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Thrice in my arms I strove her shade to bind, From the same fountain Amythaon rose, Thrice through my arm she slipt like empty wind, Pleased with the din of war, and noble shout of foes. Or dreams, the vain illusions of the mind. 250 There moved Antiopè, with haughty charms, Wild with despair I shed a copious tide
Who blest the Almighty Thunderer in her arms: Of flowing tears, and thus with sighs replied : Hence sprung Amphion, hence brave Zethus came,
Fliest thou, loved shade, while I thus fondly mourn! Founders of Thebes, and men of mighty name; 320 Turn to my arms, to my embraces turn!
Though bold in open field, they yet surround Is it, ye powers that smile at human harms ! The town with walls, and mound inject on mound; Too great a bliss to weep within her arms? Here ramparts stood, there towers rose high in air, Or has hell's queen an empty image sent
And here through seven wide portals rush'd the war. That wretched I might even my joys lament? There with soft step the fair Alcmena trod,
O son of woe, the pensive shade rejoin'd, Who bore Alcides to the thundering god : O most inured to grief of all mankind !
260 And Megara, who charm d the son of Jove, 'Tis not the queen of hell who thee deceives; And soften'd his stern soul to tender love. All, all are such, when life the body leaves :
Sullen and sour with discontented mien No more the substance of the man remains, Jocasta frown'd, the incestuous Theban queen; 330 Nor bounds the blood along the purple veins : With her own son she join'd in nuptial bands, These the funereal flames in atoms bear,
Though father's blood imbrued his murderous hands : To wander with the wind in empty air:
The gods and men the dire offence detest, While the impassive soul reluctant flies,
The gods with all their furies rend his breast : Like a vain dream to these infernal skies.
In lofty Thebes he wore the imperial crown, But from the dark dominions speed thy way, A pompous wretch! accurst upon a throne. And climb the steep ascent to upper day, 270 The wife self-murder'd from a beam depends, To thy chaste bride the wondrous story tell, And her foul soul to blackest hell descends : The woes, the horrors, and the laws of hell. Thence to her son the choicest plagues she brings, Thus while she spoke, in swarms hell's empress And the fiends haunt him with a thousand stings. 340 brings
And now the beauteous Chloris I descry, Daughters and wives of heroes and of kings ; A lovely shade, Amphion's youngest joy! Thick, and more thick they gather round the blood, With gifts unnumber'd Neleus sought her arms, Ghost throng'd on ghost (a dire assembly) stood ! Nor paid too dearly for unequallid charms; Dauntless my sword I seize : the airy crew, Great in Orchomenos, in Pylos great, Swift as it flash'd along the gloom, withdrew; He sway'd the sceptre with imperial state. Then shade to shade in mutual forms succeeds, Three gallant sons the joyful monarch told, Her race recounts, and their illustrious deeds. 280 Sage Nestor, Periclimenus the bold,
Tyro began, whom great Salmoneus bred, And Chromius last : but of the softer race, The royal partner of fam'd Cretheus' bed.
One nymph alone,'a miracle of grace.
350 For fair Enipeus, as from fruitful urns
Kings on their thrones for lovely Pero burn; He pours his watery store, the virgin burns : The sire denies, and kings rejected mourn. Smooth flows the gentle stream with wanton pride, To him alone the beauteous prize he yields, And in soft mazes rolls a silver tide.
