Ovid [Trans., Sir Samuel Garth]. Metamorphoses
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BOOK THE THIRD
The Story of of Cadmus
3:1 Through storms and tempests he the virgin bore,
3:2 And lands her safe on the Dictean shore;
3:3 Where now, in his divinest form array'd,
3:4 In his true shape he captivates the maid;
3:5 Who gazes on him, and with wond'ring eyes
3:6 Beholds the new majestick figure rise,
3:7 His glowing features, and celestial light,
3:8 And all the God discover'd to her sight.
3:9 When now Agenor had his daughter lost,
3:10 He sent his son to search on ev'ry coast;
3:11 And sternly bid him to his arms restore
3:12 The darling maid, or see his face no more,
3:13 But live an exile in a foreign clime;
3:14 Thus was the father pious to a crime.
3:15 The restless youth search'd all the world around;
3:16 But how can Jove in his amours be found?
3:17 When, tir'd at length with unsuccessful toil,
3:18 To shun his angry sire and native soil,
3:19 He goes a suppliant to the Delphick dome;
3:20 There asks the God what new appointed home
3:21 Should end his wand'rings, and his toils relieve.
3:22 The Delphick oracles this answer give.
3:23 "Behold among the fields a lonely cow,
3:24 Unworn with yokes, unbroken to the plow;
3:25 Mark well the place where first she lays her down,
3:26 There measure out thy walls, and build thy town,
3:27 And from thy guide Boeotia call the land,
3:28 In which the destin'd walls and town shall stand."
3:29 No sooner had he left the dark abode,
3:30 Big with the promise of the Delphick God,
3:31 When in the fields the fatal cow he view'd,
3:32 Nor gall'd with yokes, nor worn with servitude:
3:33 Her gently at a distance he pursu'd;
3:34 And as he walk'd aloof, in silence pray'd
3:35 To the great Pow'r whose counsels he obey'd.
3:36 Her way thro' flow'ry Panope she took,
3:37 And now, Cephisus, cross'd thy silver brook;
3:38 When to the Heav'ns her spacious front she rais'd,
3:39 And bellow'd thrice, then backward turning gaz'd
3:40 On those behind, 'till on the destin'd place
3:41 She stoop'd, and couch'd amid the rising grass.
3:42 Cadmus salutes the soil, and gladly hails
3:43 The new-found mountains, and the nameless vales,
3:44 And thanks the Gods, and turns about his eye
3:45 To see his new dominions round him lye;
3:46 Then sends his servants to a neighb'ring grove
3:47 For living streams, a sacrifice to Jove.
3:48 O'er the wide plain there rose a shady wood
3:49 Of aged trees; in its dark bosom stood
3:50 A bushy thicket, pathless and unworn,
3:51 O'er-run with brambles, and perplex'd with thorn:
3:52 Amidst the brake a hollow den was found,
3:53 With rocks and shelving arches vaulted round.
3:54 Deep in the dreary den, conceal'd from day,
3:55 Sacred to Mars, a mighty dragon lay,
3:56 Bloated with poison to a monstrous size;
3:57 Fire broke in flashes when he glanc'd his eyes:
3:58 His tow'ring crest was glorious to behold,
3:59 His shoulders and his sides were scal'd with gold;
3:60 Three tongues he brandish'd when he charg'd his foes;
3:61 His teeth stood jaggy in three dreadful rowes.
3:62 The Tyrians in the den for water sought,
3:63 And with their urns explor'd the hollow vault:
3:64 From side to side their empty urns rebound,
3:65 And rowse the sleeping serpent with the sound.
3:66 Strait he bestirs him, and is seen to rise;
3:67 And now with dreadful hissings fills the skies,
3:68 And darts his forky tongues, and rowles his glaring eyes.
3:69 The Tyrians drop their vessels in the fright,
3:70 All pale and trembling at the hideous sight.
3:71 Spire above spire uprear'd in air he stood,
3:72 And gazing round him over-look'd the wood:
3:73 Then floating on the ground in circles rowl'd;
3:74 Then leap'd upon them in a mighty fold.
3:75 Of such a bulk, and such a monstrous size
3:76 The serpent in the polar circle lyes,
3:77 That stretches over half the northern skies.
3:78 In vain the Tyrians on their arms rely,
3:79 In vain attempt to fight, in vain to fly:
3:80 All their endeavours and their hopes are vain;
3:81 Some die entangled in the winding train;
3:82 Some are devour'd, or feel a loathsom death,
3:83 Swoln up with blasts of pestilential breath.
3:84 And now the scorching sun was mounted high,
3:85 In all its lustre, to the noon-day sky;
3:86 When, anxious for his friends, and fill'd with cares,
3:87 To search the woods th' impatient chief prepares.
3:88 A lion's hide around his loins he wore,
3:89 The well poiz'd javelin to the field he bore,
3:90 Inur'd to blood; the far-destroying dart;
3:91 And, the best weapon, an undaunted heart.
3:92 Soon as the youth approach'd the fatal place,
3:93 He saw his servants breathless on the grass;
3:94 The scaly foe amid their corps he view'd,
3:95 Basking at ease, and feasting in their blood.
3:96 "Such friends," he cries, "deserv'd a longer date;
3:97 But Cadmus will revenge or share their fate."
3:98 Then heav'd a stone, and rising to the throw,
3:99 He sent it in a whirlwind at the foe:
3:100 A tow'r, assaulted by so rude a stroke,
3:101 With all its lofty battlements had shook;
3:102 But nothing here th' unwieldy rock avails,
3:103 Rebounding harmless from the plaited scales,
3:104 That, firmly join'd, preserv'd him from a wound,
3:105 With native armour crusted all around.
3:106 With more success, the dart unerring flew,
3:107 Which at his back the raging warriour threw;
3:108 Amid the plaited scales it took its course,
3:109 And in the spinal marrow spent its force.
