countess of Warwick.


The Story of PERSEUS continued.

WHILE Perseus entertain'd with this Report
His Father Cepheus, and the list'ning Court,
Within the Palace Walls was heard aloud
The roaring Noise of some unruly Crowd;
Not like the Songs which chearful Friends prepare
For nuptial Days, but Sounds that threaten'd War;
And all the Pleasures of this happy Feast,
To Tumult turn'd, in wild Disorder ceas'd:
So, when the Sea is calm, we often find
A Storm rais'd sudden by some furious Wind.
Chief in the Riot Phineus first appear'd,
The rash Ringleader of this boist'rous Herd,
And brandishing his brazen-pointed Lance,
Behold, he said, an injur'd Man advance,
[Page 142] Stung with Resentment for his ravish'd Wife,
Nor shall thy Wings, O Perseus, save thy Life;
Nor Jove himself; tho' we've been often told
Who got thee in the Form of tempting Gold.
His Lance was aim'd, when Cepheus ran, and said,
Hold, Brother, hold; what brutal Rage has made
Your frantick Mind so black a Crime conceive?
Are these the Thanks that you to Perseus give?
This the Reward that to his Worth you pay,
Whose timely Valour sav'd Andromeda?
Nor was it he, if you would reason right,
That forc'd her from you, but the jealous Spight
Of envious Nereids, and Jove's high Decree;
And that devouring Monster of the Sea,
That ready with his Jaws wide-gaping stood
To eat my Child, the fairest of my Blood.
You lost her then, when she seem'd past Relief,
And wish'd perhaps her Death, to ease your Grief
With my Afflictions: Not content to view
Andromeda in Chains, unhelp'd by you,
Her Spouse and Uncle; will you grieve that he Expos'd his Life the dying Maid to free?
And shall you claim his Merit? Had you thought
Her Charms so great, you shou'd have bravely sought
That Blessing on the Rocks, where fix'd she lay:
But now let Perseus bear his Prize away,
By Service gain'd, by promis'd Faith possess'd;
To him I owe it, that my Age is bless'd
Still with a Child: Nor think that I prefer
Perseus to thee, but to the Loss of her.
Phineus on him, and Perseus roul'd about
His Eyes in silent Rage, and seem'd to doubt
[Page 143] Which to destroy; till, resolute at length,
He threw his Spear with the redoubled Strength
His Fury gave him, and at Perseus struck;
But missing Perseus, in his Seat it stuck.
Who, springing nimbly up, return'd the Dart,
And almost plung'd it in his Rival's Heart;
But he, for Safety, to the Altar ran,
Unfit Protection for so vile a Man;
Yet was the Stroke not vain, as Rhaetus found,
Who in his Brow receiv'd a mortal Wound;
Headlong he tumbled, when his Skull was broke,
From which his Friends the fatal Weapon took,
While he lay trembling, and his gushing Blood
In crimson Streams around the Table flow'd.
But this provok'd th' unruly Rabble worse,
They flung their Darts, and some in loud Discourse
To Death young Perseus and the Monarch doom;
But Cepheus left before the guilty Room,
With Grief appealing to the Gods above,
Who Laws of Hospitality approve,
Who Faith protect, and succour injur'd Right,
That he was guiltless of this barb'rous Fight.
Pallas her Brother Perseus close attends,
And with her ample Shield from Harm defends,
Raising a sprightly Courage in his Heart;
But Indian Athis took the weaker Part,
Born in the chrystal Grottoes of the Sea,
Limnatè's Son, a Fenny Nymph, and she
Daughter of Ganges; Graceful was his Mein,
His Person lovely, and his Age Sixteen.
His Habit made his native Beauty more;
A purple Mantle fring'd with Gold he wore;
[Page 144] His Neck well-turn'd with golden Chains was grac'd,
His Hair with Myrrh perfum'd, was nicely dress'd.
Tho' with just Aim he cou'd the Javelin throw,
Yet with more Skill he drew the bending Bow;
And now was drawing it with artful Hand,
When Perseus snatching up a flaming Brand,
Whirl'd sudden at his Face the burning Wood,
Crush'd his Eyes in, and quench'd the Fire with Blood;
Thro' the soft Skin the splinter'd Bones appear,
And spoil'd the Face that lately was so fair.
When Lycabas his Athis thus beheld,
How was his Heart with friendly Horror fill'd?
A Youth so noble, to his Soul so dear,
To see his shapeless Look, his dying Groans to hear!
He snatch'd the Bow the Boy was us'd to bend,
And cry'd, With me, false Traytor, dare contend;
Boast not a Conquest o'er a Child, but try
Thy Strength with me, who all thy Pow'rs defy;
Nor think so mean an Act a Victory.
While yet he spoke he flung the whizzing Dart,
Which pierc'd the plaited Robe, but miss'd his Heart:
Perseus defy'd, upon him fiercely press'd
With Sword unsheath'd, and plung'd it in his Breast;
His Eyes o'erwhelm'd with Night, he stumbling falls,
And with his latest Breath on Athis calls;
Pleas'd that so near the lovely Youth he lies,
He sinks his Head upon his Friend, and dies.
Next eager Phorbas, old Methion's Son,
Came rushing forward with Amphimedon;
When the smooth Pavement, slippery made with Gore,
Trip'd up their Feet, and flung 'em on the Floor;
[Page 145] The Sword of Perseus, who by chance was nigh,
Prevents their Rise, and where they fall they lye:
Full in his Ribs Amphimedon he smote,
And then stuck fiery Phorbas in the Throat.
Eurythus lifting up his Ax, the Blow
Was thus prevented by his nimble Foe;
A golden Cup he seizes, high embost,
And at his Head the massy Goblet tost:
It hits, and from his Forehead bruis'd rebounds,
And Blood and Brains he vomits from his Wounds;
With his slain Fellows on the Floor he lies,
And Death for ever shuts his swimming Eyes.
Then Polydaemon fell, a Goddess-born;
Phlegias, and Elycen with Locks unshorn
Next follow'd; next, the Stroke of Death he gave
To Clytus, Abanis, and Lycetus brave;
While o'er unnumber'd Heaps of ghastly Dead,
The Argive Heroe's Feet triumphant tread.
But Phineus stands aloof, and dreads to feel
His Rival's Force, and flies his pointed Steel:
Yet threw a Dart from far; by chance it lights
On Idas, who for neither Party fights;
But wounded, sternly thus to Phineus said,
Since of a Neuter thou a Foe hast made,
This I return thee, drawing from his Side
The Dart; which, as he strove to fling, he dy'd.
Odites fell by Clymenus's Sword,
The Cephen Court had not a greater Lord.
Hypseus his Blade does in Protenor sheath,
But brave Lyncides soon reveng'd his Death.
Here too was old Emathion, one that fear'd
The Gods, and in the Cause of Heav'n appear'd,
[Page 146] Who only wishing the Success of Right,
And, by his Age, exempted from the Fight,
Both Sides alike condemns; This impious War
Cease, cease, he cries; these bloody Broils forbear.
This scarce the Sage with high Concern had said,
When Chromis at a Blow struck off his Head,
Which dropping, on the royal Altar roul'd,
Still staring on the Crowd with Aspect bold;
And still it seem'd their horrid Strife to blame,
In Life and Death his pious Zeal the same;
While, clinging to the Horns, the Trunk expires,
The sever'd Head consumes amidst the Fires.
Then Phineus, who from far his Javelin threw,
Broteas and Ammon, Twins and Brothers, slew;
For knotted Gauntlets matchless in the Field;
But Gauntlets must to Swords and Javelins yield.
Ampycus next, with hallow'd Fillets bound,
As Ceres' Priest, and with a Mitre crown'd,
His Spear transfix'd, and struck him to the Ground.
O, läpetides, with Pain I tell
How you, sweet Lyrist, in the Riot fell;
What worse than brutal Rage his Breast could fill,
Who did thy Blood, O Bard Celestial, spill?
Kindly you press'd amid the Princely Throng,
To crown the Feast, and give the Nuptial Song:
Discord abhorr'd the Musick of thy Lyre,
Whose Notes did gentle Peace so well inspire;
Thee, when fierce Pettalus far off espy'd,
Defenceless with thy Harp, he scoffing cry'd,
Go; to the Ghosts thy soothing Lessons play;
We loath thy Lyre, and scorn thy peaceful Lay:
[Page 147] And, as again he fiercely bid him go,
He pierc'd his Temples with a mortal Blow.
His Harp he held, tho' sinking on the Ground,
Whose Strings in Death his trembling Fingers found
By chance, and tun'd by chance a dying Sound.
With Grief Lycormas saw him fall from far,
And, wresting from the Door a massy Bar,
Full in his Poll lays on a Load of Knocks,
Which stun him, and he falls like a devoted Ox.
Another Bar Pelates would have snatch'd,
But Corythus his Motions slily watch'd;
He darts his Weapon from a private Stand,
And rivets to the Post his veiny Hand:
When strait a missive Spear transfix'd his Side,
By Abas thrown, and as he hung, he dy'd.
Melaneus on the Prince's Side was slain;
And Dorylas, who own'd a fertile Plain,
Of Nasamonia's Fields the wealthy Lord,
Whose crowded Barns could scarce contain their Hoard.
A whizzing Spear obliquely gave a Blow,
Stuck in his Groin, and pierc'd the Nerves below;
His Foe beheld his Eyes convulsive roul,
His ebbing Veins, and his departing Soul;
Then taunting said, Of all thy spacious Plains,
This Spot thy only Property remains.
He left him thus; but had no sooner left,
Than Perseus in revenge his Nostrils cleft;
From his Friend's Breast the murd'ring Dart he drew,
And the same Weapon at the Murd'rer threw;
His Head in halves the darted Javelin cut,
And on each Side the Brain came issuing out.
[Page 148] Fortune his Friend, his Deaths around he deals,
And this his Lance, and that his Faulchion feels:
Now Clytius dies; and by a different Wound,
The Twin, his Brother Clanis, bites the Ground.
In his rent Jaw the bearded Weapon sticks,
And the steel'd Dart does Clytius' Thigh transfix.
With these Mendesian Celadon he slew;
And Astreus next, whose Mother was a Jew,
His Sire uncertain: Then by Perseus fell
Aethion, who cou'd things to come foretell;
But now he knows not whence the Javelin flies
That wounds his Breast, nor by whose Arm he dies.
The Squire to Phineus next his Valour try'd,
And fierce Agyrtes stain'd with Parricide.
As these are slain, fresh Numbers still appear,
And wage with Perseus an unequal War;
To rob him of his Right, the Maid he won,
By Honour, Promise, and Desert his own.
With him, the Father of the beauteous Bride,
The Mother, and the frighted Virgin side;
With Shrieks and doleful Cries they rend the Air:
Their Shrieks confounded with the Din of War,
With clashing Arms, and Groanings of the Slain,
They grieve unpitied, and unheard complain.
The Floor with ruddy Streams Bellona stains,
And Phineus a new War with double Rage maintains.
Perseus begirt, from all around they pour
Their Lances on him, a tempestuous Show'r,
Aim'd all at him; a Cloud of Darts and Spears,
Or blind his Eyes, or whistle round his Ears.
Their Numbers to resist, against the Wall
He guards his Back secure, and dares them all.
[Page 149] Here from the Left Molpeus renews the Fight,
And bold Ethemon presses on the Right:
As when a hungry Tiger near him hears
Two lowing Herds, awhile he both forbears;
Nor can his Hopes of This, or That renounce,
So strong he lusts to prey on both at once;
Thus Perseus now with That, or This is loath
To war distinct, but fain wou'd fall on Both.
And first Chaonian Molpeus felt his Blow,
And fled, and never after fac'd his Foe;
Then fierce Ethemon, as he turn'd his Back,
Hurried with Fury, aiming at his Neck,
His brandish'd Sword against the Marble struck,
With all his Might; the brittle Weapon broke,
And in his Throat the Point rebounding stuck.
Too slight the Wound for Life to issue thence,
And yet too great for Battle, or Defence;
His Arms extended in this piteous State,
For Mercy he wou'd sue, but sues too late;
Perseus has in his Bosom plung'd the Sword,
And, e're he speaks, the Wound prevents the Word.
The Crowds encreasing, and his Friends distress'd,
Himself by warring Multitudes oppress'd;
Since thus unequally you fight, 'tis time,
He cry'd, to punish your presumptuous Crime;
Beware, my Friends; his Friends were soon prepar'd,
Their Sight averting, high the Head he rear'd,
And Gorgon on his Foes severely star'd.
Vain Shift! says Thescelus, with Aspect bold,
Thee, and thy Bugbear Monster I behold
With Scorn; he lifts his Arm, but e're he threw
The Dart, the Heroe to a Statue grew.
[Page 150] In the same Posture still the Marble stands,
And holds the Warrior's Weapons in its Hands.
Amphyx, whom yet this Wonder can't alarm,
Heaves at Lyncides' Breast his impious Arm;
But, while thus daringly he presses on,
His Weapon, and his Arm are turn'd to Stone.
Next Nileus, he who vainly said he ow'd
His Origin to Nile's prolifick Flood;
Who on his Shield seven silver Rivers bore,
His Birth to witness by the Arms he wore;
Full of his sev'n-fold Father, thus express'd
His Boast to Perseus, and his Pride confess'd:
See whence we sprung; Let this thy Comfort be
In thy sure Death, that thou didst die by me.
While yet he spoke, the dying Accents hung
In Sounds imperfect on his Marble Tongue;
Tho' chang'd to Stone, his Lips he seem'd to stretch,
And thro' th'insensate Rock wou'd force a Speech.
This Eryx saw, but seeing wou'd not own;
The Mischief by your selves, he cries, is done,
'Tis your cold Courage turns your Hearts to Stone.
Come follow me; fall on the stripling Boy,
Kill him, and you his magick Arms destroy.
Then rushing on, his Arm to strike he rear'd,
And marbled o'er, his varied Frame appear'd.
These for affronting Pallas were chastis'd,
And justly met the Death they had despis'd.
But brave Aconteus, Perseus' Friend, by chance
Look'd back, and met the Gorgon's fatal Glance:
A Statue now become, he ghastly stares,
And still the Foe to mortal Combat dares;
[Page 151] Astyages the living Likeness knew,
On the dead Stone with vengeful Fury flew;
But impotent his Rage, the jarring Blade
No Print upon the solid Marble made:
Again, as with redoubled Might he struck,
Himself astonish'd in the Quarry stuck.
The vulgar Deaths 'twere tedious to rehearse,
And Fates below the Dignity of Verse;
Their Safety in their Flight Two Hundred found,
Two Hundred, by Medusa's Head were ston'd.
Fierce Phineus now repents the wrongful Fight,
And views his varied Friends, a dreadful Sight;
He knows their Faces, for their Help he sues,
And thinks, not hearing him, that they refuse:
By Name he begs their Succour, one by one,
Then doubts their Life, and feels the friendly Stone.
Struck with Remorse, and conscious of his Pride,
Convict of Sin, he turn'd his Eyes aside;
With suppliant Mein to Perseus thus he prays,
Hence with the Head, as far as Winds and Seas
Can bear thee; Hence, O quit the Cephen Shore,
And never curse us with Medusa more,
That horrid Head, which stiffens into Stone
Those impious Men who, daring Death, look on.
I warr'd not with thee out of Hate or Strife,
My honest Cause was to defend my Wife,
First pledg'd to me; What Crime cou'd I suppose,
To arm my Friends, and vindicate my Spouse?
But vain, too late, I soe was our Design;
Mine was the Title, but the Merit thine.
Contending made me guilty, I confess,
But Penitence shou'd make that Guilt the less:
[Page 152] 'Twas thine to conquer by Minerva's Pow'r;
Favour'd of Heav'n, thy Mercy I implore;
For Life I sue; the rest to thee I yield;
In Pity, from my Sight remove the Shield.
He suing said; nor durst revert his Eyes
On the grim Head: And Perseus thus replies;
Coward, what is in me to grant, I will,
Nor Blood, unworthy of my Valour, spill:
Fear not to perish by my vengeful Sword,
From that secure; 'tis all the Fates afford.
Where I now see thee, thou shalt still be seen,
A lasting Monument to please our Queen;
There still shall thy Betroth'd behold her Spouse,
And find his Image in her Father's House.
This said; where Phineus turn'd to shun the Shield,
Full in his Face the staring Head he held;
As here, and there he strove to turn aside,
The Wonder wrought, the Man was petrify'd:
All Marble was his Frame; his humid Eyes
Drop'd Tears, which hung upon the Stone like Ice.
In suppliant Posture, with uplifted Hands,
And fearful Look, the guilty Statue stands.
Hence Perseus to his native City hies,
Victorious, and rewarded with his Prize.
Conquest, o'er Praetus the Usurper, won,
He reinstates his Grandsire in the Throne.
Praetus, his Brother dispossess'd by Might,
His Realm enjoy'd, and still detain'd his Right:
But Perseus pull'd the haughty Tyrant down,
And to the rightful King restor'd the Throne.
Weak was th' Usurper, as his Cause was wrong,
Where Gorgon's Head appears, what Arms are strong?
[Page 153] When Perseus to his Host the Monster held,
They soon were Statues, and their King expell'd.
Thence, to Seriphus with the Head he sails,
Whose Prince his Story treats as idle Tales:
Lord of a little Isle, he scorns to seem
Too credulous, but laughs at That, and Him.
Yet did he not so much suspect the Truth,
As out of Pride or Envy hate the Youth.
The Argive Prince, at his Contempt enrag'd,
To force his Faith by fatal Proof engag'd.
Friends, shut your Eyes, he cries; his Shield he takes,
And to the King expos'd Medusa's Snakes.
The Monarch felt the Pow'r he wou'd not own,
And stood convict of Folly in the Stone.

MINERVA's Interview with the MUSES.

Thus far Minerva was content to rove
With Perseus, Offspring of her Father Jove:
Now, hid in Clouds, Seriphos she forsook;
And to the Theban Tow'rs her Journey took.
Cythnos and Gyaros lying to the Right,
She pass'd unheeded in her eager Flight;
And choosing first on Helicon to rest,
The Virgin Muses in these Words address'd:
Me, the strange Tidings of a new-found Spring,
Ye learned Sisters, to this Mountain bring.
If all be true that Fame's wide Rumours tell,
'Twas Pegasus discover'd first your Well;
Whose piercing Hoof gave the soft Earth a Blow,
Which broke the Surface, where these Waters flow.
I saw that Horse by Miracle obtain
Life, from the Blood of dire Medusa slain;
[Page 154] And now, this equal Prodigy to view,
From distant Isles to fam'd Boeotia flew.
The Muse Urania said, Whatever Cause
So great a Goddess to this Mansion draws;
Our Shades are happy with so bright a Guest,
You, Queen, are welcome, and we Muses blest.
What Fame has publish'd of our Spring is true,
Thanks for our Spring to Pegasus are due.
Then, with becoming Courtesy, she led
The curious Stranger to their Fountain's Head;
Who long survey'd, with Wonder, and Delight,
Their sacred Water, charming to the Sight;
Their ancient Groves, dark Grottos, shady Bow'rs,
And smiling Plains adorn'd with various Flow'rs.
O happy Muses! she with Rapture cry'd,
Who, safe from Cares, on this fair Hill reside;
Blest in your Seat, and free your selves to please
With Joys of Study, and with glorious Ease.

The Fate of PYRENEUS.

Then one replies; O Goddess, fit to guide
Our humble Works, and in our Choir preside,
Who sure wou'd wisely to these Fields repair,
To taste our Pleasures, and our Labours share,
Were not your Virtue, and superior Mind
To higher Arts, and nobler Deeds inclin'd;
Justly you praise our Works, and pleasing Seat,
Which all might envy in this soft Retreat,
Were we secur'd from Dangers, and from Harms,
But Maids are frighten'd with the least Alarms,
And none are safe in this licentious Time;
Still fierce Pyreneus, and his daring Crime
[Page 155] With lashing Horror strikes my feeble Sight,
Nor is my Mind recover'd from the Fright.
With Thracian Arms this bold Usurper gain'd
Daulis, and Phocis, where he proudly reign'd:
It happen'd once, as thro' his Lands we went,
For the bright Temple of Parnassus bent,
He met us there, and in his artful Mind
Hiding the faithless Action he design'd,
Confer'd on us (whom, Oh! too well he knew)
All Honours that to Goddesses are due.
Stop, stop, ye Muses, 'tis your Friend who calls,
The Tyrant said; Behold the Rain that falls
On ev'ry Side, and that ill-boding Sky,
Whose lowring Face portends more Storms are nigh.
Pray make my House your own, and void of Fear,
While this bad Weather lasts, take Shelter here.
Gods have made meaner Places their Resort,
And, for a Cottage, left their shining Court.
Oblig'd to stop, by the united Force
Of pouring Rains, and complaisant Discourse,
His courteous Invitation we obey,
And in his Hall resolve awhile to stay.
Soon it clear'd up; the Clouds began to fly,
The driving North refin'd the show'ry Sky;
Then to pursue our Journey we began:
But the false Traitor to his Portal ran,
Stopt our Escape, the Door securely barr'd,
And to our Honour, Violence prepar'd.
But we, transform'd to Birds, avoid his Snare,
On Pinions rising in the yielding Air.
But he, by Lust and Indignation fir'd,
Up to his highest Tow'r with Speed retir'd,
[Page 156] And cries, In vain you from my Arms withdrew,
The Way you go your Lover will pursue.
Then, in a flying Posture wildly plac'd,
And daring from that Height himself to cast,
The Wretch fell headlong, and the Ground bestrew'd
With broken Bones, and Stains of guilty Blood.

The Story of the PIERIDES.

The Muse yet spoke; when they began to hear
A Noise of Wings that flutter'd in the Air;
And strait a Voice, from some high spreading Bough,
Seem'd to salute the Company below.
The Goddess wonder'd, and inquir'd from whence
That Tongue was heard, that spoke so plainly Sense:
(It seem'd to her a human Voice to be,
But prov'd a Bird's; for in a shady Tree
Nine Magpies perch'd lament their alter'd State,
And, what they hear, are skilful to repeat.)
The Sister to the wondring Goddess said,
These, foil'd by us, by us were thus repaid.
These did Evippè of Paeonia bring
With nine hard Labour-Pangs to Pella's King.
The foolish Virgins of their Number proud,
And puff'd with Praises of the senseless Crowd,
Thro' all Achaia, and th' Aemonian Plains,
Defy'd us thus, to match their artless Strains;
No more, ye Thespian Girls, your Notes repeat,
Nor with false Harmony the Vulgar cheat;
In Voice or Skill, if you with us will vye,
As many we, in Voice or Skill will try.
Surrender you to us, if we excel,
Fam'd Aganippè, and Medusa's Well.
[Page 157] The Conquest yours, your Prize from us shall be
Th' Aemathian Plains to snowy Paeonè
The Nymphs our Judges. To dispute the Field,
We thought a Shame; but greater Shame to yield.
On Seats of living Stone the Sisters sit,
And by the Rivers swear to judge aright.

The Song of the PIERIDES.

Then rises one of the presumptuous Throng,
Steps rudely forth, and first begins the Song;
With vain Address describes the Giants Wars,
And to the Gods their fabled Acts prefers.
She sings, from Earth's dark Womb how Typhon rose,
And struck with mortal Fear his heav'nly Foes.
How the Gods fled to Egypt's slimy Soil,
And hid their Heads beneath the Banks of Nile;
How Typhon, from the conquer'd Skies, pursu'd
Their routed Godheads to the sev'n-mouth'd Flood;
Forc'd ev'ry God, his Fury to escape,
Some beastly Form to take, or earthly Shape.
Jove (so she sung) was chang'd into a Ram,
From whence the Horns of Libyan Ammon came.
Bacchus a Goat, Apollo was a Crow,
Phaebè a Cat; the Wife of Jove a Cow,
Whose Hue was whiter than the falling Snow.
Mercury to a nasty Ibis turn'd,
The Change obscene, afraid of Typhon, mourn'd;
While Venus from a Fish Protection craves,
And once more plunges in her native Waves.
She sung, and to her Harp her Voice apply'd;
Then us again to match her they defy'd.
[Page 158] But our poor Song, perhaps, for you to hear,
Nor Leisure serves, nor is it worth your Ear.
That causeless Doubt remove, O Muse rehearse,
The Goddess cry'd, your ever-grateful Verse.
Beneath a chequer'd Shade she takes her Seat,
And bids the Sister her whole Song repeat.
The Sister thus; Calliopè we chose
For the Performance. The sweet Virgin rose,
With Ivy crown'd; she tunes her golden Strings,
And to her Harp this Composition sings.

The Song of the MUSES.

First Ceres taught the lab'ring Hind to plow
The pregnant Earth, and quickning Seed to sow.
She first for Man did wholesom Food provide,
And with just Laws the wicked World supply'd:
All Good from her deriv'd, to her belong
The grateful Tributes of the Muse's Song.
Her more than worthy of our Verse we deem,
Oh! were our Verse more worthy of the Theme.
Jove on the Giant fair Trinacria hurl'd,
And with one Bolt reveng'd his starry World.
Beneath her burning Hills Typhaeus lies,
And, strugling always, strives in vain to rise.
Down does Pelorus his right Hand suppress
Toward Latium, on the left Pachynè weighs.
His Legs are under Lilybaecum spread,
And Aetna presses hard his horrid Head.
On his broad Back he there extended lies,
And vomits Clouds of Ashes to the Skies.
Oft lab'ring with his Load, at last he tires,
And spews out in Revenge a Flood of Fires.
[Page 159] Mountains he struggles to o'erwhelm, and Towns,
Earth's inmost Bowels quake, and Nature groans.
His Terrors reach the direful King of Hell;
He fears his Throws will to the Day reveal
The Realms of Night, and fright his trembling Ghosts.
This to prevent, he quits the Stygian Coasts,
In his black Carr, by sooty Horses drawn,
Fair Sicily he seeks, and dreads the Dawn.
Around her Plains he casts his eager Eyes,
And ev'ry Mountain to the Bottom tries.
But when, in all the careful Search, he saw
No Cause of Fear, no ill suspected Flaw;
Secure from Harm, and wandring on at Will,
Venus beheld him from her flow'ry Hill:
When strait the Dame her little Cupid prest
With secret Rapture to her snowy Breast,
And in these Words the flutt'ring Boy addrest.
O thou, my Arms, my Glory, and my Pow'r,
My Son, whom Men, and deathless Gods adore;
Bend thy sure Bow, whose Arrows never miss'd,
No longer let Hell's King thy Sway resist:
Take him, while stragling from his dark Abodes
He coasts the Kingdoms of superior Gods.
If Sovereign Jove, if Gods who rule the Waves,
And Neptune, who rules them, have been thy Slaves;
Shall Hell be free? The Tyrant strike, my Son,
Enlarge thy Mother's Empire, and thy own.
Let not our Heav'n be made the Mock of Hell,
But Pluto to confess thy Pow'r compel.
Our Rule is slighted in our native Skies,
See Pallas, see Diana too defies
Thy Darts, which Ceres' Daughter wou'd despise.
[Page 160] She too our Empire treats with awkward Scorn;
Such Insolence no longer's to be born.
Revenge our slighted Reign, and with thy Dart
Transfix the Virgin's to the Uncle's Heart.
She said; and from his Quiver strait he drew
A Dart that surely wou'd the Business do.
She guides his Hand, she makes her Touch the Test,
And of a thousand Arrows chose the best:
No Feather better pois'd, a sharper Head
None had, and sooner none, and surer sped.
He bends his Bow, he draws it to his Ear,
Thro' Pluto's Heart it drives, and fixes there.


Near Enna's Walls a spacious Lake is spread,
Fam'd for the sweetly-singing Swans it bred;
Pergusa is its Name: And never more
Were heard, or sweeter on Cayster's Shore.
Woods crown the Lake; and Phoebus ne'er invades
The tufted Fences, or offends the Shades.
Fresh fragrant Breezes fan the verdant Bow'rs,
And the moist Ground smiles with enamel'd Flow'rs.
The chearful Birds their airy Carols sing,
And the whole Year is one eternal Spring.
Here, while young Proserpine, among the Maids,
Diverts herself in these delicious Shades;
While like a Child with busy Speed and Care
She gathers Lillies here, and Vi'lets there;
While first to fill her little Lap she strives,
Hell's grizly Monarch at the Shade arrives;
Sees her thus sporting on the flow'ry Green,
And loves the blooming Maid, as soon as seen.
[Page 161] His urgent Flame impatient of Delay;
Swift as his Thought he seiz'd the beauteous Prey,
And bore her in his sooty Carr away.
The frighted Goddess to her Mother cries,
But all in vain, for now far off she flies;
Far she behind her leaves her Virgin Train;
To them too cries, and cries to them in vain.
And, while with Passion she repeats her Call,
The Vi'lets from her Lap, and Lillies fall:
She misses 'em, poor Heart! and makes new Moan;
Her Lillies, ah! are lost, her Vi'lets gone.
O'er Hills, the Ravisher, and Vallies speeds,
By Name encouraging his foamy Steeds;
He rattles o'er their Necks the rusty Reins,
And ruffles with the Stroke their shaggy Manes.
O'er Lakes he whirls his flying Wheels, and comes
To the Palici breathing sulph'rous Fumes.
And thence to where the Bacchiads of Renown
Between unequal Havens built their Town;
Where Arethusa, round th' imprison'd Sea,
Extends her crooked Coast to Cyanè;
The Nymph who gave the neighb'ring Lake a Name,
Of all Sicilian Nymphs the first in Fame.
She from the Waves advanc'd her beauteous Head,
The Goddess knew, and thus to Pluto said;
Farther thou shalt not with the Virgin run;
Ceres unwilling, canst thou be her Son?
The Maid shou'd be by sweet Perswasion won.
Force suits not with the Softness of the Fair;
For, if great things with small I may compare,
Me Anapis once lov'd; a milder Course
He took, and won me by his Words, not Force.
[Page 162] Then, stretching out her Arms, she stopt his Way;
But he, impatient of the shortest Stay,
Throws to his dreadful Steeds the slacken'd Rein,
And strikes his Iron Sceptre thro' the Main;
The Depths profound thro' yielding Waves he cleaves,
And to Hell's Center a free Passage leaves;
Down sinks his Chariot, and his Realms of Night
The God soon reaches with a rapid Flight.

CYANE dissolves to a Fountain.

But still does Cyanè the Rape bemoan,
And with the Goddess' Wrongs laments her own;
For the stoln Maid, and for her injur'd Spring,
Time to her Trouble no Relief can bring.
In her sad Heart a heavy Load she bears,
Till the dumb Sorrow turns her all to Tears.
Her mingling Waters with that Fountain pass,
Of which she late immortal Goddess was.
Her varied Members to a Fluid melt,
A pliant Softness in her Bones is felt.
Her wavy Locks first drop away in Dew,
And liquid next her slender Fingers grew.
The Body's Change soon seizes its Extreme,
Her Legs dissolve, and Feet flow off in Stream.
Her Arms, her Back, her Shoulders, and her Side,
Her swelling Breasts in little Currents glide.
A Silver Liquor only now remains
Within the Channel of her purple Veins;
Nothing to fill Love's Grasp; her Husband chaste
Bathes in that Bosom he before embrac'd.

A Boy transform'd to an Eft.

Thus, while thro' all the Earth, and all the Main,
Her Daughter mournful Ceres sought in vain;
Aurora, when with dewy Looks she rose,
Nor burnish'd Vesper found her in Repose.
At Aetna's flaming Mouth two pitchy Pines
To light her in her Search at length she tines.
Restless with these, thro' frosty Night she goes,
Nor fears the cutting Winds, nor heeds the Snows;
And, when the Morning-Star the Day renews,
From East to West her absent Child pursues.
Thirsty at last by long Fatigue she grows,
But meets no Spring, no Riv'let near her flows.
Then looking round, a lowly Cottage spies,
Smoaking among the Trees, and thither hies.
The Goddess knocking at the little Door,
'Twas open'd by a Woman old and poor,
Who, when she begg'd for Water, gave her Ale
Brew'd long, but well preserv'd from being stale.
The Goddess drank; a chuffy Lad was by,
Who saw the Liquor with a grutching Eye,
And grinning cries, She's greedy more than dry.
Ceres, offended at his foul Grimace,
Flung what she had not drunk into his Face.
The Sprinklings speckle where they hit the Skin,
And a long Tail does from his Body spin;
His Arms are turn'd to Legs, and lest his Size
Shou'd make him mischievous, and he might rise
Against Mankind, diminutives his Frame,
Less than a Lizzard, but in Shape the same.
[Page 164] Amaz'd the Dame the wondrous Sight beheld,
And weeps, and fain wou'd touch her quondam Child.
Yet her Approach th' affrighted Vermin shuns,
And fast into the greatest Crevice runs.
A Name they gave him, which the Spots exprest,
That rose like
Stars, and varied all his Breast.
What Lands, what Seas the Goddess wander'd o'er,
Were long to tell, for there remain'd no more.
Searching all round, her fruitless Toil she mourns,
And with Regret to Sicily returns.
At length, where Cyanè now flows, she came,
Who cou'd have told her, were she still the same
As when she saw her Daughter sink to Hell,
But what she knows she wants a Tongue to tell.
Yet this plain Signal manifestly gave,
The Virgin's Girdle floating on a Wave,
As late she dropt it from her slender Waste,
When with her Uncle thro' the Deep she past.
Ceres the Token by her Grief confest,
And tore her golden Hair, and beat her Breast.
She knows not on what Land her Curse shou'd fall,
But, as ingrate, alike upbraids 'em all,
Unworthy of her Gifts; Trinacria most,
Where the last Steps she found of what she lost.
The Plough for this the vengeful Goddess broke,
And with one Death the Ox and Owner struck.
In vain the fallow Fields the Peasant tills,
The Seed, corrupted e're 'tis sown, she kills.
The fruitful Soil, that once such Harvests bore,
Now mocks the Farmer's Care, and teems no more.
And the rich Grain which fills the furrow'd Glade,
Rots in the Seed, or shrivels in the Blade;
[Page 165] Or too much Sun burns up, or too much Rain
Drowns, or black Blights destroy the blasted Plain;
Or greedy Birds the new-sown Seed devour,
Or Darnel, Thistles, and a Crop impure
Of knotted Grass along the Acres stand,
And spread their thriving Roots thro' all the Land.
Then from the Waves soft Arethusa rears
Her Head, and back she flings her dropping Hairs.
O Mother of the Maid, whom thou so far
Hast sought, of whom thou canst no Tidings hear;
O thou, she cry'd, who art to Life a Friend,
Cease here thy Search, and let thy Labour end.
Thy faithful Sicily's a guiltless Clime,
And shou'd not suffer for another's Crime;
She neither knew, nor cou'd prevent the Deed.
Nor think that for my Country thus I plead;
My Country's Pisa, I'm an Alien here,
Yet these Abodes to Elis I prefer,
No Clime to me so sweet, no Place so dear.
These Springs I Arethusa now possess,
And this my Seat, O gracious Goddess, bless.
This Island why I love, and why I crost
Such spacious Seas to reach Ortygia's Coast,
To you I shall impart, when, void of Care,
Your Heart's at Ease, and you're more fit to hear;
When on your Brow no pressing Sorrow sits,
For gay Content alone such Tales admits.
When thro' Earth's Caverns I awhile have roul'd
My Waves, I rise, and here again behold
The long lost Stars; and, as I late did glide
Near Styx, Proserpina there I espy'd.
[Page 166] Fear still with Grief might in her Face be seen;
She still her Rape laments; yet, made a Queen,
Beneath those gloomy Shades her Sceptre sways,
And ev'n th' infernal King her Will obeys.
This heard, the Goddess like a Statute stood,
Stupid with Grief; and in that musing Mood
Continu'd long; new Cares awhile supprest
The reigning Pow'rs of her immortal Breast.
At last to Jove her Daughter's Sire she flies,
And with her Chariot cuts the chrystal Skies;
She comes in Clouds, and with dishevel'd Hair,
Standing before his Throne, prefers her Pray'r.
King of the Gods, defend my Blood and thine,
And use it not the worse for being mine.
If I no more am gracious in thy Sight,
Be just, O Jove, and do thy Daughter right.
In vain I sought her the wide World around,
And, when I most despair'd to find her, found.
But how can I the fatal Finding boast,
By which I know she is for ever lost?
Without her Father's Aid, what other Pow'r
Can to my Arms the ravish'd Maid restore?
Let him restore her, I'll the Crime forgive,
My Child, tho' ravish'd, I'd with Joy receive.
Pity, your Daughter with a Thief shou'd wed,
Tho' mine, you think, deserves no better Bed.
Jove thus replies; It equally belongs
To both, to guard our common Pledge from Wrongs.
But if to things we proper Names apply,
This hardly can be call'd an Injury.
The Theft is Love; nor need we blush to own
The Thief, if I can judge, to be our Son.
[Page 167] Had you of his Desert no other Proof,
To be Jove's Brother is methinks enough.
Nor was my Throne by Worth superior got,
Heav'n fell to me, as Hell to him, by Lot.
If you are still resolv'd her Loss to mourn,
And nothing less will serve than her Return;
Upon these Terms she may again be yours,
(Th'irrevocable Terms of Fate, not ours.)
Of Stygian Food if she did never taste,
Hell's Bounds may then, and only then, be past.

The Transformation of ASCALAPHUS into an Owl.

The Goddess now, resolving to succeed,
Down to the gloomy Shades descends with Speed;
But adverse Fate had otherwise decreed.
For, long before, her giddy thoughtless Child
Had broke her Fast, and all her Projects spoil'd.
As in the Garden's shady Walks she stray'd,
A fair Pomegranate charm'd the simple Maid,
Hung in her Way, and tempting her to taste,
She pluck'd the Fruit, and took a short Repast.
Seven times, a Seed at once, she eat the Food;
The Fact Ascalaphus had only view'd;
Whom Acheron begot in Stygian Shades
On Orphnè, fam'd among Avernal Maids;
He saw what past, and by discov'ring all,
Detain'd the ravish'd Nymph in cruel Thrall.
But now a Queen, she with Resentment heard,
And chang'd the vile Informer to a Bird.
In Phlegeton's black Stream her Hand she dips,
Sprinkles his Head, and wets his babbling Lips.
[Page 168] Soon on his Face, bedropt with Magick Dew,
A Change appear'd, and gawdy Feathers grew.
A crooked Beak the Place of Nose supplies,
Rounder his Head, and larger are his Eyes.
His Arms and Body waste, but are supply'd
With yellow Pinions flagging on each Side.
His Nails grow crooked, and are turn'd to Claws,
And lazily along his heavy Wings he draws.
Ill-omen'd in his Form, th' unlucky Fowl,
Abhorr'd by Men, and call'd a Scrieching Owl.

The Daughters of ACHELOUS transform'd to SIRENS.

Justly this Punishment was due to him,
And less had been too little for his Crime;
But, O ye Nymphs that from the Flood descend,
What Fault of yours the Gods cou'd so offend,
With Wings and Claws your beauteous Forms to spoil,
Yet save your maiden Face, and winning Smile?
Were you not with her in Pergusa's Bow'rs,
When Proserpine went forth to gather Flow'rs?
Since Pluto in his Carr the Goddess caught,
Have you not for her in each Climate sought?
And when on Land you long had search'd in vain,
You wish'd for Wings to cross the pathless Main;
That Earth and Sea might witness to your Care:
The Gods were easy, and return'd your Pray'r;
With golden Wing o'er foamy Waves you fled,
And to the Sun your plumy Glories spread.
But, lest the soft Enchantment of your Songs,
And the sweet Musick of your flatt'ring Tongues
Shou'd quite be lost, (as courteous Fates ordain)
Your Voice and Virgin Beauty still remain.
[Page 169] Jove some Amends for Ceres' Loss to make,
Yet willing Pluto shou'd the Joy partake,
Gives 'em of Proserpine an equal Share,
Who, claim'd by both, with both divides the Year.
The Goddess now in either Empire sways,
Six Moons in Hell, and six with Ceres stays.
Her peevish Temper's chang'd; that sullen Mind,
Which made ev'n Hell uneasy, now is kind.
Her Voice refines, her Mein more sweet appears,
Her Forehead free from Frowns, her Eyes from Tears.
As when, with golden Light, the conqu'ring Day
Thro' dusky Exhalations clears a Way.
Ceres her Daughter's Rape no longer mourn'd,
But back to Arethusa's Spring return'd;
And sitting on the Margin, bid her tell
From whence she came, and why a sacred Well.

The Story of ARETHUSA.

Still were the purling Waters, and the Maid
From the smooth Surface rais'd her beauteous Head,
Wipes off the Drops that from her Tresses ran,
And thus to tell Alpheus' Loves began.
In Elis first I breath'd the living Air,
The Chase was all my Pleasure, all my Care.
None lov'd like me the Forest to explore,
To pitch the Toils, and drive the bristled Boar.
Of Fair, tho' Masculine, I had the Name,
But gladly wou'd to that have quitted Claim:
It less my Pride than Indignation rais'd,
To hear the Beauty I neglected prais'd;
Such Compliments I loath'd, such Charms as these
I scorn'd, and thought it Infamy to please.
[Page 170] Once, I remember, in the Summer's Heat,
Tir'd with the Chase, I sought a cool Retreat;
And, walking on, a silent Current found,
Which gently glided o'er the grav'ly Ground.
The chrystal Water was so smooth, so clear,
My Eye distinguish'd ev'ry Pebble there.
So soft its Motion, that I scarce perceiv'd
The running Stream, or what I saw, believ'd.
The hoary Willow, and the Poplar made
Along the shelving Bank a grateful Shade.
In the cool Rivulet my Feet I dipt,
Then waded to the Knee, and then I stript;
My Robe I careless on an Osier threw,
That near the Place commodiously grew,
Nor long upon the Border naked stood,
But plung'd with Speed into the silver Flood.
My Arms a thousand ways I mov'd, and try'd
To quicken, if I cou'd, the lazy Tide;
Where, while I play'd my swimming Gambols o'er,
I heard a murm'ring Voice, and frighted sprung to Shore.
Oh! whither, Arethusa, dost thou fly?
From the Brook's Bottom did Alpheus cry;
Again, I heard him, in a hollow Tone,
Oh! whither, Arethusa, dost thou run?
Naked I flew, nor cou'd I stay to hide
My Limbs, my Robe was on the other Side;
Alpheus follow'd fast, th' inflaming Sight
Quicken'd his Speed, and made his Labour light;
He sees me ready for his eager Arms,
And with a greedy Glance devours my Charms.
As trembling Doves from pressing Danger fly,
When the fierce Hawk comes sousing from the Sky;
[Page 171] And, as fierce Hawks the trembling Doves pursue,
From him I fled, and after me he flew.
First by Orchomenus I took my Flight,
And soon had Psophis and Cyllene in Sight;
Behind me then high Maenalus I lost,
And craggy Erimanthus scal'd with Frost;
Elis was next; thus far the Ground I trod
With nimble Feet, before the distanc'd God.
But here I lagg'd, unable to sustain
The Labour longer, and my Flight maintain;
While he more strong, more patient of the Toil,
And fir'd with Hopes of Beauty's speedy Spoil,
Gain'd my lost Ground, and by redoubled Pace,
Now left between us but a narrow Space.
Unweary'd I till now o'er Hills and Plains,
O'er Rocks and Rivers ran, and felt no Pains:
The Sun behind me, and the God I kept,
But, when I fastest shou'd have run, I stept.
Before my Feet his Shadow now appear'd,
As what I saw, or rather what I fear'd.
Yet there I cou'd not be deceiv'd by Fear,
Who felt his Breath pant on my braided Hair,
And heard his sounding Tread, and knew him to be near.
Tir'd and despairing, O Celestial Maid,
I'm caught, I cry'd, without thy heav'nly Aid.
Help me, Diana, help a Nymph forlorn,
Devoted to the Woods, who long has worn
Thy Livery, and long thy Quiver born.
The Goddess heard, my pious Pray'r prevail'd,
In muffling Clouds my Virgin Head was veil'd.
The amorous God deluded of his Hopes,
Searches the Gloom, and thro' the Darkness gropes;
[Page 172] Twice, where Diana did her Servant hide
He came, and twice, O Arethusa, cry'd.
How shaken was my Soul, how sunk my Heart?
The Terror seiz'd on ev'ry trembling Part.
Thus when the Wolf about the Mountain prowls
For Prey, the Lambkin hears his horrid Howls;
The tim'rous Hare, the Pack approaching nigh,
Thus hearkens to the Hounds, and trembles at the Cry;
Nor dares she stir, for fear her scented Breath
Direct the Dogs, and guide the threaten'd Death.
Alpheus in the Cloud no Traces found
To mark my Way, yet stays to guard the Ground.
The God so near, a chilly Sweat possest
My fainting Limbs, at ev'ry Pore exprest;
My Strength distill'd in Drops, my Hair in Dew,
My Form was chang'd, and all my Substance new.
Each Motion was a Stream, and my whole Frame
Turn'd to a Fount, which still preserves my Name.
Resolv'd I shou'd not his Embrace escape,
Again the God resumes his fluid Shape;
To mix his Streams with mine he fondly tries,
But still Diana his Attempt denies,
She cleaves the Ground; thro' Caverns dark I run
A diff'rent Current, while he keeps his own.
To dear Ortygia she conducts my Way,
And here I first review the welcome Day.
Here Arethusa stopt; then Ceres takes
Her golden Carr, and yokes her fiery Snakes;
With a just Rein, along Mid-heaven she flies
O'er Earth and Seas, and cuts the yielding Skies.
She halts at Athens, dropping like a Star,
And to Triptolemus resigns her Carr.
[Page 173] Parent of Seed, she gave him fruitful Grain,
And bad him teach to till and plough the Plain;
The Seed to sow, as well in fallow Fields,
As where the Soil manur'd a richer Harvest yields.

The Transformation of LYNCUS.

The Youth o'er Europe, and o'er Asia drives,
Till at the Court of Lyncus he arrives.
The Tyrant Scythia's barb'rous Empire sway'd;
And, when he saw Triptolemus, he said,
How cam'st thou, Stranger, to our Court, and why?
Thy Country, and thy Name? The Youth did thus reply;
Triptolemus my Name; my Country's known
O'er all the World, Minerva's fav'rite Town,
Athens, the first of Cities in Renown.
By Land I neither walk'd, nor sail'd by Sea,
But hither thro' the Aether made my Way.
By me, the Goddess who the Fields befriends,
These Gifts, the greatest of all Blessings, sends.
The Grain she gives if in your Soil you sow,
Thence wholsom Food in golden Crops shall grow.
Soon as the Secret to the King was known,
He grudg'd the Glory of the Service done,
And wickedly resolv'd to make it all his own.
To hide his Purpose, he invites his Guest,
The Friend of Ceres, to a royal Feast.
And when sweet Sleep his heavy Eyes had seiz'd,
The Tyrant with his Steel attempts his Breast.
Him strait a Lynx's Shape the Goddess gives,
And home the Youth her sacred Dragons drives.

The PIERIDES transform'd to Magpies.

