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Now from the depth of hell they lift their sight,
And at a distance fee superior light;
The lashing billows make a loud report,
And beat her fides, as batt’ring rams a fort :
Or as a lion bounding in his way,
With force augmented, bears against his prey.
Sidelong to seize; or unappall’d with fear,
Springs on the toils, and rushes on the spear :
So seas impell’d by winds, with added pow'r
Assault the sides, and o'er the hatches tow'r.
The planks (their pitchy cov'rings wash'd away)
Now yield; and now a yawning breach display:
The roaring waters with a hostile tide
Rush through the ruins of her gaping side.
Meantime in sheets of rain the sky descends,
And ocean swell’d with waters upwards tends ;
One rising, falling one, the heav'ns and sea
Meet at their confines, in the middle
The fails are drunk with show'rs, and drop with rain,
Sweet waters mingle with the briny main.
No ftar appears to lend his friendly light;
Darkness and tempest make a double night;
But flashing fires disclose the deep by turns,
And while the lightnings blaze, the water burns.
Now all the waves their scatter'd force unite ;
And as a soldier foremost in the fight,
way for others, and an hoft alone Still presses on, and urging gains the town;
So while th' invading billows come a-breaft,
The hero tenth advanc'd before the rest,
Sweeps all before him with impetuous sway,
And from the walls descends upon the prey;
Part following enter, part remain without,
With envy hear their fellows conqu’ring thout,
And mount on others backs, in hopes to share
The city, thus become the seat of war.
An universal cry resounds aloud,
The failors run in heaps, a helpless crowd;
Art fails, and courage falls, no succour near;
As many waves, as many deaths appear.
One weeps, and yet despairs of late relief;
One cannot weep, his fears congeal his grief,
But stupid with dry eyes expects his fate :
One with loud shrieks laments his loft estate,
And calls those happy whom their fun'rals wait.
This wretch with pray’rs and vows the Gods implores,
And ev’n the skies he cannot fee, adores.
That other on his friends his thoughts bestows,
His careful father, and his faithful spouse.
The covetous worldling in his anxious mind,
Thinks only on the wealth he left behind.
All Ceyx his Alcyonè employs,
For her he grieves, yet in her absence joys ;
His wife he wishes, and would still be near,
Not her with him, but wishes him with her:
Now with laft looks he feeks his native thore,
Which fate has defin'd him to see no more ;
He fought, but in the dark tempestuous night
He knew not whither to direct his fight.
So whirl the seas, such darkness blinds the sky,
That the black night receives a deeper dye.
The giddy ship ran round; the tempest tore
Her mast, and over-board the rudder bore.
One billow mounts, and with a scornful brow,
Proud of her conquest gain'd, insults the waves below;
Nor lighter falls, than if some giant tore
Pindus and Athos with the freight they bore,
And toss'd on seas; press’d with the pond'rous blow,
Down finks the ship within the abyss below:
Down with the vessel sink into the main
The many, never more to rise again.
Some few on scatter'd planks with fruitless care,
Lay hold, and swim ; but while they swim despair.
Ev’n he who late a sceptre did command,
Now grasps a floating fragment in his hand:
And while he struggles on the stormy main,
Invokes his father, and his wife, in vain.
But yet his coafort is his greatest care,
Alcyonè he names amidst his pray'r;
Names as a charm against the waves and wind:
Most in his mouth, and ever in his mind.
Tir'd with his toil, all hopes of safety past,
From pray’rs to wishes he descends at lait;
That his dead body, wafted to the fands,
Might have its burial from her friendly hands.
As oft as he can catch a gulp of air,
peep above the seas, he names the fair :
And ev’n when plung'd beneath, on her he raves,
Murm'ring Alcyonè below the waves :
At last a falling billow stops his breath,
Breaks o'er his head, and whelms him underneath.
Bright Lucifer unlike himself appears
That night, his heav'nly form obscur’d with tears ;
And since he was forbid to leave the skies,
He muffled with a cloud his mournful eyes.
Mean-time Alcyonè (his fate unknown) Computes how many nights he had been gone. Observes the waning moon with hourly view, Numbers her age, and wishes for a new ; Against the promis'd time provides with care, And haftens in the woof the robes he was to wear : And for herself employs another loom, New-dress’d to meet her Lord returning home, Flatt'ring her heart with joys, that never were to come: She fum’d the temples with an od’rous flame, And oft before the sacred altars came, To pray for him, who was an empty name. All pow'rs implor'd, but far above the rest To Juno fhe her pious vows address’d, Her much-lov'd lord from perils to protect : And safe o’er seas his voyage to direct : Then pray'd, that she might still possess his heart, And no pretending rival fhare a part;
This last petition heard of all her pray'r,
The rest, dispers’d by winds, were lost in air.
But she, the goddess of the nuptial bed,
Tir'd with her vain devotions for the dead,
Resolv'd the tainted hand should be repell’d,
Which incense offer'd, and her altar held :
Then Iris thus bespoke : thou faithful maid,
By whom thy queen's commands are well convey'd,
Haste to the house of sleep, and bid the God
Who rules the night by visions with a nod,
Prepare a dream, in figure, and in form
Resembling him who perilh'd in the storm:
This form before Alcyonè present,
To make her certain of the fad event.
Indu'd with robes of various hue she flies, And flying draws an arch, (a segment of the skies :) Then leaves her bending bow, and from the steep Descends, to search the silent house of fleep.