Ovid [Trans., Sir Samuel Garth]. Metamorphoses
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BOOK THE SECOND
The Story of Phaeton
2:1 The Sun's bright palace, on high columns rais'd,
2:2 With burnish'd gold and flaming jewels blaz'd;
2:3 The folding gates diffus'd a silver light,
2:4 And with a milder gleam refresh'd the sight;
2:5 Of polish'd iv'ry was the cov'ring wrought:
2:6 The matter vied not with the sculptor's thought,
2:7 For in the portal was display'd on high
2:8 (The work of Vulcan) a fictitious sky;
2:9 A waving sea th' inferiour Earth embrac'd,
2:10 And Gods and Goddesses the waters grac'd.
2:11 Aegeon here a mighty whale bestrode;
2:12 Triton, and Proteus (the deceiving God)
2:13 With Doris here were carv'd, and all her train,
2:14 Some loosely swimming in the figur'd main,
2:15 While some on rocks their dropping hair divide,
2:16 And some on fishes through the waters glide:
2:17 Tho' various features did the sisters grace,
2:18 A sister's likeness was in ev'ry face.
2:19 On Earth a diff'rent landskip courts the eyes,
2:20 Men, towns, and beasts in distant prospects rise,
2:21 And nymphs, and streams, and woods, and rural deities.
2:22 O'er all, the Heav'n's refulgent image shines;
2:23 On either gate were six engraven signs.
2:24 Here Phaeton still gaining on th' ascent,
2:25 To his suspected father's palace went,
2:26 'Till pressing forward through the bright abode,
2:27 He saw at distance the illustrious God:
2:28 He saw at distance, or the dazling light
2:29 Had flash'd too strongly on his aking sight.
2:30 The God sits high, exalted on a throne
2:31 Of blazing gems, with purple garments on;
2:32 The Hours, in order rang'd on either hand,
2:33 And Days, and Months, and Years, and Ages stand.
2:34 Here Spring appears with flow'ry chaplets bound;
2:35 Here Summer in her wheaten garland crown'd;
2:36 Here Autumn the rich trodden grapes besmear;
2:37 And hoary Winter shivers in the reer.
2:38 Phoebus beheld the youth from off his throne;
2:39 That eye, which looks on all, was fix'd in one.
2:40 He saw the boy's confusion in his face,
2:41 Surpriz'd at all the wonders of the place;
2:42 And cries aloud, "What wants my son? for know
2:43 My son thou art, and I must call thee so."
2:44 "Light of the world," the trembling youth replies,
2:45 "Illustrious parent! since you don't despise
2:46 The parent's name, some certain token give,
2:47 That I may Clymene's proud boast believe,
2:48 Nor longer under false reproaches grieve."
2:49 The tender sire was touch'd with what he said,
2:50 And flung the blaze of glories from his head,
2:51 And bid the youth advance: "My son," said he,
2:52 "Come to thy father's arms! for Clymene
2:53 Has told thee true; a parent's name I own,
2:54 And deem thee worthy to be called my son.
2:55 As a sure proof, make some request, and I,
2:56 Whate'er it be, with that request comply;
2:57 By Styx I swear, whose waves are hid in night,
2:58 And roul impervious to my piercing sight."
2:59 The youth transported, asks, without delay,
2:60 To guide the sun's bright chariot for a day.
2:61 The God repented of the oath he took,
2:62 For anguish thrice his radiant head he shook;
2:63 "My son," says he, "some other proof require,
2:64 Rash was my promise, rash is thy desire.
2:65 I'd fain deny this wish, which thou hast made,
2:66 Or, what I can't deny, wou'd fain disswade.
2:67 Too vast and hazardous the task appears,
2:68 Nor suited to thy strength, nor to thy years.
2:69 Thy lot is mortal, but thy wishes fly
2:70 Beyond the province of mortality:
2:71 There is not one of all the Gods that dares
2:72 (However skill'd in other great affairs)
2:73 To mount the burning axle-tree, but I;
2:74 Not Jove himself, the ruler of the sky,
2:75 That hurles the three-fork'd thunder from above,
2:76 Dares try his strength: yet who so strong as Jove?
2:77 The steeds climb up the first ascent with pain,
2:78 And when the middle firmament they gain,
2:79 If downward from the Heav'ns my head I bow,
2:80 And see the Earth and Ocean hang below,
2:81 Ev'n I am seiz'd with horror and affright,
2:82 And my own heart misgives me at the sight.
2:83 A mighty downfal steeps the ev'ning stage,
2:84 And steddy reins must curb the horses' rage.
2:85 Tethys herself has fear'd to see me driv'n
2:86 Down headlong from the precipice of Heav'n.
2:87 Besides, consider what impetuous force
2:88 Turns stars and planets in a diff'rent course.
2:89 I steer against their motions; nor am I
2:90 Born back by all the current of the sky.
2:91 But how cou'd you resist the orbs that roul
2:92 In adverse whirls, and stem the rapid pole?
2:93 But you perhaps may hope for pleasing woods,
2:94 And stately dooms, and cities fill'd with Gods;
2:95 While through a thousand snares your progress lies,
2:96 Where forms of starry monsters stock the skies:
2:97 For, shou'd you hit the doubtful way aright,
2:98 The bull with stooping horns stands opposite;
2:99 Next him the bright Haemonian bow is strung,
2:100 And next, the lion's grinning visage hung:
2:101 The scorpion's claws, here clasp a wide extent;
2:102 And here the crab's in lesser clasps are bent.
2:103 Nor wou'd you find it easie to compose
2:104 The mettled steeds, when from their nostrils flows
2:105 The scorching fire, that in their entrails glows.
2:106 Ev'n I their head-strong fury scarce restrain,
2:107 When they grow warm and restif to the rein.
2:108 Let not my son a fatal gift require,
2:109 But, O! in time, recall your rash desire;
2:110 You ask a gift that may your parent tell,
2:111 Let these my fears your parentage reveal;
2:112 And learn a father from a father's care:
2:113 Look on my face; or if my heart lay bare,
2:114 Cou'd you but look, you'd read the father there.
2:115 Chuse out a gift from seas, or Earth, or skies,
2:116 For open to your wish all Nature lies,
2:117 Only decline this one unequal task,
2:118 For 'tis a mischief, not a gift, you ask.
2:119 You ask a real mischief, Phaeton:
2:120 Nay hang not thus about my neck, my son:
2:121 I grant your wish, and Styx has heard my voice,
2:122 Chuse what you will, but make a wiser choice."
2:123 Thus did the God th' unwary youth advise;
2:124 But he still longs to travel through the skies.
2:125 When the fond father (for in vain he pleads)
2:126 At length to the Vulcanian Chariot leads.
2:127 A golden axle did the work uphold,
2:128 Gold was the beam, the wheels were orb'd with gold.
2:129 The spokes in rows of silver pleas'd the sight,
2:130 The seat with party-colour'd gems was bright;
2:131 Apollo shin'd amid the glare of light.
2:132 The youth with secret joy the work surveys,
2:133 When now the moon disclos'd her purple rays;
2:134 The stars were fled, for Lucifer had chased
2:135 The stars away, and fled himself at last.
2:136 Soon as the father saw the rosy morn,
2:137 And the moon shining with a blunter horn,
2:138 He bid the nimble Hours, without delay,
2:139 Bring forth the steeds; the nimble Hours obey:
2:140 From their full racks the gen'rous steeds retire,
2:141 Dropping ambrosial foams, and snorting fire.
