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Europa's Rape, Agenor's stern Decree,
And Cadmus searching round the spacious Sea ?
How with the Serpent's Teeth he fow'd the Soil,
And reap'd an Iron Harvest of his Toil;
Or how from joyning Stones the City sprung,
While to his Harp Divine Amphion sung?
Or shall I Juno's Hate to Thebes resound,
Whose fatal Rage th’unhappy Monarch found;
The Sire against the Son his Arrows drew,
O'er the wide Fields the furious Mother flew,
And while her Arms her Second Hope contain,
Sprung from the Rocks, and plung’d into the Main.
But wave whate'er to Cadmus may belong,
And fix, O Muse! the Barrier of thy Song,
At Oedipus-from his Disasters trace
The long Confusions of his guilty Race.
Nor yet attempt to stretch thy bolder Wing,
And mighty Cæfar's conqu’ring Eagles sing;
How twice the Mountains ran with Dacian Blood,
And trembling Ister check'd his rapid Flood;
How twice he vanquish'd where the Rhine does roll,
And stretch'd his Empire to the frozen Pole;
Or long before, with early Valour strove
In youthful Arms t'assert the Cause of Jove.
And Thou, great Heir of all thy Father's Fame,
Encrease of Glory to the Latian Name;
Oh bless thy Rome with an Eternal Reign,
Nor let desiring Worlds intreat in vain!
What tho’the Stars.contracttheir Heav'nly Space,
And crowd their fhining Ranks to yield thee place;
Tho'all the Skies, ambitious of thy Sway,
Conspire to court thee from our World away;
Tho' Phæbus longs to mix his Rays with thine,
And in thy Glories more serenely thine ;
Tho? Jove himself no less content wou'd be,
Topart his Throne and share his Heav’n with thee;
Yet stay, great Cæfar! and vouchsafe to reign
O'er the wide Earth, and o'er the watry Main,
Resign to Jove his Empire of the Skies,
And People Heav'n with Roman Deities.
The Time will come, when a diviner Flame .DShall warm my Breast to sing of Cæfar's Fame: Mean while permit that my preluding Muse In Theban Wars an humbler Theme may chuse: Of furious Hate surviving Death, she sings, A fatal Throne to two contending Kings, , And Fun’ral Flames, that parting wide in Air, Express the Discord of the Souls they bear: Of Towns dispeopled, and the wandring Ghosts Of Kings unbury'd, on the wasted Coasts;
When Dirce's Fountain blush'd with Grecian
[Blood, And Thetis, near Ismenos' swelling Flood, With Dread beheld the rolling Surges sweep In Heaps his slaughter'd Sons into the Deep.
What Hero, Clio! wilt thou first relate? The raging Tydeus, or the Prophet's Fate? Or how with Hills of Nain on ev'ry side, Hippomedon repell’d the hostile Tyde? Or how the * Youth with ev'ry Grace adorn'd, Untimely fell, to be for ever mourn’d? Then to fierce Capaneus thy Verse extend, And sing, with Horror, his prodigious End.
Now wretched Oedipus, depriv'd of Sight, Led a long Death in everlasting Night; But while he dwells where not a chearful Ray Can pierce the Darkness, and abhors the Day; Parthenopeus.
The clear, reflecting Mind, presents his Sin
In frightful Views, and makes it Day within ;
Returning Thoughts in endless Circles roll,
And thousand Furies haunt his guilty Soul.
The Wretch then lifted to th’unpitying Skies
Those empty Orbs, from whence he tore his Eyes,
Whose Wounds yet fresh, with bloody Hands he
[strook, While from hisBreast these dreadfulAccents broke.
Ye Gods that o'er the gloomy Regions reign Where guilty Spirits feel Eternal Pain; Thou, sable Styx ! whose livid Streams are roll'd Thro'dreary Coafts which I, tho' Blind, behold: Tisiphone! that oft hast heard my Pray'r, Aflist, if Oedipus deserve thy Care! If you
receiv'd me from Jocasta's Womb, And nurst the Hope of Mischiefs yet to come: