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Thus, through the parting clonds, the Sou of May
Wings on the whistling winds his rapid way;
'Now smoothly steers through air his equal flight.
Now springs aloft, and tow'rs th' ethereal height;
Then wheeling down the steep of heaven he flies.
And draws a radiant circle o'er the skies.
Meantime the banish'd Polynices roves
(His Thebes abandon'd) through th' Aonian groves,
While future realms his wandering thought delight,
His daily vision, and his dream by night;
Forbidden Thebes appears before his eye,
From whence he sees his absent brother fly,
With transport views the airy rule his own,
And swells on an imaginary throne.
Fii in would he cast a tedious age away,
And live out all in one trinmphant day.
He chides the lazy progress of the sun,
And bids the year with swifter motion run.
With anxious hopes his craving mind is tost,
And all his joys in length of wishes lost.
The hero then resolves his course to bend Where ancient Danans' fruitful fields extend. And fam'd Mycene's lofty towers ascend, (Where late the Sou did Atrens' crimes detest, And disappear'd in horror of the feast). And now, by chance, by fate, or furies led, From Bacchus' consecrated caves he fled, Where the shrill cries of frantic matrons sound. And Penthens' blood enrich'd the rising ground. Then see Cithseron towering o'er the plain, And thence declining gently to the main, * Next to the bounds of Nisus' realm repairs, Where treacherous Scylla cut the purple hairs: The hanging cliffs of Scyron's rock explores, And hears the murmurs of the different shores: Passes the strait that parts the foaming seas. And stately Corinth's pleasing site surveys.
'Twas now the time when Phoebus yields to And rising Cynthia sheds her silver light; [night
Vide o'er the world in solemn pomp she drew
Her airy chariot hung with pearly dew;
All birds and beasts lie hush'd: Sleep steals away
The wild desires of men, and toils of day,
And brings, descending through the silent air,
A sweet forgetfulness of human care.
Yet no red clonds, with golden borders gay.
Promise the skies the bright return of day;
Ko faint reflections of the distant light
Streak with long gleams the scattering shades of night;
From the damp earth impervious vapours rise,
Increase the darkness, and involve the skies.
At once the rushing winds with roaring sound
Burst from th' JEoltan caves and rend the ground,
With equal rage their airy quarrel try,
And win by turns the kingdom of the sky;
But with a thicker night black Auster shronds
The heavens, and drives on heaps the rolling clonds.
From whose dark womb a rattling tempest pours,
Which the cold North congeals to haily show'rs.
From pole to pole the thunder roars alond,
And broken lightnings flash from every clond.
Now smokes with show'rs the misty mountain-
And floated fields lie undistinguish'd round.
Th' Inachian streams with headlong fury run,
And Erasinus rolls a deluge on:
The foaming Lerna swells above its bounds
And spreads its ancient poisons o'er the grounds;
Where late was dust, now rapid torrents play.
Rush through the mounds, and bear the dams away s
Old limbs of trees from crackling forests torn,
Are whirl'd in air, and on the winds are borne:
The storm the dark Lycsean groves display'd.
And first to light expos'd the sacred shade.
IV intrepid Theban hears the bursting sky,
Sees yawning rocks in massy fragments fly,
And views astonish'd from the hills afar,
The floods descending, and the watery war.
That, driven by storms, and pouring o'er the plate.
Swept herds, and hinds, and houses to the main.
Through th'- brown horrors of the night he fled,
Nor knows, amaz'd, what doubtful path to tread;
His brother's image to his mind appears.
Inflames his heart with rage, and wings his feet with
So fares a sailor on the stormy main,
When clonds conceal Bootes golden wain,
When not a star its friendly lustre keeps,
Nor trembling Cynthia glimmers on the deeps;
He dreads the rocks, and shoals, and seas, and skies,
While thunder roars, and lightning round him flies.
Thus strove the chief, on every side distress'd,
Thus still his courage with his toils increas'd;
With his broad shield oppos'd he fore'd his way
Through thickest woods, and rous'd the beasts of
Till he beheld, where from Larissa's height
The shelving walls reflect a glancing light:
Thither with haste the Theban hero flies;
On this side Lerna's poisonous water lies,
On that Prosymna's grove and temple rise:
He pass'd the gates, which then unguarded lay,
And to the regal palace bent his way;
On the cold marble, spent with toil, he lies,
And waits till pleasing slumbers seal his eyes.