3:110 The monster hiss'd aloud, and rag'd in vain,
3:111 And writh'd his body to and fro with pain;
3:112 He bit the dart, and wrench'd the wood away;
3:113 The point still buried in the marrow lay.
3:114 And now his rage, increasing with his pain,
3:115 Reddens his eyes, and beats in ev'ry vein;
3:116 Churn'd in his teeth the foamy venom rose,
3:117 Whilst from his mouth a blast of vapours flows,
3:118 Such as th' infernal Stygian waters cast.
3:119 The plants around him wither in the blast.
3:120 Now in a maze of rings he lies enrowl'd,
3:121 Now all unravel'd, and without a fold;
3:122 Now, like a torrent, with a mighty force
3:123 Bears down the forest in his boist'rous course.
3:124 Cadmus gave back, and on the lion's spoil
3:125 Sustain'd the shock, then forc'd him to recoil;
3:126 The pointed jav'lin warded off his rage:
3:127 Mad with his pains, and furious to engage,
3:128 The serpent champs the steel, and bites the spear,
3:129 'Till blood and venom all the point besmear.
3:130 But still the hurt he yet receiv'd was slight;
3:131 For, whilst the champion with redoubled might
3:132 Strikes home the jav'lin, his retiring foe
3:133 Shrinks from the wound, and disappoints the blow.
3:134 The dauntless heroe still pursues his stroke,
3:135 And presses forward, 'till a knotty oak
3:136 Retards his foe, and stops him in the rear;
3:137 Full in his throat he plung'd the fatal spear,
3:138 That in th' extended neck a passage found,
3:139 And pierc'd the solid timber through the wound.
3:140 Fix'd to the reeling trunk, with many a stroke
3:141 Of his huge tail he lash'd the sturdy oak;
3:142 'Till spent with toil, and lab'ring hard for breath,
3:143 He now lay twisting in the pangs of death.
3:144 Cadmus beheld him wallow in a flood
3:145 Of swimming poison, intermix'd with blood;
3:146 When suddenly a speech was heard from high
3:147 (The speech was heard, nor was the speaker nigh),
3:148 "Why dost thou thus with secret pleasure see,
3:149 Insulting man! what thou thy self shalt be?"
3:150 Astonish'd at the voice, he stood amaz'd,
3:151 And all around with inward horror gaz'd:
3:152 When Pallas swift descending from the skies,
3:153 Pallas, the guardian of the bold and wise,
3:154 Bids him plow up the field, and scatter round
3:155 The dragon's teeth o'er all the furrow'd ground;
3:156 Then tells the youth how to his wond'ring eyes
3:157 Embattled armies from the field should rise.
3:158 He sows the teeth at Pallas's command,
3:159 And flings the future people from his hand.
3:160 The clods grow warm, and crumble where he sows;
3:161 And now the pointed spears advance in rows;
3:162 Now nodding plumes appear, and shining crests,
3:163 Now the broad shoulders and the rising breasts;
3:164 O'er all the field the breathing harvest swarms,
3:165 A growing host, a crop of men and arms.
3:166 So through the parting stage a figure rears
3:167 Its body up, and limb by limb appears
3:168 By just degrees; 'till all the man arise,
3:169 And in his full proportion strikes the eyes.
3:170 Cadmus surpriz'd, and startled at the sight
3:171 Of his new foes, prepar'd himself for fight:
3:172 When one cry'd out, "Forbear, fond man, forbear
3:173 To mingle in a blind promiscuous war."
3:174 This said, he struck his brother to the ground,
3:175 Himself expiring by another's wound;
3:176 Nor did the third his conquest long survive,
3:177 Dying ere scarce he had begun to live.
3:178 The dire example ran through all the field,
3:179 'Till heaps of brothers were by brothers kill'd;
3:180 The furrows swam in blood: and only five
3:181 Of all the vast increase were left alive.
3:182 Echion one, at Pallas's command,
3:183 Let fall the guiltless weapon from his hand,
3:184 And with the rest a peaceful treaty makes,
3:185 Whom Cadmus as his friends and partners takes;
3:186 So founds a city on the promis'd earth,
3:187 And gives his new Boeotian empire birth.
3:188 Here Cadmus reign'd; and now one would have guess'd
3:189 The royal founder in his exile blest:
3:190 Long did he live within his new abodes,
3:191 Ally'd by marriage to the deathless Gods;
3:192 And, in a fruitful wife's embraces old,
3:193 A long increase of children's children told:
3:194 But no frail man, however great or high,
3:195 Can be concluded blest before he die.
3:196 Actaeon was the first of all his race,
3:197 Who griev'd his grandsire in his borrow'd face;
3:198 Condemn'd by stern Diana to bemoan
3:199 The branching horns, and visage not his own;
3:200 To shun his once lov'd dogs, to bound away,
3:201 And from their huntsman to become their prey,
3:202 And yet consider why the change was wrought,
3:203 You'll find it his misfortune, not his fault;
3:204 Or, if a fault, it was the fault of chance:
3:205 For how can guilt proceed from ignorance?
The Transformation of Actaeon into a Stag
3:206 In a fair chace a shady mountain stood,
3:207 Well stor'd with game, and mark'd with trails of blood;
3:208 Here did the huntsmen, 'till the heat of day,
3:209 Pursue the stag, and load themselves with rey:
3:210 When thus Actaeon calling to the rest:
3:211 "My friends," said he, "our sport is at the best,
3:212 The sun is high advanc'd, and downward sheds
3:213 His burning beams directly on our heads;
3:214 Then by consent abstain from further spoils,
3:215 Call off the dogs, and gather up the toils,
3:216 And ere to-morrow's sun begins his race,
3:217 Take the cool morning to renew the chace."
3:218 They all consent, and in a chearful train
3:219 The jolly huntsmen, loaden with the slain,
3:220 Return in triumph from the sultry plain.
