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THEBAIS OF STATIUS.
TRANSLATED IN THE YEAR 1703.
ARGUMENT. @dipus king of Thebes having, by mistake, slain his father
Laius, and married his inother Jocasta, put out his own eyes, and resigned the realm to his sous Eteocles and Polysices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the fury Ti. siphone to sow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at last to reign singly, each a year by turns, and the first lot is obtained by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the gods, declares his resolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives also, by means of a marriage betwixt Polynices and one of the daughters of Adrastus king of Argos. Juno opposes, but to no effect; and Mercury is sent on a ressage to the shades, to the ghost of Laius, who is to appear to Eteocles, and pro. voke bim to break the agreement. Polynices, in the mean time, departs from Thebes by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives at Argos : where he meets with Tydeus, who had fled from Calydon, having killed his brother. Adraslu's enter. taius them, baving received an oracle from Apollo that his daughters should be married to a boar and á lion, which be understands to be meant of these strangers, by whom the bides of those heasts were worn, and who arrived at the time when he kept an annual feast in honour of that god. The rise of this solemnity. He relates to his guests the loves of Phoe. buis and Peamathe, and the story of Choræbus : he inquires, and is made acquainted with their descent and quality. The sacrifice is renewed, and the book concludes with a hymo to Apollo.
FRATERNAL rage the guilty Thebes alarms,
Demand our song; a sacred fury fires
But wave whate'er to Cadmus may belong,
blood; Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll, And stretch'd his empire to the frozen pole ; Or, long before, with early valour strove In youthful arms to' assert the cause of Jove. And thou, great heir of all thy father's fame, Increase of glory to the Latian name! O! bless thy Rome with an eternal reign, Nor let desiring worlds entreat in vain. What though the stars contract their heavenly space, And crowd their shining ranks to yield thee place;
Though all the skies, ambitious of thy sway,
The time will come when a diviner flame
What hero, Clio! wilt thou first relate?
Now wretched Edipus, depriv'd of sight,
But while he dwells where not a cheerful ray
strook, While from his breast these dreadful accents
broke: • Ye gods! that o'er the gloomy regions reign, Where guilty spirits feel eternal pain; Thou, sable Styx! whose livid streams are rollid Through dreary coasts, which I though blind behold; Tisiphone ! that oft hast heard my pray'r, Assist if @dipus deserve thy care. If you receiv'd me from Jocasta's womb, And nurs'd the hope of mischiefs yet to come; If, leaving Polybus, I took my way To Cyrrha's temple, on that fatal day When by the son the trembling father died, Where the three roads the Phociap fields divide; If I the Sphynx's riddles durst explain, Taught by thyself to win the promis'd reign ; If wretched I, by baleful furies led, With monstrous mixture stain’d my mother's bed, For hell and thee begot an impious brood, And with full last those horrid joys renew'd; Then self-condemn'd, to shades of endless night, Forc'd from these orbs the bleeding balls of sight; Oh, hear! and aid the vengeance I require, If worthy thee, and what thou might'st inspire.
My sons their old unhappy sire despise,
frame, They'd prove the father from whose loins they came.'
The fury heard, while on Cocytus' brink Her snakes, untied, sulphureous waters drink; But at the summoos rolld her eyes around, And snatch'd the starting serpents from the ground. Not half so swiftly sboots along in air The gliding lightning or descending star. Through crowds of airy shades she wing'd her flight, And dark dominions of the silent night : Swift as she passid the flitting ghosts withdrew, And the pale spectres trembled at her view : To the iron gates of Tenarus she flies, There spreads lrer dusky pinions to the skies.