Ovid [Trans., Sir Samuel Garth]. Metamorphoses
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BOOK THE FIRST
The Creation of the World
1:1 Of bodies chang'd to various forms, I sing:
1:2 Ye Gods, from whom these miracles did spring,
1:3 Inspire my numbers with coelestial heat;
1:4 'Till I my long laborious work compleat:
1:5 And add perpetual tenour to my rhimes,
1:6 Deduc'd from Nature's birth, to Caesar's times.
1:7 Before the seas, and this terrestrial ball,
1:8 And Heav'n's high canopy, that covers all,
1:9 One was the face of Nature; if a face:
1:10 Rather a rude and indigested mass:
1:11 A lifeless lump, unfashion'd, and unfram'd,
1:12 Of jarring seeds; and justly Chaos nam'd.
1:13 No sun was lighted up, the world to view;
1:14 No moon did yet her blunted horns renew:
1:15 Nor yet was Earth suspended in the sky,
1:16 Nor pois'd, did on her own foundations lye:
1:17 Nor seas about the shores their arms had thrown;
1:18 But earth, and air, and water, were in one.
1:19 Thus air was void of light, and earth unstable,
1:20 And water's dark abyss unnavigable.
1:21 No certain form on any was imprest;
1:22 All were confus'd, and each disturb'd the rest.
1:23 For hot and cold were in one body fixt;
1:24 And soft with hard, and light with heavy mixt.
1:25 But God, or Nature, while they thus contend,
1:26 To these intestine discords put an end:
1:27 Then earth from air, and seas from earth were driv'n,
1:28 And grosser air sunk from aetherial Heav'n.
1:29 Thus disembroil'd, they take their proper place;
1:30 The next of kin, contiguously embrace;
1:31 And foes are sunder'd, by a larger space.
1:32 The force of fire ascended first on high,
1:33 And took its dwelling in the vaulted sky:
1:34 Then air succeeds, in lightness next to fire;
1:35 Whose atoms from unactive earth retire.
1:36 Earth sinks beneath, and draws a num'rous throng
1:37 Of pondrous, thick, unwieldy seeds along.
1:38 About her coasts, unruly waters roar;
1:39 And rising, on a ridge, insult the shore.
The Formation of Man
1:40 Thus when the God, whatever God was he,
1:41 Had form'd the whole, and made the parts agree,
1:42 That no unequal portions might be found,
1:43 He moulded Earth into a spacious round:
1:44 Then with a breath, he gave the winds to blow;
1:45 And bad the congregated waters flow.
1:46 He adds the running springs, and standing lakes;
1:47 And bounding banks for winding rivers makes.
1:48 Some part, in Earth are swallow'd up, the most
1:49 In ample oceans, disembogu'd, are lost.
1:50 He shades the woods, the vallies he restrains
1:51 With rocky mountains, and extends the plains.
1:52 And as five zones th' aetherial regions bind,
1:53 Five, correspondent, are to Earth assign'd:
1:54 The sun with rays, directly darting down,
1:55 Fires all beneath, and fries the middle zone:
1:56 The two beneath the distant poles, complain
1:57 Of endless winter, and perpetual rain.
1:58 Betwixt th' extreams, two happier climates hold
1:59 The temper that partakes of hot, and cold.
1:60 The fields of liquid air, inclosing all,
1:61 Surround the compass of this earthly ball:
1:62 The lighter parts lye next the fires above;
1:63 The grosser near the watry surface move:
1:64 Thick clouds are spread, and storms engender there,
1:65 And thunder's voice, which wretched mortals fear,
1:66 And winds that on their wings cold winter bear.
1:67 Nor were those blustring brethren left at large,
1:68 On seas, and shores, their fury to discharge:
1:69 Bound as they are, and circumscrib'd in place,
1:70 They rend the world, resistless, where they pass;
1:71 And mighty marks of mischief leave behind;
1:72 Such is the rage of their tempestuous kind.
1:73 First Eurus to the rising morn is sent
1:74 (The regions of the balmy continent);
1:75 And Eastern realms, where early Persians run,
1:76 To greet the blest appearance of the sun.
1:77 Westward, the wanton Zephyr wings his flight;
1:78 Pleas'd with the remnants of departing light:
1:79 Fierce Boreas, with his off-spring, issues forth
1:80 T' invade the frozen waggon of the North.
1:81 While frowning Auster seeks the Southern sphere;
1:82 And rots, with endless rain, th' unwholsom year.
1:83 High o'er the clouds, and empty realms of wind,
1:84 The God a clearer space for Heav'n design'd;
1:85 Where fields of light, and liquid aether flow;
1:86 Purg'd from the pondrous dregs of Earth below.
1:87 Scarce had the Pow'r distinguish'd these, when streight
1:88 The stars, no longer overlaid with weight,
1:89 Exert their heads, from underneath the mass;
1:90 And upward shoot, and kindle as they pass,
1:91 And with diffusive light adorn their heav'nly place.
1:92 Then, every void of Nature to supply,
1:93 With forms of Gods he fills the vacant sky:
1:94 New herds of beasts he sends, the plains to share:
1:95 New colonies of birds, to people air:
1:96 And to their oozy beds, the finny fish repair.
1:97 A creature of a more exalted kind
1:98 Was wanting yet, and then was Man design'd:
1:99 Conscious of thought, of more capacious breast,
1:100 For empire form'd, and fit to rule the rest:
1:101 Whether with particles of heav'nly fire
1:102 The God of Nature did his soul inspire,
1:103 Or Earth, but new divided from the sky,
1:104 And, pliant, still retain'd th' aetherial energy:
1:105 Which wise Prometheus temper'd into paste,
1:106 And, mixt with living streams, the godlike image cast.
1:107 Thus, while the mute creation downward bend
1:108 Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,
1:109 Man looks aloft; and with erected eyes
1:110 Beholds his own hereditary skies.
1:111 From such rude principles our form began;
1:112 And earth was metamorphos'd into Man.
The Golden Age
1:113 The golden age was first; when Man yet new,
1:114 No rule but uncorrupted reason knew:
1:115 And, with a native bent, did good pursue.
1:116 Unforc'd by punishment, un-aw'd by fear,
1:117 His words were simple, and his soul sincere;
1:118 Needless was written law, where none opprest:
1:119 The law of Man was written in his breast:
1:120 No suppliant crowds before the judge appear'd,
1:121 No court erected yet, nor cause was heard:
1:122 But all was safe, for conscience was their guard.
1:123 The mountain-trees in distant prospect please,
1:124 E're yet the pine descended to the seas:
1:125 E're sails were spread, new oceans to explore:
1:126 And happy mortals, unconcern'd for more,
1:127 Confin'd their wishes to their native shore.
1:128 No walls were yet; nor fence, nor mote, nor mound,
1:129 Nor drum was heard, nor trumpet's angry sound:
1:130 Nor swords were forg'd; but void of care and crime,
1:131 The soft creation slept away their time.
1:132 The teeming Earth, yet guiltless of the plough,
1:133 And unprovok'd, did fruitful stores allow:
1:134 Content with food, which Nature freely bred,
1:135 On wildings and on strawberries they fed;
1:136 Cornels and bramble-berries gave the rest,
1:137 And falling acorns furnish'd out a feast.
