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But wave whate'er to Cadmus may belong, And fix, O, muse! the barrier of thy song At dipus---from his disasters trace The long confusions of his guilty race: Nor yet attempt to stretch thy bolder wing, And mighty Cæsar's conquering eagles sing; How twice he tam'd proud Ister's rapid food, While Dacian mountains stream'd with barbarous
Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll.
And stretch'd his empire to the frozen pole:
Or long before, with early valour, strove
In youthful arms t'assert the cause of Jove.
And thou, great heir of all thy father's faine,
Increase of glory to the Latian name!
O bless thy Rome with an eternal reign,
Nor let desiring worlds entreat in vain.
What though the stars contract their heavenly space,
And crowd their shining ranks to yield thee place;
Though all the skies, ambitious of thy sway,
Conspire to court thee from our world away;
Though Phoebus longs to mix his rays with thine,
And in thy glories more serenely sline;
Though Jove himself no less content would be
To part his throne, and share his heaven with thee;
Yet stay, great Cæsar! and vouchsafe to reign
O'er the wide earth, and o'er the wat'ry rain;
Resigu to Jove his empire of the skies,
And people Heaven with Roman deities.
The time will come, when a diviner flame
Shall warm my breast to sing of Cæsar's fame:
Meanwbile permit, that my preluding muse
In Theban wars an humbler theme may chuse:
Of furious hate surviving death, she sings,
A fatal throne to two contending kings,
And funeral flames, that parting wide in air
Express the discord of the souls they bear:
Of towns dispeopled, and the wandering ghosts
Of kings uubury'd in the wasted coasts;
When Dirce's fountain blush'd with Grecian blood,
And Thetis, near Ismenos' swelling flood,
With dread beheld the rolling surges sweep,
In heaps, his slaughter'd sons into the deep.
What hero, Clio! wilt thou first relate ?
The rage of Tydeus, or the prophet's fate?
Or how, with hills of slain on every side,
Hippomedon repelld the hostile tide?
Or how the youth, with every grace adorn'd, .
Untimely fell, to be for ever mourn'd?
Then to fierce Capaneus thy verse extend,
And sing with horror his prodigious epd. -
Now wretched @dipus, depriv'd of sight,
Led a long death in everlasting night;
But, while he dwells where not a cheerful ray
Can pierce the darkness, and abhors the day,
The clear reflecting mind presents his sin
In frightful views, and makes it day within ;
Returning thoughts in endless circles roll,
And thousand furies haunt his guilty soul;
The wretch then lifted to th' unpitying skies
Those empty orbs from whence he tore his eyes,
Whose wounds, yet fresh, with bloody hands he
strook, While from his breast these dreadful accents broke:
• Ye gods! that o'er the gloomy regions reign, Where guilty spirits feel eternal pain; Thou, sable Styx ! whose livid streams are roll'd Through dreary coasts, which I, though blind, be Tisiphone, that oft has heard my prayer, (hold: Assist, if @dipus deserve thy care! If you receiv'd me from Jocasta's womb, And purs'd the hope of mischiefs yet to come: If leaving Polybus, I took my way To Cyrrha's temple, on that fatal day, When hy the son the trembling father died, Where the three roads the Phocian fields divide: If I the Sphynx's riddles durst explain, Taught by thyself to win the promis'd reiga:
If wretched I, by baleful Furies led,
With monstrous mixture stain'd my mother's bed,
For Hell and thee begot an impious brood,
And with full lust those horrid joys renew'd :
Then, self-condemn'd to shades of endless night,
Forc'd from these orbs the bleeding balls of sight:
O hear, and aid the vengeance I require,
If worthy thee, and what thou mightst inspire!
My sons their old unhappy sire despise,
Spoil'd of his kingdom, and depriv'd of eyes;
Guideless I wander, unregarded mourn,
While these exalt their sceptres o'er my urn;
These sons, ye gods! who, with flagitious pride,
Insult my darkness, and my groans deride.
Art thou a father, unregarding Jove?
And sleeps thy thunder in the realms above?
