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The Poetical Works of Addison; Gay's Fables; and Somerville's Chase With Memoirs and Critical Dissertations, by the Rev. George Gilfillan online

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Her brinded whelps securely lay,
Or couched, in dreadful slumbers waste the day.
While Troy in heaps of ruins lies,
Rome and the Roman Capitol shall rise;
The illustrious exiles unconfined
Shall triumph far and near, and rule mankind.
In vain the sea's intruding tide
Europe from Afric shall divide,
And part the severed world in two:
_90
Through Afric's sands their triumphs they shall spread,
And the long train of victories pursue
To Nile's yet undiscovered head.
Riches the hardy soldier shall despise,
And look on gold with undesiring eyes,
Nor the disbowelled earth explore
In search of the forbidden ore;
Those glittering ills concealed within the mine,
Shall lie untouched, and innocently shine.
To the last bounds that nature sets,
_100
The piercing colds and sultry heats,
The godlike race shall spread their arms;
Now fill the polar circle with alarms,
Till storms and tempests their pursuits confine;
Now sweat for conquest underneath the line.
This only law the victor shall restrain,
On these conditions shall he reign;
If none his guilty hand employ
To build again a second Troy,
If none the rash design pursue,
_110
Nor tempt the vengeance of the gods anew.
A curse there cleaves to the devoted place,
That shall the new foundations raze:
Greece shall in mutual leagues conspire
To storm the rising town with fire,
And at their armies' head myself will show
What Juno, urged to all her rage, can do.
Thrice should Apollo's self the city raise,
And line it round with walls of brass,
Thrice should my favourite Greeks his works confound,
_120
And hew the shining fabric to the ground;
Thrice should her captive dames to Greece return,
And their dead sons and slaughtered husbands mourn.'
But hold, my Muse, forbear thy towering flight,
Nor bring the secrets of the gods to light:
In vain would thy presumptuous verse
The immortal rhetoric rehearse;
The mighty strains, in lyric numbers bound,
Forget their majesty, and lose their sound.



THE VESTAL.

FROM OVID DE FASTIS, LIB. III. EL. 1.

Blanda quies victis furtim subrepit ocellis, &c.

As the fair vestal to the fountain came,
(Let none be startled at a vestal's name)
Tired with the walk, she laid her down to rest,
And to the winds exposed her glowing breast,
To take the freshness of the morning-air,
And gather'd in a knot her flowing hair;
While thus she rested, on her arm reclined,
The hoary willows waving with the wind,
And feather'd choirs that warbled in the shade,
And purling streams that through the meadow stray'd,
_10
In drowsy murmurs lull'd the gentle maid.
The god of war beheld the virgin lie,
The god beheld her with a lover's eye;
And by so tempting an occasion press'd,
The beauteous maid, whom he beheld, possess'd:
Conceiving as she slept, her fruitful womb
Swell'd with the founder of immortal Rome.



OVID'S METAMORPHOSES.

BOOK II.

THE STORY OF PHÆTON.

