"Thus she admonish'd; and by coupled swans "Upborne, she cleft the air; but his brave soul "Her cautious admonitions rash contemn'd.
"By chance his dogs the well-mark'd footprints trac'd, "And from his lurking covert rous'd a boar; "Whom with a stroke oblique, as from the brake "To spring he went, the gallant youth transpierc'd. "Instant, with crooked tusks, the gore-stain'd spear "Wrench'd the fierce boar away, and at him rush'd, "Trembling, and safety seeking: every fang "Deep in his groin he plung'd, and on the sand "Stretch'd him expiring. Cytherea, borne "Through midmost ether in her chariot light, "Had not at Cyprus with her swans arriv'd, "When, known from far, she heard his dying groans; "And thither turn'd her snowy birds. From high "When lifeless she beheld him, in his blood "Convulsive struggling, quick she darted down, "She tore her garments, and she tore her hair; "And with unpitying hands her breast she smote. "Then, fate upbraiding first, she said;—Not all "Shall bend to your decision; still shalt thou "Remain, Adonis, monument of woe, "Suffer'd by me! The image of thy death, "Annual repeated, annual shall renew "Remembrance of my mourning. But thy blood "A flower shall form. Shalt thou, O Proserpine, "A female body to a scented herb "Transform; and I the Cinyreian youth "Forbidden be to change?—She said, and flung "Nectar most odorous on the ebbing gore; "Which instant swelling rose. So bubbles rise "On the smooth stream when showery floods descend. "Nor long the term, an hour's short space elaps'd, "When the same teinted flower the blood produc'd: "Such flowers the deep pomegranate bears, which hides "Its purple grains beneath a flexile rind. "But short its boast, for the same winds afford "Its name, and shake them where they light adhere: "Ripe for their fall in fragile beauty gay."
*The Eleventh Book.*
Rage of the Thracian women. Massacre of Orpheus. The women transformed to trees by Bacchus. Midas' foolish wish to change all things he touched into gold. Contest of skill between Pan and Apollo. The ears of Midas transformed to asses ears. Troy built by Apollo and Neptune. Laoemedon's perfidy. Hesione freed by Hercules, and married to Telamon. Peleus and Thetis. Birth of Achilles. Chione ravished by Mercury, and by Apollo. Slain by Diana. Her sire Daedalion changed into an hawk. A wolf changed by Thetis to marble. Voyage of Ceyx to Delphos. Lost in a storm. Grief of Alcyone. Morpheus acquaints her with her husband's death. Change of both to kingfishers. AEsacus into a cormorant.
THE *Eleventh Book* OF THE METAMORPHOSES OF OVID.
While thus the Thracian bard the forests drew, And rocks, and furious beasts with strains divine;— Behold the Thracian dames! their madden'd breasts Clad with the shaggy spoil of furious beasts, Espy'd him from an hillock's rising swell, As to his sounding strings he shap'd the song. When one, her tresses in the ruffling air Wild streaming, cry'd—"Lo! him who spurns our ties!"— And full her dart 'gainst the harmonious mouth Of Phoebus' son she flung: entwisted round With leaves, a bruise without a wound appear'd. A stone another for a weapon seiz'd; The flying stone was even in air subdu'd By harmony and song; and at his feet Low fell, as suppliant for its daring fault. But now the tumult swells more furious,—bounds It knows not! mad Erinnys reigns around. Yet all their weapons had his music's power Soften'd; but clamor, Berecynthian horns, Drums, clappings, bacchanalian shouts, and howls, Drown'd the soft lyre. Then were the stones distain'd With silenc'd Orpheus' blood. The Bacchae first Drove wide the crowding birds, the snakes, the