« ZurückWeiter »
BATTLE OF THE FROGS AND MICE.
BY MR. ARCHDEACON PARNELL.
CORRECTED BY MR. POPE.
NAMES OF THE MICE.
NAMES OF THE FROGS.
If worthy friendship, proffer'd friendship take,
And, entering, view the pleasurable lake:
Range o'er my palace, in my bounty share,
This silver realm extends beneath my sway,
And their monarch, all its frogs obey.
30 The dreadful toils of raging Mars I write,
Great Physignathus I, from Peleus' race, The springs of contest, and the fields of fight; Begot in fair Hydromeduse' embrace, How threatening mice advanced with warlike grace, Where by the nuptial bank that paints his side And waged dire combats with the croaking race. The swift Eridanus delights to glide. Not louder tumults shook Olympus' towers, Thee too, thy form, thy strength and port proclaim, When earth-born giants dared immortal powers. 10 A scepter'd king; a son of martial fame; These equal acts an equal glory claim,
Then trace thy line, and aid my guessing eyes. And thus the muse records the tale of fame. Thus ceased the frog, and thus the mouse replies: Once on a time, fatigued and out of breath,
Known to the gods, the men, the birds that ay And just escaped the stretching claws of death, Through wild expanses of the midway sky, A gentle mouse, whom cats pursued in vain, My name resounds; and if unknown to thee, Flies swift of foot across the neighbouring plain, The soul of great Psycarpax lives in me. Hangs o'er a brink, his eager thirst to cool,
Of brave Troxartes' line, whose sleeky down
What art thou, stranger ? what the line you boast ? Born where a cabin lifts its airy shed,
But since our natures nought in common know, Nor let me find a faithless mouse in thee.
From what foundation can a friendship grow ?
These curling waters o'er thy palace roll;
Plunging he sinks, and struggling mounts again, But man's high food supports my princely soul. And sinks, and strives, but strives with fate in vain : In vain the circled loaves attempt to lie
The weighty moisture clogs his airy vest,
120 Conceal'd in flaskets from my curious eye;
And thus the prince his dying rage express'd: In vain the tripe that boasts the whitest hue,
Nor thou that flingst me floundering from thy back, In vain the gilded bacon shuns my view,
As from hard rocks rebounds the shattering wrack, In vain the cheeses, offspring of the pail,
Nor thou shalt 'scape thy due, perfidious king! Or honey'd cakes which gods themselves regale. Pursued by vengeance on the swiftest wing: And as in arts I shine, in arms I fight,
At land thy strength could never equal mine, Mix'd with the bravest, and unknown to flight. 60 At sea to conquer, and by craft was thine. Though large to mine the human form appear, But heaven has gods, and gods have searching eyes : Not man himself can smite my soul with fear; Ye mice, ye mice, my great avengers rise ! 130 Sly to the bed with silent steps I go,
This said, he sighing gasp'd, and gasping died. Attempt his finger, or attack his toe,
His death the young Lychopinax espied, And fix indented wounds with dexterous skill; As on the flowery brink he pass'd the day, Sleeping he feels, and only seems to feel.
Bask'd in the beam, and loiter'd life away: Yet have we foes which direful dangers cause,
Loud shrieks the mouse, his shrieks the shores repeat; Grim owls with talons arm'd, and cats with claws! The nibbling nation learn their hero's fate; And that false trap, the den of silent fate,
Grief, dismal grief ensues ; deep murmurs sound, Where death his ambush plants around the bait; 70 And shriller fury fills the deafen'd ground; All dreaded these, and dreadful o'er the rest From lodge to lodge the sacred heralds run, The potent wanivis vf the tabby vest:
To fix their counsel with the rising sun;
140 If to the dark we fly, the dark they trace,
Where great Troxartes crown'd in glory reigns, And rend our heroes of the nibbling race.
And winds his lengthening court beneath the plains : But me, nor stalks, nor waterish herbs delight, Psycarpax' father, father now no more! Nor can the crimson radish charm my sight,
For poor Psycarpax lies remote from shore : The lake-resounding frogs' selected fare,
Supine he lies! the silent waters stand,
And no kind billow wafts the dead to land!
