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All birds and beasts lie hush'd : sleep steals away
The wild desires of men, and toils of day,
And brings, descending through the silent air,
A sweet forgetfulness of human care.
Yet no red clouds, with golden borders gay,
Promise the skies the bright return of day;
No faint reflections of the distant light
Streak with long gleams the scattering shades of
From the damp earth impervious vapours rise,
Increase the darkness, and involve the skies.
At once the rushing winds with roaring sound
Burst from the' Æolian caves, and rend the ground;
With equal rage their airy quarrel try,
And win by turns the kingdom of the sky :
But with a thicker night black Auster shrouda
The heav'ns, and drives on heaps the rolling clonds,
From whose dark womb a rattling tempest pours,
Which the cold north congeals to haily show'rs :
From pole to pole the thunder roars alond,
And broken lightnings flash from every cloud.
Now smokes with showers the misty mountain-
ground, And floated fields lie undistinguish'd round: The' Inachian streams with headlong fury run, And Erasinus rolls a deluge on; The foaming Lerna swells above its bounds, And spreads its ancient poisons o'er the grounds : Where late was dust, now rapid torrents play, Rush through the mounds, and bear the dams away; Old limbs of trees, from crackling forests torn, Are whirl'd in air, and on the winds are borne:
The storm the dark Lycæan groves display'd, And first to light expos'd the sacred shade.. .
The’ intrepid Theban hears the bursting sky,
Sees yawning rocks in massy fragments fly,
And views astonish’d, from the hills afar,
The floods descending, and the watry war,
That, driv'n by storms, and pouring o'er the plain,
Swept herds, and hinds, and houses, to the main.
Through the brown horrors of the night be fled,
Nor knows, amaz’d, what doubtful path to tread;
His brother's image to his mind appears,
Inflames his heart with rage, and wings his feet
So fares the sailor on the stormy main,
When clouds conceal Boötes' golden wain,
When not a star its friendly lustre keeps,
Nor trembling Cynthia glimmers on the deeps ;
He dreads the rocks, and shoals, and seas, and skies,
While thunder roars, and lightning round him flies.
Thus strove the chief, on every side distress'd;
Thus still his courage with his toils increas'd :
With his broad shield oppos’d, be forc'd his way
Through thickest woods, and rous'd the beasts of
Till he beheld where from Larissa's height (prey;
The shelving walls reflect a glancing light:
Thither with baste the Theban hero flies; )
On this side Lerna's poisonous water lies, .
On that Prosympa's grove and temple rise. )
He pass'd the gates, which then unguarded-lay,
And to the regal palace bent his way;
On the cold marble, spent with toil, he lies,
And waits till pleasing slunabers seal his eyes.
Adrastus here his happy people sways,
Bless'd with calm peace in his decliving days;
By both his parents of descent divine,
Great Jove and Phæbus grac'd his noble line :
Heav'n had not crown'd his wishes with a son,
But two fair daughters heir'd bis state and throne.
To bim Apollo (wondrous to relate !
But who can pierce into the depths of fate ;)
Had sung— Expect thy sons on Argós’ shore,
A yellow lion and a bristly boar.'
This long revolvid in his paternal breast,
Sat beavy on his heart, and broke his rest;
This, great Amphiaraus ! lay hid from thee,
Though skill'd in fate and dark futurity.
The father's care and prophet's art were vain,
For thus did the predicting god'ordain.
Lo, hapless Tydeus ! whose ill-fated hand
Had slain his brother, leaves his native land,
And, seiz’d with horror in the shades of night,
Through the thick deserts headlong urg'd his flight:
Now by the fury of the tempest driv'n,
He seeks a shelter from the inclement heav'n,
Till, led by fate, the Theban's steps he treads,
And to fair Argos' open courts succeeds.
When thus the chiefs from different lands resort To’Adrastus' realms and hospitable court, The king surveys his guests with cnrions eyes, And views their arms and habit with surprise. A lion's yellow skin the Theban wears, Horrid his mane, and rough with curling hairs; Such once employ'd Alcides' youthful toils, Ere yet adorn’d with Nemea's dreadful spoils. A boar's stiff hide, of Calydonian breed, Oenides' manly shoulders overspread ; Oblique his tusks, erect his bristles stood, Alive the pride and terror of the wood.
Struck with the sight, and fix'd in deep amaze, The king the accomplish'd oracle surveys,
Reverés Apollo's vocal caves, and owns
The guiding godhead and his future sons;
O'er all his bosom secret transports reign,
And a glad horror shoots through every vein:
To heav'n he lifts his hands, erects his sight,
And thus invokes the silent queen ot' night:-
Goddess of shades ! beneath whose gloomy reigu
Yon spangled arch glows with the starry train ;
You who the cares of heav'n and earth allay,
Till nature, quicken'd by the inspiring ray,
Wakes to new vigour with the rising day:
O thon! who freest me from my doubtful state,
Long lost and wilder'd in the maze of fate,
Be present still, O goddess ! in our aid ;
Proceed, and 'firm those omens thou hast made.
We to thy name our annual rites will pay,
And on thy altars sacrifices lay;
The sable tlock shall fall beneath the stroke,
And fill thy temples with a grateful smoke.
Hail! faithful Tripos ! bail! ye dark abodes
Of awful Phæbus; I confess the gods !'
Thus, seiz'd with sacred fear, the monarch pray'd; Then to his inner court the guests convey'd, Where yet thin fumes from dying sparks arise, ) And dust yet white upon each altar lies, The relics of a former sacritice. The king once more the solemn rites requires, And bids renew the feasts and wake the tires. His train obey; while all the courts around With poisy care and various tumult sound, Embroider'd purple clothes the golden beds; This slave the floor, and that the tablo spreads; . A third dispels the darkness of the night, And fills depending lamps with beans of light;
Here loaves in canisters are pild on high,
And there in flames the slaughter'd victims fiya
Sublime in regal state Adrastus shone,
Stretch'd on rich carpets on his ivory throne ;
A lofty couch receives each princely guest;
Around, at awful distance, wait the rest.
And 110w the king, his royal feast to grace,
Acestis calls, the guardian of his race,
Who first their youth in arts of virtue train'd,
And their ripe years in modest grace maintain'di
Then softly whisper'd in her faithful ear,
And bade his daughters at the rites appear.
When from the close apartments of the night
The royal nymphs approach divinely bright,
Such was Diana's, such Minerva's face,
Nor shine their beauties with superior grace,
But that in these a milder charm endears,
And less of terror in their looks appears.
As on the heroes first they cast their eyes,
O'er their fair cheeks the glowing blushes rise ;
Their downcast looks a decent sbame confess'd,
Then on their father's reverend features rest.
The banquet done, the monarch gives the sige
To fill the goblet high with sparkling wine,
Which Danaus us'd in sacred rites of old,
With sculpture grac'd, and rough with rising gold ;
Here to the clouds victorious Perseus flies,
Medusa seems to move her languid eyes,
And, ev'n in gold, turns paler as she dies :
There from the chase Jove's towering eagle
On golden wings, the Phrygian to the stars ;
Still as he rises in the ethereal height,
His native mountains lessen to his sight,