beasts, In throngs collected by his tuneful voice; Glory of Orpheus' stage. From thence they turn'd Their gory hands on Orpheus, and around Cluster'd like fowls that in the day espy The bird of darkness. Then as in the morn The high-rais'd amphitheatre beholds The stag a prey to hounds; so they the bard Attack'd, and flung their Thyrsi twin'd with leaves; For different use first form'd. Those hurl huge clods: These branches torn from trees; and others stones. Lest to their fury arms were wanting, lo! A yoke of oxen with the ploughshare broke The ground, not distant far; with sinews there Of nervous strength, the husbandmen upturn'd The stubborn soil; with sweat producing fruit. These, when the troop they saw, affrighted fled, Quitting their instruments of toil. Their rakes, Their ponderous harrows, and their huge long spades, Were scatter'd left on the deserted field. These when their furious hands had seiz'd, and tore From the strong oxen's heads the threatening horns, Back they return'd to end the poet's fate; And sacrilegious, as he stretch'd his hands, They slaughter'd him! Then first in vain his words Were utter'd; nought could then his speech avail. Then, heavenly powers! his spirit was expell'd And breath'd in air, even through that mouth whose sound Hard rocks had heard, and wildest beasts had own'd. For thee, O Orpheus! mourn'd the feather'd tribe, And crowds of savage monsters; flinty rocks Bewail'd thee; forests, which thy tempting song So oft had caus'd to follow, wept; the trees, Shorn of their pride, bewail'd with falling leaves. Each stream, 'tis said, with flowing tears increas'd Its current. Naiad nymphs and Dryads wore Garments of sable tinge, with streaming hair. Wide scatter'd lie his limbs. His head and lyre Thou, Hebrus, dost receive; and while they glide, Wond'rous occurrence! down the floating stream, The lyre a mournful moan sends forth; the lips, Now lifeless, murmur plaintive; and the bank Echoes the lamentations. Borne along To ocean, now his native stream they leave, And reach Methymna on the Lesbian shore.
The head, expos'd thus on the foreign sand, And locks still dropping with the watery wave, A snake approach'd. But Phoebus gave his aid, And check'd the greedy bite; with open jaws The serpent rears in stone congeal'd, as then Widely he gap'd. The ghost from earth descends, And views the regions he had view'd before. Exploring through th' Elysian fields he meets His dear Eurydice; with longing arms He clasps her. Here they walk, now side by side, With equal pace; now follows he, and now A little space precedes her: Orpheus there Back on Eurydice in safety looks.
But Bacchus suffer'd not the heinous deed Unpunish'd to remain; griev'd that the bard Who sung his praises, thus was snatch'd away, He bound the Thracian matrons, who the crime Had perpetrated, fast by twisted roots To earth as trees. He stretch'd their feet and toes, Which follow'd him so swift, and struck their points Deep in the solid earth: A bird ensnar'd Thus finds his leg imprison'd by the wires Hid by the crafty fowler, and his wings Beats, while his fluttering draws more tight the noose. So each, as firmly fixt to earth she stood, Affrighted strove to fly, but strove in vain: The flexile roots detain'd them; and fast ty'd, Spite of their struggling bounds, while they explore For toes and nails, and while they seek for feet, They see the wood their taper legs conceal; Their grieving hands to beat their thighs are rais'd; Their hands strike solid wood: their shoulders, breasts, Are also wood become. Their outstretch'd arms Extended boughs appear'd, and boughs they were.