1:138 The flow'rs unsown, in fields and meadows reign'd:
1:139 And Western winds immortal spring maintain'd.
1:140 In following years, the bearded corn ensu'd
1:141 From Earth unask'd, nor was that Earth renew'd.
1:142 From veins of vallies, milk and nectar broke;
1:143 And honey sweating through the pores of oak.
The Silver Age
1:144 But when good Saturn, banish'd from above,
1:145 Was driv'n to Hell, the world was under Jove.
1:146 Succeeding times a silver age behold,
1:147 Excelling brass, but more excell'd by gold.
1:148 Then summer, autumn, winter did appear:
1:149 And spring was but a season of the year.
1:150 The sun his annual course obliquely made,
1:151 Good days contracted, and enlarg'd the bad.
1:152 Then air with sultry heats began to glow;
1:153 The wings of winds were clogg'd with ice and snow;
1:154 And shivering mortals, into houses driv'n,
1:155 Sought shelter from th' inclemency of Heav'n.
1:156 Those houses, then, were caves, or homely sheds;
1:157 With twining oziers fenc'd; and moss their beds.
1:158 Then ploughs, for seed, the fruitful furrows broke,
1:159 And oxen labour'd first beneath the yoke.
The Brazen Age
1:160 To this came next in course, the brazen age:
1:161 A warlike offspring, prompt to bloody rage,
1:162 Not impious yet...
The Iron Age
1:163 Hard steel succeeded then:
1:164 And stubborn as the metal, were the men.
1:165 Truth, modesty, and shame, the world forsook:
1:166 Fraud, avarice, and force, their places took.
1:167 Then sails were spread, to every wind that blew.
1:168 Raw were the sailors, and the depths were new:
1:169 Trees, rudely hollow'd, did the waves sustain;
1:170 E're ships in triumph plough'd the watry plain.
1:171 Then land-marks limited to each his right:
1:172 For all before was common as the light.
1:173 Nor was the ground alone requir'd to bear
1:174 Her annual income to the crooked share,
1:175 But greedy mortals, rummaging her store,
1:176 Digg'd from her entrails first the precious oar;
1:177 Which next to Hell, the prudent Gods had laid;
1:178 And that alluring ill, to sight display'd.
1:179 Thus cursed steel, and more accursed gold,
1:180 Gave mischief birth, and made that mischief bold:
1:181 And double death did wretched Man invade,
1:182 By steel assaulted, and by gold betray'd,
1:183 Now (brandish'd weapons glittering in their hands)
1:184 Mankind is broken loose from moral bands;
1:185 No rights of hospitality remain:
1:186 The guest, by him who harbour'd him, is slain,
1:187 The son-in-law pursues the father's life;
1:188 The wife her husband murders, he the wife.
1:189 The step-dame poyson for the son prepares;
1:190 The son inquires into his father's years.
1:191 Faith flies, and piety in exile mourns;
1:192 And justice, here opprest, to Heav'n returns.
The Giants' War
1:193 Nor were the Gods themselves more safe above;
1:194 Against beleaguer'd Heav'n the giants move.
1:195 Hills pil'd on hills, on mountains mountains lie,
1:196 To make their mad approaches to the skie.
1:197 'Till Jove, no longer patient, took his time
1:198 T' avenge with thunder their audacious crime:
1:199 Red light'ning plaid along the firmament,
1:200 And their demolish'd works to pieces rent.
1:201 Sing'd with the flames, and with the bolts transfixt,
1:202 With native Earth, their blood the monsters mixt;
1:203 The blood, indu'd with animating heat,
1:204 Did in th' impregnant Earth new sons beget:
1:205 They, like the seed from which they sprung, accurst,
1:206 Against the Gods immortal hatred nurst,
1:207 An impious, arrogant, and cruel brood;
1:208 Expressing their original from blood.
1:209 Which when the king of Gods beheld from high
1:210 (Withal revolving in his memory,
1:211 What he himself had found on Earth of late,
1:212 Lycaon's guilt, and his inhumane treat),
1:213 He sigh'd; nor longer with his pity strove;
1:214 But kindled to a wrath becoming Jove:
1:215 Then call'd a general council of the Gods;
1:216 Who summon'd, issue from their blest abodes,
1:217 And fill th' assembly with a shining train.
1:218 A way there is, in Heav'n's expanded plain,
1:219 Which, when the skies are clear, is seen below,
1:220 And mortals, by the name of Milky, know.
1:221 The ground-work is of stars; through which the road
1:222 Lyes open to the Thunderer's abode:
1:223 The Gods of greater nations dwell around,
1:224 And, on the right and left, the palace bound;
1:225 The commons where they can: the nobler sort
1:226 With winding-doors wide open, front the court.
1:227 This place, as far as Earth with Heav'n may vie,
1:228 I dare to call the Louvre of the skie.
1:229 When all were plac'd, in seats distinctly known,
1:230 And he, their father, had assum'd the throne,
1:231 Upon his iv'ry sceptre first he leant,
1:232 Then shook his head, that shook the firmament:
1:233 Air, Earth, and seas, obey'd th' almighty nod;
1:234 And, with a gen'ral fear, confess'd the God.
1:235 At length, with indignation, thus he broke
1:236 His awful silence, and the Pow'rs bespoke.
1:237 I was not more concern'd in that debate
1:238 Of empire, when our universal state
1:239 Was put to hazard, and the giant race
1:240 Our captive skies were ready to imbrace:
1:241 For tho' the foe was fierce, the seeds of all
1:242 Rebellion, sprung from one original;
1:243 Now, wheresoever ambient waters glide,
1:244 All are corrupt, and all must be destroy'd.
1:245 Let me this holy protestation make,
1:246 By Hell, and Hell's inviolable lake,
1:247 I try'd whatever in the godhead lay:
1:248 But gangren'd members must be lopt away,
1:249 Before the nobler parts are tainted to decay.
1:250 There dwells below, a race of demi-gods,
1:251 Of nymphs in waters, and of fawns in woods:
1:252 Who, tho' not worthy yet, in Heav'n to live,
1:253 Let 'em, at least, enjoy that Earth we give.
1:254 Can these be thought securely lodg'd below,
1:255 When I my self, who no superior know,
1:256 I, who have Heav'n and Earth at my command,
1:257 Have been attempted by Lycaon's hand?
1:258 At this a murmur through the synod went,
1:259 And with one voice they vote his punishment.
1:260 Thus, when conspiring traytors dar'd to doom
1:261 The fall of Caesar, and in him of Rome,
1:262 The nations trembled with a pious fear;
1:263 All anxious for their earthly Thunderer:
1:264 Nor was their care, o Caesar, less esteem'd
1:265 By thee, than that of Heav'n for Jove was deem'd:
1:266 Who with his hand, and voice, did first restrain
1:267 Their murmurs, then resum'd his speech again.
1:268 The Gods to silence were compos'd, and sate
1:269 With reverence, due to his superior state.
1:270 Cancel your pious cares; already he
1:271 Has paid his debt to justice, and to me.
1:272 Yet what his crimes, and what my judgments were,
1:273 Remains for me thus briefly to declare.
