Ovid [Trans., Sir Samuel Garth]. Metamorphoses
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BOOK THE TWELFTH
The Trojan War
12:1 Priam, to whom the story was unknown,
12:2 As dead, deplor'd his metamorphos'd son:
12:3 A cenotaph his name, and title kept,
12:4 And Hector round the tomb, with all his brothers, wept.
12:5 This pious office Paris did not share;
12:6 Absent alone; and author of the war,
12:7 Which, for the Spartan queen, the Grecians drew
12:8 T' avenge the rape; and Asia to subdue.
12:9 A thousand ships were mann'd, to sail the sea:
12:10 Nor had their just resentments found delay,
12:11 Had not the winds, and waves oppos'd their way.
12:12 At Aulis, with united pow'rs they meet,
12:13 But there, cross-winds or calms detain'd the fleet.
12:14 Now, while they raise an altar on the shore,
12:15 And Jove with solemn sacrifice adore;
12:16 A boding sign the priests and people see:
12:17 A snake of size immense ascends a tree,
12:18 And, in the leafie summit, spy'd a nest,
12:19 Which o'er her callow young, a sparrow press'd.
12:20 Eight were the birds unfledg'd; their mother flew,
12:21 And hover'd round her care; but still in view:
12:22 'Till the fierce reptile first devour'd the brood,
12:23 Then seiz'd the flutt'ring dam, and drunk her blood.
12:24 This dire ostent, the fearful people view;
12:25 Calchas alone, by Phoebus taught, foreknew
12:26 What Heav'n decreed; and with a smiling glance,
12:27 Thus gratulates to Greece her happy chance:
12:28 O Argives, we shall conquer: Troy is ours,
12:29 But long delays shall first afflict our pow'rs:
12:30 Nine years of labour, the nine birds portend;
12:31 The tenth shall in the town's destruction end.
12:32 The serpent, who his maw obscene had fill'd,
12:33 The branches in his curl'd embraces held:
12:34 But, as in spires he stood, he turn'd to stone:
12:35 The stony snake retain'd the figure still his own.
12:36 Yet, not for this, the wind-bound navy weigh'd;
12:37 Slack were their sails; and Neptune disobey'd.
12:38 Some thought him loth the town should be destroy'd,
12:39 Whose building had his hands divine employ'd:
12:40 Not so the seer; who knew, and known foreshow'd,
12:41 The virgin Phoebe, with a virgin's blood
12:42 Must first be reconcil'd: the common cause
12:43 Prevail'd; and pity yielding to the laws,
12:44 Fair Iphigenia the devoted maid
12:45 Was, by the weeping priests, in linnen-robes array'd;
12:46 All mourn her fate; but no relief appear'd;
12:47 The royal victim bound, the knife already rear'd:
12:48 When that offended Pow'r, who caus'd their woe,
12:49 Relenting ceas'd her wrath; and stop'd the coming blow.
12:50 A mist before the ministers she cast,
12:51 And, in the virgin's room, a hind she plac'd.
12:52 Th' oblation slain, and Phoebe, reconcil'd,
12:53 The storm was hush'd, and dimpled ocean smil'd:
12:54 A favourable gale arose from shore,
12:55 Which to the port desir'd, the Graecian gallies bore.
The House of Fame
12:56 Full in the midst of this created space,
12:57 Betwixt Heav'n, Earth, and skies, there stands a place,
12:58 Confining on all three, with triple bound;
12:59 Whence all things, tho' remote, are view'd around;
12:60 And thither bring their undulating sound.
12:61 The palace of loud Fame, her seat of pow'r,
12:62 Plac'd on the summet of a lofty tow'r;
12:63 A thousand winding entries long and wide,
12:64 Receive of fresh reports a flowing tide.
12:65 A thousand crannies in the walls are made;
12:66 Nor gate, nor bars exclude the busie trade.
12:67 'Tis built of brass, the better to diffuse
12:68 The spreading sounds, and multiply the news:
12:69 Where eccho's in repeated eccho's play:
12:70 A mart for ever full, and open night and day.
12:71 Nor silence is within, nor voice express,
12:72 But a deaf noise of sounds, that never cease.
12:73 Confus'd and chiding, like the hollow roar
12:74 Of tides, receding from th' insulted shore,
12:75 Or like the broken thunder heard from far,
12:76 When Jove at distance drives the rouling war.
12:77 The courts are fill'd with a tumultuous din
12:78 Of crouds, or issuing forth, or entring in:
12:79 A thorough-fare of news: where some devise
12:80 Things never heard, some mingle truth with lies;
12:81 The troubled air with empty sounds they beat,
12:82 Intent to hear, and eager to repeat.
12:83 Error sits brooding there, with added train
12:84 Of vain credulity, and joys as vain:
12:85 Suspicion, with sedition join'd, are near,
12:86 And rumours rais'd, and murmurs mix'd, and panique fear.
12:87 Fame sits aloft, and sees the subject ground,
12:88 And seas about, and skies above; enquiring all around.
12:89 The Goddess gives th' alarm; and soon is known
12:90 The Grecian fleet descending on the town.
12:91 Fix'd on defence, the Trojans are not slow
12:92 To guard their shore, from an expected foe.
12:93 They meet in fight: by Hector's fatal hand
12:94 Protesilaus falls, and bites the strand:
12:95 Which with expence of blood the Grecians won;
12:96 And prov'd the strength unknown of Priam's son.
12:97 And to their cost the Trojan leaders felt
12:98 The Grecian heroes; and what deaths they dealt.