Nor sated yet was Bacchus; all their fields He quits; attended by a worthier troop. To Tmolus' vineyards and Pactolus' stream He hies: the stream not yet for gold was fam'd; Not yet so precious were its envy'd sands. Satyrs and Bacchant' nymphs, his 'custom'd choir Attend him, but Silenus was not found. Him drunken had the rustic Phrygians seiz'd, Reeling with wine, and tottering 'neath his years; With ivy crown'd; and fetter'd to their king, The royal Midas, brought him. Midas once The Thracian Orpheus Bacchus' orgies taught, With sage Eumolpus; and at once he knew His old associate in the sacred rites; And joyful feasted with voluptuous fare, For twice five days, and twice five nights his guest. Th' eleventh time Phosphor' now the lofty host Of stars had chas'd from heaven; the jovial king Went forth to Lydia's fields, and there restor'd Silenus to the youth his foster-child. He, joy'd again his nursing sire to see, On him bestow'd his anxious sought desire, Though useless was the gift. Greedy he crav'd What only harm'd him,—saying—"Grant, O, power! "Whate'er I touch may straight to gold be chang'd"— Bacchus consents to what he wishes;—gives The hurtful gift; but grieves to see his mind No better wish demand. Joyful departs The Berecynthian monarch, with ill-fate Delighted; and, each object touching, tries The promis'd faith. Scarcely himself believ'd, When from a growing ilex down he tore A sprouting bough, straight gold the bough became: A stone from earth he lifted, pale the stone In gold appear'd: he touch'd a turfy clod, The clod quick harden'd with the potent touch: He pluck'd the ripen'd hoary ears of wheat, And golden shone the grain: he from the tree An apple snatch'd, the fam'd Hesperian fruit He seem'd to hold: where'er his fingers touch'd The lofty pillars, all the pillars shone: Nay, where his hands he in the waters lav'd, The waters flowing from his hands seem'd such As Danae might deceive. Scarce can his breast His towering projects hold; all fancy'd gold. Th' attendant slaves before their master, joy'd At this great fortune, heap'd the table high With dainties; nor was bread deficient there: But when his hands the Cerealian boon Had touch'd, the Cerealian boon grew hard: And when the dainty food with greedy tooth He strove to eat, the dainty food grew bright, In glittering plates, where'er his teeth had touch'd. He mixt pure water with his patron's wine, And fluid gold adown his cheeks straight flow'd. With panic seiz'd, the new-found plague to view, Rich, yet most wretched; from his wealthy hoard Fain would he fly; and from his soul detests What late he anxious pray'd. The plenteous gold Abates his hunger nought, and parching thirst Burns in his throat. He well deserves the curse Caus'd by now-hated gold. Lifting his hands And splendid arms to heaven, he cries,—"O sire "Lenaean! pardon my offence: my fault "Is evident; but pity me, I pray, "And from me move this fair deceitful curse." Bacchus, the gentlest of celestial powers, Reliev'd him, as he thus his error own'd: The compact first agreed dissolv'd, and void The grant became:—"Lest still thou shouldst remain "With gold"—he said,—"so madly wish'd, imbu'd, "Haste to the stream by mighty Sardis' town "Which flows; thy path along the mountain's ridge "Explore, opposing still the gliding waves, "Till thou the spring espy'st. Then deeply plunge "Beneath the foaming gush thy head, where full "It spouts its waters; and thy error cleanse, "As clean thy limbs thou washest."—To the stream The king as bidden hastes. The golden charm Tinges the river; from the monarch's limbs It passes to the stream. And now the banks Harden in veins of gold to sight disclos'd; And the pale sands in glittering splendor shine.
Detesting riches, now in woods he lives, And rural dales; with Pan, who still resorts To mountain caverns. Still his soul remains Stupidly dull; the folly of his breast Was doom'd to harm its owner as before.
High Tmolus rears with steep ascent his head, O'erlooking distant ocean; wide he spreads His bounds abrupt; confin'd by Sardis here, By small Hypaepe there. Upon his top, While Pan in boastful strain the tender nymphs Pleas'd with his notes, and on his wax-join'd reeds A paltry ditty play'd; boldly he dar'd To place his own above Apollo's song. The god to try th' unequal strife descends; Tmolus the umpire. On his mountain plac'd, The ancient judge from his attentive ears The branches clear'd; save that his azure head With oak was crown'd, and acorns dangling down His hollow temples grac'd. The shepherd's god Beholding,—"no delay, your judge,"—he said— "Shall cause,"—and straight Pan sounds the rural reeds. His barbarous music much the judgment pleas'd Of Midas, who amidst the crowd approach'd. Now venerable Tmolus on the face Of Phoebus turn'd his eyes; and with him turn'd Th' attentive woods. Parnassian laurel bound His golden locks; deep dipt in Tyrian dye, His garment swept the ground; his left hand held The instrument with gems and ivory rich; The other grasp'd the bow: his posture shew'd The skilful master's art: lightly he touch'd The chords with thumb experienc'd. Justly charm'd With melody so sweet, Tmolus decreed The pipe of Pan to Phoebus' lute should yield.