The sun's bright palace, on high columns raised,
With burnished gold and flaming jewels blazed;
The folding gates diffused a silver light,
And with a milder gleam refreshed the sight;
Of polished ivory was the covering wrought:
The matter vied not with the sculptor's thought,
For in the portal was displayed on high
(The work of Vulcan) a fictitious sky;
A waving sea the inferior earth embraced,
And gods and goddesses the waters graced.
_10
Ægeon here a mighty whale bestrode;
Triton, and Proteus, (the deceiving god,)
With Doris here were carved, and all her train,
Some loosely swimming in the figured main,
While some on rocks their dropping hair divide,
And some on fishes through the waters glide:
Though various features did the sisters grace,
A sister's likeness was in every face.
On earth a different landscape courts the eyes,
Men, towns, and beasts, in distant prospects rise,
_20
And nymphs, and streams, and woods, and rural deities.
O'er all, the heaven's refulgent image shines;
On either gate were six engraven signs.
Here Phaëton, still gaining on the ascent,
To his suspected father's palace went,
Till, pressing forward through the bright ahode,
He saw at distance the illustrious god:
He saw at distance, or the dazzling light
Had flashed too strongly on his aching sight.
The god sits high, exalted on a throne
_30
Of blazing gems, with purple garments on:
The Hours, in order ranged on either hand,
And days, and months, and years, and ages, stand.
Here Spring appears with flowery chaplets bound;
Here Summer in her wheaten garland crowned;
Here Autumn the rich trodden grapes besmear;
And hoary Winter shivers in the rear.
Phoebus beheld the youth from off his throne;
That eye, which looks on all, was fixed on one.
He saw the boy's confusion in his face,
_40
Surprised at all the wonders of the place;
And cries aloud, 'What wants my son? for know
My son thou art, and I must call thee so.'
'Light of the world,' the trembling youth replies,
'Illustrious parent! since you don't despise
The parent's name, some certain token give,
That I may Clymene's proud boast believe,
Nor longer under false reproaches grieve.'
The tender sire was touched with what he said.
And flung the blaze of glories from his head,
_50
And bid the youth advance: 'My son,' said he,
'Come to thy father's arms! for Clymene
Has told thee true; a parent's name I own,
And deem thee worthy to be called my son.
As a sure proof, make some request, and I,
Whate'er it be, with that request comply;
By Styx I swear, whose waves are hid in night,
And roll impervious to my piercing sight.'
The youth transported, asks, without delay,
To guide the Sun's bright chariot for a day.
_60
The god repented of the oath he took,
For anguish thrice his radiant head he shook;
'My son,' says he, 'some other proof require,
Rash was my promise, rash is thy desire.
I'd fain deny this wish which thou hast made,
Or, what I can't deny, would fain dissuade.
Too vast and hazardous the task appears,
Nor suited to thy strength, nor to thy years.
Thy lot is mortal, but thy wishes fly
Beyond the province of mortality:
_70
There is not one of all the gods that dares
(However skilled in other great affairs)
To mount the burning axle-tree, but I;
Not Jove himself, the ruler of the sky,
That hurls the three-forked thunder from above,
Dares try his strength; yet who so strong as Jove?
The steeds climb up the first ascent with pain:
And when the middle firmament they gain,
If downward from the heavens my head I bow,
And see the earth and ocean hang below;
_80
Even I am seized with horror and affright,
And my own heart misgives me at the sight.
A mighty downfal steeps the evening stage,
And steady reins must curb the horses' rage.
Tethys herself has feared to see me driven
Down headlong from the precipice of heaven.
Besides, consider what impetuous force
Turns stars and planets in a different course:
I steer against their motions; nor am I 89
Born back by all the current of the sky.
_90
But how could you resist the orbs that roll
In adverse whirls, and stem the rapid pole?
But you perhaps may hope for pleasing woods,
And stately domes, and cities filled with gods;
While through a thousand snares your progress lies,
Where forms of starry monsters stock the skies:
For, should you hit the doubtful way aright,
The Bull with stooping horns stands opposite;
Next him the bright Hæmonian Bow is strung;
And next, the Lion's grinning visage hung:
_100
The Scorpion's claws here clasp a wide extent,
And here the Crab's in lesser clasps are bent.
Nor would you find it easy to compose
The mettled steeds, when from their nostrils flows
The scorching fire, that in their entrails glows.
Even I their headstrong fury scarce restrain,
When they grow warm and restive to the rein.
Let not my son a fatal gift require,
But, oh! in time recall your rash desire;
You ask a gift that may your parent tell,
_110
Let these my fears your parentage reveal;
And learn a father from a father's care:
Look on my face; or if my heart lay bare,
Could you but look, you'd read the father there.
Choose out a gift from seas, or earth, or skies,
For open to your wish all nature lies,
Only decline this one unequal task,
For 'tis a mischief, not a gift you ask;
You ask a real mischief, Phaëton:
Nay, hang not thus about my neck, my son:
_120
I grant your wish, and Styx has heard my voice,
Choose what you will, but make a wiser choice.'
Thus did the god the unwary youth advise;
But he still longs to travel through the skies,
When the fond father (for in vain he pleads)
At length to the Vulcanian chariot leads.
A golden axle did the work uphold,