The Story of Cygnus
12:99 From these first onsets, the Sigaean shore
12:100 Was strew'd with carcasses, and stain'd with gore:
12:101 Neptunian Cygnus troops of Greeks had slain;
12:102 Achilles in his carr had scour'd the plain,
12:103 And clear'd the Trojan ranks: where-e'er he fought,
12:104 Cygnus, or Hector, through the fields he sought:
12:105 Cygnus he found; on him his force essay'd:
12:106 For Hector was to the tenth year delay'd.
12:107 His white-main'd steeds, that bow'd beneath the yoke,
12:108 He chear'd to courage, with a gentle stroke;
12:109 Then urg'd his fiery chariot on the foe;
12:110 And rising shook his lance; in act to throw.
12:111 But first he cry'd, O youth, be proud to bear
12:112 Thy death, ennobled by Pelides' spear.
12:113 The lance pursu'd the voice without delay,
12:114 Nor did the whizzing weapon miss the way;
12:115 But pierc'd his cuirass, with such fury sent,
12:116 And sign'd his bosom with a purple dint.
12:117 At this the seed of Neptune: Goddess-born,
12:118 For ornament, not use, these arms are worn;
12:119 This helm, and heavy buckler, I can spare;
12:120 As only decorations of the war:
12:121 So Mars is arm'd for glory, not for need.
12:122 'Tis somewhat more from Neptune to proceed,
12:123 Than from a daughter of the sea to spring:
12:124 Thy sire is mortal; mine is ocean's king.
12:125 Secure of death, I shou'd contemn thy dart,
12:126 Tho' naked; and impassible depart:
12:127 He said, and threw: the trembling weapon pass'd
12:128 Through nine bull-hides, each under other plac'd,
12:129 On his broad shield; and stuck within the last.
12:130 Achilles wrench'd it out; and sent again
12:131 The hostile gift: the hostile gift was vain.
12:132 He try'd a third, a tough well-chosen spear;
12:133 Th' inviolable body stood sincere,
12:134 Though Cygnus then did no defence provide,
12:135 But scornful offer'd his unshielded side.
12:136 Not otherwise th' impatient hero far'd,
12:137 Than as a bull incompass'd with a guard,
12:138 Amid the Circus roars, provok'd from far
12:139 By sight of scarlet, and a sanguine war:
12:140 They quit their ground, his bended horns elude;
12:141 In vain pursuing, and in vain pursu'd:
12:142 Before to farther fight he wou'd advance,
12:143 He stood considering, and survey'd his lance.
12:144 Doubts if he wielded not a wooden spear
12:145 Without a point: he look'd, the point was there.
12:146 This is my hand, and this my lance, he said;
12:147 By which so many thousand foes are dead,
12:148 O whither is their usual virtue fled!
12:149 I had it once; and the Lyrnessian wall,
12:150 And Tenedos, confess'd it in their fall.
12:151 Thy streams, Caicus, rowl'd a crimson-flood;
12:152 And Thebes ran red with her own natives' blood.
12:153 Twice Telephus employ'd their piercing steel,
12:154 To wound him first, and afterward to heal.
12:155 The vigour of this arm was never vain:
12:156 And that my wonted prowess I retain,
12:157 Witness these heaps of slaughter on the plain.
12:158 He said; and, doubtful of his former deeds,
12:159 To some new tryal of his force proceeds.
12:160 He chose Menoetes from among the rest;
12:161 At him he launch'd his spear, and pierc'd his breast:
12:162 On the hard earth the Lycian knock'd his head,
12:163 And lay supine; and forth the spirit fled.
12:164 Then thus the hero: Neither can I blame
12:165 The hand, or jav'lin; both are still the same.
12:166 The same I will employ against this foe,
12:167 And wish but with the same success to throw.
12:168 So spoke the chief; and while he spoke he threw;
12:169 The weapon with unerring fury flew,
12:170 At his left shoulder aim'd: nor entrance found;
12:171 But back, as from a rock, with swift rebound
12:172 Harmless return'd: a bloody mark appear'd,
12:173 Which with false joy the flatter'd hero chear'd.
12:174 Wound there was none; the blood that was in view,
12:175 The lance before from slain Menoetes drew.
12:176 Headlong he leaps from off his lofty car,
12:177 And in close fight on foot renews the war.
12:178 Raging with high disdain, repeats his blows;
12:179 Nor shield, nor armour can their force oppose;
12:180 Huge cantlets of his buckler strew the ground,
12:181 And no defence in his bor'd arms is found,
12:182 But on his flesh, no wound or blood is seen;
12:183 The sword it self is blunted on the skin.
12:184 This vain attempt the chief no longer bears;
12:185 But round his hollow temples and his ears
12:186 His buckler beats: the son of Neptune, stunn'd
12:187 With these repeated buffets, quits his ground;
12:188 A sickly sweat succeeds, and shades of night;
12:189 Inverted Nature swims before his sight:
12:190 Th' insulting victor presses on the more,
12:191 And treads the steps the vanquish'd trod before,
12:192 Nor rest, nor respite gives. A stone there lay
12:193 Behind his trembling foe, and stopp'd his way:
12:194 Achilles took th' advantage which he found,
12:195 O'er-turn'd, and push'd him backward on the ground,
12:196 His buckler held him under, while he press'd,
12:197 With both his knees, above his panting breast.
12:198 Unlac'd his helm: about his chin the twist
12:199 He ty'd; and soon the strangled soul dismiss'd.
12:200 With eager haste he went to strip the dead:
12:201 The vanish'd body from his arms was fled.
12:202 His sea-God sire, t' immortalize his frame,
12:203 Had turn'd it to a bird that bears his name.
12:204 A truce succeeds the labours of this day,
12:205 And arms suspended with a long delay.
12:206 While Trojan walls are kept with watch and ward;
12:207 The Greeks before their trenches mount the guard;
12:208 The feast approach'd; when to the blue-ey'd maid
12:209 His vows for Cygnus slain the victor paid,
12:210 And a white heyfer on her altar laid.