Much did the judgment of the sacred hill, And much his sentence all delight, save one: For Midas blames him, and unjust declares The arbitration. Human shape no more The god permits his foolish ears to wear; But long extends them, and with hoary hairs Fills them within; and grants them power to move, From their foundation flexile. All beside Was man, one part felt his revenge alone; A slowly pacing asses ears he bears. His head, weigh'd heavy with his load of shame, He strove in purple turban to enfold; Thus his disgrace to hide. But when as wont His slave his hairs, unseemly lengthen'd, cropp'd, He saw the change; the tale he fear'd to tell, Of what he witness'd, though he anxious wish'd In public to proclaim it: yet to hold Sacred the trust surpass'd his power. He went Forth, and digg'd up the earth; with whispering voice There he imparted of his master's ears What he had seen; and murmur'd to the sod: But bury'd close the confidential words Beneath the turf again: then, all fill'd up, Silently he departed. From the spot Began a thick-grown tuft of trembling reeds To spring, which ripening with the year's full round, Betray'd their planter. By the light south wind When agitated, they the bury'd words Disclos'd, betraying what the monarch's ears. Latona's son, aveng'd, high Tmolus leaves, And cleaving liquid air, lights in the realm Laoemedon commands: on the strait sea, Nephelian Helle names, an altar stands Sacred to Panomphaean Jove, where seen Lofty Rhaetaeum rises to the left, Sigaeum to the right. From thence he saw Laoemedon, as first he toil'd to build The walls of infant Troy; with toil immense The undertaking in progression grew, And mighty sums he saw the work would ask. A mortal shape he takes; a mortal shape Clothes too the trident-bearing sire, who rules The swelling deep. The Phrygian monarch's walls They raise, a certain treasure for their toil Agreed on first. The work is finished. Base, The king disowns the compact, and his lies Perfidious, backs with perjury.—"Boast not "This treatment calmly borne," the ocean's god Exclaim'd; and o'er the sordid Trojan's shores Pour'd all his flood of billows; and transform'd The land to sheets of water; swept away The tiller's treasure; bury'd all the meads. Nor sated with this ruin, he demands The monarch's daughter should be given a prey To an huge monster of the main; whom, chain'd To the hard rock, Alcides' arm set free, And claim'd the boon his due; the promis'd steeds. Refus'd the prize his valorous deed deserv'd, He sack'd the walls of doubly-perjur'd Troy, Nor thence did Telamon, whose powerful arm The hero aided, unrewarded go; Hesione was by Alcides given.
Peleus was famous for his goddess-spouse: Proud not more justly of his grandsire's fame, Than of his consort's father; numbers more Might boast them grandsons of imperial Jove; To him alone a goddess-bride belong'd. For aged Proteus had to Thetis said,— "O, goddess of the waves, a child conceive! "Thou shalt be mother of a youth, whose deeds "Will far the bravest of his sire's transcend: "And mightier than his sire's shall be his name." Hence, lest the world than Jove a mightier god Should know, though Jove with amorous flames fierce burn'd, He shunn'd th' embraces of the watery dame: And bade his grandson Peleus to his hopes Succeed, and clasp the virgin in his arms.
Haemonia's coast a bay possesses, curv'd Like a bent bow; whose arms enclosing stretch Far in the sea; where if more deep the waves An haven would be form'd: the waters spread Just o'er the sand. Firm is the level shore; Such as would ne'er the race retard, nor hold The print of feet; no seaweed there was spread. Nigh sprung a grove of myrtle, cover'd thick With double-teinted berries: in the midst A cave appear'd, by art or nature form'd; But art most plain was seen. Here, Thetis! oft, Plac'd unattir'd on thy rein'd dolphin's back, Thou didst delight to come. There, as thou laid'st In slumbers bound, did Peleus on thee seize. And when his most endearing prayers were spurn'd, Force he prepar'd; both arms around thy neck Close clasp'd. And then to thy accustom'd arts, Of often-varied-form, hadst thou not fled, He might have prosper'd in his daring hope. But now a bird thou wert; the bird he held: Now an huge tree; Peleus the tree grasp'd firm: A spotted tiger then thy third-chang'd shape; Frighted at that, AEaecides his hold Quit from her body. Then the ocean powers He worshipp'd, pouring wine upon the waves, And bleating victims slew, and incense burn'd: Till from the gulf profound the prophet spoke Of Carpathus. "O, Peleus! gain thou shalt "The wish'd-for nuptials; only when she rests "In the cool cavern sleeping, thou with cords "And fetters strong her, unsuspecting, bind; "Nor let an hundred shapes thy soul deceive; "Still hold her fast whatever form she wears, "Till in her pristine looks she shines again." This Proteus said, and plung'd his head beneath The waves, while scarce his final words were heard.
