Ovid [Trans., Sir Samuel Garth]. Metamorphoses
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BOOK THE ELEVENTH
The Death of Orpheus
11:1 Here, while the Thracian bard's enchanting strain
11:2 Sooths beasts, and woods, and all the listn'ing plain,
11:3 The female Bacchanals, devoutly mad,
11:4 In shaggy skins, like savage creatures, clad,
11:5 Warbling in air perceiv'd his lovely lay,
11:6 And from a rising ground beheld him play.
11:7 When one, the wildest, with dishevel'd hair,
11:8 That loosely stream'd, and ruffled in the air;
11:9 Soon as her frantick eye the lyrist spy'd,
11:10 See, see! the hater of our sex, she cry'd.
11:11 Then at his face her missive javelin sent,
11:12 Which whiz'd along, and brusht him as it went;
11:13 But the soft wreathes of ivy twisted round,
11:14 Prevent a deep impression of the wound.
11:15 Another, for a weapon, hurls a stone,
11:16 Which, by the sound subdu'd as soon as thrown,
11:17 Falls at his feet, and with a seeming sense
11:18 Implores his pardon for its late offence.
11:19 But now their frantick rage unbounded grows,
11:20 Turns all to madness, and no measure knows:
11:21 Yet this the charms of musick might subdue,
11:22 But that, with all its charms, is conquer'd too;
11:23 In louder strains their hideous yellings rise,
11:24 And squeaking horn-pipes eccho thro' the skies,
11:25 Which, in hoarse consort with the drum, confound
11:26 The moving lyre, and ev'ry gentle sound:
11:27 Then 'twas the deafen'd stones flew on with speed,
11:28 And saw, unsooth'd, their tuneful poet bleed.
11:29 The birds, the beasts, and all the savage crew
11:30 Which the sweet lyrist to attention drew,
11:31 Now, by the female mob's more furious rage,
11:32 Are driv'n, and forc'd to quit the shady stage.
11:33 Next their fierce hands the bard himself assail,
11:34 Nor can his song against their wrath prevail:
11:35 They flock, like birds, when in a clustring flight,
11:36 By day they chase the boding fowl of night.
11:37 So crowded amphitheatres survey
11:38 The stag, to greedy dogs a future prey.
11:39 Their steely javelins, which soft curls entwine
11:40 Of budding tendrils from the leafy vine,
11:41 For sacred rites of mild religion made,
11:42 Are flung promiscuous at the poet's head.
11:43 Those clods of earth or flints discharge, and these
11:44 Hurl prickly branches sliver'd from the trees.
11:45 And, lest their passion shou'd be unsupply'd,
11:46 The rabble crew, by chance, at distance spy'd
11:47 Where oxen, straining at the heavy yoke,
11:48 The fallow'd field with slow advances broke;
11:49 Nigh which the brawny peasants dug the soil,
11:50 Procuring food with long laborious toil.
11:51 These, when they saw the ranting throng draw near,
11:52 Quitted their tools, and fled, possest with fear.
11:53 Long spades, and rakes of mighty size were found,
11:54 Carelesly left upon the broken ground.
11:55 With these the furious lunaticks engage,
11:56 And first the lab'ring oxen feel their rage;
11:57 Then to the poet they return with speed,
11:58 Whose fate was, past prevention, now decreed:
11:59 In vain he lifts his suppliant hands, in vain
11:60 He tries, before, his never-failing strain.
11:61 And, from those sacred lips, whose thrilling sound
11:62 Fierce tygers, and insensate rocks cou'd wound,
11:63 Ah Gods! how moving was the mournful sight!
11:64 To see the fleeting soul now take its flight.
11:65 Thee the soft warblers of the feather'd kind
11:66 Bewail'd; for thee thy savage audience pin'd;
11:67 Those rocks and woods that oft thy strain had led,
11:68 Mourn for their charmer, and lament him dead;
11:69 And drooping trees their leafy glories shed.
11:70 Naids and Dryads with dishevel'd hair
11:71 Promiscuous weep, and scarfs of sable wear;
11:72 Nor cou'd the river-Gods conceal their moan,
11:73 But with new floods of tears augment their own.
11:74 His mangled limbs lay scatter'd all around,
11:75 His head, and harp a better fortune found;
11:76 In Hebrus' streams they gently roul'd along,
11:77 And sooth'd the waters with a mournful song.
11:78 Soft deadly notes the lifeless tongue inspire,
11:79 A doleful tune sounds from the floating lyre;
11:80 The hollows banks in solemn consort mourn,
11:81 And the sad strain in ecchoing groans return.
11:82 Now with the current to the sea they glide,
11:83 Born by the billows of the briny tide;
11:84 And driv'n where waves round rocky Lesbos roar,
11:85 They strand, and lodge upon Methymna's shore.
11:86 But here, when landed on the foreign soil,
11:87 A venom'd snake, the product of the isle
11:88 Attempts the head, and sacred locks embru'd
11:89 With clotted gore, and still fresh-dropping blood.
11:90 Phoebus, at last, his kind protection gives,
11:91 And from the fact the greedy monster drives:
11:92 Whose marbled jaws his impious crime atone,
11:93 Still grinning ghastly, tho' transform'd to stone.
11:94 His ghost flies downward to the Stygian shore,
11:95 And knows the places it had seen before:
11:96 Among the shadows of the pious train
11:97 He finds Eurydice, and loves again;
11:98 With pleasure views the beauteous phantom's charms,
11:99 And clasps her in his unsubstantial arms.
11:100 There side by side they unmolested walk,
11:101 Or pass their blissful hours in pleasing talk;
11:102 Aft or before the bard securely goes,
11:103 And, without danger, can review his spouse.
The Thracian Women transform'd to Trees
11:104 Bacchus, resolving to revenge the wrong,
11:105 Of Orpheus murder'd, on the madding throng,
11:106 Decreed that each accomplice dame should stand
11:107 Fix'd by the roots along the conscious land.
11:108 Their wicked feet, that late so nimbly ran
11:109 To wreak their malice on the guiltless man,
11:110 Sudden with twisted ligatures were bound,
11:111 Like trees, deep planted in the turfy ground.
11:112 And, as the fowler with his subtle gins,
11:113 His feather'd captives by the feet entwines,
11:114 That flutt'ring pant, and struggle to get loose,
11:115 Yet only closer draw the fatal noose;
11:116 So these were caught; and, as they strove in vain
11:117 To quit the place, they but encreas'd their pain.
11:118 They flounce and toil, yet find themselves controul'd;
11:119 The root, tho' pliant, toughly keeps its hold.
11:120 In vain their toes and feet they look to find,
11:121 For ev'n their shapely legs are cloath'd with rind.
11:122 One smites her thighs with a lamenting stroke,
11:123 And finds the flesh transform'd to solid oak;
11:124 Another, with surprize, and grief distrest,
11:125 Lays on above, but beats a wooden breast.
11:126 A rugged bark their softer neck invades,
11:127 Their branching arms shoot up delightful shades;
11:128 At once they seem, and are, a real grove,
11:129 With mossy trunks below, and verdant leaves above.
The Fable of Midas
11:130 Nor this suffic'd; the God's disgust remains,
11:131 And he resolves to quit their hated plains;
11:132 The vineyards of Tymole ingross his care,
11:133 And, with a better choir, he fixes there;
11:134 Where the smooth streams of clear Pactolus roll'd,
11:135 Then undistinguish'd for its sands of gold.
11:136 The satyrs with the nymphs, his usual throng,
11:137 Come to salute their God, and jovial danc'd along.