2:142 Still anxious for his son, the God of day,
2:143 To make him proof against the burning ray,
2:144 His temples with celestial ointment wet,
2:145 Of sov'reign virtue to repel the heat;
2:146 Then fix'd the beamy circle on his head,
2:147 And fetch'd a deep foreboding sigh, and said,
2:148 "Take this at least, this last advice, my son,
2:149 Keep a stiff rein, and move but gently on:
2:150 The coursers of themselves will run too fast,
2:151 Your art must be to moderate their haste.
2:152 Drive 'em not on directly through the skies,
2:153 But where the Zodiac's winding circle lies,
2:154 Along the midmost Zone; but sally forth
2:155 Nor to the distant south, nor stormy north.
2:156 The horses' hoofs a beaten track will show,
2:157 But neither mount too high, nor sink too low.
2:158 That no new fires, or Heav'n or Earth infest;
2:159 Keep the mid way, the middle way is best.
2:160 Nor, where in radiant folds the serpent twines,
2:161 Direct your course, nor where the altar shines.
2:162 Shun both extreams; the rest let Fortune guide,
2:163 And better for thee than thy self provide!
2:164 See, while I speak, the shades disperse away,
2:165 Aurora gives the promise of a day;
2:166 I'm call'd, nor can I make a longer stay.
2:167 Snatch up the reins; or still th' attempt forsake,
2:168 And not my chariot, but my counsel, take,
2:169 While yet securely on the Earth you stand;
2:170 Nor touch the horses with too rash a hand.
2:171 Let me alone to light the world, while you
2:172 Enjoy those beams which you may safely view."
2:173 He spoke in vain; the youth with active heat
2:174 And sprightly vigour vaults into the seat;
2:175 And joys to hold the reins, and fondly gives
2:176 Those thanks his father with remorse receives.
2:177 Mean-while the restless horses neigh'd aloud,
2:178 Breathing out fire, and pawing where they stood.
2:179 Tethys, not knowing what had past, gave way,
2:180 And all the waste of Heav'n before 'em lay.
2:181 They spring together out, and swiftly bear
2:182 The flying youth thro' clouds and yielding air;
2:183 With wingy speed outstrip the eastern wind,
2:184 And leave the breezes of the morn behind.
2:185 The youth was light, nor cou'd he fill the seat,
2:186 Or poise the chariot with its wonted weight:
2:187 But as at sea th' unballass'd vessel rides,
2:188 Cast to and fro, the sport of winds and tides;
2:189 So in the bounding chariot toss'd on high,
2:190 The youth is hurry'd headlong through the sky.
2:191 Soon as the steeds perceive it, they forsake
2:192 Their stated course, and leave the beaten track.
2:193 The youth was in a maze, nor did he know
2:194 Which way to turn the reins, or where to go;
2:195 Nor wou'd the horses, had he known, obey.
2:196 Then the sev'n stars first felt Apollo's ray,
2:197 And wish'd to dip in the forbidden sea.
2:198 The folded serpent next the frozen pole,
2:199 Stiff and benum'd before, began to rowle,
2:200 And raged with inward heat, and threaten'd war,
2:201 And shot a redder light from ev'ry star;
2:202 Nay, and 'tis said Bootes too, that fain
2:203 Thou woud'st have fled, tho' cumber'd with thy wane.
2:204 Th' unhappy youth then, bending down his head,
2:205 Saw Earth and Ocean far beneath him spread.
2:206 His colour chang'd, he startled at the sight,
2:207 And his eyes darken'd by too great a light.
2:208 Now cou'd he wish the fiery steeds untry'd,
2:209 His birth obscure, and his request deny'd:
2:210 Now wou'd he Merops for his father own,
2:211 And quit his boasted kindred to the sun.
2:212 So fares the pilot, when his ship is tost
2:213 In troubled seas, and all its steerage lost,
2:214 He gives her to the winds, and in despair
2:215 Seeks his last refuge in the Gods and pray'r.
2:216 What cou'd he do? his eyes, if backward cast,
2:217 Find a long path he had already past;
2:218 If forward, still a longer path they find:
2:219 Both he compares, and measures in his mind;
2:220 And sometimes casts an eye upon the east,
2:221 And sometimes looks on the forbidden west,
2:222 The horses' names he knew not in the fright,
2:223 Nor wou'd he loose the reins, nor cou'd he hold 'em right.
2:224 Now all the horrors of the Heav'ns he spies,
2:225 And monstrous shadows of prodigious size,
2:226 That, deck'd with stars, lye scatter'd o'er the skies.
2:227 There is a place above, where Scorpio bent
2:228 In tail and arms surrounds a vast extent;
2:229 In a wide circuit of the Heav'ns he shines,
2:230 And fills the space of two coelestial signs.
2:231 Soon as the youth beheld him vex'd with heat
2:232 Brandish his sting, and in his poison sweat,
2:233 Half dead with sudden fear he dropt the reins;
2:234 The horses felt 'em loose upon their mains,
2:235 And, flying out through all the plains above,
2:236 Ran uncontroul'd where-e're their fury drove;
2:237 Rush'd on the stars, and through a pathless way
2:238 Of unknown regions hurry'd on the day.
2:239 And now above, and now below they flew,
2:240 And near the Earth the burning chariot drew.
2:241 The clouds disperse in fumes, the wond'ring Moon
2:242 Beholds her brother's steeds beneath her own;
2:243 The highlands smoak, cleft by the piercing rays,
2:244 Or, clad with woods, in their own fewel blaze.
2:245 Next o'er the plains, where ripen'd harvests grow,
2:246 The running conflagration spreads below.
2:247 But these are trivial ills: whole cities burn,
2:248 And peopled kingdoms into ashes turn.
2:249 The mountains kindle as the car draws near,
2:250 Athos and Tmolus red with fires appear;
2:251 Oeagrian Haemus (then a single name)
2:252 And virgin Helicon increase the flame;
2:253 Taurus and Oete glare amid the sky,
2:254 And Ida, spight of all her fountains, dry.
2:255 Eryx and Othrys, and Cithaeron, glow,
2:256 And Rhodope, no longer cloath'd in snow;
2:257 High Pindus, Mimas, and Parnassus, sweat,
2:258 And Aetna rages with redoubled heat.
2:259 Ev'n Scythia, through her hoary regions warm'd,
2:260 In vain with all her native frost was arm'd.
2:261 Cover'd with flames the tow'ring Appennine,
2:262 And Caucasus, and proud Olympus, shine;
2:263 And, where the long-extended Alpes aspire,
2:264 Now stands a huge continu'd range of fire.
2:265 Th' astonisht youth, where-e'er his eyes cou'd turn,
2:266 Beheld the universe around him burn:
2:267 The world was in a blaze; nor cou'd he bear
2:268 The sultry vapours and the scorching air,
2:269 Which from below, as from a furnace, flow'd;
2:270 And now the axle-tree beneath him glow'd:
2:271 Lost in the whirling clouds that round him broke,
2:272 And white with ashes, hov'ring in the smoke.
2:273 He flew where-e'er the horses drove, nor knew
2:274 Whither the horses drove, or where he flew.
2:275 'Twas then, they say, the swarthy Moor begun
2:276 To change his hue, and blacken in the sun.
2:277 Then Libya first, of all her moisture drain'd,
2:278 Became a barren waste, a wild of sand.
