Ovid [Trans., Sir Samuel Garth]. Metamorphoses
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BOOK THE SIXTH
The Transformation of Arachne into a Spider
6:1 Pallas, attending to the Muse's song,
6:2 Approv'd the just resentment of their wrong;
6:3 And thus reflects: While tamely I commend
6:4 Those who their injur'd deities defend,
6:5 My own divinity affronted stands,
6:6 And calls aloud for justice at my hands;
6:7 Then takes the hint, asham'd to lag behind,
6:8 And on Arachne' bends her vengeful mind;
6:9 One at the loom so excellently skill'd,
6:10 That to the Goddess she refus'd to yield.
6:11 Low was her birth, and small her native town,
6:12 She from her art alone obtain'd renown.
6:13 Idmon, her father, made it his employ,
6:14 To give the spungy fleece a purple dye:
6:15 Of vulgar strain her mother, lately dead,
6:16 With her own rank had been content to wed;
6:17 Yet she their daughter, tho' her time was spent
6:18 In a small hamlet, and of mean descent,
6:19 Thro' the great towns of Lydia gain'd a name,
6:20 And fill'd the neighb'ring countries with her fame.
6:21 Oft, to admire the niceness of her skill,
6:22 The Nymphs would quit their fountain, shade, or hill:
6:23 Thither, from green Tymolus, they repair,
6:24 And leave the vineyards, their peculiar care;
6:25 Thither, from fam'd Pactolus' golden stream,
6:26 Drawn by her art, the curious Naiads came.
6:27 Nor would the work, when finish'd, please so much,
6:28 As, while she wrought, to view each graceful touch;
6:29 Whether the shapeless wool in balls she wound,
6:30 Or with quick motion turn'd the spindle round,
6:31 Or with her pencil drew the neat design,
6:32 Pallas her mistress shone in every line.
6:33 This the proud maid with scornful air denies,
6:34 And ev'n the Goddess at her work defies;
6:35 Disowns her heav'nly mistress ev'ry hour,
6:36 Nor asks her aid, nor deprecates her pow'r.
6:37 Let us, she cries, but to a tryal come,
6:38 And, if she conquers, let her fix my doom.
6:39 The Goddess then a beldame's form put on,
6:40 With silver hairs her hoary temples shone;
6:41 Prop'd by a staff, she hobbles in her walk,
6:42 And tott'ring thus begins her old wives' talk.
6:43 Young maid attend, nor stubbornly despise
6:44 The admonitions of the old, and wise;
6:45 For age, tho' scorn'd, a ripe experience bears,
6:46 That golden fruit, unknown to blooming years:
6:47 Still may remotest fame your labours crown,
6:48 And mortals your superior genius own;
6:49 But to the Goddess yield, and humbly meek
6:50 A pardon for your bold presumption seek;
6:51 The Goddess will forgive. At this the maid,
6:52 With passion fir'd, her gliding shuttle stay'd;
6:53 And, darting vengeance with an angry look,
6:54 To Pallas in disguise thus fiercely spoke.
6:55 Thou doating thing, whose idle babling tongue
6:56 But too well shews the plague of living long;
6:57 Hence, and reprove, with this your sage advice,
6:58 Your giddy daughter, or your aukward neice;
6:59 Know, I despise your counsel, and am still
6:60 A woman, ever wedded to my will;
6:61 And, if your skilful Goddess better knows,
6:62 Let her accept the tryal I propose.
6:63 She does, impatient Pallas strait replies,
6:64 And, cloath'd with heavenly light, sprung from her odd disguise.
6:65 The Nymphs, and virgins of the plain adore
6:66 The awful Goddess, and confess her pow'r;
6:67 The maid alone stood unappall'd; yet show'd
6:68 A transient blush, that for a moment glow'd,
6:69 Then disappear'd; as purple streaks adorn
6:70 The opening beauties of the rosy morn;
6:71 Till Phoebus rising prevalently bright,
6:72 Allays the tincture with his silver light.
6:73 Yet she persists, and obstinately great,
6:74 In hopes of conquest hurries on her fate.
6:75 The Goddess now the challenge waves no more,
6:76 Nor, kindly good, advises as before.
6:77 Strait to their posts appointed both repair,
6:78 And fix their threaded looms with equal care:
6:79 Around the solid beam the web is ty'd,
6:80 While hollow canes the parting warp divide;
6:81 Thro' which with nimble flight the shuttles play,
6:82 And for the woof prepare a ready way;
6:83 The woof and warp unite, press'd by the toothy slay.
6:84 Thus both, their mantles button'd to their breast,
6:85 Their skilful fingers ply with willing haste,
6:86 And work with pleasure; while they chear the eye
6:87 With glowing purple of the Tyrian dye:
6:88 Or, justly intermixing shades with light,
6:89 Their colourings insensibly unite.
6:90 As when a show'r transpierc'd with sunny rays,
6:91 Its mighty arch along the heav'n displays;
6:92 From whence a thousand diff'rent colours rise,
6:93 Whose fine transition cheats the clearest eyes;
6:94 So like the intermingled shading seems,
6:95 And only differs in the last extreams.
6:96 Then threads of gold both artfully dispose,
6:97 And, as each part in just proportion rose,
6:98 Some antique fable in their work disclose.
6:99 Pallas in figures wrought the heav'nly Pow'rs,
6:100 And Mars's hill among th' Athenian tow'rs.
6:101 On lofty thrones twice six celestials sate,
6:102 Jove in the midst, and held their warm debate;
6:103 The subject weighty, and well-known to fame,
6:104 From whom the city shou'd receive its name.
6:105 Each God by proper features was exprest,
6:106 Jove with majestick mein excell'd the rest.
6:107 His three-fork'd mace the dewy sea-God shook,
6:108 And, looking sternly, smote the ragged rock;
6:109 When from the stone leapt forth a spritely steed,
6:110 And Neptune claims the city for the deed.
6:111 Herself she blazons, with a glitt'ring spear,
6:112 And crested helm that veil'd her braided hair,
6:113 With shield, and scaly breast-plate, implements of war.
6:114 Struck with her pointed launce, the teeming Earth
6:115 Seem'd to produce a new surprizing birth;
6:116 When, from the glebe, the pledge of conquest sprung,
6:117 A tree pale-green with fairest olives hung.
6:118 And then, to let her giddy rival learn
6:119 What just rewards such boldness was to earn,
6:120 Four tryals at each corner had their part,
6:121 Design'd in miniature, and touch'd with art.
6:122 Haemus in one, and Rodope of Thrace
6:123 Transform'd to mountains, fill'd the foremost place;
6:124 Who claim'd the titles of the Gods above,
6:125 And vainly us'd the epithets of Jove.
6:126 Another shew'd, where the Pigmaean dame,
6:127 Profaning Juno's venerable name,
6:128 Turn'd to an airy crane, descends from far,
6:129 And with her Pigmy subjects wages war.
6:130 In a third part, the rage of Heav'n's great queen,
6:131 Display'd on proud Antigone, was seen:
6:132 Who with presumptuous boldness dar'd to vye,
6:133 For beauty with the empress of the sky.
6:134 Ah! what avails her ancient princely race,
6:135 Her sire a king, and Troy her native place:
6:136 Now, to a noisy stork transform'd, she flies,
6:137 And with her whiten'd pinions cleaves the skies.
6:138 And in the last remaining part was drawn
6:139 Poor Cinyras that seem'd to weep in stone;
6:140 Clasping the temple steps, he sadly mourn'd
6:141 His lovely daughters, now to marble turn'd.
6:142 With her own tree the finish'd piece is crown'd,
6:143 And wreaths of peaceful olive all the work surround.