11:138 Silenus only miss'd; for while he reel'd,
11:139 Feeble with age, and wine, about the field,
11:140 The hoary drunkard had forgot his way,
11:141 And to the Phrygian clowns became a prey;
11:142 Who to king Midas drag the captive God,
11:143 While on his totty pate the wreaths of ivy nod.
11:144 Midas from Orpheus had been taught his lore,
11:145 And knew the rites of Bacchus long before.
11:146 He, when he saw his venerable guest,
11:147 In honour of the God ordain'd a feast.
11:148 Ten days in course, with each continu'd night,
11:149 Were spent in genial mirth, and brisk delight:
11:150 Then on th' eleventh, when with brighter ray
11:151 Phosphor had chac'd the fading stars away,
11:152 The king thro' Lydia's fields young Bacchus sought,
11:153 And to the God his foster-father brought.
11:154 Pleas'd with the welcome sight, he bids him soon
11:155 But name his wish, and swears to grant the boon.
11:156 A glorious offer! yet but ill bestow'd
11:157 On him whose choice so little judgment show'd.
11:158 Give me, says he (nor thought he ask'd too much),
11:159 That with my body whatsoe'er I touch,
11:160 Chang'd from the nature which it held of old,
11:161 May be converted into yellow gold.
11:162 He had his wish; but yet the God repin'd,
11:163 To think the fool no better wish could find.
11:164 But the brave king departed from the place,
11:165 With smiles of gladness sparkling in his face:
11:166 Nor could contain, but, as he took his way,
11:167 Impatient longs to make the first essay.
11:168 Down from a lowly branch a twig he drew,
11:169 The twig strait glitter'd with a golden hue:
11:170 He takes a stone, the stone was turn'd to gold;
11:171 A clod he touches, and the crumbling mold
11:172 Acknowledg'd soon the great transforming pow'r,
11:173 In weight and substance like a mass of ore.
11:174 He pluck'd the corn, and strait his grasp appears
11:175 Fill'd with a bending tuft of golden ears.
11:176 An apple next he takes, and seems to hold
11:177 The bright Hesperian vegetable gold.
11:178 His hand he careless on a pillar lays.
11:179 With shining gold the fluted pillars blaze:
11:180 And while he washes, as the servants pour,
11:181 His touch converts the stream to Danae's show'r.
11:182 To see these miracles so finely wrought,
11:183 Fires with transporting joy his giddy thought.
11:184 The ready slaves prepare a sumptuous board,
11:185 Spread with rich dainties for their happy lord;
11:186 Whose pow'rful hands the bread no sooner hold,
11:187 But its whole substance is transform'd to gold:
11:188 Up to his mouth he lifts the sav'ry meat,
11:189 Which turns to gold as he attempts to eat:
11:190 His patron's noble juice of purple hue,
11:191 Touch'd by his lips, a gilded cordial grew;
11:192 Unfit for drink, and wondrous to behold,
11:193 It trickles from his jaws a fluid gold.
11:194 The rich poor fool, confounded with surprize,
11:195 Starving in all his various plenty lies:
11:196 Sick of his wish, he now detests the pow'r,
11:197 For which he ask'd so earnestly before;
11:198 Amidst his gold with pinching famine curst;
11:199 And justly tortur'd with an equal thirst.
11:200 At last his shining arms to Heav'n he rears,
11:201 And in distress, for refuge, flies to pray'rs.
11:202 O father Bacchus, I have sinn'd, he cry'd,
11:203 And foolishly thy gracious gift apply'd;
11:204 Thy pity now, repenting, I implore;
11:205 Oh! may I feel the golden plague no more.
11:206 The hungry wretch, his folly thus confest,
11:207 Touch'd the kind deity's good-natur'd breast;
11:208 The gentle God annull'd his first decree,
11:209 And from the cruel compact set him free.
11:210 But then, to cleanse him quite from further harm,
11:211 And to dilute the relicks of the charm,
11:212 He bids him seek the stream that cuts the land
11:213 Nigh where the tow'rs of Lydian Sardis stand;
11:214 Then trace the river to the fountain head,
11:215 And meet it rising from its rocky bed;
11:216 There, as the bubling tide pours forth amain,
11:217 To plunge his body in, and wash away the stain.
11:218 The king instructed to the fount retires,
11:219 But with the golden charm the stream inspires:
11:220 For while this quality the man forsakes,
11:221 An equal pow'r the limpid water takes;
11:222 Informs with veins of gold the neighb'ring land,
11:223 And glides along a bed of golden sand.
11:224 Now loathing wealth, th' occasion of his woes,
11:225 Far in the woods he sought a calm repose;
11:226 In caves and grottos, where the nymphs resort,
11:227 And keep with mountain Pan their sylvan court.
11:228 Ah! had he left his stupid soul behind!
11:229 But his condition alter'd not his mind.
11:230 For where high Tmolus rears his shady brow,
11:231 And from his cliffs surveys the seas below,
11:232 In his descent, by Sardis bounded here,
11:233 By the small confines of Hypaepa there,
11:234 Pan to the nymphs his frolick ditties play'd,
11:235 Tuning his reeds beneath the chequer'd shade.
11:236 The nymphs are pleas'd, the boasting sylvan plays,
11:237 And speaks with slight of great Apollo's lays.
11:238 Tmolus was arbiter; the boaster still
11:239 Accepts the tryal with unequal skill.
11:240 The venerable judge was seated high
11:241 On his own hill, that seem'd to touch the sky.
11:242 Above the whisp'ring trees his head he rears,
11:243 From their encumbring boughs to free his ears;
11:244 A wreath of oak alone his temples bound,
11:245 The pendant acorns loosely dangled round.
11:246 In me your judge, says he, there's no delay:
11:247 Then bids the goatherd God begin, and play.
11:248 Pan tun'd the pipe, and with his rural song
11:249 Pleas'd the low taste of all the vulgar throng;
11:250 Such songs a vulgar judgment mostly please,
11:251 Midas was there, and Midas judg'd with these.
11:252 The mountain sire with grave deportment now
11:253 To Phoebus turns his venerable brow:
11:254 And, as he turns, with him the listning wood
11:255 In the same posture of attention stood.
11:256 The God his own Parnassian laurel crown'd,
11:257 And in a wreath his golden tresses bound,
11:258 Graceful his purple mantle swept the ground.
11:259 High on the left his iv'ry lute he rais'd,
11:260 The lute, emboss'd with glitt'ring jewels, blaz'd
11:261 In his right hand he nicely held the quill,
11:262 His easy posture spoke a master's skill.
11:263 The strings he touch'd with more than human art,
11:264 Which pleas'd the judge's ear, and sooth'd his heart;
11:265 Who soon judiciously the palm decreed,
11:266 And to the lute postpon'd the squeaking reed.
11:267 All, with applause, the rightful sentence heard,
11:268 Midas alone dissatisfy'd appear'd;
11:269 To him unjustly giv'n the judgment seems,
11:270 For Pan's barbarick notes he most esteems.
11:271 The lyrick God, who thought his untun'd ear
11:272 Deserv'd but ill a human form to wear,
11:273 Of that deprives him, and supplies the place
11:274 With some more fit, and of an ampler space:
11:275 Fix'd on his noddle an unseemly pair,
11:276 Flagging, and large, and full of whitish hair;
11:277 Without a total change from what he was,
11:278 Still in the man preserves the simple ass.
