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Had sung-Expect thy sons on Argos shore,
A yellow lion, and a bristly boar.'
This, long revolved in his paternal breast,
Sate heavy on his heart, and broke his rest;
This, great Amphiarus, 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, seized with horror, in the shades of night,
Through the thick deserts headlong urged his flight,
Now by the fury of the tempest driven,
He seeks a shelter from the inclement heaven,
Till, led by fate, the Theban's steps he treads,
And to fair Argos' open court succeeds.
When thus the chiefs from different lands reson,
To Adrastus' realms, and hospitable court;
The king surveys his guests with curious eyes,
And views their arms and habit with surprise.
A lion's yellow skin the Theban wears,
Horrid his mane, and rough with ‹urling 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,
Enides' 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;
Reveres 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 heaven he lifts his hands, erect his sight,
And thus invokes the silent queen of night:
Goddess of shades, beneath whose gloomy reign
spang ed arch glows with the starry train;
You, who the cares of heaven and earth allay,
Till nature, quicken'd by the inspiring ray,
Wakes to new vigour with the rising day:
O thou, who freest me from my doubtful state,
Long lost and wilder'd in the maze of fate!
Be present still: oh 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 flock shall fall beneath the stroke,
And fill thy temples with a graceful smoke
Hail, faithful Tripos! hail, ye dark abodes
Of awful Phœbus: I confess the gods!'
Thus, seized 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 sacrifice.
The king once more the solemn rites requires,
And bids renew the feasts, and wake the fires.
His train obey, while all the courts around
With noisy care and various tumult sound.
Embroider'd purple clothes the golden beds;
This slave the floor, and that the table spreads:
A third dispels the darkness of the night;
And fills depending lamps with beams of light;
Here loaves in canisters are piled on high,
And there in flames the slaughter'd victims fry.
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 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 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 used in sacred rites of old, With sculpture graced, and rough with rising gold. Here to the clouds victorious Perseus flies, Medusa seems to move her languid eyes, And e'en in gold, turns paler as she dies. There from the chase Jove's towering eagle bears, 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 Phoebus' name resounds the vaulted hall.
The courtly train, the strangers, and the rest, Crown'd with chaste laurel, and with garlands
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 design'd,
Unknown, with wonder may perplex your mind,
Great was the canse; our old solemnities
From no blind zeal or fond tradition rise;
But, saved from death, our Argives yearly pay
These grateful honours to the god of day.
'When by a thousand darts the Python slain
With orbs unroll'd, lay covering all the plain
(Transfix'd as o'er Castalia's streams he hung,
And suck'd new poison with his triple tongue,)
To Argo's realms the victor god resorts,
And enters old Crotopus' humble courts.
This rural prince one only daughter bless'd,
That all the charms of blooming youth possess'd;
Fair was her face, and spotless was her mind,
Where filia! love with virgin sweetness join'd.
Happy! and happy still she might have proved,
Were she less beautiful, or less beloved!
But Phœbus loved, 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 sylvan shade;
To woods and wilds the pleasing burthen bears,
And trusts her infant to a shepherd's cares.
'How mean a fate, unhappy child is thine! Ah, how 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 swain his rural music tries, To call soft slumbers on his infant eyes. Yet e'en in those obscure abodes to live, Was more, alas! than cruel fate would give; For on the grassy verdure as he lay, And breathed 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, when 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 her sire she flies, Demands the sentence, and contented dies.
'But, touch'd with sorrow for the dead too late, The raging god prepares to avenge her fate. He sends a monster, horrible and fell, Begot by furies in the depths of hell. The pest a virgin's face and bosom bears; High on a crown a rising snake appears, Guards her black front, and hisses in her hairs; About the realm she walks her dreadful round, When night with sable wings o'erspreads the ground Devours young babes before their parents' eyes, And feeds and thrives on public miseries.
But generous rage the bold Chorobus warms. Chorobus, famed for virtue, as for arms; Some few like him, inspired 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 descried, 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 Chorobus in the front appears,
Deep in her breast he plunged his shining sword,
And hell's dire monster back to hell restored.
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 e'en in joy, nor yet forget to fear.
Some with vast beams the squalid corpse engage,
And weary ali the wild efforts of rage.
The birds obscene, that nightly flock'd to taste,
With hollow screeches fled the dire repast;