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Besides, he's lovely far above the rest,
With youth immortal, and with beauty bless’d.
Add, that he varies every shape with ease,
And tries all forms that may Pomona please.
But what should most excite a mutual flame,
Your rural cares and pleasures are the same.
To him your, orchard's early fruits are due ;
(A pleasing offering when 'tis made by you)
He values these; but yet, alas ! complains
That still the best and dearest gift remains.
Not the fair fruit that on yon branches glows
With that ripe red the' autumnal sun bestows;
Nor tasteful herbs that in these gardens rise,
Which the kind soil with milky sap supplies ;
You, only you, can move the god's desire :
O crown so constant and so pure a fire!
Let soft compassion touch your genție mind;
"Think ’tis Vertumnus begs you to be kind :
So may no frost, when early bnds appear,
Destroy the promise of the youthful year ;
Nor winds, when first your florid orchard blows,
Shake the light blossoms from their blasted bouglis !'
This when the various god had urg'd in vain,
He straight assum'd bis native form again :
Such, and so bright an aspect now he bears,
As when through clouds the’ emerging sun appears,
And thence exerting his refulgent ray,
Dispels the darkness, and reveals the day.
Force he prepard, 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,
TRANSLATED IN THE YEAR 1703.
ARGUMENT. Edipus king of Thebes bavivg, by mistake, slain his father
Laius, and married his inother Jocasta, pat out his own eyes, and resigned the realm to his sons Eteocles and Polysices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the fury TY. siphone to sow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at last to reigo singly, each a year by turns, and the first lot is obtained by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the gods, de clares 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 Tydeus, who bad fled from Calydon, having killed bis brother. Adrastus enter. tains 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 bides of those heasts 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 Phee. bus and Psamarbe, and the story of Choræbus : be inquires, and is made acquainted with tþeir descent and quality. The sacrifice is renewed, and the book concludes with a bymn to Apollo.
FRATERNAL rage the guilty Thebes alarms,
The' alternate reign destroy'd by impious arms,
Demand our song; a sacred fury fires
My ravish'd breast, and all the Muse inspiręs.
O goddess ! say, shall I deduce my rhymes
From the dire nation in its early times,
Europa's rape, Agenor's stern decree,
And Cadmys searching round the spacious sea ?
How with the serpent's teeth he sow'd the soil,
And reap'd an iron harvest of his toil?
Or how from joining stones the city sprung,
While to his harp divine Ampbion sung?
Or shall I Juno's hate to Thebes resound,
Whose fatal rage the unhappy monarch found?
The sire against the son bis arrow drew
O’er the wide fields the furious mother flew,
And while her arms a second bope contain,
Sprung from the rocks, and plung’d into the main.
But wave whate'er to Cadmus may belong,
And fix, O Muse! the barrier of thy song
At Edipus—from his disasters trace
The long confusions of his guilty race:
Nor yet attempt to stretch thy bolder wing,
And mighty Cæsar's conquering eagles sing;
How twice he tam’d proud Ister's rapid flood,
While Dacian mountains stream'd with barbarous
blood; Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll, And stretch'd his empire to the frozen pole; Or, long before, with early valour strove In youthful arms to' assert the cause of Jove. And thou, great heir of all thy father's fame, Increase of glory to the Latian name! 0! bless thy Rome with an eternal reign, Nor let desiring worlds entreat in vain. What though the stars contract their heavenly 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 inain;
Resign to Jove bis 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:
Meanwhile permit that my preluding Muse
In Theban wars an humbler theme may choose :
Of furious hate surviving death she sings,
A fatal throne to two contending kings,
And funeral fames that, parting wide in air,
Express the discord of the souls they bear:
Of towns dispeopled, and the wandering ghosts
Of kings unburied in the wasted coasts ;
When Dirce's fountain blushd with Grecian blood,
And Thetis, near Ismenos' swelling flood,
With dread beheld the rolling sarges sweep
In heaps his slaughter'd sons into the deep.
What bero, Clio! wilt thou first relate?
The rage of Tydeus, or the prophet's fate?
Or how, with hills of slaid on every side,
Hippomedon repelld the hostile tide?
Or how the youth, with every grace adorn'd,
Untimely fell, to be for ever mourn'd?
Then to fierce Capanens thy verse extend,
And sing with horror bis prodigious end.
Now wretched Edipus, depriv’d of sight,
Led a long death in everlasting night;
But while he dwells where not a cheerful ray
Can pierce the darkness, and abhors the day,
The clear reflecting mind presents his sin
In frightful views, and makes it day within;
Returning thoughts in endless circles roll,
And thousand furies haunt his guilty soul:
The wretch then lifted to the unpitying skies
Those empty orbs from wlience he tore his eyes,
Whose wounds, yet fresh, with bloody hands he
strook, While from his breast these dreadful accents
broke: « Ye gods! that o'er the gloomy regions reign, Where guilty spirits feel eternal pain; Thou, sable Styx! whose livid streams are rolld Through dreary coasts, which I though blind bebold; Tisiphone ! that oft hast heard my pray'r, Assist if @dipus deserve thy care. If you receiv'd me from Jocasta's womb, And nurs'd the hope of mischiefs yet to come ; If, leaving Polybus, I took my way To Cyrrha's temple, on that fatal day When by the son the trembling father died, Where the three roads the Phocian fields divide ; If I the Sphynx's riddles durst explain, Taught by thyself to win the promis'd reign ; If wretched I, by baleful furies led, With monstrous mixture stain'd my mother's bed, For hell and thee begot an impious brood, And with full last those horrid joys renewid; Then self-condemn'd, to shades of endless night, Forc'd from these orbs the bleeding balls of sight; Oh, hear! and aid the vengeance I require, If worthy thee, and what thou might'st inspire.