11:279 He, to conceal the scandal of the deed,
11:280 A purple turbant folds about his head;
11:281 Veils the reproach from publick view, and fears
11:282 The laughing world would spy his monstrous ears.
11:283 One trusty barber-slave, that us'd to dress
11:284 His master's hair, when lengthen'd to excess,
11:285 The mighty secret knew, but knew alone,
11:286 And, tho' impatient, durst not make it known.
11:287 Restless, at last, a private place he found,
11:288 Then dug a hole, and told it to the ground;
11:289 In a low whisper he reveal'd the case,
11:290 And cover'd in the earth, and silent left the place.
11:291 In time, of trembling reeds a plenteous crop
11:292 From the confided furrow sprouted up;
11:293 Which, high advancing with the ripening year,
11:294 Made known the tiller, and his fruitless care:
11:295 For then the rustling blades, and whisp'ring wind,
11:296 To tell th' important secret, both combin'd.
The Building of Troy
11:297 Phoebus, with full revenge, from Tmolus flies,
11:298 Darts thro' the air, and cleaves the liquid skies;
11:299 Near Hellespont he lights, and treads the plains
11:300 Where great Laomedon sole monarch reigns;
11:301 Where, built between the two projecting strands,
11:302 To Panomphaean Jove an altar stands.
11:303 Here first aspiring thoughts the king employ,
11:304 To found the lofty tow'rs of future Troy.
11:305 The work, from schemes magnificent begun,
11:306 At vast expence was slowly carry'd on:
11:307 Which Phoebus seeing, with the trident God
11:308 Who rules the swelling surges with his nod,
11:309 Assuming each a mortal shape, combine
11:310 At a set price to finish his design.
11:311 The work was built; the king their price denies,
11:312 And his injustice backs with perjuries.
11:313 This Neptune cou'd not brook, but drove the main,
11:314 A mighty deluge, o'er the Phrygian plain:
11:315 'Twas all a sea; the waters of the deep
11:316 From ev'ry vale the copious harvest sweep;
11:317 The briny billows overflow the soil,
11:318 Ravage the fields, and mock the plowman's toil.
11:319 Nor this appeas'd the God's revengeful mind,
11:320 For still a greater plague remains behind;
11:321 A huge sea-monster lodges on the sands,
11:322 And the king's daughter for his prey demands.
11:323 To him that sav'd the damsel, was decreed
11:324 A set of horses of the Sun's fine breed:
11:325 But when Alcides from the rock unty'd
11:326 The trembling fair, the ransom was deny'd.
11:327 He, in revenge, the new-built walls attack'd,
11:328 And the twice-perjur'd city bravely sack'd.
11:329 Telamon aided, and in justice shar'd
11:330 Part of the plunder as his due reward:
11:331 The princess, rescu'd late, with all her charms,
11:332 Hesione, was yielded to his arms;
11:333 For Peleus, with a Goddess-bride, was more
11:334 Proud of his spouse, than of his birth before:
11:335 Grandsons to Jove there might be more than one,
11:336 But he the Goddess had enjoy'd alone.
The Story of Thetis and Peleus
11:337 For Proteus thus to virgin Thetis said,
11:338 Fair Goddess of the waves, consent to wed,
11:339 And take some spritely lover to your bed.
11:340 A son you'll have, the terror of the field,
11:341 To whom in fame, and pow'r his sire shall yield.
11:342 Jove, who ador'd the nymph with boundless love,
11:343 Did from his breast the dangerous flame remove.
11:344 He knew the Fates, nor car'd to raise up one,
11:345 Whose fame and greatness should eclipse his own,
11:346 On happy Peleus he bestow'd her charms,
11:347 And bless'd his grandson in the Goddess' arms:
11:348 A silent creek Thessalia's coast can show;
11:349 Two arms project, and shape it like a bow;
11:350 'Twould make a bay, but the transparent tide
11:351 Does scarce the yellow-gravell'd bottom hide;
11:352 For the quick eye may thro' the liquid wave
11:353 A firm unweedy level beach perceive.
11:354 A grove of fragrant myrtle near it grows,
11:355 Whose boughs, tho' thick, a beauteous grot disclose;
11:356 The well-wrought fabrick, to discerning eyes,
11:357 Rather by art than Nature seems to rise.
11:358 A bridled dolphin oft fair Thetis bore
11:359 To this her lov'd retreat, her fav'rite shore.
11:360 Here Peleus seiz'd her, slumbring while she lay,
11:361 And urg'd his suit with all that love could say:
11:362 But when he found her obstinately coy,
11:363 Resolv'd to force her, and command the joy;
11:364 The nymph, o'erpowr'd, to art for succour flies
11:365 And various shapes the eager youth surprize:
11:366 A bird she seems, but plies her wings in vain,
11:367 His hands the fleeting substance still detain:
11:368 A branchy tree high in the air she grew;
11:369 About its bark his nimble arms he threw:
11:370 A tyger next she glares with flaming eyes;
11:371 The frighten'd lover quits his hold, and flies:
11:372 The sea-Gods he with sacred rites adores,
11:373 Then a libation on the ocean pours;
11:374 While the fat entrails crackle in the fire,
11:375 And sheets of smoak in sweet perfume aspire;
11:376 'Till Proteus rising from his oozy bed,
11:377 Thus to the poor desponding lover said:
11:378 No more in anxious thoughts your mind employ,
11:379 For yet you shall possess the dear expected joy.
11:380 You must once more th' unwary nymph surprize,
11:381 As in her cooly grot she slumbring lies;
11:382 Then bind her fast with unrelenting hands,
11:383 And strain her tender limbs with knotted bands.
11:384 Still hold her under ev'ry different shape,
11:385 'Till tir'd she tries no longer to escape.
11:386 Thus he: then sunk beneath the glassy flood,
11:387 And broken accents flutter'd, where he stood.
11:388 Bright Sol had almost now his journey done,
11:389 And down the steepy western convex run;
11:390 When the fair Nereid left the briny wave,
11:391 And, as she us'd, retreated to her cave.
11:392 He scarce had bound her fast, when she arose,
11:393 And into various shapes her body throws:
11:394 She went to move her arms, and found 'em ty'd;
11:395 Then with a sigh, Some God assists ye, cry'd,
11:396 And in her proper shape stood blushing by his side.
11:397 About her waiste his longing arms he flung,
11:398 From which embrace the great Achilles sprung.
The Transformation of Daedalion
11:399 Peleus unmix'd felicity enjoy'd
11:400 (Blest in a valiant son, and virtuous bride),
11:401 'Till Fortune did in blood his hands imbrue,
11:402 And his own brother by curst chance he slew:
11:403 Then driv'n from Thessaly, his native clime,
11:404 Trachinia first gave shelter to his crime;
11:405 Where peaceful Ceyx mildly fill'd the throne,
11:406 And like his sire, the morning planet, shone;
11:407 But now, unlike himself, bedew'd with tears,
11:408 Mourning a brother lost, his brow appears.
11:409 First to the town with travel spent, and care,
11:410 Peleus, and his small company repair:
11:411 His herds, and flocks the while at leisure feed,
11:412 On the rich pasture of a neighb'ring mead.
11:413 The prince before the royal presence brought,
11:414 Shew'd by the suppliant olive what he sought;
11:415 Then tells his name, and race, and country right,
11:416 But hides th' unhappy reason of his flight.
11:417 He begs the king some little town to give,
11:418 Where they may safe his faithful vassals live.
11:419 Ceyx reply'd: To all my bounty flows,
11:420 A hospitable realm your suit has chose.