1:274 The clamours of this vile degenerate age,
1:275 The cries of orphans, and th' oppressor's rage,
1:276 Had reach'd the stars: I will descend, said I,
1:277 In hope to prove this loud complaint a lye.
1:278 Disguis'd in humane shape, I travell'd round
1:279 The world, and more than what I heard, I found.
1:280 O'er Maenalus I took my steepy way,
1:281 By caverns infamous for beasts of prey:
1:282 Then cross'd Cyllene, and the piny shade
1:283 More infamous, by curst Lycaon made:
1:284 Dark night had cover'd Heaven, and Earth, before
1:285 I enter'd his unhospitable door.
1:286 Just at my entrance, I display'd the sign
1:287 That somewhat was approaching of divine.
1:288 The prostrate people pray; the tyrant grins;
1:289 And, adding prophanation to his sins,
1:290 I'll try, said he, and if a God appear,
1:291 To prove his deity shall cost him dear.
1:292 'Twas late; the graceless wretch my death prepares,
1:293 When I shou'd soundly sleep, opprest with cares:
1:294 This dire experiment he chose, to prove
1:295 If I were mortal, or undoubted Jove:
1:296 But first he had resolv'd to taste my pow'r;
1:297 Not long before, but in a luckless hour,
1:298 Some legates, sent from the Molossian state,
1:299 Were on a peaceful errand come to treat:
1:300 Of these he murders one, he boils the flesh;
1:301 And lays the mangled morsels in a dish:
1:302 Some part he roasts; then serves it up, so drest,
1:303 And bids me welcome to this humane feast.
1:304 Mov'd with disdain, the table I o'er-turn'd;
1:305 And with avenging flames, the palace burn'd.
1:306 The tyrant in a fright, for shelter gains
1:307 The neighb'ring fields, and scours along the plains.
1:308 Howling he fled, and fain he wou'd have spoke;
1:309 But humane voice his brutal tongue forsook.
1:310 About his lips the gather'd foam he churns,
1:311 And, breathing slaughters, still with rage he burns,
1:312 But on the bleating flock his fury turns.
1:313 His mantle, now his hide, with rugged hairs
1:314 Cleaves to his back; a famish'd face he bears;
1:315 His arms descend, his shoulders sink away
1:316 To multiply his legs for chase of prey.
1:317 He grows a wolf, his hoariness remains,
1:318 And the same rage in other members reigns.
1:319 His eyes still sparkle in a narr'wer space:
1:320 His jaws retain the grin, and violence of his face
1:321 This was a single ruin, but not one
1:322 Deserves so just a punishment alone.
1:323 Mankind's a monster, and th' ungodly times
1:324 Confed'rate into guilt, are sworn to crimes.
1:325 All are alike involv'd in ill, and all
1:326 Must by the same relentless fury fall.
1:327 Thus ended he; the greater Gods assent;
1:328 By clamours urging his severe intent;
1:329 The less fill up the cry for punishment.
1:330 Yet still with pity they remember Man;
1:331 And mourn as much as heav'nly spirits can.
1:332 They ask, when those were lost of humane birth,
1:333 What he wou'd do with all this waste of Earth:
1:334 If his dispeopl'd world he would resign
1:335 To beasts, a mute, and more ignoble line;
1:336 Neglected altars must no longer smoke,
1:337 If none were left to worship, and invoke.
1:338 To whom the Father of the Gods reply'd,
1:339 Lay that unnecessary fear aside:
1:340 Mine be the care, new people to provide.
1:341 I will from wondrous principles ordain
1:342 A race unlike the first, and try my skill again.
1:343 Already had he toss'd the flaming brand;
1:344 And roll'd the thunder in his spacious hand;
1:345 Preparing to discharge on seas and land:
1:346 But stopt, for fear, thus violently driv'n,
1:347 The sparks should catch his axle-tree of Heav'n.
1:348 Remembring in the fates, a time when fire
1:349 Shou'd to the battlements of Heaven aspire,
1:350 And all his blazing worlds above shou'd burn;
1:351 And all th' inferior globe to cinders turn.
1:352 His dire artill'ry thus dismist, he bent
1:353 His thoughts to some securer punishment:
1:354 Concludes to pour a watry deluge down;
1:355 And what he durst not burn, resolves to drown.
1:356 The northern breath, that freezes floods, he binds;
1:357 With all the race of cloud-dispelling winds:
1:358 The south he loos'd, who night and horror brings;
1:359 And foggs are shaken from his flaggy wings.
1:360 From his divided beard two streams he pours,
1:361 His head, and rheumy eyes distill in show'rs,
1:362 With rain his robe, and heavy mantle flow:
1:363 And lazy mists are lowring on his brow;
1:364 Still as he swept along, with his clench'd fist
1:365 He squeez'd the clouds, th' imprison'd clouds resist:
1:366 The skies, from pole to pole, with peals resound;
1:367 And show'rs inlarg'd, come pouring on the ground.
1:368 Then, clad in colours of a various dye,
1:369 Junonian Iris breeds a new supply
1:370 To feed the clouds: impetuous rain descends;
1:371 The bearded corn beneath the burden bends:
1:372 Defrauded clowns deplore their perish'd grain;
1:373 And the long labours of the year are vain.
1:374 Nor from his patrimonial Heaven alone
1:375 Is Jove content to pour his vengeance down;
1:376 Aid from his brother of the seas he craves,
1:377 To help him with auxiliary waves.
1:378 The watry tyrant calls his brooks and floods,
1:379 Who rowl from mossie caves (their moist abodes);
1:380 And with perpetual urns his palace fill:
1:381 To whom in brief, he thus imparts his will.
1:382 Small exhortation needs; your pow'rs employ:
1:383 And this bad world, so Jove requires, destroy.
1:384 Let loose the reins to all your watry store:
1:385 Bear down the damms, and open ev'ry door.
1:386 The floods, by Nature enemies to land,
1:387 And proudly swelling with their new command,
1:388 Remove the living stones, that stopt their way,
1:389 And gushing from their source, augment the sea.
1:390 Then, with his mace, their monarch struck the ground;
1:391 With inward trembling Earth receiv'd the wound;
1:392 And rising streams a ready passage found.
1:393 Th' expanded waters gather on the plain:
1:394 They float the fields, and over-top the grain;
1:395 Then rushing onwards, with a sweepy sway,
1:396 Bear flocks, and folds, and lab'ring hinds away.
1:397 Nor safe their dwellings were, for, sap'd by floods,
1:398 Their houses fell upon their houshold Gods.
1:399 The solid piles, too strongly built to fall,
1:400 High o'er their heads, behold a watry wall:
1:401 Now seas and Earth were in confusion lost;
1:402 A world of waters, and without a coast.
1:403 One climbs a cliff; one in his boat is born:
1:404 And ploughs above, where late he sow'd his corn.
1:405 Others o'er chimney-tops and turrets row,
1:406 And drop their anchors on the meads below:
1:407 Or downward driv'n, they bruise the tender vine,
1:408 Or tost aloft, are knock'd against a pine.
1:409 And where of late the kids had cropt the grass,
1:410 The monsters of the deep now take their place.
1:411 Insulting Nereids on the cities ride,
1:412 And wond'ring dolphins o'er the palace glide.
1:413 On leaves, and masts of mighty oaks they brouze;
1:414 And their broad fins entangle in the boughs.