Whose arm should ravish from Phylacian fields As on his banks the maid enamour'd roves, The herds of Iphyclus, detain'd in wrong; The monarch of the deep beholds and loves ; Wild, furious herds, unconquerably strong! In her Enipeus' form and borrow'd charms, This dares a seer, but nought the seer prevails ; The amorous god descends into her arms : 290 In beauty's cause illustriously he fails. Around, a spacious arch of waves he throws, Twelve moons the foe the captive youth detains And high in air the liquid mountain rose:
In painful dungeons, and coercive chains; 360 Thus in surrounding floods conceal'd he proves The foe at last, from durance where he lay, The pleasing transport, and completes his loves. His art revering gave him back to day; Then, softly sighing, he the fair address’d, Won by prophetic knowledge, to fulfil And, as he spoke, her tender hand he press'd. The steadfast purpose of the Almighty will. Hail, happy nymph! no vulgar births are owed With graceful port advancing now I spied To the prolific raptures of a god :
Leda the fair, the godlike Tyndar's bride: Lo! when nine times the moon renews her horn, Hence Pollux sprung, who wields with furious sway Two brother heroes shall from thee be born; 300 The deathful gauntlet, matchless in the fray; Thy early care the future worthies claim,
And Castor glorious on the embattled plain To point them to the arduous paths of fame; Curbs the proud steeds, reluctant to the rein : 370 But in thy breast the important truth conceal, By turns they visit this ethereal sky, Nor dare the secret of a god reveal :
And live alternate, and alternate die: For know, thou Neptune view'st! and at my nod In hell beneath, on earth, in heaven above, Earth trembles, and the waves confess their god. Reign the twin-gods, the favourite sons of Jove.
He added not, but mounting spurn'd the plain, There Ephimedia trod the gloomy plain, Then plunged into the chambers of the main. Who charm'd the monarch of the boundless main;
Now in the time's full process forth she brings Hence Ephialtes, hence stern Otus sprung, Jove's dread vicegerents in two future kings; 310 More fierce than giants, more than giants strong: O’er proud joclus Pelias stretch'd his reign, The earth o'erburden'd groan'd beneath their weight, And godlike Neleus ruled the Pylian plain : None but Orion e'er surpass’d their height: 3:0 Then, fruitful, to her Cretheus' royal bed
The wondrous youths bad scarce nine winters told, She gallant Pheres and famed Æson bred : When high in air, tremendous to behold,
Nine ells aloft they rear'd their towering head, O king! for such thou art, and sure thy blood 450
, the skies : Skill'd in smooth tales, and artful to deceive;
Wise is thy voice, and noble is thy heart. Such were thy youths! had they to manhood grown, Thy words like music every breast controul, Almighty Jove had trembled on his throne: 390 Steal through the ear, and win upon the soul ; But, ere the harvest of the beard began
Soft, as some song divine, thy story flows, To bristle on the chin, and promise man,
Nor better could the Muse record thy woes.
There mournful Phædra with sad Procris moves, The godlike leaders who, in battle slain,
The evening stars still mount the ethereal plains The royal Minos Ariadne bred,
Thy lale with raptures I could hear thee tell, She Theseus loved, from Crete with Theseus fled : Thy woes on earth, the wondrous scenes in hell, Swift to the Dian isle the hero flies,
401 Till in the vault of heaven the stars decay, And towards his Athens bears the lovely prize; And the sky reddens with the rising day. There Bacchus with fierce rage Diana fires,
O worthy of the power the gods assign'd 470 The goddess aims her shaft, the nymph expires. (Ulysses thus replies) a king in mind! There Clymenè and Mera I behold,
Since yet the early hour of night allows There Eriphylè weeps, who loosely sold
Time for discourse, and time for soft repose,
If scenes of misery can entertain,
Prepare to hear of murder and of blood;
Now summon'd Proserpine to hell's black hall 480
By stern Ægysthus, a majestic train, Stretch'd out her snowy hand, and thus she spoke: And high above the rest, Atrides press'd the plain.
What wondrous man heaven sends us in our guest! He quaffed the gore ; and straight his soldier knew, Through all his woes the hero shines confess'd; And from his eyes pour'd down the tender dew; His comely port, his ample frame express 420 His arms he stretched; his arms the touch deceive, A manly air, majestic in distress.
Nor in the fond embrace, embraces give : He, as my guest, is my peculiar care:
His substance vanish'd, and his strength decay'd, You share the pleasure, then in bounty share; Now all Atrides is an empty shade.
