« ZurückWeiter »
Thence we these altars in his temple raise,
And offer annual honours, feasts, and praise;
Those solenın feasts propitious Phæbus please:
These honours, still renew'd, his ancient wrath ap.
pease. But say, illustrious guest !' adjoin'd the king, • What name you bear, from what high race you
spring: . .
The noble Tydeus stands confess'd, and known
Our peighbour 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!
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 Cadınus I 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
roll, 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 Edipus have known. Your fates, your furies, and your haunted town. If on the sons the parents' crimes descend, What prince from those his lineage can defend ?
Be this thy comfort, that 'tis thine t'efface
With virtuous acts thy ancestor's disgrace,
And be thyself the honour of thy race.
But see! the stars begin to steal away,
And shine mcre faintly at approaching day.
Now pour the wine; and in your tuneful lays
Once more resound the great Apollo's praise.
Oh, father Phæbus ! whether Lycia's coast
And snowy mountains thy bright presence boast;
Whether to sweet Castalia thou repair,
And bathe in silver dews thy yellow hair;
Or, pleas'd to find fair Delos float no more,
Delight in Cynthus, and the shady shore;
Or choose thy seat in Ilion's proud abodes,
The shining structures Fais'd by labouring gods;
By thee the bow and mortal shafts are borne;
Eternal charms thy blooming youth adorn:
Skill'd in the laws of secret fate above,
And the dark counsels of almighty Jove,
'Tis thine the seeds of future war to know,
The change of sceptres, and impending woe,
When direful meteors spread through glowing air
Long trails of light, and shake their blazing hair.
Thy rage the Phrygian felt, who durst aspire
T excel the music of thy heavenly lyre;
Thy shafts aveng'd lewd Tityus' guilty flame,
Tl' immortal victim of thy mother's fame;
Thy hand slew Python, and the dame who lost.
Her numerous offspring for a fatal boast.
In Phlegyas' doom thy just revenge appears,
Condemn'd to furies and eternal fears:
He views his food, but dreads, with lifted eye,
The mouldering rock, that trembles from on high.
Propitious hear our prayer, O power divine!
And on thy hospitable Argos shine,
Whether the style of Titan please thee more,
Whose purple rays th' Achæmenes adore;
Or great Osiris, who first taught the swain
Jn Pharian fields to sow the golden grain;
Or Mithra, to whose beams the Persian bows, .
And pays, in hollow rocks, his awful vows !
Mithra, whose head the blaze of light adorns,
Who grasps the struggling heifer's lunar horas.'
CIIE said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs,
W 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 @chalia could compare
For beauteous form with Dryope the fair,
Her tender mother's only hope and pride
(Myself the offering of a second bride).
This nymph, compress'd by him who rules the day,
Whom Delphi and the Delian isle obey,
Andræmon lov'd; and, bless'd 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,
These shades, unknowing of the fates, she souglit
And to the Naiads flow'ry garlands brought;
Her smiling babe (a pleasing charge) she prest
Wichin her arms, and nourish'd at her breast,
Not distant far, a watery lotos grows;
The spring was new, and all the verdant boughs,
Adorn'd with blossoms, promis'd fruits that vie
lu glowing colours with the Tyrian dye:
Of these she cropp'd to please her infant son;
And I myself 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 flowery plant, which still preserves her name.
This change unknown, astonish'd at the sight,
My trembling sister strove to urge her flight:
And first the pardon of the nymphs implor'd,
And those offended sylvan powers ador'd:
But when she backward would have fled, she found
Her stiffening feet were rooted in the ground:
In vain to free her fasten'd feet she strove,
And, as she struggles, only moves above;
She feels th' encroaching bark around her grow
By quick 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 Amphissus, to her bosom press'd,
Perceiv'd a colder and a harder breast,
And found the springs, that ne'er till then denied
Their milky moisture, on a sudden dried.
I saw, unhappy! what I now relate,
And stood the helpless witness of thy fate,
Embrac'd thy boughs, thy rising bark delay'd,
There wish'd to grow, and mingle shade with shade.
Behold Andræmon and th' unhappy sire
Appear, and for their Dryope inquire;
A springing tree for Dryope they find,
And print warm kisses on the panting rind;
Prostrate, with tears their kindred plant bedew,
And close embrace 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 every leaf distils a trickling tear,