Adrastus here his happy people sways.
Blest with calm peace in his declining days.
By both his parents of descent divine,
Great Jove and Phoebus grac'd his noble line:
Heaven had not crown'd his wishes with a son,
But two fair danghters heir'd his state and throne.
To him Apollo (wondrous to relate!
But who can pierce into the depths of Fate ?)
Had sung- * Expect thy sons on Argos' shore*
A yellow lion, and a bristly boar.'
This long revolv'd in his paternal breast,
Sat heavy on his heart, and broke his rest;
This, great Amphiarus, lay hid from thee,
Though skill'd in fate, and dark futurity.
The father's care and prophet's art were vain,
For thus did the predicting god ordain.
Lo, hapless Tydens, whose ill-fated hand
Had slain his brother, leaves his native land,
And, seia'd with horror, in the shades of night,
Through the thick deserts headlong urg'd his flight.
Now by the fury of the tempest driven,
He seeks a shelter from th' inclement heaven,
Till, led by fate, theTheban's stpps he treads,
And to fair Argos' open court succeeds.
When thus the chiefs from different lands resort T' Adrastus' realms, and hospitable court; The king surveys his guests with curious fyes, And views their arms and habit with surprise. A lion's yellow skin the Theban wears, Horrid his mane, and rough with curling hairs; Such once einploy'd Alcides' youthful toils, Ere yetadorn'd with Nemea's dreadful spoils. A boar's stiff hide, of Calydonian breed, CEnides' manly shoulders overspread: Oblique his tusks, erect his bristles stood; Alive, the pride and terror of the wood.
Struck with the sight, and fix'd in deep amaze, The king th' accomplish'd oracle surveys, Reveres Apollo's vocal caves, and owns The guidins godhead, and his future sons. O'er all his bosom secret transports reign, * And a glad horror shoots through every vein. To Heaven he lifts his hands, erects his sight, And thus invokes the silent queen of night:
1 Goddess of shades, beneath whose gloomy reig» Yon spangled arch glows with the starry train; You, who the cares of Heaven and Earth allay '1 Till nature, quicken'd by th' inspiring ray, r Wakes to new vigour with the rising day; J O thou, who freest me from my doubtful state, Long lost and wilder'd in the maze of fate!
Be present still: oh goddess 1 in our aid
Proceed, and 'firm those omens thou hast made.
We to thy name our annual rites will pay,
And on thy altars sacrifices lay;
The sable flock shall fall beneath the stroke,
And fill thy temples with a grateful smoke.
Hail, faithful Tripos! hail, ye dark abodes
Of awful Phcebus: I confess the gods!'
Thus, seiz'd with sacred fear, the monarch pray'd;
Then to his inner court the guests convey'd:
"Where yet thin fumes from dying sparks arise, T
And dust yet white upon each altar lies, S
The relics of a former sacrifice. J
The king once more the solemn rites requires,
And bids renew the feasts, and wake the fires.
His train obey, while all the courts around
With noisy care and various tumult sound.
Embroider' d purple clothes the golden beds;
This slave the floor, and that the table spreads;
A third dispels the darkness of the night,
And fills depending lamps with beams of light;
Here loaves in canisters are pil'd on high,
And there in flames the slaughter'd victims fly.
Sublime in regal state Adrastus shone,
Stretch'd on rich carpets on his ivory throne;
A lofty couch receives each princely guest;
Around at awful distance wait the rest.
And now the king, his royal feast to grace, Acestis calls, the guardian of his race, Who first their youth in arts of virtue train'd, And their ripe years in modest grace maintain'd; Then softly whisper'd in her faithful ear, And bade his daughters at the rites appear. When, from the close apartments of the night, The royal nymphs approach divinely bright; Such was Diana's, such Minerva's face; Nor shine their beauties with superior grace, But that in these a milder charm endears, And less of terror in their looks appears.