11:421 Your glorious race, and far-resounding fame,
11:422 And grandsire Jove, peculiar favours claim.
11:423 All you can wish, I grant; entreaties spare;
11:424 My kingdom (would 'twere worth the sharing) share.
11:425 Tears stop'd his speech: astonish'd Peleus pleads
11:426 To know the cause from whence his grief proceeds.
11:427 The prince reply'd: There's none of ye but deems
11:428 This hawk was ever such as now it seems;
11:429 Know 'twas a heroe once, Daedalion nam'd,
11:430 For warlike deeds, and haughty valour fam'd;
11:431 Like me to that bright luminary born,
11:432 Who wakes Aurora, and brings on the morn.
11:433 His fierceness still remains, and love of blood,
11:434 Now dread of birds, and tyrant of the wood.
11:435 My make was softer, peace my greatest care;
11:436 But this my brother wholly bent on war;
11:437 Late nations fear'd, and routed armies fled
11:438 That force, which now the tim'rous pigeons dread.
11:439 A daughter he possess'd, divinely fair,
11:440 And scarcely yet had seen her fifteenth year;
11:441 Young Chione: a thousand rivals strove
11:442 To win the maid, and teach her how to love.
11:443 Phoebus, and Mercury by chance one day
11:444 From Delphi, and Cyllene past this way;
11:445 Together they the virgin saw: desire
11:446 At once warm'd both their breasts with am'rous fire.
11:447 Phoebus resolv'd to wait 'till close of day;
11:448 But Mercury's hot love brook'd no delay;
11:449 With his entrancing rod the maid he charms,
11:450 And unresisted revels in her arms.
11:451 'Twas night, and Phoebus in a beldam's dress,
11:452 To the late rifled beauty got access.
11:453 Her time compleat nine circling moons had run;
11:454 To either God she bore a lovely son:
11:455 To Mercury Autolycus she brought,
11:456 Who turn'd to thefts and tricks his subtle thought;
11:457 Possess'd he was of all his father's slight,
11:458 At will made white look black, and black look white.
11:459 Philammon born to Phoebus, like his sire,
11:460 The Muses lov'd, and finely struck the lyre,
11:461 And made his voice, and touch in harmony conspire.
11:462 In vain, fond maid, you boast this double birth,
11:463 The love of Gods, and royal father's worth,
11:464 And Jove among your ancestors rehearse!
11:465 Could blessings such as these e'er prove a curse?
11:466 To her they did, who with audacious pride,
11:467 Vain of her own, Diana's charms decry'd.
11:468 Her taunts the Goddess with resentment fill;
11:469 My face you like not, you shall try my skill.
11:470 She said; and strait her vengeful bow she strung,
11:471 And sent a shaft that pierc'd her guilty tongue:
11:472 The bleeding tongue in vain its accents tries;
11:473 In the red stream her soul reluctant flies.
11:474 With sorrow wild I ran to her relief,
11:475 And try'd to moderate my brother's grief.
11:476 He, deaf as rocks by stormy surges beat,
11:477 Loudly laments, and hears me not intreat.
11:478 When on the fun'ral pile he saw her laid,
11:479 Thrice he to rush into the flames assay'd,
11:480 Thrice with officious care by us was stay'd.
11:481 Now, mad with grief, away he fled amain,
11:482 Like a stung heifer that resents the pain,
11:483 And bellowing wildly bounds along the plain.
11:484 O'er the most rugged ways so fast he ran,
11:485 He seem'd a bird already, not a man:
11:486 He left us breathless all behind; and now
11:487 In quest of death had gain'd Parnassus' brow:
11:488 But when from thence headlong himself he threw,
11:489 He fell not, but with airy pinions flew.
11:490 Phoebus in pity chang'd him to a fowl,
11:491 Whose crooked beak and claws the birds controul,
11:492 Little of bulk, but of a warlike soul.
11:493 A hawk become, the feather'd race's foe,
11:494 He tries to case his own by other's woe.
A Wolf turn'd into Marble
11:495 While they astonish'd heard the king relate
11:496 These wonders of his hapless brother's fate;
11:497 The prince's herdsman at the court arrives,
11:498 And fresh surprize to all the audience gives.
11:499 O Peleus, Peleus! dreadful news I bear,
11:500 He said; and trembled as he spoke for fear.
11:501 The worst, affrighted Peleus bid him tell,
11:502 Whilst Ceyx too grew pale with friendly zeal.
11:503 Thus he began: When Sol mid-heav'n had gain'd,
11:504 And half his way was past, and half remain'd,
11:505 I to the level shore my cattle drove,
11:506 And let them freely in the meadows rove.
11:507 Some stretch'd at length admire the watry plain,
11:508 Some crop'd the herb, some wanton swam the main.
11:509 A temple stands of antique make hard by,
11:510 Where no gilt domes, nor marble lure the eye;
11:511 Unpolish'd rafters bear its lowly height,
11:512 Hid by a grove, as ancient, from the sight.
11:513 Here Nereus, and the Nereids they adore;
11:514 I learnt it from the man who thither bore
11:515 His net, to dry it on the sunny shore.
11:516 Adjoyns a lake, inclos'd with willows round,
11:517 Where swelling waves have overflow'd the mound,
11:518 And, muddy, stagnate on the lower ground.
11:519 From thence a russling noise increasing flies,
11:520 Strikes the still shore; and frights us with surprize,
11:521 Strait a huge wolf rush'd from the marshy wood,
11:522 His jaws besmear'd with mingled foam, and blood,
11:523 Tho' equally by hunger urg'd, and rage,
11:524 His appetite he minds not to asswage;
11:525 Nought that he meets, his rabid fury spares,
11:526 But the whole herd with mad disorder tears.
11:527 Some of our men who strove to drive him thence,
11:528 Torn by his teeth, have dy'd in their defence.
11:529 The echoing lakes, the sea, and fields, and shore,
11:530 Impurpled blush with streams of reeking gore.
11:531 Delay is loss, nor have we time for thought;
11:532 While yet some few remain alive, we ought
11:533 To seize our arms, and with confederate force
11:534 Try if we so can stop his bloody course.
11:535 But Peleus car'd not for his ruin'd herd;
11:536 His crime he call'd to mind, and thence inferr'd,
11:537 That Psamathe's revenge this havock made,
11:538 In sacrifice to murder'd Phocus' shade.
11:539 The king commands his servants to their arms;
11:540 Resolv'd to go; but the loud noise alarms
11:541 His lovely queen, who from her chamber flew,
11:542 And her half-plaited hair behind her threw:
11:543 About his neck she hung with loving fears,
11:544 And now with words, and now with pleading tears,
11:545 Intreated that he'd send his men alone,
11:546 And stay himself, to save two lives in one.
11:547 Then Peleus: Your just fears, o queen, forget;
11:548 Too much the offer leaves me in your debt.
11:549 No arms against the monster I shall bear,
11:550 But the sea nymphs appease with humble pray'r.
11:551 The citadel's high turrets pierce the sky,
11:552 Which home-bound vessels, glad, from far descry;
11:553 This they ascend, and thence with sorrow ken
11:554 The mangled heifers lye, and bleeding men;
11:555 Th' inexorable ravager they view,
11:556 With blood discolour'd, still the rest pursue:
11:557 There Peleus pray'd submissive tow'rds the sea,
11:558 And deprecates the ire of injur'd Psamathe.
11:559 But deaf to all his pray'rs the nymph remain'd,
11:560 'Till Thetis for her spouse the boon obtain'd.
