ePub 版

Here loaves in canisters are pild on high,
And there in flames the slaughter'd victims fly.
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 now 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'd;
Then softly whisperd 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 shame confess'd,
Then on their father's reverend features rest.

The banquet done, the monarch gives the sign
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 victorions Perseus flies,
Medusa seems to move her languid eyes,
And, ev'n in gold, turtis 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,

While all his sad companions upward gaze,
Fix'd on the glorious scene in wild amaze,
And the swift hounds, affrighted as he flies,
Run to the shade, and bark against the skies.

This golden bowl with generous juice was crown'd,
The first libation sprinkled on the ground,
By turns on each celestial power they call;
With Phæbus' name resounds the vaulted ball.
The courtly train, the strangers, and the rest,
Crown'd with chaste laurel, and with garlands

dressid, While with rich gums the fuming altars blaze, Salute the god in numerous hymns of praise.

Then thus the king : Perhaps, my noble guests! These honour'd altars, and these annual feasts To bright Apollo's awful name desigu’d, Unknown, with wonder may perplex your mind. Great was the cause : our old solemnities From po blind zeal or fond tradition rise ; But sav'd from death, our Argives yearly pay These grateful honours to the god of day.

• When by a thousand darts the Python slain With orbs unrolld lay covering all the plain, (Transfix'd as o'er Castalia's streams he hung, And suck'd new poisons with his triple tongue) .To Argos' realms the victor god resorts, And enters old Crotopos' humble courts. This rural prince one only danghter bless’d, That all the charms of blooming youth possessid ; Fair was her face, and spotless was her mind, Where filial love with virgin sweetness join'd : Happy! and bappy still she might have prov'd, Were she less beautiful, or less belov'd! But Phæbas lov'd, and on the flowery side Of Nemea's stream the yielding fair enjoy'd.

Now ere ten moons their orb with light adorn,
The' illustrious offspring of the god was born;
The nymph, her father's anger to evade,
Retires from Argos to the silvan shade;
To woods and wilds the pleasing burden bears,
And trusts her infant to a shepherd's cares.

• How mean a fate, unhappy child, is thine !
Ah! bow unworthy those of race divine !
On flowery herbs in some green covert laid,
His bed the ground, his canopy the shade,
He mixes with the bleating lambs his cries,
While the rude swaiv his rural music tries,
To call soft slumbers on his infant eyes.
Yet ev'n in those obscure abodes to live
Was more, alas! than cruel fate would give;
For on the grassy verdure as he lay,
And breath'd the freshness of the early day,
Devouring dogs the helpless infant tore,
Fed on his trembling limbs, and lapp'd the gore.
The' astonish'd mother, wlien the rumour came,
Forgets her father, and neglects her fame;
With loud complaints she fills the yielding air,
And beats her breast, and rends her flowing hair ;
Then wild with anguish to ber sire she flies,
Demands the sentence, and contented dies.

• But touch'd with sorrow for the deed too late, The raging god prepares to' avenge her fate. He sends a monster, horrible and tell, Begot by furies in the depths of hell. The pest a virgin's face and bosom bears ; High op her crown a rising spake appears, Guards her black front, and hissses in her hairs : S About the realm she walks her dreadful rond, When night with sable wings o'erspreads the


Devours young babes before their parents' eyes, And feeds and thrives on public miseries.

* But generous rage the bold Choræbus warms, Chorebus ! fam'd for virtue as for arms; Some few, like bim, inspir'd with martial flame, Thought a short life well lost for endless fame. These, where two ways in equal parts divide, The direful monster from afar descry'd, Two bleeding babes depending at her side; Whose panting vitals, warm with life, she draws, And in their hearts imbrues her cruel claws. The youths surround her with extended spears; But brave Chorcbus in the front appears ; Deep in her breast he plung'd his shining sword, And hell's dire monster back to hell restor'd. The' Inachians view the slain with vast surprise, Her twisting volumes, and her rolling eyes, Her spotted breast and gaping womb imbrued With livid poison and our children's blood. The crowd in stupid wonder fix'd appear, Pale ev'n in joy, nor yet forget to fear. Some with vast beams the squalid corse engage, And weary all the wild efforts of rage. The birds obscene, that nightly flock'd to taste, With hollow screeches fled the dire repast; And ravenous dogs, allur'd by scented blood, And starving wolves, ran howling to the wood.

"But tir'd with rage, from cleft Parnassus' brow Avenging Phæbus bent his deadly bow, And hissing flew the feather'd fates below: A night of sultry clouds involv'd around The towers, the fields, and the devoted ground : And now a thousand lives together fled, Deatlı with his scythe cut off the fatal thread, And a whole province in his triumph-led.


• But Phæbus, ask'd why noxious fires appear, And raging Sirius blasts the sickly year? Demands their lives by whom his monster fell, And dooms a dreadful sacrifice to hell.

• Bless'd be thy dust, and let eternal fame
Attend thy manes, and preserve thy name,
Undaunted hero! who, divinely brave,
In such a cause disdain’d thy life to save,
But view'd the shrine with a superior look,
And its upbraided godhead thus bespoke :

“With piety, the soul's securest guard,
And conscious virtue, still its own reward,
Willing I come, unknowing how to fear,
Nor shalt thou, Phæbus, find a suppliant here:
Thy monster's death to me was ow'd alone,
And 'tis a deed too glorious to disown.
Behold him bere, for whom, so many days,
Impervious clouds conceal'd thy sullen rays;
For whom, as man no longer claim'd thy care,
Such numbers fell hy pestilential air!
But if the’abandon'd race of human kind
From gods above no more compassion find;
If such inclemency in heaven can dwell,
Yet why must unoffending Argos feel
The vengeance due to this unlucky steel?
On me, on me, let all thy fury fall,
Nor err from me, since I deserve it all,
Unless our desert cities please thy sight,
Or funeral flames reflect a grateful light.
Discharge thy shafts, this ready bosom rend,
And to the shades a ghost triumphant send;
But for my country let my fate atone;
Be mine the vengeance, as the crime my own."

Merit distress'd impartial Heaven relieves Unwelcome life relenting Plæbus, gives;


« 上一頁繼續 »