12:211 The reeking entrails on the fire they threw,
12:212 And to the Gods the grateful odour flew.
12:213 Heav'n had its part in sacrifice: the rest
12:214 Was broil'd, and roasted for the future feast.
12:215 The chief-invited guests were set around!
12:216 And hunger first asswag'd, the bowls were crown'd,
12:217 Which in deep draughts their cares, and labours drown'd.
12:218 The mellow harp did not their ears employ:
12:219 And mute was all the warlike symphony:
12:220 Discourse, the food of souls, was their delight,
12:221 And pleasing chat prolong'd the summer's night.
12:222 The subject, deeds of arms; and valour shown,
12:223 Or on the Trojan side, or on their own.
12:224 Of dangers undertaken, fame atchiev'd,
12:225 They talk'd by turns; the talk by turns reliev'd.
12:226 What things but these could fierce Achilles tell,
12:227 Or what cou'd fierce Achilles hear so well?
12:228 The last great act perform'd, of Cygnus slain,
12:229 Did most the martial audience entertain:
12:230 Wondring to find a body free by Fate
12:231 From steel; and which cou'd ev'n that steel rebate:
12:232 Amaz'd, their admiration they renew;
12:233 And scarce Pelides cou'd believe it true.
The Story of Caeneus
12:234 Then Nestor thus: what once this age has known,
12:235 In fated Cygnus, and in him alone,
12:236 These eyes have seen in Caeneus long before;
12:237 Whose body not a thousand swords cou'd bore.
12:238 Caeneus, in courage, and in strength, excell'd;
12:239 And still his Othrys with his fame is fill'd:
12:240 But what did most his martial deeds adorn
12:241 (Though since he chang'd his sex) a woman born.
12:242 A novelty so strange, and full of Fate,
12:243 His list'ning audience ask'd him to relate.
12:244 Achilles thus commends their common sute:
12:245 O father, first for prudence in repute,
12:246 Tell, with that eloquence, so much thy own,
12:247 What thou hast heard, or what of Caeneus known:
12:248 What was he, whence his change of sex begun,
12:249 What trophies, join'd in wars with thee, he won?
12:250 Who conquer'd him, and in what fatal strife
12:251 The youth, without a wound, cou'd lose his life?
12:252 Neleides then: Though tardy age, and time,
12:253 Have shrunk my sinews, and decay'd my prime;
12:254 Though much I have forgotten of my store,
12:255 Yet not exhausted, I remember more.
12:256 Of all that arms atchiev'd, or peace design'd,
12:257 That action still is fresher in my mind,
12:258 Than ought beside. If reverend age can give
12:259 To faith a sanction, in my third I live.
12:260 'Twas in my second cent'ry, I survey'd
12:261 Young Caenis, then a fair Thessalian maid:
12:262 Caenis the bright, was born to high command;
12:263 A princess, and a native of thy land,
12:264 Divine Achilles; every tongue proclaim'd
12:265 Her beauty, and her eyes all hearts inflam'd.
12:266 Peleus, thy sire, perhaps had sought her bed,
12:267 Among the rest; but he had either led
12:268 Thy mother then; or was by promise ty'd;
12:269 But she to him, and all, alike her love deny'd.
12:270 It was her fortune once to take her way
12:271 Along the sandy margin of the sea:
12:272 The Pow'r of ocean view'd her as she pass'd,
12:273 And, lov'd as soon as seen, by force embrac'd.
12:274 So Fame reports. Her virgin-treasure seiz'd,
12:275 And his new joys, the ravisher so pleas'd,
12:276 That thus, transported, to the nymph he cry'd;
12:277 Ask what thou wilt, no pray'r shall be deny'd.
12:278 This also Fame relates: the haughty fair,
12:279 Who not the rape ev'n of a God cou'd bear,
12:280 This answer, proud, return'd: To mighty wrongs
12:281 A mighty recompence, of right, belongs.
12:282 Give me no more to suffer such a shame;
12:283 But change the woman, for a better name;
12:284 One gift for all: she said; and while she spoke,
12:285 A stern, majestick, manly tone she took.
12:286 A man she was: and as the Godhead swore,
12:287 To Caeneus turn'd, who Caenis was before.
12:288 To this the lover adds, without request,
12:289 No force of steel shou'd violate his breast.
12:290 Glad of the gift, the new-made warrior goes;
12:291 And arms among the Greeks, and longs for equal foes.
The Skirmish between the Centaurs and Lapithites
12:292 Now brave Perithous, bold Ixion's son,
12:293 The love of fair Hippodame had won.
12:294 The cloud-begotten race, half men, half beast,
12:295 Invited, came to grace the nuptial feast:
12:296 In a cool cave's recess the treat was made,
12:297 Whose entrance, trees with spreading boughs o'er-shade
12:298 They sate: and summon'd by the bridegroom, came,
12:299 To mix with those, the Lapythaean name:
12:300 Nor wanted I: the roofs with joy resound:
12:301 And Hymen, Io Hymen, rung around.
12:302 Rais'd altars shone with holy fires; the bride,
12:303 Lovely her self (and lovely by her side
12:304 A bevy of bright nymphs, with sober grace),
12:305 Came glitt'ring like a star, and took her place.
12:306 Her heav'nly form beheld, all wish'd her joy;
12:307 And little wanted; but in vain, their wishes all employ.
12:308 For one, most brutal, of the brutal brood,
12:309 Or whether wine, or beauty fir'd his blood,
12:310 Or both at once, beheld with lustful eyes
12:311 The bride; at once resolv'd to make his prize.
12:312 Down went the board; and fastning on her hair,
12:313 He seiz'd with sudden force the frighted fair.