Prone down the west was Titan speeding now; And to th' Hesperian waves his car inclin'd, When the fair Nereid from the wide deep came, And sought her 'custom'd couch. Scarce Peleus seiz'd Her virgin limbs, when straight a thousand forms She try'd, till fast she saw her members ty'd; And her arms fetter'd close in every part: Then sigh'd, and said; "thou conquerest by some god:" And the fair form of Thetis was display'd. The hero clasp'd her, and his wishes gain'd; And great Achilles straight the nymph conceiv'd.
Now blest was Peleus in his son and bride; And blest in all which can to man belong; Save in the crime of murder'd Phocus. Driven From his paternal home, of brother's blood Guilty, Trachinia's soil receiv'd him first. Here Ceyx, Phosphor's offspring, who retain'd His father's splendor on his forehead, rul'd The land; which knew not bloodshed, knew not force. At that time gloomy, sad, himself unlike, He mourn'd a brother's loss. To him, fatigu'd With travel, and with care worn out, the son Of AEaecus arriv'd; and in the town Enter'd with followers few: the flocks and herds That journey'd with him, just without the walls, In a dark vale were left. When the first grant T'approach the monarch was obtain'd, he rais'd The olive in his suppliant hand; then told His name, and lineage, but his crime conceal'd. His cause of flight dissembling, next he beg'd, For him and his, some pastures and a town. Then thus Trachinia's king with friendly brow: "To all, the very meanest of mankind, "Are our possessions free; nor do I rule "A realm inhospitable: add to these "Inducements strong, thine own illustrious name, "And grandsire Jove. In praying lose not time. "Whate'er thou wouldst, thou shalt receive; and all, "Such as it is, with me most freely share; "Would it were better." Speaking thus, he wept: His cause of grief to Peleus and his friends, Anxious enquiring, then the monarch told.
"Perchance this bird, which by fierce rapine lives, "Dread of the feather'd tribe, you think still wings "Possess'd. Once man, he bore a noble soul; "Though stern, and rough in war, and fond of blood. "His name Daedalion: from the sire produc'd "Who calls Aurora forth, and last of stars "Relinquishes the sky. Peace my delight; "Peace to preserve was still my care: my joys "I shar'd in Hymen's bonds. Fierce wars alone, "My brother pleas'd. His valor then o'erthrew "Monarchs and nations, who, in alter'd form, "Drives now Thisbaean pigeons through the air. "His daughter Chione, in beauty rich, "For marriage ripe, now fourteen years had seen; "And numerous suitors with her charms were fir'd. "It chanc'd that Phoebus once, and Maiae's son, "Returning from his favorite Delphos this, "That from Cyllene's top, together saw "The nymph,—together felt the amorous flame. "Apollo his warm hopes till night defers; "But Hermes brooks delay not: with his rod, "Compelling sleep, he strokes the virgin's face; "Beneath the potent touch she sinks, and yields "Without resistance to his amorous force. "Night spread o'er heaven the stars, when Phoebus took "A matron's form, and seiz'd fore-tasted joys. "When its full time the womb matur'd had seen, "Autolycus was born; the crafty seed "Of the wing'd-footed god; acute of thought "To every shade of theft; from his sire's art "Degenerate nought; white he was wont to make "Appear as black; and black from white produce. "Philammon, famous with the lyre and song, "Was born to Phoebus (twins the nymph brought forth). "But where the benefit that two she bears? "Where that the favorite of two gods she boasts? "What that a valiant sire she claims? and claims "As ancestor the mighty thundering god? "Is it that glory such as this still harms? "Certain it hurtful prov'd to her, who dar'd "Herself prefer to Dian', and despise "The goddess' beauty; fierce in ire she cry'd,— "At least I'll try to make my actions please.— "Nor stay'd; the bow she bent, and from the cord "Impell'd the dart; through her deserving tongue "The reed was sent. Mute straight that tongue became; "Nor sound, nor what she try'd to utter, heard: "Striving to speak, life flow'd with flowing blood. "What woe (O hapless piety!) oppress'd "My heart! What solace to her tender sire "I spoke; my solace just the same he heard, "As rocks hear murmuring waves. But still he moan'd "For his lost child; but when the flames he saw "Ascending, four times 'mid the funeral fires "He strove to plunge; four times from thence repuls'd, "His rapid limbs address'd for flight, and rush'd "Like a young bullock, when the hornet's sting "Deep in his neck he bears, in pathless ways. "Ev'n now more swift than man he seem'd to run: "His feet seem'd wings to wear, for all behind "He left far distant. Through desire of death, "Rapid he gain'd Parnassus' loftiest ridge. "Apollo, pitying, when Daedalion flung "From the high rock his body, to a bird "Transform'd him, and on sudden pinions bore "Him floating: bended hooks he gave his claws, "And gave a crooked beak; valor as wont; "And strength more great than such a body shews. "Now as an hawk, to every bird a foe, "He wages war on all; and griev'd himself, "He constant cause for others grief affords."