Thou Fury, then, some lasting curse entail,
Which o'er their children's children shall prevail :
Place on their heads that crown distain'd with
Which these dire hands from my slain father tore;
Go, and a parent's heavy curses bear;
Break all the bonds of Nature, and prepare
Their kindred souls to mutual hate and war.
Give them to dare, what I might wish to see,
Blind as I am, some glorious villany!
Soon shalt thou find, if thou but arm their hands,
Their ready guilt preventing thy commands:
Couldst thou some great, proportion'd mischief
[came.' They'd prove the father from whose loins they
The Fury heard, while on Cocytus' brink Her snakes, untied, sulphureous waters drink; But at the summons roll'd her eyes around, And snatch'd the starting serpents from the ground. Not half so swiftly shoots along in air The gliding lightning, or descending star. Through crowds of airy shades she wing'd her
fight, And dark dominions of the silent night;
Swift as she pass'd, the fitting ghosts withdrew,
And the pale spectres trembled at her view:
To th' iron gates of Tænarus she flies,
There spreads her dusky pinions to the skies.
The day beheld, and, sickening at the sight,
Veil'd her fair glories in the shades of night.
Affrighted Atlas, on the distant shore,
Trembled, and shook the heavens and gods he bore.
Now from beneath Malea's airy height
Aloft she sprung, and steer'd to Thebes her flight;
With eager speed the well-known journey took,
Nor here regrets the Hell she late forsook.
A hundred snakes her gloomy visage shade,
A hundred serpents guard her horrid head,
In her sunk eye-balls dreadful meteors glow:
Such rays from Phæbe's bloody circles flow,
When, labouring with strong charms, she shoots
from high A fiery gleam, and reddens all the sky. Blood stain'd her cheeks, and from her mouth there
came Blue steaming poisons, and a length of flame. From every blast of her contagious breath, Famine and drought proceeds, and plagues and
death." A robe obscene was o'er her shoulders thrown, A dress by fates and furies worn alone. She toss'd her meagre arms; her better hand In waving circles whirl'd a funeral brand : A serpent from her left was seen to rear His flaming crest, and lash the yielding air. But when the Fury took her stand on high, Where vast Citharon's top salutes the sky, A hiss from all the snaky tire went round; The dreadful signal all the rocks rebound, And through th' Achaian cities send the sound. ) (Ete, with high Parnassus, heard the voice; Eurotas banks remurmur'd to the noise; Again Lucotlpë shook at these alarms, Aud press's Palæmon closer in her arms.
fleadlong from thence the glowing Fury springs,
And o'er the Theban palace spreads her wings,
Once more invades the guilty dome, and shrouds
Its bright pavilions in a veil of clouds.
Straight with the rage of all their race possess'd, ?
Stung to the soul, the brothers start from rest,
And all their furies wake within their breast.
Their tortur'd minds repining envy tears,
And hate, engender'd by suspicions fears ;
And sacred thirst of sway; and all the ties
Of nature broke; and royal perjuries;
And impotent desire to reign alone,
That scorns the dull reversion of a throne:
Each would the sweets of sovereign rule devour,
While discord waits upon divided power.
As stubborn steers by brawny plowmen broke,
And join'd reluctant to the galling yoke,
Alike disdain with servile necks to bear
Th' unwonted weight, or drag the crooked share,
But rend the reins, and bound a different way.
And all the furrows in confusion lay;
Such was the discord of the royal pair,
Whom fury drove precipitate to war
In vain the chiefs contriv'd a specious way,
To govern Thebes by their alternate sway:
Unjust decree! while this enjoys the state,
That mourns in exile his unequal fate,
And the short monarch of a hasty year
Foresees with anguish his returning heir.
Thus did the league their impious arms restrain,
But scarce subsisted to the second reign.
Yet then no proud aspiring piles were rais'd, No fretted roofs with polish'd metals blaz'd; No labour'd columns in long order plac'd, No Grecian stone the pompous arches grac'd; No nightly bands in glittering armour wait Before the sleepless tyrant's guarded gate; No chargers then were wrought in burnish'd gold, Nor silver vases took the forming mould ;