12:314 'Twas Eurytus began: his bestial kind
12:315 His crime pursu'd; and each as pleas'd his mind,
12:316 Or her, whom chance presented, took: the feast
12:317 An image of a taken town express'd.
12:318 The cave resounds with female shrieks; we rise,
12:319 Mad with revenge to make a swift reprise:
12:320 And Theseus first, What phrenzy has possess'd,
12:321 O Eurytus, he cry'd, thy brutal breast,
12:322 To wrong Perithous, and not him alone,
12:323 But while I live, two friends conjoyn'd in one?
12:324 To justifie his threat, he thrusts aside
12:325 The crowd of centaurs; and redeems the bride:
12:326 The monster nought reply'd: for words were vain,
12:327 And deeds cou'd only deeds unjust maintain;
12:328 But answers with his hand, and forward press'd,
12:329 With blows redoubled, on his face, and breast.
12:330 An ample goblet stood, of antick mold,
12:331 And rough with figures of the rising gold;
12:332 The hero snatch'd it up, and toss'd in air
12:333 Full at the front of the foul ravisher.
12:334 He falls; and falling vomits forth a flood
12:335 Of wine, and foam, and brains, and mingled blood.
12:336 Half roaring, and half neighing through the hall,
12:337 Arms, arms, the double-form'd with fury call;
12:338 To wreak their brother's death: a medley-flight
12:339 Of bowls, and jars, at first supply the fight,
12:340 Once instruments of feasts; but now of Fate;
12:341 Wine animates their rage, and arms their hate.
12:342 Bold Amycus, from the robb'd vestry brings
12:343 The chalices of Heav'n; and holy things
12:344 Of precious weight: a sconce that hung on high,
12:345 With tapers fill'd, to light the sacristy,
12:346 Torn from the cord, with his unhallow'd hand
12:347 He threw amid the Lapythaean band.
12:348 On Celadon the ruin fell; and left
12:349 His face of feature, and of form bereft:
12:350 So, when some brawny sacrificer knocks,
12:351 Before an altar led, an offer'd ox,
12:352 His eyes-balls rooted out, are thrown to ground;
12:353 His nose, dismantled, in his mouth is found;
12:354 His jaws, cheeks, front, one undistinguish'd wound.
12:355 This, Belates, th' avenger, cou'd not brook;
12:356 But, by the foot, a maple board he took;
12:357 And hurl'd at Amycus; his chin it bent
12:358 Against his chest, and down the centaur sent:
12:359 Whom sputtring bloody teeth, the second blow
12:360 Of his drawn sword, dispatch'd to shades below.
12:361 Grineus was near; and cast a furious look
12:362 On the side-altar, cens'd with sacred smoke,
12:363 And bright with flaming fires; The Gods, he cry'd,
12:364 Have with their holy trade our hands supply'd:
12:365 Why use we not their gifts? Then from the floor
12:366 An altar stone he heav'd, with all the load it bore:
12:367 Altar, and altar's freight together slew,
12:368 Where thickest throng'd the Lapythaean crew:
12:369 And, at once, Broteas and Oryus flew.
12:370 Oryus' mother, Mycale, was known
12:371 Down from her sphere to draw the lab'ring moon.
12:372 Exadius cry'd, Unpunish'd shall not go
12:373 This fact, if arms are found against the foe.
12:374 He look'd about, where on a pine were spread
12:375 The votive horns of a stag's branching head:
12:376 At Grineus these he throws; so just they fly,
12:377 That the sharp antlers stuck in either eye:
12:378 Breathless, and blind he fell; with blood besmear'd;
12:379 His eye-balls beaten out, hung dangling on his beard.
12:380 Fierce Rhoetus, from the hearth a burning brand
12:381 Selects, and whirling waves; 'till, from his hand
12:382 The fire took flame; then dash'd it from the right,
12:383 On fair Charaxus' temples, near the sight:
12:384 The whistling pest came on, and pierc'd the bone,
12:385 And caught the yellow hair, that shrivel'd while it shone.
12:386 Caught, like dry stubble fir'd; or like seerwood;
12:387 Yet from the wound ensu'd no purple flood;
12:388 But look'd a bubbling mass of frying blood.
12:389 His blazing locks sent forth a crackling sound;
12:390 And hiss'd, like red hot ir'n within the smithy drown'd.
12:391 The wounded warrior shook his flaming hair,
12:392 Then (what a team of horse could hardly rear)
12:393 He heaves the threshold stone, but could not throw;
12:394 The weight itself forbad the threaten'd blow;
12:395 Which dropping from his lifted arms, came down
12:396 Full on Cometes' head; and crush'd his crown.
12:397 Nor Rhoetus then retain'd his joy; but said,
12:398 So by their fellows may our foes be sped;
12:399 Then, with redoubled strokes he plies his head:
12:400 The burning lever not deludes his pains:
12:401 But drives the batter'd skull within the brains.
12:402 Thus flush'd, the conqueror, with force renew'd,
12:403 Evagrus, Dryas, Corythus, pursu'd:
12:404 First, Corythus, with downy cheeks, he slew;
12:405 Whose fall, when fierce Evagrus had in view,
12:406 He cry'd, What palm is from a beardless prey?
12:407 Rhoetus prevents what more he had to say;
12:408 And drove within his mouth the fi'ry death,
12:409 Which enter'd hissing in, and choak'd his breath.
12:410 At Dryas next he flew: but weary chance,
12:411 No longer wou'd the same success advance.
12:412 For while he whirl'd in fiery circles round
12:413 The brand, a sharpen'd stake strong Dryas found;
12:414 And in the shoulder's joint inflicts the wound.
12:415 The weapon stuck; which, roaring out with pain,
12:416 He drew; nor longer durst the fight maintain,
12:417 But turn'd his back, for fear; and fled amain.