3:221 Down in a vale with pine and cypress clad,
3:222 Refresh'd with gentle winds, and brown with shade,
3:223 The chaste Diana's private haunt, there stood
3:224 Full in the centre of the darksome wood
3:225 A spacious grotto, all around o'er-grown
3:226 With hoary moss, and arch'd with pumice-stone.
3:227 From out its rocky clefts the waters flow,
3:228 And trickling swell into a lake below.
3:229 Nature had ev'ry where so plaid her part,
3:230 That ev'ry where she seem'd to vie with art.
3:231 Here the bright Goddess, toil'd and chaf'd with heat,
3:232 Was wont to bathe her in the cool retreat.
3:233 Here did she now with all her train resort,
3:234 Panting with heat, and breathless from the sport;
3:235 Her armour-bearer laid her bow aside,
3:236 Some loos'd her sandals, some her veil unty'd;
3:237 Each busy nymph her proper part undrest;
3:238 While Crocale, more handy than the rest,
3:239 Gather'd her flowing hair, and in a noose
3:240 Bound it together, whilst her own hung loose.
3:241 Five of the more ignoble sort by turns
3:242 Fetch up the water, and unlade the urns.
3:243 Now all undrest the shining Goddess stood,
3:244 When young Actaeon, wilder'd in the wood,
3:245 To the cool grott by his hard fate betray'd,
3:246 The fountains fill'd with naked nymphs survey'd.
3:247 The frighted virgins shriek'd at the surprize
3:248 (The forest echo'd with their piercing cries).
3:249 Then in a huddle round their Goddess prest:
3:250 She, proudly eminent above the rest,
3:251 With blushes glow'd; such blushes as adorn
3:252 The ruddy welkin, or the purple morn;
3:253 And tho' the crowding nymphs her body hide,
3:254 Half backward shrunk, and view'd him from a side.
3:255 Surpriz'd, at first she would have snatch'd her bow,
3:256 But sees the circling waters round her flow;
3:257 These in the hollow of her hand she took,
3:258 And dash'd 'em in his face, while thus she spoke:
3:259 "Tell, if thou can'st, the wond'rous sight disclos'd,
3:260 A Goddess naked to thy view expos'd."
3:261 This said, the man begun to disappear
3:262 By slow degrees, and ended in a deer.
3:263 A rising horn on either brow he wears,
3:264 And stretches out his neck, and pricks his ears;
3:265 Rough is his skin, with sudden hairs o'er-grown,
3:266 His bosom pants with fears before unknown:
3:267 Transform'd at length, he flies away in haste,
3:268 And wonders why he flies away so fast.
3:269 But as by chance, within a neighb'ring brook,
3:270 He saw his branching horns and alter'd look.
3:271 Wretched Actaeon! in a doleful tone
3:272 He try'd to speak, but only gave a groan;
3:273 And as he wept, within the watry glass
3:274 He saw the big round drops, with silent pace,
3:275 Run trickling down a savage hairy face.
3:276 What should he do? Or seek his old abodes,
3:277 Or herd among the deer, and sculk in woods!
3:278 Here shame dissuades him, there his fear prevails,
3:279 And each by turns his aking heart assails.
3:280 As he thus ponders, he behind him spies
3:281 His op'ning hounds, and now he hears their cries:
3:282 A gen'rous pack, or to maintain the chace,
3:283 Or snuff the vapour from the scented grass.
3:284 He bounded off with fear, and swiftly ran
3:285 O'er craggy mountains, and the flow'ry plain;
3:286 Through brakes and thickets forc'd his way, and flew
3:287 Through many a ring, where once he did pursue.
3:288 In vain he oft endeavour'd to proclaim
3:289 His new misfortune, and to tell his name;
3:290 Nor voice nor words the brutal tongue supplies;
3:291 From shouting men, and horns, and dogs he flies,
3:292 Deafen'd and stunn'd with their promiscuous cries.
3:293 When now the fleetest of the pack, that prest
3:294 Close at his heels, and sprung before the rest,
3:295 Had fasten'd on him, straight another pair,
3:296 Hung on his wounded haunch, and held him there,
3:297 'Till all the pack came up, and ev'ry hound
3:298 Tore the sad huntsman grov'ling on the ground,
3:299 Who now appear'd but one continu'd wound.
3:300 With dropping tears his bitter fate he moans,
3:301 And fills the mountain with his dying groans.
3:302 His servants with a piteous look he spies,
3:303 And turns about his supplicating eyes.
3:304 His servants, ignorant of what had chanc'd,
3:305 With eager haste and joyful shouts advanc'd,
3:306 And call'd their lord Actaeon to the game.
3:307 He shook his head in answer to the name;
3:308 He heard, but wish'd he had indeed been gone,
3:309 Or only to have stood a looker-on.
3:310 But to his grief he finds himself too near,
3:311 And feels his rav'nous dogs with fury tear
3:312 Their wretched master panting in a deer.
The Birth of Bacchus
3:313 Actaeon's suff'rings, and Diana's rage,
3:314 Did all the thoughts of men and Gods engage;
3:315 Some call'd the evils which Diana wrought,
3:316 Too great, and disproportion'd to the fault:
3:317 Others again, esteem'd Actaeon's woes
3:318 Fit for a virgin Goddess to impose.
3:319 The hearers into diff'rent parts divide,
3:320 And reasons are produc'd on either side.
3:321 Juno alone, of all that heard the news,
3:322 Nor would condemn the Goddess, nor excuse:
3:323 She heeded not the justice of the deed,
3:324 But joy'd to see the race of Cadmus bleed;
3:325 For still she kept Europa in her mind,
3:326 And, for her sake, detested all her kind.
3:327 Besides, to aggravate her hate, she heard
3:328 How Semele, to Jove's embrace preferr'd,
3:329 Was now grown big with an immortal load,
3:330 And carry'd in her womb a future God.
