Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

}

Dreadful awhile she shone all fiery red,
Then ficken'd into pale, and hid her drooping head. 785
Nor less I fear from that hoarse hollow roar,
In leafy groves, and on the founding shore.
In various turns the doubtful dolphins plav,
And thwart, and run across, and mix their way.
The cormorants the watery deep forsake,

790
And soaring herns avoid the plashy lake;
While, waddling on the margin of the main,
The crow bewets her, and prevents the rain.
Howe'er, if some great enterprize demand,
Behold, I proffer thee my willing hand :

795 My venturous bark the troubled deep shall try, To thy with'd port her plunging prow fall ply, Unless the feas resolve to beat us by.

He spoke ; and spread his canvas to the wind, Unmoor'd his boat, and left the shore behind. 800 Swift flew the nimble keel; and as they past, Long trails of light the shooting meteors cast; Ev'n the fix'd fires above in motion seem, Shake through the blast, and dart a quivering beam ; Black horrors on the gloomy ocean brood, And in long ridges rolls the threatening flood'; While loud and louder murmuring winds arise, And growl from every quarter of the skies. When thus the trembling master, pale with fear, Behold what wrath the dreadful gods prepare ; 810 My art is at a loss; the various tide Beats my unstable bark on every side : From the north-west the setting current swells, While southern storms the driving rack foretels. 814

Howe'er

805

}

825

Howe'er it be, our purpos'd way is lost,
Nor can one relick of our wreck be tost
By winds, like these, on fair Hesperia's coast.
Our only means of safety is to yield,
And measure back with haste the foamy field;
To give our unsuccessful labour o'er,

820 And reach, while yet we may, the neighbouring shore.

But Cæsar, still superior to distress, Fearless, and confident of fure success, Thus to the pilot loud-The feas despise; And the vain threatening of the noisy skies. Though gods deny thee yon Ausonian strand'; Yet, go, I charge thee, go at my commandi Thy ignorance alone can cause thy fears, Thou know'st not what a freight thy vellel bears ; Thou know'st not I am he, to whom ’tis given 830 Never to want the care of watchful heaven. Obedient fortune waits my humble thrall, And always ready comes before I call. Let winds, and seas, loud wars at freedom wage, And waste upon themselves their empty rage; A stronger, mightier Dæmon is thy friend, Thou, and thy bark, on Cæsar's fate depend. Thou stand'st amaz'd to view this dreadful scene; And wonder'st what the gods and fortune mean! But artfully their bounties thus they raise',

840 And from my dangers arrogate new praise;Amidst the fears of death they bid me live, And still inhance what they are sure to give. Then leave yon fhore behind with all thy haste, Nor shall this idle fury longer last.

Q+

835

845

}

850

855

Thy keel auspicious Mall the storm appease,
Shall glide triumphant o'er the calmer leas,
And reach Brundufium's fafer port with ease.
Nor can the gods ordain another now, .
'Tis what I want, and what they must bestow..

Thus while in vaunting words the leader spoke;
Full on his bark the thundering tempelt struck;.
Off rips the rending canvas from the mast,
And whirling Aits before the driving blast ;
In every joint the groaning alder sounds,
And gapes wide-opening with a thousand wounds.
Now, rising all at once, and unconfin'd,
From every quarter roars the rushing wind :
First from the wide Atlantic ocean's bed,
Tempestuous Corus rears his dreadful head; 860
Th' obedient deep his potent breath controls,
And, mountain-high, the foamy flood he rolls.
Him the north-east encountering fierce defy'd,
And back rebuffeted the yielding tide.
The curling surges loud conflicting meet, 865
Daih their proud heads, and bellow as they beat ;
While piercing Boreas, from the Scythian strand,
Plows

up

the waves, and scoops the loweit sand. Nor Eurus then, I ween, was left to dwell, Nor showery Notus in th’ Æolian cell ;

870 But each from every fide, his power to boast, Rang’d his proud forces, to defend his coast. Equal in might, alike they strive in vain, While in the midst the feas unmou'd remain : In lesser wars they yield to stormy heaven, And captive waves to other deeps are driven ;

The

875

The Tyrrhene billows dash Ægean shores,
And Adria in the mix'd Ionian roars.
How then must earth the swelling ocean dread,
When floods ran higher than each mountain's head! 880
Subject and low the trembling beldame lay,
And gave herself for lost, the conquering water's prey.
What other worlds, what seas unknown before,
Then drove their billows on our beaten fhore !
What distant deeps, their prodigies to boast,

855
Heav'd their huge moníters on th’ Ausonian coast!
So when avenging Jove long time had hurld,
And tir'd his thunders on a harden'd worid :
New wrath, the god, new punishment display'd
And call'd his watery brother to his aid: 890
Offending earth to Neptune's lot he join'd,
And bade his fioods no longer stand confind;
At once the surges o'er the nations rise,
And seas are only bounded by the skies.
Such now the spreading deluge had been seen,
Had not th’ Almighty Ruler stood between;
Proud waves the cloud-compelling fire obey'd,
Confefs'd his hand fuppreiling, and were ftay'd.

Nor was that gloom the common shade of night, The friendly darkness, that relieves the light; 900 But fearful, black, and horrible to tell, A murky vapour breath'd from yawning hell: So thick the mingling seas and clouds were hung, Scarce could the struggling lightning gleam along. Through nature's frame the dire convulsion struck, 905 Heaven groan’d, the labouring pole and axis shook :

Uproar,

895

910

}

Uproar, and Chaos old, prevail'd again,
And broke the sacred elemental chain :
Black fiends, unhallow'd, sought the blest abodes,
Profan'd the day, and mingled with the gods.
One only hope, when every other fail'd,
With Cæsar, and with nature's self, prevail'd;
The storm that sought their ruin, prov'd them strong,
Nor could they fall, who stood that shock so long.
High as Leucadia's lessening cliffs arise,

915
On the tall billow's top the vefiel flies;
While the pale master, from the surge's brow,
With giddy eyes furveys the depth below.
When straight the gaping main at once divides,
On naked fands the rushing bark subsides,
And the low liquid vale the topmast hides.
The trembling shipman, all distraught with fear,
Forgets his course, and knows not how to steer ;
No more the useless rudder guides the prow,
To meet the rolling swell, or shun the blow.

925 But, lo! the storm itself assistance lends, While one assaults, another wave defends : This lays the sidelong alder on the main, And that restores the leaning bark again. Obedient to the mighty winds she plies,

93 Now seeks the depths, and now invades the skies į There born aloft, the apprehends no more, Or shoaly Safon, or Theffalia's fhore; High hills she dreads, and promontories now, And fears to touch Ceraunia's airy brow.

935 At length the universal wreck appear'd, To Cæfar's self, ev'n worthy to be fear'd.

Why

« ПредишнаНапред »