When rosy-finger'd morn had tinged the clouds, And born amphibious, food from both command. Around their monarch-mouse the nation crowds; But trust thyself where wonders ask thy view, Slow rose the monarch, heaved his anxious breast, And safely tempt those seas; I'll bear thee through: And thus the council, fill’d with rage, address'd : Ascend my shoulders, firmly keep thy seat,
For lost Psycarpax much my soul endures;
He said, and lent his back; with nimble bound Three warlike sons adorn'd my nuptial bed,
As near my court the prince unheedful sat. 10 But when aloft the curling water rides,
Our next, an engine fraught with danger drew,
And men unpitying kill my gallant boy.
100 And bleed that monarch, and his nation bleed. Half drench'd in liquid death, his prayers he spake, His words in every breast inspired alarms, And thus bemoan'd him from the dreadful lake: And careful Mars supplied their host with arms. 20 So pass’d Europa through the rapid sed,
In verdant hulls despoild of all their beans, Trembling and fainting all the venturous way; The buskin'd warriors stalk'd along the plains; With oary feet the bull triumphant rode,
Quills aptly bound their bracing corslet made, And safe in Crete deposed his lovely load.
Faced with the plunder of a cat they flay'd; Ah safe at last ! may thus the frog support
The lamp's round boss affords an ample shield, My trembling limbs to reach his ample court. Large shells of nuts their covering helmet yield:
As thus he sorrows, death ambiguous grows: And o'er the region, with reflected rays,
And ask, and hearken whence the noises spring :
grasps with fruitless hands to find relief, The sacred herald's sceptre graced his hand, Supincly falls, and grinds his teeth with gries; And thus his words express'd his king's command
Ye frogs! the mice, with vengeance fired, advance, In vain, my father! all their dangers plead; And deck'd in armour shake the shining lance; To such, thy Pallas never grants her aid. Their hapless prince, by Physignathus slain, My flowery wreaths they petulantly spoil, Extends incumbent on the watery plain. 40 And rob my crystal lamps of feeding oil: Then arm your host, the doubtful battle try; (Ils following ills) but what afiliets me more, Lead forth those frogs that have the soul to die. My veil that idle race profanely tore.
110 The chief retires; the crowd the challenge hear, The web was curious, wrought with art divine; And proudly swelling, yet perplex'd appear;
Relentless wretches! all the work was mine : Much they resent, yet much their monarch blame, Along the loom the purple warp I spread, Who, rising, spoke to clear his tainted fame: Cast the light shoot, and cross'd the silver thread.
O friends! I never forced the mouse to death, In this their teeth a thousand breaches tear: Nor saw the gaspings of his latest breath.
The thousand breaches skilful hands repair; He, vain of youth, our art of swimming tried, For which, vile earthly duns thy daughter grieve: And venturous in the lake the wanton died; 50 But gods, that use no coin, have none to give; To vengeance now by false appearance led, And learning's goddess never less can owe; They point their anger at my guiltless head: Neglected learning geis no wealth below. 120 But wage the rising war by deep device,
Nor let the frogs to gain my succour sue, And turn its fury on the crafty mice:
Those clamorous fools have lost my favour too. Your king directs the way: my thoughts elate For late, when all the conflict ceased at night, With hopes of conquest, form designs of fate. When my stretch'd sinews ach'd with eager fight, Where high the banks their verdant surfare heave, When spent with glorious toil I left the field, And the steep sides confine the sleeping wave, And sunk for slumber on my swelling shield; There, near the margin, and in armour bright, Lo from the deep, repelling sweet repose, Sustain the first impetuous shocks of fight : 60 With noisy croakings half the nation rose : Then where the dancing feather joins the crest, Devoid of rest, with aching brows I lay, Let each brave frog his obvious mouse arrest; Till cocks proclaim'd the crimson dawn of day. 130 Each strongly grasping headlong plunge a foe, Let all, like me, from either host forbear, Till countless circles whirl the lake below;
Nor tempt the flying furies of the spear. Down sink the mice in yielding waters drown'd; Let heavenly blood (or what for blood may flow) Loud flash the waters, echoing shores resound: Adorn the conquest of a nobler foe, The frogs triumphant tread the conquer'd plain, Who, wildly rushing, meet the wondrous odds, And raise their glorious trophies of the slain. Though gods oppose, and brave the wounded gods.