The chosen Muse here ends her sacred Lays;
The Nymphs unanimous decree the Bays,
And give the Heliconian Goddesses the Praise.
Then, far from vain that we shou'd thus prevail,
But much provok'd to hear the Vanquish'd rail,
Calliopè resumes; Too long we've born
Your daring Taunts, and your affronting Scorn;
Your Challenge justly merited a Curse,
And this unmanner'd Railing makes it worse.
Since you refuse us calmly to enjoy
Our Patience, next our Passions we'll employ;
The Dictates of a Mind enrag'd pursue,
And, what our just Resentment bids us, do.
The Railers laugh, our Threats and Wrath despise,
And clap their Hands, and make a scolding Noise:
But in the Fact they're seiz'd; beneath their Nails
Feathers they feel, and on their Faces Scales;
Their horny Beaks at once each other scare,
Their Arms are plum'd, and on their Backs they bear
Py'd Wings, and flutter in the fleeting Air.
Chatt'ring, the Scandal of the Woods they fly,
And there continue still their clam'rous Cry:
The same their Eloquence, as Maids, or Birds,
Now only Noise, and nothing then but Words.
The End of the Fifth Book.
To Her Highness the Princess Anne Eldest Daughter of Their Royal Highnesses ye Prince & Princess of Wales.


The Transformation of ARACHNE into a Spider.

PAllas, attending to the Muse's Song,
Approv'd the just Resentment of their Wrong;
And thus reflects; While tamely I commend
Those who their injur'd Deities defend,
My own Divinity affronted stands,
And calls aloud for Justice at my Hands;
Then takes the Hint, asham'd to lag behind,
And on Arachnè bends her vengeful Mind;
One at the Loom so excellently skill'd,
That to the Goddess she refus'd to yield.
Low was her Birth, and small her native Town,
She from her Art alone obtain'd Renown.
Idmon her Father made it; his Employ,
To give the spungy Fleece a purple Dye:
Of vulgar Strain her Mother, lately dead,
With her own Rank had been content to wed;
[Page 176] Yet she their Daughter, tho' her Time was spent
In a small Hamlet, and of mean Descent,
Thro' the great Towns of Lydia gain'd a Name,
And fill'd the neighb'ring Countries with her Fame.
Oft to admire the Niceness of her Skill,
The Nymphs would quit their Fountain, Shade, or Hill:
Thither, from green Tymolus they repair,
And leave the Vineyards, their peculiar Care;
Thither, from fam'd Pactolus' golden Stream,
Drawn by her Art, the curious Naiads came.
Nor would the Work, when finish'd, please so much,
As, while she wrought, to view each graceful Touch;
Whether the shapeless Wooll in Balls she wound,
Or with quick Motion turn'd the Spindle round,
Or with her Pencil drew the neat Design,
Pallas her Mistress shone in ev'ry Line.
This the proud Maid with scornful Air denies,
And ev'n the Goddess at her Work defies;
Disowns her heav'nly Mistress ev'ry Hour,
Nor asks her Aid, nor deprecates her Pow'r.
Let us, she cries, but to a Tryal come,
And, if she conquers, let her fix my Doom.
The Goddess then a Beldame's Form put on,
With silver Hairs her hoary Temples shone;
Prop'd by a Staff, she hobbles in her Walk,
And tott'ring thus begins her old Wive's Talk.
Young Maid attend, nor stubbornly despise
The Admonitions of the Old, and Wise;
For Age, tho' scorn'd, a ripe Experience bears,
That golden Fruit, unknown to blooming Years:
Still may remotest Fame your Labours crown,
And Mortals your superior Genius own;
[Page 177] But to the Goddess yield, and humbly meek
A Pardon for your bold Presumption seek;
The Goddess will forgive. At this the Maid
With Passion fir'd, her gliding Shuttle stay'd;
And, darting Vengeance with an angry Look,
To Pallas in Disguise thus fiercely spoke.
Thou doating Thing, whose idle babling Tongue
But too well shews the Plague of living long;
Hence, and reprove, with this your sage Advice,
Your giddy Daughter, or your awkward Neice;
Know, I despise your Counsel, and am still
A Woman, ever wedded to my Will;
And, if your skillful Goddess better knows,
Let her accept the Tryal I propose.
She does, impatient Pallas strait replies,
And, cloath'd with heavenly Light, sprung from her odd Disguise.
The Nymphs, and Virgins of the Plain adore
The awful Goddess, and confess her Pow'r;
The Maid alone stood unappall'd; yet show'd
A transient Blush, that for a Moment glow'd,
Then disappear'd; as purple Streaks adorn
The opening Beauties of the rosy Morn;
Till Phoebus rising prevalently bright,
Allays the Tincture with his Silver Light.
Yet she persists, and obstinately great,
In hopes of Conquest hurries on her Fate.
The Goddess now the Challenge waves no more,
Nor, kindly good, advises as before.
Strait to their Posts appointed both repair,
And fix their threaded Looms with equal Care:
Around the solid Beam the Web is ty'd,
While hollow Canes the parting Warp divide;
[Page 178] Thro' which with nimble Flight the Shuttles play,
And for the Woof prepare a ready Way;
The Woof and Warp unite, press'd by the toothy Slay.
Thus both, their Mantles button'd to their Breast,
Their skilful Fingers ply with willing haste,
And work with Pleasure; while they chear the Eye
With glowing Purple of the Tyrian Dye:
Or, justly intermixing Shades with Light,
Their Colourings insensibly unite.
As when a Show'r transpierc'd with Sunny Rays,
It's mighty Arch along the Heav'n displays;
From whence a thousand diff'rent Colours rise,
Whose fine Transition cheats the clearest Eyes;
So like the intermingled Shading seems,
And only differs in the last Extreams.
Then Threads of Gold both artfully dispose,
And, as each Part in just Proportion rose,
Some antique Fable in their Work disclose.
Pallas in Figures wrought the heav'nly Pow'rs,
And Mars's Hill among th' Athenian Tow'rs.
On lofty Thrones twice six Celestials sate,
Jove in the Midst, and held their warm Debate;
The Subject weighty, and well-known to Fame,
From whom the City should receive its Name.
Each God by proper Features was exprest,
Jove with majestick Mein excell'd the rest.
His three-fork'd Mace the dewy Sea-God shook,
And, looking sternly, smote the ragged Rock;
When from the Stone leapt forth a spritely Steed,
And Neptune claims the City for the Deed.
Herself she blazons with a glitt'ring Spear,
And crested Helm that veil'd her braided Hair,
With Shield, and scaly Breast-plate, Implements of War.
[Page 179] Struck with her pointed Launce, the teeming Earth
Seem'd to produce a new surprizing Birth;
When, from the Glebe, the Pledge of Conquest sprung,
A Tree pale-green with fairest Olives hung.
And then, to let her giddy Rival learn
What just Rewards such Boldness was to earn,
Four Tryals at each Corner had their Part,
Design'd in Miniature, and touch'd with Art.
Haemus in one, and Rhodopè of Thrace,
Transform'd to Mountains, fill'd the foremost Place;
Who claim'd the Titles of the Gods above,
And vainly us'd the Epithets of Jove.
Another shew'd, where the Pigmaean Dame,
Profaning Juno's venerable Name,
Turn'd to an airy Crane, descends from far,
And with her Pigmy Subjects wages War.
In a third Part, the Rage of Heaven's great Queen,
Display'd on proud Antigonè, was seen;
Who with presumptuous Boldness dar'd to vye,
For Beauty, with the Empress of the Sky.
Ah! what avails her ancient Princely Race,
Her Sire a King, and Troy her native Place?
Now, to a noisy Stork transform'd, she flies,
And with her whiten'd Pinions cleaves the Skies.
And in the last remaining Part was drawn
Poor Cinyras, that seem'd to weep in Stone;
Clasping the Temple Steps, he sadly mourn'd
His lovely Daughters, now to Marble turn'd.
With her own Tree the finish'd Piece is crown'd,
And Wreaths of peaceful Olive all the Work surround.
Arachnè drew the fam'd Intreagues of Jove,
Chang'd to a Bull to gratify his Love;
[Page 180] How thro' the briny Tide all foaming Hoar,
Lovely Europa on his Back he bore.
The Sea seem'd waving, and the trembling Maid
Shrunk up her tender Feet, as if afraid;
And, looking back on the forsaken Strand,
To her Companions wafts her distant Hand.
Next she design'd Asteria's fabled Rape,
When Jove assum'd a soaring Eagle's Shape:
And shew'd how Leda lay supinely press'd,
Whilst the soft snowy Swan sate hov'ring o'er her Breast.
How in a Satyr's Form the God beguil'd,
When fair Antiopè with Twins he fill'd.
Then, like Amphitryon, but a real Jove,
In fair Alcmena's Arms he cool'd his Love.
In fluid Gold to Danaè's Heart he came,
Aegina felt him in a lambent Flame.
He took Mnemosynè in Shepherd's Make,
And for Dëois was a speckled Snake.
She made thee, Neptune, like a wanton Steer,
Pacing the Meads for Love of Arnè dear;
Next like a Stream, thy burning Flame to slake,
And like a Ram, for fair Bisaltis' sake.
Then Ceres in a Steed your Vigour try'd,
Nor cou'd the Mare the yellow Goddess hide.
Next to a Fowl transform'd, you won by Force
The Snake-hair'd Mother of the winged Horse;
And, in a Dolphin's fishy Form, subdu'd
Melantho sweet beneath the oozy Flood.
All these the Maid with lively Features drew,
And open'd proper Landskips to the View.
There Phoebus, roving like a Country Swain,
Attunes his jolly Pipe along the Plain;
[Page 181] For lovely Isse's sake in Shepherd's Weeds,
O'er Pastures green his bleating Flock he feeds.
There Bacchus, imag'd like the clust'ring Grape,
Melting bedrops Erigonè's fair Lap;
And there old Saturn, stung with youthful Heat,
Form'd like a Stallion, rushes to the Feat.
Fresh Flow'rs, which Twists of Ivy intertwine,
Mingling a running Foliage, close the neat Design.
This the bright Goddess, passionately mov'd,
With Envy saw, yet inwardly approv'd.
The Scene of heav'nly Guilt with haste she tore,
Nor longer the Affront with Patience bore;
A boxen Shuttle in her Hand she took,
And more than once Arachnè's Forehead struck.
Th' unhappy Maid, impatient of the Wrong,
Down from a Beam her injur'd Person hung;
When Pallas, pitying her wretched State,
At once prevented, and pronounc'd her Fate;
Live; but depend, vile Wretch, the Goddess cry'd,
Doom'd in Suspence for ever to be ty'd;
That all your Race, to utmost Date of Time,
May feel the Vengeance, and detest the Crime.
Then, going off, she sprinkled her with Juice,
Which Leaves of baleful Aconite produce.
Touch'd with the pois'nous Drug, her flowing Hair
Fell to the Ground, and left her Temples bare;
Her usual Features vanish'd from their Place,
Her Body lessen'd all, but most her Face.
Her slender Fingers, hanging on each Side
With many Joynts, the use of Legs supply'd:
A Spider's Bag the rest, from which she gives
A Thread, and still by constant Weaving lives.

The Story of NIOBE.

Swift thro' the Phrygian Towns the Rumour flies,
And the strange News each female Tongue employs:
Niobè, who before she married knew
The famous Nymph, now found the Story true;
Yet, unreclaim'd by poor Arachnè's Fate,
Vainly above the Gods assum'd a State.
Her Husband's Fame, their Family's Descent,
Their Pow'r, and rich Dominion's wide Extent,
Might well have justify'd a decent Pride;
But not on these alone the Dame rely'd.
Her lovely Progeny, that far excell'd,
The Mother's Heart with vain Ambition swell'd:
The happiest Mother not unjustly styl'd,
Had no conceited Thoughts her tow'ring Fancy fill'd.
For once a Prophetess with Zeal inspir'd,
Their slow Neglect to warm Devotion fir'd;
Thro' ev'ry Street of Thebes who ran possess'd,
And thus in Accents wild her Charge express'd:
Haste, haste, ye Theban Matrons, and adore,
With hallow'd Rites, Latona's mighty Pow'r;
And, to the heav'nly Twins that from her spring,
With Laurel crown'd, your smoaking Incense bring.
Strait the great Summons ev'ry Dame obey'd,
And due Submission to the Goddess paid;
Graceful, with Laurel Chaplets dress'd, they came,
And offer'd Incense in the sacred Flame.
Mean while, surrounded with a courtly Guard,
The royal Niobè in State appear'd;
Attir'd in Robes embroider'd o'er with Gold,
And mad with Rage, yet lovely to behold:
[Page 183] Her comely Tresses, trembling as she stood,
Down her fine Neck with easy Motion flow'd;
Then, darting round a proud disdainful Look,
In haughty Tone her hasty Passion broke,
And thus began; What Madness this, to court
A Goddess founded meerly on Report?
Dare ye a poor pretended Pow'r invoke,
While yet no Altars to my Godhead smoke?
Mine, whose immediate Lineage stands confess'd
From Tantalus, the only mortal Guest
That e'er the Gods admitted to their Feast.
A Sister of the Pleiads gave me Birth;
And Atlas, mightiest Mountain upon Earth,
Who bears the Globe of all the Stars above,
My Grandsire was, and Atlas sprung from Jove.
The Theban Towns my Majesty adore,
And neighb'ring Phrygia trembles at my Pow'r:
Rais'd by my Husband's Lute, with Turrets crown'd,
Our lofty City stands secur'd around.
Within my Court, where-e'er I turn my Eyes,
Unbounded Treasures to my Prospect rise:
With these my Face I modestly may name,
As not unworthy of so high a Claim;
Seven are my Daughters, of a Form Divine,
With seven fair Sons, an indefective Line.
Go, Fools! consider this; and ask the Cause
From which my Pride its strong Presumption draws;
Consider this; and then prefer to me
Caeus the Titan's vagrant Progeny;
To whom, in Travel, the whole spacious Earth
No Room afforded for her spurious Birth.
[Page 184] Not the least Part in Earth, in Heaven, or Seas,
Would grant your outlaw'd Goddess any Ease:
Till pitying her's, from his own wandring Case,
Delos, the floating Island, gave a Place.
There she a Mother was, of two at most;
Only the seventh Part of what I boast.
My Joys all are beyond Suspicion fix'd,
With no Pollutions of Misfortune mix d;
Safe on the Basis of my Pow'r I stand,
Above the Reach of Fortune's fickle Hand.
Lessen she may my inexhausted Store,
And much destroy, yet still must leave me more.
Suppose it possible that some may dye
Of this my num'rous lovely Progeny;
Still with Latona I might safely vye.
Who, by her scanty Breed, scarce fit to name,
But just escapes the childless Woman's Shame.
Go then, with Speed your laurel'd heads uncrown,
And leave the silly Farce you have begun.
The tim'rous Throng their sacred Rites forbore,
And from their Heads the verdant Laurel tore;
Their haughty Queen they with Regret obey'd,
And still in gentle Murmurs softly pray'd.
High, on the Top of Cynthus' shady Mount,
With Grief the Goddess saw the base Affront;
And, the Abuse revolving in her Breast,
The Mother her Twin-offspring thus addrest.
Lo I, my Children, who with Comfort knew
Your God-like Birth, and thence my Glory drew;
And thence have claim'd Precedency of Place
From all but Juno of the heav'nly Race,
Must now despair, and languish in Disgrace.
[Page 185] My Godhead question'd, and all Rites Divine,
Unless you succour, banish'd from my Shrine.
Nay more, the Imp of Tantalus has flung
Reflections with her vile paternal Tongue;
Has dar'd prefer her mortal Breed to mine,
And call'd me childless; which, just Fate, may she repine!
When to urge more the Goddess was prepar'd,
Phoebus in haste replies, Too much we've heard,
And ev'ry Moment's lost, while Vengeance is defer'd.
Diana spoke the same. Then both enshroud
Their heav'nly Bodies in a sable Cloud;
And to the Theban Tow'rs descending light,
Thro' the soft yielding Air direct their Flight.
Without the Wall there lies a champian Ground
With even Surface, far extending round,
Beaten and level'd, while it daily feels
The trampling Horse, and Chariot's grinding Wheels.
Part of proud Niobè's young rival Breed,
Practising there to ride the manag'd Steed;
Their Bridles boss'd with Gold, were mounted high
On stately Furniture of Tyrian Dye.
Of these, Ismenos, who by Birth had been
The first fair Issue of the fruitful Queen,
Just as he drew the Rein to guide his Horse
Around the Compass of the circling Course,
Sigh'd deeply, and the Pangs of Smart express'd,
While the Shaft stuck, engor'd within his Breast:
And, the Reins dropping from his dying Hand,
He sunk quite down, and tumbled on the Sand.
Sipylus next the rattling Quiver heard,
And with full Speed for his Escape prepar'd;
[Page 186] As when the Pilot from the black'ning Skies
A gath'ring Storm of wintry Rain descries,
His Sails unfurl'd, and crowded all with Wind,
He strives to leave the threat'ning Cloud behind:
So fled the Youth; but an unerring Dart
O'ertook him, quick discharg'd, and sped with Art;
Fix'd in his Neck behind, it trembling stood,
And at his Throat display'd the Point besmear'd with Blood.
Prone, as his Posture was, he tumbled o'er,
And bath'd his Courser's Mane with steaming Gore.
Next at young Phaedimus they took their Aim,
And Tantalus, who bore his Grandsire's Name:
These, when their other Exercise was done,
To try the Wrestler's oily Sport begun;
And, straining ev'ry Nerve, their Skill express'd
In closest Grapple, joyning Breast to Breast;
When from the bending Bow an Arrow sent,
Joyn'd as they were, thro' both their Bodies went:
Both groan'd, and writhing both their Limbs with Pain,
They fell together bleeding on the Plain;
Then both their languid Eye-balls faintly roul,
And thus together breath away their Soul.
With Grief Alphenor saw their doleful Plight,
And smote his Breast, and sicken'd at the Sight;
Then to their Succour ran with eager haste,
And, fondly griev'd, their stiff'ning Limbs embrac'd:
But in the Action falls: A thrilling Dart,
By Phoebus guided, pierc'd him to the Heart.
This, as they drew it forth, his Midriff tore,
It's barbed Point the fleshy Fragments bore,
And let the Soul gush out in Streams of purple Gore.
[Page 187] But Damasiethon, by a double Wound,
Beardless, and young, lay gasping on the Ground.
Fix'd in his sinewy Ham, the steely Point
Stuck thro' his Knee, and pierc'd the nervous Joint:
And, as he stoop'd to tug the painful Dart,
Another struck him in a vital Part;
Shot thro' his Wezon, by the Wing it hung,
The Life-blood forc'd it out, and darting upward sprung.
Ilioneus, the last, with Terror stands,
Lifting in Pray'r his unavailing Hands;
And, ignorant from whom his Griefs arise,
Spare me, O all ye heav'nly Pow'rs, he cries:
Phoebus was touch'd too late, the sounding Bow
Had sent the Shaft, and struck the fatal Blow;
Which yet but gently gor'd his tender Side,
So by a slight, and easy Wound he dy'd.
Swift to the Mother's Ears the Rumour came,
And doleful Sighs the heavy News proclaim;
With Anger and Surprize inflam'd by turns,
In furious Rage her haughty Stomach burns:
First she disputes th' Effects of heav'nly Pow'r,
Then at their daring Boldness wonders more;
For poor Amphion with sore Grief distrest,
Hoping to sooth his Cares by endless Rest,
Had sheath'd a Dagger in his wretched Breast.
And she, who toss'd her high disdainful Head,
When thro' the Streets in solemn Pomp she led
The Throng that from Latona's Altar fled,
Assuming State beyond the proudest Queen;
Was now the miserablest Object seen.
Prostrate among the clay-cold Dead she fell,
And kiss'd an undistinguish'd last Farewel.
[Page 188] Then, her pale Arms advancing to the Skies,
Cruel Latona! triumph now she cries.
My grieving Soul in bitter Anguish drench,
And with my Woes your thirsty Passion quench;
Feast your black Malice at a Price thus dear,
While the sore Pangs of sev'n such Deaths I bear.
Triumph, too cruel Rival, and display
Your conqu'ring Standard; for you've won the Day.
Yet I'll excel; for yet, tho' sev'n are slain,
Superior still in Number I remain.
Scarce had she spoke; the Bow-string's twanging Sound
Was heard, and dealt fresh Terrors all around;
Which all, but Niobè alone, confound.
Stunn'd, and obdurate by her Load of Grief,
Insensible she sits, nor hopes Relief.
Before the fun'ral Biers, all weeping sad,
Her Daughters stood, in Vests of Sable clad.
When one, surpriz'd, and stung with sudden Smart,
In vain attempts to draw the sticking Dart:
But to grim Death her blooming Youth resigns,
And o'er her Brother's Corpse her dying Head reclines.
This, to asswage her Mother's Anguish tries,
And, silenc'd in the pious Action, dies;
Shot by a secret Arrow, wing'd with Death,
Her fault'ring Lips but only gasp'd for Breath.
One, on her dying Sister, breathes her last;
Vainly in Flight another's Hopes are plac'd:
This hiding, from her Fate a Shelter seeks;
That trembling stands, and fills the Air with Shrieks.
And all in vain; for now all six had found
Their Way to Death, each by a diff'rent Wound.
[Page 189] The last, with eager Care the Mother veil'd,
Behind her spreading Mantle close conceal'd,
And with her Body guarded, as a Shield.
Only for this, this youngest, I implore,
Grant me this one Request, I ask no more;
O grant me this! she passionately cries,
But while she speaks, the destin'd Virgin dies.

The Transformation of NIOBE.

Widow'd, and Childless, lamentable State!
A doleful Sight, among the Dead she sate:
Harden'd with Woes, a Statue of Despair,
To ev'ry Breath of Wind unmov'd her Hair;
Her Cheek still red'ning, but its Colour dead,
Faded her Eyes, and set within her Head.
No more her pliant Tongue its Motion keeps,
But stands congeal'd within her frozen Lips.
Stagnate, and dull, within her purple Veins,
Its Current stop'd, the lifeless Blood remains.
Her Feet their usual Offices refuse,
Her Arms, and Neck their graceful Gestures lose:
Action, and Life from ev'ry Part are gone,
And ev'n her Entrails turn to solid Stone;
Yet still she weeps, and whirl'd by stormy Winds,
Born thro' the Air, her native Country finds;
There fix'd, she stands upon a bleaky Hill,
There yet her marble Cheeks eternal Tears distil.

The Peasants of LYCIA transform'd to Frogs.

Then all, reclaim'd by this Example, show'd
A due Regard for each peculiar God:
[Page 190] Both Men, and Women their Devoirs express'd,
And great Latona's awful Pow'r confess'd.
Then, tracing Instances of older Time,
To suit the Nature of the present Crime,
Thus one begins his Tale.—Where Lycia yields
A golden Harvest from its fertile Fields,
Some churlish Peasants, in the Days of Yore,
Provok'd the Goddess to exert her Pow'r.
The thing indeed the Meanness of the Place
Has made obscure, surprizing as it was;
But I my self once happen'd to behold
This famous Lake of which the Story's told.
My Father then, worn out by Length of Days,
Nor able to sustain the tedious Ways,
Me with a Guide had sent the Plains to roam,
And drive his well-fed stragling Heifers home.
Here, as we saunter'd thro' the verdant Meads,
We spy'd a Lake o'er-grown with trembling Reeds,
Whose wavy Tops an op'ning Scene disclose,
From which an antique smoaky Altar rose.
I, as my superstitious Guide had done,
Stop'd short, and bless'd my self, and then went on;
Yet I enquir'd to whom the Altar stood,
Faunus, the Naiads, or some native God?
No Silvan Deity, my Friend replies,
Enshrin'd within this hallow'd Altar lies:
For this, O Youth, to that fam'd Goddess stands,
Whom, at th' imperial Juno's rough Commands,
Of ev'ry Quarter of the Earth bereav'd,
Delos, the floating Isle, at length receiv'd.
Who there, in spite of Enemies, brought forth,
Beneath an Olive's Shade, her great Twin-birth.
[Page 191] Hence too she fled the furious Stepdame's Pow'r,
And in her Arms a double Godhead bore;
And now the Borders of fair Lycia gain'd,
Just when the Summer Solstice parch'd the Land.
With Thirst the Goddess languishing, no more
Her empty'd Breast would yield its milky Store;
When, from below, the smiling Valley show'd
A silver Lake that in its Bottom flow'd:
A sort of Clowns were reaping, near the Bank,
The bending Osier, and the Bullrush dank;
The Cresse, and Water-lilly, fragrant Weed,
Whose juicy Stalk the liquid Fountains feed.
The Goddess came, and kneeling on the Brink,
Stoop'd at the fresh Repast, prepar'd to drink.
Then thus, being hinder'd by the Rabble Race,
In Accents mild expostulates the Case.
Water I only ask, and sure 'tis hard
From Nature's common Rights to be debar'd:
This, as the genial Sun, and vital Air,
Should flow alike to ev'ry Creature's Share.
Yet still I ask, and as a Favour crave,
That, which a publick Bounty, Nature gave.
Nor do I seek my weary Limbs to drench;
Only, with one cool Draught, my Thirst I'd quench.
Now from my Throat the usual Moisture dries,
And ev'n my Voice in broken Accents dies:
One Draught as dear as Life I should esteem,
And Water, now I thirst, would Nectar seem.
Oh! let my little Babes your Pity move,
And melt your Hearts to charitable Love;
They (as by chance they did) extend to you
Their little Hands, and my Request pursue.
[Page 192] Whom would these soft Perswasions not subdue,
Tho' the most rustick and unmanner'd Crew?
Yet they the Goddess's Request refuse,
And with rude Words reproachfully abuse:
Nay more, with spiteful Feet the Villains trod
O'er the soft Bottom of the marshy Flood,
And blacken'd all the Lake with Clouds of rising Mud.
Her Thirst by Indignation was suppress'd;
Bent on Revenge, the Goddess stood confess'd.
Her suppliant Hands uplifting to the Skies,
For a Redress, to Heav'n she now applies.
And, May you live, she passionately cry'd,
Doom'd in that Pool for ever to abide.
The Goddess has her Wish; for now they chuse
To plunge and dive among the watry Ooze;
Sometimes they shew their Head above the Brim,
And on the glassy Surface spread to swim;
Often upon the Bank their Station take,
Then spring, and leap into the cooly Lake.
Still, void of Shame, they lead a clam'rous Life,
And, croaking, still scold on in endless Strife;
Compell'd to live beneath the liquid Stream,
Where still they quarrel, and attempt to skream.
Now, from their bloated Throat, their Voice puts on
Imperfect Murmurs in a hoarser Tone;
Their noisy Jaws, with Bawling now grown wide,
An ugly Sight! extend on either Side:
Their motly Back, streak'd with a List of Green,
Joyn'd to their Head, without a Neck is seen;
And, with a Belly broad and white, they look
Meer Frogs, and still frequent the muddy Brook.

The Fate of MARSYAS.

Scarce had the Man this famous Story told,
Of Vengeance on the Lycians shown of old,
When strait Another pictures to their View
The Satyr's Fate, whom angry Phoebus slew;
Who, rais'd with high Conceit, and puff'd with Pride,
At his own Pipe, the skilful God defy'd.
Why do you tear me from my self, he cries?
Ah cruel! must my Skin be made the Prize?
This for a silly Pipe? he roaring said,
Mean while the Skin from off his Limbs was flay'd.
All bare, and raw, one large continu'd Wound,
With Streams of Blood his Body bath'd the Ground.
The blueish Veins their trembling Pulse disclos'd,
The stringy Nerves lay naked, and expos'd;
His Guts appear'd, distinctly each express'd,
With ev'ry shining Fibre of his Breast.
The Fauns, and Silvans, with the Nymphs that rove
Among the Satyrs in the shady Grove;
Olympus, known of old, and ev'ry Swain
That fed, or Flock, or Herd upon the Plain,
Bewail'd the Loss; and with their Tears that flow'd,
A kindly Moisture on the Earth bestow'd;
That soon, conjoyn'd, and in a Body rang'd,
Sprung from the Ground, to limpid Water chang'd;
Which, down thro' Phrygia's Rocks, a mighty Stream,
Comes tumbling to the Sea, and Marsya is its Name.

The Story of PELOPS.

From these Relations strait the People turn
To present Truths, and lost Amphion mourn:
[Page 194] The Mother most was blam'd, yet some relate
That Pelops pity'd, and bewail'd her Fate,
And stript his Cloaths, and laid his Shoulder bare,
And made the Iv'ry Miracle appear.
This Shoulder, from the first, was form'd of Flesh,
As lively as the other, and as fresh;
But, when the Youth was by his Father slain,
The Gods restor'd his mangled Limbs again;
Only that Place which joins the Neck, and Arm,
The rest untouch'd, was found to suffer Harm:
The Loss of which an Iv'ry Piece sustain'd;
And thus the Youth his Limbs, and Life regain'd.


To Thebes the neighb'ring Princes all repair,
And with Condolance the Misfortune share.
Each bord'ring State in solemn Form address'd,
And each betimes a friendly Grief express'd.
Argos, with Sparta's, and Mycenae's Towns,
And Calydon, yet free from fierce Diana's Frowns.
Corinth for finest Brass well fam'd of old,
Orchomenos for Men of Courage bold:
Cleonae lying in the lowly Dale,
And rich Messenè with its fertile Vale:
Pylos, for Nestor's City after fam'd,
And Troezen, not as yet from Pittheus nam'd.
And those fair Cities, which are hem'd around
By double Seas within the Isthmian Ground;
And those, which farther from the Sea-coast stand,
Lodg'd in the Bosom of the spacious Land.
Who can believe it? Athens was the last:
Tho' for Politeness fam'd for Ages past.
[Page 195] For a strait Siege, which then their Walls enclos'd,
Such Acts of kind Humanity oppos'd:
And thick with Ships, from foreign Nations bound,
Sea-ward their City lay invested round.
These, with auxiliar Forces led from far,
Tereus of Thrace, brave, and inur'd to War,
Had quite defeated, and obtain'd a Name,
The Warrior's Due, among the Sons of Fame.
This, with his Wealth, and Pow'r, and ancient Line,
From Mars deriv'd, Pandion's Thoughts incline
His Daughter Procnè with the Prince to joyn.
Nor Hymen, nor the Graces here preside,
Nor Juno to befriend the blooming Bride;
But Fiends with fun'ral Brands the Process led,
And Furies waited at the Genial Bed:
And all Night long the scrieching Owl aloof,
With baleful Notes, sate brooding o'er the Roof.
With such ill Omens was the Match begun,
That made them Parents of a hopeful Son.
Now Thrace congratulates their seeming Joy,
And they, in thankful Rites, their Minds employ.
If the fair Queen's Espousals pleas'd before,
Itys, the new-born Prince, now pleases more;
And each bright Day, the Birth, and Bridal Feast,
Were kept with hallow'd Pomp above the rest.
So far true Happiness may lye conceal'd,
When, by false Lights, we fancy 'tis reveal'd!
Now, since their Nuptials, had the golden Sun
Five Courses round his ample Zodiac run;
When gentle Procnè thus her Lord address'd,
And spoke the secret Wishes of her Breast:
[Page 196] If I, she said, have ever Favour found,
Let my Petition with Success be crown'd:
Let me at Athens my dear Sister see,
Or let her come to Thrace, and visit me.
And, lest my Father should her Absence mourn,
Promise that she shall make a quick Return.
With Thanks I'd own the Obligation due
Only, O Tereus, to the Gods, and you.
Now, ply'd with Oar, and Sail at his Command,
The nimble Gallies reach'd th' Athenian Land,
And anchor'd in the fam'd Piraean Bay,
While Tereus to the Palace takes his Way;
The King salutes, and Ceremonies past,
Begins the fatal Embassy at last;
The Occasion of his Voyage he declares,
And, with his own, his Wife's Request prefers;
Asks Leave that, only for a little Space,
Their lovely Sister might embark for Thrace.
Thus, while he spoke, appear'd the royal Maid,
Bright Philomela, splendidly array'd;
But most attractive in her charming Face,
And comely Person, turn'd with ev'ry Grace:
Like those fair Nymphs, that are describ'd to rove
Across the Glades, and Op'nings of the Grove;
Only that these are dress'd for Silvan Sports,
And less become the Finery of Courts.
Tereus beheld the Virgin, and admir'd,
And with the Coals of burning Lust was fir'd:
Like crackling Stubble, or the Summer Hay,
When forked Lightnings o'er the Meadows play.
Such Charms in any Breast might kindle Love,
But him the Heats of inbred Lewdness move;
[Page 197] To which, tho' Thrace is naturally prone,
Yet his is still superior, and his own.
Strait her Attendants he designs to buy,
And with large Bribes her Governess would try:
Herself with ample Gifts resolves to bend,
And his whole Kingdom in th' Attempt expend.
Or, snatch'd away by Force of Arms, to bear,
And justify the Rape with open War.
The boundless Passion boils within his Breast,
And his projecting Soul admits no Rest.
And now, impatient of the least Delay,
By pleading Procnè's Cause, he speeds his Way:
The Eloquence of Love his Tongue inspires,
And, in his Wife's, he speaks his own Desires▪
Hence all his Importunities arise,
And Tears unmanly trickle from his Eyes.
Ye Gods! what thick involving Darkness blinds
The stupid Faculties of mortal Minds!
Tereus the Credit of Good-nature gains
From these his Crimes; so well the Villain feigns.
And, unsuspecting of his base Designs,
In the Request fair Philomela joyns;
Her snowy Arms her aged Sire embrace,
And clasp his Neck with an endearing Grace:
Only to see her Sister she entreats,
A seeming Blessing, which a Curse compleats.
Tereus surveys her with a luscious Eye,
And in his Mind forestalls the blissful Joy:
Her circling Arms a Scene of Lust inspire,
And ev'ry Kiss foments the raging Fire.
Fondly he wishes for the Father's Place,
To feel, and to return the warm Embrace;
[Page 198] Since not the nearest Ties of filial Blood,
Would damp his Flame, and force him to be good.
At length, for both their sakes, the King agrees;
And Philomela, on her bended Knees,
Thanks him for what her Fancy calls Success,
When cruel Fate intends her nothing less.
Now Phoebus, hasting to ambrosial Rest,
His fiery Steeds drove sloping down the West:
The sculptur'd Gold with sparkling Wines was fill'd,
And, with rich Meats, each chearful Table smil'd.
Plenty, and Mirth the royal Banquet close,
Then all retire to Sleep, and sweet Repose
But the lewd Monarch, tho' withdrawn apart,
Still feels Love's Poison rankling in his Heart:
Her Face Divine is stamp'd within his Breast,
Fancy imagines, and improves the rest;
And thus, kept waking by intense Desire,
He nourishes his own prevailing Fire.
Next Day the good old King for Tereus sends,
And to his Charge the Virgin recommends;
His Hand with Tears th' indulgent Father press'd,
Then spoke, and thus with Tenderness address'd.
Since the kind Instances of pious Love,
Do all Pretence of Obstacle remove;
Since Procnè's, and her own, with your Request,
O'er-rule the Fears of a Paternal Breast;
With you, dear Son, my Daughter I entrust,
And by the Gods adjure you to be just;
By Truth, and ev'ry consanguineal Tye,
To watch, and guard her with a Father's Eye.
And, since the least Delay will tedious prove,
In keeping from my Sight the Child I love,
[Page 199] With Speed return her, kindly to asswage
The tedious Troubles of my lingring Age.
And you, my Philomel, let it suffice,
To know your Sister's banish'd from my Eyes;
If any Sense of Duty sways your Mind,
Let me from you the shortest Absence find.
He wept; then kiss'd his Child; and while he speaks,
The Tears fall gently down his aged Cheeks.
Next, as a Pledge of Fealty, he demands,
And, with a solemn Charge, conjoyns their Hands;
Then to his Daughter, and his Grandson sends,
And by their Mouth a Blessing recommends;
While, in a Voice with dire Forebodings broke,
Sobbing, and faint, the last Farewel was spoke.
Now Philomela, scarce receiv'd on Board,
And in the royal gilded Bark secur'd,
Beheld the Dashes of the bending Oar,
The ruffled Sea, and the receding Shore;
When strait (his Joy impatient of Disguise)
We've gain'd our Point, the rough Barbarian cries;
Now I possess the dear, the blissful Hour,
And ev'ry Wish subjected to my Pow'r.
Transports of Lust his vicious Thoughts employ,
And he forbears, with Pain, th' expected Joy.
His gloting Eyes incessantly survey'd
The Virgin Beauties of the lovely Maid:
As when the bold rapacious Bird of Jove,
With crooked Talons stooping from above,
Has snatcht, and carry'd to his lofty Nest
A Captive Hare, with cruel Gripes opprest;
Secure, with fix'd, and unrelenting Eyes,
He sits, and views the helpless, trembling Prize.
[Page 200] Their Vessels now had made th' intended Land,
And all with Joy descend upon the Strand;
When the false Tyrant seiz'd the Princely Maid,
And to a Lodge in distant Woods convey'd;
Pale, sinking, and distress'd with jealous Fears,
And asking for her Sister all in Tears.
The Letcher, for Enjoyment fully bent,
No longer now conceal'd his base Intent;
But with rude Haste the bloomy Girl deflowr'd,
Tender, defenceless, and with Ease o'erpowr'd.
Her piercing Accents to her Sire complain,
And to her absent Sister, but in vain:
In vain she importunes, with doleful Cries,
Each unattentive Godhead of the Skies.
She pants, and trembles, like the bleating Prey,
From some close-hunted Wolf just snatch'd away;
That still, with fearful Horror, looks around,
And on its Flank regards the bleeding Wound.
Or, as the tim'rous Dove, the Danger o'er,
Beholds her shining Plumes besmear'd with Gore,
And, tho' deliver'd from the Faulcon's Claw,
Yet shivers, and retains a secret Awe.
But when her Mind a calm Reflection shar'd,
And all her scatter'd Spirits were repair'd:
Torn, and disorder'd while her Tresses hung,
Her livid Hands, like one that mourn'd, she wrung;
Then thus, with Grief o'erwhelm'd her languid Eyes,
Savage, inhumane, cruel Wretch! she cries;
Whom nor a Parent's strict Commands could move,
Tho' charg'd, and utter'd with the Tears of Love;
Nor Virgin Innocence, nor all that's due
To the strong Contract of the Nuptial Vow:
[Page 201] Virtue, by this, in wild Confusion's laid,
And I compell'd to wrong my Sister's Bed;
Whilst you, regardless of your Marriage Oath,
With Stains of Incest have defil'd us Both.
Tho' I deserv'd some Punishment to find,
This was, ye Gods, too cruel, and unkind.
Yet, Villain, to compleat your horrid Guilt,
Stab here, and let my tainted Blood be spilt.
Oh happy! had it come, before I knew
The curs'd Embrace of vile perfidious you;
Then my pale Ghost, pure from incestuous Love,
Had wander'd spotless thro' th' Elysian Grove.
But, if the Gods above have Pow'r to know,
And judge those Actions that are done below;
Unless the dreaded Thunders of the Sky,
Like me, subdu'd, and violated lye;
Still my Revenge shall take its proper Time,
And suit the Baseness of your hellish Crime.
My self, abandon'd, and devoid of Shame,
Thro' the wide World your Actions will proclaim;
Or tho' I'm prison'd in this lonely Den,
Obscur'd, and bury'd from the Sight of Men,
My mournful Voice the pitying Rocks shall move,
And my Complainings eccho thro' the Grove.
Hear me, O Heav'n! and, if a God be there,
Let him regard me, and accept my Pray'r.
Struck with these Words, the Tyrant's guilty Breast
With Fear, and Anger, was, by turns, possest;
Now, with Remorse his Conscience deeply stung,
He drew the Faulchion that beside him hung,
And first her tender Arms behind her bound,
Then drag'd her by the Hair along the Ground.
[Page 202] The Princess willingly her Throat reclin'd,
And view'd the Steel with a contented Mind;
But soon her Tongue the girding Pinchers strain,
With Anguish, soon she feels the piercing Pain:
Oh Father! Father! she would fain have spoke,
But the sharp Torture her Intention broke;
In vain she tries, for now the Blade has cut
Her Tongue sheer off, close to the trembling Root.
The mangled Part still quiver'd on the Ground,
Murmuring with a faint imperfect Sound:
And, as a Serpent writhes his wounded Train,
Uneasy, panting, and possess'd with Pain;
The Piece, while Life remain'd, still trembled fast,
And to its Mistress pointed to the last.
Yet, after this so damn'd, and black a Deed,
Fame (which I scarce can credit) has agreed,
That on her rifled Charms, still void of Shame,
He frequently indulg'd his lustful Flame.
At last he ventures to his Procnè's Sight,
Loaded with Guilt, and cloy'd with long Delight;
There, with feign'd Grief, and false, dissembled Sighs,
Begins a formal Narrative of Lies;
Her Sister's Death he artfully declares,
Then weeps, and raises Credit from his Tears.
Her Vest, with Flow'rs of Gold embroider'd o'er,
With Grief distress'd, the mournful Matron tore,
And a beseeming Suit of gloomy Sable wore.
With Cost, an honorary Tomb she rais'd,
And thus th' imaginary Ghost appeas'd.
Deluded Queen! the Fate of her you love,
Nor Grief, nor Pity, but Revenge should move.
[Page 203] Thro' the twelve Signs had pass'd the circling Sun,
And round the Compass of the Zodiac run;
What must unhappy Philomela do,
For ever subject to her Keeper's View?
Huge Walls of massy Stone the Lodge surround,
From her own Mouth no way of speaking's found.
But all our Wants by Wit may be supply'd,
And Art makes up, what Fortune has deny'd:
With Skill exact a Phrygian Web she strung,
Fix'd to a Loom that in her Chamber hung,
Where in-wrought Letters, upon White display'd,
In purple Notes, her wretched Case betray'd:
The Piece, when finish'd, secretly she gave
Into the Charge of one poor menial Slave;
And then, with Gestures, made him understand,
It must be safe convey'd to Procnè's Hand.
The Slave, with Speed, the Queen's Apartment sought,
And render'd up his Charge, unknowing what he brought.
But when the Cyphers, figur'd in each Fold,
Her Sister's melancholy Story told,
(Strange that she could!) with Silence, she survey'd
The tragick Piece, and without weeping read:
In such tumultuous Haste her Passions sprung,
They choak'd her Voice, and quite disarm'd her Tongue.
No Room for female Tears; the Furies rise,
Darting vindictive Glances from her Eyes;
And, stung with Rage, she bounds from Place to Place,
While stern Revenge sits low'ring in her Face.
Now the triennial Celebration came,
Observ'd to Bacchus by each Thracian Dame;
When, in the Privacies of Night retir'd,
They act his Rites, with sacred Rapture fir'd:
[Page 204] By Night, the twinkling Cymbals ring around,
While the shrill Notes from Rhodopè resound;
By Night, the Queen, disguis'd, forsakes the Court,
To mingle in the Festival Resort.
Leafs of the curling Vine her Temples shade,
And, with a circling Wreath, adorn her Head:
Adown her Back the Stag's rough Spoils appear,
Light on her Shoulder leans a Cornel Spear.
Thus, in the Fury of the God conceal'd,
Procnè her own mad headstrong Passion veil'd;
Now, with her Gang, to the thick Wood she flies,
And with religious Yellings fills the Skies;
The fatal Lodge, as 'twere by chance, she seeks,
And, thro' the bolted Doors, an Entrance breaks;
From thence, her Sister snatching by the Hand,
Mask'd like the ranting Bacchanalian Band,
Within the Limits of the Court she drew,
Shading, with Ivy green, her outward Hue.
But Philomela, conscious of the Place,
Felt new reviving Pangs of her Disgrace;
A shiv'ring Cold prevail'd in ev'ry Part,
And the chill'd Blood ran trembling to her Heart.
Soon as the Queen a fit Retirement found,
Stript of the Garlands that her Temples crown'd,
She strait unveil'd her blushing Sister's Face,
And fondly clasp'd her with a close Embrace:
But, in Confusion lost, th' unhappy Maid,
With Shame dejected, hung her drooping Head,
As guilty of a Crime that stain'd her Sister's Bed.
That Speech, that should her injur'd Virtue clear,
And make her spotless Innocence appear,
[Page 205] Is now no more; only her Hands, and Eyes
Appeal, in Signals, to the conscious Skies.
In Procnè's Breast the rising Passions boil,
And burst in Anger with a mad Recoil;
Her Sister's ill-tim'd Grief, with Scorn, she blames,
Then, in these furious Words her Rage proclaims.
Tears, unavailing, but defer our Time,
The stabbing Sword must expiate the Crime;
Or worse, if Wit, on bloody Vengeance bent,
A Weapon more tormenting can invent.
O Sister! I've prepar'd my stubborn Heart,
To act some hellish, and unheard-of Part;
Either the Palace to surround with Fire,
And see the Villain in the Flames expire;
Or, with a Knife, dig out his cursed Eyes,
Or, his false Tongue with racking Engines seize;
Or, cut away the Part that injur'd you,
And, thro' a thousand Wounds, his guilty Soul pursue.
Tortures enough my Passion has design'd,
But the Variety distracts my Mind.
A while, thus wav'ring, stood the furious Dame,
When Itys fondling to his Mother came;
From him the cruel fatal Hint she took,
She view'd him with a stern remorseless Look;
Ah! but too like thy wicked Sire, she said,
Forming the direful Purpose in her Head.
At this a sullen Grief her Voice supprest,
While silent Passions struggle in her Breast.
Now, at her Lap arriv'd, the flatt'ring Boy
Salutes his Parent with a smiling Joy:
About her Neck his little Arms are thrown,
And he accosts her in a pratling Tone.
[Page 206] Then her tempestuous Anger was allay'd,
And in its full Career her Vengeance stay'd;
While tender Thoughts, in spite of Passion, rise,
And melting Tears disarm her threat'ning Eyes.
But when she found the Mother's easy Heart,
Too fondly swerving from th' intended Part;
Her injur'd Sister's Face again she view'd:
And, as by turns surveying Both she stood,
While this fond Boy (she said) can thus express
The moving Accents of his fond Address;
Why stands my Sister of her Tongue bereft,
Forlorn, and sad, in speechless Silence left?
O Procnè, see the Fortune of your House!
Such is your Fate, when match'd to such a Spouse!
Conjugal Duty, if observ'd to him,
Would change from Virtue, and become a Crime;
For all Respect to Tereus must debase
The noble Blood of Great Pandion's Race.
Strait at these Words, with big Resentment fill'd,
Furious her Look, she flew, and seiz'd her Child;
Like a fell Tigress of the savage Kind,
That drags the tender Suckling of the Hind
Thro' India's gloomy Groves, where Ganges laves
The shady Scene, and rouls his streamy Waves.
Now to a close Apartment they were come,
Far off retir'd within the spacious Dome;
When Procnè, on revengeful Mischief bent,
Home to his Heart a piercing Poinyard sent.
Itys, with rueful Cries, but all too late,
Holds out his Hands, and deprecates his Fate;
Still at his Mother's Neck he fondly aims,
And strives to melt her with endearing Names;
[Page 207] Yet still the cruel Mother perseveres,
Nor with Concern his bitter Anguish hears.
This might suffice; but Philomela too
Across his Throat a shining Curtlass drew.
Then Both, with Knives, dissect each quiv'ring Part,
And carve the butcher'd Limbs with cruel Art;
Which, whelm'd in boiling Cauldrons o'er the Fire,
Or turn'd on Spits, in steamy Smoak aspire:
While the long Entries, with their slipp'ry Floor,
Run down in purple Streams of clotted Gore.
Ask'd by his Wife to this inhuman Feast,
Tereus unknowingly is made a Guest:
Whilst she her Plot the better to disguise,
Stiles it some unknown mystick Sacrifice;
And such the Nature of the hallow'd Rite,
The Wife her Husband only could invite,
The Slaves must all withdraw, and be debarr'd the Sight.
Tereus, upon a Throne of antique State,
Loftily rais'd, before the Banquet sate;
And Glutton like, luxuriously pleas'd,
With his own Flesh his hungry Maw appeas'd.
Nay, such a Blindness o'er his Senses falls,
That he for Itys to the Table calls.
When Procnè, now impatient to disclose
The Joy that from her full Revenge arose,
Cries out, in Transports of a cruel Mind,
Within your self your Itys you may find.
Still at this puzzling Answer, with Surprise,
Around the Room he sends his curious Eyes;
And, as he still inquir'd, and call'd aloud,
Fierce Philomela, all besmear'd with Blood,
[Page 208] Her Hands with Murder stain'd, her spreading Hair
Hanging dishevel'd with a ghastly Air,
Stept forth, and flung full in the Tyrant's Face
The Head of Itys, goary as it was:
Nor ever long'd so much to use her Tongue,
And with a just Reproach to vindicate her Wrong.
The Thracian Monarch from the Table flings,
While with his Cries the vaulted Parlour rings;
His Imprecations eccho down to Hell,
And rouze the snaky Furies from their Stygian Cell.
One while he labours to disgorge his Breast,
And free his Stomach from the cursed Feast;
Then, weeping o'er his lamentable Doom,
He stiles himself his Son's sepulchral Tomb.
Now, with drawn Sabre, and impetuous Speed,
In close Pursuit he drives Pandion's Breed;
Whose nimble Feet spring with so swift a Force
Across the Fields, they seem to wing their Course.
And now, on real Wings themselves they raise,
And steer their airy Flight by diff'rent Ways;
One to the Woodland's shady Covert hies,
Around the smoaky Roof the other flies;
Whose Feathers yet the Marks of Murder stain,
Where, stampt upon her Breast, the crimson Spots remain.
Tereus, through Grief, and Haste to be reveng'd,
Shares the like Fate, and to a Bird is chang'd:
Fix'd on his Head, the crested Plumes appear,
Long is his Beak, and sharpen'd like a Spear;
Thus arm'd, his Looks his inward Mind display,
And, to a Lapwing turn'd, he fans his Way.
Exceeding Trouble, for his Childrens Fate,
Shorten'd Pandion's Days, and chang'd his Date;
[Page 209] Down to the Shades below, with Sorrow spent,
An earlier, unexpected Ghost he went.