Gold was the beam, the wheels were orbed with gold.
The spokes in rows of silver pleased the sight,
The seat with party-coloured gems was bright;
_130
Apollo shined amid the glare of light.
The youth with secret joy the work surveys;
When now the morn disclosed her purple rays;
The stars were fled; for Lucifer had chased
The stars away, and fled himself at last.
Soon as the father saw the rosy morn,
And the moon shining with a blunter horn,
He bid the nimble Hours without delay
Bring forth the steeds; the nimble Hours obey:
From their full racks the generous steeds retire,
_140
Dropping ambrosial foams and snorting fire.
Still anxious for his son, the god of day,
To make him proof against the burning ray,
His temples with celestial ointment wet,
Of sovereign virtue to repel the heat;
Then fixed the beaming circle on his head,
And fetched a deep, foreboding sigh, and said,
'Take this at least, this last advice, my son:
Keep a stiff rein, and move but gently on:
The coursers of themselves will run too fast,
_150
Your art must be to moderate their haste.
Drive them not on directly through the skies,
But where the Zodiac's winding circle lies,
Along the midmost zone; but sally forth
Nor to the distant south, nor stormy north.
The horses' hoofs a beaten track will show,
But neither mount too high nor sink too low,
That no new fires or heaven or earth infest;
Keep the mid-way, the middle way is best.
Nor, where in radiant folds the Serpent twines,
_160
Direct your course, nor where the Altar shines.
Shun both extremes; the rest let Fortune guide,
And better for thee than thyself provide!
See, while I speak the shades disperse away,
Aurora gives the promise of a day;
I'm called, nor can I make a longer stay.
Snatch up the reins; or still the attempt forsake,
And not my chariot, but my counsel take,
While yet securely on the earth you stand;
Nor touch the horses with too rash a hand.
_170
Let me alone to light the world, while you
Enjoy those beams which you may safely view.'
He spoke in vain: the youth with active heat
And sprightly vigour vaults into the seat;
And joys to hold the reins, and fondly gives
Those thanks his father with remorse receives.
Meanwhile the restless horses neighed aloud,
Breathing out fire, and pawing where they stood.
Tethys, not knowing what had passed, gave way,
And all the waste of heaven before them lay.
_180
They spring together out, and swiftly bear
The flying youth through clouds and yielding air;
With wingy speed outstrip the eastern wind,
And leave the breezes of the morn behind.
The youth was light, nor could he fill the seat,
Or poise the chariot with its wonted weight:
But as at sea the unballast vessel rides,
Cast to and fro, the sport of winds and tides;
So in the bounding chariot tossed on high,
The youth is hurried headlong through the sky.
_190
Soon as the steeds perceive it, they forsake
Their stated course, and leave the beaten track.
The youth was in a maze, nor did he know
Which way to turn the reins, or where to go;
Nor would the horses, had he known, obey.
Then the Seven Stars first felt Apollo's ray
And wished to dip in the forbidden sea.
The folded Serpent next the frozen pole,
Stiff and benumbed before, began to roll,
And raged with inward heat, and threatened war,
_200
And shot a redder light from every star;
Nay, and 'tis said, Bootes, too, that fain
Thou wouldst have fled, though cumbered with thy wain.
The unhappy youth then, bending down his head,
Saw earth and ocean far beneath him spread:
His colour changed, he startled at the sight,
And his eyes darkened by too great a light.
Now could he wish the fiery steeds untried,
His birth obscure, and his request denied:
Now would he Merops for his father own,
_210
And quit his boasted kindred to the Sun.
So fares the pilot, when his ship is tossed
In troubled seas, and all its steerage lost,
He gives her to the winds, and in despair
Seeks his last refuge in the gods and prayer.
What could he do? his eyes, if backward cast,
Find a long path he had already passed;
If forward, still a longer path they find:
Both he compares, and measures in his mind;
And sometimes casts an eye upon the east,
_220
And sometimes looks on the forbidden west.
The horses' names he knew not in the fright:
Nor would he loose the reins, nor could he hold them tight.
Now all the horrors of the heavens he spies,
And monstrous shadows of prodigious size,
That, decked with stars, lie scattered o'er the skies.
There is a place above, where Scorpio, bent
In tail and arms, surrounds a vast extent;
In a wide circuit of the heavens he shines,
And fills the space of two celestial signs.
_230
Soon as the youth beheld him, vexed with heat,
Brandish his sting, and in his poison sweat,
Half dead with sudden fear he dropped the reins;
The horses felt them loose upon their manes,
And, flying out through all the plains above,
Ran uncontrolled where'er their fury drove;
Rushed on the stars, and through a pathless way
Of unknown regions hurried on the day.
And now above, and now below they flew,
And near the earth the burning chariot drew.
_240
The clouds disperse in fumes, the wondering Moon
Beholds her brother's steeds beneath her own;
The highlands smoke, cleft by the piercing rays,
Or, clad with woods, in their own fuel blaze.
Next o'er the plains, where ripened harvests grow,
The running conflagration spreads below.
But these are trivial ills; whole cities burn,
And peopled kingdoms into ashes turn.
The mountains kindle as the car draws near,
Athos and Tmolus red with fires appear;
_250
Oeagrian Hæmus (then a single name)
And virgin Helicon increase the flame;
Taurus and Oete glare amid the sky,