6:144 Arachne drew the fam'd intrigues of Jove,
6:145 Chang'd to a bull to gratify his love;
6:146 How thro' the briny tide all foaming hoar,
6:147 Lovely Europa on his back he bore.
6:148 The sea seem'd waving, and the trembling maid
6:149 Shrunk up her tender feet, as if afraid;
6:150 And, looking back on the forsaken strand,
6:151 To her companions wafts her distant hand.
6:152 Next she design'd Asteria's fabled rape,
6:153 When Jove assum'd a soaring eagle's shape:
6:154 And shew'd how Leda lay supinely press'd,
6:155 Whilst the soft snowy swan sate hov'ring o'er her breast,
6:156 How in a satyr's form the God beguil'd,
6:157 When fair Antiope with twins he fill'd.
6:158 Then, like Amphytrion, but a real Jove,
6:159 In fair Alcmena's arms he cool'd his love.
6:160 In fluid gold to Danae's heart he came,
6:161 Aegina felt him in a lambent flame.
6:162 He took Mnemosyne in shepherd's make,
6:163 And for Deois was a speckled snake.
6:164 She made thee, Neptune, like a wanton steer,
6:165 Pacing the meads for love of Arne dear;
6:166 Next like a stream, thy burning flame to slake,
6:167 And like a ram, for fair Bisaltis' sake.
6:168 Then Ceres in a steed your vigour try'd,
6:169 Nor cou'd the mare the yellow Goddess hide.
6:170 Next, to a fowl transform'd, you won by force
6:171 The snake-hair'd mother of the winged horse;
6:172 And, in a dolphin's fishy form, subdu'd
6:173 Melantho sweet beneath the oozy flood.
6:174 All these the maid with lively features drew,
6:175 And open'd proper landskips to the view.
6:176 There Phoebus, roving like a country swain,
6:177 Attunes his jolly pipe along the plain;
6:178 For lovely Isse's sake in shepherd's weeds,
6:179 O'er pastures green his bleating flock he feeds,
6:180 There Bacchus, imag'd like the clust'ring grape,
6:181 Melting bedrops Erigone's fair lap;
6:182 And there old Saturn, stung with youthful heat,
6:183 Form'd like a stallion, rushes to the feat.
6:184 Fresh flow'rs, which twists of ivy intertwine,
6:185 Mingling a running foliage, close the neat design.
6:186 This the bright Goddess passionately mov'd,
6:187 With envy saw, yet inwardly approv'd.
6:188 The scene of heav'nly guilt with haste she tore,
6:189 Nor longer the affront with patience bore;
6:190 A boxen shuttle in her hand she took,
6:191 And more than once Arachne's forehead struck.
6:192 Th' unhappy maid, impatient of the wrong,
6:193 Down from a beam her injur'd person hung;
6:194 When Pallas, pitying her wretched state,
6:195 At once prevented, and pronounc'd her fate:
6:196 Live; but depend, vile wretch, the Goddess cry'd,
6:197 Doom'd in suspence for ever to be ty'd;
6:198 That all your race, to utmost date of time,
6:199 May feel the vengeance, and detest the crime.
6:200 Then, going off, she sprinkled her with juice,
6:201 Which leaves of baneful aconite produce.
6:202 Touch'd with the pois'nous drug, her flowing hair
6:203 Fell to the ground, and left her temples bare;
6:204 Her usual features vanish'd from their place,
6:205 Her body lessen'd all, but most her face.
6:206 Her slender fingers, hanging on each side
6:207 With many joynts, the use of legs supply'd:
6:208 A spider's bag the rest, from which she gives
6:209 A thread, and still by constant weaving lives.
The Story of Niobe
6:210 Swift thro' the Phrygian towns the rumour flies,
6:211 And the strange news each female tongue employs:
6:212 Niobe, who before she married knew
6:213 The famous nymph, now found the story true;
6:214 Yet, unreclaim'd by poor Arachne's fate,
6:215 Vainly above the Gods assum'd a state.
6:216 Her husband's fame, their family's descent,
6:217 Their pow'r, and rich dominion's wide extent,
6:218 Might well have justify'd a decent pride;
6:219 But not on these alone the dame rely'd.
6:220 Her lovely progeny, that far excell'd,
6:221 The mother's heart with vain ambition swell'd:
6:222 The happiest mother not unjustly styl'd,
6:223 Had no conceited thoughts her tow'ring fancy fill'd.
6:224 For once a prophetess with zeal inspir'd,
6:225 Their slow neglect to warm devotion fir'd;
6:226 Thro' ev'ry street of Thebes who ran possess'd,
6:227 And thus in accents wild her charge express'd:
6:228 Haste, haste, ye Theban matrons, and adore,
6:229 With hallow'd rites, Latona's mighty pow'r;
6:230 And, to the heav'nly twins that from her spring,
6:231 With laurel crown'd, your smoaking incense bring.
6:232 Strait the great summons ev'ry dame obey'd,
6:233 And due submission to the Goddess paid:
6:234 Graceful, with laurel chaplets dress'd, they came,
6:235 And offer'd incense in the sacred flame.
6:236 Mean-while, surrounded with a courtly guard,
6:237 The royal Niobe in state appear'd;
6:238 Attir'd in robes embroider'd o'er with gold,
6:239 And mad with rage, yet lovely to behold:
6:240 Her comely tresses, trembling as she stood,
6:241 Down her fine neck with easy motion flow'd;
6:242 Then, darting round a proud disdainful look,
6:243 In haughty tone her hasty passion broke,
6:244 And thus began: What madness this, to court
6:245 A Goddess, founded meerly on report?
6:246 Dare ye a poor pretended Pow'r invoke,
6:247 While yet no altars to my godhead smoke?
6:248 Mine, whose immediate lineage stands confess'd
6:249 From Tantalus, the only mortal guest
6:250 That e'er the Gods admitted to their feast.
6:251 A sister of the Pleiads gave me birth;
6:252 And Atlas, mightiest mountain upon Earth,
6:253 Who bears the globe of all the stars above,
6:254 My grandsire was, and Atlas sprung from Jove.
6:255 The Theban towns my majesty adore,
6:256 And neighb'ring Phrygia trembles at my pow'r:
6:257 Rais'd by my husband's lute, with turrets crown'd,
6:258 Our lofty city stands secur'd around.
6:259 Within my court, where-e'er I turn my eyes,
6:260 Unbounded treasures to my prospect rise:
6:261 With these my face I modestly may name,
6:262 As not unworthy of so high a claim;
6:263 Seven are my daughters, of a form divine,
6:264 With seven fair sons, an indefective line.
6:265 Go, fools! consider this; and ask the cause
6:266 From which my pride its strong presumption draws;
6:267 Consider this; and then prefer to me
6:268 Caeus the Titan's vagrant progeny;
6:269 To whom, in travel, the whole spacious Earth
6:270 No room afforded for her spurious birth.
6:271 Not the least part in Earth, in Heav'n, or seas,
6:272 Would grant your out-law'd Goddess any ease:
6:273 'Till pitying hers, from his own wand'ring case,
6:274 Delos, the floating island, gave a place.
6:275 There she a mother was, of two at most;
6:276 Only the seventh part of what I boast.
6:277 My joys all are beyond suspicion fix'd;
6:278 With no pollutions of misfortune mix'd;
6:279 Safe on the Basis of my pow'r I stand,
6:280 Above the reach of Fortune's fickle hand.
6:281 Lessen she may my inexhausted store,
6:282 And much destroy, yet still must leave me more.
