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As on the heroes first they cast their eyes,
O'er their fair cheeks the glowing blushes rise,
Their dowuca&t looks a decent shame confess'd.
Then on their father's reverend features rest.
The banquet done, the monarch gives the sign
To fill the goblet high with sparkling wine,
Which Danans ua'd in sacred rites of old,
With sculpture grac'd, and rough with rising gold.
Here to the clonds victorious Persens flies.
Medusa seems to move her languid eves,
And, ev'n in gold, turns paler as she dies.
There from the chase Jove's towering eagle bears,
On golden wings, the Phrygian to the stars;
Still as he rises in th' ethereal height,
His native mountains lessen to his sight;
While all his sad companions upward gaze,
Fix'd on the glorious scene in wild amaze;
And the swift hounds, affrighted as he flies,
Run to the shade, and bark against the skies.
This golden bowl with generous juice was crown'd.
The first libation sprinkled on the ground:
By turns on each celestial power they call,
With Phoebus' name resounds the vanlted hall.
The courtly train, the strangers, and the rest,
Crown'd with chaste lanrel, and with garlands
While with rich gums the fuming altars bluze,
Salute the god in numerous hymns of praise.
Then thus the king: ' Perhaps, my noble guests,
These honoux'd altars, and these annual feasts
To bright Apollo's awful name design'd,
Unknown, with wonder may perplex your mind.
Great was the canse; our old solemnities
From no blind zeal or fond tradition rise;
But, sav'd from death, our Argives yearly pay
These grateful honours to the god of day.
'When by a thousand darts the Python slain With orbs unroll'd lay covering all the plain (Transfix'd as o'er Castalia's streams he hung, And suck'd new poisons with his triple tongue),
To Argos' realms the victor god resorts,
And enters old Crotopus' humble courts.
This rural prince one only daughter bless'd,
That all the charms of blooming youth possess'd;
Fair was her face, and spotless was her mind.
Where filial love with virgin sweetness join'd.
Happy! and happy still she might have prov'd,
Were she less beautiful, or less belov'd!
But Phoebus lov'd, and on the flowery side
Of Nemea's stream the yielding fair enjoy'd:
Now, ere ten moons their orb with light adorn,
Th' illustrious offspring of the god was born;
The nymph, her father's anger to evade,
Retires from Argos to the sylvan shade;
To woods and wilds the pleasing burthen bears,
And trusts her infant to a shepherd's cares.
* How mean a fate, unhappy child, is thine!
Ah, how unworthy those of race divine!
On flowery herbs in some green covert laid,
His bed the ground, his canopy the shade,
He mixes with the bleating lambs his cries, )
While the rude swain his rural music tries, 5-
To call soft slumber on his infant eyes. J
Yet ev'n in those obscure abodes to live,'
Was more, alas! than cruel fate would give;
For on the grassy verdure as he lay,
And breath'd the freshness of the early day,
Devouring dogs the helpless intent tore,
Fed on his trembling limbs, and lapp'd the gore.
Th' astonish'd mother, when the rumour came,
Forgets her father, and neglects her fame,
With loud complaints she fills the yielding air,
And beats her breast, and rends her flowing hair;
Then wild with anguish to her sire she flies,
Demands the sentence, and contented dies.
'But, touch'd with sorrow for the dead too
The raging god prepares t* avenge her fate.
He sends a monster, horrible and fell,
Begot by furies in the depths of hell.
The pest a virgin's fare and bosom bears;
High on a crown a rising snake appears.
Guards her black front, and hisses in her hairs:
About the realms she walks her dreadful round,
When night with sable wings o'erspreads the ground,
Devours young babes before their parents' eyes.
And feeds and thrives on public miseries.
* But generous rage the bold Choroebus warms,
Choroebus, fam'd for virtue, as for arms;
Some few like him, inspir'd with martial flame,
Thought a short life well lost for endless fame.
These, where two ways in equal parts divide,
The direful monster from afar descried;
Two bleeding babes depending at her side,
'Whose panting vitals, warm with life, she draws,
And in their hearts em braes her cruel claws.
The youths surround her with extended spears;
But brave Choroebus in the front appears,
Deep in her breast he plung'd his shining sword.