1:415 The frighted wolf now swims amongst the sheep;
1:416 The yellow lion wanders in the deep:
1:417 His rapid force no longer helps the boar:
1:418 The stag swims faster, than he ran before.
1:419 The fowls, long beating on their wings in vain,
1:420 Despair of land, and drop into the main.
1:421 Now hills, and vales no more distinction know;
1:422 And levell'd Nature lies oppress'd below.
1:423 The most of mortals perish in the flood:
1:424 The small remainder dies for want of food.
1:425 A mountain of stupendous height there stands
1:426 Betwixt th' Athenian and Boeotian lands,
1:427 The bound of fruitful fields, while fields they were,
1:428 But then a field of waters did appear:
1:429 Parnassus is its name; whose forky rise
1:430 Mounts thro' the clouds, and mates the lofty skies.
1:431 High on the summit of this dubious cliff,
1:432 Deucalion wafting, moor'd his little skiff.
1:433 He with his wife were only left behind
1:434 Of perish'd Man; they two were human kind.
1:435 The mountain nymphs, and Themis they adore,
1:436 And from her oracles relief implore.
1:437 The most upright of mortal men was he;
1:438 The most sincere, and holy woman, she.
1:439 When Jupiter, surveying Earth from high,
1:440 Beheld it in a lake of water lie,
1:441 That where so many millions lately liv'd,
1:442 But two, the best of either sex, surviv'd;
1:443 He loos'd the northern wind; fierce Boreas flies
1:444 To puff away the clouds, and purge the skies:
1:445 Serenely, while he blows, the vapours driv'n,
1:446 Discover Heav'n to Earth, and Earth to Heav'n.
1:447 The billows fall, while Neptune lays his mace
1:448 On the rough sea, and smooths its furrow'd face.
1:449 Already Triton, at his call, appears
1:450 Above the waves; a Tyrian robe he wears;
1:451 And in his hand a crooked trumpet bears.
1:452 The soveraign bids him peaceful sounds inspire,
1:453 And give the waves the signal to retire.
1:454 His writhen shell he takes; whose narrow vent
1:455 Grows by degrees into a large extent,
1:456 Then gives it breath; the blast with doubling sound,
1:457 Runs the wide circuit of the world around:
1:458 The sun first heard it, in his early east,
1:459 And met the rattling ecchos in the west.
1:460 The waters, listning to the trumpet's roar,
1:461 Obey the summons, and forsake the shore.
1:462 A thin circumference of land appears;
1:463 And Earth, but not at once, her visage rears,
1:464 And peeps upon the seas from upper grounds;
1:465 The streams, but just contain'd within their bounds,
1:466 By slow degrees into their channels crawl;
1:467 And Earth increases, as the waters fall.
1:468 In longer time the tops of trees appear,
1:469 Which mud on their dishonour'd branches bear.
1:470 At length the world was all restor'd to view;
1:471 But desolate, and of a sickly hue:
1:472 Nature beheld her self, and stood aghast,
1:473 A dismal desart, and a silent waste.
1:474 Which when Deucalion, with a piteous look
1:475 Beheld, he wept, and thus to Pyrrha spoke:
1:476 Oh wife, oh sister, oh of all thy kind
1:477 The best, and only creature left behind,
1:478 By kindred, love, and now by dangers joyn'd;
1:479 Of multitudes, who breath'd the common air,
1:480 We two remain; a species in a pair:
1:481 The rest the seas have swallow'd; nor have we
1:482 Ev'n of this wretched life a certainty.
1:483 The clouds are still above; and, while I speak,
1:484 A second deluge o'er our heads may break.
1:485 Shou'd I be snatcht from hence, and thou remain,
1:486 Without relief, or partner of thy pain,
1:487 How cou'dst thou such a wretched life sustain?
1:488 Shou'd I be left, and thou be lost, the sea
1:489 That bury'd her I lov'd, shou'd bury me.
1:490 Oh cou'd our father his old arts inspire,
1:491 And make me heir of his informing fire,
1:492 That so I might abolisht Man retrieve,
1:493 And perisht people in new souls might live.
1:494 But Heav'n is pleas'd, nor ought we to complain,
1:495 That we, th' examples of mankind, remain.
1:496 He said; the careful couple joyn their tears:
1:497 And then invoke the Gods, with pious prayers.
1:498 Thus, in devotion having eas'd their grief,
1:499 From sacred oracles they seek relief;
1:500 And to Cephysus' brook their way pursue:
1:501 The stream was troubled, but the ford they knew;
1:502 With living waters, in the fountain bred,
1:503 They sprinkle first their garments, and their head,
1:504 Then took the way, which to the temple led.
1:505 The roofs were all defil'd with moss, and mire,
1:506 The desart altars void of solemn fire.
1:507 Before the gradual, prostrate they ador'd;
1:508 The pavement kiss'd; and thus the saint implor'd.
1:509 O righteous Themis, if the Pow'rs above
1:510 By pray'rs are bent to pity, and to love;
1:511 If humane miseries can move their mind;
1:512 If yet they can forgive, and yet be kind;
1:513 Tell how we may restore, by second birth,
1:514 Mankind, and people desolated Earth.
1:515 Then thus the gracious Goddess, nodding, said;
1:516 Depart, and with your vestments veil your head:
1:517 And stooping lowly down, with losen'd zones,
1:518 Throw each behind your backs, your mighty mother's bones.
1:519 Amaz'd the pair, and mute with wonder stand,
1:520 'Till Pyrrha first refus'd the dire command.
1:521 Forbid it Heav'n, said she, that I shou'd tear
1:522 Those holy reliques from the sepulcher.
1:523 They ponder'd the mysterious words again,
1:524 For some new sense; and long they sought in vain:
1:525 At length Deucalion clear'd his cloudy brow,
1:526 And said, the dark Aenigma will allow
1:527 A meaning, which, if well I understand,
1:528 From sacrilege will free the God's command:
1:529 This Earth our mighty mother is, the stones
1:530 In her capacious body, are her bones:
1:531 These we must cast behind. With hope, and fear,
1:532 The woman did the new solution hear:
1:533 The man diffides in his own augury,
1:534 And doubts the Gods; yet both resolve to try.
1:535 Descending from the mount, they first unbind
1:536 Their vests, and veil'd, they cast the stones behind:
1:537 The stones (a miracle to mortal view,
1:538 But long tradition makes it pass for true)
1:539 Did first the rigour of their kind expel,
1:540 And suppled into softness, as they fell;
1:541 Then swell'd, and swelling, by degrees grew warm;
1:542 And took the rudiments of human form.
1:543 Imperfect shapes: in marble such are seen,
1:544 When the rude chizzel does the man begin;
1:545 While yet the roughness of the stone remains,
1:546 Without the rising muscles, and the veins.
1:547 The sappy parts, and next resembling juice,
1:548 Were turn'd to moisture, for the body's use:
1:549 Supplying humours, blood, and nourishment;
1:550 The rest, too solid to receive a bent,
1:551 Converts to bones; and what was once a vein,
1:552 Its former name and Nature did retain.
1:553 By help of pow'r divine, in little space,
1:554 What the man threw, assum'd a manly face;
1:555 And what the wife, renew'd the female race.