BOREAS in Love.

Erechtheus next th' Athenian Sceptre sway'd,
Whose Rule the State with joynt Consent obey'd;
So mix'd his Justice with his Valour flow'd,
His Reign one Scene of Princely Goodness shew'd.
Four hopeful Youths, as many Females bright,
Sprung from his Loyns, and sooth'd him with Delight.
Two of these Sisters, of a lovelier Air,
Excell'd the rest, tho' all the rest were fair.
Procris, to Cephalus in Wedlock ty'd,
Bless'd the young Silvan with a blooming Bride:
For Orithyia Boreas suffer'd Pain,
For the coy Maid sue'd long, but sue'd in vain:
Tereus his Neighbour, and his Thracian Blood,
Against the Match a main Objection stood;
Which made his Vows, and all his suppliant Love,
Empty as Air, and ineffectual prove.
But when he found his soothing Flatt'ries fail,
Nor saw his soft Addresses cou'd avail;
Blust'ring with Ire, he quickly has Recourse
To rougher Arts, and his own native Force.
'Tis well, he said; such Usage is my Due,
When thus disguis'd by foreign ways I sue;
When my stern Airs, and Fierceness I disclaim,
And sigh for Love, ridiculously tame;
When soft Addresses foolishly I try,
Nor my own stronger Remedies apply.
By Force and Violence I chiefly live,
By them the lowring stormy Tempests drive;
[Page 210] In foaming Billows raise the hoary Deep,
Writhe knotted Oaks, and sandy Desarts sweep;
Congeal the falling Flakes of fleecy Snow,
And bruise, with rattling Hail, the Plains below.
I, and my Brother-Winds, when joyn'd above,
Thro' the waste Champian of the Skies we rove,
With such a boist'rous full Career engage,
That Heav'n's whole Concave thunders at our Rage.
While, struck from nitrous Clouds, fierce Lightnings play
Dart thro' the Storm, and gild the gloomy Day.
Or when, in subterraneous Caverns pent,
My Breath, against the hollow Earth, is bent,
The quaking World above, and Ghosts below,
My mighty Pow'r, by dear Experience, know,
Tremble with Fear, and dread the fatal Blow.
This is the only Cure to be apply'd,
Thus to Erechtheus I should be ally'd;
And thus the scornful Virgin should be woo'd,
Not by Intreaty, but by Force subdu'd.
Boreas, in Passion, spoke these huffing things,
And, as he spoke, he shook his dreadful Wings;
At which, afar the shiv'ring Sea was fan'd,
And the wide Surface of the distant Land:
His dusty Mantle o'er the Hills he drew,
And swept the lowly Vallies, as he flew;
Then, with his yellow Wings, embrac'd the Maid,
And, wrapt in dusky Clouds, far off convey'd.
The sparkling Blaze of Love's prevailing Fire
Shone brighter as he flew, and flam'd the higher.
And now the God, possess'd of his Delight,
To Northern Thrace pursu'd his airy Flight,
[Page 211] Where the young ravish'd Nymph became his Bride,
And soon the luscious Sweets of Wedlock try'd.
Two lovely Twins, th' Effect of this Embrace,
Crown their soft Labours, and their Nuptials grace▪
Who, like their Mother, beautiful, and fair,
Their Father's Strength, and feather'd Pinions share:
Yet these, at first, were wanting, as 'tis said,
And after, as they grew, their Shoulders spread.
Zethes and Calaïs, the pretty Twins,
Remain'd unfledg'd, while smooth their beardless Chins;
But when, in Time, the budding silver Down
Shaded their Face, and on their Cheeks was grown,
Two sprouting Wings upon their Shoulders sprung,
Like those in Birds, that veil the callow Young.
Then, as their Age advanc'd, and they began
From greener Youth to ripen into Man,
With Jason's Argonauts they cross'd the Seas,
Embark'd in quest of the fam'd Golden Fleece;
There, with the rest, the first frail Vessel try'd,
And boldly ventur'd on the swelling Tide.
The End of the Sixth Book.
To the Rt. Honble. the Lady Comp [...]


The Story of MEDEA and JASON.

THE Argonauts now stemm'd the foaming Tide,
And to Arcadia's Shore their Course apply'd;
Where sightless Phineus spent his Age in Grief,
But Boreas' Sons engage in his Relief;
And those unwelcome Guests, the odious Race
Of Harpyes, from the Monarch's Table chase.
With Jason then they greater Toils sustain,
And Phasis' slimy Banks at last they gain.
Here boldly they demand the Golden Prize
Of Scythia's King, who sternly thus replies:
That mighty Labours they must first o'ercome,
Or sail their Argo thence unfreighted home.
Mean while Medea, seiz'd with fierce Desire,
By Reason strives to quench the raging Fire;
But strives in vain!—Some God (she said) withstands,
And Reason's baffl'd Council countermands.
[Page 214] What unseen Pow'r does this Disorder move?
'Tis Love,—at least 'tis like what Men call Love.
Else wherefore shou'd the King's Commands appear
To me too hard?—But so indeed they are.
Why shou'd I for a Stranger fear, lest he
Shou'd perish, whom I did but lately see?
His Death, or Safety, what are they to me?
Wretch, from thy Virgin-Breast this Flame expel,
And soon—Oh cou'd I, all wou'd then be well!
But Love, resistless Love, my Soul invades;
Discretion this, Affection that perswades.
I see the Right, and I approve it too,
Condemn the Wrong,—and yet the Wrong pursue.
Why, Royal Maid, shou'dst thou desire to wed
A Wanderer, and court a foreign Bed?
Thy native Land, tho' barb'rous, can present
A Bridegroom worth a Royal Bride's Consent:
And whether this Advent'rer lives or dies,
In Fate and Fortune's fickle Pleasure lies.
Yet may he live! for to the Pow'rs above,
A Virgin, led by no Impulse of Love,
So just a Suit may, for the Guiltless, move.
Whom wou'd not Jason's Valour, Youth, and Blood
Invite? or cou'd these Merits be withstood,
At least his charming Person must encline
The hardest Heart—I'm sure 'tis so with mine!
Yet, if I help him not, the flaming Breath
Of Bulls, and Earth-born Foes must be his Death.
Or, should he through these Dangers force his way,
At last he must be made the Dragon's Prey.
If no Remorse for such Distress I feel,
I am a Tigress, and my Breast is Steel.
[Page 215] Why do I scruple then to see him slain,
And with the tragick Scene my Eyes prophane?
My Magick's Art employ, not to asswage
The Salvages, but to enflame their Rage?
His Earth-born Foes to fiercer Fury move,
And accessary to his Murder prove?
The Gods forbid—But Pray'rs are idle Breath,
When Action only can prevent his Death.
Shall I betray my Father and the State,
To intercept a rambling Hero's Fate;
Who may sail off next Hour, and sav'd from Harms
By my Assistance, bless another's Arms?
Whilst I, not only of my Hopes bereft,
But to unpity'd Punishment am left.
If he is false, let the Ingrateful bleed!
But no such Symptom in his Looks I read.
Nature wou'd ne'er have lavish'd so much Grace
Upon his Person, if his Soul were base.
Besides, he first shall plight his Faith, and swear
By all the Gods; what therefore can'st thou fear?
Medea haste, from Danger set him free,
Jason shall thy eternal Debtor be.
And thou, his Queen, with Sov'raign State enstall'd,
By Graecian Dames the Kind Preserver call'd.
Hence idle Dreams, by Love-sick Fancy bred!
Wilt thou, Medea, by vain Wishes led,
To Sister, Brother, Father bid adieu?
Forsake thy Country's Gods, and Country too?
My Father's harsh, my Brother but a Child,
My Sister rivals me, my Country's wild;
And for it's Gods, the greatest of 'em all
Inspires my Breast, and I obey his Call.
[Page 216] That great Endearments I forsake, is true;
But greater far the Hopes that I pursue:
The Pride of having sav'd the Youths of Greece,
(Each Life more precious than our Golden Fleece;)
A nobler Soil by me shall be possest,
I shall see Towns with Arts and Manners blest;
And, what I prize above the World beside,
Enjoy my Jason—and when once his Bride,
Be more than Mortal, and to Gods ally'd.
They talk of Hazards I must first sustain,
Of floating Islands justling in the Main;
Our tender Barque expos'd to dreadful Shocks
Of fierce Charybdis' Gulf, and Scylla's Rocks,
Where breaking Waves in whirling Eddies rowl,
And rav'nous Dogs that in deep Caverns howl:
Amidst these Terrors, while I lye possest
Of him I love, and lean on Jason's Breast,
In Tempests unconcern'd I will appear,
Or, only for my Husband's Safety fear.
Didst thou say Husband?—can'st thou so deceive
Thy self, fond Maid, and thy own Cheat believe?
In vain thou striv'st to varnish o'er thy Shame,
And grace thy Guilt with Wedlock's sacred Name.
Pull off the coz'ning Masque, and oh! in time
Discover, and avoid the fatal Crime.
She ceas'd—the Graces now, with kind Surprize,
And Virtue's lovely Train, before her Eyes
Present themselves, and vanquish'd Cupid flies.
She then retires to Hecate's Shrine, that stood
Far in the Covert of a shady Wood:
She finds the Fury of her Flames asswag'd,
But, seeing Jason there, again they rag'd.
[Page 217] Blushes and Paleness did by turns invade
Her tender Cheeks, and secret Grief betray'd.
As Fire, that sleeping under Ashes lyes,
Fresh-blown and rouz'd, does up in Blazes rise,
So flam'd the Virgin's Breast—
New kindled by her Lover's sparkling Eyes.
For Chance, that Day, had with uncommon Grace
Adorn'd the lovely Youth, and through his Face
Display'd an Air so pleasing, as might charm
A Goddess, and a Vestal's Bosom warm.
Her ravish'd Eyes survey him o'er and o'er,
As some gay Wonder never seen before;
Transported to the Skies she seems to be,
And thinks she gazes on a Deity.
But when he spoke, and prest her trembling Hand,
And did with tender Words her Aid demand,
With Vows and Oaths to make her soon his Bride,
She wept a Flood of Tears, and thus reply'd:
I see my Error, yet to Ruin move,
Nor owe my Fate to Ignorance, but Love:
Your Life I'll guard, and only crave of you
To swear once more—and to your Oath be true.
He swears by Hecate he would all fulfil,
And by her Grandfather's prophetick Skill,
By ev'ry thing that doubting Love cou'd press,
His present Danger, and desir'd Success.
She credits him, and kindly does produce
Enchanted Herbs, and teaches him their use;
Their mystick Names and Virtues he admires▪
And with his Booty joyfully retires.

The Dragon's Teeth transform'd to Men.

Impatient for the Wonders of the Day,
Aurora drives the loyt'ring Stars away.
Now Mars's Mount the pressing People fill,
The Crowd below, the Nobles crown the Hill;
The King himself, high-thron'd above the rest,
With Iv'ry Scepter, and in Purple drest.
Forthwith the Brass-hoof'd Bulls are set at large,
Whose furious Nostrils sulph'rous Flame discharge:
The blasted Herbage by their Breath expires;
As Forges rumble with excessive Fires,
And Furnaces with fiercer Fury glow,
When Water on the panting Mass ye throw;
With such a Noise, from their Convulsive Breast,
Thro' bellowing Throats, the struggling Vapour prest.
Yet Jason marches up without Concern,
While on th' advent'rous Youth the Monsters turn
Their glaring Eyes, and, eager to engage,
Brandish their Steel-tipt Horns in threat'ning Rage:
With brazen Hoofs they beat the Ground, and choak
The ambient Air with Clouds of Dust and Smoak:
Each gazing Graecian for his Champion shakes,
While bold Advances he securely makes
Thro' sindging Blasts; such Wonders Magick Art
Can work, when Love conspires, and plays his Part.
The passive Savages like Statutes stand,
While he their Dew-laps stroaks with soothing Hand;
To unknown Yoaks their brawny Necks they yield,
And, like tame Oxen, plow the wond'ring Field.
The Colchians stare; the Graecians shout, and raise
Their Champion's Courage with inspiring Praise.
[Page 219] Embolden'd now, on fresh Attempts he goes,
With Serpent's Teeth the fertile Furrows sows;
The Glebe, fermenting with inchanted Juice,
Makes the Snake's Teeth a human Crop produce.
For as an Infant, Pris'ner to the Womb,
Contented sleeps, till to Perfection come,
Then does his Cell's obscure Confinement scorn,
He tosses, throbs, and presses to be born;
So from the lab'ring Earth no single Birth,
But a whole Troop of lusty Youths rush forth;
And, what's more strange, with Martial Fury warm'd,
And for Encounter all compleatly arm'd;
In Rank and File, as they were sow'd, they stand,
Impatient for the Signal of Command.
No Foe but the Aemonian Youth appears;
At him they level their Steel-pointed Spears;
His frighted Friends, who triumph'd just before,
With Peals of Sighs his desp'rate Case deplore:
And where such hardy Warriors are afraid,
What must the tender and enamour'd Maid?
Her Spirits sink, the Blood her Check forsook;
She fears, who for his Safety undertook:
She knew the Vertue of the Spells she gave,
She knew their Force, and knew her Lover brave;
But what's a single Champion to an Host?
Yet scorning thus to see him tamely lost,
Her strong Reserve of secret Arts she brings,
And last, her never-failing Song she sings.
Wonders ensue; among his gazing Foes
The massy Fragment of a Rock he throws;
This Charm in Civil War engag'd 'em all;
By mutual Wounds those Earth-born Brothers fall.
[Page 220] The Greeks, transported with the strange Success,
Leap from their Seats the Conqu'ror to caress;
Commend, and kiss, and clasp him in their Arms:
So would the kind Contriver of the Charms;
But her, who felt the tenderest Concern,
Honour condemns in secret Flames to burn;
Committed to a double Guard of Fame,
Aw'd by a Virgin's, and a Princess' Name.
But Thoughts are free, and Fancy unconfin'd,
She kisses, courts, and hugs him in her Mind;
To fav'ring Pow'rs her silent Thanks she gives,
By whose Indulgence her lov'd Heroe lives.
One Labour more remains, and, tho' the last,
In Danger far surmounting all the past;
That Enterprize by Fates in store was kept,
To make the Dragon sleep that never slept.
Whose Crest shoots dreadful Lustre; from his Jaws
A tripple Tire of forked Stings he draws,
With Fangs and Wings of a prodigious Size:
Such was the Guardian of the Golden Prize.
Yet him, besprinkled with Lethaean Dew,
The fair Inchantress into Slumber threw;
And then, to fix him, thrice she did repeat
The Rhyme that makes the raging Winds retreat;
In stormy Seas can halcyon Seasons make,
Turn rapid Streams into a standing Lake;
While the soft Guest his drowzy Eye-lids seals,
Th'unguarded Golden Fleece the Stranger steals;
Proud to possess the Purchase of his Toil,
Proud of his Royal Bride, the richer Spoil;
To Sea both Prize and Patroness he bore,
And Lands triumphant on his native Shore.

Old AESON restor'd to Youth.

Aemonian Matrons, who their Absence mourn'd,
Rejoyce to see their prosp'rous Sons return'd:
Rich curling Fumes of Incense feast the Skies,
An Hecatomb of voted Victims dies,
With gilded Horns, and Garlands on their Head,
And all the Pomp of Death, to th' Altar led.
Congratulating Bowls go briskly round,
Triumphant Shouts in louder Musick drown'd.
Amidst these Revels, why that Cloud of Care
On Jason's Brow? (to whom the largest Share
Of Mirth was due)—His Father was not there.
Aeson was absent, once the Young and Brave,
Now crush'd with Years, and bending to the Grave.
At last withdrawn, and by the Crowd unseen,
Pressing her Hand, (with starting Sighs between)
He supplicates his kind and skilful Queen.
O Patroness! Preserver of my Life!
(Dear when my Mistress, and much dearer Wife)
Your Favours to so vast a Sum amount,
'Tis past the Pow'r of Numbers to recount;
Or cou'd they be to Computation brought,
The History would a Romance be thought:
And yet, unless you add one Favour more,
Greater than all that you conferr'd before,
But not too hard for Love and Magick Skill,
Your past are thrown away, and Jason's wretched still.
The Morning of my Life is just begun,
But my declining Father's Race is run;
From my large Stock retrench the long Arrears,
And add 'em to expiring Aeson's Years.
[Page 222] Thus spake the gen'rous Youth, and wept the rest.
Mov'd with the Piety of his Request,
To his ag'd Sire such filial Duty shown,
So diff'rent from her Treatment of her own;
But still endeav'ring her Remorse to hide,
She check'd her rising Sighs, and thus reply'd.
How cou'd the Thought of such inhuman Wrong
Escape (said she) from pious Jason's Tongue?
Does the whole World another Jason bear,
Whose Life Medea can to yours prefer?
Or cou'd I with so dire a Change dispence,
Hecat will never join in that Offence:
Unjust is the Request you make, and I
In Kindness your Petition shall deny;
Yet she that grants not what you do implore,
Shall yet essay to give her Jason more;
Find Means t'encrease the Stock of Aeson's Years,
Without Retrenchment of your Life's Arrears;
Provided that the Tripple Goddess join
A strong Confed'rate in my bold Design.
Thus was her Enterprize resolv'd; but still
Three tedious Nights are wanting to fulfil
The circling Crescents of th' encreasing Moon;
Then, in the Height of her Nocturnal Noon,
Medea steals from Court; her Ankles bare,
Her Garments closely girt, but loose her Hair;
Thus sally'd, like a solitary Sprite,
She traverses the Terrors of the Night.
Men, Beasts, and Birds in soft Repose lay charm'd,
No boistrous Wind the Mountain-Woods alarm'd;
Nor did those Walks of Love, the Myrtle Trees,
Of am'rous Zephyr hear the whisp'ring Breeze;
[Page 223] All Elements chain'd in unactive Rest,
No Sense but what the twinkling Stars exprest;
To them (that only wak'd) she rears her Arms,
And thus commences her mysterious Charms.
She turn'd her thrice about, as oft she threw
On her pale Tresses the Nocturnal Dew;
Then yelling thrice a most enormous Sound,
Her bare Knee bended on the flinty Ground,
O Night (said she) thou Confident and Guide
Of Secrets, such as Darkness ought to hide;
Ye Stars and Moon, that, when the Sun retires,
Support his Empire with succeeding Fires;
And thou, great Hecat, Friend to my Design;
Songs, mutt'ring Spells, your magick Forces join;
And thou, O Earth, the Magazine that yields
The Midnight Sorcerer Drugs; Skies, Mountains, Fields;
Ye watr'y Pow'rs of Fountain, Stream, and Lake;
Ye Sylvan Gods, and Gods of Night, awake,
And gen'rously your Parts in my Adventure take.
Oft by your Aid swift Currents I have led
Thro' wandring Banks, back to their Fountain Head;
Transform'd the Prospect of the briny Deep,
Made sleeping Billows rave, and raving Billows sleep;
Made Clouds, or Sunshine; Tempests rise or fall;
And stubborn lawless Winds obey my Call:
With mutter'd Words disarm'd the Viper's Jaw,
Up by the Roots vast Oaks and Rocks cou'd draw;
Make Forests dance, and trembling Mountains come,
Like Malefactors, to receive their Doom;
Earth groan, and frighted Ghosts forsake their Tomb.
Thee, Cynthia, my resistless Rhymes drew down,
When tinkling Cymbals strove my Voice to drown;
[Page 224] Nor stronger Titan could their Force sustain,
In full Career compell'd to stop his Wain:
Nor could Aurora's Virgin Blush avail,
With pois'nous Herbs I turn'd her Roses pale;
The Fury of the fiery Bulls I broke,
Their stubborn Necks submitting to my Yoke;
And when the Sons of Earth with Fury burn'd,
Their hostile Rage upon themselves I turn'd;
The Brothers made with mutual Wounds to bleed,
And by their fatal Strife my Lover freed;
And, while the Dragon slept, to distant Greece,
Thro' cheated Guards, convey'd the Golden Fleece.
But now to bolder Action I proceed,
Of such prevailing Juices now have need,
That wither'd Years back to their Bloom can bring,
And in dead Winter raise a second Spring.
And you'll perform't—
You will; for lo! the Stars, with sparkling Fires,
Presage as bright Success to my Desires:
And now another happy Omen see!
A Chariot drawn by Dragons waits for me.
With these last Words she leaps into the Wain,
Stroaks the Snakes Necks, and shakes the Golden Rein;
That Signal giv'n, they mount her to the Skies,
And now beneath her fruitful Tempè lies,
Whose Stores she ransacks, then to Crete she flies;
There Ossa, Pelion, Othrys, Pindus, all
To the fair Ravisher a Booty fall;
The Tribute of their Verdure she collects,
Nor proud Olympus Height his Plants protects.
Some by the Roots she plucks; the tender Tops
Of others with her culling Sickle crops.
[Page 225] Nor could the Plunder of the Hills suffice,
Down to the humble Vales and Meads she flies;
Apidanus, Amphrysus, the next Rape
Sustain, nor could Enipeus' Banks escape;
Thro' Beebè's Marsh, and thro' the Border rang'd
Whose Pasture Glaucus to a Triton chang'd.
Now the Ninth Day, and Ninth successive Night,
Had wonder'd at the restless Rover's Flight;
Mean while her Dragons, fed with no Repast,
But her exhaling Simples od'rous Blast,
Their tarnish'd Scales, and wrinkled Skins had cast.
At last return'd before her Palace Gate,
Quitting her Chariot, on the Ground she sate,
The Sky her only Canopy of State.
All Conversation with her Sex she fled,
Shun'd the Caresses of the Nuptial Bed:
Two Altars next of grassy Turf she rears,
This Hecat's Name, that Youth's Inscription bears;
With Forest-Boughs, and Vervain these she crown'd;
Then delves a double Trench in lower Ground,
And sticks a black-fleec'd Ram, that ready stood,
And drench'd the Ditches with devoted Blood:
New Wine she pours, and Milk from th' Udder warm,
With mystick Murmurs to compleat the Charm,
And subterranean Deities alarm.
To the stern King of Ghosts she next apply'd,
And gentle Proserpine, his ravish'd Bride,
That for old Aeson with the Laws of Fate
They would dispense, and lengthen his short Date;
Thus with repeated Pray'rs she long assails
Th' Infernal Tyrant, and at last prevails;
[Page 226] Then calls to have decrepit Aeson brought,
And stupifies him with a sleeping Draught;
On Earth his Body, like a Corpse, extends,
Then charges Jason and his waiting Friends
To quit the Place, that no unhallow'd Eye
Into her Art's forbidden Secrets pry.
This done, th' Inchantress, with her Locks unbound,
About her Altars trips a frantick Round;
Piece-meal the consecrated Wood she splits,
And dips the Splinters in the bloody Pits,
Then hurls 'em on the Piles; the sleeping Sire
She lustrates thrice, with Sulphur, Water, Fire.
In a large Cauldron now the Med'cine boils,
Compounded of her late collected Spoils,
Blending into the Mesh the various Pow'rs
Of Wonder-working Juices, Roots, and Flow'rs;
With Gems i' th' Eastern Ocean's Cell refin'd,
And such as ebbing Tides had left behind;
To them the Midnight's pearly Dew she flings,
A Screetch-Owl's Carcass, and ill boding Wings;
Nor could the Wizard Wolf's warm Entrails scape,
(That Wolf who counterfeits a Human Shape.)
Then, from the Bottom of her conj'ring Bag,
Snakes Skins, and Liver of a long-liv'd Stag;
Last a Crow's Head to such an Age arriv'd,
That he had now nine Centuries surviv'd;
These, and with these a thousand more that grew
In sundry Soils, into her Pot she threw;
Then with a wither'd Olive-Bough she rakes
The bubling Broth; the Bough fresh Verdure takes;
Green Leaves at first the perish'd Plant surround.
Which the next Minute with ripe Fruit were crown'd.
[Page 227] The foaming Juices now the Brink o'er-swell;
The barren Heath, where-e'er the Liquor fell,
Sprang out with vernal Grass, and all the Pride
Of blooming May—When this Medea spy'd,
She cuts her Patient's Throat; th'exhausted Blood
Recruiting with her new enchanted Flood;
While at his Mouth, and thro' his op'ning Wound,
A double Inlet her Infusion found;
His feeble Frame resumes a youthful Air,
A glossy Brown his hoary Beard and Hair.
The meager Paleness from his Aspect fled,
And in its Room sprang up a florid Red;
Thro' all his Limbs a youthful Vigour flies,
His empty'd Art'ries swell with fresh Supplies,
Gazing Spectators scarce believe their Eyes.
But Aeson is the most surpriz'd, to find
A happy Change in Body, and in Mind;
In Sense and Constitution the same Man,
As when his Fortieth active Year began.
Bacchus, who from the Clouds this Wonder view'd,
Medea's Method instantly pursu'd,
And his indulgent Nurse's Youth renew'd.

The Death of PELIAS.

Thus far obliging Love employ'd her Art,
But now Revenge must act a tragick Part;
Medea feigns a mortal Quarrel bred
Betwixt her, and the Partner of her Bed;
On this Pretence to Pelia's Court she flies,
Who languishing with Age and Sickness lies:
His innocent Daughters, with inveigling Wiles,
And well-dissembled Friendship, she beguiles:
[Page 228] The strange Atchievements of her Art she tells,
With Aeson's Cure, and long on that she dwells;
Till them to firm Perswasion she has won,
The same for their old Father may be done:
For him they court her to employ her Skill,
And put upon the Cure what Price she will.
At first she's mute, and with a grave Pretence
Of Difficulty, holds 'em in Suspense;
Then promises, and bids 'em, from the Fold
Chuse out a Ram, the most infirm and old;
That so by Fact their Doubts may be remov'd,
And first, on him, the Operation prov'd.
A wreath-horn'd Ram is brought, so far o'er-grown
With Years, his Age was to that Age unknown
Of Sense too dull the piercing Point to feel,
And scarce sufficient Blood to stain the Steel.
His Carcass she into a Cauldron threw,
With Drugs whose vital Qualities she knew;
His Limbs grow less, he casts his Horns and Years,
And tender Bleatings strike their wondring Ears.
Then instantly leaps forth a frisking Lamb,
That seeks (too young to graze) a suckling Dam.
The Sisters, thus confirm'd with the Success,
Her Promise with renew'd Entreaty press;
To countenance the Cheat, three Nights and Days
Before Experiment th' Inchantress stays;
Then into limpid Water, from the Springs,
Weeds, and Ingredients of no Force she flings;
With antique Ceremonies for Pretence,
And rambling Rhymes without a Word of Sense.
Mean while the King with all his Guards lay bound,
In Magick Sleep, scarce that of Death so sound;
[Page 229] The Daughters now are by the Sorc'ress led
Into his Chamber, and surround his Bed.
Your Father's Health's concern'd, and can ye stay?
Unnat'ral Nymphs, why this unkind Delay?
Unsheath your Swords, dismiss his lifeless Blood,
And I'll recruit it with a vital Flood:
Your Father's Life and Health is in your Hand,
And can ye thus like idle Gazers stand?
Unless you are of common Sense bereft,
If yet one Spark of Piety is left,
Dispatch a Father's Cure, and disengage
The Monarch from his toilsome Load of Age:
Come—drench your Weapons in his putrid Gore,
'Tis Charity to wound, when Wounding will restore.
Thus urg'd, the poor deluded Maids proceed,
Betray'd by Zeal, to an inhumane Deed,
And, in Compassion, make a Father bleed.
Yes, she who had the kindest, tend'rest Heart,
Is foremost to perform the bloody Part.
Yet, tho' to act the Butchery betray'd,
They could not bear to see the Wounds they made;
With Looks averted, backward they advance,
Then strike, and stab, and leave the Blows to Chance.
Waking in Consternation, he essays
(Weltring in Blood) his feeble Arms to raise:
Environ'd with so many Swords—from whence
This barb'rous Usage? what is my Offence?
What fatal Fury, what infernal Charm,
Gainst a kind Father does his Daughters arm?
Hearing his Voice, as Thunder-struck, they stopt,
Their Resolution, and their Weapons dropt:
[Page 230] Medea then the mortal Blow bestows,
And that perform'd, the tragick Scene to close,
His Corpse into the boiling Cauldron throws.
Then, dreading the Revenge that must ensue,
High mounted on her Dragon-Coach she flew;
And in her stately Progress thro' the Skies,
Beneath her shady Pelion first she spies,
With Othrys, that above the Clouds did rise;
With skilful Chiron's Cave, and neighb'ring Ground,
For old Cerambus' strange Escape renown'd,
By Nymphs deliver'd when the World was drown'd;
Who him with unexpected Wings supply'd,
When delug'd Hills a safe Retreat deny'd.
Aeolian Pitanè on her Left Hand
She saw, and there the statu'd Dragon stand;
With Ida's Grove, where Bacchus, to disguise
His Son's bold Theft, and to secure the Prize,
Made the stoln Steer a Stag to represent;
Cocytus' Father's sandy Monument;
And Fields that held the murder'd Sire's Remains,
Where howling Moera frights the startled Plains.
Euryphilus' high Town, with Tow'rs defac'd
By Hercules, and Matrons more disgrac'd
With sprouting Horns, in signal Punishment,
From Juno, or resenting Venus sent.
Then Rhodes, which Phoebus did so dearly prize,
And Jove no less severely did chastize;
For he the Wizzard Native's pois'ning Sight,
That us'd the Farmer's hopeful Crops to blight,
In Rage o'erwhelm'd with everlasting Night.
Cartheia's ancient Walls come next in view,
Where once the Sire almost a Statue grew
[Page 231] With Wonder, which a strange Event did move,
His Daughter turn'd into a Turtle-Dove.
Then Hyrie's Lake, and Tempè's Field o'er-ran,
Fam'd for the Boy who there became a Swan;
For there enamour'd Phyllius, like a Slave,
Perform'd what Tasks his Paramour would crave.
For Presents he had Mountain-Vultures caught,
And from the Desart a tame Lion brought;
Then a wild Bull commanded to subdue,
The conquer'd Savage by the Horns he drew;
But, mock'd so oft, the Treatment he disdains,
And from the craving Boy this Prize detains.
Then thus in Choller the resenting Lad;
Won't you deliver him?—You'll wish you had;
Nor sooner said, but, in a peevish Mood,
Leapt from the Precipice on which he stood:
The Standers-by were struck with fresh Surprize,
Instead of falling, to behold him rise
A snowy Swan, and soaring to the Skies.
But dearly the rash Prank his Mother cost,
Who ignorantly gave her Son for lost;
For his Misfortune wept, till she became
A Lake, and still renown'd with Hyrie's Name.
Thence to Latona's Isle, where once were seen,
Transform'd to Birds, a Monarch, and his Queen.
Far off she saw how old Cephisus mourn'd
His Son, into a Seele by Phoebus turn'd;
And where, astonish'd at a stranger Sight,
Eumelus gaz'd on his wing'd Daughter's Flight.
Aetolian Pleuron she did next survey,
Where Sons a Mother's Murder did essay,
But sudden Plumes the Matron bore away.
[Page 232] On her Right Hand, Cyllenè, a fair Soil,
Fair, till Menephron there the beauteous Hill
Attempted with fowl Incest to defile.
Her harness'd Dragons now direct she drives
For Corinth, and at Corinth she arrives;
Where, if what old Tradition tells, be true,
In former Ages Men from Mushrooms grew.
But here Medea finds her Bed supply'd,
During her Absence, by another Bride;
And hopeless to recover her lost Game,
She sets both Bride and Palace in a Flame.
Nor could a Rival's Death her Wrath asswage,
Nor stopt at Creon's Family her Rage;
She murders her own Infants, in Despight
To faithless Jason, and in Jason's Sight;
Yet e'er his Sword could reach her, up she springs,
Securely mounted on her Dragons Wings.

The Story of AEGEUS.

From hence to Athens she directs her Flight,
Where Phineus, so renown'd for doing Right;
Where Periphas, and Polyphemon's Neece,
Soaring with sudden Plumes, amaz'd the Towns of Greece.
Here Aegeus so engaging she addrest,
That first he treats her like a Royal Guest;
Then takes the Sorc'ress for his wedded Wife;
The only Blemish of his prudent Life.
Mean while his Son, from Actions of Renown,
Arrives at Court, but to his Sire unknown.
Medea, to dispatch a dang'rous Heir,
(She knew him) did a pois'nous Draught prepare;
[Page 233] Drawn from a Drug, was long reserv'd in store
For desp'rate Uses, from the Scythian Shore;
That from the Echydnaean Monster's Jaws
Deriv'd it's Origin, and this the Cause.
Thro' a dark Cave a craggy Passage lies,
To ours ascending from the nether Skies;
Thro' which, by Strength of Hand, Alcides drew
Chain'd Cerberus, who lagg'd, and restive grew,
With his blear'd Eyes our brighter Day to view.
Thrice he repeated his enormous Yell,
With which he scares the Ghosts, and startles Hell;
At last outragious (tho' compell'd to yield)
He sheds his Foam in Fury on the Field;
Which, with its own, and Rankness of the Ground,
Produc'd a Weed, by Sorcerers renown'd,
The strongest Constitution to confound;
Call'd Aconite, because it can unlock
All Bars, and force its Passage thro' a Rock.
The pious Father, by her Wheedles won,
Presents this deadly Potion to his Son;
Who, with the same Assurance takes the Cup,
And to the Monarch's Health had drank it up,
But in the very Instant he apply'd
The Goblet to his Lips, old Aegeus spy'd
The Iv'ry-hilted Sword that grac'd his Side.
That certain Signal of his Son he knew,
And snacht the Bowl away; the Sword he drew,
Resolv'd, for such a Son's endanger'd Life,
To sacrifice the most perfidious Wife.
Revenge is swift, but her more active Charms
A Whirl-wind rais'd, that snatch'd her from his Arms.
[Page 234] While conjur'd Clouds their baffled Sense surprize,
She vanishes from their deluded Eyes,
And thro' the Hurricane triumphant flies.
The gen'rous King, altho' o'er-joy'd to find
His Son was safe, yet bearing still in mind
The Mischief by his treach'rous Queen design'd;
The Horrour of the Deed, and then how near
The Danger drew, he stands congeal'd with Fear.
But soon that Fear into Devotion turns,
With grateful Incense ev'ry Altar burns;
Proud Victims! and unconscious of their Fate,
Stalk to the Temple, there to die in state.
In Athens never had a Day been found
For Mirth, like that grand Festival, renown'd.
Promiscuously the Peers and People dine,
Promiscuously their thankful Voices join,
In Songs of Wit, sublim'd by spritely Wine.
To list'ning Spheres their joint Applause they raise,
And thus resound their matchless Theseus' Praise.
Great Theseus! Thee the Marathonian Plain
Admires, and wears with Pride the noble Stain
Of the dire Monster's Blood, by valiant Theseus slain.
That now Cromyon's Swains in Safety sow,
And reap their fertile Field, to Thee they owe.
By Thee th' infested Epidaurian Coast
Was clear'd, and now can a free Commerce boast.
The Traveller his Journey can pursue,
With Pleasure the late dreaded Valley view,
And cry, Here Theseus the grand Robber slew.
Cephysus' Flood cries to his rescu'd Shore,
The merciless Procrustes is no more.
[Page 235] In Peace, Eleusis, Cenes' Rites renew,
Since Theseus' Sword the fierce Cercyon slew.
By him the Tort'rer Sinis was destroy'd,
Of Strength (but Strength to barb'rous use employ'd)
That Tops of tallest Pines to Earth could bend,
And thus in Pieces wretched Captives rend.
Inhuman Scyron now has breath'd his last,
And now Alcathoe's Road's securely past;
By Theseus slain, and thrown into the Deep:
But Earth nor Sea his scatter'd Bones wou'd keep,
Which, after floating long, a Rock became,
Still infamous with Scyron's hated Name.
When Fame to count thy Acts and Years proceeds,
Thy Years appear but Cyphers to thy Deeds.
For Thee, brave Youth, as for our Common-wealth,
We pray; and drink, in yours, the Publick Health.
Your Praise the Senate and Plebeians sing,
With your lov'd Name the Court and Cottage ring.
You make our Shepherds and our Sailors glad,
And not a House in this vast City's sad.
But mortal Bliss will never come sincere,
Pleasure may lead, but Grief brings up the Rear;
While for his Son's Arrival, rev'ling Joy
Aegeus and all his Subjects does employ;
While they for only costly Feasts prepare,
His neighb'ring Monarch, Minos, threatens War:
Weak in Land-Forces, nor by Sea more strong,
But pow'rful in a deep resented Wrong
For a Son's Murder, arm'd with pious Rage;
Yet prudently, before he would engage,
To raise Auxiliaries resolv'd to sail,
And with the pow'rful Princes to prevail.
[Page 236] First Anaphè, then proud Astypalaea gains,
By Presents that, and this by Threats obtains:
Low Myconè, Cymolus, chalky Soil,
Tall Cythnos, Scyros, flat Seriphos' Isle;
Paros, with Marble Cliffs afar display'd;
Impregnable Sithonia; yet betray'd
To a weak Foe by a Gold-admiring Maid.
Who, chang'd into a Daw of sable Hue,
Still hoards up Gold, and hides it from the View.
But as these Islands chearfully combine,
Others refuse t' embark in his Design.
Now Leftward with an easy Sail he bore,
And prosp'rous Passage to O Enopia's Shore;
O Enopia once, but now Aegina call'd,
And with his Royal Mother's Name install'd
By Aeacus, under whose Reign did spring
The Myrmidons, and now their reigning King.
Down to the Port, amidst the Rabble, run
The Princes of the Blood; with Telamon,
Peleus the next, and Phocus the third Son:
Then Aeacus, altho' opprest with Years,
To ask the Cause of their Approach appears.
That Question does the Gnossian's Grief renew,
And Sighs from his afflicted Bosom drew;
Yet after a short solemn Respite made,
The Ruler of the hundred Cities said;
Assist our Arms, rais'd for a murder'd Son,
In this religious War no Risque you'll run:
Revenge the Dead—for who refuse to give
Rest to their Urns, unworthy are to live.
What you request, thus Aeacus replies,
Not I, but Truth and common Faith denies;
Athens and we have long been sworn Allies:
[Page 237] Our Leagues are fix'd, confed'rate are our Pow'rs,
And who declare themselves Their Foes, are Ours.
Minos rejoins, Your League shall dearly cost;
(Yet, mindful how much safer 'twas to boast,
Than there to waste his Forces and his Fame,
Before in Field with his grand Foe he came)
Parts without Blows—Nor long had left the Shore,
E'er int Port another Navy bore,
With Cephalus, and all his jolly Crew;
Th' Aeacides their old Acquaintance knew:
The Princes bid him welcome, and in State
Conduct the Heroe to their Palace Gate;
Who ent'ring, seem'd the charming Mein to wear,
As when in Youth he paid his Visit there.
In his Right Hand an Olive-branch he holds,
And, Salutation past, the Chief unfolds
His Embassy from the Athenian State,
Their mutual Friendship, Leagues of ancient Date;
Their common Danger, ev'ry thing cou'd wake
Concern, and his Address successful make:
Strength'ning his Plea with all the Charms of Sense,
And those, with all the Charms of Eloquence.
Then thus the King: Like Suiters do you stand
For that Assistance which you may command?
Athenians, all our listed Forces use,
(They're such as no bold Service will refuse;)
And when y'ave drawn them off, the Gods be prais'd,
Fresh Legions can within our Isle be rais'd:
So stock'd with People, that we can prepare
Both for domestick, and for distant War,
Ours, or our Friends Insulters to chastize.
Long may ye flourish thus, the Prince replies.
[Page 238] Strange Transport seiz'd me as I pass'd along,
To meet so many Troops, and all so young,
As if your Army did of Twins consist;
Yet amongst them my late Acquaintance miss'd:
Ev'n all that to your Palace did resort,
When first you entertain'd me at your Court;
And cannot guess the Cause from whence cou'd spring
So vast a Change—Then thus the sighing King:
Illustrious Guest, to my strange Tale attend,
Of sad Beginning, but a joyful End:
The whole to a vast History wou'd swell,
I shall but half, and that confus'dly, tell.
That Race whom so deserv'dly you admir'd,
Are all into their silent Tombs retir'd:
They fell; and falling, how they shook my State,
Thought may conceive, but Words can ne'er relate.

The Story of Ants chang'd to Men.