2:279 The water-nymphs lament their empty urns,
2:280 Boeotia, robb's of silve Dirce, mourns,
2:281 Corinth Pyrene's wasted spring bewails,
2:282 And Argos grieves whilst Amymone fails.
2:283 The floods are drain'd from ev'ry distant coast,
2:284 Ev'n Tanais, tho' fix'd in ice, was lost.
2:285 Enrag'd Caicus and Lycormas roar,
2:286 And Xanthus, fated to be burnt once more.
2:287 The fam'd Maeander, that unweary'd strays
2:288 Through mazy windings, smoaks in ev'ry maze.
2:289 From his lov'd Babylon Euphrates flies;
2:290 The big-swoln Ganges and the Danube rise
2:291 In thick'ning fumes, and darken half the skies.
2:292 In flames Ismenos and the Phasis roul'd,
2:293 And Tagus floating in his melted gold.
2:294 The swans, that on Cayster often try'd
2:295 Their tuneful songs, now sung their last and dy'd.
2:296 The frighted Nile ran off, and under ground
2:297 Conceal'd his head, nor can it yet be found:
2:298 His sev'n divided currents all are dry,
2:299 And where they row'ld, sev'n gaping trenches lye:
2:300 No more the Rhine or Rhone their course maintain,
2:301 Nor Tiber, of his promis'd empire vain.
2:302 The ground, deep-cleft, admits the dazling ray,
2:303 And startles Pluto with the flash of day.
2:304 The seas shrink in, and to the sight disclose
2:305 Wide naked plains, where once their billows rose;
2:306 Their rocks are all discover'd, and increase
2:307 The number of the scatter'd Cyclades.
2:308 The fish in sholes about the bottom creep,
2:309 Nor longer dares the crooked dolphin leap
2:310 Gasping for breath, th' unshapen Phocae die,
2:311 And on the boiling wave extended lye.
2:312 Nereus, and Doris with her virgin train,
2:313 Seek out the last recesses of the main;
2:314 Beneath unfathomable depths they faint,
2:315 And secret in their gloomy caverns pant.
2:316 Stern Neptune thrice above the waves upheld
2:317 His face, and thrice was by the flames repell'd.
2:318 The Earth at length, on ev'ry side embrac'd
2:319 With scalding seas that floated round her waste,
2:320 When now she felt the springs and rivers come,
2:321 And crowd within the hollow of her womb,
2:322 Up-lifted to the Heav'ns her blasted head,
2:323 And clapt her hand upon her brows, and said
2:324 (But first, impatient of the sultry heat,
2:325 Sunk deeper down, and sought a cooler seat):
2:326 "If you, great king of Gods, my death approve,
2:327 And I deserve it, let me die by Jove;
2:328 If I must perish by the force of fire,
2:329 Let me transfix'd with thunder-bolts expire.
2:330 See, whilst I speak, my breath the vapours choak
2:331 (For now her face lay wrapt in clouds of smoak),
2:332 See my singe'd hair, behold my faded eye,
2:333 And wither'd face, where heaps of cinders lye!
2:334 And does the plow for this my body tear?
2:335 This the reward for all the fruits I bear,
2:336 Tortur'd with rakes, and harrass'd all the year?
2:337 That herbs for cattle daily I renew,
2:338 And food for Man, and frankincense for you?
2:339 But grant me guilty; what has Neptune done?
2:340 Why are his waters boiling in the sun?
2:341 The wavy empire, which by lot was giv'n,
2:342 Why does it waste, and further shrink from Heav'n?
2:343 If I nor he your pity can provoke,
2:344 See your own Heav'ns, the Heav'ns begin to smoke!
2:345 Shou'd once the sparkles catch those bright abodes,
2:346 Destruction seizes on the Heav'ns and Gods;
2:347 Atlas becomes unequal to his freight,
2:348 And almost faints beneath the glowing weight.
2:349 If Heav'n, and Earth, and sea, together burn,
2:350 All must again into their chaos turn.
2:351 Apply some speedy cure, prevent our fate,
2:352 And succour Nature, ere it be too late."
2:353 She cea'sd, for choak'd with vapours round her spread,
2:354 Down to the deepest shades she sunk her head.
2:355 Jove call'd to witness ev'ry Pow'r above,
2:356 And ev'n the God, whose son the chariot drove,
2:357 That what he acts he is compell'd to do,
2:358 Or universal ruin must ensue.
2:359 Strait he ascends the high aetherial throne,
2:360 From whence he us'd to dart his thunder down,
2:361 From whence his show'rs and storms he us'd to pour,
2:362 But now cou'd meet with neither storm nor show'r.
2:363 Then, aiming at the youth, with lifted hand,
2:364 Full at his head he hurl'd the forky brand,
2:365 In dreadful thund'rings. Thus th' almighty sire
2:366 Suppress'd the raging of the fires with fire.
2:367 At once from life and from the chariot driv'n,
2:368 Th' ambitious boy fell thunder-struck from Heav'n.
2:369 The horses started with a sudden bound,
2:370 And flung the reins and chariot to the ground:
2:371 The studded harness from their necks they broke,
2:372 Here fell a wheel, and here a silver spoke,
2:373 Here were the beam and axle torn away;
2:374 And, scatter'd o'er the Earth, the shining fragments lay.
2:375 The breathless Phaeton, with flaming hair,
2:376 Shot from the chariot, like a falling star,
2:377 That in a summer's ev'ning from the top
2:378 Of Heav'n drops down, or seems at least to drop;
2:379 'Till on the Po his blasted corps was hurl'd,
2:380 Far from his country, in the western world.
Phaeton's Sisters transform'd into Trees
2:381 The Latian nymphs came round him, and, amaz'd,
2:382 On the dead youth, transfix'd with thunder, gaz'd;
2:383 And, whilst yet smoaking from the bolt he lay,
2:384 His shatter'd body to a tomb convey,
2:385 And o'er the tomb an epitaph devise:
2:386 "Here he, who drove the sun's bright chariot, lies;
2:387 His father's fiery steeds he cou'd not guide,
2:388 But in the glorious enterprize he dy'd."
2:389 Apollo hid his face, and pin'd for grief,
2:390 And, if the story may deserve belief,
2:391 The space of one whole day is said to run,
2:392 From morn to wonted ev'n, without a sun:
2:393 The burning ruins, with a fainter ray,
2:394 Supply the sun, and counterfeit a day,
2:395 A day, that still did Nature's face disclose:
2:396 This comfort from the mighty mischief rose.
2:397 But Clymene, enrag'd with grief, laments,
2:398 And as her grief inspires, her passion vents:
2:399 Wild for her son, and frantick in her woes,
2:400 With hair dishevel'd round the world she goes,
2:401 To seek where-e'er his body might be cast;
2:402 'Till, on the borders of the Po, at last
2:403 The name inscrib'd on the new tomb appears.
2:404 The dear dear name she bathes in flowing tears,
2:405 Hangs o'er the tomb, unable to depart,
2:406 And hugs the marble to her throbbing heart.
2:407 Her daughters too lament, and sigh, and mourn
2:408 (A fruitless tribute to their brother's urn),
2:409 And beat their naked bosoms, and complain,
2:410 And call aloud for Phaeton in vain:
2:411 All the long night their mournful watch they keep,
2:412 And all the day stand round the tomb, and weep.