490 To worth in misery a reverence pay,
Moved at the sight, 1 for a space resign'd
Imperial phantom, bow'd thee to the tomb?
Then sage Echeneus, whose grave reverend brow Has Fate oppress'd thee in the roaring waves,
For active courage and a patient mind;
500 To generous acts : our part is to obey.
Nor while the sea, nor whilst the tempest raves,
Of war and slaughter, and the clash of arms
A foul adulterer, and a faithless bride;
Thus by the gory arm of slaughter falls
510 O monarch great in virtue as in sway!
But not with me the direful murder ends, If thou the circling year my stay controul, These, these expired! their crime, they were my To raise a bounty noble as thy soul;
friends : The circling year I wail, with ampler stores Thick as the boars, which some luxurious lord And fitter pomp to hail my native shores :
Kills for the feast, to crown the nuptial board. Then by my realms due homage would be paid ; When war has thunder'd with its loudest storms For wealthy kings are loyally obey'd !
Death thou hast seen in all her ghastly forms;
In duel met her on the listed ground,
Comest thou alive to view the Stygian bounds, When hand to hand they wound return for wound; Where the wan spectres walk eternal rounds : But never have thy eyes astonish'd view'd 1 Nor fear'st the dark and dismal waste to tread, So vile a deed, so dire a scene of blood. 520 Throng'd with pale ghosts, familiar with the dead? Even in the flow of joy, when now the bowl
To whom with sighs : I pass these dreadful gates Glows in our veins, and opens every soul,
To seek the Theban, and consult the Fates : We groan, we faint; with blood the dome is dyed, For still, distress'd, I rove from coast to coast, And o'er the pavement floats the dreadful tide Lost to my friends, and to my country lost. 590 Her breast all gore, with lamentable cries,
But sure the eye of Time beholds no name The bleeding innocent Cassandra dies!
So blest as thine in all the rolls of fame : Then though pale death froze cold in every vein, Alive we hail'd thee with our guardian gods, My sword I strive lo wield, but strive in vain : And dead, thou rulest a king in these abodes. Nor did my traitress wife these eyelids close,
Talk not of ruling in this dolorous gloom, Or decently in death my limbs compose. 530 Nor think vain words (he cried) can ease my doom. O woman, woman, when to ill thy mind
Rather I choose laboriously to bear Is bent, all hell contains no fouler fiend :
A weight of woes, and breathe the vital air, And such was mine! who basely plunged her sword A slave to some poor hind that toils for bread, Through the fond bosom where she reign'd adored! Than reign the scepter'd monarch of the dead. 600 Alas! I hoped, the toils of war o'ercome,
But say, if in my sceps my son proceeds, To meet soft quiet and repose at home:
And emulates his godlike father's deeds?
If at the clash of arms, and shout of foes,
Say if my sire, the reverend Peleus, reigns
O injured shade, I cried, what mighty woes Or, weak and old, my youthful arm demands, To thy imperial race from woman rose !
To fix the sceptre steadfast in his hands ? By woman here thou treadst this mournful strand, O might the lamp of life rekindled burn, And Greece by woman lies a desert land.
And death release me from the silent urn!
610 Warn'd by my ills beware, the shade replies, This arm, that thunder'd o'er the Phrygian plain, Nor trust the sex that is so rarely wise;
And swell'd the ground with mountains of the slain, When earnest to explore thy secret breast, Should vindicate my injured father's fame, Unfold some trifle, but conceal the rest.