A dreadful Plague from angry Juno came,
To scourge the Land that bore her Rival's Name;
Before her fatal Anger was reveal'd,
And teeming Malice lay as yet conceal'd,
All Remedies we try, all Med'cines use,
Which Nature cou'd supply, or Art produce;
Th' unconquer'd Foe derides the vain Design,
And Art and Nature foil'd, declare the Cause Divine.
At first we only felt th' oppressive Weight
Of gloomy Clouds, then teeming with our Fate,
And lab'ring to discharge unactive Heat:
[Page 239] But e're four Moons alternate Changes knew,
With deadly Blasts the fatal South-wind blew,
Infected all the Air, and poison'd as it flew.
Our Fountains too a dire Infection yield,
For Crowds of Vipers creep along the Field,
And with polluted Gore, and baneful Steams,
Taint all the Lakes, and venom all the Streams.
The young Disease with milder Force began,
And rag'd on Birds and Beasts, excusing Man.
The lab'ring Oxen fall before the Plow,
Th' unhappy Plow-men stare, and wonder how:
The tabid Sheep, with sickly Bleatings, pines;
Its Wooll decreasing, as its Strength declines:
The warlike Steed, by inward Foes compell'd,
Neglects his Honours, and deserts the Field;
Unnerv'd and languid, seeks a base Retreat,
And at the Manger groans, but wish'd a nobler Fate:
The Stags forget their Speed, the Boars their Rage,
Nor can the Bears the stronger Herds engage:
A gen'ral Faintness does invade 'em all,
And in the Woods and Fields promiscuously they fall.
The Air receives the Stench, and (strange to say)
The rav'nous Birds and Beasts avoid the Prey:
Th' offensive Bodies rot upon the Ground,
And spread the dire Contagion all around.
But now the Plague, grown to a larger Size,
Riots on Man, and scorns a meaner Prize.
Intestine Heats begin the Civil War,
And Flushings first the latent Flame declare,
And Breath inspir'd, which seem'd like fiery Air.
Their black dry Tongues are swell'd, and scarce can move,
And short thick Sighs from panting Lungs are drove.
[Page 240] They gape for Air, with flatt'ring Hopes t'abate
Their raging Flames, but that augments their Heat.
No Bed, no Cov'ring can the Wretches bear,
But on the Ground, expos'd to open Air,
They lye, and hope to find a pleasing Coolness there.
The suff'ring Earth, with that Oppression curst,
Returns the Heat which they imparted first.
In vain Physicians would bestow their Aid,
Vain all their Art, and useless all their Trade;
And they, ev'n they, who fleeting Life recall,
Feel the same Pow'rs, and undistinguish'd fall.
If any proves so daring to attend
His sick Companion, or his darling Friend,
Th' officious Wretch sucks in contagious Breath,
And with his Friend does sympathize in Death.
And now the Care and Hopes of Life are past,
They please their Fancies, and indulge their Taste;
At Brooks and Streams, regardless of their Shame,
Each Sex, promiscuous, strives to quench their Flame;
Nor do they strive in vain to quench it there,
For Thirst and Life at once extinguish'd are.
Thus in the Brooks the dying Bodies sink,
But heedless still the rash Survivors drink.
So much uneasy Down the Wretches hate,
They fly their Beds to struggle with their Fate;
But if decaying Strength forbids to rise,
The Victim crawls and rouls, till on the Ground he lies.
Each shuns his Bed, as each wou'd shun his Tomb,
And thinks th' Infection only lodg'd at home.
Here one, with fainting steps, does slowly creep
O'er Heaps of Dead, and straight augments a Heap;
[Page 241] Another, while his Strength and Tongue prevail'd,
Bewails his Friend, and falls himself bewail'd:
This with imploring Looks surveys the Skies,
The last dear Office of his closing Eyes,
But finds the Heav'ns implacable, and dies.
What now, ah! what employ'd my troubled Mind?
But only Hopes my Subjects Fate to find.
What Place soe'er my weeping Eyes survey,
There in lamented Heaps the Vulgar lay;
As Acorns scatter when the Winds prevail,
Or mellow Fruit from shaken Branches fall.
You see that Dome which rears its Front so high:
'Tis sacred to the Monarch of the Sky:
How many there, with unregarded Tears,
And fruitless Vows, sent up successless Pray'rs?
There Fathers for expiring Sons implor'd,
And there the Wife bewail'd her gasping Lord;
With pious Off'rings they'd appease the Skies,
But they, e're yet th' attoning Vapours rise,
Before the Altars fall, themselves a Sacrifice:
They fall, while yet their Hands the Gums contain,
The Gums surviving, but their Off'rers slain.
The destin'd Ox, with holy Garlands crown'd,
Prevents the Blow, and feels an unexpected Wound:
When I my self invok'd the Pow'rs Divine,
To drive the fatal Pest from Me and Mine;
When now the Priest with Hands uplifted stood,
Prepar'd to strike, and shed the sacred Blood,
The Gods themselves the mortal Stroke bestow,
The Victim falls, but They impart the Blow:
[Page 242] Scarce was the Knife with the pale Purple stain'd,
And no Presages cou'd be then obtain'd,
From putrid Entrails, where th' Infection reign'd.
Death stalk'd around with such resistless Sway,
The Temples of the Gods his Force obey,
And Suppliants feel his Stroke while yet they pray.
Go now, said he, your Deities implore
For fruitless Aid, for I defie their Pow'r.
Then with a curst malicious Joy survey'd
The very Altars, stain'd with Trophies of the Dead.
The rest grown mad, and frantick with Despair,
Urge their own Fate, and so prevent the Fear.
Strange Madness, that, when Death pursu'd so fast,
T' anticipate the Blow with impious Haste.
No decent Honour to their Urns are paid,
Nor cou'd the Graves receive the num'rous Dead;
For, or they lay unbury'd on the Ground,
Or unadorn'd a needy Fun'ral found:
All Rev'rence past, the fainting Wretches fight
For Fun'ral Piles which were another's Right.
Unmourn'd they fall, for who surviv'd to mourn?
And Sires and Mothers unlamented burn:
Parents and Sons sustain an equal Fate,
And wand'ring Ghosts their kindred Shadows meet.
The Dead a larger Space of Ground require,
Nor are the Trees sufficient for the Fire.
Despairing under Grief's oppressive Weight,
And sunk by these tempestuous Blasts of Fate,
O Jove, said I, if common Fame says true,
If e'er Aegina gave those Joys to you,
[Page 243] If e'er you lay enclos'd in her Embrace,
Fond of her Charms, and eager to possess;
O Father, if you do not yet disclaim
Paternal Care, nor yet disown the Name;
Grant my Petitions, and with Speed restore
My Subjects num'rous as they were before,
Or make me Partner of the Fate they bore.
I spoke, and glorious Lightning shone around,
And ratling Thunder gave a prosp'rous Sound;
So let it be, and may these Omens prove
A Pledge, said I, of your returning Love.
By chance a rev'rend Oak was near the Place,
Sacred to Jove, and of Dodona's Race,
Where frugal Ants laid up their Winter Meat,
Whose little Bodies bear a mighty Weight:
We saw them march along, and hide their Store,
And much admir'd their Number, and their Pow'r;
Admir'd at first, but after envy'd more.
Full of Amazement, thus to Jove I pray'd,
O grant, since thus my Subjects are decay'd,
As many Subjects to supply the Dead.
I pray'd, and strange Convulsions mov'd the Oak,
Which murmur'd, tho' by ambient Winds unshook:
My trembling Hands, and stiff erected Hair,
Exprest all Tokens of uncommon Fear;
Yet both the Earth and sacred Oak I kist,
And scarce cou'd hope, yet still I hop'd the best;
For Wretches, whatsoe'er the Fates divine,
Expound all Omens to their own Design.
But now 'twas Night, when ev'n Distraction wears
A pleasing Look, and Dreams beguile our Cares.
[Page 244] Lo! The same Oak appears before my Eyes,
Nor alter'd in its Shape, nor former Size;
As many Ants the num'rous Branches bear,
The same their Labour, and their frugal Care;
The Branches too a like Commotion found,
And shook th'industrious Creatures on the Ground,
Who, by degrees (what's scarce to be believ'd)
A nobler Form, and larger Bulk receiv'd,
And on the Earth walk'd an unusual Pace,
With manly Strides, and an erected Face;
Their num'rous Legs, and former Colour lost,
The Insects cou'd a Human Figure boast.
I wake, and waking find my Cares again,
And to the unperforming Gods complain,
And call their Promise and Pretences vain.
Yet in my Court I heard the murm'ring Voice
Of Strangers, and a mixt uncommon Noise:
But I suspected all was still a Dream,
'Till Telamon to my Apartment came,
Op'ning the Door with an impetuous Haste,
O come, said he, and see your Faith and Hopes surpast:
I follow, and, confus'd with Wonder, view
Those Shapes which my presaging Slumbers drew:
I saw, and own'd, and call'd them Subjects; they
Confest my Pow'r, submissive to my Sway.
To Jove, Restorer of my Race decay'd,
My Vows were first with due Oblations paid.
I then divide with an impartial Hand
My empty City, and my ruin'd Land,
To give the New-born Youth an equal Share,
And call them Myrmidons, from what they were.
[Page 245] You saw their Persons, and they still retain
The Thrift of Ants, tho' now transform'd to Men.
A frugal People, and inur'd to Sweat,
Lab'ring to gain, and keeping what they get.
These, equal both in Strength and Years, shall join
Their willing Aid, and follow your Design,
With the first Southern Gale that shall present
To fill your Sails, and favour your Intent.
With such Discourse they entertain the Day;
The Ev'ning past in Banquets, Sport, and Play:
Then, having crown'd the Night with sweet Repose,
Aurora (with the Wind at East) arose.
Now Pallas' Sons to Cephalus resort,
And Cephalus with Pallas' Sons to Court,
To the King's Levee; him Sleep's silken Chain,
And pleasing Dreams, beyond his Hour detain;
But then the Princes of the Blood, in State,
Expect and meet 'em at the Palace Gate.

The Story of CEPHALUS and PROCRIS.

To th'inmost Courts the Grecian Youths were led,
And plac'd by Phocus on a Tyrian Bed;
Who, soon observing Cephalus to hold
A Dart of unknown Wood, but arm'd with Gold;
None better loves (said he) the Hunts-man's Sport,
Or does more often to the Woods resort;
Yet I that Jav'lin's Stem with Wonder view,
Too brown for Box, too smooth a Grain for Yew.
I cannot guess the Tree; but never Art
Did form, or Eyes behold so fair a Dart!
[Page 246] The Guest then interrupts him—'Twou'd produce
Still greater Wonder, if you knew its Use.
It never fails to strike the Game, and then
Comes bloody back into your Hand again.
Then Ph [...] each Particular desires,
And th' Author of the wond'rous Gift enquires.
To which the Owner thus, with weeping Eyes,
And Sorrow for his Wife's sad Fate, replies,
This Weapon here (O Prince!) can you believe
This Dart the Cause for which so much I grieve;
And shall continue to grieve on, 'till Fate
Afford such wretched Life no longer Date.
Would I this fatal Gift had ne'er enjoy'd,
This fatal Gift my tender Wife destroy'd:
Procris her Name, ally'd in Charms and Blood
To fair Orythia courted by a God.
Her Father seal'd my Hopes with Rites Divine,
But firmer Love before had made her mine.
Men call'd me blest, and blest I was indeed.
The second Month our Nuptials did succeed;
When (as upon Hymettus' dewy Head,
For Mountain Stags, my Net betimes I spread)
Aurora spy'd, and ravish'd me away,
With Rev'rence to the Goddess, I must say,
Against my Will, for Procris had my Heart,
Nor wou'd her Image from my Thoughts depart.
At last, in Rage she cry'd, Ingrateful Boy
Go to your Procris, take your fatal Joy;
And so dismiss'd me: Musing, as I went,
What those Expressions of the Goddess meant,
A thousand jealous Fears possess me now,
Lest Procris had prophan'd her Nuptial Vow:
[Page 247] Her Youth and Charms did to my Fancy paint
A lewd Adultress, but her Life a Saint.
Yet I was absent long, the Goddess too
Taught me how far a Woman cou'd be true.
Aurora's Treatment much Suspicion bred;
Besides, who truly love, ev'n Shadows dread.
I strait impatient for the Tryal grew,
What Courtship back'd with richest Gifts cou'd do.
Aurora's Envy aided my Design,
And lent me Features far unlike to mine.
In this Disguise to my own House I came,
But all was chaste, no conscious Sign of Blame:
With thousand Arts I scarce Admittance found,
And then beheld her weeping on the Ground
For her lost Husband; hardly I retain'd
My Purpose, scarce the wish'd Embrace refrain'd.
How charming was her Grief! Then, Phocus, guess
What killing Beauties waited on her Dress.
Her constant Answer, when my Suit I prest,
Forbear, my Lord's dear Image guards this Breast;
Where-e'er he is, whatever Cause detains,
Who-e'er has his, my Heart unmov'd remains.
What greater Proofs of Truth than these cou'd be?
Yet I persist, and urge my Destiny.
At length, she found, when my own Form return'd,
Her jealous Lover there, whose Loss she mourn'd.
Enrag'd with my Suspicion, swift as Wind,
She fled at once from me and all Mankind;
And so became, her Purpose to retain,
A Nymph, and Huntress in Diana's Train:
Forsaken thus, I found my Flames encrease,
I own'd my Folly, and I su'd for Peace.
[Page 248] It was a Fault, but not of Guilt, to move
Such Punishment, a Fault of too much Love.
Thus I retriev'd her to my longing Arms,
And many happy Days possess'd her Charms.
But with herself she kindly did confer,
What Gifts the Goddess had bestow'd on her;
The fleetest Grey-hound, with this lovely Dart,
And I of both have Wonders to impart.
Near Thebes a Savage Beast, of Race unknown,
Laid waste the Field, and bore the Vineyards down;
The Swains fled from him, and with one Consent
Our Grecian Youth to chase the Monster went;
More swift than Light'ning he the Toils surpast,
And in his Course Spears, Men, and Trees o'er-cast.
We slipt our Dogs, and last my Lelaps too,
When none of all the mortal Race wou'd do:
He long before was struggling from my Hands,
And, e're we cou'd unloose him, broke his Bands.
That Minute where he was we cou'd not find,
And only saw the Dust he left behind.
I climb'd a neighb'ring Hill to view the Chase,
While in the Plain they held an equal Race;
The Savage now seems caught, and now by Force
To quit himself, nor holds the same strait Course;
But running counter, from the Foe withdraws,
And with short Turning cheats his gaping Jaws:
Which he retrieves, and still so closely prest,
You'd fear at ev'ry Stretch he were possess'd;
Yet for the Gripe his Fangs in vain prepare,
The Game shoots from him, and he chops the Air.
To cast my Jav'lin then I took my Stand;
But as the Thongs were fitting to my Hand,
[Page 249] While to the Valley I o'er-look'd the Wood,
Before my Eyes two Marble Statues stood.
That, as pursu'd, appearing at full Stretch,
This barking after, and at point to catch.
Some God their Course did with this Wonder grace,
That neither might be conquer'd in the Chase;
A sudden Silence here his Tongue supprest,
He here stops short, and fain wou'd wave the rest.
The eager Prince then urg'd him to impart,
The Fortune that attended on the Dart.
First then (said he) past Joys let me relate,
For Bliss was the Foundation of my Fate.
No Language can those happy Hours express,
Did from our Nuptials me and Procris bless:
The kindest Pair! What more cou'd Heav'n confer?
For She was all to me, and I to her.
Had Jove made Love, great Jove had been despis'd;
And I my Procris more than Venus priz'd:
Thus while no other Joy we did aspire,
We grew at last one Soul, and one Desire.
Forth to the Woods I went at Break of Day,
(The constant Practice of my Youth) for Prey:
Nor yet for Servant, Horse, or Dog did call,
I found this single Dart to serve for all.
With Slaughter tir'd, I sought the cooler Shade,
And Winds that from the Mountains pierc'd the Glade:
Come, gentle Air, (so was I wont to say)
Come, gentle Air, sweet Aura come away.
This always was the Burden of my Song,
Come 'swage my Flames, sweet Aura come along.
Thou always art most welcome to my Breast;
I faint; approach, thou dearest, kindest Guest!
[Page 250] These Blandishments, and more than these, I said,
(By Fate to unsuspected Ruin led)
Thou art my Joy, for thy dear sake I love
Each desart Hill and solitary Grove;
When (faint with Labour) I Refreshment need,
For Cordials on thy fragrant Breath I feed.
At last a wand'ring Swain in hearing came,
And cheated with the Sound of Aura's Name,
He thought I had some Assignation made;
And to my Procris' Ear the News convey'd.
Great Love is soonest with Suspicion fir'd,
She swoon'd, and with the Tale almost expir'd.
Ah! wretched Heart, (she cry'd) ah! faithless Man!
And then to curse th' imagin'd Nymph began:
Yet oft she doubts, oft hopes she is deceiv'd,
And chides herself that ever she believ'd
Her Lord to such Injustice cou'd proceed,
Till she herself were Witness of the Deed.
Next Morn I to the Woods again repair,
And, weary with the Chase, invoke the Air;
Approach, dear Aura, and my Bosom chear:
At which a mournful Sound did strike my Ear;
Yet I proceeded, 'till the Thicket by,
With rustling Noise and Motion, drew my Eye;
I thought some Beast of Prey was shelter'd there,
And to the Covert threw my certain Spear;
From whence a tender Sigh my Soul did wound,
Ah me! it cry'd, and did like Procris sound.
Procris was there, too well the Voice I knew,
And to the Place with headlong Horror flew;
Where I beheld her gasping on the Ground,
In vain attempting from the deadly Wound
[Page 251] To draw the Dart, her Love's dear fatal Gift!
My guilty Arms had scarce the Strength to lift
The beauteous Load; my Silks and Hair I tore
(If possible) to stanch the pressing Gore;
For Pity begg'd her keep her flitting Breath,
And not to leave me guilty of her Death.
While I intreat she fainted fast away,
And these few Words had only Strength to say;
By all the sacred Bonds of plighted Love,
By all your Rev'rence to the Pow'rs above,
By all that made me charming once appear,
By all the Truth for which you held me dear,
And last by Love, the Cause through which I bleed,
Let Aura never to my Bed succeed.
I then perceiv'd the Error of our Fate,
And told it her, but found and told too late!
I felt her lower to my Bosom fall,
And while her Eyes had any Sight at all,
On mine she fix'd them; in her Pangs still prest
My Hand, and sigh'd her Soul into my Breast;
Yet, being undeceiv'd, resign'd her Breath
Methought more chearfully, and smil'd in Death.
With such Concern the weeping Heroe told
This Tale, that none who heard him cou'd with-hold
From melting into sympathizing Tears,
Till Aeacus with his two Sons appears;
Whom he commits, with their new-levy'd Bands,
To Fortune's, and so brave a Gen'ral's Hands.
The End of the Seventh Book.
To Her Grace the Dutchess of Rutla [...]


The Story of NISUS and SCYLLA.

NOW shone the Morning Star in bright Array,
To vanquish Night, and usher in the Day:
The Wind veers Southward, and moist Clouds arise,
That blot with Shades the Blue Meridian Skies.
Cephalus feels with Joy the kindly Gales,
His new Allies unfurl the swelling Sails;
Steady their Course, they cleave the yielding Main,
And, with a Wish, th' intended Harbour gain.
Mean while King Minos, on the Attick Strand,
Displays his martial Skill, and wastes the Land.
His Army lies encampt upon the Plains,
Before Alcathöe's Walls, where Nisus reigns;
On whose grey Head a Lock of Purple Hue,
The Strength and Fortune of his Kingdom, grew.
[Page 254] Six Moons were gone and past, when still from far
Victoria hover'd o'er the doubtful War.
So long, to both inclin'd, th' impartial Maid
Between 'em both her equal Wings display'd.
High on the Walls, by Phoebus vocal made,
A Turret of the Palace rais'd its Head;
And where the God his tuneful Harp resign'd,
The Sound within the Stones still lay enshrin'd.
Hither the Daughter of the Purple King
Ascended oft, to hear its Musick ring;
And, striking with a Pebble, wou'd release
Th' enchanted Notes, in Times of happy Peace.
Now too, from thence, the curious Maid beheld
Rough Feats of Arms, and Combats of the Field:
And, since the Siege was long, had learnt the Name
Of ev'ry Chief, his Character, and Fame;
Their Arms, their Horse, and Quiver she descry'd,
Nor cou'd the Dress of War the Warrior hide.
Europa's Son she knew above the Rest,
And more, than well became a Virgin Breast:
In vain the crested Morion veils his Face,
She thinks it adds a more peculiar Grace:
His ample Shield, embost with burnish'd Gold,
Still makes the Bearer lovelier to behold:
When the tough Jav'lin, with a Whirl, he sends,
His Strength and Skill the sighing Maid commends;
Or, when he strains to draw the circling Bow,
And his fine Limbs a manly Posture show,
Compar'd with Phoebus, he performs so well,
Let her be Judge, and Minos shall excell.
But when the Helm, put off, display'd to Sight,
And set his Features in an open Light;
[Page 255] When, vaulting to his Seat, his Steed he prest,
Caparison'd in Gold, and richly drest;
Himself in Scarlet sumptuously array'd,
New Passions rise, and fire the frantick Maid.
O happy Spear! she cries, that feels his Touch;
Nay, ev'n the Reins he holds are blest too much.
Oh! were it lawful, she cou'd wing her Way
Thro' the stern hostile Troops without Dismay;
Or throw her Body to the distant Ground,
And in the Cretans happy Camp be found.
Wou'd Minos but desire it! she'd expose
Her native Country to her Country's Foes;
Unbar the Gates, the Town with Flames infest,
Or any thing that Minos shou'd request.
And, as she sate, and pleas'd her longing Sight,
Viewing the King's Pavilion veil'd with White,
Shou'd Joy, or Grief, she said, possess my Breast,
To see my Country by a War opprest?
I'm in Suspense: For, tho' 'tis Grief to know
I love a Man that is declar'd my Foe;
Yet, in my own Despite, I must approve
That lucky War, which brought the Man I love.
Yet, were I tender'd as a Pledge of Peace,
The Cruelties of War might quickly cease.
Oh! with what Joy I'd wear the Chains he gave!
A patient Hostage, and a willing Slave.
Thou lovely Object! if the Nymph that bare
Thy charming Person, were but half so fair;
Well might a God her Virgin Bloom desire,
And with a Rape indulge his amorous Fire.
Oh! had I Wings to glide along the Air,
To his dear Tent I'd fly, and settle there:
[Page 256] There tell my Quality, confess my Flame,
And grant him any Dowry that he'd name.
All, all I'd give; only my native Land,
My dearest Country, shou'd excepted stand.
For, perish Love, and all expected Joys,
E're, with so base a Thought, my Soul complies.
Yet, oft the Vanquish'd some Advantage find,
When conquer'd by a noble, gen'rous Mind.
Brave Minos justly has the War begun,
Fir'd with Resentment for his murder'd Son:
The righteous Gods a righteous Cause regard,
And will, with Victory, his Arms reward:
We must be conquer'd; and the Captive's Fate
Will surely seize us, tho' it seize us late.
Why then shou'd Love be idle, and neglect
What Mars, by Arms and Perils, will effect?
Oh! Prince, I dye, with anxious Fear opprest,
Lest some rash Hand shou'd wound my Charmer's Breast
For, if they saw, no barb'rous Mind cou'd dare
Against that lovely Form to raise a Spear.
But I'm resolv'd, and fix'd in this Decree,
My Father's Country shall my Dowry be.
Thus I prevent the Loss of Life and Blood,
And, in Effect, the Action must be good.
Vain Resolution! for, at ev'ry Gate
The trusty Centinels, successive, wait:
The Keys my Father keeps; ah! there's my Grief;
'Tis he obstructs all Hopes of my Relief.
Gods! that this hated Light I'd never seen!
Or, all my Life, without a Father been!
But Gods we all may be; for those that dare,
Are Gods, and Fortune's chiefest Favours share.
[Page 257] The ruling Pow'rs a lazy Pray'r detest,
The bold Adventurer succeeds the best.
What other Maid, inspir'd with such a Flame,
But wou'd take Courage, and abandon Shame?
But wou'd, tho' Ruin shou'd ensue, remove
Whate'er oppos'd, and clear the Way to Love?
This, shall another's feeble Passion dare?
While I sit tame, and languish in Despair:
No; for tho' Fire and Sword before me lay,
Impatient Love thro' both shou'd force its Way.
Yet I have no such Enemies to fear,
My sole Obstruction is my Father's Hair;
His Purple Lock my sanguine Hope destroys,
And clouds the Prospect of my rising Joys.
Whilst thus she spoke, amid the thick'ning Air
Night supervenes, the greatest Nurse of Care:
And, as the Goddess spreads her sable Wings,
The Virgin's Fears decay, and Courage springs.
The Hour was come, when Man's o'er-labour'd Breast
Surceas'd its Care, by downy Sleep possest:
All things now hush'd, Scylla with silent Tread
Urg'd her Approach to Nisus' Royal Bed:
There, of the fatal Lock (accursed Theft!)
She her unwitting Father's Head bereft.
In safe Possession of her impious Prey,
Out at a Postern Gate she takes her Way.
Embolden'd, by the Merit of the Deed,
She traverses the adverse Camp with Speed,
Till Minos' Tent she reach'd: The righteous King
She thus bespoke, who shiver'd at the thing.
Behold th' Effect of Love's resistless Sway!
I, Nisus' Royal Seed, to thee betray.
[Page 258] My Country, and my Gods. For this strange Task,
Minos, no other Boon but Thee I ask.
This Purple Lock, a Pledge of Love, receive;
No worthless Present, since in it I give
My Father's Head.—Mov'd at a Crime so new,
And with Abhorrence fill'd, back Minos drew,
Nor touch'd th' unhallow'd Gift; but thus exclaim'd,
(With Mein indignant, and with Eyes inflam'd)
Perdition seize thee, thou, thy Kind's Disgrace!
May thy devoted Carcass find no Place
In Earth, or Air, or Sea, by all out-cast!
Shall Minos, with so foul a Monster, blast
His Cretan World, where cradled Jove was nurst?
Forbid it Heav'n!—away, thou most accurst.
And now Alcathoë, its Lord exchang'd,
Was under Minos' Domination rang'd.
While the most equal King his Care applies
To curb the Conquer'd, and new Laws devise,
The Fleet, by his Command, with hoisted Sails,
And ready Oars, invites the murm'ring Gales.
At length the Cretan Hero Anchor weigh'd,
Repaying, with Neglect, th' abandon'd Maid.
Deaf to her Cries, he furrows up the Main:
In vain she prays, sollicits him in vain.
And now she furious grows; in wild Despair
She wrings her Hands, and throws aloft her Hair.
Where run'st thou? (thus she vents her deep Distress)
Why shun'st thou her that crown'd thee with Success?
Her, whose fond Love to thee cou'd sacrifice
Her Country, and her Parent, sacred Ties!
Can nor my Love, nor proffer'd Presents find
A Passage to thy Heart, and make thee kind?
[Page 259] Can nothing move thy Pity? O Ingrate,
Can'st thou behold my lost, forlorn Estate,
And not be soften'd? Can'st thou throw off One
Who has no Refuge left but Thee alone?
Where shall I seek for Comfort? whither fly?
My native Country does in Ashes lye:
Or were't not so, my Treason bars me there,
And bids me wander. Shall I next repair
To a wrong'd Father, by my Guilt undone?—
Me all Mankind deservedly will shun.
I, out of all the World, my self have thrown,
To purchase an Access to Crete alone;
Which, since refus'd, ungen'rous Man, give o'er
To boast thy Race; Europa never bore
A thing so savage. Thee some Tygress bred,
On the bleak Syrt's inhospitable Bed;
Or where Charybdis pours its rapid Tide
Tempestuous. Thou art not to Jove ally'd;
Nor did the King of Gods thy Mother meet
Beneath a Bull's forg'd Shape, and bear to Crete.
That Fable of thy glorious Birth is feign'd;
Some wild outrageous Bull thy Dam sustain'd.
O Father Nisus, now my Death behold;
Exult, O City, by my Baseness sold:
Minos, obdurate, has aveng'd ye all;
But 'twere more just by those I wrong'd to fall:
For why shou'dst thou, who only didst subdue
By my offending, my Offence pursue?
Well art thou matcht to one whose am'rous Flame
Too fiercely rag'd, for Human-kind to tame;
One who, within a wooden Heifer thrust,
Courted a low'ring Bull's mistaken Lust;
[Page 260] And, from whose Monster-teeming Womb, the Earth
Receiv'd, what much it mourn'd, a bi-form Birth.
But what avail my Plaints? the whistling Wind
Which bears him far away, leaves them behind.
Well weigh'd Pasiphaë, when she prefer'd
A Bull to thee, more brutish than the Herd.
But ah! Time presses, and the labour'd Oars
To Distance drive the Fleet, and lose the less'ning Shores.
Think not, ungrateful Man, the liquid Way
And threat'ning Billows shall inforce my Stay.
I'll follow thee in Spite: My Arms I'll throw
Around thy Oars, or grasp thy crooked Prow,
And drag thro' drenching Seas. Her eager Tongue
Had hardly clos'd the Speech, when forth she sprung
And prov'd the Deep. Cupid with added Force
Recruits each Nerve, and aids her wat'ry Course.
Soon she the Ship attains, unwelcome Guest;
And, as with close Embrace its Sides she prest,
A Hawk from upper Air came pouring down:
('Twas Nisus cleft the Sky with Wings new-grown.)
At Scylla's Head his horny Bill he aims;
She, fearful of the Blow, the Ship disclaims,
Quitting her Hold: And yet she fell not far,
But wondring, finds herself sustain'd in Air.
Chang'd to a Lark, she mottled Pinions shook,
And, from the ravish'd Lock, the Name of Ciris took.

The Labyrinth.

Now Minos, landed on the Cretan Shore,
Performs his Vows to Jove's protecting Pow'r;
A hundred Bullocks, of the largest Breed,
With Flowrets crown'd, before his Altar bleed:
[Page 261] While Trophies of the Vanquish'd, brought from far,
Adorn the Palace with the Spoils of War.
Mean while the Monster of a Human-Beast,
His Family's Reproach, and Stain, increas'd.
His double Kind the Rumour swiftly spread,
And evidenc'd the Mother's beastly Deed.
When Minos, willing to conceal the Shame
That sprung from the Reports of tattling Fame,
Resolves a dark Inclosure to provide,
And, far from Sight, the two-form'd Creature hide.
Great Daedalus of Athens was the Man
That made the Draught, and form'd the wondrous Plan;
Where Rooms within themselves encircled lye,
With various Windings, to deceive the Eye.
As soft Maeander's wanton Current plays,
When thro' the Phrygian Fields it loosely strays;
Backward, and forward rouls the dimpl'd Tide,
Seeming, at once, two different Ways to glide:
While circling Streams their former Banks survey,
And Waters past succeeding Waters see:
Now floating to the Sea with downward Course,
Now pointing upward to its ancient Source.
Such was the Work, so intricate the Place,
That scarce the Workman all its Turns cou'd trace;
And Daedalus was puzzled how to find
The secret Ways of what himself design'd.
These private Walls the Minotaure include,
Who twice was glutted with Athenian Blood:
But the third Tribute more successful prov'd,
Slew the foul Monster, and the Plague remov'd.
When Theseus, aided by the Virgin's Art,
Had trac'd the guiding Thread thro' ev'ry Part,
[Page 262] He took the gentle Maid that set him free,
And, bound for Dias, cut the briny Sea.
There, quickly cloy'd, ungrateful, and unkind,
Left his fair Consort in the Isle behind.
Whom Bacchus saw, and straining in his Arms
Her rifl'd Bloom, and violated Charms,
Resolves, for this, the dear engaging Dame
Shou'd shine for ever in the Rolls of Fame;
And bids her Crown among the Stars be plac'd,
With an eternal Constellation grac'd.
The golden Circlet mounts; and, as it flies,
Its Diamonds twinkle in the distant Skies;
There, in their pristin Form, the gemmy Rays
Between Alcides and the Dragon blaze.

The Story of DAEDALUS and ICARUS.

In tedious Exile now too long detain'd,
Daedalus languish'd for his native Land:
The Sea foreclos'd his Flight; yet thus he said;
Tho' Earth and Water in Subjection laid,
O cruel Minos, thy Dominion be,
We'll go thro' Air; for sure the Air is free.
Then to new Arts his cunning Thought applies,
And to improve the Work of Nature tries.
A Row of Quills in gradual Order plac'd,
Rise by Degrees in Length from first to last;
As on a Cliff th' ascending Thicket grows,
Or, different Reeds the rural Pipe compose.
Along the Middle runs a Twine of Flax,
The Bottom Stems are joyn'd by pliant Wax.
Thus, well compact, a hollow Bending brings
The fine Composure into real Wings.
[Page 263] His Boy, young Icarus, that near him stood,
Unthinking of his Fate, with Smiles pursu'd
The floating Feathers, which the moving Air
Bore loosely from the Ground, and wafted here and there.
Or with the Wax impertinently play'd,
And with his childish Tricks the great Design delay'd.
The final Master-stroke at last impos'd,
And now, the neat Machine compleatly clos'd;
Fitting his Pinions, on a Flight he tries,
And hung self-ballanc'd in the beaten Skies.
Then thus instructs his Child; My Boy, take Care
To wing your Course along the middle Air;
If low, the Surges wet your flagging Plumes,
If high, the Sun the melting Wax consumes:
Steer between both: Nor to the Northern Skies,
Nor South Orion turn your giddy Eyes;
But follow me: Let me before you lay
Rules for the Flight, and mark the pathless Way.
Then teaching, with a fond Concern, his Son,
He took the untry'd Wings, and fix'd 'em on;
But fix'd with trembling Hands; and, as he speaks,
The Tears roul gently down his aged Cheeks.
Then kiss'd, and in his Arms embrac'd him fast,
But knew not this Embrace must be the last.
And mounting upward, as he wings his Flight,
Back on his Charge he turns his aking Sight;
As Parent Birds, when first their callow Care
Leave the high Nest to tempt the liquid Air.
Then chears him on, and oft, with fatal Art,
Reminds the Stripling to perform his Part.
These, as the Angler at the silent Brook,
Or Mountain-Shepherd leaning on his Crook,
[Page 264] Or gaping Plowman from the Vale descries,
They stare, and view 'em with religious Eyes,
And strait conclude 'em Gods; since none, but they,
Thro' their own azure Skies cou'd find a Way.
Now Delos, Paros on the Left are seen,
And Samos, favour'd by Jove's haughty Queen;
Upon the Right, the Isle Lebynthos nam'd,
And fair Calymnè for its Honey fam'd.
When now the Boy, whose childish Thoughts aspire
To loftier Aims, and make him ramble higher,
Grown wild and wanton, more embolden'd flies
Far from his Guide, and soars among the Skies.
The soft'ning Wax, that felt a nearer Sun,
Dissolv'd apace, and soon began to run.
The Youth in vain his melting Pinions shakes,
His Feathers gone, no longer Air he takes:
Oh! Father, Father, as he strove to cry,
Down to the Sea he tumbled from on high,
And found his Fate; yet still subsists by Fame,
Among those Waters that retain his Name.
The Father, now no more a Father, cries,
Ho Icarus! where are you? as he flies;
Where shall I seek my Boy? he cries again,
And saw his Feathers scatter'd on the Main.
Then curs'd his Art; and fun'ral Rites confer'd,
Naming the Country from the Youth interr'd.
A Partridge, from a neighb'ring Stump, beheld
The Sire his monumental Marble build;
Who, with peculiar Call, and flutt'ring Wing,
Chirpt joyful, and malicious seem'd to sing:
[Page 265] The only Bird of all its Kind, and late
Transform'd in Pity to a feather'd State:
From whence, O Daedalus, thy Guilt we date.
His Sister's Son, when now twelve Years were past,
Was, with his Uncle, as a Scholar plac'd;
The unsuspecting Mother saw his Parts,
And Genius fitted for the finest Arts.
This soon appear'd; for when the spiny Bone
In Fishes Backs was by the Stripling known,
A rare Invention thence he learnt to draw,
Fil'd Teeth in Iron, and made the grating Saw.
He was the first, that from a Knob of Brass
Made two strait Arms with widening Stretch to pass;
That, while one stood upon the Center's Place,
The other round it drew a circling Space.
Daedalus envy'd this, and from the Top
Of fair Minerva's Temple let him drop;
Feigning that, as he lean'd upon the Tow'r,
Careless he stoop'd too much, and tumbled o'er.
The Goddess, who th' Ingenious still befriends,
On this Occasion her Assistance lends;
His Arms with Feathers, as he fell, she veils,
And in the Air a new-made Bird he sails.
The Quickness of his Genius, once so fleet,
Still in his Wings remains, and in his Feet:
Still, tho' transform'd, his ancient Name he keeps,
And with low Flight the new-shorn Stubble sweeps.
Declines the lofty Trees, and thinks it best
To brood in Hedge-rows o'er it's humble Nest;
And, in Remembrance of the former Ill,
Avoids the Heights and Precipices still.
[Page 266] At length, fatigu'd with long laborious Flights,
On fair Sicilia's Plains the Artist lights;
Where Cocalus the King, that gave him Aid,
Was, for his Kindness, with Esteem repaid.
Athens no more her doleful Tribute sent,
That Hardship gallant Theseus did prevent;
Their Temples hung with Garlands, they adore
Each friendly God, but most Minerva's Pow'r:
To her, to Jove, to All, their Altars smoak,
They each with Victims and Perfumes invoke.
Now talking Fame, thro' every Graecian Town,
Had spread, immortal Theseus, thy Renown.
From him, the neighb'ring Nations in Distress,
In suppliant Terms implore a kind Redress.


From him, the Caledonians sought Relief;
Though valiant Meleagrus was their Chief.
The Cause, a Boar, who ravag'd far and near:
Of Cynthia's Wrath, th' avenging Minister.
For Oeneus with Autumnal Plenty bless'd,
By Gifts to Heav'n his Gratitude express'd:
Cull'd Sheafs, to Ceres; to Lyaeus, Wine;
To Pan, and Pales, offer'd Sheep and Kine;
And Fat of Olives, to Minerva's Shrine.
Beginning from the Rural Gods, his Hand
Was lib'ral to the Pow'rs of high Command:
Each Deity in ev'ry Kind was bless'd,
Till at Diana's Fane th' invidious Honour ceas'd.
Wrath touches ev'n the Gods; the Queen of Night,
Fir'd with Disdain, and jealous of her Right,
[Page 267] Unhonour'd though I am, at least, said she,
Not unreveng'd that impious Act shall be.
Swift as the Word, she sped the Boar away,
With Charge on those devoted Fields to prey.
No larger Bulls th' Aegyptian Pastures feed,
And none so large Sicilian Meadows breed:
His Eye-balls glare with Fire suffus'd with Blood;
His Neck shoots up a thick-set thorny Wood;
His bristled Back a Trench impal'd appears,
And stands erected, like a Field of Spears.
Froth fills his Chaps, he sends a grunting Sound,
And part he churns, and part befoams the Ground.
For Tusks with Indian Elephants he strove,
And Jove's own Thunder from his Mouth he drove.
He burns the Leaves; the scorching Blast invades
The tender Corn, and shrivels up the Blades:
Or suff'ring not their yellow Beards to rear,
He tramples down the Spikes, and intercepts the Year.
In vain the Barns expect their promis'd Load,
Nor Barns at home, nor Reeks are heap'd abroad:
In vain the Hinds the Threshing-Floor prepare,
And exercise their Flails in empty Air.
With Olives ever-green the Ground is strow'd,
And Grapes ungather'd shed their gen'rous Blood.
Amid the Fold he rages, nor the Sheep
Their Shepherds, nor the Grooms their Bulls can keep.
From Fields to Walls the frighted Rabble run,
Nor think themselves secure within the Town:
Till Mcleagros, and his chosen Crew,
Contemn the Danger, and the Praise pursue.
Fair Leda's Twins (in time to Stars decreed)
One fought on Foot, one curb'd the fiery Steed;
[Page 268] Then issu'd forth fam'd Jason after these,
Who mann'd the foremost Ship that sail'd the Seas;
Then Theseus join'd with bold Perithous came;
A single Concord in a double Name:
The Thestian Sons, Idas who swiftly ran,
And Ceneus, once a Woman, now a Man.
Lynceus, with Eagle's Eyes, and Lion's Heart;
Leucippus, with his never-erring Dart;
Acastus, Phileus, Phoenix, Telamon,
Echion, Lelex, and Eurytion,
Achilles' Father, and great Phocus' Son;
Dryas the Fierce, and Hippasus the Strong;
With twice old Iolas, and Nestor then but young.
Laertes active, and Ancaeus bold;
Mopsus the Sage, who future things foretold;
And t'other Seer, yet by his Wife * unsold.
A thousand others of immortal Fame;
Among the rest, fair Atalanta came,
Grace of the Woods: A Diamond Buckle bound
Her Vest behind, that else had flow'd upon the Ground,
And shew'd her buskin'd Legs; her Head was bare,
But for her native Ornament of Hair;
Which in a simple Knot was ty'd above,
Sweet Negligence! unheeded Bait of Love!
Her sounding Quiver, on her Shoulder ty'd,
One Hand a Dart, and one a Bow supply'd.
Such was her Face, as in a Nymph display'd
A fair fierce Boy, or in a Boy betray'd
The blushing Beauties of a modest Maid.
The Caledonian Chief at once the Dame
Beheld, at once his Heart receiv'd the Flame,
[Page 269] With Heav'ns averse. O happy Youth, he cry'd;
For whom thy Fates reserve so fair a Bride!
He sigh'd, and had no Leisure more to say;
His Honour call'd his Eyes another way,
And forc'd him to pursue the now neglected Prey.
There stood a Forest on a Mountain's Brow,
Which over-look'd the shaded Plains below.
No sounding Ax presum'd those Trees to bite;
Coeval with the World, a venerable Sight.
The Heroes there arriv'd, some spread around
The Toils; some search the Footsteps on the Ground:
Some from the Chains the faithful Dogs unbound.
Of Action eager, and intent in Thought,
The Chiefs their honourable Danger sought:
A Valley stood below; the common Drain
Of Waters from above, and falling Rain:
The Bottom was a moist and marshy Ground,
Whose Edges were with bending Oziers crown'd:
The knotty Bulrush next in order stood,
And all within of Reeds a trembling Wood.
From hence the Boar was rous'd, and sprung amain,
Like Lightning sudden, on the Warrior-Train;
Beats down the Trees before him, shakes the Ground,
The Forest echoes to the crackling Sound;
Shout the fierce Youth, and Clamours ring around.
All stood with their protended Spears prepar'd,
With broad Steel Heads the brandish'd Weapons glar'd.
The Beast impetuous with his Tusks aside
Deals glancing Wounds; the fearful Dogs divide:
All spend their Mouth aloof, but none abide.
Echion threw the first, but miss'd his Mark,
And stuck his Boar-spear on a Maple's Bark.
[Page 270] Then Jason; and his Javelin seem'd to take,
But fail'd with Over-force, and whiz'd above his Back.
Mopsus was next; but e'er he threw, address'd
To Phoebus, thus: O Patron, help thy Priest:
If I adore, and ever have ador'd
Thy Pow'r Divine, thy present Aid afford;
That I may reach the Beast. The God allow'd
His Pray'r, and smiling, gave him what he cou'd:
He reach'd the Savage, but no Blood he drew,
Dian unarm'd the Javelin as it flew.
This chaf'd the Boar, his Nostrils Flames expire,
And his red Eye-balls roul with living Fire.
Whirl'd from a Sling, or from an Engine thrown,
Amid the Foes, so flies a mighty Stone,
As flew the Beast: The Left Wing put to Flight,
The Chiefs o'er-born, he rushes on the Right.
Empalamos and Pelagon he laid
In Dust, and next to Death, but for their Fellows Aid.
Onesimus far'd worse, prepar'd to fly,
The fatal Fang drove deep within his Thigh,
And cut the Nerves: The Nerves no more sustain
The Bulk; the Bulk unprop'd, falls headlong on the Plain.
Nestor had fail'd the Fall of Troy to see,
But leaning on his Lance, he vaulted on a Tree;
Then gath'ring up his Feet, look'd down with Fear,
And thought his monstrous Foe was still too near.
Against a Stump his Tusk the Monster grinds,
And in the sharpen'd Edge new Vigour finds;
Then, trusting to his Arms, young Othrys sound,
And ranch'd his Hips with one continu'd Wound.
Now Leda's Twins, the future Stars, appear;
White were their Habits, white their Horses were:
[Page 271] Conspicuous both, and both in Act to throw,
Their trembling Lances brandish'd at the Foe:
Nor had they miss'd; but he to Thickets fled,
Conceal'd from aiming Spears, not pervious to the Steed.
But Telamon rush'd in, and happ'd to meet
A rising Root, that held his fastned Feet;
So down he fell, whom, sprawling on the Ground,
His Brother from the wooden Gyves unbound.
Mean time the Virgin-Huntress was not slow
T' expel the Shaft from her contracted Bow:
Beneath his Ear the fastned Arrow stood,
And from the Wound appear'd the trickling Blood.
She blush'd for Joy: But Meleagros rais'd
His Voice with loud Applause, and the fair Archer prais'd.
He was the first to see, and first to show
His Friends the Marks of the successful Blow.
Nor shall thy Valour want the Praises due,
He said; a virtuous Envy seiz'd the Crew.
They shout; the Shouting animates their Hearts,
And all at once employ their thronging Darts:
But out of Order thrown, in Air they joyn,
And Multitude makes frustrate the Design.
With both his Hands the proud Ancaeus takes,
And flourishes his double-biting Ax:
Then, forward to his Fate, he took a Stride
Before the rest, and to his Fellows cry'd,
Give place, and mark the Diff'rence, if you can,
Between a Woman Warrior, and a Man;
The Boar is doom'd; nor though Diana lend
Her Aid, Diana can her Beast defend.
Thus boasted he; then stretch'd, on Tiptoe stood,
Secure to make his empty Promise good.
[Page 272] But the more wary Beast prevents the Blow,
And upward rips the Groin of his audacious Foe.
Ancaeus falls; his Bowels from the Wound
Rush out, and clotter'd Blood distains the Ground.
Perithous, no small Portion of the War,
Press'd on, and shook his Lance: To whom from far
Thus Theseus cry'd; O stay, my better Part,
My more than Mistress; of my Heart, the Heart.
The Strong may fight aloof; Ancaeus try'd
His Force too near, and by presuming dy'd:
He said, and while he spake his Javelin threw,
Hissing in Air th' unerring Weapon flew;
But on an Arm of Oak, that stood betwixt
The Marks-man and the Mark, his Lance he fixt.
Once more bold Jason threw, but fail'd to wound
The Boar, and slew an undeserving Hound,
And through the Dog the Dart was nail'd to Ground.
Two Spears from Meleager's Hand were sent,
With equal Force, but various in th' Event:
The first was fix'd in Earth, the second stood
On the Boar's bristled Back, and deeply drank his Blood.
Now while the tortur'd Savage turns around,
And flings about his Foam, impatient of the Wound,
The Wound's great Author close at Hand provokes
His Rage, and plies him with redoubled Strokes;
Wheels as he wheels; and with his pointed Dart
Explores the nearest Passage to his Heart.
Quick and more quick he spins in giddy Gires,
Then falls, and in much Foam his Soul expires.
This Act with Shouts Heav'n-high the friendly Band
Applaud, and strain in theirs the Victor's Hand.
[Page 273] Then all approach the Slain with vast Surprize,
Admire on what a Breadth of Earth he lies,
And scarce secure, reach out their Spears afar,
And blood their Points, to prove their Partnership of War.
But he, the conqu'ring Chief, his Foot impress'd
On the strong Neck of that destructive Beast;
And gazing on the Nymph with ardent Eyes,
Accept, said he, fair Nonacrine, my Prize,
And, though inferior, suffer me to join
My Labours, and my Part of Praise, with thine:
At this presents her with the Tusky Head
And Chine, with rising Bristles roughly spread.
Glad, she receiv'd the Gift; and seem'd to take
With double Pleasure, for the Giver's sake.
The rest were seiz'd with sullen Discontent,
And a deaf Murmur through the Squadron went:
All envy'd; but the Theslyan Brethren show'd
The least Respect, and thus they vent their Spleen aloud:
Lay down those honour'd Spoils, nor think to share,
Weak Woman as thou art, the Prize of War:
Ours is the Title, thine a foreign Claim,
Since Meleagros from our Lineage came.
Trust not thy Beauty; but restore the Prize,
Which he, besotted on that Face and Eyes,
Would rend from us: At this, enflam'd with Spite,
From her they snatch the Gift, from him the Giver's Right.
But soon th' impatient Prince his Fauchion drew,
And cry'd, Ye Robbers of another's Due,
Now learn the Diff'rence, at your proper Cost,
Betwixt true Valour, and an empty Boast.
At this advanc'd, and sudden as the Word,
In proud Plexippus' Bosom plung'd the Sword:
[Page 274] Toxeus amaz'd, and with Amazement slow,
Or to revenge, or ward the coming Blow,
Stood doubting; and while doubting thus he stood,
Receiv'd the Steel bath'd in his Brother's Blood.
Pleas'd with the first, unknown the second News;
Althaea to the Temples pays their Dues
For her Son's Conquest; when at length appear
Her grisly Brethren stretch'd upon the Bier:
Pale at the sudden Sight, she chang'd her Cheer,
And with her Cheer her Robes; but hearing tell
The Cause, the Manner, and by whom they fell,
'Twas Grief no more, or Grief and Rage were one
Within her Soul; at last 'twas Rage alone;
Which burning upwards in Succession, dries
The Tears that stood consid'ring in her Eyes.
There lay a Log unlighted on the Hearth,
When she was lab'ring in the Throws of Birth
For th' unborn Chief; the fatal Sisters came,
And rais'd it up, and toss'd it on the Flame:
Then on the Rock a scanty Measure place
Of vital Flax, and turn'd the Wheel apace;
And turning sung, To this red Brand and thee,
O new-born Babe, we give an equal Destiny:
So vanish'd out of View. The frighted Dame
Sprung hasty from her Bed, and quench'd the Flame:
The Log, in secret lock'd, she kept with Care,
And that, while thus preserv'd, preserv'd her Heir.
This Brand she now produc'd; and first she strows
The Hearth with Heaps of Chips, and after blows:
Thrice heav'd her Hand, and heav'd, she thrice repress'd:
The Sister and the Mother long contest,
Two doubtful Titles, in one tender Breast:
[Page 275] And now her Eyes and Cheeks with Fury glow,
Now pale her Cheeks, her Eyes with Pity flow:
Now low'ring Looks presage approaching Storms,
And now prevailing Love her Face reforms:
Resolv'd, she doubts again; the Tears she dry'd
With burning Rage, are by new Tears supply'd;
And as a Ship, which Winds and Waves assail,
Now with the Current drives, now with the Gale,
Both opposite, and neither long prevail:
She feels a double Force, by Turns obeys
Th' imperious Tempest, and th'impetuous Seas:
So fares Althaea's Mind, she first relents
With Pity, of that Pity then repents:
Sister and Mother long the Scales divide,
But the Beam nodded on the Sister's Side.
Sometimes she softly sigh'd, then roar'd aloud;
But Sighs were stifled in the Cries of Blood.
The pious, impious Wretch at length decreed,
To please her Brothers Ghost, her Son should bleed:
And when the fun'ral Flames began to rise,
Receive, she said, a Sister's Sacrifice;
A Mother's Bowels burn: High in her Hand,
Thus while she spoke, she held the fatal Brand;
Then thrice before the kindled Pile she bow'd,
And the three Furies thrice invok'd aloud:
Come, come, revenging Sisters, come and view
A Sister paying her dead Brothers Due:
A Crime I punish, and a Crime commit;
But Blood for Blood, and Death for Death is fit:
Great Crimes must be with greater Crimes repaid,
And second Funerals on the former laid.
[Page 276] Let the whole Houshold in one Ruin fall,
And may Diana's Curse o'ertake us all.
Shall Fate to happy Oeneus still allow
One Son, while Thestius stands depriv'd of two?
Better Three lost, than One unpunish'd go.
Take then, dear Ghosts, (while yet admitted new
In Hell you wait my Duty) take your Due:
A costly Off'ring on your Tomb is laid,
When with my Blood the Price of yours is paid.
Ah! whither am I hurry'd? Ah! forgive,
Ye Shades, and let your Sister's Issue live:
A Mother cannot give him Death; tho' he
Deserves it, he deserves it not from me.
Then shall th'unpunish'd Wretch insult the Slain,
Triumphant live, nor only live, but reign?
While you, thin Shades, the Sport of Winds, are tost
O'er dreary Plains, or tread the burning Coast.
I cannot, cannot bear; 'tis past, 'tis done;
Perish this impious, this detested Son:
Perish his Sire, and perish I withall;
And let the House's Heir, and the hop'd Kingdom fall.
Where is the Mother fled, her pious Love,
And where the Pains with which ten Months I strove!
Ah! had'st thou dy'd, my Son, in Infant Years,
Thy little Herse had been bedew'd with Tears.
Thou liv'st by me; to me thy Breath resign;
Mine is the Merit, the Demerit thine.
Thy Life by double Title I require;
Once giv'n at Birth, and once preserv'd from Fire:
One Murder pay, or add one Murder more,
And me to them who fell by thee restore.
[Page 277] I would, but cannot: My Son's Image stands
Before my Sight; and now their angry Hands
My Brothers hold, and Vengeance these exact,
This pleads Compassion, and repents the Fact.
He pleads in vain, and I pronounce his Doom:
My Brothers, though unjustly, shall o'ercome.
But having paid their injur'd Ghosts their Due,
My Son requires my Death, and mine shall his pursue.
At this, for the last time, she lifts her Hand,
Averts her Eyes, and, half unwilling, drops the Brand.
The Brand, amid the flaming Fewel thrown,
Or drew, or seem'd to draw, a dying Groan:
The Fires themselves but faintly lick'd their Pr [...]
Then loath'd their impious Food, and would have shrunk away.
Just then the Heroe cast a doleful Cry,
And in those absent Flames began to fry:
The blind Contagion rag'd within his Veins;
But he with manly Patience bore his Pains:
He fear'd not Fate, but only griev'd to die
Without an honest Wound, and by a Death so dry.
Happy Ancaeus, thrice aloud he cry'd,
With what becoming Fate in Arms he dy'd!
Then call'd his Brothers, Sisters, Sire around,
And her to whom his Nuptial Vows were bound;
Perhaps his Mother; a long Sigh he drew,
And his Voice failing, took his last Adieu.
For as the Flames augment, and as they stay
At their full Height, then languish to decay,
They rise and sink by Fits; at last they soar
In one bright Blaze, and then descend no more:
Just so his inward Heats, at height, impair,
Till the last burning Breath shoots out the Soul in Air.
[Page 278] Now lofty Calidon in Ruins lies;
All Ages, all Degrees unsluice their Eyes;
And Heav'n and Earth resound with Murmurs, Groans and Cries.
Matrons and Maidens beat their Breasts, and tear
Their Habits, and root up their scatter'd Hair:
The wretched Father, Father now no more,
With Sorrow sunk, lies prostrate on the Floor,
Deforms his hoary Locks with Dust obscene,
And curses Age, and loaths a Life prolong'd with Pain.
By Steel her stubborn Soul his Mother freed,
And punish'd on her self her impious Deed.
Had I a hundred Tongues, a Wit so large
As could their hundred Offices discharge;
Had Phoebus all his Helicon bestow'd
In all the Streams inspiring all the God;
Those Tongues, that Wit, those Streams, that God in vain
Would offer to describe his Sister's Pain:
They beat their Breasts with many a bruizing Blow,
Till they turn livid, and corrupt the Snow.
The Corps they cherish, while the Corps remains,
And exercise and rub with fruitless Pains;
And when to fun'ral Flames 'tis born away,
They kiss the Bed on which the Body lay:
And when those fun'ral Flames no longer burn,
(The Dust compos'd within a pious Urn)
Ev'n in that Urn their Brother they confess,
And hug it in their Arms, and to their Bosoms press.
His Tomb is rais'd; then, stretch'd along the Ground,
Those living Monuments his Tomb surround:
Ev'n to his Name, inscrib'd, their Tears they pay,
Till Tears and Kisses wear his Name away.
[Page 279] But Cynthia now had all her Fury spent,
Not with less Ruin than a Race content:
Excepting Gorgè, perish'd all the Seed,
her whom Heav'n for Hercules decreed.
Satiate at last, no longer she pursu'd
The weeping Sisters; but with Wings endu'd,
And horny Beaks, and sent to flit in Air;
Who yearly round the Tomb in feather'd Flocks repair.