6:283 Suppose it possible that some may dye
6:284 Of this my num'rous lovely progeny;
6:285 Still with Latona I might safely vye.
6:286 Who, by her scanty breed, scarce fit to name,
6:287 But just escapes the childless woman's shame.
6:288 Go then, with speed your laurel'd heads uncrown,
6:289 And leave the silly farce you have begun.
6:290 The tim'rous throng their sacred rites forbore,
6:291 And from their heads the verdant laurel tore;
6:292 Their haughty queen they with regret obey'd,
6:293 And still in gentle murmurs softly pray'd.
6:294 High, on the top of Cynthus' shady mount,
6:295 With grief the Goddess saw the base affront;
6:296 And, the abuse revolving in her breast,
6:297 The mother her twin-offspring thus addrest.
6:298 Lo I, my children, who with comfort knew
6:299 Your God-like birth, and thence my glory drew;
6:300 And thence have claim'd precedency of place
6:301 From all but Juno of the heav'nly race,
6:302 Must now despair, and languish in disgrace.
6:303 My godhead question'd, and all rites divine,
6:304 Unless you succour, banish'd from my shrine.
6:305 Nay more, the imp of Tantalus has flung
6:306 Reflections with her vile paternal tongue;
6:307 Has dar'd prefer her mortal breed to mine,
6:308 And call'd me childless; which, just fate, may she repine!
6:309 When to urge more the Goddess was prepar'd,
6:310 Phoebus in haste replies, Too much we've heard,
6:311 And ev'ry moment's lost, while vengeance is defer'd.
6:312 Diana spoke the same. Then both enshroud
6:313 Their heav'nly bodies in a sable cloud;
6:314 And to the Theban tow'rs descending light,
6:315 Thro' the soft yielding air direct their flight.
6:316 Without the wall there lies a champian ground
6:317 With even surface, far extending round,
6:318 Beaten and level'd, while it daily feels
6:319 The trampling horse, and chariot's grinding wheels.
6:320 Part of proud Niobe's young rival breed,
6:321 Practising there to ride the manag'd steed,
6:322 Their bridles boss'd with gold, were mounted high
6:323 On stately furniture of Tyrian dye.
6:324 Of these, Ismenos, who by birth had been
6:325 The first fair issue of the fruitful queen,
6:326 Just as he drew the rein to guide his horse,
6:327 Around the compass of the circling course,
6:328 Sigh'd deeply, and the pangs of smart express'd,
6:329 While the shaft stuck, engor'd within his breast:
6:330 And, the reins dropping from his dying hand,
6:331 He sunk quite down, and tumbled on the sand.
6:332 Sipylus next the rattling quiver heard,
6:333 And with full speed for his escape prepar'd;
6:334 As when the pilot from the black'ning skies
6:335 A gath'ring storm of wintry rain descries,
6:336 His sails unfurl'd, and crowded all with wind,
6:337 He strives to leave the threat'ning cloud behind:
6:338 So fled the youth; but an unerring dart
6:339 O'ertook him, quick discharg'd, and sped with art;
6:340 Fix'd in his neck behind, it trembling stood,
6:341 And at his throat display'd the point besmear'd with blood
6:342 Prone, as his posture was, he tumbled o'er,
6:343 And bath'd his courser's mane with steaming gore.
6:344 Next at young Phaedimus they took their aim,
6:345 And Tantalus who bore his grandsire's name:
6:346 These, when their other exercise was done,
6:347 To try the wrestler's oily sport begun;
6:348 And, straining ev'ry nerve, their skill express'd
6:349 In closest grapple, joining breast to breast:
6:350 When from the bending bow an arrow sent,
6:351 Joyn'd as they were, thro' both their bodies went:
6:352 Both groan'd, and writhing both their limbs with pain,
6:353 They fell together bleeding on the plain;
6:354 Then both their languid eye-balls faintly roul,
6:355 And thus together breathe away their soul.
6:356 With grief Alphenor saw their doleful plight,
6:357 And smote his breast, and sicken'd at the sight;
6:358 Then to their succour ran with eager haste,
6:359 And, fondly griev'd, their stiff'ning limbs embrac'd;
6:360 But in the action falls: a thrilling dart,
6:361 By Phoebus guided, pierc'd him to the heart.
6:362 This, as they drew it forth, his midriff tore,
6:363 Its barbed point the fleshy fragments bore,
6:364 And let the soul gush out in streams of purple gore.
6:365 But Damasichthon, by a double wound,
6:366 Beardless, and young, lay gasping on the ground.
6:367 Fix'd in his sinewy ham, the steely point
6:368 Stuck thro' his knee, and pierc'd the nervous joint:
6:369 And, as he stoop'd to tug the painful dart,
6:370 Another struck him in a vital part;
6:371 Shot thro' his wezon, by the wing it hung.
6:372 The life-blood forc'd it out, and darting upward sprung,
6:373 Ilioneus, the last, with terror stands,
6:374 Lifting in pray'r his unavailing hands;
6:375 And, ignorant from whom his griefs arise,
6:376 Spare me, o all ye heav'nly Pow'rs, he cries:
6:377 Phoebus was touch'd too late, the sounding bow
6:378 Had sent the shaft, and struck the fatal blow;
6:379 Which yet but gently gor'd his tender side,
6:380 So by a slight and easy wound he dy'd.
6:381 Swift to the mother's ears the rumour came,
6:382 And doleful sighs the heavy news proclaim;
6:383 With anger and surprize inflam'd by turns,
6:384 In furious rage her haughty stomach burns:
6:385 First she disputes th' effects of heav'nly pow'r,
6:386 Then at their daring boldness wonders more;
6:387 For poor Amphion with sore grief distrest,
6:388 Hoping to sooth his cares by endless rest,
6:389 Had sheath'd a dagger in his wretched breast.
6:390 And she, who toss'd her high disdainful head,
6:391 When thro' the streets in solemn pomp she led
6:392 The throng that from Latona's altar fled,
6:393 Assuming state beyond the proudest queen;
6:394 Was now the miserablest object seen.
6:395 Prostrate among the clay-cold dead she fell,
6:396 And kiss'd an undistinguish'd last farewel.
6:397 Then her pale arms advancing to the skies,
6:398 Cruel Latona! triumph now, she cries.
6:399 My grieving soul in bitter anguish drench,
6:400 And with my woes your thirsty passion quench;
6:401 Feast your black malice at a price thus dear,
6:402 While the sore pangs of sev'n such deaths I bear.
6:403 Triumph, too cruel rival, and display
6:404 Your conqu'ring standard; for you've won the day.
6:405 Yet I'll excel; for yet, tho' sev'n are slain,
6:406 Superior still in number I remain.
6:407 Scarce had she spoke; the bow-string's twanging sound
6:408 Was heard, and dealt fresh terrors all around;
6:409 Which all, but Niobe alone, confound.
6:410 Stunn'd, and obdurate by her load of grief,
6:411 Insensible she sits, nor hopes relief.
6:412 Before the fun'ral biers, all weeping sad,
6:413 Her daughters stood, in vests of sable clad,
6:414 When one, surpriz'd, and stung with sudden smart,
6:415 In vain attempts to draw the sticking dart:
6:416 But to grim death her blooming youth resigns,
6:417 And o'er her brother's corpse her dying head reclines.
6:418 This, to asswage her mother's anguish tries,
6:419 And, silenc'd in the pious action, dies;
6:420 Shot by a secret arrow, wing'd with death,
6:421 Her fault'ring lips but only gasp'd for breath.
6:422 One, on her dying sister, breathes her last;
6:423 Vainly in flight another's hopes are plac'd:
6:424 This hiding, from her fate a shelter seeks;
6:425 That trembling stands, and fills the air with shrieks.
