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Fair was her face, and spotless was her mind,
“ How mean a fate, unhappy child! is thine?
“ But touch'd with sorrow for the deed too late,
About the realm she walks her dreadful round,
Devours young babes before their parents' eyes, And feeds and thrives on public miseries.
“ But generous rage the bold Chorebus warms, Choræbus ! fam'd for virtue as for 'arms; Some few like him, 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 fir'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 filed, Death 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 bell.
“ Bless'd be thy dust, and let eternal fame
• With piety, the soul's securest guard,
“ Merit distress'd impartial heav'n relieves : Unwelcome life relenting Phoebus gives; For not the vengeful pow'r, that glow'd with rage, With such amazing virtue durst engage. The clouds dispers'd, Apollo's wrath expir'd, And from the wondering god the unwilling youth
retir'd. Thence we these altars in his temple raise, And offer annual honours, feasts and praise ; These solemn feasts propitious Phoebus please; These honours, still renew'd, his ancient wrath appease.
" But say, illustrious guest! (adjoin'd the king) What name you bear, from what high race you spring? The noble Tydeus stands confess'd, and known Our neighbour prince, and heir of Calydon: Relate your fortunes, while the friendly night And silent hours to various talk invite."
The Theban bends on earth his gloomy eyes, Confus'd, and sadly thus at length replies :" Before these altars how shall I proclaim (O generous prince !) my nation or my name, Or thro' what veins our ancient blood has rollid? Let the sad tale for ever rest untold ! Yet if, propitious to a wretch unknown, You seek to share in sorrows not your own, Know then from Cadmus I derive my race, Jocasta's son, and Thebes my native place." To whom the king (who felt his generous breast Touch'd with concern for his unhappy guest) Replies—" Ah! why forbears the son to name His wretched father, known too well by fame? Fame, that delights around the world to stray, Scorns not to take our Argos in her way. Er'n those who dwell where suns at distance roll, In northern wilds, and freeze beneath the pole, And those who tread the burning Libyan lands, The faithless syrtes, and the moving sands; Who view the western sea's extremest bounds, Or drink of Ganges in their eastern grounds; All these the woes of Edipus have known, Your fates, your furies, and your haunted town. If on the sons the parents crimes descend, What prince from those his lineage can defend ? Be this thy comfort, that 'tis thine to efface, With virtuous acts, thy ancestors' disgrace, And be thyself the honour of thy race. But see! the stars begin to steal away, And shine more faintly at approaching day ; Now pour the wine ; and in your tuneful lays Once more resound the great Apollo's praise."
“O father Phæbus ! whether Lycia's coast And snowy mountains thy bright presence boast : Whether to sweet Castalia thou repair, And bathe in silver dews thy yellow hair ; Or pleas'd to find fair Delos float no more, Delight in Cynthus and the shady shore; Or choose thy seat in Ilion's proud abodes, The shining structures rais'd by labouring gods : By thee the bow and mortal shafts are borne; Eternal charms thy blooming youth adorn: Skill'd in the laws of secret fate above, And the dark counsels of almighty Jove, 'Tis thine the seeds of futua war to know, The change of sceptres and impending woe, When direful meteors spread through glowing air Long trails of light, and shake their blazing hair. Thy rage the Phrygian felt, who durst aspire To' excel the music of thy heavenly lyre; Thy shafts aveng'd lewd Tityus' guilty flame, The' immortal victim of thy mother's fame; Thy hand slew Python, and the dame who lost Her numerous offspring for a fatal boast. In Phlegyas' doom thy just revenge appears, Condemn'd to furies and eternal fears ; He views his food, but dreads, with lifted eye, The mouldering rock that trembles from on high.
Propitious hear our pray'r, O pow'r divine ! And on thy hospitable Argos shine ; Whether the style of Titan please thee more, Whose purple rays the' Achæmenes adore ; Or great Osiris, who first taught the swain In Pharian fields to sow the golden grain ; Or Mithra, to whose beams the Persian bows, And pays, in hollow rocks, his awful vows; Mithra! whose head the blaze of light adorns, Who grasps the struggling heifer's lunar horns,"