The Transformation of the NAIADS.

Theseus mean while acquitting well his Share
In the bold Chace confed'rate like a War,
To Athens' lofty Tow'rs his March ordain'd,
By Pallas lov'd, and where Erectheus reign'd.
But Acheloüs stop'd him on the Way,
By Rains a Deluge, and constrain'd his Stay.
O fam'd for glorious Deeds, and great by Blood,
Rest here, says he, nor trust the rapid Flood;
It solid Oaks has from its Margin tore,
And rocky Fragments down its Current bore,
The Murmur hoarse, and terrible the Roar.
Oft have I seen Herds with their shelt'ring Fold
Forc'd from the Banks, and in the Torrent roul'd;
Nor Strength the bulky Steer from Ruin freed,
Nor matchless Swiftness sav'd the racing Steed.
In Cataracts when the dissolving Snow
Falls from the Hills, and floods the Plains below;
Toss'd by the Eddies with a giddy Round,
Strong Youths are in the sucking Whirlpools drown'd.
'Tis best with me in Safety to abide,
Till usual Bounds restrain the cbbing Tide,
And the low Waters in their Channel glide.
[Page 280] Theseus perswaded, in Compliance bow'd;
So kind an Offer, and Advice so good,
O Acheloüs, cannot be refus'd;
I'll use them both, said he; and both he us'd.
The Grot he enter'd, Pumice built the Hall,
And Tophi made the Rustick of the Wall;
The Floor, soft Moss, an humid Carpet spread,
And various Shells the checquer'd Roof inlaid.
'Twas now the Hour when the declining Sun
Two Thirds had of his daily Journey run;
At the spread Table Theseus took his Place,
Next his Companions in the daring Chace;
Perithous here, there elder Lelex lay,
His Locks betraying Age with sprinkled Grey.
Acharnia's River-God dispos'd the rest,
Grac'd with the equal Honour of the Feast,
Elate with Joy, and proud of such a Guest.
The Nymphs were Waiters, and with naked Feet
In order serv'd the Courses of the Meat.
The Banquet done, delicious Wine they brought,
Of one transparent Gem the Cup was wrought.
Then the great Heroe of this gallant Train,
Surveying far the Prospect of the Main;
What is that Land, says he, the Waves embrace?
(And with his Finger pointed at the Place;)
Is it one parted Isle which stands alone?
How nam'd? and yet methinks it seems not one.
To whom the watry God made this Reply;
'Tis not one Isle, but five; distinct they lye;
'Tis Distance which deceives the cheated Eye.
But that Diana's Act may seem less strange,
These once proud Naiads were, before their Change.
[Page 281] T was on a Day more solemn than the rest,
Then Bullocks slain, a Sacrificial Feast:
The rural Gods of all the Region near
They bid to dance, and taste the hallow'd Cheer.
Me they forgot: Affronted with the Slight,
My Rage and Stream swell'd to the greatest Height;
And with the Torrent of my flooding Store,
Large Woods from Woods, and Fields from Fields I tore.
The guilty Nymphs, Oh! then, remembring me,
I, with their Country, wash'd into the Sea;
And joining Waters with the social Main,
Rent the gross Land, and split the firm Champagne.
Since, the Echinades, remote from Shore,
Are view'd as many Isles, as Nymphs before.

PERIMELE turn'd into an Island.

But yonder far, lo, yonder does appear
An Isle, a Part to me for ever dear.
From that (it Sailors Perimele name)
I doating, forc'd by Rape a Virgin's Fame.
Hippodamas's Passion grew so strong,
Gall'd with th' Abuse, and fretted at the Wrong,
He cast his pregnant Daughter from a Rock;
I spread my Waves beneath, and broke the Shock;
And as her swimming Weight my Stream convey'd,
I su'd for Help Divine, and thus I pray'd:
O pow'rful Thou, whose Trident does command
The Realm of Waters, which surround the Land;
We sacred Rivers, wheresoe'er begun,
End in thy Lot, and to thy Empire run.
With Favour hear, and help with present Aid;
Her whom I bear 'twas guilty I betray'd.
[Page 282] Yet if her Father had been just, or mild,
He would have been less impious to his Child;
In her, have pity'd Force in the Abuse;
In me, admitted Love for my Excuse.
O let Relief for her hard Case be found,
Her whom Paternal Rage expell'd from Ground,
Her whom Paternal Rage relentless drown'd.
Grant her some Place, or change her to a Place,
Which I may ever clasp with my Embrace.
His nodding Head the Sea's great Ruler bent,
And all his Waters shook with his Assent.
The Nymph still swam, tho' with the Fright distrest,
I felt her Heart leap trembling in her Breast;
But hardning soon, whilst I her Pulse explore,
A crusting Earth cas'd her stiff Body o'er;
And as Accretions of new cleaving Soil
Inlarg'd the Mass, the Nymph became an Isle.

The Story of BAUCIS and PHILEMON.

Thus Acheloüs ends: His Audience hear
With Admiration, and admiring, fear
The Pow'rs of Heav'n; except Ixion's Son,
Who laugh'd at all the Gods, believ'd in none:
He shook his impious Head, and thus replies,
These Legends are no more than pious Lies:
You attribute too much to Heav'nly Sway,
To think they give us Forms, and take away.
The rest of better Minds, their Sense declar'd
Against this Doctrine, and with Horror heard.
Then Lelex rose, an old experienc'd Man,
And thus with sober Gravity began;
[Page 283] Heav'n's Pow'r is infinite: Earth, Air, and Sea,
The Manufacture Mass, the making Pow'r obey:
By Proof to clear your Doubt; In Phrygian Ground
Two neighb'ring Trees, with Walls encompass'd round,
Stand on a mod'rate Rise, with Wonder shown,
One a hard Oak, a softer Linden one:
I saw the Place, and them, by Pittheus sent
To Phrygian Realms, my Grandsire's Government.
Not far from thence is seen a Lake, the Haunt
Of Coots, and of the fishing Cormorant:
Here Jove with Hermes came; but in Disguise
Of mortal Men conceal'd their Deities;
One laid aside his Thunder, one his Rod;
And many toilsome Steps together trod:
For Harbour at a thousand Doors they knock'd,
Not one of all the thousand but was lock'd.
At last an hospitable House they found,
A homely Shed; the Roof, not far from Ground,
Was thatch'd with Reeds and Straw together bound.
There Baucis and Philemon liv'd, and there
Had liv'd long marry'd, and a happy Pair:
Now old in Love, though little was their Store,
Inur'd to Want, their Poverty they bore,
Nor aim'd at Wealth, professing to be poor.
For Master or for Servant here to call,
Was all alike, where only Two were All.
Command was none, where equal Love was paid,
Or rather both commanded, both obey'd.
From lofty Roofs the Gods repuls'd before,
Now stooping, enter'd through the little Door:
The Man (their hearty Welcome first express'd)
A common Settle drew for either Guest,
Inviting each his weary Limbs to rest.
[Page 284] But ere they sate, officious Baucis lays
Two Cushions stuff'd with Straw, the Seat to raise;
Course, but the best she had; then rakes the Load
Of Ashes from the Hearth, and spreads abroad
The living Coals; and, lest they shou'd expire,
With Leaves and Bark she feeds her Infant Fire:
It smoaks; and then with trembling Breath she blows,
Till in a chearful Blaze the Flames arose.
With Brush-wood, and with Chips she strengthens these,
And adds at last the Boughs of rotten Trees.
The Fire thus form'd, she sets the Kettle on,
(Like burnish'd Gold the little Seether shone)
Next took the Coleworts which her Husband got
From his own Ground, (a small well-water'd Spot;)
She stripp'd the Stalks of all their Leaves; the best
She cull'd, and them with handy Care she dress'd.
High o'er the Hearth a Chine of Bacon hung;
Good old Philemon seiz'd it with a Prong,
And from the sooty Rafter drew it down,
Then cut a Slice, but scarce enough for one;
Yet a large Portion of a little Store,
Which for their sakes alone he wish'd were more.
This in the Pot he plung'd without Delay,
To tame the Flesh, and drain the Salt away.
The Time between, before the Fire they sat,
And shorten'd the Delay by pleasing Chat.
A Beam there was, on which a Beechen Pail
Hung by the Handle, on a driven Nail:
This fill'd with Water, gently warm'd, they set
Before their Guests; in this they bath'd their Feet,
And after with clean Towels dry'd their Sweat.
[Page 285] This done, the Host produc'd the genial Bed,
Sallow the Feet, the Borders, and the Sted,
Which with no costly Coverlet they spread,
But course old Garments; yet such Robes as these
They laid alone, at Feasts, on Holydays.
The good old Houswife, tucking up her Gown,
The Table sets; th'invited Gods lie down.
The Trivet-Table of a Foot was lame,
A Blot which prudent Baucis overcame,
Who thrusts beneath the limping Leg a Sherd,
So was the mended Board exactly rear'd:
Then rubb'd it o'er with newly-gather'd Mint,
A wholesom Herb, that breath'd a grateful Scent.
Pallas began the Feast, where first was seen
The party-colour'd Olive, Black, and Green:
Autumnal Cornels next in order serv'd,
In Lees of Wine well pickled, and preserv'd.
A Garden-Sallad was the third Supply,
Of Endive, Radishes, and Succory:
Then Curds and Cream, the Flow'r of Country Fare,
And new-laid Eggs, which Baucis' busie Care
Turn'd by a gentle Fire, and roasted rare.
All these in Earthen Ware were serv'd to Board;
And next in place, an Earthen Pitcher stor'd,
With Liquor of the best the Cottage cou'd afford.
This was the Table's Ornament, and Pride,
With Figures wrought: Like Pages at his Side
Stood Beechen Bowls; and these were shining clean.
Varnish'd with Wax without, and lin'd within.
By this the boiling Kettle had prepar'd,
And to the Table sent, the smoaking Lard;
[Page 286] On which with eager Appetite they dine,
A sav'ry Bit, that serv'd to rellish Wine:
The Wine itself was suiting to the rest,
Still working in the Must, and lately press'd.
The second Course succeeds like that before,
Plums, Apples, Nuts; and of their wintry Store
Dry Figs, and Grapes, and wrinkled Dates were set
In Canisters, t'enlarge the little Treat:
All these a Milk-white Honey-comb surround,
Which in the Midst the Country-Banquet crown'd:
But the kind Hosts their Entertainment grace
With hearty Welcome, and an open Face:
In all they did, you might discern with Ease
A willing Mind, and a Desire to please.
Mean time the Beechen Bowls went round, and still,
Though often empty'd, were observ'd to fill;
Fill'd without Hands, and of their own Accord
Ran without Feet, and danc'd about the Board.
Devotion seiz'd the Pair, to see the Feast
With Wine, and of no common Grape, increas'd;
And up they held their Hands, and fell to Pray'r,
Excusing, as they cou'd, their Country Fare.
One Goose they had, ('twas all they cou'd allow)
A wakeful Centry, and on Duty now,
Whom to the Gods for Sacrifice they vow:
Her, with malicious Zeal, the Couple view'd;
She ran for Life, and limping they pursu'd:
Full well the Fowl perceiv'd their bad Intent,
And wou'd not make her Master's Compliment;
But persecuted, to the Pow'rs she flies,
And close between the Legs of Jove she lies:
[Page 287] He with a gracious Ear the Suppliant heard,
And sav'd her Life; then what he was declar'd,
And own'd the God. The Neighbourhood, said he,
Shall justly perish for Impiety:
You stand alone exempted; but obey
With Speed, and follow where we lead the Way:
Leave these accurs'd; and to the Mountain's Height
Ascend; nor once look backward in your Flight.
They haste, and what their tardy Feet deny'd,
The trusty Staff (their better Leg) supply'd.
An Arrow's Flight they wanted to the Top,
And there secure, but spent with Travel, stop;
Then turn their now no more forbidden Eyes;
Lost in a Lake the floated Level lies:
A watry Desart covers all the Plains,
Their Cot alone, as in an Isle, remains.
Wondring with weeping Eyes, while they deplore
Their Neighbours Fate, and Country now no more,
Their little Shed, scarce large enough for Two,
Seems, from the Ground increas'd, in Height and Bulk to grow.
A stately Temple shoots within the Skies,
The Crotches of their Cot in Columns rise:
The Pavement polish'd Marble they behold,
The Gates with Sculpture grac'd, the Spires and Tiles of Gold.
Then thus the Sire of Gods, with Looks serene,
Speak thy Desire, thou only. Just of Men;
And thou, O Woman, only worthy found
To be with such a Man in Marriage bound.
Awhile they whisper; then, to Jove address'd,
Philemon thus prefers their joint Request:
We crave to serve before your sacred Shrine,
And offer at your Altars Rites Divine:
[Page 288] And since not any Action of our Life
Has been polluted with Domestick Strife;
We beg one Hour of Death; that neither she
With Widow's Tears may live to bury me,
Nor weeping I, with wither'd Arms may bear
My breathless Baucis to the Sepulcher.
The Godheads sign their Suit. They run their Race
In the same Tenour all th'appointed Space:
Then, when their Hour was come, while they relate
These past Adventures at the Temple Gate,
Old Baucis is by old Philemon seen
Sprouting with sudden Leaves of spritely Green:
Old Baucis look'd where old Philemon stood,
And saw his lengthen'd Arms a sprouting Wood:
New Roots their fasten'd Feet begin to bind,
Their Bodies stiffen in a rising Rind:
Then, ere the Bark above their Shoulders grew,
They give, and take at once their last Adieu.
At once, Farewel, O faithful Spouse, they said;
At once th' incroaching Rinds their closing Lips invade.
Ev'n yet, an ancient Tyanaean shows
A spreading Oak, that near a Linden grows;
The Neighbourhood confirm the Prodigy,
Grave Men, not vain of Tongue, or like to lie.
I saw my self the Garlands on their Boughs,
And Tablets hung for Gifts of granted Vows;
And off'ring fresher up, with pious Pray'r,
The Good, said I, are God's peculiar Care,
And such as honour Heav'n, shall heav'nly Honour share.

The Changes of PROTEUS.

He ceas'd in his Relation to proceed,
Whilst all admir'd the Author, and the Deed;
But Theseus most, inquisitive to know
From Gods what wondrous Alterations grow.
Whom thus the Calydonian Stream address'd,
Rais'd high to speak, the Couch his Elbow press'd.
Some, when transform'd, fix in the lasting Change;
Some, with more Right, thro' various Figures range.
Proteus, thus large thy Privilege was found,
Thou Inmate of the Seas, which Earth surround.
Sometimes a blooming Youth you grac'd the Shore;
Oft a fierce Lion, or a furious Boar:
With glist'ring Spires now seem'd an hissing Snake,
The Bold would tremble in his Hands to take:
With Horns assum'd a Bull; sometimes you prov'd
A Tree by Roots, a Stone by Weight unmov'd:
Sometimes two wav'ring Contraries became,
Flow'd down in Water, or aspir'd in Flame.


In various Shapes thus to deceive the Eyes,
Without a settled Stint of her Disguise,
Rash Erisichthon's Daughter had the Pow'r,
And brought it to Autolicus in Dow'r.
Her Atheist Sire the slighted Gods defy'd,
And ritual Honours to their Shrines deny'd.
As Fame reports, his Hand an Ax sustain'd,
Which Ceres' consecrated Grove prophan'd;
[Page 290] Which durst the venerable Gloom invade,
And violate with Light the awful Shade.
An ancient Oak in the dark Center stood,
The Covert's Glory, and itself a Wood;
Garlands embrac'd its Shaft, and from the Boughs
Hung Tablets, Monuments of prosp'rous Vows.
In the cool Dusk its unpierc'd Verdure spread,
The Dryads oft their hallow'd Dances led;
And oft, when round their gaging Arms they cast,
Full fifteen Ells it measur'd in the Waste:
Its Height all under Standards did surpass,
As they aspir'd above the humbler Grass.
These Motives, which would gentler Minds restrain,
Could not make Triope's bold Son abstain;
He sternly charg'd his Slaves with strict Decree,
To fell with gashing Steel the sacred Tree.
But whilst they, lingring, his Commands delay'd,
He snatch'd an Ax, and thus blaspheming said:
Was this no Oak, nor Ceres' fav'rite Care,
But Ceres' self, this Arm, unaw'd, shou'd dare
Its leafy Honours in the Dust to spread,
And level with the Earth its airy Head.
He spoke, and as he poiz'd a slanting Stroak,
Sighs heav'd, and Tremblings shook the frighted Oak;
Its Leaves look'd sickly, pale its Acorns grew,
And its long Branches sweat a chilly Dew.
But when his impious Hand a Wound bestow'd,
Blood from the mangled Bark in Currents flow'd.
When a devoted Bull of mighty Size,
A sinning Nation's grand Atonement, dies;
With such a Plenty from the spouting Veins,
A crimson Stream the turfy Altar stains.
[Page 291] The Wonder all amaz'd; yet one more bold,
The Fact disswading, strove his Ax to hold.
But the Thessalian, obstinately bent,
Too proud to change, too harden'd to repent,
On his kind Monitor his Eyes, which burn'd
With Rage, and with his Eyes his Weapon turn'd;
Take the Reward, says he, of pious Dread:
Then with a Blow lop'd off his parted Head.
No longer check'd, the Wretch his Crime pursu'd,
Doubled his Strokes, and Sacrilege renew'd;
When from the groaning Trunk a Voice was heard,
A Dryad I, by Ceres' Love prefer'd,
Within the Circle of this clasping Rind
Coeval grew, and now in Ruin joyn'd;
But instant Vengeance shall thy Sin pursue,
And Death is chear'd with this prophetick View.
At last the Oak with Cords enforc'd to bow,
Strain'd from the Top, and sap'd with Wounds below,
The humbler Wood, Partaker of its Fate,
Crush'd with its Fall, and shiver'd with its Weight.
The Grove destroy'd, the Sister Dryads moan,
Griev'd at its Loss, and frighted at their own.
Strait, Suppliants for Revenge, to Ceres go,
In sable Weeds, expressive of their Woe.
The beauteous Goddess with a graceful Air
Bow'd in Consent, and nodded to their Pray'r.
The awful Motion shook the fruitful Ground,
And wav'd the Fields with golden Harvests crown'd.
Soon she contriv'd in her projecting Mind
A Plague severe, and piteous in its Kind,
(If Plagues for Crimes of such presumptuous Height
Could Pity in the softest Breast create.)
[Page 292] With pinching Want, and Hunger's keenest Smart,
To tear his Vitals, and corrode his Heart.
But since her near Approach by Fate's deny'd
To Famine, and broad Climes their Pow'rs divide,
A Nymph, the Mountain's Ranger, she address'd,
And thus resolv'd, her high Commands express'd.

The Description of FAMINE.

Where frozen Scythia's utmost Bound is plac'd,
A Desart lies, a melancholy Waste:
In yellow Crops there Nature never smil'd,
No fruitful Tree to shade the barren Wild.
There sluggish Cold its icy Station makes,
There Paleness, Frights, and aguish Trembling shakes.
Of pining Famine this the fated Seat,
To whom my Orders in these Words repeat:
Bid her this Miscreant with her sharpest Pains
Chastise, and sheath herself into his Veins;
Be unsubdu'd by Plenty's baffled Store,
Reject my Empire, and defeat my Pow'r.
And lest the Distance, and the tedious Way,
Should with the Toil, and long Fatigue dismay,
Ascend my Chariot, and convey'd on high,
Guide the rein'd Dragons thro' the parting Sky.
The Nymph, accepting of the granted Carr,
Sprung to the Seat, and posted thro' the Air;
Nor stop'd till she to a bleak Mountain came
Of wondrous Height, and Caucasus its Name.
There in a stony Field the Fiend she found,
Herbs gnawing, and Roots scratching from the Ground.
[Page 293] Her Elfelock Hair in matted Tresses grew,
Sunk were her Eyes, and pale her ghastly Hue,
Wan were her Lips, and foul with clammy Glew.
Her Throat was furr'd, her Guts appear'd within
With snaky Crawlings thro' her Parchment Skin.
Her jutting Hips seem'd starting from their Place,
And for a Belly was a Belly's Space.
Her Dugs hung dangling from her craggy Spine,
Loose to her Breast, and fasten'd to her Chine.
Her Joints protuberant by Leanness grown,
Consumption sunk the Flesh, and rais'd the Bone.
Her Knees large Orbits bunch'd to monstrous Size,
And Ancles to undue Proportion rise.
This Plague the Nymph, not daring to draw near,
At Distance hail'd, and greeted from afar.
And tho' she told her Charge without Delay,
Tho' her Arrival late, and short her Stay,
She felt keen Famine, or she seem'd to feel,
Invade her Blood, and on her Vitals steal.
She turn'd from the Infection to remove,
And back to Thessaly the Serpents drove.
The Fiend obey'd the Goddess's Command,
(Tho' their Effects in Opposition stand)
She cut her Way, supported by the Wind,
And reach'd the Mansion by the Nymph assign'd.
'Twas Night, when entring Erisichthon's Room,
Dissolv'd in Sleep, and thoughtless of his Doom,
She clasp'd his Limbs, by impious Labour tir'd,
With battish Wings, but her whole self inspir'd;
Breath'd on his Throat and Chest a tainting Blast,
And in his Veins infus'd an endless Fast.
The Task dispatch'd, away the Fury flies
From plenteous Regions, and from rip'ning Skies;
[Page 294] To her old barren North she wings her Speed,
And Cottages distress'd with pinching Need.
Still Slumbers Erisichthon's Senses drown,
And sooth his Fancy with their softest Down.
He dreams of Viands delicate to eat,
And revels on imaginary Meat.
Chaws with his working Mouth, but chaws in vain,
And tires his grinding Teeth with fruitless Pain;
Deludes his Throat with visionary Fare,
Feasts on the Wind, and banquets on the Air.
The Morning came, the Night and Slumbers past,
But still the furious Pangs of Hunger last;
The cank'rous Rage still gnaws with griping Pains,
Stings in his Throat, and in his Bowels reigns.
Strait he requires, impatient in Demand,
Provisions from the Air, the Seas, the Land.
But tho' the Land, Air, Seas Provisions grant,
Starves at full Tables, and complains of Want.
What to a People might in Dole be paid,
Or victual Cities for a long Blockade,
Could not one Wolfish Appetite asswage,
For glutting Nourishment increas'd its Rage.
As Rivers pour'd from ev'ry distant Shore,
The Sea insatiate drinks, and thirsts for more;
Or as the Fire, which all Materials burns,
And wasted Forests into Ashes turns,
Grows more voracious, as the more it preys,
Recruits dilate the Flame, and spread the Blaze;
So impious Erisichthon's Hunger raves,
Receives Refreshments, and Refreshments craves.
Food raises a Desire for Food, and Meat
Is but a new Provocative to eat.
He grows more empty, as the more supply'd,
And endless Cramming but extends the Void.

The Transformations of ERISICHTHON's Daughter.

Now Riches hoarded by Paternal Care
Were sunk, the Glutton swallowing up the Heir.
Yet the devouring Flame no Stores abate,
Nor less his Hunger grew with his Estate.
One Daughter left, as left his keen Desire,
A Daughter worthy of a better Sire:
Her too he sold, spent Nature to sustain;
She scorn'd a Lord with generous Disdain,
And flying, spread her Hands upon the Main.
Then pray'd; Grant, Thou, I Bondage may escape,
And with my Liberty reward thy Rape;
Repay my Virgin Treasure with thy Aid,
('Twas Neptune who deflowr'd the beauteous Maid.)
The God was mov'd, at what the Fair had su'd,
When she so lately by her Master view'd
In her known Figure, on a sudden took
A Fisher's Habit, and a manly Look.
To whom her Owner hasted to enquire;
O thou, said he, whose Baits hide treach'rous Wire;
Whose Art can manage, and experienc'd Skill
The taper Angle, and the bobbing Quill,
So may the Sea be ruffled with no Storm,
But smooth with Calms, as you the Truth inform;
So your Deceit may no shy Fishes feel,
Till struck, and fasten'd on the bearded Steel.
Did not you standing view upon the Strand
A wandring Maid? I'm sure I saw her stand;
Her Hair disorder'd, and her homely Dress
Betray'd her Want, and witness'd her Distress.
Me heedless, she reply'd, whoe'er you are,
Excuse, attentive to another Care.
[Page 296] I settled on the Deep my steady Eye,
Fix'd on my Float, and bent on my Employ.
And that you may not doubt what I impart,
So may the Ocean's God assist my Art,
If on the Beach since I my Sport pursu'd,
Or Man, or Woman but my self I view'd.
Back o'er the Sands, deluded, he withdrew,
Whilst she for her old Form put off her new.
Her Sire her shifting Pow'r to change perceiv'd,
And various Chapmen by her Sale deceiv'd.
A Fowl with spangled Plumes, a brinded Steer,
Sometimes a crested Mare, or antler'd Deer:
Sold for a Price she parted, to maintain
Her starving Parent with dishonest Gain.
At last all Means, as all Provisions, fail'd;
For the Disease by Remedies prevail'd.
His Muscles with a furious Bite he tore,
Gorg'd his own tatter'd Flesh, and gulph'd his Gore.
Wounds were his Feast, his Life to Life a Prey,
Supporting Nature by its own Decay.
But foreign Stories why shou'd I relate?
I too my self can to new Forms translate,
Tho' the Variety's not unconfin'd,
But fix'd in Number, and restrain'd in Kind:
For often I this present Shape retain,
Oft curl a Snake the Volumes of my Train.
Sometimes my Strength into my Horns transfer'd,
A Bull I march, the Captain of the Herd.
But whilst I once those goring Weapons wore,
Vast wresting Force one from my Forehead tore.
Lo, my maim'd Brows the Injury still own;
He ceas'd; his Words concluding with a Groan.
The End of the Eighth Book.
To the Rt. Honbl. the Countess of Linc [...]



THeseus requests the God to tell his Woes,
Whence his maim'd Brow, and whence his Groans arose:
When thus the Calydonian Stream reply'd,
With twining Reeds his careless Tresses ty'd.
Ungrateful is the Tale; for who can bear,
When conquer'd, to rehearse the shameful War?
Yet I'll the melancholy Story trace;
So great a Conqu'ror softens the Disgrace:
Nor was it still so mean the Prize to yield,
As great and glorious to dispute the Field.
Perhaps you've heard of Dëianira's Name,
For all the Country spoke her Beauty's Fame.
Long was the Nymph by num'rous Suiters woo'd,
Each with Address his envy'd Hopes pursu'd:
[Page 298] I joyn'd the loving Band; to gain the Fair,
Reveal'd my Passion to her Father's Ear.
Their vain Pretensions all the rest resign,
Alcides only strove to equal mine;
He boasts his Birth from Jove, recounts his Spoils,
His Step-dame's Hate subdu'd, and finish'd Toils.
Can Mortals then (said I) with Gods compare?
Behold a God; mine is the watry Care:
Through your wide Realms I take my mazy Way,
Branch into Streams, and o'er the Region stray:
No foreign Guest your Daughter's Charms adores,
But one who rises in your native Shores.
Let not his Punishment your Pity move;
Is Juno's Hate an Argument for Love?
Though you your Life from fair Alomena drew,
Jove's a feign'd Father, or by Fraud a true.
Chuse then; confess thy Mother's Honour lost,
Or thy Descent from Jove no longer boast.
While thus I spoke, he look'd with stern Disdain,
Nor could the Sallies of his Wrath restrain,
Which thus break forth. This Arm decides our Right;
Vanquish in Words, be mine the Prize in Fight.
Bold he rush'd on. My Honour to maintain,
I fling my verdant Garments on the Plain,
My Arms stretch forth, my pliant Limbs prepare,
And with bent Hands expect the furious War.
O'er my sleek Skin now gather'd Dust he throws,
And yellow Sand his mighty Muscles strows.
Oft he my Neck and nimble Legs assails,
He seems to grasp me, but as often fails.
Each Part he now invades with eager Hand;
Safe in my Bulk, immoveable I stand.
[Page 299] So when loud Storms break high, and foam and roar
Against some Mole, that stretches from the Shore;
The firm Foundation lasting Tempests braves,
Defies the warring Winds, and driving Waves.
Awhile we breathe, then forward rush amain,
Renew the Combat, and our Ground maintain;
Foot strove with Foot, I prone extend my Breast,
Hands war with Hands, and Forehead Forehead prest.
Thus have I seen two furious Bulls engage,
Inflam'd with equal Love, and equal Rage;
Each claims the fairest Heifer of the Grove,
And Conquest only can decide their Love:
The trembling Herds survey the Fight from far,
Till Victory decides th'important War.
Three times in vain he strove my Joints to wrest,
To force my Hold, and throw me from his Breast;
The fourth he broke my Gripe, that clasp'd him round,
Then with new Force he stretch'd me on the Ground;
Close to my Back the mighty Burthen clung,
As if a Mountain o'er my Limbs were flung.
Believe my Tale; nor do I, boastful, aim
By feign'd Narration to extol my Fame.
No sooner from his Grasp I Freedom get,
Unlock my Arms, that flow'd with trickling Sweat,
But quick he seiz'd me, and renew'd the Strife,
As my exhausted Bosom pants for Life:
My Neck he gripes, my Knee to Earth he strains;
I fall, and bite the Sand with Shame and Pains.
O'er-match'd in Strength, to Wiles and Arts I take,
And slip his Hold, in Form of speckled Snake;
Who, when I wreath'd in Spires my Body round,
Or show'd my forky Tongue with hissing Sound,
[Page 300] Smiles at my Threats; Such Foes my Cradle knew,
He cries, dire Snakes my Infant Hand o'erthrew;
A Dragon's Form might other Conquests gain,
To war with me you take that Shape in vain.
Art thou proportion'd to the Hydra's Length,
Who by his Wounds receiv'd augmented Strength?
He rais'd a hundred hissing Heads in Air,
When one I lopt, up-sprung a dreadful Pair.
By his Wounds fertile, and with Slaughter strong,
Singly I quell'd him, and stretch'd dead along.
What canst thou do, a Form precarious, prone,
To rouse my Rage with Terrors not thy own?
He said; and round my Neck his Hands he cast,
And with his straining Fingers wrung me fast;
My Throat he tortur'd, close as Pincers clasp,
In vain I strove to loose the forceful Grasp.
Thus vanquish'd too, a third Form still remains,
Chang'd to a Bull, my Lowing fills the Plains.
Strait on the Left his nervous Arms were thrown
Upon my brindled Neck, and tugg'd it down;
Then deep he struck my Horn into the Sand,
And fell'd my Bulk along the dusty Land.
Nor yet his Fury cool'd; 'twixt Rage and Scorn,
From my maim'd Front he tore the stubborn Horn:
This, heap'd with Flow'rs and Fruits, the Naiads bear,
Sacred to Plenty, and the bounteous Year.
He spoke; when lo, a beauteous Nymph appears,
Girt like Diana's Train, with flowing Hairs;
The Horn she brings in which all Autumn's stor'd,
And ruddy Apples for the second Board.
Now Morn begins to dawn, the Sun's bright Fire
Gilds the high Mountains, and the Youths retire;
[Page 301] Nor stay'd they, till the troubled Stream subsides,
And in its Bounds with peaceful Current glides.
But Acheloüs in his oozy Bed
Deep hides his Brow deform'd, and rustick Head:
No real Wound the Victor's Triumph show'd,
But his lost Honours griev'd the watry God;
Yet ev'n that Loss the Willow's Leaves o'erspread,
And verdant Reeds, in Garlands, bind his Head.

The Death of NESSUS the Centaur.

This Virgin too, thy Love, O Nessus, found,
To her alone you owe the fatal Wound.
As the strong Son of Jove his Bride conveys,
Where his Paternal Lands their Bulwarks raise;
Where from her slopy Urn, Evenus pours
Her rapid Current, swell'd by wintry Show'rs,
He came. The frequent Eddies whirl'd the Tide,
And the deep rolling Waves all Pass deny'd.
As, for himself, he stood unmov'd by Fears,
For now his Bridal Charge employ'd his Cares,
The strong-limb'd Nessus thus officious cry'd,
(For he the Shallows of the Stream had try'd)
Swim thou, Alcides, all thy Strength prepare,
On yonder Bank I'll lodge thy Nuptial Care.
Th' Aonian Chief to Nessus trusts his Wife,
All pale and trembling for her Heroe's Life:
Cloath'd as he stood in the fierce Lion's Hide,
The laden Quiver o'er his Shoulder ty'd,
(For cross the Stream his Bow and Club were cast)
Swift he plung'd in; These Billows shall be past,
He said, nor sought where smoother Waters glide,
But stem'd the rapid Dangers of the Tide.
[Page 302] The Bank he reach'd; again the Bow he bears;
When, hark! his Bride's known Voice alarms his Ears.
Nessus, to thee I call (aloud he cries)
Vain is thy Trust in Flight, be timely wise:
Thou Monster double-shap'd, my Right set free;
If thou no Rev'rence owe my Fame and me,
Yet Kindred shou'd thy lawless Lust deny;
Think not, perfidious Wretch, from me to fly,
Tho' wing'd with Horse's Speed; Wounds shall pursue;
Swift as his Words the fatal Arrow flew:
The Centaur's Back admits the feather'd Wood,
And thro' his Breast the barbed Weapon stood;
Which, when in Anguish, thro' the Flesh he tore,
From both the Wounds gush'd forth the spumy Gore
Mix'd with Lernaean Venom; this he took,
Nor dire Revenge his dying Breast forsook.
His Garment, in the reeking Purple dy'd,
To rouse Love's Passion, he presents the Bride.

The Death of HERCULES.

Now a long Interval of Time succeeds,
When the great Son of Jove's immortal Deeds,
And Stepdame's Hate, had fill'd Earth's utmost Round;
He from O Echalia, with new Lawrels crown'd,
In Triumph was return'd. He Rites prepares,
And to the King of Gods directs his Pray'rs;
When Fame (who Falshood cloaths in Truth's Disguise,
And swells her little Bulk with growing Lies)
Thy tender Ear, O Deianira, mov'd,
That Hercules the fair Iole lov'd.
Her Love believes the Tale; the Truth she fears
Of his new Passion, and gives way to Tears.
[Page 303] The flowing Tears diffus'd her wretched Grief.
Why seek I thus, from streaming Eyes, Relief?
She cries; indulge not thus these fruitless Cares,
The Harlot will but triumph in thy Tears:
Let something be resolv'd, while yet there's Time;
My Bed not conscious of a Rival's Crime.
In Silence shall I mourn, or loud complain?
Shall I seek Calydon, or here remain?
What tho', ally'd to Meleager's Fame,
I boast the Honours of a Sister's Name?
My Wrongs, perhaps, now urge me to pursue
Some desp'rate Deed, by which the World shall view
How far Revenge and Woman's Rage can rise,
When weltring in her Blood the Harlot dies.
Thus various Passions rul'd by turns her Breast.
She now resolves to send the fatal Vest,
Dy'd with Lernaean Gore, whose Pow'r might move
His Soul anew, and rouse declining Love.
Nor knew she what her sudden Rage bestows,
When she to Lychas trusts her future Woes;
With soft Endearments she the Boy commands,
To bear the Garment to her Husband's Hands.
Th' unwitting Heroe takes the Gift in haste,
And o'er his Shoulders Lerna's Poyson cast,
As first the Fire with Frankincense he strows,
And utters to the Gods his holy Vows;
And on the Marble Altar's polish'd Frame
Pours forth the grapy Stream; the rising Flame
Sudden dissolves the subtle pois'nous Juice,
Which taints his Blood, and all his Nerves bedews.
With wonted Fortitude he bore the Smart,
And not a Groan confess'd his burning Heart▪
[Page 304] At length his Patience was subdu'd by Pain,
He rends the sacred Altar from the Plain;
OEte's wide Forests eccho with his Cries:
Now to rip off the deathful Robe he tries,
Where-e'er he plucks the Vest, the Skin he tears,
The mangled Muscles and huge Bones he bares,
(A ghastful Sight!) or raging with his Pain,
To rend the sticking Plague he tugs in vain.
As the red Iron hisses in the Flood,
So boils the Venom in his curdling Blood.
Now with the greedy Flame his Entrails glow,
And livid Sweats down all his Body flow;
The cracking Nerves burnt up are burst in twain,
The lurking Venom melts his swimming Brain.
Then, lifting both his Hands aloft, he cries,
Glut thy Revenge, dread Empress of the Skies;
Sate with my Death the Rancour of thy Heart,
Look down with Pleasure, and enjoy my Smart.
Or, if e'er Pity mov'd an hostile Breast,
(For here I stand thy Enemy profest)
Take hence this hateful Life with Tortures torn,
Inur'd to Trouble, and to Labours born.
Death is the Gift most welcome to my Woe,
And such a Gift a Stepdame may bestow.
Was it for this Busiris was subdu'd,
Whose barb'rous Temples reek'd with Stranger's Blood?
Press'd in these Arms his Fate Antaeus found,
Nor gain'd recruited Vigour from the Ground.
Did I not triple-form'd Geryon fell?
Or did I fear the triple Dog of Hell?
Did not these Hands the Bull's arm'd Forehead hold?
Are not our mighty Toils in Elis told?
[Page 305] Do not Stymphalian Lakes proclaim thy Fame?
And fair Parthenian Woods resound thy Name?
Who seiz'd the golden Belt of Thermodon?
And who the Dragon-guarded Apples won?
Could the fierce Centaur's Strength my Force withstand,
Or the fell Boar that spoil'd th' Arcadian Land?
Did not these Arms the Hydra's Rage subdue,
Who from his Wounds to double Fury grew?
What if the Thracian Horses, fat with Gore,
Who human Bodies in their Mangers tore,
I saw, and with their barb'rous Lord o'erthrew?
What if these Hands Nemaea's Lion slew?
Did not this Neck the heav'nly Globe sustain?
The female Partner of the Thund'rer's Reign
Fatigu'd, at length suspends her harsh Commands,
Yet no Fatigue hath slack'd these valiant Hands.
But now new Plagues pursue me; neither Force,
Nor Arms, nor Darts can stop their raging Course.
Devouring Flame thro' my rack'd Entrails strays,
And on my Lungs and shrivell'd Muscles preys.
Yet still Eurystheus breathes the vital Air.
What Mortal now shall seek the Gods with Pray'r?

The Transformation of LYCHAS into a Rock.

The Hero said; and with the Torture stung,
Furious o'er OEte's lofty Hills he sprung.
Stuck with the Shaft, thus scours the Tyger round,
And seeks the flying Author of his Wound.
Now might you see him trembling, now he vents
His anguish'd Soul in Groans and loud Laments;
He strives to tear the clinging Vest in vain,
And with up-rooted Forests strows the Plain;
[Page 306] Now kindling into Rage, his Hands he rears,
And to his kindred Gods directs his Pray'rs.
When Lychas, lo, he spies; who trembling flew,
And in a hollow Rock conceal'd from View,
Had shun'd his Wrath. Now Grief renew'd his Pain,
His Madness chaff'd, and thus he raves again.
Lychas, to thee alone my Fate I owe,
Who bore the Gift, the Cause of all my Woe.
The Youth all pale, with shiv'ring Fear was stung,
And vain Excuses faulter'd on his Tongue.
Alcides snatch'd him, as with suppliant Face
He strove to clasp his Knees, and beg for Grace:
He toss'd him o'er his Head with airy Course,
And hurl'd with more than with an Engine's Force;
Far o'er th' Eubaean Main aloof he flies,
And hardens by Degrees amid the Skies.
So show'ry Drops, when chilly Tempests blow,
Thicken at first, then whiten into Snow,
In Balls congeal'd the rolling Fleeces bound
In solid Hail result upon the Ground.
Thus, whirl'd with nervous Force thro' distant Air,
The Purple Tide forsook his Veins, with Fear;
All Moisture left his Limbs. Transform'd to Stone,
In ancient Days the craggy Flint was known;
Still in th' Eubaean Waves his Front he rears,
Still the small Rock in human Form appears,
And still the Name of hapless Lychas bears.

The Apotheosis of HERCULES.

But now the Hero of immortal Birth
Fells OEte's Forests on the groaning Earth;
[Page 307] A Pile he builds; to Philoctetes' Care
He leaves his deathful Instruments of War;
To him commits those Arrows, which again
Shall see the Bulwarks of the Trojan Reign.
The Son of Paean lights the lofty Pyre,
High round the Structure climbs the greedy Fire;
Plac'd on the Top, thy nervous Shoulders spread
With the Nemaean Spoils, thy careless Head
Rais'd on the knotty Club, with Look Divine,
Here thou, dread Hero, of Celestial Line,
Wert stretch'd at Ease; as when a chearful Guest,
Wine crown'd thy Bowls, and Flow'rs thy Temples drest.
Now on all Sides the potent Flames aspire,
And crackle round those Limbs that mock the Fire:
A sudden Terror seiz'd th'immortal Host,
Who thought the World's profess'd Defender lost.
This when the Thund'rer saw, with Smiles he cries,
'Tis from your Fears, ye Gods, my Pleasures rise;
Joy swells my Breast, that my all-ruling Hand
O'er such a grateful People boasts Command,
That you my suff'ring Progeny wou'd aid;
Tho' to his Deeds this just Respect be paid,
Me you've oblig'd. Be all your Fears forborn,
Th' OEtean Fires do thou, great Hero, scorn.
Who vanquish'd all things, shall subdue the Flame.
That Part alone of gross maternal Frame
Fire shall devour; while what from me he drew
Shall live immortal, and its Force subdue;
That, when he's dead, I'll raise to Realms above;
May all the Pow'rs the righteous Act approve
If any God dissent, and judge too great
The sacred Honours of the heav'nly Seat,
[Page 308] Ev'n he shall own his Deeds deserve the Sky,
Ev'n he reluctant, shall at length comply.
Th'assembled Pow'rs assent. No Frown till now
Had mark'd with Passion vengeful Juno's Brow.
Mean while whate'er was in the Pow'r of Flame
Was all consum'd; his Body's nervous Frame
No more was known, of human Form bereft,
Th' eternal Part of Jove alone was left.
As an old Serpent casts his scaly Vest,
Wreathes in the Sun, in youthful Glory drest;
So when Alcides mortal Mold resign'd,
His better Part enlarg'd, and grew refin'd;
August his Visage shone; Almighty Jove
In his swift Carr his honour'd Offspring drove;
High o'er the hollow Clouds the Coursers fly,
And lodge the Hero in the starry Sky.