3:331 Thus terribly incens'd, the Goddess broke
3:332 To sudden fury, and abruptly spoke.
3:333 "Are my reproaches of so small a force?
3:334 'Tis time I then pursue another course:
3:335 It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die,
3:336 If I'm indeed the mistress of the sky,
3:337 If rightly styl'd among the Pow'rs above
3:338 The wife and sister of the thund'ring Jove
3:339 (And none can sure a sister's right deny);
3:340 It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die.
3:341 She boasts an honour I can hardly claim,
3:342 Pregnant she rises to a mother's name;
3:343 While proud and vain she triumphs in her Jove,
3:344 And shows the glorious tokens of his love:
3:345 But if I'm still the mistress of the skies,
3:346 By her own lover the fond beauty dies."
3:347 This said, descending in a yellow cloud,
3:348 Before the gates of Semele she stood.
3:349 Old Beroe's decrepit shape she wears,
3:350 Her wrinkled visage, and her hoary hairs;
3:351 Whilst in her trembling gait she totters on,
3:352 And learns to tattle in the nurse's tone.
3:353 The Goddess, thus disguis'd in age, beguil'd
3:354 With pleasing stories her false foster-child.
3:355 Much did she talk of love, and when she came
3:356 To mention to the nymph her lover's name,
3:357 Fetching a sigh, and holding down her head,
3:358 "'Tis well," says she, "if all be true that's said.
3:359 But trust me, child, I'm much inclin'd to fear
3:360 Some counterfeit in this your Jupiter:
3:361 Many an honest well-designing maid
3:362 Has been by these pretended Gods betray'd,
3:363 But if he be indeed the thund'ring Jove,
3:364 Bid him, when next he courts the rites of love,
3:365 Descend triumphant from th' etherial sky,
3:366 In all the pomp of his divinity,
3:367 Encompass'd round by those celestial charms,
3:368 With which he fills th' immortal Juno's arms."
3:369 Th' unwary nymph, ensnar'd with what she said,
3:370 Desir'd of Jove, when next he sought her bed,
3:371 To grant a certain gift which she would chuse;
3:372 "Fear not," reply'd the God, "that I'll refuse
3:373 Whate'er you ask: may Styx confirm my voice,
3:374 Chuse what you will, and you shall have your choice."
3:375 "Then," says the nymph, "when next you seek my arms,
3:376 May you descend in those celestial charms,
3:377 With which your Juno's bosom you enflame,
3:378 And fill with transport Heav'n's immortal dame."
3:379 The God surpriz'd would fain have stopp'd her voice,
3:380 But he had sworn, and she had made her choice.
3:381 To keep his promise he ascends, and shrowds
3:382 His awful brow in whirl-winds and in clouds;
3:383 Whilst all around, in terrible array,
3:384 His thunders rattle, and his light'nings play.
3:385 And yet, the dazling lustre to abate,
3:386 He set not out in all his pomp and state,
3:387 Clad in the mildest light'ning of the skies,
3:388 And arm'd with thunder of the smallest size:
3:389 Not those huge bolts, by which the giants slain
3:390 Lay overthrown on the Phlegrean plain.
3:391 'Twas of a lesser mould, and lighter weight;
3:392 They call it thunder of a second-rate,
3:393 For the rough Cyclops, who by Jove's command
3:394 Temper'd the bolt, and turn'd it to his hand,
3:395 Work'd up less flame and fury in its make,
3:396 And quench'd it sooner in the standing lake.
3:397 Thus dreadfully adorn'd, with horror bright,
3:398 Th' illustrious God, descending from his height,
3:399 Came rushing on her in a storm of light.
3:400 The mortal dame, too feeble to engage
3:401 The lightning's flashes, and the thunder's rage,
3:402 Consum'd amidst the glories she desir'd,
3:403 And in the terrible embrace expir'd.
3:404 But, to preserve his offspring from the tomb,
3:405 Jove took him smoaking from the blasted womb:
3:406 And, if on ancient tales we may rely,
3:407 Inclos'd th' abortive infant in his thigh.
3:408 Here when the babe had all his time fulfill'd,
3:409 Ino first took him for her foster-child;
3:410 Then the Niseans, in their dark abode,
3:411 Nurs'd secretly with milk the thriving God.
The Transformation of Tiresias
3:412 'Twas now, while these transactions past on Earth,
3:413 And Bacchus thus procur'd a second birth,
3:414 When Jove, dispos'd to lay aside the weight
3:415 Of publick empire and the cares of state,
3:416 As to his queen in nectar bowls he quaff'd,
3:417 "In troth," says he, and as he spoke he laugh'd,
3:418 "The sense of pleasure in the male is far
3:419 More dull and dead, than what you females share."
3:420 Juno the truth of what was said deny'd;
3:421 Tiresias therefore must the cause decide,
3:422 For he the pleasure of each sex had try'd.
3:423 It happen'd once, within a shady wood,
3:424 Two twisted snakes he in conjunction view'd,
3:425 When with his staff their slimy folds he broke,
3:426 And lost his manhood at the fatal stroke.
3:427 But, after seven revolving years, he view'd
3:428 The self-same serpents in the self-same wood:
3:429 "And if," says he, "such virtue in you lye,
3:430 That he who dares your slimy folds untie
3:431 Must change his kind, a second stroke I'll try."
3:432 Again he struck the snakes, and stood again
3:433 New-sex'd, and strait recover'd into man.
3:434 Him therefore both the deities create
3:435 The sov'raign umpire, in their grand debate;
3:436 And he declar'd for Jove: when Juno fir'd,
3:437 More than so trivial an affair requir'd,
3:438 Depriv'd him, in her fury, of his sight,
3:439 And left him groping round in sudden night.
3:440 But Jove (for so it is in Heav'n decreed,
3:441 That no one God repeal another's deed)
3:442 Irradiates all his soul with inward light,
3:443 And with the prophet's art relieves the want of sight.