1:556 Hence we derive our nature; born to bear
1:557 Laborious life; and harden'd into care.
1:558 The rest of animals, from teeming Earth
1:559 Produc'd, in various forms receiv'd their birth.
1:560 The native moisture, in its close retreat,
1:561 Digested by the sun's aetherial heat,
1:562 As in a kindly womb, began to breed:
1:563 Then swell'd, and quicken'd by the vital seed.
1:564 And some in less, and some in longer space,
1:565 Were ripen'd into form, and took a sev'ral face.
1:566 Thus when the Nile from Pharian fields is fled,
1:567 And seeks, with ebbing tides, his ancient bed,
1:568 The fat manure with heav'nly fire is warm'd;
1:569 And crusted creatures, as in wombs, are form'd;
1:570 These, when they turn the glebe, the peasants find;
1:571 Some rude, and yet unfinish'd in their kind:
1:572 Short of their limbs, a lame imperfect birth:
1:573 One half alive; and one of lifeless earth.
1:574 For heat, and moisture, when in bodies join'd,
1:575 The temper that results from either kind
1:576 Conception makes; and fighting 'till they mix,
1:577 Their mingled atoms in each other fix.
1:578 Thus Nature's hand the genial bed prepares
1:579 With friendly discord, and with fruitful wars.
1:580 From hence the surface of the ground, with mud
1:581 And slime besmear'd (the faeces of the flood),
1:582 Receiv'd the rays of Heav'n: and sucking in
1:583 The seeds of heat, new creatures did begin:
1:584 Some were of sev'ral sorts produc'd before,
1:585 But of new monsters, Earth created more.
1:586 Unwillingly, but yet she brought to light
1:587 Thee, Python too, the wondring world to fright,
1:588 And the new nations, with so dire a sight:
1:589 So monstrous was his bulk, so large a space
1:590 Did his vast body, and long train embrace.
1:591 Whom Phoebus basking on a bank espy'd;
1:592 E're now the God his arrows had not try'd
1:593 But on the trembling deer, or mountain goat;
1:594 At this new quarry he prepares to shoot.
1:595 Though ev'ry shaft took place, he spent the store
1:596 Of his full quiver; and 'twas long before
1:597 Th' expiring serpent wallow'd in his gore.
1:598 Then, to preserve the fame of such a deed,
1:599 For Python slain, he Pythian games decred.
1:600 Where noble youths for mastership shou'd strive,
1:601 To quoit, to run, and steeds, and chariots drive.
1:602 The prize was fame: in witness of renown
1:603 An oaken garland did the victor crown.
1:604 The laurel was not yet for triumphs born;
1:605 But every green alike by Phoebus worn,
1:606 Did, with promiscuous grace, his flowing locks adorn.
The Transformation of Daphne into a Lawrel
1:607 The first and fairest of his loves, was she
1:608 Whom not blind fortune, but the dire decree
1:609 Of angry Cupid forc'd him to desire:
1:610 Daphne her name, and Peneus was her sire.
1:611 Swell'd with the pride, that new success attends,
1:612 He sees the stripling, while his bow he bends,
1:613 And thus insults him: Thou lascivious boy,
1:614 Are arms like these for children to employ?
1:615 Know, such atchievements are my proper claim;
1:616 Due to my vigour, and unerring aim:
1:617 Resistless are my shafts, and Python late
1:618 In such a feather'd death, has found his fate.
1:619 Take up the torch (and lay my weapons by),
1:620 With that the feeble souls of lovers fry.
1:621 To whom the son of Venus thus reply'd,
1:622 Phoebus, thy shafts are sure on all beside,
1:623 But mine of Phoebus, mine the fame shall be
1:624 Of all thy conquests, when I conquer thee.
1:625 He said, and soaring, swiftly wing'd his flight:
1:626 Nor stopt but on Parnassus' airy height.
1:627 Two diff'rent shafts he from his quiver draws;
1:628 One to repel desire, and one to cause.
1:629 One shaft is pointed with refulgent gold:
1:630 To bribe the love, and make the lover bold:
1:631 One blunt, and tipt with lead, whose base allay
1:632 Provokes disdain, and drives desire away.
1:633 The blunted bolt against the nymph he drest:
1:634 But with the sharp transfixt Apollo's breast.
1:635 Th' enamour'd deity pursues the chace;
1:636 The scornful damsel shuns his loath'd embrace:
1:637 In hunting beasts of prey, her youth employs;
1:638 And Phoebe rivals in her rural joys.
1:639 With naked neck she goes, and shoulders bare;
1:640 And with a fillet binds her flowing hair.
1:641 By many suitors sought, she mocks their pains,
1:642 And still her vow'd virginity maintains.
1:643 Impatient of a yoke, the name of bride
1:644 She shuns, and hates the joys, she never try'd.
1:645 On wilds, and woods, she fixes her desire:
1:646 Nor knows what youth, and kindly love, inspire.
1:647 Her father chides her oft: Thou ow'st, says he,
1:648 A husband to thy self, a son to me.
1:649 She, like a crime, abhors the nuptial bed:
1:650 She glows with blushes, and she hangs her head.
1:651 Then casting round his neck her tender arms,
1:652 Sooths him with blandishments, and filial charms:
1:653 Give me, my Lord, she said, to live, and die,
1:654 A spotless maid, without the marriage tye.
1:655 'Tis but a small request; I beg no more
1:656 Than what Diana's father gave before.
1:657 The good old sire was soften'd to consent;
1:658 But said her wish wou'd prove her punishment:
1:659 For so much youth, and so much beauty join'd,
1:660 Oppos'd the state, which her desires design'd.
1:661 The God of light, aspiring to her bed,
1:662 Hopes what he seeks, with flattering fancies fed;
1:663 And is, by his own oracles, mis-led.
1:664 And as in empty fields the stubble burns,
1:665 Or nightly travellers, when day returns,
1:666 Their useless torches on dry hedges throw,
1:667 That catch the flames, and kindle all the row;
1:668 So burns the God, consuming in desire,
1:669 And feeding in his breast a fruitless fire:
1:670 Her well-turn'd neck he view'd (her neck was bare)
1:671 And on her shoulders her dishevel'd hair;
1:672 Oh were it comb'd, said he, with what a grace
1:673 Wou'd every waving curl become her face!
1:674 He view'd her eyes, like heav'nly lamps that shone,
1:675 He view'd her lips, too sweet to view alone,
1:676 Her taper fingers, and her panting breast;
1:677 He praises all he sees, and for the rest
1:678 Believes the beauties yet unseen are best:
1:679 Swift as the wind, the damsel fled away,
1:680 Nor did for these alluring speeches stay:
1:681 Stay Nymph, he cry'd, I follow, not a foe.
1:682 Thus from the lyon trips the trembling doe;
1:683 Thus from the wolf the frighten'd lamb removes,
1:684 And, from pursuing faulcons, fearful doves;
1:685 Thou shunn'st a God, and shunn'st a God, that loves.
1:686 Ah, lest some thorn shou'd pierce thy tender foot,
1:687 Or thou shou'dst fall in flying my pursuit!
1:688 To sharp uneven ways thy steps decline;
1:689 Abate thy speed, and I will bate of mine.