6:426 And all in vain; for now all six had found
6:427 Their way to death, each by a diff'rent wound.
6:428 The last, with eager care the mother veil'd,
6:429 Behind her spreading mantle close conceal'd,
6:430 And with her body guarded, as a shield.
6:431 Only for this, this youngest, I implore,
6:432 Grant me this one request, I ask no more;
6:433 O grant me this! she passionately cries:
6:434 But while she speaks, the destin'd virgin dies.
The Transformation of Niobe
6:435 Widow'd, and childless, lamentable state!
6:436 A doleful sight, among the dead she sate;
6:437 Harden'd with woes, a statue of despair,
6:438 To ev'ry breath of wind unmov'd her hair;
6:439 Her cheek still red'ning, but its colour dead,
6:440 Faded her eyes, and set within her head.
6:441 No more her pliant tongue its motion keeps,
6:442 But stands congeal'd within her frozen lips.
6:443 Stagnate, and dull, within her purple veins,
6:444 Its current stop'd, the lifeless blood remains.
6:445 Her feet their usual offices refuse,
6:446 Her arms, and neck their graceful gestures lose:
6:447 Action, and life from ev'ry part are gone,
6:448 And ev'n her entrails turn to solid stone;
6:449 Yet still she weeps, and whirl'd by stormy winds,
6:450 Born thro' the air, her native country finds;
6:451 There fix'd, she stands upon a bleaky hill,
6:452 There yet her marble cheeks eternal tears distil.
The Peasants of Lycia transform'd to Frogs
6:453 Then all, reclaim'd by this example, show'd
6:454 A due regard for each peculiar God:
6:455 Both men, and women their devoirs express'd,
6:456 And great Latona's awful pow'r confess'd.
6:457 Then, tracing instances of older time,
6:458 To suit the nature of the present crime,
6:459 Thus one begins his tale.-Where Lycia yields
6:460 A golden harvest from its fertile fields,
6:461 Some churlish peasants, in the days of yore,
6:462 Provok'd the Goddess to exert her pow'r.
6:463 The thing indeed the meanness of the place
6:464 Has made obscure, surprizing as it was;
6:465 But I my self once happen'd to behold
6:466 This famous lake of which the story's told.
6:467 My father then, worn out by length of days,
6:468 Nor able to sustain the tedious ways,
6:469 Me with a guide had sent the plains to roam,
6:470 And drive his well-fed stragling heifers home.
6:471 Here, as we saunter'd thro' the verdant meads,
6:472 We spy'd a lake o'er-grown with trembling reeds,
6:473 Whose wavy tops an op'ning scene disclose,
6:474 From which an antique smoaky altar rose.
6:475 I, as my susperstitious guide had done,
6:476 Stop'd short, and bless'd my self, and then went on;
6:477 Yet I enquir'd to whom the altar stood,
6:478 Faunus, the Naids, or some native God?
6:479 No silvan deity, my friend replies,
6:480 Enshrin'd within this hallow'd altar lies.
6:481 For this, o youth, to that fam'd Goddess stands,
6:482 Whom, at th' imperial Juno's rough commands,
6:483 Of ev'ry quarter of the Earth bereav'd,
6:484 Delos, the floating isle, at length receiv'd.
6:485 Who there, in spite of enemies, brought forth,
6:486 Beneath an olive's shade, her great twin-birth.
6:487 Hence too she fled the furious stepdame's pow'r,
6:488 And in her arms a double godhead bore;
6:489 And now the borders of fair Lycia gain'd,
6:490 Just when the summer solstice parch'd the land.
6:491 With thirst the Goddess languishing, no more
6:492 Her empty'd breast would yield its milky store;
6:493 When, from below, the smiling valley show'd
6:494 A silver lake that in its bottom flow'd:
6:495 A sort of clowns were reaping, near the bank,
6:496 The bending osier, and the bullrush dank;
6:497 The cresse, and water-lilly, fragrant weed,
6:498 Whose juicy stalk the liquid fountains feed.
6:499 The Goddess came, and kneeling on the brink,
6:500 Stoop'd at the fresh repast, prepar'd to drink.
6:501 Then thus, being hinder'd by the rabble race,
6:502 In accents mild expostulates the case.
6:503 Water I only ask, and sure 'tis hard
6:504 From Nature's common rights to be debar'd:
6:505 This, as the genial sun, and vital air,
6:506 Should flow alike to ev'ry creature's share.
6:507 Yet still I ask, and as a favour crave,
6:508 That which, a publick bounty, Nature gave.
6:509 Nor do I seek my weary limbs to drench;
6:510 Only, with one cool draught, my thirst I'd quench.
6:511 Now from my throat the usual moisture dries,
6:512 And ev'n my voice in broken accents dies:
6:513 One draught as dear as life I should esteem,
6:514 And water, now I thirst, would nectar seem.
6:515 Oh! let my little babes your pity move,
6:516 And melt your hearts to charitable love;
6:517 They (as by chance they did) extend to you
6:518 Their little hands, and my request pursue.
6:519 Whom would these soft perswasions not subdue,
6:520 Tho' the most rustick, and unmanner'd crew?
6:521 Yet they the Goddess's request refuse,
6:522 And with rude words reproachfully abuse:
6:523 Nay more, with spiteful feet the villains trod
6:524 O'er the soft bottom of the marshy flood,
6:525 And blacken'd all the lake with clouds of rising mud.
6:526 Her thirst by indignation was suppress'd;
6:527 Bent on revenge, the Goddess stood confess'd.
6:528 Her suppliant hands uplifting to the skies,
6:529 For a redress, to Heav'n she now applies.
6:530 And, May you live, she passionately cry'd,
6:531 Doom'd in that pool for ever to abide.
6:532 The Goddess has her wish; for now they chuse
6:533 To plunge, and dive among the watry ooze;
6:534 Sometimes they shew their head above the brim,
6:535 And on the glassy surface spread to swim;
6:536 Often upon the bank their station take,
6:537 Then spring, and leap into the cooly lake.
6:538 Still, void of shame, they lead a clam'rous life,
6:539 And, croaking, still scold on in endless strife;
6:540 Compell'd to live beneath the liquid stream,
6:541 Where still they quarrel, and attempt to skream.
6:542 Now, from their bloated throat, their voice puts on
6:543 Imperfect murmurs in a hoarser tone;
6:544 Their noisy jaws, with bawling now grown wide,
6:545 An ugly sight! extend on either side:
6:546 Their motly back, streak'd with a list of green,
6:547 Joyn'd to their head, without a neck is seen;
6:548 And, with a belly broad and white, they look
6:549 Meer frogs, and still frequent the muddy brook.
The Fate of Marsyas
6:550 Scarce had the man this famous story told,
6:551 Of vengeance on the Lycians shown of old,
6:552 When strait another pictures to their view
6:553 The Satyr's fate, whom angry Phoebus slew;
6:554 Who, rais'd with high conceit, and puff'd with pride,
6:555 At his own pipe the skilful God defy'd.
6:556 Why do you tear me from my self, he cries?
6:557 Ah cruel! must my skin be made the prize?
6:558 This for a silly pipe? he roaring said,
6:559 Mean-while the skin from off his limbs was flay'd.
6:560 All bare, and raw, one large continu'd wound,
6:561 With streams of blood his body bath'd the ground.
6:562 The blueish veins their trembling pulse disclos'd,
6:563 The stringy nerves lay naked, and expos'd;
6:564 His guts appear'd, distinctly each express'd,
6:565 With ev'ry shining fibre of his breast.
