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He was the first to see, and first to show
His friends the marks of the successful blow.
Nor fhall thy valour want the praises due,
He said ; a virtuous envy seiz'd the crew.
They shout; the shouting animates their hearts,
And all at once employ their thronging darts ;
But, out of order thrown, in air they join ;
And multitude makes frustrate the design.
With both his hands the proud Ancæus takes,
And flourishes his double-biting ax :
Then, forward to his fate, he took a stride
Before the rest, and to his fellows cry'd,
Give place, and mark the difference, if you can,
Between a woman-warrior and a man;
The boar is doom'd; nor, though Diana lend
Her aid, Diana can her beast defend.
Thus boasted he ;, then stretch'd, on tiptoe stood,
Secure to make his empty promise good.
But the more wary beast prevents the blow,
And upward rips the groin of his audacious foe.
Ancæus falls; his bowels from the wound
Rush out, and clotted blood distains the ground.
Pirithous, no finall portion of the war,
Press’d on, and shook his lance : to whom from far,
Thus Theseus cry'd : O stay, my better
My more than mistress; of my heart, the heart.
The strong may fight aloof: Ancæus try'd
His force too near, and by presuming dy'd:
He said, and while he spake, his javelin threw;
Hiffing in air th’unerring weapon flew;
But on an arm of oak, that stood betwixt
The marks-man and the mark, his lance he fixt.
Once more bold Jason threw, but fail’d to wound
The boar, and New an undeserving hound;
And through the dog the dart was nail'd to ground.
Two spears from Meleager's hand were sent,
With equal force, but various in th' event:
The first was fix'd in earth, the second stood
On the boar's bristled back, and deeply drank his blood.
Now while the tortur'd savage turns around,
And dings about his foam impatient of the wound,
The wound's great author close at hand provokes
His rage, and plies him with redoubled strokes;
Wheels as he wheels; and with his pointed dart
Explores the nearest passage to his heart.
Quick and more quick he fpins in giddy gires,
Then falls, and in much foam his soul expires.
This act with shouts heaven-high the friendly band
Applaud, and strain in theirs the victor's hand.
Then all approach the sain with vast surprize,
Admire on what a breadth of earth he lies;
And, scarce secure, reach out their spears afar,
And blood their points, to prove their partnership of war,
But he, the conquering chief, his foot impress’d
On the strong neck of that destructive beast;
And, gazing on the nymph with ardent eyes,
Accept, said he, fair Nonacrine, my prize,
And, though inferior, suffer me to join
My labours, and my part of praise, with thine :
At this presents her with the tusky head
And chine, with riling bristles roughly spread.
Glad, she receiv'd the gift; and seem'd to take
With double pleasure, for the giver's sake.
The rest were seiz'd with fullen discontent,
And a deaf murmur through the squadron went :
All envy'd; but the Thestyan brethren show'd
The least respect, and thus they vent their spleen aloud :
Lay down those honour'd spoils, nor think to Mare,
Weak woman as thou art, the prize of war :
Ours is the title, thine a foreign claim,
Since Meleagrus from our lineage came.
Trust not thy beauty ; but restore the prize,
Which he, besotted on that face and eyes,
Would rend from us. At this, inflam'd with spite,
From her they snatch'd the gift, from him the giver's
But soon th' impatient prince his fauchion drew,
And cry’d, Ye robbers of another’s due,
Now learn the difference, at your proper cost,
Betwixt true valour, and an empty boast.
At this advanc'd, and sudden as the word,
In proud Plexippus' bosom plung'd the sword:
Toxeus amaz’d, and with amazement flow,
Or to revenge, or ward the coming blow,
Stood doubting ; and, while doubting thus he stood,
Receiv'd the steel bath'd in his brother's blood.
Pleas'd with the first, unknown the second news,
Althæa to the temples pays their dues
For her son's conquest ; when at length appear
Her grilly brethren stretch'd upon the bier :
Pale, at the sudden fight, fhe chang'd her cheer,
And with her cheer her robes ; but hearing tell
The cause, the manner, and by whom they fell,
'Twas grief no more, or grief and rage were one
Within her foul ; at last 'twas rage alone ;
Which burning upwards in succession dries
The tears that stood considering in her eyes.
There lay a log unlighted on the earth :
When she was labouring in the throes of birth :
For th' unborn chief the fatal fisters came,
And rais'd it up, and toss'd it on the flame :
Then on the rock a fcanty measure place
Of vital flax, and turn’d the wheel apace ;
And turning sung, To this red brand and thee,
O new-born babe, we give an equal destiny:
So vanish'd out of view. The frighted dame
Sprung hasty from her bed, and quench'd the flame :
The log in secret lock’d, the kept with care,
And that, while thus preservod, preserv’d her heir.
This brand she now produc’d; and first she strows
The hearth with heaps of chips, and after blows;
Thrice heav'd her hand, and, heav'd, the thrice
The sister and the mother long contest,
Two doubtful titles in one tender breast;
And now her eyes and cheeks with fury glow,
Now pale her cheeks, her eyes with pity flow ;
Now lowering looks presage approaching storms,
And now prevailing love her face reforins :
Resolv’d, she doubts again ; the tears, fhe dry'd
With blushing rage, are by new tears supply'd :
And as a ship, which winds and waves affail,
Now with the current drives, now with the gale,
Both opposite, and neither long prevail.
She feels a double force, by turns obeys
Th’imperious tempeft, and th’ impetuous seas :
So fares Althæa's mind; first the relents
With pity, of that pity then repents :
Sister and mother long the scales divide,
But the beam nodded on the fifter's fide,
Sometimes the softly figh’d, then roar'd aloud ;
But fighs were stilled in the cries of blood.
The pious impious wretch at length decreed,
To please her brother's ghosts, her son should bleed;
And when the funeral flames began to rise,
Receive, she said, a fifter's facrifice :
A mother's bowels burn: high in her hand,
Thus while she spoke, she held the fatal brand ;
Then thrice before the kindled pile the bow'd,
And the three Furies thrice invok'd aloud :
Come, come, revenging sisters, come and view
A fifter paying a dead brother's due :
A crime I punish, and a crime commit;
But blood for blood, and death for death, is fit :
Great crimes must be with greater crimes repaid,
And second funerals on the former laid.