The Transformation of Echo
3:444 Fam'd far and near for knowing things to come,
3:445 From him th' enquiring nations sought their doom;
3:446 The fair Liriope his answers try'd,
3:447 And first th' unerring prophet justify'd.
3:448 This nymph the God Cephisus had abus'd,
3:449 With all his winding waters circumfus'd,
3:450 And on the Nereid got a lovely boy,
3:451 Whom the soft maids ev'n then beheld with joy.
3:452 The tender dame, sollicitous to know
3:453 Whether her child should reach old age or no,
3:454 Consults the sage Tiresias, who replies,
3:455 "If e'er he knows himself he surely dies."
3:456 Long liv'd the dubious mother in suspence,
3:457 'Till time unriddled all the prophet's sense.
3:458 Narcissus now his sixteenth year began,
3:459 Just turn'd of boy, and on the verge of man;
3:460 Many a friend the blooming youth caress'd,
3:461 Many a love-sick maid her flame confess'd:
3:462 Such was his pride, in vain the friend caress'd,
3:463 The love-sick maid in vain her flame confess'd.
3:464 Once, in the woods, as he pursu'd the chace,
3:465 The babbling Echo had descry'd his face;
3:466 She, who in others' words her silence breaks,
3:467 Nor speaks her self but when another speaks.
3:468 Echo was then a maid, of speech bereft,
3:469 Of wonted speech; for tho' her voice was left,
3:470 Juno a curse did on her tongue impose,
3:471 To sport with ev'ry sentence in the close.
3:472 Full often when the Goddess might have caught
3:473 Jove and her rivals in the very fault,
3:474 This nymph with subtle stories would delay
3:475 Her coming, 'till the lovers slip'd away.
3:476 The Goddess found out the deceit in time,
3:477 And then she cry'd, "That tongue, for this thy crime,
3:478 Which could so many subtle tales produce,
3:479 Shall be hereafter but of little use."
3:480 Hence 'tis she prattles in a fainter tone,
3:481 With mimick sounds, and accents not her own.
3:482 This love-sick virgin, over-joy'd to find
3:483 The boy alone, still follow'd him behind:
3:484 When glowing warmly at her near approach,
3:485 As sulphur blazes at the taper's touch,
3:486 She long'd her hidden passion to reveal,
3:487 And tell her pains, but had not words to tell:
3:488 She can't begin, but waits for the rebound,
3:489 To catch his voice, and to return the sound.
3:490 The nymph, when nothing could Narcissus move,
3:491 Still dash'd with blushes for her slighted love,
3:492 Liv'd in the shady covert of the woods,
3:493 In solitary caves and dark abodes;
3:494 Where pining wander'd the rejected fair,
3:495 'Till harrass'd out, and worn away with care,
3:496 The sounding skeleton, of blood bereft,
3:497 Besides her bones and voice had nothing left.
3:498 Her bones are petrify'd, her voice is found
3:499 In vaults, where still it doubles ev'ry sound.
The Story of Narcissus
3:500 Thus did the nymphs in vain caress the boy,
3:501 He still was lovely, but he still was coy;
3:502 When one fair virgin of the slighted train
3:503 Thus pray'd the Gods, provok'd by his disdain,
3:504 "Oh may he love like me, and love like me in vain!"
3:505 Rhamnusia pity'd the neglected fair,
3:506 And with just vengeance answer'd to her pray'r.
3:507 There stands a fountain in a darksom wood,
3:508 Nor stain'd with falling leaves nor rising mud;
3:509 Untroubled by the breath of winds it rests,
3:510 Unsully'd by the touch of men or beasts;
3:511 High bow'rs of shady trees above it grow,
3:512 And rising grass and chearful greens below.
3:513 Pleas'd with the form and coolness of the place,
3:514 And over-heated by the morning chace,
3:515 Narcissus on the grassie verdure lyes:
3:516 But whilst within the chrystal fount he tries
3:517 To quench his heat, he feels new heats arise.
3:518 For as his own bright image he survey'd,
3:519 He fell in love with the fantastick shade;
3:520 And o'er the fair resemblance hung unmov'd,
3:521 Nor knew, fond youth! it was himself he lov'd.
3:522 The well-turn'd neck and shoulders he descries,
3:523 The spacious forehead, and the sparkling eyes;
3:524 The hands that Bacchus might not scorn to show,
3:525 And hair that round Apollo's head might flow;
3:526 With all the purple youthfulness of face,
3:527 That gently blushes in the wat'ry glass.
3:528 By his own flames consum'd the lover lyes,
3:529 And gives himself the wound by which he dies.
3:530 To the cold water oft he joins his lips,
3:531 Oft catching at the beauteous shade he dips
3:532 His arms, as often from himself he slips.
3:533 Nor knows he who it is his arms pursue
3:534 With eager clasps, but loves he knows not who.
3:535 What could, fond youth, this helpless passion move?
3:536 What kindled in thee this unpity'd love?
3:537 Thy own warm blush within the water glows,
3:538 With thee the colour'd shadow comes and goes,
3:539 Its empty being on thy self relies;
3:540 Step thou aside, and the frail charmer dies.
3:541 Still o'er the fountain's wat'ry gleam he stood,
3:542 Mindless of sleep, and negligent of food;
3:543 Still view'd his face, and languish'd as he view'd.
3:544 At length he rais'd his head, and thus began
3:545 To vent his griefs, and tell the woods his pain.
3:546 "You trees," says he, "and thou surrounding grove,
3:547 Who oft have been the kindly scenes of love,
3:548 Tell me, if e'er within your shades did lye
3:549 A youth so tortur'd, so perplex'd as I?
3:550 I, who before me see the charming fair,
3:551 Whilst there he stands, and yet he stands not there:
3:552 In such a maze of love my thoughts are lost:
3:553 And yet no bulwark'd town, nor distant coast,
3:554 Preserves the beauteous youth from being seen,
3:555 No mountains rise, nor oceans flow between.
