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Retires from Argos to the sylvan shade;
To woods and wilds the pleasing burden 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, bis canopy the shade,
He mixes with the bleating lambs his cries,
While the rude swain his rural music tries,
To call soft slumber on his infant eyes.
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 infant tore,
Fed on his trembling liinbs, 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 deed too late, The raging god prepares t'avenge her fate. Ile sends a monster, horrible and fell, Begot by furies in the depths of hell. The pest a virgin's face and bosom bears; High on her crown a rising snake appears, Guards her black front, and hisses in her hairs : About the realm 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 Chorcebus warms, Choræbus! 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 diresul monster from afar descried, Two bleeding babes depending at her side; Whose panting vitals, warm with life, she draws, And in their heart imbrues her cruel claws.
The youths surround her with extended spears ;
But brave Chorcebus 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 imbrued
With livid poison and our children's blood.
The crowd in stupid wonder fix'd appear,
Pale ev'n in joy, nor yet forget the fear.
Some with vast beams the squalid corse 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' brow,
Avenging Phobus bent his deadly bow,
And hissing fiew the feather'd faies below:
A night of suitry clouds 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 triumph led.
“ But Phoebus ask'd why noxious fires appear, And raging Sirius blasts the sickly year? Demands their lives by whom his monster fell, And dooms a dreadful sacrifice to hell.
“Bless'd be thy dust, aud let eternal fame
Attend thy manes, and preserve thy name,
Undaunted hero! wiio divinely brave,
In such a cause disdain'd thy life to save,
But view'd the shrine with a superior look,
its upbraided godhead thus bespoke :
• With piety, the soul's securest guard,
And conscious virtue, still iis own reward,
Willing I come, unknowing how to fear,
Nor shalt thou, Phæbus, fiud 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 tby sullen rays;
For 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 heav'n 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 light.
Discharge thy shafts, this ready bosom rend,
And to the shades a ghost triumphant send:
But for my country let my fate atone;
Be mine the vengeance, as the crime my own.'
“ Merit distress'd, impartial heav'n relieves:,
Unwelcome life relenting Phoebus gives;
For not the vengeful pow'r, 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
retir'd. Thence we these altars in his temple raise, And offer annual honours, feasts and praise; These solema feasts propitious Phoebus please; These honours, still renew'd, his ancient wrath
appease. “But say illustrious guest! (adjoin'd the king,) What name you bear, from what high race you
The noble Tydeus stands confess'd and known
Our neighbour prince, and heir of Calydon :
Relate your fortunes, while the friendly knight
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 shali I proclaim
(O generous prince!) my nation or my name,
Or thro' 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 Cadmas. I derive my race,
Jocasta's son, and Thebes my native place."
To whom tlie king (who fealt hig generous breast
ucb’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 Lybian lands,
The faithless syrtes, and the moving sands;
Who view 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' crime descend,
What prince from those his lienage can defend?
Be this thy comfort, that 'tis thine t efface,
With virtuous acts, thy ancestors' disgrace,
And be thyself the honour of thy race.
But see! the stars begin to steal away,
And shine more faintly at approaching day;
Now pour the wine; and in your tuneful lays,
Once more resound the great Apollo's praise."
"O father Phoebus ! 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
pat no more,
Delight in Cynthus and the shady shore;
Or choose thy seat in llion's proud abodes,
The shining structures rais'd by labouring gods :
By thee the bow and mortal shafts are borne;
Eterna! charms thy blooming youth adorn:
Skill'd in the laws of sacred tate above,
And the dark councils 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
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, Th' 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 pray'r, O pow'r divine!
And on thy hospitable Argos shine;
Whether the style of 'l'itan please thee more,
Whose purple rays th' Achæmenes adore;
Or great Osiris, who first taught the swain
In 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 sunar horns."