2:413 Four times, revolving, the full moon return'd;
2:414 So long the mother and the daughters mourn'd:
2:415 When now the eldest, Phaethusa, strove
2:416 To rest her weary limbs, but could not move;
2:417 Lampetia wou'd have help'd her, but she found
2:418 Her self with-held, and rooted to the ground:
2:419 A third in wild affliction, as she grieves,
2:420 Wou'd rend her hair, but fills her hands with leaves;
2:421 One sees her thighs transform'd, another views
2:422 Her arms shot out, and branching into boughs.
2:423 And now their legs, and breasts, and bodies stood
2:424 Crusted with bark, and hard'ning into wood;
2:425 But still above were female heads display'd,
2:426 And mouths, that call'd the mother to their aid.
2:427 What cou'd, alas! the weeping mother do?
2:428 From this to that with eager haste she flew,
2:429 And kiss'd her sprouting daughters as they grew.
2:430 She tears the bark that to each body cleaves,
2:431 And from their verdant fingers strips the leaves:
2:432 The blood came trickling, where she tore away
2:433 The leaves and bark: the maids were heard to say,
2:434 "Forbear, mistaken parent, oh! forbear;
2:435 A wounded daughter in each tree you tear;
2:436 Farewell for ever." Here the bark encreas'd,
2:437 Clos'd on their faces, and their words suppress'd.
2:438 The new-made trees in tears of amber run,
2:439 Which, harden'd into value by the sun,
2:440 Distill for ever on the streams below:
2:441 The limpid streams their radiant treasure show,
2:442 Mixt in the sand; whence the rich drops convey'd
2:443 Shine in the dress of the bright Latian maid.
The Transformation of Cycnus into a Swan
2:444 Cycnus beheld the nymphs transform'd, ally'd
2:445 To their dead brother on the mortal side,
2:446 In friendship and affection nearer bound;
2:447 He left the cities and the realms he own'd,
2:448 Thro' pathless fields and lonely shores to range,
2:449 And woods made thicker by the sisters' change.
2:450 Whilst here, within the dismal gloom, alone,
2:451 The melancholy monarch made his moan,
2:452 His voice was lessen'd, as he try'd to speak,
2:453 And issu'd through a long-extended neck;
2:454 His hair transforms to down, his fingers meet
2:455 In skinny films, and shape his oary feet;
2:456 From both his sides the wings and feathers break;
2:457 And from his mouth proceeds a blunted beak:
2:458 All Cycnus now into a Swan was turn'd,
2:459 Who, still remembring how his kinsman burn'd,
2:460 To solitary pools and lakes retires,
2:461 And loves the waters as oppos'd to fires.
2:462 Mean-while Apollo in a gloomy shade
2:463 (The native lustre of his brows decay'd)
2:464 Indulging sorrow, sickens at the sight
2:465 Of his own sun-shine, and abhors the light;
2:466 The hidden griefs, that in his bosom rise,
2:467 Sadden his looks and over-cast his eyes,
2:468 As when some dusky orb obstructs his ray,
2:469 And sullies in a dim eclipse the day.
2:470 Now secretly with inward griefs he pin'd,
2:471 Now warm resentments to his griefs he joyn'd,
2:472 And now renounc'd his office to mankind.
2:473 "Ere since the birth of time," said he, "I've born
2:474 A long ungrateful toil, without return;
2:475 Let now some other manage, if he dare,
2:476 The fiery steeds, and mount the burning carr;
2:477 Or, if none else, let Jove his fortune try,
2:478 And learn to lay his murd'ring thunder by;
2:479 Then will he own, perhaps, but own too late,
2:480 My son deserv'd not so severe a fate."
2:481 The Gods stand round him, as he mourns, and pray
2:482 He would resume the conduct of the day,
2:483 Nor let the world be lost in endless night:
2:484 Jove too himself descending from his height,
2:485 Excuses what had happen'd, and intreats,
2:486 Majestically mixing pray'rs and threats.
2:487 Prevail'd upon at length, again he took
2:488 The harness'd steeds, that still with horror shook,
2:489 And plies 'em with the lash, and whips 'em on,
2:490 And, as he whips, upbraids 'em with his son.
The Story of Calisto
2:491 The day was settled in its course; and Jove
2:492 Walk'd the wide circuit of the Heavens above,
2:493 To search if any cracks or flaws were made;
2:494 But all was safe: the Earth he then survey'd,
2:495 And cast an eye on ev'ry diff'rent coast,
2:496 And ev'ry land; but on Arcadia most.
2:497 Her fields he cloath'd, and chear'd her blasted face
2:498 With running fountains, and with springing grass.
2:499 No tracks of Heav'n's destructive fire remain,
2:500 The fields and woods revive, and Nature smiles again.
2:501 But as the God walk'd to and fro the Earth,
2:502 And rais'd the plants, and gave the spring its birth,
2:503 By chance a fair Arcadian nymph he view'd,
2:504 And felt the lovely charmer in his blood.
2:505 The nymph nor spun, nor dress'd with artful pride,
2:506 Her vest was gather'd up, her hair was ty'd;
2:507 Now in her hand a slender spear she bore,
2:508 Now a light quiver on her shoulders wore;
2:509 To chaste Diana from her youth inclin'd,
2:510 The sprightly warriors of the wood she joyn'd.
2:511 Diana too the gentle huntress lov'd,
2:512 Nor was there one of all the nymphs that rov'd
2:513 O'er Maenalus, amid the maiden throng,
2:514 More favour'd once; but favour lasts not long.
2:515 The sun now shone in all its strength, and drove
2:516 The heated virgin panting to a grove;
2:517 The grove around a grateful shadow cast:
2:518 She dropt her arrows, and her bow unbrac'd;
2:519 She flung her self on the cool grassy bed;
2:520 And on the painted quiver rais'd her head,
2:521 Jove saw the charming huntress unprepar'd,
2:522 Stretch'd on the verdant turf, without a guard.
2:523 "Here I am safe," he cries, "from Juno's eye;
2:524 Or shou'd my jealous queen the theft descry,
2:525 Yet wou'd I venture on a theft like this,
2:526 And stand her rage for such, for such a bliss!"
2:527 Diana's shape and habit strait he took,
2:528 Soften'd his brows, and smooth'd his awful look,
2:529 And mildly in a female accent spoke.
2:530 "How fares my girl? How went the morning chase?"
2:531 To whom the virgin, starting from the grass,
2:532 "All hail, bright deity, whom I prefer
2:533 To Jove himself, tho' Jove himself were here."
2:534 The God was nearer than she thought, and heard
2:535 Well-pleas'd himself before himself preferr'd.
2:536 He then salutes her with a warm embrace;
2:537 And, e're she half had told the morning chase,
2:538 With love enflam'd, and eager on his bliss,
2:539 Smother'd her words, and stop'd her with a kiss;
2:540 His kisses with unwonted ardour glow'd,
2:541 Nor cou'd Diana's shape conceal the God.
2:542 The virgin did whate'er a virgin cou'd
2:543 (Sure Juno must have pardon'd, had she view'd);
2:544 With all her might against his force she strove;
2:545 But how can mortal maids contend with Jove?
2:546 Possest at length of what his heart desir'd,
2:547 Back to his Heav'ns, th' exulting God retir'd.
2:548 The lovely huntress, rising from the grass,
2:549 With down-cast eyes, and with a blushing face,
2:550 By shame confounded, and by fear dismay'd,
2:551 Flew from the covert of the guilty shade,
2:552 And almost, in the tumult of her mind,
2:553 Left her forgotten bow and shafts behind.