He spake no more; his prudent scheme imparts O'er gilded clouds reclined, the danger view, Redoubling ardour to the boldest hearts. 70 And be the wars of mortals scenes for you. Green was the suit his arming heroes chose,
So moved the blue-cyed queen; her words perAround their legs the greaves of mallows close;
suade; Green were the beets about their shoulders laid, Great Jove assented, and the rest obey'd. 140 And green the colewort which the target made; Form'd of the varied shells the waters yield, Their glossy helmets glisten'd o'er the field; And ta pering sea-reeds for the polish'd spear,
BOOK III. With upright order pierce the ambient air: Thus dress'd for war, they take the appointed height, Now front to front the marching armies shine, Poise the long arms, and urge the promised fight. 80 Halt ere they meet, and form the lengthening line;
But now, where Jove's irradiate spires arise, The chiefs conspicuous seen, and heard afar, With stars surrounded in ethereal skies,
Give the loud sign to loose the rushing war; (A solemn council call'd) the brazen gates Their dreadful trumpets deep-mouth'd hornets sound, Unbar; the gods assume their golden seats : The sounded charge remurmurs o'er the ground; The sire superior leans, and points to show Even Jove proclaims a field of horror nigh, What wondrous combats mortals wage below: And rolls low thunder through the troubled sky. How strong, how large, the numerous heroes stride : First to the fight the large Hypsiboas flew, What length of lance they shake with warlike pride; And brave Lychenor with a javelin slew; 10 What eager fire their rapid march reveals!
The luckless warrior fill'd with generous flame, So the fierce Centaurs ravaged o'er the dales; 90 Stood foremost glittering in the post of fame, And so confirm'd the daring Titans rose,
When in his liver struck, the javelin hung; Heap'd hills on hills, and bade the gods be foes. The mouse fell thundering and the target rung:
This seen, the power his sacred visage rears, Prone to the ground he sinks his closing eye,
And soil'd in dust his lovely tresses lie.
The missive spear within the bosom past ;
Thus spake the ruler of the spacious skies; And Polyphonus dies, a frog renown'd
Deep through the belly pierced, supine he lay, Hoarse croaking threats precede: with fatal speed And breath'd his soul against the face of day. Deep through the belly runs the pointed reed,
The strong Lymnocharis, who view'd with ire Then, strongly tugg'd, return’d imbrued with gore, A victor triumph, and a friend expire,
30 And on the pile his reeking entrails bore. With heaving arms a rocky fragment caught, The lame Sitophagus, oppress'd with pain, And fiercely Aung where Troglodytes fought, Creeps from the desperate dangers of the plain : 100 A warrior versed in arts of sure retreat,
And where the ditches rising weeds supply, Yet arts in vain elude impending fate;
To spread their lowly shades beneath the sky; Full on his sinewy neck the frag fell,
There lurks the silent mouse relieved of heat, And o'er his eye-lids clouds eternal dwell.
And, safe imbower'd, avoids the chance of fate. Lychenor (second of the glorious name)
But here Troxartes, Physignathus there, Striding advanced, and took no wandering aim; Whirl the dire furies of the pointed spear: Through all the frog the shining javelin tiies, Then where the foot around its ankle plies, And near the vanquished mouse the victor dies. 40 Troxartes wounds, and Physignathus flies, The dreadful stroke Crambophagus affrights, Halts to the pool, a safe retreat to find, Long bred to banquets, less inured to fights ; And trails a dangling length of leg behind. 110 Heedless he runs, and stumbles o'er the steep, The mouse still urges, still the frog retires, And, wildly floundering, flashes up the deep: And half in anguish of the flight expires : Lychenor, following, with a downward blow Then pious ardour young Prassæus brings, Reach'd, in the lake, his unrecover'd foe;
Betwixt the fortunes of contending kings: Gasping he rolls, a purple stream of blood
Lank, harmless frog! with forces hardly grown, Distains the surface of the silver flood;
He darts the reed in combats not his own, Through the wide wound the rushing entrails throng, Which faintly tinkling on Troxartes' shield, And slow the breathless carcass floats along. 50 Hangs at the point, and drops upon the field. Lymnisius good Tyroglyphus assails,
Now nobly towering o'er the rest appears Prince of the mice that haunts the flowery vales ; A gallant prince that far transcends his years, 120 Lost to the milky fares and rural seat,
Pride of his sire, and glory of his house, He came to perish on the bank of fate.
And more a Mars in combat than a mouse:
And Meridarpax his resounding name.