3:556 A shallow water hinders my embrace;
3:557 And yet the lovely mimick wears a face
3:558 That kindly smiles, and when I bend to join
3:559 My lips to his, he fondly bends to mine.
3:560 Hear, gentle youth, and pity my complaint,
3:561 Come from thy well, thou fair inhabitant.
3:562 My charms an easy conquest have obtain'd
3:563 O'er other hearts, by thee alone disdain'd.
3:564 But why should I despair? I'm sure he burns
3:565 With equal flames, and languishes by turns.
3:566 When-e'er I stoop, he offers at a kiss,
3:567 And when my arms I stretch, he stretches his.
3:568 His eye with pleasure on my face he keeps,
3:569 He smiles my smiles, and when I weep he weeps.
3:570 When e'er I speak, his moving lips appear
3:571 To utter something, which I cannot hear.
3:572 "Ah wretched me! I now begin too late
3:573 To find out all the long-perplex'd deceit;
3:574 It is my self I love, my self I see;
3:575 The gay delusion is a part of me.
3:576 I kindle up the fires by which I burn,
3:577 And my own beauties from the well return.
3:578 Whom should I court? how utter my complaint?
3:579 Enjoyment but produces my restraint,
3:580 And too much plenty makes me die for want.
3:581 How gladly would I from my self remove!
3:582 And at a distance set the thing I love.
3:583 My breast is warm'd with such unusual fire,
3:584 I wish him absent whom I most desire.
3:585 And now I faint with grief; my fate draws nigh;
3:586 In all the pride of blooming youth I die.
3:587 Death will the sorrows of my heart relieve.
3:588 Oh might the visionary youth survive,
3:589 I should with joy my latest breath resign!
3:590 But oh! I see his fate involv'd in mine."
3:591 This said, the weeping youth again return'd
3:592 To the clear fountain, where again he burn'd;
3:593 His tears defac'd the surface of the well,
3:594 With circle after circle, as they fell:
3:595 And now the lovely face but half appears,
3:596 O'er-run with wrinkles, and deform'd with tears.
3:597 "Ah whither," cries Narcissus, "dost thou fly?
3:598 Let me still feed the flame by which I die;
3:599 Let me still see, tho' I'm no further blest."
3:600 Then rends his garment off, and beats his breast:
3:601 His naked bosom redden'd with the blow,
3:602 In such a blush as purple clusters show,
3:603 Ere yet the sun's autumnal heats refine
3:604 Their sprightly juice, and mellow it to wine.
3:605 The glowing beauties of his breast he spies,
3:606 And with a new redoubled passion dies.
3:607 As wax dissolves, as ice begins to run,
3:608 And trickle into drops before the sun;
3:609 So melts the youth, and languishes away,
3:610 His beauty withers, and his limbs decay;
3:611 And none of those attractive charms remain,
3:612 To which the slighted Echo su'd in vain.
3:613 She saw him in his present misery,
3:614 Whom, spight of all her wrongs, she griev'd to see.
3:615 She answer'd sadly to the lover's moan,
3:616 Sigh'd back his sighs, and groan'd to ev'ry groan:
3:617 "Ah youth! belov'd in vain," Narcissus cries;
3:618 "Ah youth! belov'd in vain," the nymph replies.
3:619 "Farewel," says he; the parting sound scarce fell
3:620 From his faint lips, but she reply'd, "farewel."
3:621 Then on th' wholsome earth he gasping lyes,
3:622 'Till death shuts up those self-admiring eyes.
3:623 To the cold shades his flitting ghost retires,
3:624 And in the Stygian waves it self admires.
3:625 For him the Naiads and the Dryads mourn,
3:626 Whom the sad Echo answers in her turn;
3:627 And now the sister-nymphs prepare his urn:
3:628 When, looking for his corps, they only found
3:629 A rising stalk, with yellow blossoms crown'd.
The Story of Pentheus
3:630 This sad event gave blind Tiresias fame,
3:631 Through Greece establish'd in a prophet's name.
3:632 Th' unhallow'd Pentheus only durst deride
3:633 The cheated people, and their eyeless guide.
3:634 To whom the prophet in his fury said,
3:635 Shaking the hoary honours of his head:
3:636 "'Twere well, presumptuous man, 'twere well for thee
3:637 If thou wert eyeless too, and blind, like me:
3:638 For the time comes, nay, 'tis already here,
3:639 When the young God's solemnities appear:
3:640 Which, if thou dost not with just rites adorn,
3:641 Thy impious carcass, into pieces torn,
3:642 Shall strew the woods, and hang on ev'ry thorn.
3:643 Then, then, remember what I now foretel,
3:644 And own the blind Tiresias saw too well."
3:645 Still Pentheus scorns him, and derides his skill;
3:646 But time did all the prophet's threats fulfil.
3:647 For now through prostrate Greece young Bacchus rode,
3:648 Whilst howling matrons celebrate the God:
3:649 All ranks and sexes to his Orgies ran,
3:650 To mingle in the pomps, and fill the train.
3:651 When Pentheus thus his wicked rage express'd:
3:652 "What madness, Thebans, has your souls possess'd?
3:653 Can hollow timbrels, can a drunken shout,
3:654 And the lewd clamours of a beastly rout,
3:655 Thus quell your courage; can the weak alarm
3:656 Of women's yells those stubborn souls disarm,
3:657 Whom nor the sword nor trumpet e'er could fright,
3:658 Nor the loud din and horror of a fight?
3:659 And you, our sires, who left your old abodes,
3:660 And fix'd in foreign earth your country Gods;
3:661 Will you without a stroak your city yield,
3:662 And poorly quit an undisputed field?