2:554 But now Diana, with a sprightly train
2:555 Of quiver'd virgins, bounding o'er the plain,
2:556 Call'd to the nymph; the nymph began to fear
2:557 A second fraud, a Jove disguis'd in her;
2:558 But, when she saw the sister nymphs, suppress'd
2:559 Her rising fears, and mingled with the rest.
2:560 How in the look does conscious guilt appear!
2:561 Slowly she mov'd, and loiter'd in the rear;
2:562 Nor lightly tripp'd, nor by the Goddess ran,
2:563 As once she us'd, the foremost of the train.
2:564 Her looks were flush'd, and sullen was her mien,
2:565 That sure the virgin Goddess (had she been
2:566 Aught but a virgin) must the guilt have seen.
2:567 'Tis said the nymphs saw all, and guess'd aright:
2:568 And now the moon had nine times lost her light,
2:569 When Dian, fainting in the mid-day beams,
2:570 Found a cool covert, and refreshing streams
2:571 That in soft murmurs through the forest flow'd,
2:572 And a smooth bed of shining gravel show'd.
2:573 A covert so obscure, and streams so clear,
2:574 The Goddess prais'd: "And now no spies are near
2:575 Let's strip, my gentle maids, and wash," she cries.
2:576 Pleas'd with the motion, every maid complies;
2:577 Only the blushing huntress stood confus'd,
2:578 And form'd delays, and her delays excus'd;
2:579 In vain excus'd: her fellows round her press'd,
2:580 And the reluctant nymph by force undress'd,
2:581 The naked huntress all her shame reveal'd,
2:582 In vain her hands the pregnant womb conceal'd;
2:583 "Begone!" the Goddess cries with stern disdain,
2:584 "Begone! nor dare the hallow'd stream to stain":
2:585 She fled, for ever banish'd from the train.
2:586 This Juno heard, who long had watch'd her time
2:587 To punish the detested rival's crime;
2:588 The time was come; for, to enrage her more,
2:589 A lovely boy the teeming rival bore.
2:590 The Goddess cast a furious look, and cry'd,
2:591 "It is enough! I'm fully satisfy'd!
2:592 This boy shall stand a living mark, to prove
2:593 My husband's baseness and the strumpet's love:
2:594 But vengeance shall awake: those guilty charms
2:595 That drew the Thunderer from Juno's arms,
2:596 No longer shall their wonted force retain,
2:597 Nor please the God, nor make the mortal vain."
2:598 This said, her hand within her hair she wound,
2:599 Swung her to Earth, and drag'd her on the ground:
2:600 The prostrate wretch lifts up her arms in pray'r;
2:601 Her arms grow shaggy, and deform'd with hair,
2:602 Her nails are sharpen'd into pointed claws,
2:603 Her hands bear half her weight, and turn to paws;
2:604 Her lips, that once cou'd tempt a God, begin
2:605 To grow distorted in an ugly grin.
2:606 And, lest the supplicating brute might reach
2:607 The ears of Jove, she was depriv'd of speech:
2:608 Her surly voice thro' a hoarse passage came
2:609 In savage sounds: her mind was still the same,
2:610 The furry monster fix'd her eyes above,
2:611 And heav'd her new unwieldy paws to Jove,
2:612 And beg'd his aid with inward groans; and tho'
2:613 She could not call him false, she thought him so.
2:614 How did she fear to lodge in woods alone,
2:615 And haunt the fields and meadows, once her own!
2:616 How often wou'd the deep-mouth'd dogs pursue,
2:617 Whilst from her hounds the frighted huntress flew!
2:618 How did she fear her fellow-brutes, and shun
2:619 The shaggy bear, tho' now her self was one!
2:620 How from the sight of rugged wolves retire,
2:621 Although the grim Lycaon was her sire!
2:622 But now her son had fifteen summers told,
2:623 Fierce at the chase, and in the forest bold;
2:624 When, as he beat the woods in quest of prey,
2:625 He chanc'd to rouze his mother where she lay.
2:626 She knew her son, and kept him in her sight,
2:627 And fondly gaz'd: the boy was in a fright,
2:628 And aim'd a pointed arrow at her breast,
2:629 And would have slain his mother in the beast;
2:630 But Jove forbad, and snatch'd 'em through the air
2:631 In whirlwinds up to Heav'n, and fix'd 'em there!
2:632 Where the new constellations nightly rise,
2:633 And add a lustre to the northern skies.
2:634 When Juno saw the rival in her height,
2:635 Spangled with stars, and circled round with light,
2:636 She sought old Ocean in his deep abodes,
2:637 And Tethys, both rever'd among the Gods.
2:638 They ask what brings her there: "Ne'er ask," says she,
2:639 "What brings me here, Heav'n is no place for me.
2:640 You'll see, when night has cover'd all things o'er,
2:641 Jove's starry bastard and triumphant whore
2:642 Usurp the Heav'ns; you'll see 'em proudly rowle
2:643 And who shall now on Juno's altars wait,
2:644 When those she hates grow greater by her hate?
2:645 I on the nymph a brutal form impress'd,
2:646 Jove to a goddess has transform'd the beast;
2:647 This, this was all my weak revenge could do:
2:648 But let the God his chaste amours pursue,
2:649 And, as he acted after Io's rape,
2:650 Restore th' adultress to her former shape;
2:651 Then may he cast his Juno off, and lead
2:652 The great Lycaon's offspring to his bed.
2:653 But you, ye venerable Pow'rs, be kind,
2:654 And, if my wrongs a due resentment find,
2:655 Receive not in your waves their setting beams,
2:656 Nor let the glaring strumpet taint your streams."
2:657 The Goddess ended, and her wish was giv'n.
2:658 Back she return'd in triumph up to Heav'n;
2:659 Her gawdy peacocks drew her through the skies.
2:660 Their tails were spotted with a thousand eyes;
2:661 The eyes of Argus on their tails were rang'd,
2:662 At the same time the raven's colour chang'd.
The Story of Coronis, and Birth of Aesculapius
2:663 The raven once in snowy plumes was drest,
2:664 White as the whitest dove's unsully'd breast,
2:665 Fair as the guardian of the Capitol,
2:666 Soft as the swan; a large and lovely fowl;
2:667 His tongue, his prating tongue had chang'd him quite
2:668 To sooty blackness, from the purest white.
2:669 The story of his change shall here be told;
2:670 In Thessaly there liv'd a nymph of old,
2:671 Coronis nam'd; a peerless maid she shin'd,
2:672 Confest the fairest of the fairer kind.
2:673 Apollo lov'd her, 'till her guilt he knew,
2:674 While true she was, or whilst he thought her true.
2:675 But his own bird the raven chanc'd to find
2:676 The false one with a secret rival joyn'd.
2:677 Coronis begg'd him to suppress the tale,
2:678 But could not with repeated pray'rs prevail.
2:679 His milk-white pinions to the God he ply'd;
2:680 The busy daw flew with him, side by side,
2:681 And by a thousand teizing questions drew
2:682 Th' important secret from him as they flew.
2:683 The daw gave honest counsel, tho' despis'd,
2:684 And, tedious in her tattle, thus advis'd:
2:685 "Stay, silly bird, th' ill-natur'd task refuse,
2:686 Nor be the bearer of unwelcome news.
2:687 Be warn'd by my example: you discern
2:688 What now I am, and what I was shall learn.
2:689 My foolish honesty was all my crime;
2:690 Then hear my story. Once upon a time,
2:691 The two-shap'd Ericthonius had his birth
2:692 (Without a mother) from the teeming Earth;
2:693 Minerva nurs'd him, and the infant laid
2:694 Within a chest, of twining osiers made.