12:418 With him fled Orneus, with like dread possess'd,
12:419 Thaumas, and Medon wounded in the breast;
12:420 And Mermeros, in the late race renown'd,
12:421 Now limping ran, and tardy with his wound.
12:422 Pholus, and Melaneus from fight withdrew,
12:423 And Abas maim'd, who boars encountring slew:
12:424 And Augur Asbolos, whose art in vain,
12:425 From fight dissuaded the four-footed train,
12:426 Now beat the hoof with Nessus on the plain;
12:427 But to his fellow cry'd, Be safely slow,
12:428 Thy death deferr'd is due to great Alcides' bow.
12:429 Mean-time strong Dryas urg'd his chance so well,
12:430 That Lycidas, Areos, Imbreus fell;
12:431 All, one by one, and fighting face to face:
12:432 Crenaeus fled, to fall with more disgrace:
12:433 For, fearful, while he look'd behind, he bore,
12:434 Betwixt his nose, and front, the blow before.
12:435 Amid the noise, and tumult of the fray,
12:436 Snoring, and drunk with wine, Aphidas lay.
12:437 Ev'n then the bowl within his hand he kept,
12:438 And on a bear's rough hide securely slept.
12:439 Him Phorbas with his flying dart transfix'd;
12:440 Take thy next draught, with Stygian waters mix'd,
12:441 And sleep thy fill, th' insulting victor cry'd;
12:442 Surpriz'd with death unfelt, the centaur dy'd;
12:443 The ruddy vomit, as he breath'd his soul
12:444 Repass'd his throat, and fill'd his empty bowl.
12:445 I saw Petraeus' arms employ'd around
12:446 A well-grown oak, to root it from the ground.
12:447 This way, and that, he wrench'd the fibrous bands;
12:448 The trunk was like a sappling, in his hands,
12:449 And still obey'd the bent: while thus he stood,
12:450 Perithous' dart drove on; and nail'd him to the wood;
12:451 Lycus, and Chromis fell, by him oppress'd:
12:452 Helops, and Dictis added to the rest
12:453 A nobler palm: Helops, through either ear
12:454 Transfix'd, receiv'd the penetrating spear.
12:455 This Dictis saw; and, seiz'd with sudden fright,
12:456 Leapt headlong from the hill of steepy height;
12:457 And crush'd an ash beneath, that cou'd not bear his weight.
12:458 The shatter'd tree receives his fall; and strikes,
12:459 Within his full-blown paunch, the sharpen'd spikes.
12:460 Strong Aphareus had heav'd a mighty stone,
12:461 The fragment of a rock; and wou'd have thrown;
12:462 But Theseus, with a club of harden'd oak,
12:463 The cubit-bone of the bold centaur broke;
12:464 And left him maim'd; nor seconded the stroke.
12:465 Then leapt on tall Bianor's back (who bore
12:466 No mortal burden but his own, before);
12:467 Press'd with his knees his sides; the double man,
12:468 His speed with spurs increas'd, unwilling ran.
12:469 One hand the hero fastn'd on his locks;
12:470 His other ply'd him with repeated strokes.
12:471 The club rung round his ears, and batter'd brows;
12:472 He falls; and lashing up his heels, his rider throws.
12:473 The same Herculean arms, Nedymnus wound;
12:474 And lay by him Lycotas on the ground,
12:475 And Hippasus, whose beard his breast invades;
12:476 And Ripheus, haunter of the woodland shades:
12:477 And Thereus, us'd with mountain-bears to strive,
12:478 And from their dens to draw th' indignant beasts alive.
12:479 Demoleon cou'd not bear this hateful sight,
12:480 Or the long fortune of th' Athenian knight:
12:481 But pull'd with all his force, to disengage
12:482 From Earth a pine, the product of an age:
12:483 The root stuck fast: the broken trunk he sent
12:484 At Theseus; Theseus frustrates his intent,
12:485 And leaps aside; by Pallas warn'd, the blow
12:486 To shun (for so he said; and we believ'd it so).
12:487 Yet not in vain th' enormous weight was cast;
12:488 Which Crantor's body sunder'd at the waist:
12:489 Thy father's 'squire, Achilles, and his care;
12:490 Whom conquer'd in the Polopeian war,
12:491 Their king, his present ruin to prevent,
12:492 A pledge of peace implor'd, to Peleus sent.
12:493 Thy sire, with grieving eyes, beheld his Fate;
12:494 And cry'd, Not long, lov'd Crantor, shalt thou wait
12:495 Thy vow'd revenge. At once he said, and threw
12:496 His ashen-spear; which quiver'd, as it flew;
12:497 With all his force, and all his soul apply'd;
12:498 The sharp point enter'd in the centaur's side:
12:499 Both hands, to wrench it out, the monster join'd;
12:500 And wrench'd it out; but left the steel behind;
12:501 Stuck in his lungs it stood: inrag'd he rears
12:502 His hoofs, and down to ground thy father bears.
12:503 Thus trampled under foot, his shield defends
12:504 His head; his other hand the lance portends.
12:505 Ev'n while he lay extended on the dust,
12:506 He sped the centaur, with one single thrust.
12:507 Two more his lance before transfix'd from far;
12:508 And two, his sword had slain, in closer war.
12:509 To these was added Dorylas, who spread
12:510 A bull's two goring horns around his head.
12:511 With these he push'd; in blood already dy'd,
12:512 Him fearless, I approach'd; and thus defy'd:
12:513 Now, monster, now, by proof it shall appear,
12:514 Whether thy horns are sharper, or my spear.
12:515 At this, I threw: for want of other ward,
12:516 He lifted up his hand, his front to guard.
12:517 His hand it pass'd; and fix'd it to his brow:
12:518 Loud shouts of ours attend the lucky blow.