While these miraculous deeds bright Phosphor's sob Tells of his brother, Peleus' herdsman comes, Phocian Anetor, flying, and, with speed Breathless, "O Peleus! Peleus!" he exclaims, "Of horrid slaughter messenger I come!" Him Peleus bids, whate'er he brings, to speak; Trachinia's monarch even with friendly dread Trembles the news to hear. When thus the man: "The weary cattle to the curving shore "I'd driv'n, when Sol from loftiest heaven might view "His journey half perform'd, while half remain'd. "Part of the oxen on the yellow sand, "On their knees bending view'd the spacious plain "Of wide-spread waters; part with loitering pace "Stray'd here, and thither; others swam and rear'd "Their lofty necks above the waves. There stood "Close to the sea a temple, where nor gold, "Nor polish'd marble shone; but rear'd with trees "Thick-pil'd, it gloom'd within an ancient grove. "This, Nereus and the Nereid nymphs possess. "A fisherman, as on the shore he dry'd "His nets, inform'd us these the temple own'd. "A marsh joins near the fane, with willows thick "Beset, which waves o'erflowing first has form'd. "A wolf from thence, a beast of monstrous bulk, "Thundering with mighty clash, with terror struck "The neighbouring spots: then from the marshy woods "Sprung out; his jaws terrific, smear'd with foam "And clotted gore; his eyes with red flames glar'd. "Mad though he rag'd with ire and famine both, "Famine less strong appear'd; for his dire maw "And craving hunger, he not car'd to fill "With the slain oxen; wounding all the herd: "All hostile overthrowing. Some of us, "Ranch'd by his deadly tooth, to death were sent "Defence attempting. The shore and marsh "With bellowings echoing, and the ocean's edge "Redden with blood. But ruinous, delay! "For hesitation leisure is not now. "While ought remains, let all together join; "Arm! arm! and on him hurl united spears." The herdsman ceas'd, Peleus the loss not mov'd; But conscious of his fault, infers the plague Sent by the childless Nereid to avenge Her slaughter'd Phocus' loss. Yet Ceyx bids His warriors arm, and take their forceful darts; With them prepar'd to issue: but his spouse Alcyoene, rous'd by the tumult, sprung Forth from her chamber; unadorn'd her locks, Which scatter'd hung around her. Ceyx' neck Clasping, she begg'd with moving words and tears, Aid he would send, but go not; thus preserve Two lives in one. Then Peleus to the queen; "Banish your laudable and duteous fears. "For what the king intended, thanks are due. "Arms 'gainst this novel plague I will not take: "Prayers must the goddess of the deep appease."