1:690 Yet think from whom thou dost so rashly fly;
1:691 Nor basely born, nor shepherd's swain am I.
1:692 Perhaps thou know'st not my superior state;
1:693 And from that ignorance proceeds thy hate.
1:694 Me Claros, Delphi, Tenedos obey;
1:695 These hands the Patareian scepter sway.
1:696 The King of Gods begot me: what shall be,
1:697 Or is, or ever was, in Fate, I see.
1:698 Mine is th' invention of the charming lyre;
1:699 Sweet notes, and heav'nly numbers, I inspire.
1:700 Sure is my bow, unerring is my dart;
1:701 But ah! more deadly his, who pierc'd my heart.
1:702 Med'cine is mine; what herbs and simples grow
1:703 In fields, and forrests, all their pow'rs I know;
1:704 And am the great physician call'd, below.
1:705 Alas that fields and forrests can afford.
1:706 No remedies to heal their love-sick lord!
1:707 To cure the pains of love, no plant avails:
1:708 And his own physick, the physician falls.
1:709 She heard not half; so furiously she flies;
1:710 And on her ear th' imperfect accent dies,
1:711 Fear gave her wings; and as she fled, the wind
1:712 Increasing, spread her flowing hair behind;
1:713 And left her legs and thighs expos'd to view:
1:714 Which made the God more eager to pursue.
1:715 The God was young, and was too hotly bent
1:716 To lose his time in empty compliment:
1:717 But led by love, and fir'd with such a sight,
1:718 Impetuously pursu'd his near delight.
1:719 As when th' impatient greyhound slipt from far,
1:720 Bounds o'er the glebe to course the fearful hare,
1:721 She in her speed does all her safety lay;
1:722 And he with double speed pursues the prey;
1:723 O'er-runs her at the sitting turn, and licks
1:724 His chaps in vain, and blows upon the flix:
1:725 She scapes, and for the neighb'ring covert strives,
1:726 And gaining shelter, doubts if yet she lives:
1:727 If little things with great we may compare,
1:728 Such was the God, and such the flying fair,
1:729 She urg'd by fear, her feet did swiftly move,
1:730 But he more swiftly, who was urg'd by love.
1:731 He gathers ground upon her in the chace:
1:732 Now breathes upon her hair, with nearer pace;
1:733 And just is fast'ning on the wish'd embrace.
1:734 The nymph grew pale, and in a mortal fright,
1:735 Spent with the labour of so long a flight;
1:736 And now despairing, cast a mournful look
1:737 Upon the streams of her paternal brook;
1:738 Oh help, she cry'd, in this extreamest need!
1:739 If water Gods are deities indeed:
1:740 Gape Earth, and this unhappy wretch intomb;
1:741 Or change my form, whence all my sorrows come.
1:742 Scarce had she finish'd, when her feet she found
1:743 Benumb'd with cold, and fasten'd to the ground:
1:744 A filmy rind about her body grows;
1:745 Her hair to leaves, her arms extend to boughs:
1:746 The nymph is all into a lawrel gone;
1:747 The smoothness of her skin remains alone.
1:748 Yet Phoebus loves her still, and casting round
1:749 Her bole, his arms, some little warmth he found.
1:750 The tree still panted in th' unfinish'd part:
1:751 Not wholly vegetive, and heav'd her heart.
1:752 He fixt his lips upon the trembling rind;
1:753 It swerv'd aside, and his embrace declin'd.
1:754 To whom the God, Because thou canst not be
1:755 My mistress, I espouse thee for my tree:
1:756 Be thou the prize of honour, and renown;
1:757 The deathless poet, and the poem, crown.
1:758 Thou shalt the Roman festivals adorn,
1:759 And, after poets, be by victors worn.
1:760 Thou shalt returning Caesar's triumph grace;
1:761 When pomps shall in a long procession pass.
1:762 Wreath'd on the posts before his palace wait;
1:763 And be the sacred guardian of the gate.
1:764 Secure from thunder, and unharm'd by Jove,
1:765 Unfading as th' immortal Pow'rs above:
1:766 And as the locks of Phoebus are unshorn,
1:767 So shall perpetual green thy boughs adorn.
1:768 The grateful tree was pleas'd with what he said;
1:769 And shook the shady honours of her head.
The Transformation of Io into a Heyfer
1:770 An ancient forest in Thessalia grows;
1:771 Which Tempe's pleasing valley does inclose:
1:772 Through this the rapid Peneus take his course;
1:773 From Pindus rolling with impetuous force;
1:774 Mists from the river's mighty fall arise:
1:775 And deadly damps inclose the cloudy skies:
1:776 Perpetual fogs are hanging o'er the wood;
1:777 And sounds of waters deaf the neighbourhood.
1:778 Deep, in a rocky cave, he makes abode
1:779 (A mansion proper for a mourning God).
1:780 Here he gives audience; issuing out decrees
1:781 To rivers, his dependant deities.
1:782 On this occasion hither they resort;
1:783 To pay their homage, and to make their court.
1:784 All doubtful, whether to congratulate
1:785 His daughter's honour, or lament her fate.
1:786 Sperchaeus, crown'd with poplar, first appears;
1:787 Then old Apidanus came crown'd with years:
1:788 Enipeus turbulent, Amphrysos tame;
1:789 And Aeas last with lagging waters came.
1:790 Then, of his kindred brooks, a num'rous throng
1:791 Condole his loss; and bring their urns along.
1:792 Not one was wanting of the wat'ry train,
1:793 That fill'd his flood, or mingled with the main:
1:794 But Inachus, who in his cave, alone,
1:795 Wept not another's losses, but his own,
1:796 For his dear Io, whether stray'd, or dead,
1:797 To him uncertain, doubtful tears he shed.
1:798 He sought her through the world; but sought in vain;
1:799 And no where finding, rather fear'd her slain.
1:800 Her, just returning from her father's brook,
1:801 Jove had beheld, with a desiring look:
1:802 And, Oh fair daughter of the flood, he said,
1:803 Worthy alone of Jove's imperial bed,
1:804 Happy whoever shall those charms possess;
1:805 The king of Gods (nor is thy lover less)
1:806 Invites thee to yon cooler shades; to shun
1:807 The scorching rays of the meridian sun.
1:808 Nor shalt thou tempt the dangers of the grove
1:809 Alone, without a guide; thy guide is Jove.
1:810 No puny Pow'r, but he whose high command
1:811 Is unconfin'd, who rules the seas and land;
1:812 And tempers thunder in his awful hand,
1:813 Oh fly not: for she fled from his embrace
1:814 O'er Lerna's pastures: he pursu'd the chace
1:815 Along the shades of the Lyrcaean plain;
1:816 At length the God, who never asks in vain,
1:817 Involv'd with vapours, imitating night,
1:818 Both Air, and Earth; and then suppress'd her flight,
1:819 And mingling force with love, enjoy'd the full delight.
1:820 Mean-time the jealous Juno, from on high,
1:821 Survey'd the fruitful fields of Arcady;
1:822 And wonder'd that the mist shou'd over-run
1:823 The face of day-light, and obscure the sun.
