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This, when the various god had urg'd in vain, He straight assum'd his native form again : Such, and so bright an aspect now he bears, As when through clouds th' emerging sun appears, And thence exerting his refulgent ray, Dispels the darkness, and reveals the day. Force he prepar'd, but check'd the rash design; For when, appearing in a form divine, The nymph surveys him, and beholds the grace Of charming features and a youthful face, In her soft breast consenting passions move, And the warm maid confess'd a mutual love.
Evipus, King of Thebes, having, by mistake, slain his father Laius, and married his mother Jocasta, put out his own eyes, and resigned his realm to his sons Eteocles and Polynices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the fury Tisiphone, to sow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at last to reign singly, each a year by turns, and the first lot is obtained by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the gods, declares his resolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives also, by means of a marriage betwixt Polynices and one of the daughters of Adrastus King of Argos. Juno opposes, but to no effect; and Mercury is sent on a message to the shades, to the ghost of Laius, who is to appear to Eteocles, and provoke him to break the agreement. Polynices, in the mean time, departs from Thebes by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives at Argos; where he meets with Tideus, who had fled from Calidon, having killed his brother. Adrastus.entertains them, having received an oracle from Apollo that his daughters should be married to a boar and a lion, which he understands to be meant of these strangers, by whom the hides of those beasts were worn, and who arrived at the time when he kept an annual feast in honour of that god. The rise of this solemnity. He relates to his guests the loves of Phæbus and Psamathe, and the story of Choræbus: he inquires, and is made acquainted with their descent and quality. The sacrifice is renewed, and the book concludes with a hymn to Apollo.
THE FIRST BOOK OF
FRATERNAL rage, the guilty Thebes’alarms,
But waive whate'er to Cadmus may belong,
At Edipus—from his disasters trace
space, And crowd their shining ranks to yield thee place; Though all the skies, ambitious of thy sway, Conspire to court thee from our world away; Though Phæbus longs to mix his rays with thine, And in thy glories more serenely shine; Though Jove himself no less content would be To part his throne, and share his heaven with thee? Yet stay, great Cæsar! and vouchsafe to reign O'er the wide earth, and o'er the watery main; Resign to Jove his empire of the skies, And people heaven with Roman deities.
The time will come when a diviner flame Shall warm my breast to sing of Cæsar's fame;