2:695 The daughters of king Cecrops undertook
2:696 To guard the chest, commanded not to look
2:697 On what was hid within. I stood to see
2:698 The charge obey'd, perch'd on a neighb'ring tree.
2:699 The sisters Pandrosos and Herse keep
2:700 The strict command; Aglauros needs would peep,
2:701 And saw the monstrous infant, in a fright,
2:702 And call'd her sisters to the hideous sight:
2:703 A boy's soft shape did to the waste prevail,
2:704 But the boy ended in a dragon's tail.
2:705 I told the stern Minerva all that pass'd;
2:706 But for my pains, discarded and disgrac'd,
2:707 The frowning Goddess drove me from her sight,
2:708 And for her fav'rite chose the bird of night.
2:709 Be then no tell-tale; for I think my wrong
2:710 Enough to teach a bird to hold her tongue.
2:711 But you, perhaps, may think I was remov'd,
2:712 As never by the heav'nly maid belov'd:
2:713 But I was lov'd; ask Pallas if I lye;
2:714 Tho' Pallas hate me now, she won't deny:
2:715 For I, whom in a feather'd shape you view,
2:716 Was once a maid (by Heav'n the story's true)
2:717 A blooming maid, and a king's daughter too.
2:718 A crowd of lovers own'd my beauty's charms;
2:719 My beauty was the cause of all my harms;
2:720 Neptune, as on his shores I wont to rove,
2:721 Observ'd me in my walks, and fell in love.
2:722 He made his courtship, he confess'd his pain,
2:723 And offer'd force, when all his arts were vain;
2:724 Swift he pursu'd: I ran along the strand,
2:725 'Till, spent and weary'd on the sinking sand,
2:726 I shriek'd aloud, with cries I fill'd the air
2:727 To Gods and men; nor God nor man was there:
2:728 A virgin Goddess heard a virgin's pray'r.
2:729 For, as my arms I lifted to the skies,
2:730 I saw black feathers from my fingers rise;
2:731 I strove to fling my garment on the ground;
2:732 My garment turn'd to plumes, and girt me round:
2:733 My hands to beat my naked bosom try;
2:734 Nor naked bosom now nor hands had I:
2:735 Lightly I tript, nor weary as before
2:736 Sunk in the sand, but skim'd along the shore;
2:737 'Till, rising on my wings, I was preferr'd
2:738 To be the chaste Minerva's virgin bird:
2:739 Preferr'd in vain! I am now in disgrace:
2:740 Nyctimene the owl enjoys my place.
2:741 On her incestuous life I need not dwell
2:742 (In Lesbos still the horrid tale they tell),
2:743 And of her dire amours you must have heard,
2:744 For which she now does penance in a bird,
2:745 That conscious of her shame, avoids the light,
2:746 And loves the gloomy cov'ring of the night;
2:747 The birds, where-e'er she flutters, scare away
2:748 The hooting wretch, and drive her from the day."
2:749 The raven, urg'd by such impertinence,
2:750 Grew passionate, it seems, and took offence,
2:751 And curst the harmless daw; the daw withdrew:
2:752 The raven to her injur'd patron flew,
2:753 And found him out, and told the fatal truth
2:754 Of false Coronis and the favour'd youth.
2:755 The God was wroth, the colour left his look,
2:756 The wreath his head, the harp his hand forsook:
2:757 His silver bow and feather'd shafts he took,
2:758 And lodg'd an arrow in the tender breast,
2:759 That had so often to his own been prest.
2:760 Down fell the wounded nymph, and sadly groan'd,
2:761 And pull'd his arrow reeking from the wound;
2:762 And weltring in her blood, thus faintly cry'd,
2:763 "Ah cruel God! tho' I have justly dy'd,
2:764 What has, alas! my unborn infant done,
2:765 That he should fall, and two expire in one?"
2:766 This said, in agonies she fetch'd her breath.
2:767 The God dissolves in pity at her death;
2:768 He hates the bird that made her falshood known,
2:769 And hates himself for what himself had done;
2:770 The feather'd shaft, that sent her to the Fates,
2:771 And his own hand, that sent the shaft, he hates.
2:772 Fain would he heal the wound, and ease her pain,
2:773 And tries the compass of his art in vain.
2:774 Soon as he saw the lovely nymph expire,
2:775 The pile made ready, and the kindling fire.
2:776 With sighs and groans her obsequies he kept,
2:777 And, if a God could weep, the God had wept.
2:778 Her corps he kiss'd, and heav'nly incense brought,
2:779 And solemniz'd the death himself had wrought.
2:780 But lest his offspring should her fate partake,
2:781 Spight of th' immortal mixture in his make,
2:782 He ript her womb, and set the child at large,
2:783 And gave him to the centaur Chiron's charge:
2:784 Then in his fury black'd the raven o'er,
2:785 And bid him prate in his white plumes no more.
Ocyrrhoe transform'd into a Mare
2:786 Old Chiron took the babe with secret joy,
2:787 Proud of the charge of the celestial boy.
2:788 His daughter too, whom on the sandy shore
2:789 The nymph Charicle to the centaur bore,
2:790 With hair dishevel'd on her shoulders, came
2:791 To see the child, Ocyrrhoe was her name;
2:792 She knew her father's arts, and could rehearse
2:793 The depths of prophecy in sounding verse.
2:794 Once, as the sacred infant she survey'd,
2:795 The God was kindled in the raving maid,
2:796 And thus she utter'd her prophetick tale:
2:797 "Hail, great physician of the world, all-hail;
2:798 Hail, mighty infant, who in years to come
2:799 Shalt heal the nations, and defraud the tomb;
2:800 Swift be thy growth! thy triumphs unconfin'd!
2:801 Make kingdoms thicker, and increase mankind.
2:802 Thy daring art shall animate the dead,
2:803 And draw the thunder on thy guilty head:
2:804 Then shalt thou dye, but from the dark abode
2:805 Rise up victorious, and be twice a God.
2:806 And thou, my sire, not destin'd by thy birth
2:807 To turn to dust, and mix with common earth,
2:808 How wilt thou toss, and rave, and long to dye,
2:809 And quit thy claim to immortality;
2:810 When thou shalt feel, enrag'd with inward pains,
2:811 The Hydra's venom rankling in thy veins?
2:812 The Gods, in pity, shall contract thy date,
2:813 And give thee over to the pow'r of Fate."
2:814 Thus entring into destiny, the maid
2:815 The secrets of offended Jove betray'd:
2:816 More had she still to say; but now appears
2:817 Oppress'd with sobs and sighs, and drown'd in tears.
2:818 "My voice," says she, "is gone, my language fails;
2:819 Through ev'ry limb my kindred shape prevails:
2:820 Why did the God this fatal gift impart,
2:821 And with prophetick raptures swell my heart!
2:822 What new desires are these? I long to pace
2:823 O'er flow'ry meadows, and to feed on grass;
2:824 I hasten to a brute, a maid no more;
2:825 But why, alas! am I transform'd all o'er?
2:826 My sire does half a human shape retain,
2:827 And in his upper parts preserve the man."
2:828 Her tongue no more distinct complaints affords,
2:829 But in shrill accents and mis-shapen words
2:830 Pours forth such hideous wailings, as declare
2:831 The human form confounded in the mare:
2:832 'Till by degrees accomplish'd in the beast,
2:833 She neigh'd outright, and all the steed exprest.