The Transformation of GALANTHIS.

Atlas perceiv'd the Load of Heav'n's new Guest.
Revenge still rancour'd in Eurystheus' Breast
Against Alcides' Race. Alcmena goes
To Iole, to vent maternal Woes;
Here she pours forth her Grief, recounts the Spoils
Her Son had bravely reap'd in glorious Toils.
This Iole, by Hercules' Commands,
Hyllus had lov'd, and joyn'd in nuptial Bands.
Her swelling Womb the teeming Birth confess'd,
To whom Alcmena thus her Speech address'd.
O, may the Gods protect thee, in that Hour,
When, midst thy Throws, thou call'st th' Ilithyian Pow'r!
May no Delays prolong thy racking Pain,
As when I su'd for Juno's Aid in vain.
[Page 309] When now Alcides' mighty Birth drew nigh,
And the tenth Sign roll'd forward on the Sky,
My Womb extends with such a mighty Load,
As Jove the Parent of the Burthen show'd.
I could no more th' encreasing Smart sustain,
My Horror kindles to recount the Pain;
Cold chills my Limbs while I the Tale pursue,
And now methinks I feel my Pangs anew.
Seven Days and Nights amidst incessant Throws,
Fatigu'd with Ills I lay, nor knew Repose;
When lifting high my Hands, in Shrieks I pray'd,
Implor'd the Gods, and call'd Lucina's Aid.
She came, but prejudic'd, to give my Fate
A Sacrifice to vengeful Juno's Hate.
She hears the groaning Anguish of my Fits,
And on the Altar at my Door she sits.
O'er her left Knee her crossing Leg she cast,
Then knits her Fingers close, and wrings them fast:
This stay'd the Birth; in mutt'ring Verse she pray'd,
The mutt'ring Verse th' unfinish'd Birth delay'd.
Now with fierce Struggles, raging with my Pain,
At Jove's Ingratitude I rave in vain.
How did I wish for Death! such Groans I sent,
As might have made the flinty Heart relent.
Now the Cadmeian Matrons round me press,
Offer their Vows, and seek to bring Redress;
Among the Theban Dames Galanthis stands,
Strong limb'd, red hair'd, and just to my Commands:
She first perceiv'd that all these racking Woes
From the persisting Hate of Juno rose.
As here and there she pass'd, by chance she sees
The scated Goddess; on her close-press'd Knees
[Page 310] Her fast-knit Hands she leans; with chearful Voice
Galanthis cries, Whoe'er thou art, rejoice,
Congratulate the Dame, she lies at Rest,
At length the Gods Alcmena's Womb have blest.
Swift from her Seat the startled Goddess springs,
No more conceal'd, her Hands abroad she flings;
The Charm unloos'd, the Birth my Pangs reliev'd;
Galanthis' Laughter vex'd the Pow'r deceiv'd.
Fame says, the Goddess dragg'd the laughing Maid
Fast by the Hair; in vain her Force essay'd
Her grov'ling Body from the Ground to rear;
Chang'd to Fore-feet her shrinking Arms appear:
Her hairy Back her former Hue retains,
The Form alone is lost; her Strength remains;
Who, since the Lye did from her Mouth proceed,
Shall from her pregnant Mouth bring forth her Breed;
Nor shall she quit her long frequented Home,
But haunt those Houses where she lov'd to roam.

The Fable of DRYOPE.

She said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs;
When the fair Consort of her Son replies;
Since you a Servant's ravish'd Form bemoan,
And kindly sigh for Sorrows not your own,
Let me (if Tears and Grief permit) relate
A nearer Woe, a Sister's stranger Fate.
No Nymph of all Oechalia could compare
For beauteous Form with Dryopè the Fair;
Her tender Mother's only Hope and Pride,
(My self the Offspring of a second Bride.)
[Page 311] This Nymph, compress'd by him who rules the Day,
Whom Delphi and the Delian Isle obey,
Andraemon lov'd; and blest in all those Charms
That pleas'd a God, succeeded to her Arms.
A Lake there was, with shelving Banks around,
Whose verdant Summit fragrant Myrtles crown'd.
Those Shades, unknowing of the Fates, she sought,
And to the Naiads flow'ry Garlands brought;
Her smiling Babe (a pleasing Charge) she prest
Between her Arms, and nourish'd at her Breast.
Not distant far a watry Lotos grows;
The Spring was new, and all the verdant Boughs,
Adorn'd with Blossoms, promis'd Fruits that vye
In glowing Colours with the Tyrian Dye.
Of these she cropt, to please her Infant Son,
And I my self the same rash Act had done,
But, lo! I saw (as near her Side I stood)
The violated Blossoms drop with Blood;
Upon the Tree I cast a frightful Look,
The trembling Tree with sudden Horror shook.
Lotis the Nymph (if rural Tales be true)
As from Priapus' lawless Lust she flew,
Forsook her Form; and fixing here, became
A flow'ry Plant, which still preserves her Name.
This Change unknown, astonish'd at the Sight,
My trembling Sister strove to urge her Flight;
Yet first the Pardon of the Nymphs implor'd,
And those offended Sylvan Pow'rs ador'd:
But when she backward would have fled, she found
Her stiff'ning Feet were rooted to the Ground:
In vain to free her fasten'd Feet she strove,
And as she struggles, only moves above;
[Page 312] She feels th' incroaching Bark around her grow,
By slow Degrees, and cover all below:
Surpris'd at this, her trembling Hand she heaves
To rend her Hair; her Hand is fill'd with Leaves;
Where late was Hair, the shooting Leaves are seen
To rise, and shade her with a sudden Green.
The Child Amphisus, to her Bosom prest,
Perceiv'd a colder and a harder Breast,
And found the Springs, that ne'er 'till then deny'd
Their milky Moisture, on a sudden dry'd.
I saw, unhappy, what I now relate,
And stood the helpless Witness of thy Fate;
Embrac'd thy Boughs, the rising Bark delay'd,
There wish'd to grow, and mingle Shade with Shade.
Behold Andraemon and th' unhappy Sire
Appear, and for their Dryopè enquire;
A springing Tree for Dryopè they find,
And print warm Kisses on the panting Rind;
Prostrate, with Tears their Kindred Plant bedew,
And close embrac'd, as to the Roots they grew.
The Face was all that now remain'd of thee;
No more a Woman, nor yet quite a Tree:
Thy Branches hung with humid Pearls appear,
From ev'ry Leaf distills a trickling Tear;
And strait a Voice, while yet a Voice remains,
Thus thro' the trembling Boughs in Sighs complains.
If to the Wretched any Faith be giv'n,
I swear by all th' unpitying Pow'rs of Heav'n,
No wilful Crime this heavy Vengeance bred,
In mutual Innocence our Lives we led.
[Page 313] If this be false, let these new Greens decay,
Let sounding Axes lop my Limbs away,
And crackling Flames on all my Honours prey.
Now from my branching Arms this Infant bear,
Let some kind Nurse supply a Mother's Care;
Yet to his Mother let him oft be led,
Sport in her Shades, and in her Shades be fed;
Teach him, when first his Infant Voice shall frame
Imperfect Words, and lisp his Mother's Name,
To hail this Tree, and say with weeping Eyes,
Within this Plant my hapless Parent lies;
And when in Youth he seeks the shady Woods,
Oh, let him fly the chrystal Lakes and Floods,
Nor touch the fatal Flow'rs; but warn'd by me,
Believe a Goddess shrin'd in ev'ry Tree.
My Sire, my Sister, and my Spouse farewel!
If in your Breasts or Love or Pity dwell,
Protect your Plant, nor let my Branches feel
The browzing Cattle, or the piercing Steel.
Farewel! and since I cannot bend to join
My Lips to yours, advance at least to mine.
My Son, thy Mother's parting Kiss receive,
While yet thy Mother has a Kiss to give.
I can no more; the creeping Rind invades
My closing Lips, and hides my Head in Shades:
Remove your Hands; the Bark shall soon suffice,
Without their Aid, to seal these dying Eyes.
She ceas'd at once to speak, and ceas'd to be;
And all the Nymph was lost within the Tree:
Yet latent Life thro' her new Branches reign'd,
And long the Plant a human Heat retain'd.

IOLAUS restor'd to Youth.

While Iolè the fatal Change declares,
Alcmena's pitying Hand oft wip'd her Tears.
Grief too stream'd down her Cheeks; soon Sorrow flies,
And rising Joy the trickling Moisture dries,
Lo Iolaus stands before their Eyes.
A Youth he stood; and the soft Down began
O'er his smooth Chin to spread, and promise Man.
Hebe submitted to her Husband's Pray'rs,
Instill'd new Vigour, and restor'd his Years.

The Prophecy of THEMIS.

Now from her Lips a solemn Oath had past,
That Iolaus this Gift alone shou'd taste,
Had not just Themis thus maturely said,
(Which check'd her Vow, and aw'd the blooming Maid.)
Thebes is embroil'd in War. Capaneus stands
Invincible, but by the Thund'rer's Hands.
Ambition shall the guilty * Brothers fire,
Both rush to mutual Wounds, and both expire.
The reeling Earth shall ope her gloomy Womb,
Where the yet breathing Bard shall find his Tomb.
The § Son shall bathe his Hands in Parent's Blood,
And in one Act be both unjust and good.
Of Home and Sense depriv'd, where-e'er he flies,
The Furies and his Mother's Ghost he spies.
His Wife the fatal Bracelet shall implore,
And Phegeus stain his Sword in Kindred Gore.
Callirhöe shall then with suppliant Pray'r
Prevail on Jupiter's relenting Ear.
[Page 315] Jove shall with Youth her Infant Sons inspire,
And bid their Bosoms glow with manly Fire.

The Debate of the Gods.

When Themis thus with prescient Voice had spoke,
Among the Gods a various Murmur broke;
Dissention rose in each immortal Breast,
That one should grant what was deny'd the rest.
Aurora for her aged Spouse complains,
And Ceres grieves for Jason's freezing Veins;
Vulcan would Erichthonius' Years renew,
Her future Race the Care of Venus drew,
She would Anchises' blooming Age restore;
A diff'rent Care employ'd each heav'nly Pow'r:
Thus various Int'rests did their Jars encrease,
Till Jove arose; he spoke, their Tumults cease.
Is any Rev'rence to our Presence giv'n,
Then why this Discord 'mong the Pow'rs of Heav'n?
Who can the settled Will of Fate subdue?
'Twas by the Fates that Iolaus knew
A second Youth. The Fate's determin'd Doom
Shall give Callirhoe's Race a youthful Bloom.
Arms nor Ambition can this Pow'r obtain;
Quell your Desires; ev'n me the Fates restrain.
Could I their Will controul, no rolling Years
Had Aeacus bent down with Silver Hairs;
Then Rhadamanthus still had Youth possess'd,
And Minos with eternal Bloom been bless'd.
Jove's Words the Synod mov'd; the Pow'rs give o'er,
And urge in vain unjust Complaint no more.
Since Rhadamanthus' Veins now slowly flow'd,
And Aeacus and Minos bore the Load;
[Page 316] Minos, who in the Flow'r of Youth and Fame,
Made mighty Nations tremble at his Name,
Infirm with Age, the proud Miletus fears,
Vain of his Birth, and in the Strength of Years,
And now regarding all his Realms as lost,
He durst not force him from his native Coast.
But you by choice, Miletus, fled his Reign,
And thy swift Vessel plow'd th' Aegean Main;
On Asiatick Shores a Town you frame,
Which still is honour'd with the Founder's Name.
Here you Cyanëe knew, the beauteous Maid,
As on her * Father's winding Banks she stray'd:
Caunus and Byblis hence their Lineage trace,
The double Offspring of your warm Embrace.

The Passion of BYBLIS.

Let the sad Fate of wretched Byblis prove
A dismal Warning to unlawful Love;
One Birth gave Being to the hapless Pair,
But more was Caunus than a Sister's Care;
Unknown she lov'd, for yet the gentle Fire
Rose not in Flames, nor kindled to Desire;
'Twas thought no Sin to wonder at his Charms,
Hang on his Neck, and languish in his Arms;
Thus wing'd with Joy, fled the soft Hours away,
And all the fatal Guilt on harmless Nature lay.
But Love (too soon from Piety declin'd)
Insensibly deprav'd her yielding Mind.
Dress'd she appears, with nicest Art adorn'd,
And ev'ry Youth, but her lov'd Brother, scorn'd;
[Page 317] For him alone she labour'd to be fair,
And curst all Charms that might with hers compare.
'Twas she, and only she, must Caunus please,
Sick at her Heart, yet knew not her Disease:
She call'd him Lord, for Brother was a Name
Too cold, and dull for her aspiring Flame;
And when he spoke, if Sister, he reply'd,
For Byblis change that frozen Word, she cry'd;
Yet waking still she watch'd her strugling Breast,
And Love's Approaches were in vain address'd,
Till gentle Sleep an easy Conquest made,
And in her soft Embrace the Conqueror was laid.
But oh too soon the pleasing Vision fled,
And left her blushing on the conscious Bed:
Ah me! (she cry'd) how monstrous do I seem?
Why these wild Thoughts? and this incestuous Dream?
Envy herself ('tis true) must own his Charms,
But what is Beauty in a Sister's Arms?
Oh were I not that despicable she,
How bless'd, how pleas'd, how happy shou'd I be!
But unregarded now must bear my Pain,
And, but in Dreams, my Wishes can obtain.
O Sea-born Goddess! with thy wanton Boy!
Was ever such a charming Scene of Joy?
Such perfect Bliss! such ravishing Delight!
Ne'er hid before in the kind Shades of Night.
How pleas'd my Heart! in what sweet Raptures tost?
Ev'n Life itself in the soft Combat lost,
While breathless he on my heav'd Bosom lay,
And snatch'd the Treasures of my Soul away.
If the bare Fancy so affects my Mind,
How shou'd I rave if to the Substance join'd?
[Page 318] Oh, gentle Caunus! quit thy hated Line,
Or let thy Parents be no longer mine!
Oh that in common all things were enjoy'd,
But those alone who have our Hopes destroy'd.
Were I a Princess, thou an humble Swain,
The proudest Kings shou'd rival thee in vain.
It cannot be, alas! the dreadful Ill
Is fix'd by Fate, and he's my Brother still.
Hear me, ye Gods! I must have Friends in Heav'n,
For Jove himself was to a Sister giv'n:
But what are their Prerogatives above,
To the short Liberties of humane Love?
Fantastick Thoughts! down, down, forbidden Fires,
Or instant Death extinguish my Desires,
Strict Virtue, then, with thy malicious Leave,
Without a Crime I may a Kiss receive:
But say shou'd I in spight of Laws comply,
Yet cruel Caunus might himself deny,
No Pity take of an afflicted Maid,
(For Love's sweet Game must be by Couples play'd.)
Yet why shou'd Youth and Charms like mine despair?
Such Fears ne'er startled the Aeolian Pair;
No Ties of Blood could their full Hopes destroy,
They broke thro' all for the prevailing Joy;
And who can tell but Caunus too may be
Rack'd and tormented in his Breast for me?
Like me, to the extreamest Anguish drove,
Like me, just waking from a Dream of Love?
But stay! Oh whither wou'd my Fury run!
What Arguments I urge to be undone!
Away fond Byblis, quench these guilty Flames;
Caunus thy Love but as a Brother claims;
[Page 319] Yet had he first been touch'd with Love of me,
The charming Youth cou'd I despairing see?
Oppress'd with Grief, and dying by Disdain?
Ah no! too sure I shou'd have eas'd his Pain?
Since then, if Caunus ask'd me, it were done;
Asking my self, what Dangers can I run?
But canst thou ask? and see that Right betray'd,
From Pyrrha down to thy whole Sex convey'd?
That self-denying Gift we all enjoy,
Of wishing to be won, yet seeming to be coy.
Well then, for once, let a fond Mistress woe,
The Force of Love no Custom can subdue;
This frantick Passion he by Words shall know,
Soft as the melting Heart from whence they flow.
The Pencil then in her fair Hand she held,
By Fear discourag'd, but by Love compell'd;
She writes, then blots, writes on, and blots again,
Likes it as fit, then razes it as vain:
Shame and Assurance in her Face appear,
And a faint Hope just yielding to Despair;
Sister was wrote, and blotted as a Word
Which she, and Caunus too (she hop'd) abhorr'd;
But now resolv'd to be no more controul'd
By scrup'lous Virtue, thus her Grief she told.
Thy Lover (gentle Caunus) wishes thee
That Health, which thou alone canst give to me.
O charming Youth, the Gift I ask bestow,
E're thou the Name of the fond Writer know;
To thee without a Name I would be known,
Since knowing that, my Frailty I must own.
Yet why shou'd I my wretched Name conceal?
When thousand Instances my Flames reveal▪
[Page 320] Wan Looks and weeping Eyes have spoke my Pain,
And Sighs discharg'd from my heav'd Heart in vain;
Had I not wish'd my Passion might be seen,
What cou'd such Fondness and Embraces mean?
Such Kisses too! (Oh heedless lovely Boy)
Without a Crime no Sister cou'd enjoy:
Yet (tho' extreamest Rage has rack'd my Soul,
And raging Fires in my parch'd Bosom roul)
Be Witness, Gods! how piously I strove,
To rid my Thoughts of this enchanting Love.
But who cou'd scape so fierce and sure a Dart,
Aim'd at a tender and defenceless Heart?
Alas! what Maid cou'd suffer I have born,
E're the dire Secret from my Breast was torn;
To thee a helpless vanquish'd Wretch I come,
'Tis you alone can save, or give my Doom;
My Life or Death this Moment you may chuse,
Yet think, Oh think, no hated Stranger sues,
No Foe, but one, alas! too near ally'd,
And wishing still much nearer to be ty'd.
The Forms of Decency let Age debate,
And Virtue's Rules by their cold Morals state;
Their ebbing Joys give Leisure to enquire,
And blame those noble Flights our Youth inspire:
Where Nature kindly summons let us go,
Our sprightly Years no Bounds in Love shou'd know,
Shou'd feel no Check of Guilt, and fear no Ill;
Lovers and Gods act all things at their Will:
We gain one Blessing from our hated Kin,
Since our Paternal Freedom hides the Sin;
Uncensur'd in each others Arms we lye,
Think then how easy to compleat our Joy.
[Page 321] Oh pardon, and oblige a blushing Maid,
Whose Rage the Pride of her vain Sex betray'd;
Nor let my Tomb thus mournfully complain,
Here Byblis lies, by her lov'd Caunus slain.
Forc'd here to end, she with a falling Tear
Temper'd the pliant Wax, which did the Signet bear:
The curious Cypher was impress'd by Art,
But Love had stamp'd one deeper in her Heart;
Her Page, a Youth of Confidence and Skill,
(Secret as Night) stood waiting on her Will;
Sighing (she cry'd) bear this, thou faithful Boy,
To my sweet Part'ner in eternal Joy:
Here a long Pause her secret Guilt confess'd,
And when at length she wou'd have spoke the rest,
Half the dear Name lay bury'd in her Breast.
Thus as he listned to her vain Command,
Down fell the Letter from her trembling Hand.
The Omen shock'd her Soul: Yet go, she cry'd;
Can a Request from Byblis be deny'd?
To the Maeandrian Youth's this Message born,
The half-read Lines by his fierce Rage were torn;
Hence, hence, he cry'd, thou Pandar to her Lust,
Bear hence the Triumph of thy impious Trust:
Thy instant Death will but divulge her Shame,
Or thy Life's Blood shou'd quench the guilty Flame.
Frighted, from threatning Caunus he withdrew,
And with the dreadful News to his lost Mistress flew
The sad Repulse so struck the wounded Fair,
Her Sense was buried in her wild Despair;
Pale was her Visage, as the ghastly Dead,
And her scar'd Soul from the sweet Mansion fled;
[Page 322] Yet with her Life renew'd, her Love returns,
And faintly thus her cruel Fate she mourns:
'Tis just, ye Gods! was my false Reason blind?
To write a Secret of this tender kind?
With female Craft I shou'd at first have strove,
By dubious Hints to sound his distant Love;
And try'd those useful, tho' dissembled, Arts
Which Women practise on disdainful Hearts:
I shou'd have watch'd whence the black Storm might rise,
E're I had trusted the unfaithful Skies.
Now on the rouling Billows I am tost,
And with extended Sails, on the blind Shelves am lost.
Did not indulgent Heav'n my Doom foretell,
When from my Hand the fatal Letter fell?
What Madness seiz'd my Soul? and urg'd me on
To take the only Course to be undone?
I cou'd my self have told the moving Tale
With such alluring Grace as must prevail;
Then had his Eyes beheld my blushing Fears,
My rising Sighs, and my descending Tears;
Round his dear Neck these Arms I then had spread,
And, if rejected, at his Feet been dead:
If singly these had not his Thoughts inclin'd,
Yet all united wou'd have shock'd his Mind.
Perhaps, my careless Page might be in fault,
And in a luckless Hour the fatal Message brought;
Business, and worldly Thoughts might fill his Breast,
Sometimes ev'n Love itself may be an irksome Guest:
He cou'd not else have treated me with Scorn,
For Caunus was not of a Tygress born;
Nor Steel nor Adamant has fenc'd his Heart,
Like mine 'tis naked to the burning Dart.
[Page 323] Away false Fears! he must, he shall be mine,
In Death alone I will my Claim resign;
'Tis vain to wish my written Crime unknown,
And for my Guilt much vainer to attone.
Repuls'd, and baffled, fiercer still she burns,
And Caunus with Disdain her impious Love returns.
He saw no End of her injurious Flame,
And fled his Country to avoid the Shame.
Forsaken Byblis, who had Hopes no more,
Burst out in Rage, and her loose Robes she tore;
With her fair Hands she smote her tender Breast,
And to the wondring World her Love confess'd;
O'er Hills and Dales, o'er Rocks and Streams she flew,
But still in vain did her wild Lust pursue:
Wearied at length, on the cold Earth she fell,
And now in Tears alone cou'd her sad Story tell.
Relenting Gods, in Pity, fix'd her there,
And to a Fountain turn'd the weeping Fair.

The Fable of IPHIS and IANTHE.

The Fame of this, perhaps, thro' Crete had flown:
But Crete had newer Wonders of her own,
In Iphis chang'd: For, near the Gnossian Bounds,
(As loud Report the Miracle resounds)
At Phoestus dwelt a Man of honest Blood,
But meanly born, and not so rich as good;
Esteem'd and lov'd by all the Neighbourhood;
Who to his Wife, before the Time assign'd
For Child-birth came, thus bluntly spoke his Mind.
If Heav'n, said Lygdus, will vouchsafe to hear,
I have but two Petitions to prefer;
Short Pains for thee, for me a Son and Heir.
[Page 324] Girls cost as many Throws in bringing forth;
Besides, when born, the Titts are little worth;
Weak puling things, unable to sustain
Their Share of Labour, and their Bread to gain.
If, therefore, thou a Creature shalt produce,
Of so great Charges, and so little Use,
(Bear witness, Heav'n, with what Reluctancy)
Her hapless Innocence I doom to dye.
He said, and Tears the common Grief display,
Of him who bad, and her who must obey.
Yet Telethusa still persists, to find
Fit Arguments to move a Father's Mind;
T' extend his Wishes to a larger Scope,
And in one Vessel not confine his Hope.
Lygdus continues hard: Her Time drew near,
And she her heavy Load cou'd scarcely bear;
When, slumb'ring, in the latter Shades of Night,
Before th' Approaches of returning Light,
She saw, or thought she saw, before her Bed,
A glorious Train, and Isis at their Head:
Her moony Horns were on her Forehead plac'd,
And yellow Sheaves her shining Temples grac'd:
A Mitre, for a Crown, she wore on high;
The Dog and dappl'd Bull were waiting by;
Osyris, sought along the Banks of Nile;
The silent God; the sacred Crocodile:
And, last, a long Procession moving on,
With Timbrels, that assist the lab'ring Moon.
Her Slumbers seem'd dispell'd, and, broad awake,
She heard a Voice, that thus distinctly spake.
My Votary, thy Babe from Death defend,
Nor fear to save whate'er the Gods will send.
[Page 325] Delude with Art thy Husband's dire Decree;
When Danger calls, repose thy Trust on me:
And know thou hast not serv'd a thankless Deity.
This Promise made, with Night the Goddess fled;
With Joy the Woman wakes, and leaves her Bed;
Devoutly lifts her spotless Hands on high,
And prays the Pow'rs their Gift to ratifie.
Now grinding Pains proceed to bearing Throws,
Till its own Weight the Burden did disclose.
'Twas of the beauteous Kind, and brought to Light
With Secrecy, to shun the Father's Sight.
Th' indulgent Mother did her Care employ,
And pass'd it on her Husband for a Boy.
The Nurse was conscious of the Fact alone;
The Father paid his Vows as for a Son;
And call'd him Iphis, by a common Name,
Which either Sex with equal Right may claim.
Iphis his Grandsire was; the Wife was pleas'd,
Of half the Fraud by Fortune's Favour eas'd:
The doubtful Name was us'd without Deceit,
And Truth was cover'd with a pious Cheat.
The Habit shew'd a Boy, the beauteous Face
With manly Fierceness mingl'd female Grace.
Now thirteen Years of Age were swiftly run,
When the fond Father thought the time drew on
Of settling in the World his only Son.
Ianthe was his Choice; so wondrous fair,
Her Form alone with Iphis cou'd compare;
A Neighbour's Daughter of his own Degree,
And not more bless'd with Fortune's Goods than he.
They soon espous'd; for they with Ease were join'd,
Who were before contracted in the Mind.
[Page 326] Their Age the same, their Inclinations too;
And bred together, in one School they grew.
Thus, fatally dispos'd to mutual Fires,
They felt, before they knew, the same Desires.
Equal their Flame, unequal was their Care;
One lov'd with Hope, one languish'd in Despair.
The Maid accus'd the ling'ring Days alone:
For whom she thought a Man, she thought her own.
But Iphis bends beneath a greater Grief;
As fiercely burns, but hopes for no Relief.
Ev'n her Despair adds Fuel to her Fire;
A Maid with Madness does a Maid desire.
And, scarce refraining Tears, Alas, said she,
What Issue of my Love remains for me!
How wild a Passion works within my Breast,
With what prodigious Flames am I possest!
Cou'd I the Care of Providence deserve,
Heav'n must destroy me, if it wou'd preserve.
And that's my Fate; or sure it wou'd have sent
Some usual Evil for my Punishment:
Not this unkindly Curse; to rage and burn,
Where Nature shews no Prospect of Return.
Nor Cows for Cows consume with fruitless Fire,
Nor Mares, when hot, their Fellow-Mares desire:
The Father of the Fold supplies his Ewes;
The Stag through secret Woods his Hind pursues;
And Birds for Mates the Males of their own Species chuse.
Her Females Nature guards from Female Flame,
And joins two Sexes to preserve the Game:
Wou'd I were nothing, or not what I am!
Crete, fam'd for Monsters, wanted of her Store,
Till my new Love produc'd one Monster more.
[Page 327] The Daughter of the Sun a Bull desir'd,
And yet ev'n then a Male a Female fir'd:
Her Passion was extravagantly new,
But mine is much the madder of the two.
To things impossible she was not bent,
But found the Means to compass her Intent.
To cheat his Eyes she took a different Shape;
Yet still she gain'd a Lover and a Leap.
Shou'd all the Wit of all the World conspire,
Shou'd Daedalus assist my wild Desire,
What Art can make me able to enjoy,
Or what can change Ianthe to a Boy?
Extinguish then thy Passion, hopeless Maid,
And recollect thy Reason for thy Aid.
Know what thou art, and love as Maidens ought,
And drive these Golden Wishes from thy Thought.
Thou canst not hope thy fond Desires to gain;
Where Hope is wanting, Wishes are in vain.
And yet no Guards against our Joys conspire;
No jealous Husband hinders our Desire:
My Parents are propitious to my Wish,
And she herself consenting to the Bliss.
All things concur to prosper our Design;
All things to prosper any Love but mine.
And yet I never can enjoy the Fair;
'Tis past the Pow'r of Heav'n to grant my Pray'r.
Heav'n has been kind, as far as Heav'n can be;
Our Parents with our own Desires agree;
But Nature, stronger than the Gods above,
Refuses her Assistance to my Love;
She sets the Bar that causes all my Pain;
One Gift refus'd, makes all their Bounty vain.
[Page 328] And now the happy Day is just at hand,
To bind our Hearts in Hymen's holy Band:
Our Hearts, but not our Bodies: Thus accurs'd,
In midst of Water I complain of Thirst.
Why com'st thou, Juno, to these barren Rites,
To bless a Bed defrauded of Delights?
But why shou'd Hymen lift his Torch on high,
To see two Brides in cold Embraces lye?
Thus Love-sick Iphis her vain Passion mourns;
With equal Ardour fair Ianthe burns,
Invoking Hymen's Name and Juno's Pow'r,
To speed the Work, and haste the happy Hour.
She hopes, while Telethusa fears the Day,
And strives to interpose some new Delay:
Now feigns a Sickness, now is in a Fright
For this bad Omen, or that boding Sight.
But having done whate'er she cou'd devise,
And empty'd all her Magazine of Lies,
The Time approach'd; the next ensuing Day
The fatal Secret must to Light betray.
Then Telethusa had recourse to Pray'r,
She, and her Daughter with dishevell'd Hair;
Trembling with Fear, great Isis they ador'd,
Embrac'd her Altar, and her Aid implor'd.
Fair Queen, who dost on fruitful Egypt smile,
Who sway'st the Sceptre of the Pharian Isle,
And sev'n-fold Falls of disemboguing Nile;
Relieve, in this our last Distress, she said,
A suppliant Mother, and a mournful Maid.
Thou, Goddess, thou wert present to my Sight;
Reveal'd I saw thee, by thy own fair Light:
[Page 329] I saw thee in my Dream, as now I see,
With all thy Marks of awful Majesty:
The glorious Train that compass'd thee around;
And heard the hollow Timbrels holy Sound.
Thy Words I noted, which I still retain;
Let not thy sacred Oracles be vain.
That Iphis lives, that I my self am free
From Shame and Punishment, I owe to thee.
On thy Protection all our Hopes depend:
Thy Counsel sav'd us, let thy Pow'r defend.
Her Tears pursu'd her Words; and while she spoke
The Goddess nodded, and her Altar shook:
The Temple Doors, as with a Blast of Wind,
Were heard to clap; the Lunar Horns that bind
The Brows of Isis, cast a Blaze around;
The trembling Timbrel made a murm'ring Sound.
Some Hopes these happy Omens did impart;
Forth went the Mother with a beating Heart:
Not much in Fear, nor fully satisfy'd;
But Iphis follow'd with a larger Stride:
The Whiteness of her Skin forsook her Face;
Her Looks embolden'd, with an awful Grace;
Her Features and her Strength together grew,
And her long Hair to curling Locks withdrew.
Her sparkling Eyes with manly Vigour shone,
Big was her Voice, audacious was her Tone.
The latent Parts, at length reveal'd, began
To shoot, and spread, and burnish into Man.
The Maid becomes a Youth; no more delay
Your Vows, but look, and confidently pay.
Their Gifts the Parents to the Temple bear:
The Votive Tables this Inscription wear;
[Page 330] Iphis the Man, has to the Goddess paid
The Vows that Iphis offer'd when a Maid.
Now when the Star of Day had shewn his Face,
Venus and Juno with their Presence grace
The Nuptial Rites, and Hymen from above
Descending to compleat their happy Love:
The Gods of Marriage lend their mutual Aid;
And the warm Youth enjoys the lovely Maid.
The End of the Ninth Book.

[Page] [Page]

To the Rt. Honble. ye Lady Viscountess Scudamo [...]


The Story of ORPHEUS and EURYDICE.

THENCE, in his Saffron Robe, for distant Thrace,
Hymen departs, thro' Air's unmeasur'd Space;
By Orpheus call'd, the Nuptial Pow'r attends,
But with ill-omen'd Augury descends;
Nor chearful look'd the God, nor prosp'rous spoke,
Nor blaz'd his Torch, but wept in hissing Smoke.
In vain they whirl it round, in vain they shake,
No rapid Motion can its Flames awake.
With Dread these inauspicious Signs were view'd,
And soon a more disastrous End ensu'd;
For as the Bride, amid the Naïad Train,
Ran joyful, sporting o'er the flow'ry Plain,
A venom'd Viper bit her as she pass'd;
Instant she fell, and suddain breath'd her last.
[Page 332] When long his Loss the Thracian had deplor'd,
Not by superior Pow'rs to be restor'd;
Inflam'd by Love, and urg'd by deep Despair,
He leaves the Realms of Light, and upper Air;
Daring to tread the dark Tenarian Road,
And tempt the Shades in their obscure Abode;
Thro' gliding Spectres of th'Interr'd to go,
And Phantom People of the World below:
Persephonè he seeks, and him who reigns
O'er Ghosts, and Hell's uncomfortable Plains.
Arriv'd, he, tuning to his Voice his Strings,
Thus to the King and Queen of Shadows sings.
Ye Pow'rs, who under Earth your Realms extend,
To whom all Mortals must one Day descend;
If here 'tis granted sacred Truth to tell:
I come not curious to explore your Hell;
Nor come to boast (by vain Ambition fir'd)
How Cerberus at my Approach retir'd.
My Wife alone I seek; for her lov'd sake
These Terrors I support, this Journey take.
She, luckless wandring, or by Fate mis-led,
Chanc'd on a lurking Viper's Crest to tread;
The vengeful Beast, enflam'd with Fury, starts,
And thro' her Heel his deathful Venom darts.
Thus was she snatch'd untimely to her Tomb;
Her growing Years cut short, and springing Bloom.
Long I my Loss endeavour'd to sustain,
And strongly strove, but strove, alas, in vain:
At length I yielded, won by mighty Love;
Well known is that Omnipotence above!
But here, I doubt, his unfelt Influence fails;
And yet a Hope within my Heart prevails,
[Page 333] That here, ev'n here, he has been known of old;
At least, if Truth be by Tradition told;
If Fame of former Rapes Belief may find,
You both by Love, and Love alone, were joyn'd.
Now, by the Horrors which these Realms surround;
By the vast Chaos of these Depths profound;
By the sad Silence which eternal reigns
O'er all the Waste of these wide-stretching Plains;
Let me again Eurydice receive,
Let Fate her quick-spun Thread of Life re-weave.
All our Possessions are but Loans from you,
And soon, or late, you must be paid your Due;
Hither we haste to Human-kind's last Seat,
Your endless Empire, and our sure Retreat.
She too, when ripen'd Years she shall attain,
Must, of avoidless Right, be yours again:
I but the transient use of that require,
Which soon, too soon, I must resign entire.
But if the Destinies refuse my Vow,
And no Remission of her Doom allow;
Know, I'm determin'd to return no more;
So both retain, or both to Life restore.
Thus, while the Bard melodiously complains,
And to his Lyre accords his vocal Strains,
The very bloodless Shades Attention keep,
And silent, seem compassionate to weep;
Ev'n Tantalus his Flood unthirsty views,
Nor flies the Stream, nor he the Stream pursues;
Ixïon's wondring Wheel its Whirl suspends,
And the voracious Vultur, charm'd, attends;
No mroe the Belides their Toil bemoan,
And Sisiphus reclin'd, sits list'ning on his Stone.
[Page 334] Then first ('tis said) by sacred Verse subdu'd,
The Furies felt their Cheeks with Tears bedew'd:
Nor could the rigid King or Queen of Hell,
Th' Impulse of Pity in their Hearts, repell.
Now, from a Troop of Shades that last arriv'd,
Eurydice was call'd, and stood reviv'd.
Slow she advanc'd, and halting seem'd to feel
The fatal Wound, yet painful in her Heel.
Thus he obtains the Suit so much desir'd,
On strict Observance of the Terms requir'd:
For if, before he reach the Realms of Air,
He backward cast his Eyes to view the Fair,
The forfeit Grant, that Instant, void is made,
And she for ever left a lifeless Shade.
Now thro' the noiseless Throng their Way they bend,
And both with Pain the rugged Road ascend;
Dark was the Path, and difficult, and steep,
And thick with Vapours from the smoaky Deep.
They well-nigh now had pass'd the Bounds of Night,
And just approach'd the Margin of the Light,
When, he mistrusting, lest her Steps might stray,
And gladsom of the Glimpse of dawning Day,
His longing Eyes, impatient, backward cast
To catch a Lover's Look, but look'd his last;
For, instant dying, she again descends,
While he to empty Air his Arms extends.
Again she dy'd, nor yet her Lord reprov'd;
What cou'd she say, but that too well he lov'd?
One last Farewel she spoke, which scarce he heard;
So soon she drop'd, so suddain disappear'd.
All stunn'd he stood, when thus his Wife he view'd
By second Fate and double Death subdu'd:
[Page 335] Not more Amazement by that Wretch was shown,
Whom Cerberus beholding, turn'd to Stone;
Nor Ollenus cou'd more astonish'd look,
When on himself Lethaea's Fault he took,
His beauteous Wife, who too secure had dar'd
Her Face to vye with Goddesses compar'd:
Once join'd by Love, they stand united still,
Turn'd to contiguous Rocks, on Ida's Hill.
Now to repass the Styx in vain he tries,
Charon averse, his pressing Suit denies.
Seven Days entire, along th' infernal Shores,
Disconsolate, the Bard Eurydice deplores;
Defil'd with Filth his Robe, with Tears his Cheeks,
No Sustenance but Grief and Cares he seeks:
Of rigid Fate incessant he complains,
And Hell's inexorable Gods arraigns.
This ended, to high Rhodopé he hastes,
And Haemus' Mountain, bleek with Northern Blasts.
And now his yearly Race the circling Sun
Had thrice compleat thro' watry Pisces run,
Since Orpheus fled the Face of Womankind,
And all soft Union with the Sex declin'd.
Whether his ill Success this Change had bred,
Or binding Vows made to his former Bed;
Whate'er the Cause, in vain the Nymphs contest,
With rival Eyes to warm his frozen Breast:
For ev'ry Nymph with Love his Lays inspir'd,
But ev'ry Nymph repuls'd, with Grief retir'd.
A Hill there was, and on that Hill a Mead,
With Verdure thick, but destitute of Shade.
Where, now, the Muse's Son no sooner sings,
No sooner strikes his sweet resounding Strings,
[Page 336] But distant Groves the flying Sounds receive,
And listning Trees their rootes Stations leave;
Themselves transplanting, all around they grow,
And various Shades their various Kinds bestow.
Here, tall Chaönian Oaks their Branches spread,
While weeping Poplars, there erect their Head.
The foodful Esculus, here shoots his Leaves,
That Turf soft Lime-tree, this, fat Beach receives;
Here, brittle Hazels, Lawrels here advance,
And there tough Ash to form the Heroe's Lance;
Here, Silver Firs with knotless Trunks ascend,
There, Scarlet Oaks beneath their Acorns bend.
That Spot admits the hospitable Plane,
On this, the Maple grows with clouded Grain;
Here, watry Willows are with Lotus seen,
There, Tamarisk, and Box for ever green.
With double Hue here Mirtles grace the Ground,
And Laurestines with purple Berries crown'd.
With pliant Feet, now, Ivies this way wind,
Vines yonder rise, and Elms with Vines entwin'd.
Wild Ornus now, the Pitch-tree next takes root,
And Arbutus adorn'd with blushing Fruit.
Then, easy-bending Palms, the Victor's Prize,
And Pines erect with bristly Tops arise.
To Rhea grateful still the Pine remains,
For Atys still some Favour she retains,
He once in Human Shape her Breast had warm'd,
And now is cherish'd to a Tree transform'd.

The Fable of CYPARISSUS.

Amid the Throng of this promiscuous Wood,
With pointed Top, the taper Cypress stood;
[Page 337] A Tree, which once a Youth, and heav'nly fair,
Was of that Deity the darling Care,
Whose Hand adapts, with equal Skill, the Strings
To Bows with which he kills, and Harps to which he sings.
For, heretofore, a mighty Stag was bred,
Which on the fertile Fields of Caea fed;
In Shape and Size he all his Kind excell'd,
And to Carthaean Nymphs was sacred held.
His beamy Head, with Branches high display'd,
Afforded to itself an ample Shade;
His Horns were gilt, and his smooth Neck was grac'd
With Silver Collars thick with Gems enchas'd:
A Silver Boss upon his Forehead hung,
And brazen Pendants in his Ear-rings rung.
Frequenting Houses, he familiar grew,
And learnt by Custom, Nature to subdue;
Till by degrees, of Fear and Wildness, broke,
Ev'n Stranger Hands his proffer'd Neck might stroak.
Much was the Beast by Caea's Youth caress'd,
But thou, sweet Cyparissus, lov'dst him best:
By thee, to Pastures fresh, he oft was led,
By thee, oft water'd at the Fountain's Head:
His Horns with Garlands, now, by thee were ty'd,
And, now, thou on his Back wou'dst wanton ride;
Now here, now there wou'dst bound along the Plains,
Ruling his tender Mouth with purple Reins.
'Twas when the Summer Sun at Noon of Day,
Thro' glowing Cancer, shot his burning Ray,
'Twas then, the fav'rite Stag in cool Retreat,
Had sought a Shelter from the scorching Heat;
Along the Grass his weary Limbs he laid,
Inhaling Freshness from the breezy Shade:
[Page 338] When Cyparissus with his pointed Dart,
Unknowing, pierc'd him to the panting Heart.
But when the Youth, surpriz'd, his Error found,
And saw him dying of the cruel Wound,
Himself he would have slain thro' desp'rate Grief;
What said not Phoebus, that might yield Relief!
To cease his Mourning, he the Boy desir'd,
Or mourn no more than such a Loss requir'd.
But, he, incessant griev'd: At length address'd
To the superior Pow'rs a last Request;
Praying, in Expiation of his Crime,
Thenceforth to mourn to all succeeding Time.
And now, of Blood exhausted he appears,
Drain'd by a Torrent of continual Tears;
The fleshy Colour in his Body fades,
And a green Tincture all his Limbs invades;
From his fair Head, where curling Locks late hung,
A horrid Bush with bristled Branches sprung,
Which stiffning by Degrees, its Stem extends,
Till to the starry Skies the Spire ascends.
Apollo sad look'd on, and sighing, cry'd,
Then, be for ever, what thy Pray'r imply'd:
Bemoan'd by me, in others, Grief excite;
And still preside at ev'ry Fun'ral Rite.
Thus the sweet Artist in a wond'rous Shade
Of verdant Trees, which Harmony had made,
Encircled sate, with his own Triumphs crown'd,
Of listning Birds, and Savages around.
Again the trembling Strings he dext'rous tries,
Again from Discord makes soft Musick rise.
[Page 339] Then tunes his Voice: O Muse, from whom I sprung,
Jove be my Theme, and Thou inspire my Song.
To Jove my greteful Voice I oft have rais'd,
Oft his Almighty Pow'r with Pleasure prais'd.
I sung the Giants, in a solemn Strain,
Blasted and Thunder-struck on Phlegra's Plain.
Now be my Lire in softer Accents mov'd,
To sing of blooming Boys, by Gods belov'd;
And to relate what Virgins, void of Shame,
Have suffer'd Vengeance for a lawless Flame.
The King of Gods once felt the burning Joy,
And sigh'd for lovely Ganimede of Troy:
Long was he puzzled to assume a Shape
Most fit and expeditious for the Rape;
A Bird's was proper, yet he scorns to wear
Any but That which might his Thunder bear.
Down with his masquerading Wings he flies,
And bears the little Trojan to the Skies;
Where now, in Robes of heav'nly Purple drest,
He serves the Nectar at th' Almighty's Feast,
To slighted Juno an unwelcome Guest.

HYACINTHUS transform'd into a Flower.

Phoebus for Thee too, Hyacinth, design'd
A Place among the Gods, had Fate been kind:
Yet this he gave; as oft as wintry Rains
Are past, and vernal Breezes sooth the Plains,
From the green Turf a purple Flow'r you rise,
And with your fragrant Breath perfume the Skies.
You when alive were Phoebus' darling Boy;
In you he plac'd his Heav'n, and fix'd his Joy:
[Page 340] Their God the Delphic Priests consult in vain;
Eurotas now he loves, and Sparta's Plain:
His Hands the use of Bow, and Harp forget,
And hold the Dogs, or bear the corded Net;
O'er hanging Cliffs swift he pursues the Game;
Each Hour his Pleasure, each augments his Flame.
The mid-day Sun now shone with equal Light
Between the past, and the succeeding Night;
They strip, then, smooth'd with suppling Oyl, essay
To pitch the rounded Quoit, their wonted Play:
A well-pois'd Disk first hasty Phoebus threw,
It cleft the Air, and whistled as it flew;
It reach'd the Mark, a most surprizing Length;
Which spoke an equal Share of Art, and Strength.
Scarce was it fall'n, when with too eager Hand
Young Hyacinth ran to snatch it from the Sand;
But the curst Orb, which met a stony Soil,
Flew in his Face with violent Recoil.
Both faint, both pale, and breathless now appear,
The Boy with Pain, the am'rous God with Fear.
He ran, and rais'd him bleeding from the Ground,
Chafes his cold Limbs, and wipes the fatal Wound:
Then Herbs of noblest Juice in vain applies;
The Wound is mortal, and his Skill defies.
As in a water'd Garden's blooming Walk,
When some rude Hand has bruis'd its tender Stalk,
A fading Lilly droops its languid Head,
And bends to Earth, its Life and Beauty fled:
So Hyacinth, with Head reclin'd, decays,
And, sick'ning, now no more his Charms displays.
O thou art gone, my Boy, Apollo cry'd,
Defrauded of thy Youth in all its Pride!
[Page 341] Thou, once my Joy, art all my Sorrow now;
And to my guilty Hand my Grief I owe.
Yet from my self I might the Fault remove,
Unless to sport, and play a Fault should prove,
Unless it too were call'd a Fault to love.
Oh cou'd I for thee, or but with thee, dye!
But cruel Fates to me that Pow'r deny.
Yet on my Tongue thou shalt for ever dwell;
Thy Name my Lyre shall sound, my Verse shall tell;
And to a Flow'r transform'd, unheard of yet,
Stamp'd on thy Leaves my Cries thou shalt repeat.
The time shall come, prophetick I foreknow,
When, joyn'd to thee, a mighty * Chief shall grow,
And with my Plaints his Name thy Leaf shall show.
While Phoebus thus the Laws of Fate reveal'd,
Behold, the Blood which stain'd the verdant Field,
Is Blood no longer; but a Flow'r full blown
Far brighter than the Tyrian Scarlet shone.
A Lilly's Form it took; its purple Hue
Was all that made a Diff'rence to the View.
Nor stop'd he here; the God upon its Leaves
The sad Expression of his Sorrow weaves;
And to this Hour the mournful Purple wears
Ai, Ai, inscrib'd in funeral Characters.
Nor are the Spartans, who so much are fam'd
For Virtue, of their Hyacinth asham'd;
But still with pompous Woe and solemn State,
The Hyacinthian Feasts they yearly celebrate.