6:566 The Fauns, and Silvans, with the Nymphs that rove
6:567 Among the Satyrs in the shady grove;
6:568 Olympus, known of old, and ev'ry swain
6:569 That fed, or flock, or herd upon the plain,
6:570 Bewail'd the loss; and with their tears that flow'd,
6:571 A kindly moisture on the earth bestow'd;
6:572 That soon, conjoyn'd, and in a body rang'd,
6:573 Sprung from the ground, to limpid water chang'd;
6:574 Which, down thro' Phrygia's rocks, a mighty stream,
6:575 Comes tumbling to the sea, and Marsya is its name.
The Story of Pelops
6:576 From these relations strait the people turn
6:577 To present truths, and lost Amphion mourn:
6:578 The mother most was blam'd, yet some relate
6:579 That Pelops pity'd, and bewail'd her fate,
6:580 And stript his cloaths, and laid his shoulder bare,
6:581 And made the iv'ry miracle appear.
6:582 This shoulder, from the first, was form'd of flesh,
6:583 As lively as the other, and as fresh;
6:584 But, when the youth was by his father slain,
6:585 The Gods restor'd his mangled limbs again;
6:586 Only that place which joins the neck and arm,
6:587 The rest untouch'd, was found to suffer harm:
6:588 The loss of which an iv'ry piece sustain'd;
6:589 And thus the youth his limbs, and life regain'd.
The Story of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela
6:590 To Thebes the neighb'ring princes all repair,
6:591 And with condolance the misfortune share.
6:592 Each bord'ring state in solemn form address'd,
6:593 And each betimes a friendly grief express'd.
6:594 Argos, with Sparta's, and Mycenae's towns,
6:595 And Calydon, yet free from fierce Diana's frowns.
6:596 Corinth for finest brass well fam'd of old,
6:597 Orthomenos for men of courage bold:
6:598 Cleonae lying in the lowly dale,
6:599 And rich Messene with its fertile vale:
6:600 Pylos, for Nestor's City after fam'd,
6:601 And Troezen, not as yet from Pittheus nam'd.
6:602 And those fair cities, which are hem'd around
6:603 By double seas within the Isthmian ground;
6:604 And those, which farther from the sea-coast stand,
6:605 Lodg'd in the bosom of the spacious land.
6:606 Who can believe it? Athens was the last:
6:607 Tho' for politeness fam'd for ages past.
6:608 For a strait siege, which then their walls enclos'd,
6:609 Such acts of kind humanity oppos'd:
6:610 And thick with ships, from foreign nations bound,
6:611 Sea-ward their city lay invested round.
6:612 These, with auxiliar forces led from far,
6:613 Tereus of Thrace, brave, and inur'd to war,
6:614 Had quite defeated, and obtain'd a name,
6:615 The warrior's due, among the sons of Fame.
6:616 This, with his wealth, and pow'r, and ancient line,
6:617 From Mars deriv'd, Pandions's thoughts incline
6:618 His daughter Procne with the prince to joyn.
6:619 Nor Hymen, nor the Graces here preside,
6:620 Nor Juno to befriend the blooming bride;
6:621 But Fiends with fun'ral brands the process led,
6:622 And Furies waited at the Genial bed:
6:623 And all night long the scrieching owl aloof,
6:624 With baleful notes, sate brooding o'er the roof.
6:625 With such ill Omens was the match begun,
6:626 That made them parents of a hopeful son.
6:627 Now Thrace congratulates their seeming joy,
6:628 And they, in thankful rites, their minds employ.
6:629 If the fair queen's espousals pleas'd before,
6:630 Itys, the new-born prince, now pleases more;
6:631 And each bright day, the birth, and bridal feast,
6:632 Were kept with hallow'd pomp above the rest.
6:633 So far true happiness may lye conceal'd,
6:634 When, by false lights, we fancy 'tis reveal'd!
6:635 Now, since their nuptials, had the golden sun
6:636 Five courses round his ample zodiac run;
6:637 When gentle Procne thus her lord address'd,
6:638 And spoke the secret wishes of her breast:
6:639 If I, she said, have ever favour found,
6:640 Let my petition with success be crown'd:
6:641 Let me at Athens my dear sister see,
6:642 Or let her come to Thrace, and visit me.
6:643 And, lest my father should her absence mourn,
6:644 Promise that she shall make a quick return.
6:645 With thanks I'd own the obligation due
6:646 Only, o Tereus, to the Gods, and you.
6:647 Now, ply'd with oar, and sail at his command,
6:648 The nimble gallies reach'd th' Athenian land,
6:649 And anchor'd in the fam'd Piraean bay,
6:650 While Tereus to the palace takes his way;
6:651 The king salutes, and ceremonies past,
6:652 Begins the fatal embassy at last;
6:653 The occasion of his voyage he declares,
6:654 And, with his own, his wife's request prefers:
6:655 Asks leave that, only for a little space,
6:656 Their lovely sister might embark for Thrace.
6:657 Thus while he spoke, appear'd the royal maid,
6:658 Bright Philomela, splendidly array'd;
6:659 But most attractive in her charming face,
6:660 And comely person, turn'd with ev'ry grace:
6:661 Like those fair Nymphs, that are describ'd to rove
6:662 Across the glades, and op'nings of the grove;
6:663 Only that these are dress'd for silvan sports,
6:664 And less become the finery of courts.
6:665 Tereus beheld the virgin, and admir'd,
6:666 And with the coals of burning lust was fir'd:
6:667 Like crackling stubble, or the summer hay,
6:668 When forked lightnings o'er the meadows play.
6:669 Such charms in any breast might kindle love,
6:670 But him the heats of inbred lewdness move;
6:671 To which, tho' Thrace is naturally prone,
6:672 Yet his is still superior, and his own.
6:673 Strait her attendants he designs to buy,
6:674 And with large bribes her governess would try:
6:675 Herself with ample gifts resolves to bend,
6:676 And his whole kingdom in th' attempt expend:
6:677 Or, snatch'd away by force of arms, to bear,
6:678 And justify the rape with open war.
6:679 The boundless passion boils within his breast,
6:680 And his projecting soul admits no rest.
6:681 And now, impatient of the least delay,
6:682 By pleading Procne's cause, he speeds his way:
6:683 The eloquence of love his tongue inspires,
6:684 And, in his wife's, he speaks his own desires;
6:685 Hence all his importunities arise,
6:686 And tears unmanly trickle from his eyes.
6:687 Ye Gods! what thick involving darkness blinds
6:688 The stupid faculties of mortal minds!
6:689 Tereus the credit of good-nature gains
6:690 From these his crimes; so well the villain feigns.
6:691 And, unsuspecting of his base designs,
6:692 In the request fair Philomela joyns;
6:693 Her snowy arms her aged sire embrace,
6:694 And clasp his neck with an endearing grace:
6:695 Only to see her sister she entreats,
6:696 A seeming blessing, which a curse compleats.
6:697 Tereus surveys her with a luscious eye,
6:698 And in his mind forestalls the blissful joy:
6:699 Her circling arms a scene of lust inspire,
6:700 And ev'ry kiss foments the raging fire.
6:701 Fondly he wishes for the father's place,
6:702 To feel, and to return the warm embrace;
6:703 Since not the nearest ties of filial blood
6:704 Would damp his flame, and force him to be good.
6:705 At length, for both their sakes, the king agrees;
6:706 And Philomela, on her bended knees,
6:707 Thanks him for what her fancy calls success,
6:708 When cruel fate intends her nothing less.
6:709 Now Phoebus, hastning to ambrosial rest,
6:710 His fiery steeds drove sloping down the west:
6:711 The sculptur'd gold with sparkling wines was fill'd,
6:712 And, with rich meats, each chearful table smil'd.