1:824 No nat'ral cause she found, from brooks, or bogs,
1:825 Or marshy lowlands, to produce the fogs;
1:826 Then round the skies she sought for Jupiter,
1:827 Her faithless husband; but no Jove was there:
1:828 Suspecting now the worst, Or I, she said,
1:829 Am much mistaken, or am much betray'd.
1:830 With fury she precipitates her flight:
1:831 Dispels the shadows of dissembled night;
1:832 And to the day restores his native light.
1:833 Th' Almighty Leacher, careful to prevent
1:834 The consequence, foreseeing her descent,
1:835 Transforms his mistress in a trice; and now
1:836 In Io's place appears a lovely cow.
1:837 So sleek her skin, so faultless was her make,
1:838 Ev'n Juno did unwilling pleasure take
1:839 To see so fair a rival of her love;
1:840 And what she was, and whence, enquir'd of Jove:
1:841 Of what fair herd, and from what pedigree?
1:842 The God, half caught, was forc'd upon a lye:
1:843 And said she sprung from Earth. She took the word,
1:844 And begg'd the beauteous heyfer of her lord.
1:845 What should he do? 'twas equal shame to Jove
1:846 Or to relinquish, or betray his love:
1:847 Yet to refuse so slight a gift, wou'd be
1:848 But more t' increase his consort's jealousie:
1:849 Thus fear, and love, by turns, his heart assail'd;
1:850 And stronger love had sure, at length, prevail'd:
1:851 But some faint hope remain'd, his jealous queen
1:852 Had not the mistress through the heyfer seen.
1:853 The cautious Goddess, of her gift possest,
1:854 Yet harbour'd anxious thoughts within her breast;
1:855 As she who knew the falshood of her Jove;
1:856 And justly fear'd some new relapse of love.
1:857 Which to prevent, and to secure her care,
1:858 To trusty Argus she commits the fair.
1:859 The head of Argus (as with stars the skies)
1:860 Was compass'd round, and wore an hundred eyes.
1:861 But two by turns their lids in slumber steep;
1:862 The rest on duty still their station keep;
1:863 Nor cou'd the total constellation sleep.
1:864 Thus, ever present, to his eyes, and mind,
1:865 His charge was still before him, tho' behind.
1:866 In fields he suffer'd her to feed by Day,
1:867 But when the setting sun to night gave way,
1:868 The captive cow he summon'd with a call;
1:869 And drove her back, and ty'd her to the stall.
1:870 On leaves of trees, and bitter herbs she fed,
1:871 Heav'n was her canopy, bare earth her bed:
1:872 So hardly lodg'd, and to digest her food,
1:873 She drank from troubled streams, defil'd with mud.
1:874 Her woeful story fain she wou'd have told,
1:875 With hands upheld, but had no hands to hold.
1:876 Her head to her ungentle keeper bow'd,
1:877 She strove to speak, she spoke not, but she low'd:
1:878 Affrighted with the noise, she look'd around,
1:879 And seem'd t' inquire the author of the sound.
1:880 Once on the banks where often she had play'd
1:881 (Her father's banks), she came, and there survey'd
1:882 Her alter'd visage, and her branching head;
1:883 And starting, from her self she wou'd have fled.
1:884 Her fellow nymphs, familiar to her eyes,
1:885 Beheld, but knew her not in this disguise.
1:886 Ev'n Inachus himself was ignorant;
1:887 And in his daughter, did his daughter want.
1:888 She follow'd where her fellows went, as she
1:889 Were still a partner of the company:
1:890 They stroak her neck; the gentle heyfer stands,
1:891 And her neck offers to their stroaking hands.
1:892 Her father gave her grass; the grass she took;
1:893 And lick'd his palms, and cast a piteous look;
1:894 And in the language of her eyes, she spoke.
1:895 She wou'd have told her name, and ask'd relief,
1:896 But wanting words, in tears she tells her grief.
1:897 Which, with her foot she makes him understand;
1:898 And prints the name of Io in the sand.
1:899 Ah wretched me! her mournful father cry'd;
1:900 She, with a sigh, to wretched me reply'd:
1:901 About her milk-white neck, his arms he threw;
1:902 And wept, and then these tender words ensue.
1:903 And art thou she, whom I have sought around
1:904 The world, and have at length so sadly found?
1:905 So found, is worse than lost: with mutual words
1:906 Thou answer'st not, no voice thy tongue affords:
1:907 But sighs are deeply drawn from out thy breast;
1:908 And speech deny'd, by lowing is express'd.
1:909 Unknowing, I prepar'd thy bridal bed;
1:910 With empty hopes of happy issue fed.
1:911 But now the husband of a herd must be
1:912 Thy mate, and bell'wing sons thy progeny.
1:913 Oh, were I mortal, death might bring relief:
1:914 But now my God-head but extends my grief:
1:915 Prolongs my woes, of which no end I see,
1:916 And makes me curse my immortality!
1:917 More had he said, but fearful of her stay,
1:918 The starry guardian drove his charge away,
1:919 To some fresh pasture; on a hilly height
1:920 He sate himself, and kept her still in sight.
The Eyes of Argus transform'd into a Peacock's Train
1:922 Now Jove no longer cou'd her suff'rings bear;
1:923 But call'd in haste his airy messenger,
1:924 The son of Maia, with severe decree
1:925 To kill the keeper, and to set her free.
1:926 With all his harness soon the God was sped,
1:927 His flying hat was fastned on his head,
1:928 Wings on his heels were hung, and in his hand
1:929 He holds the vertue of the snaky wand.
1:930 The liquid air his moving pinions wound,
1:931 And, in the moment, shoot him on the ground.
1:932 Before he came in sight, the crafty God
1:933 His wings dismiss'd, but still retain'd his rod:
1:934 That sleep-procuring wand wise Hermes took,
1:935 But made it seem to sight a sherpherd's hook.
1:936 With this, he did a herd of goats controul;
1:937 Which by the way he met, and slily stole.
1:938 Clad like a country swain, he pip'd, and sung;
1:939 And playing, drove his jolly troop along.
1:940 With pleasure, Argus the musician heeds;
1:941 But wonders much at those new vocal reeds.
1:942 And whosoe'er thou art, my friend, said he,
1:943 Up hither drive thy goats, and play by me:
1:944 This hill has browz for them, and shade for thee.
1:945 The God, who was with ease induc'd to climb,
1:946 Began discourse to pass away the time;
1:947 And still betwixt, his tuneful pipe he plies;
1:948 And watch'd his hour, to close the keeper's eyes.
1:949 With much ado, he partly kept awake;
1:950 Not suff'ring all his eyes repose to take:
1:951 And ask'd the stranger, who did reeds invent,
1:952 And whence began so rare an instrument?
The Transformation of Syrinx into Reeds
1:953 Then Hermes thus: A nymph of late there was
1:954 Whose heav'nly form her fellows did surpass.
1:955 The pride and joy of fair Arcadia's plains,
1:956 Belov'd by deities, ador'd by swains:
1:957 Syrinx her name, by Sylvans oft pursu'd,
1:958 As oft she did the lustful Gods delude:
1:959 The rural, and the woodland Pow'rs disdain'd;
1:960 With Cynthia hunted, and her rites maintain'd:
1:961 Like Phoebe clad, even Phoebe's self she seems,
1:962 So tall, so streight, such well-proportion'd limbs:
1:963 The nicest eye did no distinction know,
1:964 But that the goddess bore a golden bow:
1:965 Distinguish'd thus, the sight she cheated too.