11:561 Pleas'd with the luxury, the furious beast,
11:562 Unstop'd, continues still his bloody feast:
11:563 While yet upon a sturdy bull he flew,
11:564 Chang'd by the nymph, a marble block he grew.
11:565 No longer dreadful now the wolf appears,
11:566 Bury'd in stone, and vanish'd like their fears.
11:567 Yet still the Fates unhappy Peleus vex'd;
11:568 To the Magnesian shore he wanders next.
11:569 Acastus there, who rul'd the peaceful clime,
11:570 Grants his request, and expiates his crime.
The Story of Ceyx and Alcyone
11:571 These prodigies affect the pious prince,
11:572 But more perplex'd with those that happen'd since,
11:573 He purposes to seek the Clarian God,
11:574 Avoiding Delphi, his more fam'd abode,
11:575 Since Phlegyan robbers made unsafe the road.
11:576 Yet could he not from her he lov'd so well,
11:577 The fatal voyage, he resolv'd, conceal;
11:578 But when she saw her lord prepar'd to part,
11:579 A deadly cold ran shiv'ring to her heart;
11:580 Her faded cheeks are chang'd to boxen hue,
11:581 And in her eyes the tears are ever new.
11:582 She thrice essay'd to speak; her accents hung,
11:583 And falt'ring dy'd unfinish'd on her tongue,
11:584 And vanish'd into sighs: with long delay
11:585 Her voice return'd, and found the wonted way.
11:586 Tell me, my lord, she said, what fault unknown
11:587 Thy once belov'd Alcyone has done?
11:588 Whither, ah, whither, is thy kindness gone!
11:589 Can Ceyx then sustain to leave his wife,
11:590 And unconcern'd forsake the sweets of life?
11:591 What can thy mind to this long journey move?
11:592 Or need'st thou absence to renew thy love?
11:593 Yet, if thou go'st by land, tho' grief possess
11:594 My soul ev'n then, my fears will be the less.
11:595 But ah! be warn'd to shun the watry way,
11:596 The face is frightful of the stormy sea:
11:597 For late I saw a-drift disjointed planks,
11:598 And empty tombs erected on the banks.
11:599 Nor let false hopes to trust betray thy mind,
11:600 Because my sire in caves constrains the wind,
11:601 Can with a breath their clam'rous rage appease,
11:602 They fear his whistle, and forsake the seas:
11:603 Not so; for once indulg'd, they sweep the main;
11:604 Deaf to the call, or hearing, hear in vain;
11:605 But bent on mischief bear the waves before,
11:606 And not content with seas, insult the shore,
11:607 When ocean, air, and Earth, at once ingage,
11:608 And rooted forests fly before their rage:
11:609 At once the clashing clouds to battel move,
11:610 And lightnings run across the fields above:
11:611 I know them well, and mark'd their rude comport,
11:612 While yet a child within my father's court:
11:613 In times of tempest they command alone,
11:614 And he but sits precarious on the throne:
11:615 The more I know, the more my fears augment;
11:616 And fears are oft prophetick of th' event.
11:617 But if not fears, or reasons will prevail,
11:618 If Fate has fix'd thee obstinate to sail,
11:619 Go not without thy wife, but let me bear
11:620 My part of danger with an equal share,
11:621 And present, what I suffer only fear:
11:622 Then o'er the bounding billows shall we fly,
11:623 Secure to live together, or to die.
11:624 These reasons mov'd her warlike husband's heart,
11:625 But still he held his purpose to depart:
11:626 For as he lov'd her equal to his life,
11:627 He would not to the seas expose his wife;
11:628 Nor could be wrought his voyage to refrain,
11:629 But sought by arguments to sooth her pain:
11:630 Nor these avail'd; at length he lights on one,
11:631 With which so difficult a cause he won:
11:632 My love, so short an absence cease to fear,
11:633 For by my father's holy flame I swear,
11:634 Before two moons their orb with light adorn,
11:635 If Heav'n allow me life, I will return.
11:636 This promise of so short a stay prevails;
11:637 He soon equips the ship, supplies the sails,
11:638 And gives the word to launch; she trembling views
11:639 This pomp of death, and parting tears renews:
11:640 Last with a kiss, she took a long farewel,
11:641 Sigh'd with a sad presage, and swooning fell:
11:642 While Ceyx seeks delays, the lusty crew,
11:643 Rais'd on their banks, their oars in order drew
11:644 To their broad breasts, the ship with fury flew.
11:645 The queen recover'd, rears her humid eyes,
11:646 And first her husband on the poop espies,
11:647 Shaking his hand at distance on the main;
11:648 She took the sign, and shook her hand again.
11:649 Still as the ground recedes, contracts her view
11:650 With sharpen'd sight, 'till she no longer knew
11:651 The much-lov'd face; that comfort lost supplies
11:652 With less, and with the galley feeds her eyes;
11:653 The galley born from view by rising gales,
11:654 She follow'd with her sight the flying sails:
11:655 When ev'n the flying sails were seen no more,
11:656 Forsaken of all sight she left the shore.
11:657 Then on her bridal bed her body throws,
11:658 And sought in sleep her wearied eyes to close:
11:659 Her husband's pillow, and the widow'd part
11:660 Which once he press'd, renew'd the former smart.
11:661 And now a breeze from shoar began to blow,
11:662 The sailors ship their oars, and cease to row;
11:663 Then hoist their yards a-trip, and all their sails
11:664 Let fall, to court the wind, and catch the gales:
11:665 By this the vessel half her course had run,
11:666 Both shoars were lost to sight, when at the close
11:667 Of day a stiffer gale at east arose:
11:668 The sea grew white, the rouling waves from far,
11:669 Like heralds, first denounce the watry war.
11:670 This seen, the master soon began to cry,
11:671 Strike, strike the top-sail; let the main-sheet fly,
11:672 And furl your sails: the winds repel the sound,
11:673 And in the speaker's mouth the speech is drown'd.
11:674 Yet of their own accord, as danger taught
11:675 Each in his way, officiously they wrought;
11:676 Some stow their oars, or stop the leaky sides,
11:677 Another bolder, yet the yard bestrides,
11:678 And folds the sails; a fourth with labour laves
11:679 Th' intruding seas, and waves ejects on waves.
11:680 In this confusion while their work they ply,
11:681 The winds augment the winter of the sky,
11:682 And wage intestine wars; the suff'ring seas
11:683 Are toss'd, and mingled, as their tyrants please.
11:684 The master would command, but in despair
11:685 Of safety, stands amaz'd with stupid care,
11:686 Nor what to bid, or what forbid he knows,
11:687 Th' ungovern'd tempest to such fury grows:
11:688 Vain is his force, and vainer is his skill;
11:689 With such a concourse comes the flood of ill;
11:690 The cries of men are mix'd with rattling shrowds;
11:691 Seas dash on seas, and clouds encounter clouds:
11:692 At once from east to west, from pole to pole,
11:693 The forky lightnings flash, the roaring thunders roul.
11:694 Now waves on waves ascending scale the skies,
11:695 And in the fires above the water fries:
11:696 When yellow sands are sifted from below,
11:697 The glittering billows give a golden show:
11:698 And when the fouler bottom spews the black
11:699 The Stygian dye the tainted waters take:
11:700 Then frothy white appear the flatted seas,
11:701 And change their colour, changing their disease,
11:702 Like various fits the Trachin vessel finds,
11:703 And now sublime, she rides upon the winds;
11:704 As from a lofty summit looks from high,
11:705 And from the clouds beholds the nether sky;
11:706 Now from the depth of Hell they lift their sight,
11:707 And at a distance see superior light;
11:708 The lashing billows make a loud report,
11:709 And beat her sides, as batt'ring rams a fort:
11:710 Or as a lion bounding in his way,
11:711 With force augmented, bears against his prey,
11:712 Sidelong to seize; or unapal'd with fear,
11:713 Springs on the toils, and rushes on the spear:
11:714 So seas impell'd by winds, with added pow'r
11:715 Assault the sides, and o'er the hatches tow'r.