3:663 But you, whose youth and vigour should inspire
3:664 Heroick warmth, and kindle martial fire,
3:665 Whom burnish'd arms and crested helmets grace,
3:666 Not flow'ry garlands and a painted face;
3:667 Remember him to whom you stand ally'd:
3:668 The serpent for his well of waters dy'd.
3:669 He fought the strong; do you his courage show,
3:670 And gain a conquest o'er a feeble foe.
3:671 If Thebes must fall, oh might the fates afford
3:672 A nobler doom from famine, fire, or sword.
3:673 Then might the Thebans perish with renown:
3:674 But now a beardless victor sacks the town;
3:675 Whom nor the prancing steed, nor pond'rous shield,
3:676 Nor the hack'd helmet, nor the dusty field,
3:677 But the soft joys of luxury and ease,
3:678 The purple vests, and flow'ry garlands please.
3:679 Stand then aside, I'll make the counterfeit
3:680 Renounce his god-head, and confess the cheat.
3:681 Acrisius from the Grecian walls repell'd
3:682 This boasted pow'r; why then should Pentheus yield?
3:683 Go quickly drag th' impostor boy to me;
3:684 I'll try the force of his divinity."
3:685 Thus did th' audacious wretch those rites profane;
3:686 His friends dissuade th' audacious wretch in vain:
3:687 In vain his grandsire urg'd him to give o'er
3:688 His impious threats; the wretch but raves the more.
3:689 So have I seen a river gently glide,
3:690 In a smooth course, and inoffensive tide;
3:691 But if with dams its current we restrain,
3:692 It bears down all, and foams along the plain.
3:693 But now his servants came besmear'd with blood,
3:694 Sent by their haughty prince to seize the God;
3:695 The God they found not in the frantick throng,
3:696 But dragg'd a zealous votary along.
The Mariners transform'd to Dolphins
3:697 Him Pentheus view'd with fury in his look,
3:698 And scarce with-held his hands, whilst thus he spoke:
3:699 "Vile slave! whom speedy vengeance shall pursue,
3:700 And terrify thy base seditious crew:
3:701 Thy country and thy parentage reveal,
3:702 And, why thou joinest in these mad Orgies, tell."
3:703 The captive views him with undaunted eyes,
3:704 And, arm'd with inward innocence, replies,
3:705 "From high Meonia's rocky shores I came,
3:706 Of poor descent, Acoetes is my name:
3:707 My sire was meanly born; no oxen plow'd
3:708 His fruitful fields, nor in his pastures low'd.
3:709 His whole estate within the waters lay;
3:710 With lines and hooks he caught the finny prey,
3:711 His art was all his livelyhood; which he
3:712 Thus with his dying lips bequeath'd to me:
3:713 In streams, my boy, and rivers take thy chance;
3:714 There swims, said he, thy whole inheritance.
3:715 Long did I live on this poor legacy;
3:716 'Till tir'd with rocks, and my old native sky,
3:717 To arts of navigation I inclin'd;
3:718 Observ'd the turns and changes of the wind,
3:719 Learn'd the fit havens, and began to note
3:720 The stormy Hyades, the rainy Goat,
3:721 The bright Taygete, and the shining Bears,
3:722 With all the sailor's catalogue of stars.
3:723 "Once, as by chance for Delos I design'd,
3:724 My vessel, driv'n by a strong gust of wind,
3:725 Moor'd in a Chian Creek; a-shore I went,
3:726 And all the following night in Chios spent.
3:727 When morning rose, I sent my mates to bring
3:728 Supplies of water from a neighb'ring spring,
3:729 Whilst I the motion of the winds explor'd;
3:730 Then summon'd in my crew, and went aboard.
3:731 Opheltes heard my summons, and with joy
3:732 Brought to the shore a soft and lovely boy,
3:733 With more than female sweetness in his look,
3:734 Whom straggling in the neighb'ring fields he took.
3:735 With fumes of wine the little captive glows,
3:736 And nods with sleep, and staggers as he goes.
3:737 "I view'd him nicely, and began to trace
3:738 Each heav'nly feature, each immortal grace,
3:739 And saw divinity in all his face,
3:740 I know not who, said I, this God should be;
3:741 But that he is a God I plainly see:
3:742 And thou, who-e'er thou art, excuse the force
3:743 These men have us'd; and oh befriend our course!
3:744 Pray not for us, the nimble Dictys cry'd,
3:745 Dictys, that could the main-top mast bestride,
3:746 And down the ropes with active vigour slide.
3:747 To the same purpose old Epopeus spoke,
3:748 Who over-look'd the oars, and tim'd the stroke;
3:749 The same the pilot, and the same the rest;
3:750 Such impious avarice their souls possest.
3:751 Nay, Heav'n forbid that I should bear away
3:752 Within my vessel so divine a prey,
3:753 Said I; and stood to hinder their intent:
3:754 When Lycabas, a wretch for murder sent
3:755 From Tuscany, to suffer banishment,
3:756 With his clench'd fist had struck me over-board,
3:757 Had not my hands in falling grasp'd a cord.
3:758 "His base confederates the fact approve;
3:759 When Bacchus (for 'twas he) begun to move,
3:760 Wak'd by the noise and clamours which they rais'd;
3:761 And shook his drowsie limbs, and round him gaz'd:
3:762 What means this noise? he cries; am I betray'd?
3:763 Ah, whither, whither must I be convey'd?
3:764 Fear not, said Proreus, child, but tell us where
3:765 You wish to land, and trust our friendly care.
3:766 To Naxos then direct your course, said he;
3:767 Naxos a hospitable port shall be
3:768 To each of you, a joyful home to me.
3:769 By ev'ry God, that rules the sea or sky,
3:770 The perjur'd villains promise to comply,
3:771 And bid me hasten to unmoor the ship.
3:772 With eager joy I launch into the deep;
3:773 And, heedless of the fraud, for Naxos stand.