6:713 Plenty, and mirth the royal banquet close,
6:714 Then all retire to sleep, and sweet repose.
6:715 But the lewd monarch, tho' withdrawn apart,
6:716 Still feels love's poison rankling in his heart:
6:717 Her face divine is stamp'd within his breast,
6:718 Fancy imagines, and improves the rest:
6:719 And thus, kept waking by intense desire,
6:720 He nourishes his own prevailing fire.
6:721 Next day the good old king for Tereus sends,
6:722 And to his charge the virgin recommends;
6:723 His hand with tears th' indulgent father press'd,
6:724 Then spoke, and thus with tenderness address'd.
6:725 Since the kind instances of pious love,
6:726 Do all pretence of obstacle remove;
6:727 Since Procne's, and her own, with your request,
6:728 O'er-rule the fears of a paternal breast;
6:729 With you, dear son, my daughter I entrust,
6:730 And by the Gods adjure you to be just;
6:731 By truth, and ev'ry consanguineal tye,
6:732 To watch, and guard her with a father's eye.
6:733 And, since the least delay will tedious prove,
6:734 In keeping from my sight the child I love,
6:735 With speed return her, kindly to asswage
6:736 The tedious troubles of my lingring age.
6:737 And you, my Philomel, let it suffice,
6:738 To know your sister's banish'd from my eyes;
6:739 If any sense of duty sways your mind,
6:740 Let me from you the shortest absence find.
6:741 He wept; then kiss'd his child; and while he speaks,
6:742 The tears fall gently down his aged cheeks.
6:743 Next, as a pledge of fealty, he demands,
6:744 And, with a solemn charge, conjoyns their hands;
6:745 Then to his daughter, and his grandson sends,
6:746 And by their mouth a blessing recommends;
6:747 While, in a voice with dire forebodings broke,
6:748 Sobbing, and faint, the last farewel was spoke.
6:749 Now Philomela, scarce receiv'd on board,
6:750 And in the royal gilded bark secur'd,
6:751 Beheld the dashes of the bending oar,
6:752 The ruffled sea, and the receding shore;
6:753 When strait (his joy impatient of disguise)
6:754 We've gain'd our point, the rough Barbarian cries;
6:755 Now I possess the dear, the blissful hour,
6:756 And ev'ry wish subjected to my pow'r.
6:757 Transports of lust his vicious thoughts employ,
6:758 And he forbears, with pain, th' expected joy.
6:759 His gloting eyes incessantly survey'd
6:760 The virgin beauties of the lovely maid:
6:761 As when the bold rapacious bird of Jove,
6:762 With crooked talons stooping from above,
6:763 Has snatcht, and carry'd to his lofty nest
6:764 A captive hare, with cruel gripes opprest;
6:765 Secure, with fix'd, and unrelenting eyes,
6:766 He sits, and views the helpless, trembling prize.
6:767 Their vessels now had made th' intended land,
6:768 And all with joy descend upon the strand;
6:769 When the false tyrant seiz'd the princely maid,
6:770 And to a lodge in distant woods convey'd;
6:771 Pale, sinking, and distress'd with jealous fears,
6:772 And asking for her sister all in tears.
6:773 The letcher, for enjoyment fully bent,
6:774 No longer now conceal'd his base intent;
6:775 But with rude haste the bloomy girl deflow'r'd,
6:776 Tender, defenceless, and with ease o'erpower'd.
6:777 Her piercing accents to her sire complain,
6:778 And to her absent sister, but in vain:
6:779 In vain she importunes, with doleful cries,
6:780 Each unattentive godhead of the skies.
6:781 She pants and trembles, like the bleating prey,
6:782 From some close-hunted wolf just snatch'd away;
6:783 That still, with fearful horror, looks around,
6:784 And on its flank regards the bleeding wound.
6:785 Or, as the tim'rous dove, the danger o'er,
6:786 Beholds her shining plumes besmear'd with gore,
6:787 And, tho' deliver'd from the faulcon's claw,
6:788 Yet shivers, and retains a secret awe.
6:789 But when her mind a calm reflection shar'd,
6:790 And all her scatter'd spirits were repair'd:
6:791 Torn, and disorder'd while her tresses hung,
6:792 Her livid hands, like one that mourn'd, she wrung;
6:793 Then thus, with grief o'erwhelm'd her languid eyes,
6:794 Savage, inhumane, cruel wretch! she cries;
6:795 Whom not a parent's strict commands could move,
6:796 Tho' charg'd, and utter'd with the tears of love;
6:797 Nor virgin innocence, nor all that's due
6:798 To the strong contract of the nuptial vow:
6:799 Virtue, by this, in wild confusion's laid,
6:800 And I compell'd to wrong my sister's bed;
6:801 Whilst you, regardless of your marriage oath,
6:802 With stains of incest have defil'd us both.
6:803 Tho' I deserv'd some punishment to find,
6:804 This was, ye Gods! too cruel, and unkind.
6:805 Yet, villain, to compleat your horrid guilt,
6:806 Stab here, and let my tainted blood be spilt.
6:807 Oh happy! had it come, before I knew
6:808 The curs'd embrace of vile perfidious you;
6:809 Then my pale ghost, pure from incestuous love,
6:810 Had wander'd spotless thro' th' Elysian grove.
6:811 But, if the Gods above have pow'r to know,
6:812 And judge those actions that are done below;
6:813 Unless the dreaded thunders of the sky,
6:814 Like me, subdu'd, and violated lye;
6:815 Still my revenge shall take its proper time,
6:816 And suit the baseness of your hellish crime.
6:817 My self, abandon'd, and devoid of shame,
6:818 Thro' the wide world your actions will proclaim;
6:819 Or tho' I'm prison'd in this lonely den,
6:820 Obscur'd, and bury'd from the sight of men,
6:821 My mournful voice the pitying rocks shall move,
6:822 And my complainings eccho thro' the grove.
6:823 Hear me, o Heav'n! and, if a God be there,
6:824 Let him regard me, and accept my pray'r.
6:825 Struck with these words, the tyrant's guilty breast
6:826 With fear, and anger, was, by turns, possest;
6:827 Now, with remorse his conscience deeply stung,
6:828 He drew the faulchion that beside her hung,
6:829 And first her tender arms behind her bound,
6:830 Then drag'd her by the hair along the ground.
6:831 The princess willingly her throat reclin'd,
6:832 And view'd the steel with a contented mind;
6:833 But soon her tongue the girding pinchers strain,
6:834 With anguish, soon she feels the piercing pain:
6:835 Oh father! father! would fain have spoke,
6:836 But the sharp torture her intention broke;
6:837 In vain she tries, for now the blade has cut
6:838 Her tongue sheer off, close to the trembling root.
6:839 The mangled part still quiver'd on the ground,
6:840 Murmuring with a faint imperfect sound:
6:841 And, as a serpent writhes his wounded train,
6:842 Uneasy, panting, and possess'd with pain;
6:843 The piece, while life remain'd, still trembled fast,
6:844 And to its mistress pointed to the last.
6:845 Yet, after this so damn'd, and black a deed,
6:846 Fame (which I scarce can credit) has agreed,
6:847 That on her rifled charms, still void of shame,
6:848 He frequently indulg'd his lustful flame,
6:849 At last he ventures to his Procne's sight,
6:850 Loaded with guilt, and cloy'd with long delight;
6:851 There, with feign'd grief, and false, dissembled sighs,
6:852 Begins a formal narrative of lies;
6:853 Her sister's death he artfully declares,
6:854 Then weeps, and raises credit from his tears.