11:716 The planks (their pitchy cov'ring wash'd away)
11:717 Now yield; and now a yawning breach display:
11:718 The roaring waters with a hostile tide
11:719 Rush through the ruins of her gaping side.
11:720 Mean-time in sheets of rain the sky descends,
11:721 And ocean swell'd with waters upwards tends;
11:722 One rising, falling one, the Heav'ns and sea
11:723 Meet at their confines, in the middle way:
11:724 The sails are drunk with show'rs, and drop with rain,
11:725 Sweet waters mingle with the briny main.
11:726 No star appears to lend his friendly light;
11:727 Darkness, and tempest make a double night;
11:728 But flashing fires disclose the deep by turns,
11:729 And while the lightnings blaze, the water burns.
11:730 Now all the waves their scatter'd force unite,
11:731 And as a soldier foremost in the fight,
11:732 Makes way for others, and an host alone
11:733 Still presses on, and urging gains the town;
11:734 So while th' invading billows come a-breast,
11:735 The hero tenth advanc'd before the rest,
11:736 Sweeps all before him with impetuous sway,
11:737 And from the walls descends upon the prey;
11:738 Part following enter, part remain without,
11:739 With envy hear their fellows' conqu'ring shout,
11:740 And mount on others' backs, in hopes to share
11:741 The city, thus become the seat of war.
11:742 An universal cry resounds aloud,
11:743 The sailors run in heaps, a helpless crowd;
11:744 Art fails, and courage falls, no succour near;
11:745 As many waves, as many deaths appear.
11:746 One weeps, and yet despairs of late relief;
11:747 One cannot weep, his fears congeal his grief,
11:748 But stupid, with dry eyes expects his fate:
11:749 One with loud shrieks laments his lost estate,
11:750 And calls those happy whom their fun'rals wait.
11:751 This wretch with pray'rs and vows the Gods implores,
11:752 And ev'n the skies he cannot see, adores.
11:753 That other on his friends his thoughts bestows,
11:754 His careful father, and his faithful spouse.
11:755 The covetous worldling in his anxious mind,
11:756 Thinks only on the wealth he left behind.
11:757 All Ceyx his Alcyone employs,
11:758 For her he grieves, yet in her absence joys:
11:759 His wife he wishes, and would still be near,
11:760 Not her with him, but wishes him with her:
11:761 Now with last looks he seeks his native shoar,
11:762 Which Fate has destin'd him to see no more;
11:763 He sought, but in the dark tempestuous night
11:764 He knew not whither to direct his sight.
11:765 So whirl the seas, such darkness blinds the sky,
11:766 That the black night receives a deeper dye.
11:767 The giddy ship ran round; the tempest tore
11:768 Her mast, and over-board the rudder bore.
11:769 One billow mounts, and with a scornful brow,
11:770 Proud of her conquest gain'd, insults the waves below;
11:771 Nor lighter falls, than if some giant tore
11:772 Pindus and Athos with the freight they bore,
11:773 And toss'd on seas; press'd with the pond'rous blow,
11:774 Down sinks the ship within th' abyss below:
11:775 Down with the vessel sink into the main
11:776 The many, never more to rise again.
11:777 Some few on scatter'd planks, with fruitless care,
11:778 Lay hold, and swim; but while they swim, despair.
11:779 Ev'n he who late a scepter did command,
11:780 Now grasps a floating fragment in his hand;
11:781 And while he struggles on the stormy main,
11:782 Invokes his father, and his wife's, in vain.
11:783 But yet his consort is his greatest care,
11:784 Alcyone he names amidst his pray'r;
11:785 Names as a charm against the waves and wind;
11:786 Most in his mouth, and ever in his mind.
11:787 Tir'd with his toil, all hopes of safety past,
11:788 From pray'rs to wishes he descends at last;
11:789 That his dead body, wafted to the sands,
11:790 Might have its burial from her friendly hands,
11:791 As oft as he can catch a gulp of air,
11:792 And peep above the seas, he names the fair;
11:793 And ev'n when plung'd beneath, on her he raves,
11:794 Murm'ring Alcyone below the waves:
11:795 At last a falling billow stops his breath,
11:796 Breaks o'er his head, and whelms him underneath.
11:797 That night, his heav'nly form obscur'd with tears,
11:798 And since he was forbid to leave the skies,
11:799 He muffled with a cloud his mournful eyes.
11:800 Mean-time Alcyone (his fate unknown)
11:801 Computes how many nights he had been gone.
11:802 Observes the waining moon with hourly view,
11:803 Numbers her age, and wishes for a new;
11:804 Against the promis'd time provides with care,
11:805 And hastens in the woof the robes he was to wear:
11:806 And for her self employs another loom,
11:807 New-dress'd to meet her lord returning home,
11:808 Flatt'ring her heart with joys, that never were to come:
11:809 She fum'd the temples with an od'rous flame,
11:810 And oft before the sacred altars came,
11:811 To pray for him, who was an empty name.
11:812 All Pow'rs implor'd, but far above the rest
11:813 To Juno she her pious vows address'd,
11:814 Her much-lov'd lord from perils to protect,
11:815 And safe o'er seas his voyage to direct:
11:816 Then pray'd, that she might still possess his heart,
11:817 And no pretending rival share a part;
11:818 This last petition heard of all her pray'r,
11:819 The rest, dispers'd by winds, were lost in air.
11:820 But she, the Goddess of the nuptial bed,
11:821 Tir'd with her vain devotions for the dead,
11:822 Resolv'd the tainted hand should be repell'd,
11:823 Which incense offer'd, and her altar held:
11:824 Then Iris thus bespoke: Thou faithful maid,
11:825 By whom thy queen's commands are well convey'd,
11:826 Haste to the house of sleep, and bid the God
11:827 Who rules the night by visions with a nod,
11:828 Prepare a dream, in figure, and in form
11:829 Resembling him, who perish'd in the storm;
11:830 This form before Alcyone present,
11:831 To make her certain of the sad event.
11:832 Indu'd with robes of various hue she flies,
11:833 And flying draws an arch (a segment of the skies):
11:834 Then leaves her bending bow, and from the steep
11:835 Descends, to search the silent house of sleep.
The House of Sleep
11:836 Near the Cymmerians, in his dark abode,
11:837 Deep in a cavern, dwells the drowzy God;
11:838 Whose gloomy mansion nor the rising sun,
11:839 Nor setting, visits, nor the lightsome noon;
11:840 But lazy vapours round the region fly,
11:841 Perpetual twilight, and a doubtful sky:
11:842 No crowing cock does there his wings display,
11:843 Nor with his horny bill provoke the day;
11:844 Nor watchful dogs, nor the more wakeful geese,
11:845 Disturb with nightly noise the sacred peace;
11:846 Nor beast of Nature, nor the tame are nigh,
11:847 Nor trees with tempests rock'd, nor human cry;
11:848 But safe repose without an air of breath
11:849 Dwells here, and a dumb quiet next to death.