12:519 Him Peleus finish'd, with a second wound,
12:520 Which thro' the navel pierc'd: he reel'd around;
12:521 And dragg'd his dangling bowels on the ground.
12:522 Trod what he drag'd; and what he trod, he crush'd:
12:523 And to his mother-Earth, with empty belly, rush'd.
The Story of Cyllarus and Hylonome
12:524 Nor cou'd thy form, o Cyllarus, foreflow
12:525 Thy Fate (if form to monsters men allow):
12:526 Just bloom'd thy beard: thy beard of golden hue:
12:527 Thy locks, in golden waves, about thy shoulders flew.
12:528 Sprightly thy look: thy shapes in ev'ry part
12:529 So clean, as might instruct the sculptor's art;
12:530 As far as man extended: where began
12:531 The beast, the beast was equal to the man.
12:532 Add but a horse's head and neck; and he,
12:533 O Castor, was a courser worthy thee.
12:534 So was his back proportion'd for the seat:
12:535 So rose his brawny chest; so swiftly mov'd his feet.
12:536 Coal-black his colour, but like jett it shone;
12:537 His legs, and flowing tail were white alone.
12:538 Belov'd by many maidens of his kind;
12:539 But fair Hylonome possess'd his mind;
12:540 Hylonome, for features, and for face,
12:541 Excelling all the nymphs of double race:
12:542 Nor less her blandishments, than beauty, move;
12:543 At once both loving, and confessing love.
12:544 For him she dress'd: for him, with female care
12:545 She comb'd, and set in curls, her auburn hair.
12:546 Of roses, violets, and lillies mix'd,
12:547 And sprigs of flowing rosemary betwixt,
12:548 She form'd the chaplet, that adorn'd her front:
12:549 In waters of the Pegasaean fount,
12:550 And in the streams that from the fountain play,
12:551 She wash'd her face; and bath'd her twice a-day.
12:552 The scarf of furs, that hung below her side,
12:553 Was ermin, or the panther's spotted pride;
12:554 Spoils of no common beast: with equal flame
12:555 They lov'd: their silvan pleasures were the same:
12:556 All day they hunted: and when day expir'd,
12:557 Together to some shady cave retir'd:
12:558 Invited to the nuptials, both repair:
12:559 And, side by side, they both engage in war.
12:560 Uncertain from what hand, a flying dart
12:561 At Cyllarus was sent; which pierc'd his heart.
12:562 The jav'lin drawn from out the mortal wound,
12:563 He faints with stagg'ring steps; and seeks the ground:
12:564 The fair within her arms receiv'd his fall,
12:565 And strove his wand'ring spirits to recall:
12:566 And while her hand the streaming blood oppos'd,
12:567 Join'd face to face, his lips with hers she clos'd.
12:568 Stifled with kisses, a sweet death he dies;
12:569 She fills the fields with undistinguish'd cries;
12:570 At least her words were in her clamour drown'd;
12:571 For my stunn'd ears receiv'd no vocal sound.
12:572 In madness of her grief, she seiz'd the dart
12:573 New-drawn, and reeking from her lover's heart;
12:574 To her bare bosom the sharp point apply'd;
12:575 And wounded fell; and falling by his side,
12:576 Embrac'd him in her arms; and thus embracing dy'd.
12:577 Ev'n still methinks, I see Phaeocomes;
12:578 Strange was his habit, and as odd his dress.
12:579 Six lions' hides, with thongs together fast,
12:580 His upper part defended to his waist:
12:581 And where man ended, the continued vest,
12:582 Spread on his back, the houss and trappings of a beast.
12:583 A stump too heavy for a team to draw
12:584 (It seems a fable, tho' the fact I saw);
12:585 He threw at Pholon; the descending blow
12:586 Divides the skull, and cleaves his head in two.
12:587 The brains, from nose, and mouth, and either ear,
12:588 Came issuing out, as through a colendar
12:589 The curdled milk; or from the press the whey,
12:590 Driv'n down by weight above, is drain'd away.
12:591 But him, while stooping down to spoil the slain,
12:592 Pierc'd through the paunch, I tumbled on the plain.
12:593 Then Chthonyus, and Teleboas I slew:
12:594 A fork the former arm'd; a dart his fellow threw.
12:595 The jav'lin wounded me (behold the scar,
12:596 Then was my time to seek the Trojan war;
12:597 Then I was Hector's match in open field;
12:598 But he was then unborn; at least a child:
12:599 Now, I am nothing). I forbear to tell
12:600 By Periphantas how Pyretus fell;
12:601 The centaur by the knight: nor will I stay
12:602 On Amphix, or what deaths he dealt that day:
12:603 What honour, with a pointless lance, he won,
12:604 Stuck in the front of a four-footed man.
12:605 What fame young Macareus obtain'd in fight:
12:606 Or dwell on Nessus, now return'd from flight.
12:607 How prophet Mopsus not alone divin'd,
12:608 Whose valour equal'd his foreseeing mind.
Caeneus transform'd to an Eagle
12:609 Already Caeneus, with his conquering hand,
12:610 Had slaughter'd five the boldest of their band.
12:611 Pyrachmus, Helymus, Antimachus,
12:612 Bromus the brave, and stronger Stiphelus,
12:613 Their names I number'd, and remember well,
12:614 No trace remaining, by what wounds they fell.
12:615 Laitreus, the bulki'st of the double race,
12:616 Whom the spoil'd arms of slain Halesus grace,
12:617 In years retaining still his youthful might,
12:618 Though his black hairs were interspers'd with white,
12:619 Betwixt th' imbattled ranks began to prance,
12:620 Proud of his helm, and Macedonian lance;
12:621 And rode the ring around; that either hoast
12:622 Might hear him, while he made this empty boast:
12:623 And from a strumpet shall we suffer shame?