6:855 Her vest, with flow'rs of gold embroider'd o'er,
6:856 With grief distress'd, the mournful matron tore,
6:857 And a beseeming suit of gloomy sable wore.
6:858 With cost, an honorary tomb she rais'd,
6:859 And thus th' imaginary ghost appeas'd.
6:860 Deluded queen! the fate of her you love,
6:861 Nor grief, nor pity, but revenge should move.
6:862 Thro' the twelve signs had pass'd the circling sun,
6:863 And round the compass of the Zodiac run;
6:864 What must unhappy Philomela do,
6:865 For ever subject to her keeper's view?
6:866 Huge walls of massy stone the lodge surround,
6:867 From her own mouth no way of speaking's found.
6:868 But all our wants by wit may be supply'd,
6:869 And art makes up, what fortune has deny'd:
6:870 With skill exact a Phrygian web she strung,
6:871 Fix'd to a loom that in her chamber hung,
6:872 Where in-wrought letters, upon white display'd,
6:873 In purple notes, her wretched case betray'd:
6:874 The piece, when finish'd, secretly she gave
6:875 Into the charge of one poor menial slave;
6:876 And then, with gestures, made him understand,
6:877 It must be safe convey'd to Procne's hand.
6:878 The slave, with speed, the queen's apartment sought,
6:879 And render'd up his charge, unknowing what he brought.
6:880 But when the cyphers, figur'd in each fold,
6:881 Her sister's melancholy story told
6:882 (Strange that she could!) with silence, she survey'd
6:883 The tragick piece, and without weeping read:
6:884 In such tumultuous haste her passions sprung,
6:885 They choak'd her voice, and quite disarm'd her tongue.
6:886 No room for female tears; the Furies rise,
6:887 Darting vindictive glances from her eyes;
6:888 And, stung with rage, she bounds from place to place,
6:889 While stern revenge sits low'ring in her face.
6:890 Now the triennial celebration came,
6:891 Observ'd to Bacchus by each Thracian dame;
6:892 When, in the privacies of night retir'd,
6:893 They act his rites, with sacred rapture fir'd:
6:894 By night, the tinkling cymbals ring around,
6:895 While the shrill notes from Rhodope resound;
6:896 By night, the queen, disguis'd, forsakes the court,
6:897 To mingle in the festival resort.
6:898 Leaves of the curling vine her temples shade,
6:899 And, with a circling wreath, adorn her head:
6:900 Adown her back the stag's rough spoils appear,
6:901 Light on her shoulder leans a cornel spear.
6:902 Thus, in the fury of the God conceal'd,
6:903 Procne her own mad headstrong passion veil'd;
6:904 Now, with her gang, to the thick wood she flies,
6:905 And with religious yellings fills the skies;
6:906 The fatal lodge, as 'twere by chance, she seeks,
6:907 And, thro' the bolted doors, an entrance breaks;
6:908 From thence, her sister snatching by the hand,
6:909 Mask'd like the ranting Bacchanalian band,
6:910 Within the limits of the court she drew,
6:911 Shading, with ivy green, her outward hue.
6:912 But Philomela, conscious of the place,
6:913 Felt new reviving pangs of her disgrace;
6:914 A shiv'ring cold prevail'd in ev'ry part,
6:915 And the chill'd blood ran trembling to her heart.
6:916 Soon as the queen a fit retirement found,
6:917 Stript of the garlands that her temples crown'd,
6:918 She strait unveil'd her blushing sister's face,
6:919 And fondly clasp'd her with a close embrace:
6:920 But, in confusion lost, th' unhappy maid,
6:921 With shame dejected, hung her drooping head,
6:922 As guilty of a crime that stain'd her sister's bed.
6:923 That speech, that should her injur'd virtue clear,
6:924 And make her spotless innocence appear,
6:925 Is now no more; only her hands, and eyes
6:926 Appeal, in signals, to the conscious skies.
6:927 In Procne's breast the rising passions boil,
6:928 And burst in anger with a mad recoil;
6:929 Her sister's ill-tim'd grief, with scorn, she blames,
6:930 Then, in these furious words her rage proclaims.
6:931 Tears, unavailing, but defer our time,
6:932 The stabbing sword must expiate the crime;
6:933 Or worse, if wit, on bloody vengeance bent,
6:934 A weapon more tormenting can invent.
6:935 O sister! I've prepar'd my stubborn heart,
6:936 To act some hellish, and unheard-of part;
6:937 Either the palace to surround with fire,
6:938 And see the villain in the flames expire;
6:939 Or, with a knife, dig out his cursed eyes,
6:940 Or, his false tongue with racking engines seize;
6:941 Or, cut away the part that injur'd you,
6:942 And, thro' a thousand wounds, his guilty soul pursue.
6:943 Tortures enough my passion has design'd,
6:944 But the variety distracts my mind.
6:945 A-while, thus wav'ring, stood the furious dame,
6:946 When Itys fondling to his mother came;
6:947 From him the cruel fatal hint she took,
6:948 She view'd him with a stern remorseless look:
6:949 Ah! but too like thy wicked sire, she said,
6:950 Forming the direful purpose in her head.
6:951 At this a sullen grief her voice supprest,
6:952 While silent passions struggle in her breast.
6:953 Now, at her lap arriv'd, the flatt'ring boy
6:954 Salutes his parent with a smiling joy:
6:955 About her neck his little arms are thrown,
6:956 And he accosts her in a pratling tone.
6:957 Then her tempestuous anger was allay'd,
6:958 And in its full career her vengeance stay'd;
6:959 While tender thoughts, in spite of passion, rise,
6:960 And melting tears disarm her threat'ning eyes.
6:961 But when she found the mother's easy heart,
6:962 Too fondly swerving from th' intended part;
6:963 Her injur'd sister's face again she view'd:
6:964 And, as by turns surveying both she stood,
6:965 While this fond boy (she said) can thus express
6:966 The moving accents of his fond address;
6:967 Why stands my sister of her tongue bereft,
6:968 Forlorn, and sad, in speechless silence left?
6:969 O Procne, see the fortune of your house!
6:970 Such is your fate, when match'd to such a spouse!
6:971 Conjugal duty, if observ'd to him,
6:972 Would change from virtue, and become a crime;
6:973 For all respect to Tereus must debase
6:974 The noble blood of great Pandion's race.
6:975 Strait at these words, with big resentment fill'd,
6:976 Furious her look, she flew, and seiz'd her child;
6:977 Like a fell tigress of the savage kind,
6:978 That drags the tender suckling of the hind
6:979 Thro' India's gloomy groves, where Ganges laves
6:980 The shady scene, and rouls his streamy waves.
6:981 Now to a close apartment they were come,
6:982 Far off retir'd within the spacious dome;
6:983 When Procne, on revengeful mischief bent,
6:984 Home to his heart a piercing ponyard sent.
6:985 Itys, with rueful cries, but all too late,
6:986 Holds out his hands, and deprecates his fate;
6:987 Still at his mother's neck he fondly aims,
6:988 And strives to melt her with endearing names;
6:989 Yet still the cruel mother perseveres,
6:990 Nor with concern his bitter anguish hears.
6:991 This might suffice; but Philomela too
6:992 Across his throat a shining curtlass drew.
6:993 Then both, with knives, dissect each quiv'ring part,
6:994 And carve the butcher'd limbs with cruel art;
6:995 Which, whelm'd in boiling cauldrons o'er the fire,
6:996 Or turn'd on spits, in steamy smoak aspire:
6:997 While the long entries, with their slipp'ry floor,
6:998 Run down in purple streams of clotted gore.