2:834 Her stooping body on her hands is born,
2:835 Her hands are turn'd to hoofs, and shod in horn,
2:836 Her yellow tresses ruffle in a mane,
2:837 And in a flowing tail she frisks her train,
2:838 The mare was finish'd in her voice and look,
2:839 And a new name from the new figure took.
The Transformation of Battus to a Touch stone
2:840 Sore wept the centuar, and to Phoebus pray'd;
2:841 But how could Phoebus give the centaur aid?
2:842 Degraded of his pow'r by angry Jove,
2:843 In Elis then a herd of beeves he drove;
2:844 And wielded in his hand a staff of oak,
2:845 And o'er his shoulders threw the shepherd's cloak;
2:846 On sev'n compacted reeds he us'd to play,
2:847 And on his rural pipe to waste the day.
2:848 As once attentive to his pipe he play'd,
2:849 The crafty Hermes from the God convey'd
2:850 A drove, that sep'rate from their fellows stray'd.
2:851 The theft an old insidious peasant view'd
2:852 (They call'd him Battus in the neighbourhood),
2:853 Hir'd by a vealthy Pylian prince to feed
2:854 His fav'rite mares, and watch the gen'rous breed.
2:855 The thievish God suspected him, and took
2:856 The hind aside, and thus in whispers spoke:
2:857 "Discover not the theft, whoe'er thou be,
2:858 And take that milk-white heifer for thy fee."
2:859 "Go, stranger," cries the clown, "securely on,
2:860 That stone shall sooner tell," and show'd a stone.
2:861 The God withdrew, but strait return'd again,
2:862 In speech and habit like a country swain;
2:863 And cries out, "Neighbour, hast thou seen a stray
2:864 Of bullocks and of heifers pass this way?
2:865 In the recov'ry of my cattle join,
2:866 A bullock and a heifer shall be thine."
2:867 The peasant quick replies, "You'll find 'em there
2:868 In yon dark vale"; and in the vale they were.
2:869 The double bribe had his false heart beguil'd:
2:870 The God, successful in the tryal, smil'd;
2:871 "And dost thou thus betray my self to me?
2:872 Me to my self dost thou betray?" says he:
2:873 Then to a Touch stone turns the faithless spy;
2:874 And in his name records his infamy.
The Story of Aglauros, transform'd into a Statue
2:875 This done, the God flew up on high, and pass'd
2:876 O'er lofty Athens, by Minerva grac'd,
2:877 And wide Munichia, whilst his eyes survey
2:878 All the vast region that beneath him lay.
2:879 'Twas now the feast, when each Athenian maid
2:880 Her yearly homage to Minerva paid;
2:881 In canisters, with garlands cover'd o'er,
2:882 High on their heads, their mystick gifts they bore:
2:883 And now, returning in a solemn train,
2:884 The troop of shining virgins fill'd the plain.
2:885 The God well pleas'd beheld the pompous show,
2:886 And saw the bright procession pass below;
2:887 Then veer'd about, and took a wheeling flight,
2:888 And hover'd o'er them: as the spreading kite,
2:889 That smells the slaughter'd victim from on high,
2:890 Flies at a distance, if the priests are nigh,
2:891 And sails around, and keeps it in her eye:
2:892 So kept the God the virgin quire in view,
2:893 And in slow winding circles round them flew.
2:894 As Lucifer excells the meanest star,
2:895 Or, as the full-orb'd Phoebe, Lucifer;
2:896 So much did Herse all the rest outvy,
2:897 And gave a grace to the solemnity.
2:898 Hermes was fir'd, as in the clouds he hung:
2:899 So the cold bullet, that with fury slung
2:900 From Balearick engines mounts on high,
2:901 Glows in the whirl, and burns along the sky.
2:902 At length he pitch'd upon the ground, and show'd
2:903 The form divine, the features of a God.
2:904 He knew their vertue o'er a female heart,
2:905 And yet he strives to better them by art.
2:906 He hangs his mantle loose, and sets to show
2:907 The golden edging on the seam below;
2:908 Adjusts his flowing curls, and in his hand
2:909 Waves, with an air, the sleep-procuring wand;
2:910 The glitt'ring sandals to his feet applies,
2:911 And to each heel the well-trim'd pinion ties.
2:912 His ornaments with nicest art display'd,
2:913 He seeks th' apartment of the royal maid.
2:914 The roof was all with polish'd iv'ry lin'd,
2:915 That richly mix'd, in clouds of tortoise shin'd.
2:916 Three rooms, contiguous, in a range were plac'd,
2:917 The midmost by the beauteous Herse grac'd;
2:918 Her virgin sisters lodg'd on either side.
2:919 Aglauros first th' approaching God descry'd,
2:920 And, as he cross'd her chamber, ask'd his name,
2:921 And what his business was, and whence he came.
2:922 "I come," reply'd the God, "from Heav'n, to woo
2:923 Your sister, and to make an aunt of you;
2:924 I am the son and messenger of Jove;
2:925 My name is Mercury, my bus'ness love;
2:926 Do you, kind damsel, take a lover's part,
2:927 And gain admittance to your sister's heart."
2:928 She star'd him in the face with looks amaz'd,
2:929 As when she on Minerva's secret gaz'd,
2:930 And asks a mighty treasure for her hire;
2:931 And, 'till he brings it, makes the God retire.
2:932 Minerva griev'd to see the nymph succeed;
2:933 And now remembring the late impious deed,
2:934 When, disobedient to her strict command,
2:935 She touch'd the chest with an unhallow'd hand;
2:936 In big-swoln sighs her inward rage express'd,
2:937 That heav'd the rising Aegis on her breast;
2:938 Then sought out Envy in her dark abode,
2:939 Defil'd with ropy gore and clots of blood:
2:940 Shut from the winds, and from the wholesome skies,
2:941 In a deep vale the gloomy dungeon lies,
2:942 Dismal and cold, where not a beam of light
2:943 Invades the winter, or disturbs the night.
2:944 Directly to the cave her course she steer'd;
2:945 Against the gates her martial lance she rear'd;
2:946 The gates flew open, and the fiend appear'd.
2:947 A pois'nous morsel in her teeth she chew'd,
2:948 And gorg'd the flesh of vipers for her food.
2:949 Minerva loathing turn'd away her eye;
2:950 The hideous monster, rising heavily,
2:951 Came stalking forward with a sullen pace,
2:952 And left her mangled offals on the place.
2:953 Soon as she saw the goddess gay and bright,
2:954 She fetch'd a groan at such a chearful sight.
2:955 Livid and meagre were her looks, her eye
2:956 In foul distorted glances turn'd awry;
2:957 A hoard of gall her inward parts possess'd,
2:958 And spread a greenness o'er her canker'd breast;
2:959 Her teeth were brown with rust, and from her tongue,
2:960 In dangling drops, the stringy poison hung.
2:961 She never smiles but when the wretched weep,
2:962 Nor lulls her malice with a moment's sleep,
2:963 Restless in spite: while watchful to destroy,
2:964 She pines and sickens at another's joy;
2:965 Foe to her self, distressing and distrest,
2:966 She bears her own tormentor in her breast.
2:967 The Goddess gave (for she abhorr'd her sight)
2:968 A short command: "To Athens speed thy flight;
2:969 On curst Aglauros try thy utmost art,
2:970 And fix thy rankest venoms in her heart."