Crush the proud rebel, and assert his claim. But in thy consort cease to fear a foe,
Illustrious shade (I cried,) of Peleus' fates For thee she feels sincerity of woe:
550 No circumstance the voice of fame relates : When Troy first bled beneath the Grecian arms, But hear with pleased attention the renown, She shone unrivall'd with a blaze of charms; The wars and wisdom of thy gallant son. Thy infant son her fragrant bosom press'd,
With me from Scyros to the field of fame Hung at her knee, or wanton'd at her breast : Radiant in arms the blooming hero came. 620 But now the years a numerous train have ran: When Greece assembled all her hundred states, The blooming boy is ripen'd into man:
To ripen councils, and decide debates, Thy eyes shall see him burn with noble fire, Heavens ! how he charm'd us with a flow of sense, The sire shall bless his son, the son his sire: And won the heart with manly eloquence ! But my Orestes never met these eyes,
He first was seen of all the peers to rise, Without one look the murder'd father dies ; 560 The third in wisdom where they all were wise; Then from a wretched friend this wisdom learn, But when, to try the fortune of the day, Even to thy queen disguised, unknown, relurn: Host moved toward host in terrible array, For since of womankind so few are just,
Before the van, impatient for the fight, Think all are false, nor even the faithful trust. With martial port he strode, and stern delight : 630 But say, resides my son in royal port,
Heaps strew'd on heaps beneath his falchion groan'd, In rich Orchomenos, or Sparta's court ?
Aud monuments of dead deform'd the ground. Or say in Pyle ? for yet he views the light,
The time would fail should I in order tell
How, lost through love, Eurypylus was slain,
Or if of nobler, Memnon, it was thine.
When llion in the horse received her doom, And add new borror to the realms of woe; And unseen armies ambush'd in its womb, 640 Till side by side along the dreary coast
Greece gave her latent warriors lo my care, Advanced Achilles' and Patroclus' ghost,
'Twas mine on Troy to pour the imprison'd war; A friendly pair ! near these the Pylian* stray'd, Then when the boldest bosom beat with fear, And towering Ajax, an illustrious shade!
When the stern eyes of heroes dropp'd a tear; War was his joy, and pleased with loud alarms, Fierce in his look his ardent valour glow'd, None but Pelides brighter shone in arms. 580 Flush'd in his cheek, or sallied in his blood;
Through the thick gloom his friend Achilles knew, Indignant in the dark recess he stands, And as he speaks the tears descend in dew. Pants for the battle, and the war demands:
His voice breathed death, and with a martial air * Antiochus.
Ile grasp d his sword, and shook his glittering spcar.
And when the gods our arms with conquest crown'd, With haughty love the audacious monster stroke
There Tantalus along the Stygian bounds Heap'd high his navy with unnumber'd spoils. Pours out deep groans (which groans all hell reThus, great in glory, from the din of war,
sounds ;) Safe he return'd, without one hostile scar; Even in the circling floods refreshment craves, 721 Though spears in iron tempests rain'd around, And pines with thirst amidst a sea of waves; Yet innocent they play'd, and guiltless of a wound. When to the water he his lip applies,
While yet I spoke, the shade with transport glow'd, Back from his lip the treacherous water flies Rose in his majesty, and nobler trod;
660 Above, beneath, around, his hapless head, With haughty stalk he sought the distant glades Trees of all kinds delicious fruitage spread; Of warrior kings, and join'd the illustrious shades. There figs sky-dyed, a purple hue disclose, Now, without number, ghost by ghost arose,
Green looks the olive, the pomegranate glows, All wailing with unutterable woes.
There dangling pears exalting scents unfold, Alone, apart, in discontented mood,
And yellow apples ripen into gold:
730 A gloomy shade, the sullen Ajax stood;
The fruit he strives to seize; but blasts arise For ever sad with proud disdain he pined,
Toss it on high, and whirl it to the skies. And the lost arms for ever stung his mind;
I turn'd my eye, and as I turn'd survey'd Though to the contest Thetis gave the laws, A mournful vision! the Sisyphian shade; And Pallas, by the Trojans, judged the cause. 670 With many a weary step, and many a groan, O why was I victorious in the strife ?
Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone; O dear-bought honour with so brave a life! The huge round stone, resulting with a bound, With him the strength of war, the soldiers' pride, Thunders impetuous down, and smokes along the Our second hope to great Achilles, died !
ground. Touch'd at the sight from tears I scarce refrain, Again the restless orb his toil renews, And tender sorrow thrills in every vein;
Dust mounts in clouds, and sweat descends in dews. Pensive and sad I stand, at length accost
Now I the strength of Hercules behold, 741 With accents mild the inexorable ghost.
A towering spectre of gigantic mould,
He nectar quaffs, and Hebè crowns his joys.
Around his breast a wondrous zone is roll'd, Jove hated Greece, and punish'd Greece in thee! Where woodland monsters grin in fretted gold. Turn, then, oh peaceful turn, thy wrath controul, There sullen lions sternly seem to roar, And calm the raging tempest of thy soul. 690 The bear to growl, to foam the tusky boar;
While yet I speak, the shade disdains to stay, There war and havoc and destruction stood,
And vengeful murder red with human blood.
The mighty ghost advanced with awful look,
And turning his grim visage sternly spoke.
760 But wondrous visions drew my curious eye.
O exercised in grief! by arts refined ! High on a throne, tremendous to behold,
O taught to bear the wrongs of base mankind! Stern Minos waves a mace of burnish'd gold; Such, such was I! still toss'd from care to care, Around ten thousand thousand spectres stand While in your world I drew the vital air! Through the wide dome of Dis, a trembling band. 700 Even I, who from the Lord of Thunders rose, Still as they plead, the fatal lots he rolls,
Bore toils and dangers, and a weight of woes;
(The hardest bondage to a generous mind!)
Even hell I conquer'd through the friendly aid 771 Stern beasts in trains that by his cruncheon fell, Of Maia's offspring and the martial maid. Now grisly forms, shoot o'er the lawns of hell. Thus he, nor deign’d for our reply to stay,
There Tityus large and long, in fetters bound, But, turning, stalk'd with giant strides away. O'erspreads nine acres of infernal ground; 710 Curious to view the kings of ancient days, Two ravenous vultures, furious for their food, The mighty dead that lived in endless praise, Scream o'er the fiend, and riot in his blood, Resolved I stand; and haply bad survey'd Incessant gore the liver in his breast,
The godlike Theseus, and Pirithous' shade; The immortal liver grows, and gives the immortal But swarms of spectres rose from deepest hell, feast.
With bloodless visage, and with bideous yell, 780 For as o'er Panopè's enamell’d plains
They scream, they shriek; sad groans and dismal soands Latona journey'd to the Pythian fanes,
Stun my scar'd ears, and pierce bell's utmost bounds
No more my heart the dismal din sustains,
The goddess spoke: in feasts we waste the day, And my cold blood hangs shivering in my veins; Till Phæbus downward plunged his burning ray; 40 Les! Gorgon, rising from the infernal lakes, Then sable night ascends, and balmy rest With horrors arm'd, and curls of hissing snakes, Seals every eye, and calms the troubled breast. Should fix me stiffen'd at the monstrous sight, Then, curious, she commands me to relate A stony image, in eternal night!
The dreadful scenes of Pluto's dreary state. Straight from the direful coast to purer air She sat in silence while the tale I tell, I speed my fight, and to my mates repair. 790 The wondrous visions, and the laws of hell. My mates ascend the ship; they strike their oars ; Then thus : The lot of man the gods dispose; The mountains lessen, and retreat the shores : These ills are past : now hear thy future woes. Swifi o'er the waves we fly; the freshening gales O prince, attend ! some favouring power be kind, Sing through the shrouds, and stretch the swelling And print the important story on thy mind! 50 sails.
Next, where the Sirens dwell, you plough the
Their song is death, and makes destruction please. BOOK XII.
Unblest the man, whom music wins to stay
Nigh the curst shore, and listen to the lay.
No more that wretch shall view the joys of life,
His blooming offspring, or his beauteous wife : He relates how, after his return from the shades he was In verdant meads they sport; and wide around
sent by Circe on his voyage, by the coast of the Sirens, Lie human bones, that whiten all the ground; and by the strait of Scylla and Charybdis: the man. The ground polluted floats with human gore, ner in which he escaped those dangers: how, being cast And human carnage taints the dreadful shore.