11:850 An arm of Lethe, with a gentle flow
11:851 Arising upwards from the rock below,
11:852 The palace moats, and o'er the pebbles creeps,
11:853 And with soft murmurs calls the coming sleeps.
11:854 Around its entry nodding poppies grow,
11:855 And all cool simples that sweet rest bestow;
11:856 Night from the plants their sleepy virtue drains,
11:857 And passing, sheds it on the silent plains:
11:858 No door there was th' unguarded house to keep,
11:859 On creaking hinges turn'd, to break his sleep.
11:860 But in the gloomy court was rais'd a bed,
11:861 Stuff'd with black plumes, and on an ebon-sted:
11:862 Black was the cov'ring too, where lay the God,
11:863 And slept supine, his limbs display'd abroad:
11:864 About his head fantastick visions fly,
11:865 Which various images of things supply,
11:866 And mock their forms; the leaves on trees not more,
11:867 Nor bearded ears in fields, nor sands upon the shore.
11:868 The virgin ent'ring bright, indulg'd the day
11:869 To the brown cave, and brush'd the dreams away:
11:870 The God disturb'd with this new glare of light,
11:871 Cast sudden on his face, unseal'd his sight,
11:872 And rais'd his tardy head, which sunk again,
11:873 And sinking, on his bosom knock'd his chin;
11:874 At length shook off himself, and ask'd the dame,
11:875 (And asking yawn'd) for what intent she came.
11:876 To whom the Goddess thus: O sacred rest,
11:877 Sweet pleasing sleep, of all the Pow'rs the best!
11:878 O peace of mind, repairer of decay,
11:879 Whose balms renew the limbs to labours of the day,
11:880 Care shuns thy soft approach, and sullen flies away!
11:881 Adorn a dream, expressing human form,
11:882 The shape of him who suffer'd in the storm,
11:883 And send it flitting to the Trachin court,
11:884 The wreck of wretched Ceyx to report:
11:885 Before his queen bid the pale spectre stand,
11:886 Who begs a vain relief at Juno's hand.
11:887 She said, and scarce awake her eyes could keep,
11:888 Unable to support the fumes of sleep;
11:889 But fled, returning by the way she went,
11:890 And swerv'd along her bow with swift ascent.
11:891 The God, uneasy 'till he slept again,
11:892 Resolv'd at once to rid himself of pain;
11:893 And, tho' against his custom, call'd aloud,
11:894 Exciting Morpheus from the sleepy crowd:
11:895 Morpheus, of all his numerous train, express'd
11:896 The shape of man, and imitated best;
11:897 The walk, the words, the gesture could supply,
11:898 The habit mimick, and the mein bely;
11:899 Plays well, but all his action is confin'd,
11:900 Extending not beyond our human kind.
11:901 Another, birds, and beasts, and dragons apes,
11:902 And dreadful images, and monster shapes:
11:903 This demon, Icelos, in Heav'n's high hall
11:904 The Gods have nam'd; but men Phobetor call.
11:905 A third is Phantasus, whose actions roul
11:906 On meaner thoughts, and things devoid of soul;
11:907 Earth, fruits, and flow'rs he represents in dreams,
11:908 And solid rocks unmov'd, and running streams.
11:909 These three to kings, and chiefs their scenes display,
11:910 The rest before th' ignoble commons play.
11:911 Of these the chosen Morpheus is dispatch'd;
11:912 Which done, the lazy monarch, over-watch'd,
11:913 Down from his propping elbow drops his head,
11:914 Dissolv'd in sleep, and shrinks within his bed.
11:915 Darkling the demon glides, for flight prepar'd,
11:916 So soft, that scarce his fanning wings are heard.
11:917 To Trachin, swift as thought, the flitting shade,
11:918 Thro' air his momentary journey made:
11:919 Then lays aside the steerage of his wings,
11:920 Forsakes his proper form, assumes the king's;
11:921 And pale, as death, despoil'd of his array,
11:922 Into the queen's apartment takes his way,
11:923 And stands before the bed at dawn of day:
11:924 Unmov'd his eyes, and wet his beard appears;
11:925 And shedding vain, but seeming real tears;
11:926 The briny waters dropping from his hairs.
11:927 Then staring on her with a ghastly look,
11:928 And hollow voice, he thus the queen bespoke.
11:929 Know'st thou not me? Not yet, unhappy wife?
11:930 Or are my features perish'd with my life?
11:931 Look once again, and for thy husband lost,
11:932 Lo all that's left of him, thy husband's ghost!
11:933 Thy vows for my return were all in vain,
11:934 The stormy south o'ertook us in the main,
11:935 And never shalt thou see thy living lord again.
11:936 Bear witness, Heav'n, I call'd on thee in death,
11:937 And while I call'd, a billow stop'd my breath.
11:938 Think not, that flying fame reports my fate;
11:939 I present, I appear, and my own wreck relate.
11:940 Rise, wretched widow, rise; nor undeplor'd
11:941 Permit my soul to pass the Stygian ford;
11:942 But rise, prepar'd in black, to mourn thy perish'd lord.
11:943 Thus said the player-God; and adding art
11:944 Of voice and gesture, so perform'd his part,
11:945 She thought (so like her love the shade appears)
11:946 That Ceyx spake the words, and Ceyx shed the tears;
11:947 She groan'd, her inward soul with grief opprest,
11:948 She sigh'd, she wept, and sleeping beat her breast;
11:949 Then stretch'd her arms t' embrace his body bare;
11:950 Her clasping arms inclose but empty air:
11:951 At this, not yet awake, she cry'd, O stay;
11:952 One is our fate, and common is our way!
11:953 So dreadful was the dream, so loud she spoke,
11:954 That starting sudden up, the slumber broke:
11:955 Then cast her eyes around, in hope to view
11:956 Her vanish'd lord, and find the vision true:
11:957 For now the maids, who waited her commands,
11:958 Ran in with lighted tapers in their hands.
11:959 Tir'd with the search, not finding what she seeks,
11:960 With cruel blows she pounds her blubber'd cheeks;
11:961 Then from her beaten breast the linnen tare,
11:962 And cut the golden caul that bound her hair.
11:963 Her nurse demands the cause; with louder cries
11:964 She prosecutes her griefs, and thus replies.
11:965 No more Alcyone; she suffer'd death
11:966 With her lov'd lord, when Ceyx lost his breath:
11:967 No flatt'ry, no false comfort, give me none,
11:968 My shipwreck'd Ceyx is for ever gone:
11:969 I saw, I saw him manifest in view,
11:970 His voice, his figure, and his gestures knew:
11:971 His lustre lost, and ev'ry living grace,
11:972 Yet I retain'd the features of his face;
11:973 Tho' with pale cheeks, wet beard, and dropping hair,
11:974 None but my Ceyx could appear so fair:
11:975 I would have strain'd him with a strict embrace,
11:976 But thro' my arms he slipt, and vanish'd from the place:
11:977 There, ev'n just there he stood; and as she spoke,
11:978 Where last the spectre was she cast her look:
11:979 Fain would she hope, and gaz'd upon the ground,
11:980 If any printed footsteps might be found.
11:981 Then sigh'd, and said: This I too well foreknew,
11:982 And my prophetick fears presag'd too true:
11:983 'Twas what I begg'd, when with a bleeding heart
11:984 I took my leave, and suffer'd thee to part;
11:985 Or I to go along, or thou to stay,
11:986 Never, ah never to divide our way!
11:987 Happier for me, that all our hours assign'd
11:988 Together we had liv'd; ev'n not in death disjoin'd!