The Transformations of the CERASTAE, and PROPAETIDES.

Enquire of Amathus, whose wealthy Ground
With Veins of every Metal does abound,
[Page 342] If she to her Propaetides wou'd show
The Honour Sparta does to him allow?
No more, she'd say, such Wretches wou'd we grace,
Than those whose crooked Horns deform'd their Face,
From thence Cerastae call'd; an impious Race:
Before whose Gates a rev'rend Altar stood,
To Jove inscrib'd, the hospitable God:
This had some Stranger seen with Gore besmear'd,
The Blood of Lambs, and Bulls it had appear'd:
Their slaughter'd Guests it was; not Flock nor Herd.
Venus these barb'rous Sacrifices view'd
With just Abhorrence, and with Wrath pursu'd:
At first, to punish such nefarious Crimes,
Their Towns she meant to leave, her once-lov'd Climes.
But why, said she, for their Offence shou'd I
My dear delightful Plains, and Cities fly?
No, let the impious People, who have sinn'd,
A Punishment in Death, or Exile find:
If Death, or Exile too severe be thought,
Let them in some vile Shape bemoan their Fault.
While next her Mind a proper Form employs,
Admonish'd by their Horns, she fix'd her Choice.
Their former Crest remains upon their Heads,
And their strong Limbs an Ox's Shape invades.
The blasphemous Propaetides deny'd
Worship of Venus, and her Pow'r defy'd:
But soon that Pow'r they felt, the first that sold
Their lewd Embraces to the World for Gold.
Unknowing how to blush, and shameless grown,
A small Transition changes 'em to Stone.

The Story of PYGMALION, and the STATUE.

Pygmalion loathing their lascivious Life,
Abhorr'd all Womankind, but most a Wife:
So single chose to live, and shunn'd to wed,
Well pleas'd to want a Consort of his Bed.
Yet fearing Idleness, the Nurse of Ill,
In Sculpture exercis'd his happy Skill;
And carv'd in Iv'ry such a Maid, so fair,
As Nature could not with his Art compare,
Were she to work; but in her own Defence
Must take her Pattern here, and copy hence.
Pleas'd with his Idol, he commends, admires,
Adores; and last, the Thing ador'd, desires.
A very Virgin in her Face was seen,
And had she mov'd, a living Maid had been:
One wou'd have thought she cou'd have stirr'd, but strove
With Modesty, and was asham'd to move.
Art hid with Art, so well perform'd the Cheat,
It caught the Carver with his own Deceit:
He knows 'tis Madness, yet he must adore,
And still the more he knows it, loves the more:
The Flesh, or what so seems, he touches oft,
Which feels so smooth, that he believes it soft.
Fir'd with this Thought, at once he strain'd the Breast,
And on the Lips a burning Kiss impress'd.
'Tis true, the harden'd Breast resists the Gripe,
And the cold Lips return a Kiss unripe:
But when, retiring back, he look'd again,
To think it Iv'ry, was a Thought too mean:
[Page 344] So wou'd believe she kiss'd, and courting more,
Again embrac'd her naked Body o'er;
And straining hard the Statue, was afraid
His Hands had made a Dint, and hurt his Maid:
Explor'd her Limb by Limb, and fear'd to find
So rude a Gripe had left a livid Mark behind:
With Flatt'ry now he seeks her Mind to move,
And now with Gifts, (the pow'rful Bribes of Love:)
He furnishes her Closet first; and fills
The crowded Shelves with Rarities of Shells;
Adds Orient Pearls, which from the Conchs he drew,
And all the sparkling Stones of various Hue:
And Parrots, imitating Human Tongue,
And Singing-birds in Silver Cages hung;
And ev'ry fragrant Flow'r, and od'rous Green
Were sorted well, with Lumps of Amber laid between:
Rich fashionable Robes her Person deck,
Pendants her Ears, and Pearls adorn her Neck:
Her taper'd Fingers too with Rings are grac'd,
And an embroider'd Zone surrounds her slender Waste.
Thus like a Queen array'd, so richly dress'd,
Beauteous she shew'd, but naked shew'd the best.
Then, from the Floor, he rais'd a Royal Bed,
With Cov'rings of Sydonian Purple spread:
The solemn Rites perform'd, he calls her Bride,
With Blandishments invites her to his Side;
And as she were with vital Sense possess'd,
Her Head did on a plumy Pillow rest.
The Feast of Venus came, a solemn Day,
To which the Cypriots due Devotion pay;
With gilded Horns the Milk-white Heifers led,
Slaughter'd before the sacred Altars, bled:
[Page 345] Pygmalion off'ring, first, approach'd the Shrine,
And then with Pray'rs implor'd the Pow'rs Divine;
Almighty Gods, if all we Mortals want,
If all we can require, be yours to grant;
Make this fair Statue mine, he wou'd have said,
But chang'd his Words for Shame; and only pray'd,
Give me the Likeness of my Iv'ry Maid.
The Golden Goddess, present at the Pray'r,
Well knew he meant th' inanimated Fair,
And gave the Sign of granting his Desire;
For thrice in chearful Flames ascends the Fire.
The Youth, returning to his Mistress, hies,
And impudent in Hope, with ardent Eyes,
And beating Breast, by the dear Statue lies.
He kisses her white Lips, renews the Bliss,
And looks, and thinks they redden at the Kiss;
He thought them warm before: Nor longer stays,
But next his Hand on her hard Bosom lays:
Hard as it was, beginning to relent,
It seem'd, the Breast beneath his Fingers bent;
He felt again, his Fingers made a Print,
'Twas Flesh, but Flesh so firm, it rose against the Dint:
The pleasing Task he fails not to renew;
Soft, and more soft at ev'ry Touch it grew;
Like pliant Wax, when chafing Hands reduce
The former Mass to Form, and frame for Use.
He would believe, but yet is still in Pain,
And tries his Argument of Sense again,
Presses the Pulse, and feels the leaping Vein.
Convinc'd, o'erjoy'd, his studied Thanks, and Praise,
To her who made the Miracle he pays:
[Page 346] Then Lips to Lips he join'd; now freed from Fear,
He found the Savour of the Kiss sincere:
At this the waken'd Image op'd her Eyes,
And view'd at once the Light, and Lover with Surprize.
The Goddess present at the Match she made,
So bless'd the Bed, such Fruitfulness convey'd,
That e're ten Months had sharpen'd either Horn,
To crown their Bliss, a lovely Boy was born;
Paphos his Name, who grown to Manhood, wall'd
The City Paphos, from the Founder call'd.

The Story of CINYRAS, and MYRRHA.

Nor him alone produc'd the fruitful Queen;
But Cinyras, who like his Sire had been
A happy Prince, had he not been a Sire.
Daughters, and Fathers from my Song retire;
I sing of Horror; and, could I prevail,
You shou'd not hear, or not believe my Tale.
Yet if the Pleasure of my Song be such,
That you will hear, and credit me too much,
Attentive listen to the last Event,
And with the Sin believe the Punishment:
Since Nature cou'd behold so dire a Crime,
I gratulate at least my Native Clime,
That such a Land, which such a Monster bore,
So far is distant from our Thracian Shore.
Let Araby extol her happy Coast,
Her Cinamon, and sweet Amomum boast,
Her fragrant Flow'rs, her Trees with precious Tears,
Her second Harvests, and her double Years;
How can the Land be call'd so bless'd that Myrrha bears?
[Page 347] Nor all her od'rous Tears can cleanse her Crime,
Her Plant alone deforms the happy Clime:
Cupid denies to have inflam'd thy Heart,
Disowns thy Love, and vindicates his Dart:
Some Fury gave thee those infernal Pains,
And shot her venom'd Vipers in thy Veins.
To hate thy Sire, had merited a Curse;
But such an impious Love deserv'd a worse.
The neighb'ring Monarchs, by thy Beauty led,
Contend in Crowds, ambitious of thy Bed:
The World is at thy Choice; except but one,
Except but him, thou canst not chuse, alone.
She knew it too, the miserable Maid,
E're impious Love her better Thoughts betray'd,
And thus within her secret Soul she said:
Ah Myrrha! whither wou'd thy Wishes tend?
Ye Gods, ye sacred Laws, my Soul defend
From such a Crime as all Mankind detest,
And never lodg'd before in Human Breast!
But is it Sin? Or makes my Mind alone
Th' imagin'd Sin? For Nature makes it none.
What Tyrant then these envious Laws began,
Made not for any other Beast, but Man!
The Father-Bull his Daughter may bestride,
The Horse may make his Mother-Mare a Bride;
What Piety forbids the lusty Ram,
Or more salacious Goat, to rut their Dam?
The Hen is free to wed the Chick she bore,
And make a Husband, whom she hatch'd before.
All Creatures else are of a happier Kind,
Whom nor ill-natur'd Laws from Pleasure bind,
Nor Thoughts of Sin disturb their Peace of Mind.
[Page 348] But Man a Slave of his own making lives;
The Fool denies himself what Nature gives:
Too busie Senates, with an Over-care
To make us better than our Kind can bear,
Have dash'd a Spice of Envy in the Laws,
And straining up too high, have spoil'd the Cause.
Yet some wise Nations break their cruel Chains,
And own no Laws, but those which Love ordains;
Where happy Daughters with their Sires are join'd,
And Piety is doubly paid in Kind.
O that I had been born in such a Clime,
Not here, where 'tis the Country makes the Crime!
But whither wou'd my impious Fancy stray?
Hence Hopes, and ye forbidden Thoughts away!
His Worth deserves to kindle my Desires,
But with the Love, that Daughters bear to Sires.
Then had not Cinyras my Father been,
What hinder'd Myrrha's Hopes to be his Queen?
But the Perverseness of my Fate is such,
That he's not mine, because he's mine too much:
Our Kindred-Blood debars a better Tie;
He might be nearer, were he not so nigh.
Eyes, and their Objects never must unite,
Some Distance is requir'd to help the Sight:
Fain wou'd I travel to some foreign Shore,
Never to see my Native Country more,
So might I to my self my self restore;
So might my Mind these impious Thoughts remove,
And ceasing to behold, might cease to love.
But stay I must, to feed my famish'd Sight,
To talk, to kiss, and more, if more I might:
[Page 349] More, impious Maid! What more canst thou design,
To make a monstrous Mixture in thy Line,
And break all Statutes Human and Divine?
Can'st thou be call'd (to save thy wretched Life)
Thy Mother's Rival, and thy Father's Wife?
Confound so many sacred Names in one,
Thy Brother's Mother! Sister to thy Son!
And fear'st thou not to see th'Infernal Bands,
Their Heads with Snakes, with Torches arm'd their Hands;
Full at thy Face th'avenging Brands to bear,
And shake the Serpents from their hissing Hair?
But thou in time th'increasing Ill controul,
Nor first debauch the Body by the Soul;
Secure the sacred Quiet of thy Mind,
And keep the Sanctions Nature has design'd.
Suppose I shou'd attempt, th'Attempt were vain,
No Thoughts like mine, his sinless Soul profane:
Observant of the Right; and O that he
Cou'd cure my Madness, or be mad like me!
Thus she: But Cinyras, who daily sees
A Crowd of noble Suitors at his Knees,
Among so many, knew not whom to chuse,
Irresolute to grant, or to refuse.
But having told their Names, enquir'd of her
Who pleas'd her best, and whom she would prefer.
The blushing Maid stood silent with Surprize,
And on her Father fix'd her ardent Eyes,
And looking sigh'd, and as she sigh'd, began
Round Tears to shed, that scalded as they ran.
The tender Sire, who saw her blush, and cry,
Ascrib'd it all to Maiden Modesty,
[Page 350] And dry'd the falling Drops, and yet more kind,
He stroak'd her Cheeks, and holy Kisses join'd.
She felt a secret Venom fire her Blood,
And found more Pleasure, than a Daughter shou'd;
And ask'd again what Lover of the Crew
She lik'd the best, she answer'd, One like you.
Mistaking what she meant, her pious Will
He prais'd, and bad her so continue still:
The Word of Pious heard, she blush'd with Shame
Of secret Guilt, and cou'd not bear the Name.
'Twas now the Mid of Night, when Slumbers close
Our Eyes, and sooth our Cares with soft Repose;
But no Repose cou'd wretched Myrrha find,
Her Body rouling, as she roul'd her Mind:
Mad with Desire, she ruminates her Sin,
And wishes all her Wishes o'er again:
Now she despairs, and now resolves to try;
Wou'd not, and wou'd again, she knows not why;
Stops, and returns, makes and retracts the Vow;
Fain wou'd begin, but understands not how.
As when a Pine is hew'd upon the Plains,
And the last mortal Stroke alone remains,
Lab'ring in Pangs of Death, and threatning all,
This way, and that she nods, consid'ring where to fall:
So Myrrha's Mind, impell'd on either Side,
Takes ev'ry Bent, but cannot long abide;
Irresolute on which she shou'd relie,
At last, unfix'd in all, is only fix'd to die.
On that sad Thought she rests, resolv'd on Death,
She rises, and prepares to choak her Breath:
Then while about the Beam her Zone she ties,
Dear Cinyras farewell, she softly cries;
[Page 351] For thee I die, and only wish to be
Not hated, when thou know'st I die for thee:
Pardon the Crime, in Pity to the Cause:
This said, about her Neck the Noose she draws,
The Nurse, who lay without, her faithful Guard,
Though not the Words, the Murmurs over-heard,
And Sighs, and hollow Sounds: Surpriz'd with Fright,
She starts, and leaves her Bed, and springs a Light;
Unlocks the Door, and entring out of Breath,
The Dying saw, and Instruments of Death;
She shrieks, she cuts the Zone with trembling Haste,
And in her Arms her fainting Charge embrac'd:
Next, (for she now had Leisure for her Tears)
She weeping ask'd, in these her blooming Years,
What unforeseen Misfortune caus'd her Care,
To loath her Life, and languish in Despair!
The Maid, with down-cast Eyes, and mute with Grief
For Death unfinish'd, and ill-tim'd Relief,
Stood sullen to her Suit: The Beldame press'd
The more to know, and bar'd her wither'd Breast,
Adjur'd her by the kindly Food she drew
From those dry Founts, her secret Ill to shew.
Sad Myrrha sigh'd, and turn'd her Eyes aside;
The Nurse still urg'd, and wou'd not be deny'd:
Nor only promis'd Secresie, but pray'd
She might have Leave to give her offer'd Aid.
Good-will, she said, my want of Strength supplies,
And Diligence shall give what Age denies:
If strong Desires thy Mind to Fury move,
With Charms, and Med'cines I can cure thy Love:
If envious Eyes their hurtful Rays have cast,
More pow'rful Verse shall free thee from the Blast:
[Page 352] If Heav'n offended sends thee this Disease,
Offended Heav'n with Pray'rs we can appease.
What then remains, that can these Cares procure?
Thy House is flourishing, thy Fortune sure:
Thy careful Mother yet in Health survives,
And, to thy Comfort, thy kind Father lives.
The Virgin started at her Father's Name,
And sigh'd profoundly, conscious of the Shame:
Nor yet the Nurse her impious Love divin'd,
But yet surmis'd that Love disturb'd her Mind:
Thus thinking, she pursu'd her Point, and laid,
And lull'd within her Lap the mourning Maid;
Then softly sooth'd her thus; I guess your Grief:
You love, my Child; your Love shall find Relief.
My long-experienc'd Age shall be your Guide;
Rely on that, and lay Distrust aside:
No Breath of Air shall on the Secret blow,
Nor shall (what most you fear) your Father know.
Struck once again, as with a Thunder-clap,
The guilty Virgin bounded from her Lap,
And threw her Body prostrate on the Bed,
And, to conceal her Blushes, hid her Head;
There silent lay, and warn'd her with her Hand
To go: But she receiv'd not the Command;
Remaining still importunate to know:
Then Myrrha thus; Or ask no more, or go:
I prithee go, or staying spare my Shame;
What thou would'st hear, is impious ev'n to name.
At this, on high the Beldame holds her Hands,
And trembling both with Age, and Terror stands;
Adjures, and falling at her Feet intreats,
Sooths her with Blandishments, and frights with Threats,
[Page 353] To tell the Crime intended, or disclose
What Part of it she knew, if she no farther knows.
And last; if conscious to her Counsel made,
Confirms anew the Promise of her Aid.
Now Myrrha rais'd her Head; but soon oppress'd
With Shame, reclin'd it on her Nurse's Breast;
Bath'd it with Tears, and strove to have confess'd:
Twice she began, and stopp'd; again she try'd;
The falt'ring Tongue its Office still deny'd.
At last her Veil before her Face she spread,
And drew a long preluding Sigh, and said,
O happy Mother, in thy Marriage-bed!
Then groan'd, and ceas'd. The good old Woman shook,
Stiff were her Eyes, and ghastly was her Look:
Her hoary Hair upright with Horror stood,
Made (to her Grief) more knowing than she wou'd.
Much she reproach'd, and many things she said,
To cure the Madness of th'unhappy Maid,
In vain: For Myrrha stood convict of Ill;
Her Reason vanquish'd, but unchang'd her Will:
Perverse of Mind, unable to reply;
She stood resolv'd, or to possess or die.
At length the Fondness of a Nurse prevail'd.
Against her better Sense, and Virtue fail'd:
Enjoy, my Child, since such is thy Desire,
Thy Love, she said; she durst not say, thy Sire:
Live, though unhappy, live on any Terms;
Then with a second Oath her Faith confirms.
The solemn Feast of Ceres now was near,
When long white Linnen Stoles the Matrons wear;
Rank'd in Procession walk the pious Train,
Off'ring First-fruits, and Spikes of yellow Grain:
[Page 354] For nine long Nights the Nuptial-Bed they shun,
And sanctifying Harvest, lie alone.
Mix'd with the Crowd, the Queen forsook her Lord,
And Ceres' Pow'r with secret Rites ador'd:
The Royal Couch, now vacant for a Time,
The crafty Crone, officious in her Crime,
The first Occasion took: The King she found
Easie with Wine, and deep in Pleasures drown'd,
Prepar'd for Love: The Beldame blew the Flame,
Confess'd the Passion, but conceal'd the Name.
Her Form she prais'd; the Monarch ask'd her Years;
And she reply'd, The same thy Myrrha bears.
Wine and commended Beauty fir'd his Thought;
Impatient, he commands her to be brought.
Pleas'd with her Charge perform'd, she hies her home,
And gratulates the Nymph, the Task was overcome.
Myrrha was joy'd the welcome News to hear;
But clogg'd with Guilt, the Joy was unsincere:
So various, so discordant is the Mind,
That in our Will a diff'rent Will we find.
Ill she presag'd, and yet pursu'd her Lust;
For guilty Pleasures give a double Gust.
'Twas Depth of Night: Arctophylax had driv'n
His lazy Wain half round the Northern Heav'n,
When Myrrha hasten'd to the Crime desir'd:
The Moon beheld her first, and first retir'd:
The Stars amaz'd, ran backward from the Sight,
And (shrunk within their Sockets) lost their Light.
Icarius first withdraws his holy Flame:
The Virgin Sign, in Heav'n the second Name,
Slides down the Belt, and from her Station flies,
And Night with sable Clouds involves the Skies.
[Page 355] Bold Myrrha still pursues her black Intent;
She stumbled thrice, (an Omen of th'Event;)
Thrice shriek'd the Fun'ral Owl, yet on she went,
Secure of Shame, because secure of Sight;
Ev'n bashful Sins are impudent by Night.
Link'd Hand in Hand, th'Accomplice, and the Dame,
Their Way exploring, to the Chamber came:
The Door was ope, they blindly grope their Way,
Where dark in Bed th'expecting Monarch lay.
Thus far her Courage held, but here forsakes;
Her faint Knees knock at ev'ry Step she makes.
The nearer to her Crime, the more within
She feels Remorse, and Horror of her Sin;
Repents too late her criminal Desire,
And wishes, that unknown she cou'd retire.
Her, lingring thus, the Nurse (who fear'd Delay
The fatal Secret might at length betray)
Pull'd forward, to compleat the Work begun,
And said to Cinyras, Receive thy own.
Thus saying, she deliver'd Kind to Kind,
Accurs'd, and their devoted Bodies join'd.
The Sire, unknowing of the Crime, admits
His Bowels, and profanes the hallow'd Sheets;
He found she trembled, but believ'd she strove
With Maiden Modesty, against her Love,
And sought with flatt'ring Words vain Fancies to remove.
Perhaps he said, My Daughter, cease thy Fears,
(Because the Title suited with her Years;)
And Father, she might whisper him again,
That Names might not be wanting to the Sin.
Full of her Sire, she left th' incestuous Bed,
And carry'd in her Womb the Crime she bred.
[Page 356] Another, and another Night she came;
For frequent Sin had left no Sense of Shame:
Till Cinyras desir'd to see her Face,
Whose Body he had held in close Embrace,
And brought a Taper; the Revealer, Light,
Expos'd both Crime, and Criminal to Sight.
Grief, Rage, Amazement, cou'd no Speech afford,
But from the Sheath he drew th' avenging Sword:
The Guilty fled: The Benefit of Night,
That favour'd first the Sin, secur'd the Flight.
Long wandring thro' the spacious Fields, she bent
Her Voyage to th'Arabian Continent;
Then pass'd the Region which Panchaea join'd,
And flying, left the palmy Plains behind.
Nine times the Moon had mew'd her Horns; at length
With Travel weary, unsupply'd with Strength,
And with the Burden of her Womb oppress'd,
Sabaean Fields afford her needful Rest:
There, loathing Life, and yet of Death afraid,
In Anguish of her Spirit, thus she pray'd.
Ye Pow'rs, if any so propitious are
T'accept my Penitence, and hear my Pray'r;
Your Judgments, I confess, are justly sent;
Great Sins deserve as great a Punishment:
Yet since my Life the Living will profane,
And since my Death the happy Dead will stain,
A middle State your Mercy may bestow,
Betwixt the Realms above, and those below:
Some other Form to wretched Myrrha give,
Nor let her wholly die, nor wholly live.
The Pray'rs of Penitents are never vain;
At least, she did her last Request obtain:
[Page 357] For while she spoke, the Ground began to rise,
And gather'd round her Feet, her Legs, and Thighs;
Her Toes in Roots descend, and spreading wide,
A firm Foundation for the Trunk provide:
Her solid Bones convert to solid Wood,
To Pith her Marrow, and to Sap her Blood:
Her Arms are Boughs, her Fingers change their Kind,
Her tender Skin is harden'd into Rind.
And now the rising Tree her Womb invests,
Now, shooting upwards still, invades her Breasts,
And shades the Neck; when, weary with Delay,
She sunk her Head within, and met it half the way.
And though with outward Shape she lost her Sense,
With bitter Tears she wept her last Offence;
And still she weeps; nor sheds her Tears in vain;
For still the precious Drops her Name retain.
Mean time the mis-begotten Infant grows,
And, ripe for Birth, distends with deadly Throws
The swelling Rind, with unavailing Strife,
To leave the wooden Womb, and pushes into Life.
The Mother-Tree, as if oppress'd with Pain,
Writhes here, and there, to break the Bark, in vain;
And, like a lab'ring Woman, wou'd have pray'd,
But wants a Voice to call Lucina's Aid:
The bending Bole sends out a hollow Sound,
And trickling Tears fall thicker on the Ground.
The mild Lucina came uncall'd, and stood
Beside the strugling Boughs, and heard the groaning Wood:
Then reach'd her Midwife-Hand to speed the Throws,
And spoke the pow'rful Spells that Babes to Birth disclose.
The Bark divides, the living Load to free,
And safe delivers the Convulsive Tree.
[Page 358] The ready Nymphs receive the crying Child,
And wash him in the Tears the Parent-Plant distill'd.
They swath'd him with their Scarfs; beneath him spread
The Ground with Herbs; with Roses rais'd his Head.
The lovely Babe was born with ev'ry Grace,
Ev'n Envy must have prais'd so fair a Face:
Such was his Form, as Painters when they show
Their utmost Art, on naked Loves bestow:
And that their Arms no Diff'rence might betray,
Give him a Bow, or his from Cupid take away.
Time glides along with undiscover'd Haste,
The Future but a Length behind the Past;
So swift are Years. The Babe whom just before
His Grandsire got, and whom his Sister bore;
The Drop, the Thing, which late the Tree inclos'd,
And late the yawning Bark to Life expos'd;
A Babe, a Boy, a beauteous Youth appears,
And lovelier than himself at riper Years.
Now to the Queen of Love he gave Desires,
And, with her Pains, reveng'd his Mother's Fires.

The Story of VENUS, and ADONIS.

For Cytherëa's Lips while Cupid prest,
He with a heedless Arrow raz'd her Breast.
The Goddess felt it, and with Fury stung,
The wanton Mischief from her Bosom flung:
Yet thought at first the Danger slight, but found
The Dart too faithful, and too deep the Wound.
Fir'd with a mortal Beauty, she disdains
To haunt th' Idalian Mount, or Phrygian Plains.
[Page 359] She seeks not Cnidos, nor her Paphian Shrines,
Nor Amathus, that teems with brazen Mines:
Ev'n Heav'n it self with all its Sweets unsought,
Adonis far a sweeter Heav'n is thought.
On him she hangs, and fonds with ev'ry Art,
And never, never knows from him to part.
She, whose soft Limbs had only been display'd
On rosie Beds beneath the Myrtle Shade,
Whose pleasing Care was to improve each Grace,
And add more Charms to an unrival'd Face,
Now buskin'd, like the Virgin Huntress, goes
Thro' Woods, and pathless Wilds, and Mountain-Snows.
With her own tuneful Voice she joys to cheer
The panting Hounds, that chace the flying Deer.
She runs the Labyrinths of fearful Hares,
But fearless Beasts, and dang'rous Prey forbears:
Hunts not the grinning Wolf, or foamy Boar,
And trembles at the Lion's hungry Roar.
Thee too, Adonis, with a Lover's Care
She warns, if warn'd thou would'st avoid the Snare.
To furious Animals advance not nigh,
Fly those that follow, follow those that fly;
'Tis Chance alone must the Survivers save,
Whene'er brave Spirits will attempt the Brave.
O! lovely Youth! in harmless Sports delight;
Provoke not Beasts, which, arm'd by Nature, fight.
For me, if not thy self, vouchsafe to fear;
Let not thy Thirst of Glory cost me dear.
Boars know not how to spare a blooming Age;
No sparkling Eyes can sooth the Lion's Rage.
Not all thy Charms a savage Breast can move,
Which have so deeply touch'd the Queen of Love.
[Page 360] When bristled Boars from beaten Thickets spring,
In grinded Tusks a Thunderbolt they bring.
The daring Hunters Lions rouz'd devour,
Vast is their Fury, and as vast their Pow'r:
Curst be their tawny Race! If thou would'st hear
What kindled thus my Hate; then lend an Ear:
The wond'rous Tale I will to thee unfold,
How the fell Monsters rose from Crimes of old.
But by long Toils I faint: See! wide-display'd,
A grateful Poplar courts us with a Shade.
The grassy Turf, beneath, so verdant shows,
We may secure delightfully repose.
With her Adonis here be Venus blest,
And swift at once the Grass, and him she prest.
Then sweetly smiling, with a raptur'd Mind,
On his lov'd Bosom she her Head reclin'd,
And thus began; but mindful still of Bliss,
Seal'd the soft Accents with a softer Kiss.
Perhaps thou may'st have heard a Virgin's Name,
Who still in Swiftness swiftest Youths o'ercame.
Wond'rous! that female Weakness should out-do
A manly Strength; the Wonder yet is true.
'Twas doubtful, if her Triumphs in the Field
Did to her Form's triumphant Glories yield;
Whether her Face could with more Ease decoy
A Crowd of Lovers, or her Feet destroy.
For once Apollo she implor'd to show
If courteous Fates a Consort would allow:
A Consort brings thy Ruin, he reply'd;
Oh! learn to want the Pleasures of a Bride!
Nor shalt thou want them to thy wretched Cost,
And Atalanta living shall be lost.
[Page 361] With such a rueful Fate th'affrighted Maid
Sought green Recesses in the wood-land Glade.
Not sighing Suiters her Resolves could move,
She bad them show their Speed to show their Love.
He only, who could conquer in the Race,
Might hope the conquer'd Virgin to embrace;
While he, whose tardy Feet had lagg'd behind,
Was doom'd the sad Reward of Death to find.
Tho' great the Prize, yet rigid the Decree,
But blind with Beauty, who can Rigour see?
Ev'n on these Laws the Fair they rashly sought,
And Danger in Excess of Love forgot.
There sate Hippomenes, prepar'd to blame
In Lovers such Extravagance of Flame.
And must, he said, the Blessing of a Wife
Be dearly purchas'd by a Risk of Life?
But when he saw the Wonders of her Face,
And her Limbs naked, springing to the Race,
Her Limbs, as exquisitely turn'd, as mine,
Or if a Woman thou, might vie with thine,
With lifted Hands, he cry'd, forgive the Tongue
Which durst, ye Youths, your well-tim'd Courage wrong.
I knew not, that the Nymph, for whom you strove,
Deserv'd th'unbounded Transports of your Love.
He saw, admir'd, and thus her spotless Frame
He prais'd, and praising, kindled his own Flame.
A Rival now to all the Youths, who run,
Envious he fears, they should not be undone.
But why (reflects he) idly thus is shown
The Fate of others, yet untry'd my own?
The Coward must not on Love's Aid depend;
The God was ever to the Bold a Friend.
[Page 362] Mean time the Virgin flies, or seems to fly,
Swift as a Scythian Arrow cleaves the Sky:
Still more, and more the Youth her Charms admires,
The Race it self t' exalt her Charms conspires.
The golden Pinions, which her Feet adorn,
In wanton Flutt'rings by the Winds are born.
Down from her Head the long, fair Tresses flow,
And sport with lovely Negligence below.
The waving Ribbands, which her Buskins tie,
Her snowy Skin with waving Purple die;
As crimson Veils, in Palaces display'd,
To the white Marble lend a blushing Shade.
Nor long he gaz'd, yet while he gaz'd, she gain'd
The Goal, and the victorious Wreath obtain'd.
The Vanquish'd sigh, and as the Law decreed,
Pay the dire Forfeit, and prepare to bleed.
Then rose Hippomenes, not yet afraid,
And fix'd his Eyes full on the beauteous Maid.
Where is (he cry'd) the mighty Conquest won,
To distance those, who want the Nerves to run?
Here prove superior Strength, nor shall it be
Thy Loss of Glory, if excell'd by me.
High my Descent, near Neptune I aspire,
For Neptune was Grand-Parent to my Sire.
From that great God the fourth my self I trace,
Nor sink my Virtues yet beneath my Race.
Thou from Hippomenes, o'er-come, may'st claim
An envy'd Triumph, and a deathless Fame.
While thus the Youth the Virgin's Pow'r defies,
Silent she views him still with softer Eyes.
Thoughts in her Breast a doubtful Strife begin,
If 'tis not happier now to lose, than win.
[Page 363] What God, a Foe to Beauty, would destroy
The promis'd Ripeness of this blooming Boy?
With his Life's Danger does he seek my Bed?
Scarce am I half so greatly Worth, she said.
Nor has his Beauty mov'd my Breast to love,
And yet, I own, such Beauty well might move:
'Tis not his Charms, 'tis Pity would engage
My Soul to spare the Greeness of his Age.
What, that heroick Courage fires his Breast,
And shines thro' brave Disdain of Fate confest?
What, that his Patronage by close Degrees
Springs from th' imperial Ruler of the Seas?
Then add the Love, which bids him undertake
The Race, and dare to perish for my sake.
Of bloody Nuptials, heedless Youth, beware!
Fly, timely fly from a too barb'rous Fair.
At Pleasure chuse; thy Love will be repaid
By a less foolish, and more beauteous Maid.
But why this Tenderness, before unknown?
Why beats, and pants my Breast for him alone?
His Eyes have seen his num'rous Rivals yield,
Let him too share the Rigour of the Field,
Since by their Fates untaught, his own he courts,
And thus with Ruin insolently sports.
Yet for what Crime shall he his Death receive?
Is it a Crime with me to wish to live?
Shall his kind Passion his Destruction prove?
Is this the fatal Recompence of Love?
So fair a Youth, destroy'd, would Conquest shame,
And Nymphs eternally detest my Fame.
Still why should Nymphs my guiltless Fame upbraid?
Did I the fond Adventurer perswade?
[Page 364] Alas! I wish thou would'st the Course decline,
Or that my Swiftness was excell'd by thine.
See! what a Virgin's Bloom adorns the Boy!
Why wilt thou run? and why thy self destroy?
Hippomenes! O that I ne'er had been
By those bright Eyes unfortunately seen!
Ah! tempt not thus a swift, untimely Fate;
Thy Life is worthy of the longest Date.
Were I less wretched, did the galling Chain
Of rigid Gods not my free Choice restrain,
By thee alone I could with Joy be led
To taste the Raptures of a Nuptial Bed.
Thus she disclos'd the Woman's secret Heart,
Young, innocent, and new to Cupid's Dart.
Her Thoughts, her Words, her Actions wildly rove,
With Love she burns, yet knows not that 'tis Love.
Her Royal Sire now with the murm'ring Crowd
Demands the Race impatiently aloud.
Hippomenes then with true Fervour pray'd,
My bold Attempt let Venus kindly aid.
By her sweet Pow'r I felt this am'rous Fire,
Still may she succour, whom she did inspire.
A soft, unenvious Wind, with speedy Care,
Wafted to Heav'n the Lover's tender Pray'r.
Pity, I own, soon gain'd the wish'd Consent,
And all th' Assistance he implor'd I lent.
The Cyprian Lands, tho' rich, in Richness yield
To that, surnam'd the Tamasenian Field.
That Field of old was added to my Shrine,
And its choice Products consecrated mine.
A Tree there stands, full glorious to behold,
Gold are the Leafs, the crackling Branches Gold.
[Page 365] It chanc'd, three Apples in my Hands I bore,
Which newly from the Tree I sportive tore;
Seen by the Youth alone, to him I brought
The Fruit, and when, and how to use it, taught.
The Signal sounding by the King's Command,
Both start at once, and sweep th'unprinted Sand.
So swiftly move their Feet, they might with Ease,
Scarce moisten'd, skim along the glassie Seas;
Or with a wond'rous Levity be born
O'er yellow Harvests of unbending Corn.
Now fav'ring Peals resound from ev'ry Part,
Spirit the Youth, and fire his fainting Heart.
Hippomenes! (they cry'd) thy Life preserve,
Intensely labour, and stretch ev'ry Nerve.
Base Fear alone can baffle thy Design,
Shoot boldly onward, and the Goal is thine.
'Tis doubtful whether Shouts, like these, convey'd
More Pleasures to the Youth, or to the Maid.
When a long Distance oft she could have gain'd,
She check'd her Swiftness, and her Feet restrain'd:
She sigh'd, and dwelt, and languish'd on his Face,
Then with unwilling Speed pursu'd the Race.
O'er-spent with Heat, his Breath he faintly drew,
Parch'd was his Mouth, nor yet the Goal in view,
And the first Apple on the Plain he threw.
The Nymph stop'd sudden at th'unusual Sight,
Struck with the Fruit so beautifully bright.
Aside she starts, the Wonder to behold,
And eager stoops to catch the rouling Gold.
Th'observant Youth past by, and scour'd along,
While Peals of Joy rung from th' applauding Throng.
[Page 366] Unkindly she corrects the short Delay,
And to redeem the Time fleets swift away,
Swift, as the Light'ning, or the Northern Wind,
And far she leaves the panting Youth behind.
Again he strives the flying Nymph to hold
With the Temptation of the second Gold:
The bright Temptation fruitlesly was tost,
So soon, alas! she won the Distance lost.
Now but a little Interval of Space
Remain'd for the Decision of the Race.
Fair Author of the precious Gift, he said,
Be thou, O Goddess, Author of my Aid!
Then of the shining Fruit the last he drew,
And with his full-collected Vigour threw:
The Virgin still the longer to detain,
Threw not directly, but a-cross the Plain.
She seem'd a-while perplex'd in dubious Thought,
If the far-distant Apple should be sought:
I lur'd her backward Mind to seize the Bait,
And to the massie Gold gave double Weight.
My Favour to my Votary was show'd,
Her Speed I lessen'd, and encreas'd her Load.
But least, tho' long, the rapid Race be run,
Before my longer, tedious Tale is done,
The Youth the Goal, and so the Virgin won.
Might I, Adonis, now not hope to see
His grateful Thanks pour'd out for Victory?
His pious Incense on my Altars laid?
But he nor grateful Thanks, nor Incense paid.
Enrag'd I vow'd, that with the Youth the Fair,
For his Contempt, should my keen Vengeance share;
[Page 367] That future Lovers might my Pow'r revere,
And from their sad Examples learn to fear.
The silent Fanes, the sanctify'd Abodes
Of Cybelé, great Mother of the Gods,
Rais'd by Echion in a lonely Wood,
And full of brown, religious Horror stood.
By a long painful Journey faint, they chose
Their weary Limbs here secret to repose.
But soon my Pow'r inflam'd the lustful Boy,
Careless of Rest he sought untimely Joy.
A hallow'd, gloomy Cave, with Moss o'er-grown,
The Temple joyn'd, of native Pumice-stone,
Where antique Images by Priests were kept,
And wooden Deities securely slept.
Thither the rash Hippomenes retires,
And gives a Loose to all his wild Desires,
And the chaste Cell pollutes with wanton Fires.
The sacred Statues trembled with Surprize,
The tow'ry Goddess, blushing, veil'd her Eyes;
And the lewd Pair to Stygian Sounds had sent,
But unrevengeful seem'd that Punishment.
A heavier Doom such black Prophaneness draws,
Their taper Fingers turn to crooked Paws.
No more their Necks the Smoothness can retain,
Now cover'd sudden with a yellow Mane.
Arms change to Legs: Each finds the hard'ning Breast
Of Rage unknown, and wond'rous Strength possest.
Their alter'd Looks with Fury grim appear,
And on the Ground their brushing Tails they hear.
They haunt the Woods: Their Voices, which before
Were musically sweet, now hoarsly roar.
[Page 368] Hence Lions, dreadful to the lab'ring Swains,
Are tam'd by Cybelé, and curb'd with Reins,
And humbly draw her Car along the Plains.
But thou, Adonis, my delightful Care,
Of these, and Beasts, as fierce as these, beware!
The Savage, which not shuns thee, timely shun,
For by rash Prowess should'st thou be undone,
A double Ruin is contain'd in one.
Thus cautious Venus school'd her fav'rite Boy,
But youthful Heat all Cautions will destroy.
His sprightly Soul beyond grave Counsels flies,
While with yok'd Swans the Goddess cuts the Skies.
His faithful Hounds, led by the tainted Wind,
Lodg'd in thick Coverts chanc'd a Boar to find.
The callow Hero show'd a manly Heart,
And pierc'd the Savage with a side-long Dart.
The flying Savage, wounded, turn'd again,
Wrench'd out the gory Dart, and foam'd with Pain.
The trembling Boy by Flight his Safety sought,
And now recall'd the Lore, which Venus taught:
But now too late to fly the Boar he strove,
Who in the Groin his Tusks impetuous drove▪
On the discolour'd Grass Adonis lay,
The Monster trampling o'er his beauteous Prey.
Fair Cytherëa, Cyprus scarce in view,
Hear'd from afar his Groans, and own'd them true,
And turn'd her snowy Swans, and backward flew.
But as she saw him gasp his latest Breath,
And quiv'ring agonize in Pangs of Death,
Down with swift Flight she plung'd, nor Rage forbore,
At once her Garments, and her Hair she tore.
[Page 369] With cruel Blows she beat her guiltless Breast,
The Fates upbraided, and her Love confest.
Nor shall they yet (she cry'd) the Whole devour
With uncontroul'd, inexorable Pow'r:
For thee, lost Youth, my Tears and restless Pain
Shall in immortal Monuments remain.
With solemn Pomp in annual Rites return'd,
Be thou for ever, my Adonis, mourn'd.
Could Pluto's Queen with jealous Fury storm,
And Menthé to a fragrant Herb transform?
Yet dares not Venus with a Change surprise,
And in a Flow'r bid her fall'n Hero rise?
Then on the Blood sweet Nectar she bestows,
The scented Blood in little Bubbles rose:
Little, as rainy Drops, which flutt'ring fly,
Born by the Winds, along a low'ring Sky.
Short time ensu'd, till where the Blood was shed,
A Flow'r began to rear its purple Head:
Such, as on Punick Apples is reveal'd,
Or in the filmy Rind but half conceal'd.
Still here the Fate of lovely Forms we see,
So sudden fades the sweet Anemonè.
The feeble Stems, to stormy Blasts a Prey,
Their sickly Beauties droop, and pine away.
The Winds forbid the Flow'rs to flourish long,
Which owe to Winds their Names in Greecian Song.
The End of the Tenth Book.
To the Rt. Honble. ye Viscountess Townshe [...]


The Death of ORPHEUS.

HERE, while the Thracian Bard's enchanting Strain
Sooths Beasts, and Woods, and all the list'ning Plain,
The Female Bacchanals, devoutly mad,
In shaggy Skins, like savage Creatures, clad,
Warbling in Air perceiv'd his lovely Lay,
And from a rising Ground beheld him play.
When one, the wildest, with dishevel'd Hair,
That loosely stream'd, and ruffled in the Air;
Soon as her frantick Eye the Lyrist spy'd,
See, see! the Hater of our Sex, she cry'd.
Then at his Face her missive Javelin sent,
Which whiz'd along, and brusht him as it went;
But the soft Wreaths of Ivy twisted round,
Prevent a deep Impression of the Wound.
[Page 372] Another, for a Weapon, hurls a Stone,
Which, by the Sound subdu'd as soon as thrown,
Falls at his Feet, and with a seeming Sense
Implores his Pardon for its late Offence.
But now their frantick Rage unbounded grows,
Turns all to Madness, and no Measure knows:
Yet this the Charms of Musick might subdue,
But that, with all its Charms, is conquer'd too;
In louder Strains their hideous Yellings rise,
And squeaking Horn-pipes eccho thro' the Skies,
Which, in hoarse Consort with the Drum, confound
The moving Lyre and ev'ry gentle Sound:
Then 'twas the deafen'd Stones flew on with Speed,
And saw, unsooth'd, their tuneful Poet bleed.
The Birds, the Beasts, and all the Savage Crew
Which the sweet Lyrist to Attention drew,
Now, by the Female Mob's more furious Rage,
Are driv'n, and forc'd to quit the shady Stage.
Next their fierce Hands the Bard himself assail,
Nor can his Song against their Wrath prevail:
They flock, like Birds; when, in a clustring Flight,
By Day they chase the boding Fowl of Night.
So, crowded Amphitheatres survey
The Stag to greedy Dogs a future Prey.
Their steely Javelins, which soft Curls entwine
Of budding Tendrils from the leafy Vine,
For sacred Rites of mild Religion made,
Are flung promiscuous at the Poet's Head.
Those Clods of Earth or Flints discharge, and These
Hurl prickly Branches sliver'd from the Trees.
And, lest their Passion shou'd be unsupply'd,
The rabble Crew, by chance, at Distance spy'd
[Page 373] Where Oxen, straining at the heavy Yoke,
The fallow'd Field with slow Advances broke;
Nigh which the brawny Peasants dug the Soil,
Procuring Food with long laborious Toil.
These, when they saw the ranting Throng draw near,
Quitted their Tools, and fled possest with Fear.
Long Spades and Rakes of mighty Size were found,
Carelesly left upon the broken Ground.
With these the furious Lunaticks engage,
And first the lab'ring Oxen feel their Rage;
Then to the Poet they return with Speed,
Whose Fate was, past Prevention, now decreed:
In vain he lifts his suppliant Hands, in vain
He tries, before, his never-failing Strain.
And, from those sacred Lips, whose thrilling Sound
Fierce Tigers and insensate Rocks cou'd wound,
Ah Gods! how moving was the mournful Sight!
To see the fleeting Soul now take its Flight.
Thee the soft Warblers of the feather'd Kind
Bewail'd; for Thee thy savage Audience pin'd;
Those Rocks and Woods that oft thy Strain had led,
Mourn for their Charmer, and lament him dead;
And drooping Trees their leafy Glories shed.
Näids and Dryads with dishevel'd Hair
Promiscuous weep, and Scarfs of Sable wear;
Nor cou'd the River-Gods conceal their Moan,
But with new Floods of Tears augment their own.
His mangled Limbs lay scatter'd all around,
His Head and Harp a better Fortune found;
In Hebrus' Streams they gently roul'd along,
And sooth'd the Waters with a mournful Song.
[Page 374] Soft deadly Notes the lifeless Tongue inspire,
A doleful Tune sounds from the floating Lyre;
The hollow Banks in solemn Consort mourn,
And the sad Strain in ecchoing Groans return.
Now with the Current to the Sea they glide,
Born by the Billows of the briny Tide;
And driv'n where Waves round rocky Lesbos roar,
They strand, and lodge upon Methymna's Shore.
But here, when landed on the foreign Soil,
A venom'd Snake, the Product of the Isle,
Attempts the Head, and sacred Locks embru'd
With clotted Gore, and still fresh-dropping Blood.
Phoebus, at last, his kind Protection gives,
And from the Fact the greedy Monster drives:
Whose marbled Jaws his impious Crime atone,
Still grinning ghastly, tho' transform'd to Stone.
His Ghost flies downward to the Stygian Shore,
And knows the Places it had seen before:
Among the Shadows of the pious Train
He finds Euridicè, and loves again;
With Pleasure views the beauteous Phantom's Charms,
And clasps her in his unsubstantial Arms.
There Side by Side they unmolested walk,
Or pass their blissful Hours in pleasing Talk;
Aft or before the Bard securely goes,
And, without Danger, can review his Spouse.

The THRACIAN Women transform'd to Trees.

Bacchus, resolving to revenge the Wrong,
Of Orpheus murder'd, on the madding Throng,
Decreed that each Accomplice Dame should stand
Fix'd by the Roots along the conscious Land.
[Page 375] Their wicked Feet, that late so nimbly ran
To wreak their Malice on the guiltless Man,
Sudden with twisted Ligatures were bound,
Like Trees, deep planted in the turfy Ground.
And, as the Fowler with his subtle Gins,
His feather'd Captives by the Feet entwines,
That flutt'ring pant and struggle to get loose,
Yet only closer draw the fatal Noose;
So these were caught; and, as they strove in vain
To quit the Place, they but increas'd their Pain.
They flounce and toil, yet find themselves controul'd,
The Root, tho' pliant, toughly keeps its Hold.
In vain their Toes and Feet they look to find,
For ev'n their shapely Legs are cloath'd with Rind.
One smites her Thighs with a lamenting Stroke,
And finds the Flesh transform'd to solid Oak;
Another, with Surprize and Grief distrest,
Lays on above, but beats a wooden Breast.
A rugged Bark their softer Neck invades,
Their branching Arms shoot up delightful Shades;
At once they seem, and are a real Grove,
With mossy Trunks below, and verdant Leaves above.

The Fable of MIDAS.