A lofty tower there stood, whose summit bore A beacon; grateful object to the sight Of weary mariners. Thither they mount, And see with sighs the herd strew'd o'er the beach; The monster ravaging with gory jaw, And his long shaggy hairs in blood bedy'd. Thence Peleus, stretching to the wide sea shore His arms, to Psamathe cerulean pray'd, To finish there her rage, and grant relief. Unmov'd she heard AEaecides implore: But Thetis, suppliant, from the goddess gain'd The favor for her spouse. Uncheck'd, the wolf The furious slaughter quits not, fierce the more From the sweet taste of blood, till to a stone Transform'd, as on a bull's torn neck he hung. His form remains; and, save his color, all; The color only shews him wolf no more: And shews no terror he shall now inspire.
Still in this realm the angry fates deny'd Peleus to stay; exil'd, he wander'd on, And reach'd Magnesia: from Acastus there Thessalian, expiation he receiv'd.
Ceyx meantime, with anxious doubts disturb'd; First with the prodigy, his brother's change, Then those which follow'd; to the Clarian god Prepar'd to go, the oracles to seek, Which sweetly solace men's uneasy minds. Delphos was inaccessible; the road Phorbas prophane, with all his Phlegians barr'd. Yet first Alcyoene, most faithful spouse! He tells thee of his purpose. Instant seiz'd A death-like coldness on her inmost heart: A boxen paleness o'er her features spread; And down her cheeks the tears in torrents roll'd. Thrice she attempted words, but thrice her tears Her words prevented; then her pious plaints, Broken by interrupted sobs, she spoke. "My dearest lord! what hapless fault of mine "Thy soul has alter'd? Where that love for me "Thou wont'st to shew? Canst thou now unconcern'd "Depart, and leave Alcyoene behind? "Glads thee this tedious journey? Am I lov'd "Most dearly farthest absent? Yet by land "Was all thy journey, then I should but grieve, "Not tremble: sighs would then of fears take place. "The sea, the dread appearance of the main, "Me terrifies. But lately I beheld "Torn planks bestrew the shore: and oft I've read "On empty tombs, the names of dead inscrib'd. "Let not fallacious confidence thy mind "Mislead, that AEoelus I call my sire; "Who binds the furious winds in caves, and smoothes "At will the ocean. No! when issu'd once, "They sweep the main, no power of his can rule: "And uncontroll'd they ravage all the land: "Nor checks them aught on ocean. Clouds of heaven, "They clash; and ruddy lightnings hurl along "In fierce encounter. More their force I know, "(For well I knew, and oft have mark'd their power, "While yet an infant at my sire's abode,) "The more I deem them such as should be fear'd. "Yet dearest spouse, if thy firm-fixt resolve "No prayers can change, and obstinate thou stand'st "For sailing, let me also with thee go: "Together then the buffeting we'll bear. "Then shall I fear but what I suffer; then "Whate'er we suffer we'll together feel: "Together sailing o'er the boundless main."
Her words and tears the star-born husband mov'd; For less of love he felt not. Yet his scheme To voyage o'er the deep he could not change; Nor yet consent Alcyoene should share His peril: and with soothing soft replies, He try'd to calm her timid breast. Nor yet Himself approv'd the arguments he try'd, His consort to persuade consent to yield To his departure. This at length he adds As solace, which alone her bosom mov'd. "All absence tedious seems; but by the fires "My father bears, I swear, if fates permit, "Returning, thou shalt see me, ere the moon "Shall twice have fill'd her orb." Hope in her breast Thus rais'd by promise of a quick return, Instant the vessel, from the dock drawn forth, He bids them launch in ocean, and complete In all her stores and tackling. This beheld Alcyoene; and, presaging again Woes of the future, trembled, and a flood Of tears again gush'd forth; again she clasp'd His neck; at length, as, wretched wife, she cry'd,— "Farewell" she, swooning, lifeless sunk to earth.
The rowers now, while Ceyx sought delays, To their strong breasts the double-ranking oars Drew back, and cleft with equal stroke the surge. Her humid eyes she rais'd, and first beheld Her husband standing on the crooked poop, Waving his hand as signal; she his sign Return'd. When farther from the land they shot, Her straining eyes no more indulg'd to know His features; still, while yet they could, her eyes Pursu'd the flying vessel. This at length Increasing distance her forbade to see; Still she perceiv'd the floating sails, which spread From the mast's loftiest summit. Sails at length Were also lost in distance: then she sought Anxious her widow'd chamber; and her limbs Threw on the couch. The bed, the vacant space, Renew'd her tears, reminding of her loss.