60 on the island of Trinacria, his companions destroyed the oxen of the Sun: the vengeance that followed; how Fly swift the dangerons coast: let every ear all perished by shipwreck except himself, who, swim- Be stopp'd against the song ! 'tis death to hear! ming on the mast of the ship, arrived on the island of Firm to the mast thyself with chains be bound, Calypso. With which his narration concludes. Nor trust thy virtue to the enchanting sound.
If, mad with transport, freedom thou demand,
Be every fetter strain'd, and added band to band.
These seas o'erpass'd, be wise! but I refrain Thus o'er the rolling surge the vessel flies, To mark distinct thy voyage o'er the main : Till from the waves the Ææan hills arise.
New horrors rise ! let prudence be thy guide, · Here the gay morn resides in radiant bowers, And guard thy various passage through the tide. 70
Here keeps her revels with the dancing Hours; High o'er the main two rocks exalt their brow, Here Phæbus rising in the ethereal way,
The boiling billows thundering roll below; Through heaven's bright portals pours the beamy day. Through the vast waves the dreadful wonders move, At once we fix our halsers on the land,
Hence named Erratic by the gods above. At once descend, and press the desert sand :
No bird of air, no dove of swiftest wing, There, worn and wasted, lose our cares in sleep That bears ambrosia to the ethereal king, To the hoarse murmurs of the rolling deep. 10 Shuns the dire rocks: in vain she cuts the skies,
Soon as the morn restored the day, we paid The dire rocks meet, and crush her as she flies; Sepulchral honours to Elpenor's shade.
Not the fleet bark, when prosperous breezes play, Now by the ax the rushing forest bends,
Ploughs o'er that roaring surge its desperate way; 80 And the huge pile along the shore ascends, O'erwhelm'd it sinks : while round a smoke expires, Around we stand, a melancholy train,
And the waves flashing seem to burn with fires. And a loud groan re-echoes from the main. Scarce the famed Argo, pass'd these raging floods, Fierce o'er the pyre, by fanning breezes spread The sacred Argo, fill'd with demigods ! The hungry flame devours the silent dead.
Even she had sunk, but Jove's imperial bride A rising tomb, the silent dead to grace,
Wing'd her fleet sail, and push'd her o'er the tide, Fast by the roarings of the main we place; 20 High in the air the rock its summit shrouds The rising tomb a lofty column bore,
In brooding tempests, and in rolling clouds : And high above it rose the tapering oar.
Loud storms around, and mists eternal rise, Meantime the goddess our return survey'd Beat its bleak brow, and intercept the skies. 90 From the pale ghosts, and hell's tremendous shade. When all the broad expansion, bright with day, Swift she descends : a train of nymphs divine Glows with the autumnal or the summer ray, Bear the rich viands and the generous wine : The summer and the autumn glow in vain, In act to speak the power of magic stands,
The sky for ever lowers, for ever clouds remain. And graceful thus accosts the listening bands. Impervious to the step of man it stands,
O sons of woe! decrced by adverse fates Though borne by twenty feet, though arm'd with Alive to pass through hell's eternal gates! 30
twenty hands; All, soon or late, are doom'd that path to tread; Smooth as the polish of the mirror rise More wretched you, twice number'd with the dead! The slippery sides, and shoot into the skies. This day adjourn your cares, exalt your souls, Full in the centre of this rock display'd, Indulge the taste, and drain the sparkling bowls ; A yawning cavern casts a dreadful shade: 100 And when the morn unveils her saffron ray, Nor the fleet arrow from the twanging bow, Spread your broad sails, and plough the liquid way. Sent with full force, could reach the depth below. Lo I this night, your faithful guide, explain Wide to the west the horrid gulf extends, Your woes by land, your dangers on the main. And the dire passage down to hell descends