12:624 For Caenis still, not Caeneus, is thy name:
12:625 And still the native softness of thy kind
12:626 Prevails; and leaves the woman in thy mind;
12:627 Remember what thou wert; what price was paid
12:628 To change thy sex; to make thee not a maid:
12:629 And but a man in shew; go, card and spin;
12:630 And leave the business of the war to men.
12:631 While thus the boaster exercis'd his pride,
12:632 The fatal spear of Caeneus reach'd his side:
12:633 Just in the mixture of the kinds it ran;
12:634 Betwixt the neather beast, and upper man:
12:635 The monster mad with rage, and stung with smart,
12:636 His lance directed at the hero's heart:
12:637 It struck; but bounded from his harden'd breast,
12:638 Like hail from tiles, which the safe house invest.
12:639 Nor seem'd the stroke with more effect to come,
12:640 Than a small pebble falling on a drum.
12:641 He next his fauchion try'd, in closer fight;
12:642 But the keen fauchion had no pow'r to bite.
12:643 He thrust; the blunted point return'd again:
12:644 Since downright blows, he cry'd, and thrusts are vain,
12:645 I'll prove his side; in strong embraces held
12:646 He prov'd his side; his side the sword repell'd:
12:647 His hollow belly eccho'd to the stroke,
12:648 Untouch'd his body, as a solid rock;
12:649 Aim'd at his neck at last, the blade in shivers broke.
12:650 Th' impassive knight stood idle, to deride
12:651 His rage, and offer'd oft his naked side;
12:652 At length, Now monster, in thy turn, he cry'd,
12:653 Try thou the strength of Caeneus: at the word
12:654 He thrust; and in his shoulder plung'd the sword.
12:655 Then writh'd his hand; and as he drove it down,
12:656 Deep in his breast, made many wounds in one.
12:657 The centaurs saw, inrag'd, th' unhop'd success;
12:658 And rushing on in crowds, together press;
12:659 At him, and him alone, their darts they threw:
12:660 Repuls'd they from his fated body flew.
12:661 Amaz'd they stood; 'till Monichus began,
12:662 O shame, a nation conquer'd by a man!
12:663 A woman-man! yet more a man is he,
12:664 Than all our race; and what he was, are we.
12:665 Now, what avail our nerves? th' united force,
12:666 Of two the strongest creatures, man and horse;
12:667 Nor Goddess-born; nor of Ixion's seed
12:668 We seem (a lover built for Juno's bed);
12:669 Master'd by this half man. Whole mountains throw
12:670 With woods at once, and bury him below.
12:671 This only way remains. Nor need we doubt
12:672 To choak the soul within; though not to force it out:
12:673 Heap weights, instead of wounds. He chanc'd to see
12:674 Where southern storms had rooted up a tree;
12:675 This, rais'd from Earth, against the foe he threw;
12:676 Th' example shewn, his fellow-brutes pursue.
12:677 With forest-loads the warrior they invade;
12:678 Othrys, and Pelion soon were void of shade;
12:679 And spreading groves were naked mountains made.
12:680 Press'd with the burden, Caeneus pants for breath;
12:681 And on his shoulders bears the wooden death.
12:682 To heave th' intolerable weight he tries;
12:683 At length it rose above his mouth and eyes:
12:684 Yet still he heaves; and, strugling with despair,
12:685 Shakes all aside, and gains a gulp of air:
12:686 A short relief, which but prolongs his pain;
12:687 He faints by fits; and then respires again:
12:688 At last, the burden only nods above,
12:689 As when an earthquake stirs th' Idaean grove.
12:690 Doubtful his death: he suffocated seem'd,
12:691 To most; but otherwise our Mopsus deem'd,
12:692 Who said he saw a yellow bird arise
12:693 From out the piles, and cleave the liquid skies:
12:694 I saw it too, with golden feathers bright;
12:695 Nor e'er before beheld so strange a sight.
12:696 Whom Mopsus viewing, as it soar'd around
12:697 Our troop, and heard the pinions' rattling sound,
12:698 All hail, he cry'd, thy country's grace and love!
12:699 Once first of men below, now first of birds above.
12:700 Its author to the story gave belief:
12:701 For us, our courage was increas'd by grief:
12:702 Asham'd to see a single man, pursu'd
12:703 With odds, to sink beneath a multitude,
12:704 We push'd the foe: and forc'd to shameful flight,
12:705 Part fell, and part escap'd by favour of the night.
The Fate of Periclymenos
12:706 This tale, by Nestor told, did much displease
12:707 Tlepolemus, the seed of Hercules:
12:708 For, often he had heard his father say,
12:709 That he himself was present at the fray;
12:710 And more than shar'd the glories of the day.
12:711 Old Chronicle, he said, among the rest,
12:712 You might have nam'd Alcides at the least:
12:713 Is he not worth your praise? The Pylian prince
12:714 Sigh'd ere he spoke; then made this proud defence.
12:715 My former woes in long oblivion drown'd,
12:716 I wou'd have lost; but you renew the wound:
12:717 Better to pass him o'er, than to relate
12:718 The cause I have your mighty sire to hate.
12:719 His fame has fill'd the world, and reach'd the sky
12:720 (Which, oh, I wish, with truth, I cou'd deny!);
12:721 We praise not Hector; though his name, we know,
12:722 Is great in arms; 'tis hard to praise a foe.
12:723 He, your great father, levell'd to the ground
12:724 Messenia's tow'rs: nor better fortune found
12:725 Elis, and Pylos; that a neighb'ring state,
12:726 And this my own: both guiltless of their fate.