3:774 They whisper oft, and beckon with the hand,
3:775 And give me signs, all anxious for their prey,
3:776 To tack about, and steer another way.
3:777 Then let some other to my post succeed,
3:778 Said I, I'm guiltless of so foul a deed.
3:779 What, says Ethalion, must the ship's whole crew
3:780 Follow your humour, and depend on you?
3:781 And strait himself he seated at the prore,
3:782 And tack'd about, and sought another shore.
3:783 "The beauteous youth now found himself betray'd,
3:784 And from the deck the rising waves survey'd,
3:785 And seem'd to weep, and as he wept he said:
3:786 And do you thus my easy faith beguile?
3:787 Thus do you bear me to my native isle?
3:788 Will such a multitude of men employ
3:789 Their strength against a weak defenceless boy?
3:790 "In vain did I the God-like youth deplore,
3:791 The more I begg'd, they thwarted me the more.
3:792 And now by all the Gods in Heav'n that hear
3:793 This solemn oath, by Bacchus' self, I swear,
3:794 The mighty miracle that did ensue,
3:795 Although it seems beyond belief, is true.
3:796 The vessel, fix'd and rooted in the flood,
3:797 Unmov'd by all the beating billows stood.
3:798 In vain the mariners would plow the main
3:799 With sails unfurl'd, and strike their oars in vain;
3:800 Around their oars a twining ivy cleaves,
3:801 And climbs the mast, and hides the cords in leaves:
3:802 The sails are cover'd with a chearful green,
3:803 And berries in the fruitful canvass seen.
3:804 Amidst the waves a sudden forest rears
3:805 Its verdant head, and a new Spring appears.
3:806 "The God we now behold with open'd eyes;
3:807 A herd of spotted panthers round him lyes
3:808 In glaring forms; the grapy clusters spread
3:809 On his fair brows, and dangle on his head.
3:810 And whilst he frowns, and brandishes his spear,
3:811 My mates surpriz'd with madness or with fear,
3:812 Leap'd over board; first perjur'd Madon found
3:813 Rough scales and fins his stiff'ning sides surround;
3:814 Ah what, cries one, has thus transform'd thy look?
3:815 Strait his own mouth grew wider as he spoke;
3:816 And now himself he views with like surprize.
3:817 Still at his oar th' industrious Libys plies;
3:818 But, as he plies, each busy arm shrinks in,
3:819 And by degrees is fashion'd to a fin.
3:820 Another, as he catches at a cord,
3:821 Misses his arms, and, tumbling over-board,
3:822 With his broad fins and forky tail he laves
3:823 The rising surge, and flounces in the waves.
3:824 Thus all my crew transform'd around the ship,
3:825 Or dive below, or on the surface leap,
3:826 And spout the waves, and wanton in the deep.
3:827 Full nineteen sailors did the ship convey,
3:828 A shole of nineteen dolphins round her play.
3:829 I only in my proper shape appear,
3:830 Speechless with wonder, and half dead with fear,
3:831 'Till Bacchus kindly bid me fear no more.
3:832 With him I landed on the Chian shore,
3:833 And him shall ever gratefully adore."
3:834 "This forging slave," says Pentheus, "would prevail
3:835 O'er our just fury by a far-fetch'd tale:
3:836 Go, let him feel the whips, the swords, the fire,
3:837 And in the tortures of the rack expire."
3:838 Th' officious servants hurry him away,
3:839 And the poor captive in a dungeon lay.
3:840 But, whilst the whips and tortures are prepar'd,
3:841 The gates fly open, of themselves unbarr'd;
3:842 At liberty th' unfetter'd captive stands,
3:843 And flings the loosen'd shackles from his hands.
The Death of Pentheus
3:844 But Pentheus, grown more furious than before,
3:845 Resolv'd to send his messengers no more,
3:846 But went himself to the distracted throng,
3:847 Where high Cithaeron echo'd with their song.
3:848 And as the fiery war-horse paws the ground,
3:849 And snorts and trembles at the trumpet's sound;
3:850 Transported thus he heard the frantick rout,
3:851 And rav'd and madden'd at the distant shout.
3:852 A spacious circuit on the hill there stood.
3:853 Level and wide, and skirted round with wood;
3:854 Here the rash Pentheus, with unhallow'd eyes,
3:855 The howling dames and mystick Orgies spies.
3:856 His mother sternly view'd him where he stood,
3:857 And kindled into madness as she view'd:
3:858 Her leafy jav'lin at her son she cast,
3:859 And cries, "The boar that lays our country waste!
3:860 The boar, my sisters! Aim the fatal dart,
3:861 And strike the brindled monster to the heart."
3:862 Pentheus astonish'd heard the dismal sound,
3:863 And sees the yelling matrons gath'ring round;
3:864 He sees, and weeps at his approaching fate,
3:865 And begs for mercy, and repents too late.
3:866 "Help, help! my aunt Autonoe," he cry'd;
3:867 "Remember, how your own Actaeon dy'd."
3:868 Deaf to his cries, the frantick matron crops
3:869 One stretch'd-out arm, the other Ino lops.
3:870 In vain does Pentheus to his mother sue,
3:871 And the raw bleeding stumps presents to view:
3:872 His mother howl'd; and, heedless of his pray'r,
3:873 Her trembling hand she twisted in his hair,
3:874 "And this," she cry'd, "shall be Agave's share,"
3:875 When from the neck his struggling head she tore,
3:876 And in her hands the ghastly visage bore.
3:877 With pleasure all the hideous trunk survey;
3:878 Then pull'd and tore the mangled limbs away,
3:879 As starting in the pangs of death it lay,
3:880 Soon as the wood its leafy honours casts,
3:881 Blown off and scatter'd by autumnal blasts,
3:882 With such a sudden death lay Pentheus slain,
3:883 And in a thousand pieces strow'd the plain.
3:884 By so distinguishing a judgment aw'd,
3:885 The Thebans tremble, and confess the God.