1:966 Descending from Lycaeus, Pan admires
1:967 The matchless nymph, and burns with new desires.
1:968 A crown of pine upon his head he wore;
1:969 And thus began her pity to implore.
1:970 But e'er he thus began, she took her flight
1:971 So swift, she was already out of sight.
1:972 Nor stay'd to hear the courtship of the God;
1:973 But bent her course to Ladon's gentle flood:
1:974 There by the river stopt, and tir'd before;
1:975 Relief from water nymphs her pray'rs implore.
1:976 Now while the lustful God, with speedy pace,
1:977 Just thought to strain her in a strict embrace,
1:978 He fill'd his arms with reeds, new rising on the place.
1:979 And while he sighs, his ill success to find,
1:980 The tender canes were shaken by the wind;
1:981 And breath'd a mournful air, unheard before;
1:982 That much surprizing Pan, yet pleas'd him more.
1:983 Admiring this new musick, Thou, he said,
1:984 Who canst not be the partner of my bed,
1:985 At least shall be the confort of my mind:
1:986 And often, often to my lips be joyn'd.
1:987 He form'd the reeds, proportion'd as they are,
1:988 Unequal in their length, and wax'd with care,
1:989 They still retain the name of his ungrateful fair.
1:990 While Hermes pip'd, and sung, and told his tale,
1:991 The keeper's winking eyes began to fail,
1:992 And drowsie slumber on the lids to creep;
1:993 'Till all the watchman was at length asleep.
1:994 Then soon the God his voice, and song supprest;
1:995 And with his pow'rful rod confirm'd his rest:
1:996 Without delay his crooked faulchion drew,
1:997 And at one fatal stroke the keeper slew.
1:998 Down from the rock fell the dissever'd head,
1:999 Opening its eyes in death; and falling, bled;
1:1000 And mark'd the passage with a crimson trail:
1:1001 Thus Argus lies in pieces, cold, and pale;
1:1002 And all his hundred eyes, with all their light,
1:1003 Are clos'd at once, in one perpetual night.
1:1004 These Juno takes, that they no more may fail,
1:1005 And spreads them in her peacock's gaudy tail.
1:1006 Impatient to revenge her injur'd bed,
1:1007 She wreaks her anger on her rival's head;
1:1008 With Furies frights her from her native home;
1:1009 And drives her gadding, round the world to roam:
1:1010 Nor ceas'd her madness, and her flight, before
1:1011 She touch'd the limits of the Pharian shore.
1:1012 At length, arriving on the banks of Nile,
1:1013 Wearied with length of ways, and worn with toil,
1:1014 She laid her down; and leaning on her knees,
1:1015 Invok'd the cause of all her miseries:
1:1016 And cast her languishing regards above,
1:1017 For help from Heav'n, and her ungrateful Jove.
1:1018 She sigh'd, she wept, she low'd; 'twas all she cou'd;
1:1019 And with unkindness seem'd to tax the God.
1:1020 Last, with an humble pray'r, she beg'd repose,
1:1021 Or death at least, to finish all her woes.
1:1022 Jove heard her vows, and with a flatt'ring look,
1:1023 In her behalf to jealous Juno spoke,
1:1024 He cast his arms about her neck, and said,
1:1025 Dame, rest secure; no more thy nuptial bed
1:1026 This nymph shall violate; by Styx I swear,
1:1027 And every oath that binds the Thunderer.
1:1028 The Goddess was appeas'd; and at the word
1:1029 Was Io to her former shape restor'd.
1:1030 The rugged hair began to fall away;
1:1031 The sweetness of her eyes did only stay,
1:1032 Tho' not so large; her crooked horns decrease;
1:1033 The wideness of her jaws and nostrils cease:
1:1034 Her hoofs to hands return, in little space:
1:1035 The five long taper fingers take their place,
1:1036 And nothing of the heyfer now is seen,
1:1037 Beside the native whiteness of the skin.
1:1038 Erected on her feet she walks again:
1:1039 And two the duty of the four sustain.
1:1040 She tries her tongue; her silence softly breaks,
1:1041 And fears her former lowings when she speaks:
1:1042 A Goddess now, through all th' Aegyptian State:
1:1043 And serv'd by priests, who in white linnen wait.
1:1044 Her son was Epaphus, at length believ'd
1:1045 The son of Jove, and as a God receiv'd;
1:1046 With sacrifice ador'd, and publick pray'rs,
1:1047 He common temples with his mother shares.
1:1048 Equal in years, and rival in renown
1:1049 With Epaphus, the youthful Phaeton
1:1050 Like honour claims; and boasts his sire the sun.
1:1051 His haughty looks, and his assuming air,
1:1052 The son of Isis could no longer bear:
1:1053 Thou tak'st thy mother's word too far, said he,
1:1054 And hast usurp'd thy boasted pedigree.
1:1055 Go, base pretender to a borrow'd name.
1:1056 Thus tax'd, he blush'd with anger, and with shame;
1:1057 But shame repress'd his rage: the daunted youth
1:1058 Soon seeks his mother, and enquires the truth:
1:1059 Mother, said he, this infamy was thrown
1:1060 By Epaphus on you, and me your son.
1:1061 He spoke in publick, told it to my face;
1:1062 Nor durst I vindicate the dire disgrace:
1:1063 Even I, the bold, the sensible of wrong,
1:1064 Restrain'd by shame, was forc'd to hold my tongue.
1:1065 To hear an open slander, is a curse:
1:1066 But not to find an answer, is a worse.
1:1067 If I am Heav'n-begot, assert your son
1:1068 By some sure sign; and make my father known,
1:1069 To right my honour, and redeem your own.
1:1070 He said, and saying cast his arms about
1:1071 Her neck, and beg'd her to resolve the doubt.
1:1072 'Tis hard to judge if Clymene were mov'd
1:1073 More by his pray'r, whom she so dearly lov'd,
1:1074 Or more with fury fir'd, to find her name
1:1075 Traduc'd, and made the sport of common fame.
1:1076 She stretch'd her arms to Heav'n, and fix'd her eyes
1:1077 On that fair planet that adorns the skies;
1:1078 Now by those beams, said she, whose holy fires
1:1079 Consume my breast, and kindle my desires;
1:1080 By him, who sees us both, and clears our sight,
1:1081 By him, the publick minister of light,
1:1082 I swear that Sun begot thee; if I lye,
1:1083 Let him his chearful influence deny:
1:1084 Let him no more this perjur'd creature see;
1:1085 And shine on all the world but only me.
1:1086 If still you doubt your mother's innocence,
1:1087 His eastern mansion is not far from hence;
1:1088 With little pains you to his Leve go,
1:1089 And from himself your parentage may know.
1:1090 With joy th' ambitious youth his mother heard,
1:1091 And eager, for the journey soon prepar'd.
1:1092 He longs the world beneath him to survey;
1:1093 To guide the chariot; and to give the day:
1:1094 From Meroe's burning sands he bends his course,
1:1095 Nor less in India feels his father's force:
1:1096 His travel urging, till he came in sight;
1:1097 And saw the palace by the purple light.