12:727 To pass the rest, twelve, wanting one, he slew;
12:728 My brethren, who their birth from Neleus drew,
12:729 All youths of early promise, had they liv'd;
12:730 By him they perish'd: I alone surviv'd.
12:731 The rest were easie conquest: but the fate
12:732 Of Periclymenos, is wondrous to relate.
12:733 To him, our common grandsire of the main
12:734 Had giv'n to change his form, and chang'd, resume again.
12:735 Vary'd at pleasure, every shape he try'd;
12:736 And in all beasts, Alcides still defy'd:
12:737 Vanquish'd on Earth, at length he soar'd above;
12:738 Chang'd to the bird, that bears the bolt of Jove:
12:739 The new-dissembled eagle, now endu'd
12:740 With beak, and pounces, Hercules pursu'd,
12:741 And cuff'd his manly cheeks, and tore his face;
12:742 Then, safe retir'd, and tour'd in empty space.
12:743 Alcides bore not long his flying foe;
12:744 But bending his inevitable bow,
12:745 Reach'd him in air, suspended as he stood;
12:746 And in his pinion fix'd the feather'd wood.
12:747 Light was the wound; but in the sinew hung
12:748 The point, and his disabled wing unstrung.
12:749 He wheel'd in air, and stretch'd his vans in vain;
12:750 His vans no longer cou'd his flight sustain:
12:751 For while one gather'd wind, one unsupply'd
12:752 Hung drooping down, nor pois'd his other side.
12:753 He fell: the shaft that slightly was impress'd,
12:754 Now from his heavy fall with weight increas'd,
12:755 Drove through his neck, aslant, he spurns the ground,
12:756 And the soul issues through the weazon's wound.
12:757 Now, brave commander of the Rhodian seas,
12:758 What praise is due from me, to Hercules?
12:759 Silence is all the vengeance I decree
12:760 For my slain brothers; but 'tis peace with thee.
12:761 Thus with a flowing tongue old Nestor spoke:
12:762 Then, to full bowls each other they provoke:
12:763 At length, with weariness, and wine oppress'd,
12:764 They rise from table; and withdraw to rest.
The Death of Achilles
12:765 The sire of Cygnus, monarch of the main,
12:766 Mean-time, laments his son, in battel slain,
12:767 And vows the victor's death; nor vows in vain.
12:768 For nine long years the smother'd pain he bore
12:769 (Achilles was not ripe for Fate before):
12:770 Then when he saw the promis'd hour was near,
12:771 He thus bespoke the God, that guides the year:
12:772 Immortal offspring of my brother Jove;
12:773 My brightest nephew, and whom best I love,
12:774 Whose hands were join'd with mine, to raise the wall
12:775 Of tott'ring Troy, now nodding to her fall,
12:776 Dost thou not mourn our pow'r employ'd in vain;
12:777 And the defenders of our city slain?
12:778 To pass the rest, could noble Hector lie
12:779 Unpity'd, drag'd around his native Troy?
12:780 And yet the murd'rer lives: himself by far
12:781 A greater plague, than all the wasteful war:
12:782 He lives; the proud Pelides lives, to boast
12:783 Our town destroy'd, our common labour lost.
12:784 O, could I meet him! But I wish too late:
12:785 To prove my trident is not in his Fate!
12:786 But let him try (for that's allow'd) thy dart,
12:787 And pierce his only penetrable part.
12:788 Apollo bows to the superior throne;
12:789 And to his uncle's anger, adds his own.
12:790 Then in a cloud involv'd, he takes his flight,
12:791 Where Greeks, and Trojans mix'd in mortal fight;
12:792 And found out Paris, lurking where he stood,
12:793 And stain'd his arrows with plebeian blood:
12:794 Phoebus to him alone the God confess'd,
12:795 Then to the recreant knight, he thus address'd.
12:796 Dost thou not blush, to spend thy shafts in vain
12:797 On a degenerate, and ignoble train?
12:798 If fame, or better vengeance be thy care,
12:799 There aim: and, with one arrow, end the war.
12:800 He said; and shew'd from far the blazing shield
12:801 And sword, which, but Achilles, none cou'd wield;
12:802 And how he mov'd a God, and mow'd the standing field.
12:803 The deity himself directs aright
12:804 Th' invenom'd shaft; and wings the fatal flight.
12:805 Thus fell the foremost of the Grecian name;
12:806 And he, the base adult'rer, boasts the fame.
12:807 A spectacle to glad the Trojan train;
12:808 And please old Priam, after Hector slain.
12:809 If by a female hand he had foreseen
12:810 He was to die, his wish had rather been
12:811 The lance, and double ax of the fair warriour queen.
12:812 And now the terror of the Trojan field,
12:813 The Grecian honour, ornament, and shield,
12:814 High on a pile, th' unconquer'd chief is plac'd,
12:815 The God that arm'd him first, consum'd at last.
12:816 Of all the mighty man, the small remains
12:817 A little urn, and scarcely fill'd, contains.
12:818 Yet great in Homer, still Achilles lives;
12:819 And equal to himself, himself survives.
12:820 His buckler owns its former lord; and brings
12:821 New cause of strife, betwixt contending kings;
12:822 Who worthi'st after him, his sword to wield,
12:823 Or wear his armour, or sustain his shield.
12:824 Ev'n Diomede sat mute, with down-cast eyes;
12:825 Conscious of wanted worth to win the prize:
12:826 Nor Menelaus presum'd these arms to claim,
12:827 Nor he the king of men, a greater name.
12:828 Two rivals only rose: Laertes' son,
12:829 And the vast bulk of Ajax Telamon:
12:830 The king, who cherish'd each with equal love,
12:831 And from himself all envy wou'd remove,
12:832 Left both to be determin'd by the laws;
12:833 And to the Graecian chiefs transferr'd the cause.