And Ida, spite of all her fountains, dry.
Eryx, and Othrys, and Cithgeron, glow;
And Rhodope, no longer clothed in snow;
High Pindus, Mimas, and Parnassus sweat,
And Ætna rages with redoubled heat.
Even Scythia, through her hoary regions warmed,
In vain with all her native frost was armed.
_260
Covered with flames, the towering Apennine,
And Caucasus, and proud Olympus, shine;
And, where the long extended Alps aspire,
Now stands a huge, continued range of fire.
The astonished youth, where'er his eyes could turn,
Beheld the universe around him burn:
The world was in a blaze; nor could he bear
The sultry vapours and the scorching air,
Which from below as from a furnace flowed,
And now the axle-tree beneath him glowed:
_270
Lost in the whirling clouds, that round him broke,
And white with ashes, hovering in the smoke,
He flew where'er the horses drove, nor knew
Whither the horses drove, or where he flew.
'Twas then, they say, the swarthy Moor begun
To change his hue, and blacken in the sun.
Then Libya first, of all her moisture drained,
Became a barren waste, a wild of sand.
The water-nymphs lament their empty urns,
Boeotia, robbed of silver Dirce, mourns;
_280
Corinth, Pyrene's wasted spring bewails,
And Argos grieves whilst Aniymone fails.
The floods are drained from every distant coast,
Even Tanaïs, though fixed in ice, was lost.
Enraged Caicus and Lycormas roar,
And Xanthus, fated to be burned once more.
The famed Meeander, that unwearied strays
Through mazy windings, smokes in every maze.
From his loved Babylon Euphrates flies;
The big-swoln Ganges and the Danube rise
_290
In thickening fumes, and darken half the skies.
In flames Ismenos and the Phasis rolled,
And Tagus floating in his melted gold.
The swans, that on Cayster often tried
Their tuneful songs, now sung their last, and died.
The frighted Nile ran off, and under-ground
Concealed his head, nor can it yet be found:
His seven divided currents all are dry,
And where they rolled seven gaping trenches lie.
No more the Rhine or Rhone their course maintain,
_300
Nor Tiber, of his promised empire vain.
The ground, deep cleft, admits the dazzling ray,
And startles Pluto with the flash of day.
The seas shrink in, and to the sight disclose
Wide, naked plains, where once their billows rose;
Their rocks are all discovered, and increase
The number of the scattered Cyclades.
The fish in shoals about the bottom creep,
Nor longer dares the crooked dolphin leap;
Gasping for breath, the unshapen phocæ die,
_310
And on the boiling wave extended lie.
Nereus, and Doris with her virgin train,
Seek out the last recesses of the main;
Beneath unfathomable depths they faint,
And secret in their gloomy regions pant,
Stern Neptune thrice above the waves upheld
His face, and thrice was by the flames repelled.
The Earth at length, on every side embraced
With scalding seas, that floated round her waist,
When now she felt the springs and rivers come,
_320
And crowd within the hollow of her womb.
Uplifted to the heavens her blasted head,
And clapped her hands upon her brows, and said;
(But first, impatient of the sultry heat,
Sunk deeper down, and sought a cooler seat:)
'If you, great king of gods, my death approve,
And I deserve it, let me die by Jove;
If I must perish by the force of fire,
Let me transfixed with thunderbolts expire.
See, whilst I speak, my breath the vapours choke,
_330
(For now her face lay wrapt in clouds of smoke,)
See my singed hair, behold my faded eye
And withered face, where heaps of cinders lie!
And does the plough for this my body tear?
This the reward for all the fruits I bear,
Tortured with rakes, and harassed all the year?
That herbs for cattle daily I renew,
And food for man, and frankincense for you?
But grant me guilty; what has Neptune done?
Why are his waters boiling in the sun?
_340
The wavy empire, which by lot was given,
Why does it waste, and further shrink from heaven?
If I nor lie your pity can provoke,
See your own heavens, the heavens begin to smoke!
Should once the sparkles catch those bright abodes,
Destruction seizes on the heavens and gods;
Atlas becomes unequal to his freight,
And almost faints beneath the glowing weight.
If heaven, and earth, and sea together burn,
All must again into their chaos turn.
_350
Apply some speedy cure, prevent our fate,
And succour nature, e'er it be too late.'
She ceased; for, choked with vapours round her spread,
Down to the deepest shades she sunk her head.
Jove called to witness every power above,
And even the god whose son the chariot drove,
That what he acts he is compelled to do,
Or universal ruin must ensue.
Straight he ascends the high ethereal throne,
From whence he used to dart his thunder down,
_360
From whence his showers and storms he used to pour,
But now could meet with neither storm nor shower.
Then aiming at the youth, with lifted hand,
Full at his head he hurled the forky brand,
In dreadful thunderings. Thus the almighty sire
Suppressed the raging of the fires with fire.
At once from life and from the chariot driven,
The ambitious boy fell thunder-struck from heaven.
The horses started with a sudden bound,
And flung the reins and chariot to the ground:
_370
The studded harness from their necks they broke,
Here fell a wheel, and here a silver spoke,
Here were the beam and axle torn away;
And, scattered o'er the earth, the shining fragments lay.
The breathless Phaëton, with flaming hair,
Shot from the chariot, like a falling star,
That in a summer's evening from the top
Of heaven drops down, or seems at least to drop;
Till on the Po his blasted corpse was hurled,
Far from his country, in the western world.
_380