11:989 So had my Ceyx still been living here,
11:990 Or with my Ceyx I had perish'd there:
11:991 Now I die absent, in the vast profound;
11:992 And me, without my self, the seas have drown'd.
11:993 The storms were not so cruel: should I strive
11:994 To lengthen life, and such a grief survive;
11:995 But neither will I strive, nor wretched thee
11:996 In death forsake, but keep thee company.
11:997 If not one common sepulchre contains
11:998 Our bodies, or one urn our last remains,
11:999 Yet Ceyx and Alcyone shall join,
11:1000 Their names remember'd in one common line.
11:1001 No farther voice her mighty grief affords,
11:1002 For sighs come rushing in betwixt her words,
11:1003 And stop'd her tongue; but what her tongue deny'd,
11:1004 Soft tears, and groans, and dumb complaints supply'd.
11:1005 'Twas morning; to the port she takes her way,
11:1006 And stands upon the margin of the sea:
11:1007 That place, that very spot of ground she sought,
11:1008 Or thither by her destiny was brought,
11:1009 Where last he stood: and while she sadly said,
11:1010 'Twas here he left me, lingring here delay'd
11:1011 His parting kiss, and there his anchors weigh'd.
11:1012 Thus speaking, while her thoughts past actions trace,
11:1013 And call to mind, admonish'd by the place,
11:1014 Sharp at her utmost ken she cast her eyes,
11:1015 And somewhat floating from afar descries:
11:1016 It seems a corps a-drift to distant sight,
11:1017 But at a distance who could judge aright?
11:1018 It wafted nearer yet, and then she knew,
11:1019 That what before she but surmis'd, was true:
11:1020 A corps it was, but whose it was, unknown,
11:1021 Yet mov'd, howe'er, she made the cause her own.
11:1022 Took the bad omen of a shipwreck'd man,
11:1023 As for a stranger wept, and thus began.
11:1024 Poor wretch, on stormy seas to lose thy life,
11:1025 Unhappy thou, but more thy widow'd wife;
11:1026 At this she paus'd: for now the flowing tide
11:1027 Had brought the body nearer to the side:
11:1028 The more she looks, the more her fears increase,
11:1029 At nearer sight; and she's her self the less:
11:1030 Now driv'n ashore, and at her feet it lies,
11:1031 She knows too much in knowing whom she sees:
11:1032 Her husband's corps; at this she loudly shrieks,
11:1033 'Tis he, 'tis he, she cries, and tears her cheeks,
11:1034 Her hair, and vest; and stooping to the sands,
11:1035 About his neck she cast her trembling hands.
11:1036 And is it thus, o dearer than my life,
11:1037 Thus, thus return'st thou to thy longing wife!
11:1038 She said, and to the neighbouring mole she strode,
11:1039 (Rais'd there to break th' incursions of the flood).
11:1040 Headlong from hence to plunge her self she springs,
11:1041 But shoots along, supported on her wings;
11:1042 A bird new-made, about the banks she plies,
11:1043 Not far from shore, and short excursions tries;
11:1044 Nor seeks in air her humble flight to raise,
11:1045 Content to skim the surface of the seas:
11:1046 Her bill tho' slender, sends a creaking noise,
11:1047 And imitates a lamentable voice.
11:1048 Now lighting where the bloodless body lies,
11:1049 She with a fun'ral note renews her cries:
11:1050 At all her stretch, her little wings she spread,
11:1051 And with her feather'd arms embrac'd the dead:
11:1052 Then flick'ring to his palid lips, she strove
11:1053 To print a kiss, the last essay of love.
11:1054 Whether the vital touch reviv'd the dead,
11:1055 Or that the moving waters rais'd his head
11:1056 To meet the kiss, the vulgar doubt alone;
11:1057 For sure a present miracle was shown.
11:1058 The Gods their shapes to winter-birds translate,
11:1059 But both obnoxious to their former fate.
11:1060 Their conjugal affection still is ty'd,
11:1061 And still the mournful race is multiply'd:
11:1062 They bill, they tread; Alcyone compress'd,
11:1063 Sev'n days sits brooding on her floating nest:
11:1064 A wintry queen: her sire at length is kind,
11:1065 Calms ev'ry storm, and hushes ev'ry wind;
11:1066 Prepares his empire for his daughter's ease,
11:1067 And for his hatching nephews smooths the seas.
Aesacus transform'd into a Cormorant
11:1068 These some old man sees wanton in the air,
11:1069 And praises the unhappy constant pair.
11:1070 Then to his friend the long-neck'd corm'rant shows,
11:1071 The former tale reviving others' woes:
11:1072 That sable bird, he cries, which cuts the flood
11:1073 With slender legs, was once of royal blood;
11:1074 His ancestors from mighty Tros proceed,
11:1075 The brave Laomedon, and Ganymede
11:1076 (Whose beauty tempted Jove to steal the boy),
11:1077 And Priam, hapless prince! who fell with Troy:
11:1078 Himself was Hector's brother, and (had Fate
11:1079 But giv'n this hopeful youth a longer date)
11:1080 Perhaps had rival'd warlike Hector's worth,
11:1081 Tho' on the mother's side of meaner birth;
11:1082 Fair Alyxothoe, a country maid,
11:1083 Bare Aesacus by stealth in Ida's shade.
11:1084 He fled the noisy town, and pompous court,
11:1085 Lov'd the lone hills, and simple rural sport.
11:1086 And seldom to the city would resort.
11:1087 Yet he no rustick clownishness profest,
11:1088 Nor was soft love a stranger to his breast:
11:1089 The youth had long the nymph Hesperie woo'd,
11:1090 Oft thro' the thicket, or the mead pursu'd:
11:1091 Her haply on her father's bank he spy'd,
11:1092 While fearless she her silver tresses dry'd;
11:1093 Away she fled: not stags with half such speed,
11:1094 Before the prowling wolf, scud o'er the mead;
11:1095 Not ducks, when they the safer flood forsake,
11:1096 Pursu'd by hawks, so swift regain the lake.
11:1097 As fast he follow'd in the hot career;
11:1098 Desire the lover wing'd, the virgin fear.
11:1099 A snake unseen now pierc'd her heedless foot;
11:1100 Quick thro' the veins the venom'd juices shoot:
11:1101 She fell, and 'scap'd by death his fierce pursuit;
11:1102 Her lifeless body, frighted, he embrac'd,
11:1103 And cry'd, Not this I dreaded, but thy haste:
11:1104 O had my love been less, or less thy fear!
11:1105 The victory, thus bought, is far too dear.
11:1106 Accursed snake! yet I more curs'd than he!
11:1107 He gave the wound; the cause was given by me.
11:1108 Yet none shall say, that unreveng'd you dy'd.
11:1109 He spoke; then climb'd a cliff's o'er-hanging side,
11:1110 And, resolute, leap'd on the foaming tide.
11:1111 Tethys receiv'd him gently on the wave;
11:1112 The death he sought deny'd, and feathers gave.
11:1113 Debarr'd the surest remedy of grief,
11:1114 And forc'd to live, he curst th' unask'd relief.
11:1115 Then on his airy pinions upward flies,
11:1116 And at a second fall successless tries;
11:1117 The downy plume a quick descent denies.
11:1118 Enrag'd, he often dives beneath the wave,
11:1119 And there in vain expects to find a grave.
11:1120 His ceaseless sorrow for th' unhappy maid,
11:1121 Meager'd his look, and on his spirits prey'd.
11:1122 Still near the sounding deep he lives; his name
11:1123 From frequent diving and emerging came.