Nor this suffic'd; the God's Disgust remains,
And he resolves to quit their hated Plains;
The Vineyards of Tymole ingross his Care,
And, with a better Choir, he fixes there;
Where the smooth Streams of clear Pactolus roll'd,
Then undistinguish'd for its Sands of Gold.
The Satyrs with the Nymphs, his usual Throng,
Come to salute their God, and jovial danc'd along.
[Page 376] Silenus only miss'd; for while he reel'd,
Feeble with Age and Wine, about the Field,
The hoary Drunkard had forgot his Way,
And to the Phrygian Clowns became a Prey;
Who to King Midas drag the Captive God,
While on his totty Pate the Wreaths of Ivy nod.
Midas from Orpheus had been taught his Lore,
And knew the Rites of Bacchus long before.
He, when he saw his venerable Guest,
In Honour of the God ordain'd a Feast.
Ten Days in Course, with each continu'd Night,
Were spent in genial Mirth and brisk Delight:
Then on th' Eleventh, when with brighter Ray
Phosphor had chac'd the fading Stars away,
The King thro' Lydia's Fields young Bacchus sought,
And to the God his Foster Father brought.
Pleas'd with the welcome Sight, he bids him soon
But name his Wish, and swears to grant the Boon.
A glorious Offer! yet but ill bestow'd
On him whose Choice so little Judgment show'd.
Give me, says he, (nor thought he ask'd too much)
That with my Body whatsoe'er I touch,
Chang'd from the Nature which it held of old,
May be converted into yellow Gold.
He had his Wish; but yet the God repin'd,
To think the Fool no better Wish could find.
But the brave King departed from the Place,
With Smiles of Gladness sparkling in his Face;
Nor could contain, but, as he took his Way,
Impatient longs to make the first Essay.
Down from a lowly Branch a Twig he drew,
The Twig strait glitter'd with a golden Hue:
[Page 377] He takes a Stone, the Stone was turn'd to Gold;
A Clod he touches, and the crumbling Mold
Acknowledg'd soon the great transforming Pow'r,
In Weight and Substance like a Mass of Ore.
He pluck'd the Corn, and strait his Grasp appears
Fill'd with a bending Tuft of Golden Ears.
An Apple next he takes, and seems to hold
The bright Hesperian vegetable Gold.
His Hand he careless on a Pillar lays;
With shining Gold the fluted Pillars blaze:
And while he washes, as the Servants pour,
His Touch converts the Stream to Danae's Show'r.
To see these Miracles so finely wrought,
Fires with transporting Joy his giddy Thought.
The ready Slaves prepare a sumptuous Board,
Spread with rich Dainties for their happy Lord;
Whose pow'rful Hands the Bread no sooner hold,
But its whole Substance is transform'd to Gold:
Up to his Mouth he lifts the sav'ry Meat,
Which turns to Gold as he attempts to eat:
His Patron's noble Juice of purple Hue,
Touch'd by his Lips, a gilded Cordial grew;
Unfit for Drink, and wondrous to behold,
It trickles from his Jaws a fluid Gold.
The rich poor Fool, confounded with Surprize,
Starving in all his various Plenty lies:
Sick of his Wish, he now detests the Pow'r,
For which he ask'd so earnestly before;
Amidst his Gold with pinching Famine curst,
And justly tortur'd with an equal Thirst.
At last his shining Arms to Heav'n he rears,
And in Distress, for Refuge, flies to Pray'rs.
[Page 378] O Father Bacchus, I have sinn'd, he cry'd,
And foolishly thy gracious Gift apply'd;
Thy Pity now, repenting, I implore;
Oh! may I feel the golden Plague no more.
The hungry Wretch, his Folly thus confest,
Touch'd the kind Deity's good-natur'd Breast;
The gentle God annull'd his first Decree,
And from the cruel Compact set him free.
But then, to cleanse him quite from further Harm,
And to dilute the Relicks of the Charm,
He bids him seek the Stream that cuts the Land
Nigh where the Tow'rs of Lydian Sardis stand;
Then trace the River to the Fountain Head,
And meet it rising from its rocky Bed;
There, as the bubling Tide pours forth amain,
To plunge his Body in, and wash away the Stain.
The King instructed to the Fount retires,
But with the golden Charm the Stream inspires:
For while this Quality the Man forsakes,
An equal Pow'r the limpid Water takes;
Informs with Veins of Gold the neighb'ring Land,
And glides along a Bed of golden Sand.
Now loathing Wealth, th' Occasion of his Woes,
Far in the Woods he sought a calm Repose;
In Caves and Grottos, where the Nymphs resort,
And keep with Mountain Pan their Silvan Court.
Ah! had he left his stupid Soul behind!
But his Condition alter'd not his Mind.
For where high Tmolus rears his shady Brow,
And from his Cliffs surveys the Seas below,
In his Descent, by Sardis bounded here,
By the small Confines of Hypaepae there,
[Page 379] Pan to the Nymphs his frolick Ditties play'd,
Tuning his Reeds beneath the chequer'd Shade.
The Nymphs are pleas'd, the boasting Sylvan plays,
And speaks with Slight of great Apollo's Lays.
Tmolus was Arbiter; the Boaster still
Accepts the Tryal with unequal Skill.
The venerable Judge was seated high
On his own Hill, that seem'd to touch the Sky.
Above the whisp'ring Trees his Head he rears,
From their encumbring Boughs to free his Ears;
A Wreath of Oak alone his Temples bound,
The pendant Acorns loosely dangled round.
In me your Judge, says he, there's no Delay:
Then bids the Goatherd God begin and play.
Pan tun'd the Pipe, and with his rural Song
Pleas'd the low Taste of all the vulgar Throng;
Such Songs a vulgar Judgment mostly please,
Midas was there, and Midas judg'd with these.
The Mountain Sire with grave Deportment now
To Phoebus turns his venerable Brow;
And, as he turns, with him the listning Wood
In the same Posture of Attention stood.
The God his own Parnassian Laurel crown'd,
And in a Wreath his golden Tresses bound,
Graceful his purple Mantle swept the Ground.
High on the Left his Iv'ry Lute he rais'd,
The Lute, emboss'd with glitt'ring Jewels, blaz'd.
In his right Hand he nicely held the Quill,
His easy Posture spoke a Master's Skill.
The Strings he touch'd with more than human Art,
Which pleas'd the Judge's Ear and sooth'd his Heart;
Who soon judiciously the Palm decreed,
And to the Lute postpon'd the squeaking Reed.
[Page 380] All, with Applause, the rightful Sentence heard,
Midas alone dissatisfy'd appear'd;
To him unjustly giv'n the Judgment seems;
For Pan's barbarick Notes he most esteems.
The Lyrick God, who thought his untun'd Ear
Deserv'd but ill a human Form to wear,
Of that deprives him, and supplies the Place
With some more fit, and of an ampler Space:
Fix'd on his Noddle an unseemly Pair,
Flagging, and large, and full of whitish Hair;
Without a total Change from what he was,
Still in the Man preserve the simple Ass.
He, to conceal the Scandal of the Deed,
A purple Turbant folds about his Head;
Veils the Reproach from publick View, and fears
The laughing World would spy his monstrous Ears.
One trusty Barber-Slave, that us'd to dress
His Master's Hair, when lengthen'd to Excess,
The mighty Secret knew, but knew alone,
And, tho' impatient, durst not make it known.
Restless, at last, a private Place he found,
Then dug a Hole and told it to the Ground;
In a low Whisper he reveal'd the Case,
And cover'd in the Earth, and silent left the Place.
In Time, of trembling Reeds a plenteous Crop
From the confided Furrow sprouted up;
Which, high advancing with the ripening Year,
Made known the Tiller, and his fruitless Care:
For then the rustling Blades and whisp'ring Wind
To tell th' important Secret both combin'd.

The Building of TROY.

Phoebus, with full Revenge, from Tmolus flies,
Darts thro' the Air, and cleaves the liquid Skies;
Near Hellespont he lights, and treads the Plains
Where great Laomedon sole Monarch reigns;
Where, built between the two projecting Strands,
To Panomphaean Jove an Altar stands.
Here first aspiring Thoughts the King employ,
To found the lofty Tow'rs of future Troy.
The Work, from Schemes magnificent begun,
At vast Expence was slowly carry'd on:
Which Phoebus seeing, with the Trident God
Who rules the swelling Surges with his Nod,
Assuming each a mortal Shape, combine
At a set Price to finish his Design.
The Work was built; the King their Price denies,
And his Injustice backs with Perjuries.
This Neptune cou'd not brook, but drove the Main,
A mighty Deluge, o'er the Phrygian Plain:
'Twas all a Sea; the Waters of the Deep
From ev'ry Vale the copious Harvest sweep;
The briny Billows overflow the Soil,
Ravage the Fields, and mock the Plowman's Toil.
Nor this appeas'd the God's revengeful Mind,
For still a greater Plague remains behind;
A huge Sea-Monster lodges on the Sands,
And the King's Daughter for his Prey demands.
To him that sav'd the Damsel, was decreed
A Set of Horses of the Sun's fine Breed:
But when Alcides from the Rock unty'd
The trembling Fair, the Ransom was deny'd,
[Page 382] He, in Revenge, the new-built Walls attack'd,
And the twice-perjur'd City bravely sack'd.
Telamon aided, and in Justice shar'd
Part of the Plunder as his due Reward:
The Princess, rescu'd late, with all her Charms
Hesionè was yielded to his Arms;
For Peleus, with a Goddess Bride, was more
Proud of his Spouse than of his Birth before:
Grandsons to Jove there might be more than One,
But he the Goddess had enjoy'd alone.

The Story of THETIS and PELEUS, &c.

For Proteus thus to Virgin Thetis said,
Fair Goddess of the Waves, consent to wed,
And take some spritely Lover to your Bed.
A Son you'll have, the Terror of the Field,
To whom in Fame and Pow'r his Sire shall yield.
Jove, who ador'd the Nymph with boundless Love,
Did from his Breast the dangerous Flame remove.
He knew the Fates, nor car'd to raise up One
Whose Fame and Greatness should eclipse his own.
On happy Peleus he bestow'd her Charms,
And bless'd his Grandson in the Goddess' Arms
A silent Creek Thessalia's Coast can show;
Two Arms project, and shape it like a Bow;
'Twould make a Bay, but the transparent Tide
Does scarce the yellow-gravell'd Bottom hide;
For the quick Eye may thro' the liquid Wave
A firm unweedy level Beach perceive.
A Grove of fragrant Myrtle near it grows,
Whose Boughs, tho' thick, a beauteous Grot disclose;
The well-wrought Fabrick to discerning Eyes
Rather by Art than Nature seems to rise.
[Page 383] A bridled Dolphin oft fair Thetis bore
To this her lov'd Retreat, her fav'rite Shore.
Here Peleus seiz'd her, slumbring while she lay,
And urg'd his Suit with all that Love could say:
But when he found her obstinately coy,
Resolv'd to force her, and command the Joy.
The Nymph, o'erpower'd, to Art for Succour flies,
And various Shapes the eager Youth surprize:
A Bird she seems, but plies her Wings in vain,
His Hands the fleeting Substance still detain:
A branchy Tree high in the Air she grew;
About its Bark his nimble Arms he threw:
A Tyger next she glares with flaming Eyes;
The frighten'd Lover quits his Hold and flies:
The Sea-Gods he with sacred Rites adores,
Then a Libation on the Ocean pours;
While the fat Entrails crackle in the Fire,
And Sheets of Smoak in sweet Perfume aspire;
Till Proteus rising from his oozy Bed,
Thus to the poor desponding Lover said:
No more in anxious Thoughts your Mind employ,
For yet you shall possess the dear expected Joy.
You must once more th' unwary Nymph surprize,
As in her cooly Grot she slumbring lies;
Then bind her fast with unrelenting Hands,
And strain her tender Limbs with knotted Bands.
Still hold her under ev'ry different Shape,
Till tir'd she tries no longer to escape.
Thus he: Then sunk beneath the glassy Flood,
And broken Accents flutter'd where he stood.
Bright Sol had almost now his Journey done,
And down the steepy western Convex run;
[Page 384] When the fair Nereid left the briny Wave,
And, as she us'd, retreated to her Cave.
He scarce had bound her fast, when she arose,
And into various Shapes her Body throws:
She went to move her Arms, and found 'em ty'd;
Then with a Sigh, Some God assists ye, cry'd,
And in her proper Shape stood blushing by his Side.
About her Waiste his longing Arms he flung,
From which Embrace the Great Achilles sprung.

The Transformation of DAEDALION.

Peleus unmix'd Felicity enjoy'd;
(Blest in a valiant Son and virtuous Bride)
Till Fortune did in Blood his Hands imbrue,
And his own Brother by curst Chance he slew:
Then driv'n from Thessaly, his native Clime,
Trachinia first gave Shelter to his Crime;
Where peaceful Ceyx mildly fill'd the Throne,
And like his Sire the Morning Planet shone;
But now, unlike himself, bedew'd with Tears,
Mourning a Brother lost, his Brow appears.
First to the Town with Travel spent and Care,
Peleus and his small Company repair:
His Herds and Flocks the while at Leisure feed
On the rich Pasture of a neighb'ring Mead.
The Prince before the Royal Presence brought,
Shew'd by the suppliant Olive what he sought;
Then tells his Name, and Race, and Country right,
But hides th' unhappy Reason of his Flight.
He begs the King some little Town to give,
Where they may safe his faithful Vassals live.
[Page 385] Ceyx reply'd: To all my Bounty flows,
A hospitable Realm your Suit has chose.
Your glorious Race, and far-resounding Fame,
And Grandsire Jove, peculiar Favours claim.
All you can wish, I grant; Entreaties spare;
My Kingdom (would 'twere worth the sharing) share.
Tears stop'd his Speech: Astonish'd Peleus pleads
To know the Cause from whence his Grief proceeds.
The Prince reply'd: There's none of ye but deems
This Hawk was ever such as now it seems:
Know 'twas a Heroe once, Daedalion nam'd,
For warlike Deeds and haughty Valour fam'd;
Like me to that bright Luminary born,
Who wakes Aurora, and brings on the Morn▪
His Fierceness still remains, and Love of Blood,
Now Dread of Birds, and Tyrant of the Wood.
My Make was softer, Peace my greatest Care;
But this my Brother wholly bent on War;
Late Nations fear'd, and routed Armies fled
That Force, which now the tim'rous Pigeons dread.
A Daughter he possess'd, divinely fair,
And scarcely yet had seen her Fifteenth Year;
Young Chionè A thousand Rivals strove
To win the Maid, and teach her how to love.
Phoebus and Mercury by chance one Day
From Delphi and Cyllenè past this Way;
Together they the Virgin saw: Desire
At once warm'd both their Breasts with am'rous Fire.
Phoebus resolv'd to wait till Close of Day;
But Mercury's hot Love brook'd no Delay;
With his entrancing Rod the Maid he charms,
And unresisted revels in her Arms.
[Page 386] 'Twas Night, and Phoebus in a Beldam's Dress,
To the late rifled Beauty got Access.
Her time compleat nine circling Moons had run;
To either God she bore a lovely Son:
To Mercury Autolycus she brought,
Who turn'd to Thefts and Tricks his subtle Thought;
Possess'd he was of all his Father's Sleight,
At Will made White look black, and Black look white,
Philammon born to Phoebus, like his Sire,
The Muses lov'd, and finely struck the Lyre,
And made his Voice and Touch in Harmony conspire.
In vain, fond Maid, you boast this double Birth,
The Love of Gods and Royal Father's Worth,
And Jove among your Ancestors rehearse!
Could Blessings such as these e'er prove a Curse?
To her they did, who with audacious Pride,
Vain of her own, Diana's Charms decry'd.
Her Taunts the Goddess with Resentment fill;
My Face you like not, you shall try my Skill.
She said; and strait her vengeful Bow she strung,
And sent a Shaft that pierc'd her guilty Tongue:
The bleeding Tongue in vain its Accents tries;
In the red Stream her Soul reluctant flies.
With Sorrow wild I ran to her Relief,
And try'd to moderate my Brother's Grief.
He, deaf as Rocks by stormy Surges beat,
Loudly laments, and hears me not intreat.
When on the Fun'ral Pile he saw her laid,
Thrice he to rush into the Flames assay'd,
Thrice with officious Care by us was stay'd.
Now, mad with Grief, away he fled amain,
Like a stung Heifer that resents the Pain,
And bellowing wildly bounds along the Plain.
[Page 387] O'er the most rugged Ways so fast he ran,
He seem'd a Bird already, not a Man:
He left us breathless all behind; and now
In quest of Death had gain'd Parnassus' Brow:
But when from thence headlong himself he threw,
He fell not, but with airy Pinions flew.
Phoebus in Pity chang'd him to a Fowl,
Whose crooked Beak and Claws the Birds controul,
Little of Bulk, but of a warlike Soul.
A Hawk become, the feather'd Race's Foe,
He tries to ease his own by other's Woe.

A Wolf turn'd into Marble.

While they astonish'd heard the King relate
These Wonders of his hapless Brother's Fate;
The Prince's Herdsman at the Court arrives,
And fresh Surprize to all the Audience gives.
O Peleus, Peleus, dreadful News I bear,
He said; and trembled as he spoke for Fear.
The worst, affrighted Peleus bid him tell,
Whilst Ceyx too grew pale with friendly Zeal.
Thus he began: When Sol Mid-heav'n had gain'd,
And half his Way was past, and half remain'd,
I to the level Shore my Cattle drove,
And let them freely in the Meadows rove;
Some stretch'd at length admire the watry Plain,
Some crop'd the Herb, some wanton swam the Main.
A Temple stands of antique Make hard by,
Where no gilt Domes nor Marble lure the Eye;
Unpolish'd Rafters bear its lowly Height,
Hid by a Grove, as ancient, from the Sight.
[Page 388] Here Nereus and the Nereids they adore;
I learnt it from the Man who thither bore
His Net, to dry it on the sunny Shore.
Adjoyns a Lake, inclos'd with Willows round,
Where swelling Waves have over-flow'd the Mound,
And, muddy, stagnate on the lower Ground.
From thence a russling Noise increasing flies,
Strikes the still Shore, and frights us with Surprize.
Strait a huge Wolf rush'd from the marshy Wood,
His Jaws besmear'd with mingled Foam and Blood.
Tho' equally by Hunger urg'd and Rage,
His Appetite he minds not to asswage;
Nought that he meets, his rabid Fury spares,
But the whole Herd with mad Disorder tears.
Some of our Men who strove to drive him thence,
Torn by his Teeth, have dy'd in their Defence.
The ecchoing Lakes, the Sea, and Fields, and Shore,
Impurpled blush with Streams of reeking Gore.
Delay is Loss, nor have we time for Thought;
While yet some few remain alive, we ought
To seize our Arms, and with confed'rate Force
Try if we so can stop his bloody Course.
But Peleus car'd not for his ruin'd Herd;
His Crime he call'd to Mind, and thence inferr'd,
That Psammathe's Revenge this Havock made,
In Sacrifice to murder'd Phocus' Shade.
The King commands his Servants to their Arms,
Resolv'd to go; but the loud Noise alarms
His lovely Queen, who from her Chamber flew,
And her half-plaited Hair behind her threw:
About his Neck she hung with loving Fears,
And now with Words, and now with pleading Tears,
[Page 389] Intreated that he'd send his Men alone,
And stay himself to save two Lives in one.
Then Peleus: Your just Fears, O Queen, forget;
Too much the Offer leaves me in your Debt.
No Arms against the Monster I shall bear,
But the Sea-Nymphs appease with humble Pray'r.
The Citadel's high Turrets pierce the Sky,
Which home-bound Vessels, glad, from far descry;
This they ascend, and thence with Sorrow ken
The mangled Heifers lye, and bleeding Men;
Th' inexorable Ravager they view,
With Blood discolour'd, still the rest pursue:
There Peleus pray'd submissive tow'rds the Sea,
And deprecates the Ire of injur'd Psamathè.
But deaf to all his Pray'rs the Nymph remain'd,
Till Thetis for her Spouse the Boon obtain'd.
Pleas'd with the Luxury, the furious Beast,
Unstop'd, continues still his bloody Feast:
While yet upon a sturdy Bull he flew,
Chang'd by the Nymph, a Marble Block he grew.
No longer dreadful now the Wolf appears,
Bury'd in Stone, and vanish'd like their Fears.
Yet still the Fates unhappy Peleus vex'd;
To the Magnesian Shore he wanders next.
Acastus there, who rul'd the peaceful Clime,
Grants his Request, and expiates his Crime.

The Story of CEYX and ALCYONE

These Prodigies affect the pious Prince,
But more perplex'd with those that happen'd since,
[Page 390] He purposes to seek the Clarian God,
Avoiding Delphos, his more fam'd Abode,
Since Phlegyan Robbers made unsafe the Road.
Yet could he not from her he lov'd so well,
the fatal Voyage, he resolv'd, conceal;
But when she saw her Lord prepar'd to part,
A deadly Cold ran shiv'ring to her Heart;
Her faded Cheeks are chang'd to boxen Hue,
And in her Eyes the Tears are ever new.
She thrice essay'd to speak; her Accents hung,
And falt'ring dy'd unfinish'd on her Tongue,
Or vanish'd into Sighs: With long Delay
Her Voice return'd, and found the wonted way.
Tell me, my Lord, she said, what Fault unknown
Thy once belov'd Alcyone has done?
Whither, ah whither, is thy Kindness gone!
Can Ceyx then sustain to leave his Wife,
And unconcern'd forsake the Sweets of Life?
What can thy Mind to this long Journey move?
Or need'st thou Absence to renew thy Love?
Yet, if thou go'st by Land, tho' Grief possess
My Soul ev'n then, my Fears will be the less.
But ah! be warn'd to shun the watry Way,
The Face is frightful of the stormy Sea:
For late I saw a-drift disjointed Planks,
And empty Tombs erected on the Banks.
Nor let false Hopes to Trust betray thy Mind,
Because my Sire in Caves constrains the Wind,
Can with a Breath their clam'rous Rage appease,
They fear his Whistle, and forsake the Seas:
Not so; for once indulg'd, they sweep the Main;
Deaf to the Call, or hearing hear in vain;
[Page 391] But bent on Mischief bear the Waves before,
And not content with Seas, insult the Shore,
When Ocean, Air, and Earth at once ingage,
And rooted Forests fly before their Rage:
At once the clashing Clouds to Battle move,
And Lightnings run across the Fields above:
I know them well, and mark'd their rude Comport,
While yet a Child, within my Father's Court:
In times of Tempest they command alone,
And he but sits precarious on the Throne:
The more I know, the more my Fears augment,
And Fears are oft prophetick of th' Event.
But if not Fears, or Reasons will prevail,
If Fate has fix'd thee obstinate to sail,
Go not without thy Wife, but let me bear
My Part of Danger with an equal Share,
And present, what I suffer only fear:
Then o'er the bounding Billows shall we fly,
Secure to live together, or to die.
These Reasons mov'd her starlike Husband's Heart,
But still he held his Purpose to depart:
For as he lov'd her equal to his Life,
He would not to the Seas expose his Wife;
Nor could be wrought his Voyage to refrain,
But sought by Arguments to sooth her Pain:
Nor these avail'd; at length he lights on one,
With which so difficult a Cause he won:
My Love, so short an Absence cease to fear,
For by my Father's holy Flame, I swear,
Before two Moons their Orb with Light adorn.
If Heav'n allow me Life, I will return.
[Page 392] This Promise of so short a Stay prevails;
He soon equips the Ship, supplies the Sails,
And gives the Word to launch; she trembling views
This Pomp of Death, and parting Tears renews:
Last with a Kiss, she took a long Farewel,
Sigh'd with a sad Presage, and swooning fell:
While Ceyx seeks Delays, the lusty Crew,
Rais'd on their Banks, their Oars in order drew
To their broad Breasts, the Ship with Fury flew.
The Queen recover'd rears her humid Eyes,
And first her Husband on the Poop espies,
Shaking his Hand at Distance on the Main;
She took the Sign, and shook her Hand again.
Still as the Ground recedes, contracts her View
With sharpen'd Sight, till she no longer knew
The much-lov'd Face; that Comfort lost supplies
With less, and with the Galley feeds her Eyes;
The Galley born from View by rising Gales,
She follow'd with her Sight the flying Sails:
When ev'n the flying Sails were seen no more,
Forsaken of all Sight, she left the Shoar.
Then on her Bridal-Bed her Body throws,
And sought in Sleep her weary'd Eyes to close:
Her Husband's Pillow, and the widow'd part
Which once he press'd, renew'd the former Smart.
And now a Breeze from Shoar began to blow,
The Sailors ship their Oars, and cease to row;
Then hoist their Yards a-trip, and all their Sails
Let fall, to court the Wind, and catch the Gales:
By this the Vessel half her Course had run,
And as much rested till the rising Sun;
[Page 393] Both Shoars were lost to Sight, when at the Close
Of Day a stiffer Gale at East arose:
The Sea grew white, the rowling Waves from far,
Like Heralds, first denounce the wat'ry War.
This seen, the Master soon began to cry,
Strike, strike the Top-sail; let the Main-sheet fly,
And furl your Sails: The Winds repel the Sound,
And in the Speaker's Mouth the Speech is drown'd.
Yet of their own Accord, as Danger taught
Each in his Way, officiously they wrought;
Some stow their Oars, or stop the leaky Sides,
Another bolder yet the Yard bestrides,
And folds the Sails; a fourth with Labour laves
Th' intruding Seas, and Waves ejects on Waves.
In this Confusion while their Work they ply,
The Winds augment the Winter of the Sky,
And wage intestine Wars; the suff'ring Seas
Are toss'd, and mingled as their Tyrants please.
The Master would command, but in despair
Of Safety, stands amaz'd with stupid Care,
Nor what to bid, or what forbid he knows,
Th' ungovern'd Tempest to such Fury grows:
Vain is his Force, and vainer is his Skill;
With such a Concourse comes the Flood of Ill:
The Cries of Men are mix'd with rattling Shrowds;
Seas dash on Seas, and Clouds encounter Clouds:
At once from East to West, from Pole to Pole,
The forky Lightnings flash, the roaring Thunders roul.
Now Waves on Waves ascending scale the Skies,
And in the Fires above the Water fries:
When yellow Sands are sifted from below,
The glitt'ring Billows give a golden Show:
[Page 394] And when the fouler Bottom spews the Black,
The Stygian Dye the tainted Waters take:
Then frothy White appear the flatted Seas,
And change their Colour, changing their Disease.
Like various Fits the Trachin Vessel finds,
And now sublime, she rides upon the Winds;
As from a lofty Summit looks from high,
And from the Clouds beholds the neather Sky;
Now from the Depth of Hell they lift their Sight,
And at a Distance see superior Light:
The lashing Billows make a loud Report,
And beat her Sides, as batt'ring Rams a Fort:
Or as a Lyon bounding in his way,
With Force augmented, bears against his Prey,
Sidelong to seize; or unapal'd with Fear,
Springs on the Toils, and rushes on the Spear:
So Seas impell'd by Winds, with added Pow'r
Assault the Sides, and o'er the Hatches tow'r.
The Planks (their pitchy Cov'ring wash'd away)
Now yield; and now a yawning Breach display:
The roaring Waters with a hostile Tide
Rush through the Ruins of her gaping Side.
Mean time in Sheets of Rain the Sky descends,
And Ocean swell'd with Waters upwards tends;
One rising, falling one, the Heav'ns and Sea
Meet at their Confines, in the middle Way:
The Sails are drunk with Show'rs, and drop with Rain,
Sweet Waters mingle with the briny Main.
No Star appears to lend his friendly Light;
Darkness and Tempest make a double Night;
But flashing Fires disclose the Deep by turns,
And while the Light'nings blaze, the Water burns.
[Page 395] Now all the Waves their scatter'd Force unite,
And, as a Soldier, foremost in the Fight,
Makes way for others, and an Host alone
Still presses on, and urging gains the Town;
So while th' invading Billows come a-breast,
The Hero Tenth advanc'd before the rest,
Sweeps all before him with impetuous Sway,
And from the Walls descends upon the Prey;
Part following enter, Part remain without,
With Envy hear their Fellows conqu'ring Shout,
And mount on others Backs, in hope to share
The City, thus become the Seat of War.
An universal Cry resounds aloud,
The Sailors run in Heaps, a helpless Crowd;
Art fails, and Courage falls, no Succour near;
As many Waves, as many Deaths appear.
One weeps, and yet despairs of late Relief;
One cannot weep, his Fears congeal his Grief,
But stupid, with dry Eyes expects his Fate:
One with loud Shrieks laments his lost Estate,
And calls those happy whom their Fun'rals wait.
This Wretch with Pray'rs and Vows the Gods implores,
And ev'n the Skies he cannot see, adores.
That other on his Friends his Thoughts bestows,
His careful Father, and his faithful Spouse.
The covetous Wordling in his anxious Mind,
Thinks only on the Wealth he left behind.
All Ceyx his Alcyone employs,
For her he grieves, yet in her Absence joys:
His Wife he wishes, and would still be near,
Not her with him, but wishes him with her:
Now with last Looks he seeks his native Shoar,
Which Fate has destin'd him to see no more;
[Page 396] He sought, but in the dark tempestuous Night
He knew not whither to direct his Sight.
So whirl the Seas, such Darkness blinds the Sky,
That the black Night receives a deeper Dye.
The giddy Ship ran round; the Tempest tore
Her Mast, and over-board the Rudder bore.
One Billow mounts; and with a scornful Brow,
Proud of her Conquest gain'd, insults the Waves below;
Nor lighter falls, than if some Giant tore
Pindus and Athos, with the Freight they bore,
And toss'd on Seas; press'd with the pond'rous Blow,
Down sinks the Ship within th' Abyss below:
Down with the Vessel sink into the Main,
The many, never more to rise again.
Some few on scatter'd Planks, with fruitless Care,
Lay hold and swim, but while they swim, despair.
Ev'n he who late a Scepter did command,
Now grasps a floating Fragment in his Hand;
And while he struggles on the stormy Main,
Invokes his Father, and his Wife's, in vain.
But yet his Consort is his greatest Care;
Alcyone he names amidst his Pray'r;
Names as a Charm against the Waves and Wind;
Most in his Mouth, and ever in his Mind.
Tir'd with his Toil, all Hopes of Safety past,
From Pray'rs to Wishes he descends at last;
That his dead Body, wafted to the Sands,
Might have its Burial from her friendly Hands.
As oft as he can catch a Gulp of Air,
And peep above the Seas, he names the Fair;
And ev'n when plung'd beneath, on her he raves,
Murm'ring Alcyone below the Waves:
[Page 397] At last a falling Billow stops his Breath,
Breaks o'er his Head, and whelms him underneath.
Bright Lucifer unlike himself appears
That Night, his heav'nly Form obscur'd with Tears,
And since he was forbid to leave the Skies,
He muffled with a Cloud his mournful Eyes.
Mean time Alcyonè (his Fate unknown)
Computes how many Nights he had been gone,
Observes the waning Moon with hourly View,
Numbers her Age, and wishes for a new;
Against the promis'd Time provides with Care,
And hastens in the Woof the Robes he was to wear:
And for her Self employs another Loom,
New-dress'd to meet her Lord returning home,
Flatt'ring her Heart with Joys that never were to come:
She fum'd the Temples with an od'rous Flame,
And oft before the sacred Altars came,
To pray for him, who was an empty Name.
All Pow'rs implor'd, but far above the rest
To Juno she her pious Vows address'd,
Her much-lov'd Lord from Perils to protect,
And safe o'er Seas his Voyage to direct:
Then pray'd that she might still possess his Heart,
And no pretending Rival share a Part;
This last Petition heard of all her Pray'r,
The rest, dispers'd by Winds, were lost in Air.
But she, the Goddess of the Nuptial Bed,
Tir'd with her vain Devotions for the Dead,
Resolv'd the tainted Hand should be repell'd,
Which Incense offer'd, and her Altar held:
Then Iris thus bespoke; Thou faithful Maid,
By whom thy Queen's Commands are well convey'd,
[Page 398] Haste to the House of Sleep, and bid the God
Who rules the Night by Visions with a Nod,
Prepare a Dream, in Figure and in Form
Resembling him who perish'd in the Storm;
This Form before Alcyonè present,
To make her certain of the sad Event.
Indu'd with Robes of various Hue she flies,
And flying draws an Arch, (a Segment of the Skies:)
Then leaves her bending Bow, and from the Steep
Descends, to search the silent House of Sleep.

The House of SLEEP.

Near the Cymmerians, in his dark Abode,
Deep in a Cavern, dwells the drowzy God;
Whose gloomy Mansion nor the rising Sun,
Nor setting, visits, nor the lightsome Noon;
But lazy Vapours round the Region fly,
Perpetual Twilight, and a doubtful Sky:
No crowing Cock does there his Wings display,
Nor with his horny Bill provoke the Day;
Nor watchful Dogs, nor the more wakeful Geese,
Disturb with nightly Noise the sacred Peace;
Nor Beast of Nature, nor the Tame are nigh,
Nor Trees with Tempests rock'd, nor human Cry;
But safe Repose without an Air of Breath
Dwells here, and a dumb Quiet next to Death.
An Arm of Lethè, with a gentle Flow
Arising upwards from the Rock below,
The Palace moats, and o'er the Pebbles creeps,
And with soft Murmurs calls the coming Sleeps.
Around its Entry nodding Poppies grow,
And all cool Simples that sweet Rest bestow;
[Page 399] Night from the Plants their sleepy Virtue drains,
And passing, sheds it on the silent Plains:
No Door there was th' unguarded House to keep,
On creaking Hinges turn'd, to break his Sleep.
But in the gloomy Court was rais'd a Bed,
Stuff'd with black Plumes, and on an Ebon-sted:
Black was the Cov'ring too, where lay the God,
And slept supine, his Limbs display'd abroad:
About his Head fantastick Visions fly,
Which various Images of things supply,
And mock their Forms; the Leaves on Trees not more,
Nor bearded Ears in Fields, nor Sands upon the Shore.
The Virgin ent'ring bright, indulg'd the Day
To the brown Cave, and brush'd the Dreams away:
The God disturb'd with this new Glare of Light,
Cast sudden on his Face, unseal'd his Sight,
And rais'd his tardy Head, which sunk again,
And sinking, on his Bosom knock'd his Chin;
At length shook off himself, and ask'd the Dame,
(And asking yawn'd) for what Intent she came.
To whom the Goddess thus: O sacred Rest,
Sweet pleasing Sleep, of all the Pow'rs the best!
O Peace of Mind, Repairer of Decay,
Whose Balms renew the Limbs to Labours of the Day,
Care shuns thy soft Approach, and sullen flies away!
Adorn a Dream, expressing human Form,
The Shape of him who suffer'd in the Storm,
And send it flitting to the Trachin Court,
The Wreck of wretched Ceyx to report:
Before his Queen bid the pale Spectre stand,
Who begs a vain Relief at Juno's Hand.
She said, and scarce awake her Eyes could keep,
Unable to support the Fumes of Sleep;
[Page 400] But fled, returning by the way she went,
And swerv'd along her Bow with swift Ascent.
The God, uneasy till he slept again,
Resolv'd at once to rid himself of Pain;
And, tho' against his Custom, call'd aloud,
Exciting Morpheus from the sleepy Crowd:
Morpheus, of all his numerous Train, express'd
The Shape of Man, and imitated best;
The Walk, the Words, the Gesture could supply,
The Habit mimick, and the Mein bely;
Plays well, but all his Action is confin'd,
Extending not beyond our human Kind.
Another Birds, and Beasts, and Dragons apes,
And dreadful Images, and Monster Shapes:
This Demon, Icelos, in Heav'ns high Hall
The Gods have nam'd; but Men Phobetor call.
A third is Phantasus, whose Actions roul
On meaner Thoughts, and Things devoid of Soul;
Earth, Fruits, and Flow'rs he represents in Dreams,
And solid Rocks unmov'd, and running Streams.
These three to Kings and Chiefs their Scenes display,
The rest before th' ignoble Commons play.
Of these the chosen Morpheus is dispatch'd;
Which done, the lazy Monarch, over-watch'd,
Down from his propping Elbow drops his Head,
Dissolv'd in Sleep, and shrinks within his Bed.
Darkling the Demon glides, for Flight prepar'd,
So soft, that scarce his fanning Wings are heard.
To Trachin, swift as Thought, the flitting Shade,
Through Air his momentary Journey made:
Then lays aside the Steerage of his Wings,
Forsakes his proper Form, assumes the King's;
[Page 401] And pale as Death, despoil'd of his Array,
Into the Queen's Apartment takes his way,
And stands before the Bed at Dawn of Day:
Unmov'd his Eyes, and wet his Beard appears;
And shedding vain, but seeming real Tears;
The briny Water dropping from his Hairs.
Then staring on her with a ghastly Look,
And hollow Voice, he thus the Queen bespoke.
Know'st thou not me? Not yet, unhappy Wife?
Or are my Features perish'd with my Life?
Look once again, and for thy Husband lost,
Lo all that's left of him, thy Husband's Ghost!
Thy Vows for my Return were all in vain;
The stormy South o'ertook us in the Main,
And never shalt thou see thy living Lord again.
Bear witness, Heav'n, I call'd on thee in Death,
And while I call'd, a Billow stopp'd my Breath.
Think not that flying Fame reports my Fate;
I present, I appear, and my own Wreck relate.
Rise, wretched Widow, rise; nor undeplor'd
Permit my Soul to pass the Stygian Ford;
But rise, prepar'd in Black, to mourn thy perish'd Lord.
Thus said the Player-God; and adding Art
Of Voice and Gesture, so perform'd his Part,
She thought (so like her Love the Shade appears)
That Ceyx spake the Words, and Ceyx shed the Tears:
She groan'd, her inward Soul with Grief opprest,
She sigh'd, she wept, and sleeping beat her Breast;
Then stretch'd her Arms t' embrace his Body bare;
Her clasping Arms inclose but empty Air:
At this, not yet awake, she cry'd, O stay;
One is our Fate, and common is our Way!
So dreadful was the Dream, so loud she spoke,
That starting sudden up, the Slumber broke:
[Page 402] Then cast her Eyes around, in hope to view
Her vanish'd Lord, and find the Vision true:
For now the Maids, who waited her Commands,
Ran in with lighted Tapers in their Hands.
Tir'd with the Search, not finding what she seeks,
With cruel Blows she pounds her blubber'd Cheeks;
Then from her beaten Breast the Linnen tare,
And cut the golden Caul that bound her Hair.
Her Nurse demands the Cause; with louder Cries,
She prosecutes her Griefs, and thus replies.
No more Alcyonè she suffer'd Death
With her lov'd Lord, when Ceyx lost his Breath:
No Flatt'ry, no false Comfort, give me none,
My shipwreck'd Ceyx is for ever gone:
I saw, I saw him manifest in View,
His Voice, his Figure, and his Gestures knew:
His Lustre lost, and ev'ry living Grace,
Yet I retain'd the Features of his Face;
Tho' with pale Cheeks, wet Beard, and dropping Hair,
None but my Ceyx could appear so fair:
I would have strain'd him with a strict Embrace,
But thro' my Arms he slipp'd, and vanish'd from the Place:
There, ev'n just there he stood; and as she spoke,
Where last the Spectre was she cast her Look:
Fain wou'd she hope, and gaz'd upon the Ground,
If any printed Footsteps might be found.
Then sigh'd and said; This I too well foreknew,
And my prophetick Fears presag'd too true:
'Twas what I begg'd, when with a bleeding Heart
I took my Leave, and suffer'd thee to part;
Or I to go along, or Thou to stay,
Never, ah never to divide our Way!
Happier for me, that all our Hours assign'd
Together we had liv'd; ev'n not in Death disjoin'd!
[Page 403] So had my Ceyx still been living here,
Or with my Ceyx I had perish'd there:
Now I die absent, in the vast Profound;
And Me, without my Self, the Seas have drown'd:
The Storms were not so cruel; should I strive
To lengthen Life, and such a Grief survive;
But neither will I strive, nor wretched Thee
In Death forsake, but keep thee Company.
If not one common Sepulcher contains
Our Bodies, or one Urn our last Remains,
Yet Ceyx and Alcyonè shall join,
Their Names remember'd in one common Line.
No farther Voice her mighty Grief affords,
For Sighs come rushing in betwixt her Words,
And stopp'd her Tongue; but what her Tongue deny'd,
Soft Tears, and Groans, and dumb Complaints supply'd.
'Twas Morning; to the Port she takes her way,
And stands upon the Margin of the Sea:
That Place, that very Spot of Ground she sought,
Or thither by her Destiny was brought,
Where last he stood: And while she sadly said,
'Twas here he left me, lingring here delay'd
His parting Kiss, and there his Anchors weigh'd.
Thus speaking, while her Thoughts past Actions trace,
And call to mind, admonish'd by the Place,
Sharp at her utmost Ken she cast her Eyes,
And somewhat floating from afar descries:
It seem'd a Corps adrift, to distant Sight,
But at a Distance who could judge aright?
It wafted nearer yet, and then she knew
That what before she but surmis'd, was true:
A Corps it was, but whose it was, unknown,
Yet mov'd, howe'er, she made the Case her own:
Took the bad Omen of a shipwreck'd Man,
As for a Stranger wept, and thus began.
[Page 404] Poor Wretch, on stormy Seas to lose thy Life,
Unhappy thou, but more thy widow'd Wife!
At this she paus'd; for now the flowing Tide
Had brought the Body nearer to the Side:
The more she looks, the more her Fears increase,
At nearer Sight; and she's her self the less:
Now driv'n ashore, and at her Feet it lies,
She knows too much, in knowing whom she sees:
Her Husband's Corps; at this she loudly shrieks,
'Tis he, 'tis he, she cries, and tears her Cheeks,
Her Hair, and Vest; and stooping to the Sands,
About his Neck she cast her trembling Hands.
And is it thus, O dearer than my Life,
Thus, thus return'st Thou to thy longing Wife!
She said, and to the neighb'ring Mole she strode,
(Rais'd there to break th'Incursions of the Flood;)
Headlong from hence to plunge her self she springs,
But shoots along supported on her Wings;
A Bird new-made, about the Banks she plies,
Not far from Shore, and short Excursions tries;
Nor seeks in Air her humble Flight to raise,
Content to skim the Surface of the Seas:
Her Bill, tho' slender, sends a creaking Noise,
And imitates a lamentable Voice.
Now lighting where the bloodless Body lies,
She with a Fun'ral Note renews her Cries:
At all her Stretch her little Wings she spread,
And with her feather'd Arms embrac'd the Dead:
Then flick'ring to his palid Lips, she strove
To print a Kiss, the last Essay of Love.
Whether the vital Touch reviv'd the Dead,
Or that the moving Waters rais'd his Head
To meet the Kiss, the Vulgar doubt alone;
For sure a present Miracle was shown.
[Page 405] The Gods their Shapes to Winter-Birds translate
But both obnoxious to their former Fate.
Their conjugal Affection still is ty'd,
And still the mournful Race is multiply'd:
They bill, they tread; Alcyonè compress'd,
Sev'n Days sits brooding on her floating Nest:
A wintry Queen: Her Sire at length is kind,
Calms ev'ry Storm, and hushes ev'ry Wind;
Prepares his Empire for his Daughter's Ease,
And for his hatching Nephews smooths the Seas.

AESACUS transform'd into a Cormorant.

These some old Man sees wanton in the Air,
And praises the unhappy constant Pair.
Then to his Friend the long-neck'd Corm'rant shows,
The former Tale reviving others Woes:
That sable Bird, he cries, which cuts the Flood
With slender Legs, was once of Royal Blood;
His Ancestors from mighty Tros proceed,
The brave Laomedon and Ganymede,
(Whose Beauty tempted Jove to steal the Boy)
And Priam, hapless Prince! who fell with Troy.
Himself was Hector's Brother, and (had Fate
But giv'n his hopeful Youth a longer Date)
Perhaps had rival'd warlike Hector's Worth,
Tho' on the Mother's Side of meaner Birth;
Fair Alyxothoe, a Country Maid,
Bare Aesacus by stealth in Ida's Shade.
He fled the noisy Town and pompous Court,
Lov'd the lone Hills and simple rural Sport,
And seldom to the City would resort.
Yet he no rustick Clownishness profest.
Nor was soft Love a Stranger to his Breast:
The Youth had long the Nymph Hesperie woo'd,
Oft thro' the Thicket or the Mead pursu'd:
[Page 406] Her haply on her Father's Bank he spy'd,
While fearless she her silver Tresses dry'd;
Away she fled: Not Stags with half such Speed,
Before the prowling Wolf, scud o'er the Mead;
Not Ducks, when they the safer Flood forsake,
Pursu'd by Hawks, so swift regain the Lake.
As fast he follow'd in the hot Career;
Desire the Lover wing'd, the Virgin Fear.
A Snake unseen now pierc'd her heedless Foot;
Quick thro' the Veins the venom'd Juices shoot:
She fell, and 'scap'd by Death his fierce Pursuit.
Her lifeless Body, frighted, he embrac'd,
And cry'd, Not this I dreaded, but thy Haste:
O had my Love been less, or less thy Fear!
The Victory, thus bought, is far too dear.
Accursed Snake! Yet I more curs'd than he!
He gave the Wound; the Cause was giv'n by me.
Yet none shall say that unreveng'd you dy'd.
He spoke; then climb'd a Cliff's o'er-hanging Side,
And, resolute, leap'd on the foaming Tide.
Tethys receiv'd him gently on the Wave;
The Death he sought deny'd, and Feathers gave▪
Debarr'd the surest Remedy of Grief,
And forc'd to live, he curst th' unask'd Relief.
Then on his airy Pinions upward flies,
And at a second Fall successless tries;
The downy Plume a quick Descent denies.
Enrag'd, he often dives beneath the Wave,
And there in vain expects to find a Grave.
His ceaseless Sorrow for th'unhappy Maid,
Meager'd his Look, and on his Spirits prey'd.
Still near the sounding Deep he lives; his Name
From frequent Diving and Emerging came.
The End of the Eleventh Book.
To Mrs Walpole.



PRIAM, to whom the Story was unknown,
As dead, deplor'd his Metamorphos'd Son:
A Cenotaph his Name and Title kept,
And Hector round the Tomb, with all his Brothers, wept.
This pious Office Paris did not share,
Absent alone; and Author of the War,
Which, for the Spartan Queen, the Grecians drew
T' avenge the Rape; and Asia to subdue.
A thousand Ships were mann'd, to sail the Sea:
Nor had their just Resentments found Delay,
Had not the Winds and Waves oppos'd their Way.
At Aulis, with United Pow'rs they meet,
But there, Cross-winds or Calms detain'd the Fleet.
Now, while they raise an Altar on the Shore,
And Jove with solemn Sacrifice adore;
[Page 408] A boding Sign the Priests and People see:
A Snake of Size immense ascends a Tree,
And, in the leasie Summit, spy'd a Nest,
Which o'er her Callow Young, a Sparrow press'd.
Eight were the Birds unfledg'd; their Mother flew,
And hover'd round her Care; but still in view:
Till the fierce Reptile first devour'd the Brood;
Then seiz'd the flutt'ring Dam, and drunk her Blood.
This dire Ostent, the fearful People view;
Calchas alone, by Phoebus