PHÆTON'S SISTERS TRANSFORMED INTO TREES.

The Latian nymphs came round him, and amazed
On the dead youth, transfixed with thunder, gazed;
And, whilst yet smoking from the bolt he lay,
His shattered body to a tomb convey;
And o'er the tomb an epitaph devise:
'Here he who drove the Sun's bright chariot lies;
His father's fiery steeds he could not guide,
But in the glorious enterprise he died.'
Apollo hid his face, and pined for grief,
And, if the story may deserve belief,
_10
The space of one whole day is said to run,
From morn to wonted even, without a sun:
The burning ruins, with a fainter ray,
Supply the sun, and counterfeit a day,
A day that still did nature's face disclose:
This comfort from the mighty mischief rose.
But Clymene, enraged with grief, laments,
And, as her grief inspires, her passion vents:
Wild for her son, and frantic in her woes,
With hair dishevelled, round the world she goes,
_20
To seek where'er his body might be cast;
Till, on the borders of the Po, at last
The name inscribed on the new tomb appears:
The dear, dear name she bathes in flowing tears,
Hangs o'er the tomb, unable to depart,
And hugs the marble to her throbbing heart.
Her daughters too lament, and sigh, and mourn,
(A fruitless tribute to their brother's urn,)
And beat their naked bosoms, and complain,
And call aloud for Phaëton in vain:
_30
All the long night their mournful watch they keep,
And all the day stand round the tomb, and weep.
Four times revolving the full moon returned;
So long the mother and the daughters mourned:
When now the eldest, Phaëthusa, strove
To rest her weary limbs, but could not move;
Lampetia would have helped her, but she found
Herself withheld, and rooted to the ground:
A third in wild affliction, as she grieves,
Would rend her hair, but fills her hands with leaves;
_40
One sees her thighs transformed, another views
Her arms shot out, and branching into boughs.
And now their legs and breasts and bodies stood
Crusted with bark, and hardening into wood;
But still above were female heads displayed,
And mouths, that called the mother to their aid.
What could, alas! the weeping mother do?
From this to that with eager haste she flew,
And kissed her sprouting daughters as they grew.
She tears the bark that to each body cleaves,
_50
And from their verdant fingers strips the leaves:
The blood came trickling, where she tore away
The leaves and bark: the maids were heard to say,
'Forbear, mistaken parent, oh! forbear;
A wounded daughter in each tree you tear;
Farewell for ever.' Here the bark increased,
Closed on their faces, and their words suppressed.
The new-made trees in tears of amber run,
Which, hardened into value by the sun,
Distil for ever on the streams below:
_60
The limpid streams their radiant treasure show,
Mixed in the sand; whence the rich drops conveyed,
Shine in the dress of the bright Latian maid.


THE TRANSFORMATION OF CYCNUS INTO A SWAN.

Cycnus beheld the nymphs transformed, allied
To their dead brother on the mortal side,
In friendship and affection nearer bound;
He left the cities and the realms he owned,
Through pathless fields and lonely shores to range,
And woods, made thicker by the sisters' change.
Whilst here, within the dismal gloom, alone,
The melancholy monarch made his moan,
His voice was lessened, as he tried to speak,
And issued through a long extended neck;
_10
His hair transforms to down, his fingers mee
In skinny films, and shape his oary feet;
From both his sides the wings and feathers break;



Online LibraryUnknownThe Poetical Works of Addison; Gay's Fables; and Somerville's Chase With Memoirs and Critical Dissertations, by the Rev. George Gilfillan → online text (page 7 of 25)