2:971 This said, her spear she push'd against the ground,
2:972 And mounting from it with an active bound,
2:973 Flew off to Heav'n: the hag with eyes askew
2:974 Look'd up, and mutter'd curses as she flew;
2:975 For sore she fretted, and began to grieve
2:976 At the success which she her self must give.
2:977 Then takes her staff, hung round with wreaths of thorn,
2:978 And sails along, in a black whirlwind born,
2:979 O'er fields and flow'ry meadows: where she steers
2:980 Her baneful course, a mighty blast appears,
2:981 Mildews and blights; the meadows are defac'd,
2:982 The fields, the flow'rs, and the whole years laid waste:
2:983 On mortals next, and peopled towns she falls,
2:984 And breathes a burning plague among their walls.
2:985 When Athens she beheld, for arts renown'd,
2:986 With peace made happy, and with plenty crown'd,
2:987 Scarce could the hideous fiend from tears forbear,
2:988 To find out nothing that deserv'd a tear.
2:989 Th' apartment now she enter'd, where at rest
2:990 Aglauros lay, with gentle sleep opprest.
2:991 To execute Minerva's dire command,
2:992 She stroak'd the virgin with her canker'd hand,
2:993 Then prickly thorns into her breast convey'd,
2:994 That stung to madness the devoted maid:
2:995 Her subtle venom still improves the smart,
2:996 Frets in the blood, and festers in the heart.
2:997 To make the work more sure, a scene she drew,
2:998 And plac'd before the dreaming virgin's view
2:999 Her sister's marriage, and her glorious fate:
2:1000 Th' imaginary bride appears in state;
2:1001 The bride-groom with unwonted beauty glows:
2:1002 For envy magnifies what-e'er she shows.
2:1003 Full of the dream, Aglauros pin'd away
2:1004 In tears all night, in darkness all the day;
2:1005 Consum'd like ice, that just begins to run,
2:1006 When feebly smitten by the distant sun;
2:1007 Or like unwholsome weeds, that set on fire
2:1008 Are slowly wasted, and in smoke expire.
2:1009 Giv'n up to envy (for in ev'ry thought
2:1010 The thorns, the venom, and the vision wrought)
2:1011 Oft did she call on death, as oft decreed,
2:1012 Rather than see her sister's wish succeed,
2:1013 To tell her awfull father what had past:
2:1014 At length before the door her self she cast;
2:1015 And, sitting on the ground with sullen pride,
2:1016 A passage to the love-sick God deny'd.
2:1017 The God caress'd, and for admission pray'd,
2:1018 And sooth'd in softest words th' envenom'd maid.
2:1019 In vain he sooth'd: "Begone!" the maid replies,
2:1020 "Or here I keep my seat, and never rise."
2:1021 "Then keep thy seat for ever," cries the God,
2:1022 And touch'd the door, wide op'ning to his rod.
2:1023 Fain would she rise, and stop him, but she found
2:1024 Her trunk too heavy to forsake the ground;
2:1025 Her joynts are all benum'd, her hands are pale,
2:1026 And marble now appears in ev'ry nail.
2:1027 As when a cancer in the body feeds,
2:1028 And gradual death from limb to limb proceeds;
2:1029 So does the chilness to each vital parte
2:1030 Spread by degrees, and creeps into her heart;
2:1031 'Till hard'ning ev'ry where, and speechless grown,
2:1032 She sits unmov'd, and freezes to a stone.
2:1033 But still her envious hue and sullen mien
2:1034 Are in the sedentary figure seen.
2:1035 When now the God his fury had allay'd,
2:1036 And taken vengeance of the stubborn maid,
2:1037 From where the bright Athenian turrets rise
2:1038 He mounts aloft, and re-ascends the skies.
2:1039 Jove saw him enter the sublime abodes,
2:1040 And, as he mix'd among the crowd of Gods,
2:1041 Beckon'd him out, and drew him from the rest,
2:1042 And in soft whispers thus his will exprest.
2:1043 "My trusty Hermes, by whose ready aid
2:1044 Thy sire's commands are through the world convey'd.
2:1045 Resume thy wings, exert their utmost force,
2:1046 And to the walls of Sidon speed thy course;
2:1047 There find a herd of heifers wand'ring o'er
2:1048 The neighb'ring hill, and drive 'em to the shore."
2:1049 Thus spoke the God, concealing his intent.
2:1050 The trusty Hermes, on his message went,
2:1051 And found the herd of heifers wand'ring o'er
2:1052 A neighb'ring hill, and drove 'em to the shore;
2:1053 Where the king's daughter, with a lovely train
2:1054 Of fellow-nymphs, was sporting on the plain.
2:1055 The dignity of empire laid aside,
2:1056 (For love but ill agrees with kingly pride)
2:1057 The ruler of the skies, the thund'ring God,
2:1058 Who shakes the world's foundations with a nod,
2:1059 Among a herd of lowing heifers ran,
2:1060 Frisk'd in a bull, and bellow'd o'er the plain.
2:1061 Large rowles of fat about his shoulders clung,
2:1062 And from his neck the double dewlap hung.
2:1063 His skin was whiter than the snow that lies
2:1064 Unsully'd by the breath of southern skies;
2:1065 Small shining horns on his curl'd forehead stand,
2:1066 As turn'd and polish'd by the work-man's hand;
2:1067 His eye-balls rowl'd, not formidably bright,
2:1068 But gaz'd and languish'd with a gentle light.
2:1069 His ev'ry look was peaceful, and exprest
2:1070 The softness of the lover in the beast.
2:1071 Agenor's royal daughter, as she plaid
2:1072 Among the fields, the milk-white bull survey'd,
2:1073 And view'd his spotless body with delight,
2:1074 And at a distance kept him in her sight.
2:1075 At length she pluck'd the rising flow'rs, and fed
2:1076 The gentle beast, and fondly stroak'd his head.
2:1077 He stood well-pleas'd to touch the charming fair,
2:1078 But hardly could confine his pleasure there.
2:1079 And now he wantons o'er the neighb'ring strand,
2:1080 Now rowls his body on the yellow sand;
2:1081 And, now perceiving all her fears decay'd,
2:1082 Comes tossing forward to the royal maid;
2:1083 Gives her his breast to stroke, and downward turns
2:1084 His grizly brow, and gently stoops his horns.
2:1085 In flow'ry wreaths the royal virgin drest
2:1086 His bending horns, and kindly clapt his breast.
2:1087 'Till now grown wanton and devoid of fear,
2:1088 Not knowing that she prest the Thunderer,
2:1089 She plac'd her self upon his back, and rode
2:1090 O'er fields and meadows, seated on the God.
2:1091 He gently march'd along, and by degrees
2:1092 Left the dry meadow, and approach'd the seas;
2:1093 Where now he dips his hoofs and wets his thighs,
2:1094 Now plunges in, and carries off the prize.
2:1095 The frighted nymph looks backward on the shoar,
2:1096 And hears the tumbling billows round her roar;
2:1097 But still she holds him fast: one hand is born
2:1098 Upon his back; the other grasps a horn:
2:1099 Her train of ruffling garments flies behind,
2:1100 Swells in the air, and hovers in the wind.
2:1101 Through storms and tempests he the virgin bore,
2:1102 And lands her safe on the Dictean shore;
2:1103 Where now, in his divinest form array'd,
2:1104 In his true shape he captivates the maid;
2:1105 Who gazes on him, and with wond'ring eyes
2:1106 Beholds the new majestick figure rise,
2:1107 His glowing features, and celestial light,
2:1108 And all the God discover'd to her sight.