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Amphibious some do in the Syrts abound, And now on land, in waters now are found. 1205

Slimy Chelyders the parch'd earth diftain,
And trace a reeking furrow on the plain.

The spotted Cenchris, rich in various dyes,
Shoots in a line, and forth directly flies :
Not Theban marbles are so gayly dress’d,
Nor with such party-colour'd beauties grac'd.

Safe in his earthly hue and dusky skin,
Th' Ammodites lurks in the sands unseen :
The Swimmer there the crystal stream pollutes;
And swift, through air, the flying Javelin shoots. 1215
The Scytale, ere yet the spring returns,
There casts her coat; and there the Dipfas burns ;
The Amphisbæna doubly arm'd appears,
At either end a threatening head she rears.
Rais'd on his active tail the Pareas stands,
And, as he passes, furrows up the sands.
The Prester by his forming jaws is known ;
The Seps invades the flesh and firmer bone,
Dissolves the mass of man, and melts his fabric down.
The Basilisk, with dreadful hiflings heard, 1225
And from afar by every serpent fear’d,
To distance drives the vulgar, and remains
The lonely monarch of the desert plains.

And you, ye dragons of the scaly race, Whom glittering gold and shining armours grace, 1230 In other nations harmless are you found, This guardian Genii and protectors own'd;



In Afric only are you fatal ; there,
On wide-expanded wings, sublime you rear
Your dreadful forms, and drive the yielding air.
The lowing kine in droves you chace, and cull
Some master of the herd, some mighty bull :
Around his stubborn fides


twilt, By force compress, and burst his brawny chest. Not elephants are by their larger fize

1240 Secure, but, with the rest, become your prize. Resistless in your might, you all invade, And for destruction need not poison's aid. Thus, though a thousand plagues around them

spread, A

weary march the hardy soldiers tread, Through thirst, through toil and death, by Cato led. Their chief, with pious grief and deep regret, Each moment mourns his friends untimely fate; Wondering, he sees some small, some trivial wound Extend a valiant Roman on the ground.

1250 Aulus, a noble youth of Tyrrhene blood, Who bore the standard, on a Dipsas trode ; Backward the wrathful serpent bent her head, And, fell with rage, th' unheeded wrong repay'd. Scarce did some little mark of hurt remain,

1255 And scarce he found some little sense of pain; Nor could he yet the danger doubt, nor fear That death, with all its terrors, threaten'd there.. When lo! unseen, the secret venom spreads, And every nobler part at once invades;

1260 Swift fames consume the marrow and the brain, And the scorch'd entrails rage with burning pain ;



Upon his heart the thirsty poison's prey,
And drain the sacred juice of life away.
No kindly foods of moisture bathe his tongue, 1265
But cleaving to the parched roof it hung;
No trickling drops distil, no dewy sweat,
To ease his weary limbs, and cool the raging heat.
Nor could he weep; ev'n grief could not supply
Streams for the mournful office of his eye,
The never-failing source of tears was dry,
Frantic he flies, and with a careless hand.
Hurls the neglected eagle on the land;
Nor hears, nor minds, his pitying chief's command.
For springs he seeks, he digs, he proves the ground,
For springs, in vain, explores the desert round, 1276
For cooling draughts, which might their aid impart,
And quench the burning venom in his heart.
Plung'd in the Tanaïs, the Rhone, or Po,
Or Nile, whose wandering streams o'er Ægypt flow,
Still would he rage, still with the fever glow.
The scorching climate to his fate conspires,
And Libya's sun assists the Dipsas' fires.
Now every where for drink, in vain he pries,
Now to the Syrts and briny seas he flies;
The briny seas delight, but seem not to suffice.
Nor yet he knows what secret plague he nurs'd,
Nor found the poison, but believ'd it thirst.
Of thirst, and thirst alone, he still complains,
Raving for thirst, he tears his swelling veins; 1290
From every vessel drains a crimfon flood,
And quaffs in greedy draughis his vital blood.

This Cato saw, and straight, without delay, Commands the legions on to urge their way ; Nor give th' enquiring soldier time to know 1295 What deadly deeds a fatal thirst could do.

But soon a fate more fad, with new surprize, From the first object turns their wondering eyes. Wretched Sabellus by a Seps was stung; Fix'd to his leg, with deadly teeth, it hung : 1300 Sudden the soldier shook it from the wound, Transfix'd and nail'd it to the barren ground. Of all the dire destructive ferpent race, None have so much of death, though none are less. For straight, around the part, the skin withdrew, The flesh and shrinking finews backward flew, And left the naked bones expos’d to view. The spreading poisons all the parts confound, And the whole body finks within the wound. The brawny thighs no more their muscles boast, 1310 But, melting, all in liquid filth are loft ; The well-knit groin above, and ham below, Mixt in one putrid stream, together flow; The firm Peritonæum, rent in twain, No more the pressing entrails could sustain, It yields, and forth they fall, at once they guíh amain. Small relics of the mouldering mass were left, At once of substance, as of form bereft ; Diffolv'd the whole in liquid poison ran, And to a nauseous puddle shrunk the man. 1320 Then burst the rigid nerves, the manly breast, And all the texture of the heaving chest;




Refiftlefs way the conquering venom made,
And secret nature was at once display'd ;
Her sacred privacies all open lie

To each prophane, enquiring, vulgar eye.
Then the broad shoulders did the peft invade,
Then o'er the valiant arms and neck it spread;
Last funk, the mind's imperial seat, the head.
So snows diffolv'd by southern breezes run, 1330
So melts the wax before the noon-day sun.
Nor ends the wonder here; though flames are known
To waste the flesh, yet still they spare the bone :
Here none were left, no least remains were seen;
No marks to shew, that once the man had been. 1335
Of all the plagues which curse the Libyan land,
(If death and mischief inay a crown demand)
Serpent, the palm is thine. Though others may
Boast of their power to force the soul away,
Yet soul and body both become thy prey.

A fate of different kind Nafidius found, A burning Prefter gave the deadly wound; And straight a sudden flame began to spread, And paint his visage with a glowing red. With swift expansion fwells the bloated skin, Nought but an undistinguished mass is seen, While the fair human forin lies lost within. The puffy poison spreads, and heaves around, Till all the man is in the monster drown'd. No more the steely plate his breast can stay, 1350 But yields, and gives the bursting poison way. Not waters so, when fire the rage supplies, Bubbling on heaps, in boiling cauldrons rise :




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