6:999 Ask'd by his wife to this inhuman feast,
6:1000 Tereus unknowingly is made a guest:
6:1001 Whilst she her plot the better to disguise,
6:1002 Styles it some unknown mystick sacrifice;
6:1003 And such the nature of the hallow'd rite,
6:1004 The wife her husband only could invite,
6:1005 The slaves must all withdraw, and be debarr'd the sight.
6:1006 Tereus, upon a throne of antique state,
6:1007 Loftily rais'd, before the banquet sate;
6:1008 And glutton like, luxuriously pleas'd,
6:1009 With his own flesh his hungry maw appeas'd.
6:1010 Nay, such a blindness o'er his senses falls,
6:1011 That he for Itys to the table calls.
6:1012 When Procne, now impatient to disclose
6:1013 The joy that from her full revenge arose,
6:1014 Cries out, in transports of a cruel mind,
6:1015 Within your self your Itys you may find.
6:1016 Still, at this puzzling answer, with surprise,
6:1017 Around the room he sends his curious eyes;
6:1018 And, as he still inquir'd, and call'd aloud,
6:1019 Fierce Philomela, all besmear'd with blood,
6:1020 Her hands with murder stain'd, her spreading hair
6:1021 Hanging dishevel'd with a ghastly air,
6:1022 Stept forth, and flung full in the tyrant's face
6:1023 The head of Itys, goary as it was:
6:1024 Nor ever so much to use her tongue,
6:1025 And with a just reproach to vindicate her wrong.
6:1026 The Thracian monarch from the table flings,
6:1027 While with his cries the vaulted parlour rings;
6:1028 His imprecations eccho down to Hell,
6:1029 And rouze the snaky Furies from their Stygian cell.
6:1030 One while he labours to disgorge his breast,
6:1031 And free his stomach from the cursed feast;
6:1032 Then, weeping o'er his lamentable doom,
6:1033 He styles himself his son's sepulchral tomb.
6:1034 Now, with drawn sabre, and impetuous speed,
6:1035 In close pursuit he drives Pandion's breed;
6:1036 Whose nimble feet spring with so swift a force
6:1037 Across the fields, they seem to wing their course.
6:1038 And now, on real wings themselves they raise,
6:1039 And steer their airy flight by diff'rent ways;
6:1040 One to the woodland's shady covert hies,
6:1041 Around the smoaky roof the other flies;
6:1042 Whose feathers yet the marks of murder stain,
6:1043 Where stampt upon her breast, the crimson spots remain.
6:1044 Tereus, through grief, and haste to be reveng'd,
6:1045 Shares the like fate, and to a bird is chang'd:
6:1046 Fix'd on his head, the crested plumes appear,
6:1047 Long is his beak, and sharpen'd like a spear;
6:1048 Thus arm'd, his looks his inward mind display,
6:1049 And, to a lapwing turn'd, he fans his way.
6:1050 Exceeding trouble, for his children's fate,
6:1051 Shorten'd Pandion's days, and chang'd his date;
6:1052 Down to the shades below, with sorrow spent,
6:1053 An earlier, unexpected ghost he went.
Boreas in Love
6:1054 Erechtheus next th' Athenian sceptre sway'd,
6:1055 Whose rule the state with joynt consent obey'd;
6:1056 So mix'd his justice with his valour flow'd,
6:1057 His reign one scene of princely goodness shew'd.
6:1058 Four hopeful youths, as many females bright,
6:1059 Sprung from his loyns, and sooth'd him with delight.
6:1060 Two of these sisters, of a lovelier air,
6:1061 Excell'd the rest, tho' all the rest were fair.
6:1062 Procris, to Cephalus in wedlock ty'd,
6:1063 Bless'd the young silvan with a blooming bride:
6:1064 For Orithyia Boreas suffer'd pain,
6:1065 For the coy maid sued long, but sued in vain;
6:1066 Tereus his neighbour, and his Thracian blood,
6:1067 Against the match a main objection stood;
6:1068 Which made his vows, and all his suppliant love,
6:1069 Empty as air and ineffectual prove.
6:1070 But when he found his soothing flatt'ries fail,
6:1071 Nor saw his soft addresses cou'd avail;
6:1072 Blust'ring with ire, he quickly has recourse
6:1073 To rougher arts, and his own native force.
6:1074 'Tis well, he said; such usage is my due,
6:1075 When thus disguis'd by foreign ways I sue;
6:1076 When my stern airs, and fierceness I disclaim,
6:1077 And sigh for love, ridiculously tame;
6:1078 When soft addresses foolishly I try,
6:1079 Nor my own stronger remedies apply.
6:1080 By force and violence I chiefly live,
6:1081 By them the lowring stormy tempests drive;
6:1082 In foaming billows raise the hoary deep,
6:1083 Writhe knotted oaks, and sandy desarts sweep;
6:1084 Congeal the falling flakes of fleecy snow,
6:1085 And bruise, with ratling hall, the plains below.
6:1086 I, and my brother-winds, when joyn'd above,
6:1087 Thro' the waste champian of the skies we rove,
6:1088 With such a boist'rous full career engage,
6:1089 That Heav'n's whole concave thunders at our rage.
6:1090 While, struck from nitrous clouds, fierce lightnings play,
6:1091 Dart thro' the storm, and gild the gloomy day.
6:1092 Or when, in subterraneous caverns pent,
6:1093 My breath, against the hollow Earth, is bent,
6:1094 The quaking world above, and ghosts below,
6:1095 My mighty pow'r, by dear experience, know,
6:1096 Tremble with fear, and dread the fatal blow.
6:1097 This is the only cure to be apply'd,
6:1098 Thus to Erechtheus I should be ally'd;
6:1099 And thus the scornful virgin should be woo'd,
6:1100 Not by intreaty, but by force subdu'd.
6:1101 Boreas, in passion, spoke these huffing things,
6:1102 And, as he spoke, he shook his dreadful wings;
6:1103 At which, afar the shiv'ring sea was fan'd,
6:1104 And the wide surface of the distant land:
6:1105 His dusty mantle o'er the hills he drew,
6:1106 And swept the lowly vallies, as he flew;
6:1107 Then, with his yellow wings, embrac'd the maid,
6:1108 And, wrapt in dusky clouds, far off convey'd.
6:1109 The sparkling blaze of Love's prevailing fire
6:1110 Shone brighter as he flew, and flam'd the higher.
6:1111 And now the God, possess'd of his delight,
6:1112 To northern Thrace pursu'd his airy flight,
6:1113 Where the young ravish'd nymph became his bride,
6:1114 And soon the luscious sweets of wedlock try'd.
6:1115 Two lovely twins, th' effect of this embrace,
6:1116 Crown their soft labours, and their nuptials grace;
6:1117 Who, like their mother, beautiful, and fair,
6:1118 Their father's strength, and feather'd pinions share:
6:1119 Yet these, at first, were wanting, as 'tis said,
6:1120 And after, as they grew, their shoulders spread.
6:1121 Zethes and Calais, the pretty twins,
6:1122 Remain'd unfledg'd, while smooth their beardless chins;
6:1123 But when, in time, the budding silver down
6:1124 Shaded their face, and on their cheeks was grown,
6:1125 Two sprouting wings upon their shoulders sprung,
6:1126 Like those in birds, that veil the callow young.
6:1127 Then as their age advanc'd, and they began
6:1128 From greener youth to ripen into man,
6:1129 With Jason's Argonauts they cross'd the seas,
6:1130 Embark'd in quest of the fam'd golden fleece;
6:1131 There, with the rest, the first frail vessel try'd,
6:1132 And boldly ventur'd on the swelling tide.