Then strutting near the lake, with looks elate,
Might roll their waters o'er unpeopled ground. 130 But where his lance the field with blood imbrued, But powerful Jove, who shows no less his grace Swift as he moved Hydrocharis pursued,
To frogs that perish, than to human race, "Till fallen in death he lies; a shattering stone Felt soft compassion rising in his soul, Sounds on his neck, and crushes all the bone; And shook his sacred head, that shook the pole. His blood pollutes the verdure of the plain, Then thus to all the gazing powers began, And from his nostrils bursts the gushing brain. The sire of gods, and frogs, and mouse, and man: Lychophinax with Borbocætes fights,
What seas of blood I view, what worlds of slain! A blameless frog, whom humbler life delights; 70 An Iliad rising from a day's campaign ! The fatal javelin unrelenting flies,
How fierce his javelin, o'er the trembling lakes, And darkness seals the gentle croaker's eyes. The black furr'd hero, Meridarpax, shakes ! 140 Incensed Prassophagus, with sprightly bound, Unless some favouring deity descend, Bears Cnissodioctes off the rising ground;
Soon will the frogs' loquacious empire end. Then drags him o'er the lake, deprived of breath, Let dreadful Pallas wing'd with pity fly, And downward plunging, sinks his soul to death. And make her ægis blaze before his eye: But now the great Psycarpax shines afar
While Mars, refulgent on his rattling car, (Scarce he so great whose loss provoked the war,) Arrests his raging rival of the war. Swift to revenge his fatal javelin fled,
He ceased, reclining with attentive head; And through the liver struck Pelusius dead; 80 When thus the glorious god of combats said : : His freckled corse before the victor fell,
Nor Pallas, Jove! though Pallas take the field, His soul indignant sought the shades of hell. With all the terrors of her hissing shield; 150 This saw Pelobates, and from the flood
Nor Mars himself, though Mars in armour bright Lifts with both hands a monstrous mass of mud; Ascend his car, and wheel amidst the fight; The cloud obscene o'er all the warrior Aies, Not these can drive the desperate mouse afar, Dishonours his brown face, and blots his eyes. And change the fortunes of the bleeding war. Enraged, and wildly sputtering from the shore, Let all go forth, all heaven in arms arise ; A stone immense of size the warrior bore;
Or launch thy own red thunder from the skies ; A load for labouring earth, whose bulk to raise, Such ardent bolts as few that wondrous day, Asks ten degenerate mice of modern days : 90 When heaps of Titans mix'd with mountains lay; Full to the leg arrives the crushing wound; When all the giant race enormous fell; The frog supportless writhes upon the ground. And huge Enceladus was hurl'd to hell.
160 Thus flush'd, the victor wars with matchless force, 'Twas thus th' armipotent advis'd the gods, Till loud Craugasides arrests his course :
When from his throne the cloud-compeller nods;
Deep lengthening thunders run from pole to Broad spread their backs, their shining shoulders rise, pole,
Unnumber'd joints distort their lengthen'd thighs; Olympus trembles as the thunders roll.
With nervous cords their hands are firmly brac'd, Then swift he whirls the brandish'd bolt around, Their round black eye-balls in their bosom plac d; And headlong darts it at the distant ground; On eight long feet the wondrous warriors tread, The bolt discharg'd, inwrap'd with lightning flies, And either end alike supplies a head. And rends its flaming passage through the skies : These to call crabs mere mortal wits agree;
190 Then earth's inhabitants, the nibblers, shake; But gods have other names for things than we. And frogs, the dwellers in the waters, quake. 170 Now, where the jointures from their loins depend, Yet still the mice advance their dread design, The heroes' tails with severing grasp they rend. And the last danger threats the croaking line; Here short of feet, depriv'd the power to fly; Till Jove, that inly mourn'd the loss they bore, There, without hands, upon the field they lie. With strange assistance fill'd the frighted shore. Wrench'd from their holds, and scatter'd all around, Pour'd from the neighbouring strand, deform’d to The blended lances heap the cumber'd ground. view,
Helpless amazement, fear pursuing fear, They march, a sudden unexpected crew.
And mad confusion through their host appear: Strong suits of armour round their bodies close, O'er the wild waste with headlong flight they go 200 Which like thick anvils blunt the force of blows; Or creep conceal'd in vaulted holes below. In wheeling marches turn'd, oblique they go; 180 But down Olympus to the western seas, With harpy claws their limbs divide below: Far-shooting Phæbus drove with fainter rays; Fell sheers the passage to the mouth command; And a whole war (s0 Jove ordain'd) begun, From out the flesh the bones by nature stand Was fought, and ceas'd, in one revolving sur.