And hell's dire monster back to hell restor'd.
Th' Inachians view the slain with vast surprise,
Her twisting volumes, and her rolling eyes,
Her spotted breast, and gaping womb embra'd
With livid poison, and our children's blood.
The crowd in stupid wonder fix'd appear,
Pale ev'n in joy, nor yet forget to fedr.
Some with vast beams the squalid corpse engage,
And weary all the wild efforts of rage.
The birds obscene, that nightly flock'd to taste,
With hollow screeches fled the dire repast;
And ravenous dogs, allur'd by scented blood,
And starving wolves ran howling to the wood.
* But, fir'd with rage, from cleft Parnassus' Avenging Phoebus bent his deadly bow, [brow And hissing flew the feather'd fates below: A night of sultry clonds involv'd around The towers, the fields, and the devoted ground: And now a thousand lives together fled, Death with his scythe cut off the fatal thread, And a whole province in his trinmph led.
'But Phoebus, ask'd why noxious fires appear,
And racing Sirins blasts the sickly year.
Demands their lives by whom his monster fell,
And dooms a dreadful sacrifice to hell.
'Blest be thy dust, and let eternal fame
Attend thy maues, and preserve thy name.
Undaunted hero! who, divinely brave,
In such a cause disdain'd thy life to save,
But view'd the shrine with a superior look,
And its upbraided godhead thus bespoke:
'With piety, the soul's securest guard,
And conscious virtue, still its own reward,
Willing I come, unknowing how to fear;
Nor shalt thon, Phcebus, find a suppliant here.
Thy monster's death to me was ow'd alone,
And 'tis a deed too glorious to disown.
Behold him here, for whom, so many days,
Impervious clouds conceal'd thy sullen rays;
Tor whom, as man no longer claim'd thy care.
Such numbers fell by pestilential air!
But if th' abandon'd race of human kind;
From gods above no more compassion find;
If such inclemency in heaven can dwell,
Yet why must unoffending Argos feel
The vengeance due to this unlucky steel?
On me, on me, let all thy fury fall,
Nor err from me, since I deserve it all:
Unless our desert cities please thy sight,
Or funeral flames reflect a grateful tight,
Discharge thy shafts, this ready bosom rend,
And to the shades a ghost trinmphant send;
But for my country let my fate atone,
Be mine the vengeance, as the crime my own.'
'Merit distress'd, impartial Heaven relieves: Unwelcome life relenting Phoebus gives; For not the vengeful power, that glow'd with rage, With such amazing virtue durst engage. The clouds dispers'd, Apollo's wrath expir'd, And from the wondering god th' unwilling youth rctir'd.
Thence we these altars in his temple* raise,
And offer annual honours, feasts, and praise;
Those solemn feasts propitious Phoehus please:
These honours, still renew'd, his ancient wrath ap-
* But say, illustrious guestI' adjoin'd the king, 'What name you bear, from what high race you spring:
The noble Tydens stands confess'd, and known
Our neighbour prince, and heir of Calydon.
Relate your fortunes, while the friendly night
And silent hours to various talk invite.'
The Theban bends on earth his gloomy eyes,
Confus'd, and sadly thus at length replies:
'Before these altars how shall I proclaim
(Oh generous prince !) my nation or my name,
Or through what veins our ancient blood has roll'd P
Let the sad tale for ever rest untold!
Yet if, propitious to a wretch unknown,
You seek to share in sorrows not your own;
Know then, from Cadmus F derive my race,
Jocasta's son, and Thebes my native place.'
To whom the king (who felt his generous breast
Touch'd with concern for his unhappy guest)
Replies:—' Ah, why forbears the son to name
His wretched father, known too well by fame?
Fame, that delights around the world to stray,
Scorns not to take our Argos in her way.
Ev'n those who dwell where suns at distance
In northern wilds, and freeze beneath the pole;
And those who tread the burning Libyan lands,
The faithless Syrtes, and the moving sands;
Who views the western sea's extremest bounds.
Or drink of Ganges in their eastern grounds;
All these the woes of CEdipus have known,
Your fates, your furies, and your hannted town.
If on the sons the parents'crimes descend,
What prince from those his lineage can defend i