Now far from port they'd sail'd, when the strong ropes The breeze began to strain; the rowers turn Their oars, and lash them to the vessel's side; Hoist to the mast's extremest height their yards; And loose their sails to catch the coming breeze. Scarce half, not more than half, the sea's extent The vessel now had plough'd; and either land Was distant far; when, as dim night approach'd, The sea seem'd foaming white with rising waves; And the strong East more furious 'gan to blow. Long had the master cry'd,—"Lower down your yards, "And close furl every sail!"—he bids; the storm Adverse, impedes the sound; the roaring waves Drown every voice in noise. Yet some, untold, Haste to secure the oars; part bind the sails; Part fortify the sides: this water laves, Ejecting seas on seas; that lowers the yards. While thus they toil unguided, rough the storm Increases; from each quarter furious winds Wage warfare, and with mounting billows join. Trembles the ruler of the bark, and owns His state; he knows not what he should command, Nor what forbid; so swift the sudden storm; So much more strong the tempest than his skill. Men clamorous shout; cords rattle; mighty waves Roar, on waves rushing; thunders roll through air; In billows mounts the ocean, and appears To meet the sky, and o'er the hanging clouds Sprinkles its foam. Now from the lowest depths, As yellow sands they turn, the billows shine; Now blacker seem they than the Stygian waves; Now flatten'd, all with spumy froth is spread. The ship Trachinian too, each rapid change In agitation heaves; now rais'd sublime The deepen'd vale she views as from a ridge So lofty: down to Acheron's low depths, Now in the hollow of the wave she falls, And views th' o'erhanging heaven from hell's deep gulf. Oft bursting on her side with loud report The billows sound; nor with less fury beat Than the balista, or huge battering ram, Driv'n on the tottering fort: or lions fierce, Whose strength and rage increasing with their speed, Rush on the armour'd breast and outstretch'd spear. So rush'd the waves with wind-propelling power High o'er the decks; and 'bove the rigging rose.
Now shook the wedges; open rents appear'd, The pitchy covering gone, and wide-display'd, A passage opens to the deadly flood. Then from the breaking clouds fell torrent showers; All heaven seem'd sweeping down to swell the main; And the swol'n main, ascending to invade Celestial regions, soak'd with floods each sail: And ocean's briny waters mix'd with rain. No light the firmament possess'd, and night Frown'd blacker through the tempest. Lightning oft Reft the thick gloom, and gave a brilliant blaze; And while the lightnings flame the waters burn.
Now o'er the vessel's cover'd deck the waves High tower; and as a soldier, braver far Than all his fellows, urg'd by thirst of fame, (The well-defended walls to scale oft try'd,) At length his hope obtains, and singly keeps His post, by foes on every side assail'd: So when the furious billows raging beat The lofty side, the tenth impetuous rears Above the rest, and forceful rushes on; The battery ceasing not on the spent bark, Till o'er the wall, as of a captur'd town, Downward it rushes. Part without invade, And part are lodg'd within. In terror all In trembling panic stand: not more the crowd Which fill a city's walls, when foes without Mine their foundations; while an entrance gain'd Within, part rage already. Art no more Can aid; all courage droops; as many deaths Seem rapid rushing as the billows break. This wails in tears his fate; that stupid stands; This calls those blest whom funeral rites await: One to his deity rich offerings vows, And vainly stretching forth to heaven his arms, The heaven he sees not, begs for aid: his friends, Brethren and parents, fill of this the mind; Of that his children, or whate'er he leaves.
Alcyoene, alone in Ceyx' soul Found place; and but Alcyoene, his lips Nought utter'd. Her alone he wish'd to see; Yet joy'd she far was absent. Much he long'd To view once more his dear paternal shores; And turn his last looks tow'rd his regal dome: But where to turn he knows not; in a whirl So boils the sea; and all the heaven is hid In shade, by more than pitchy clouds produc'd: Night doubly darken'd. Now the whirlwind's force Shivers the mast, and tears the helm away: And like a victor, proud to view his spoils, Mounts an high wave, and scornfully beholds The lower billows; thundering down it sweeps, Impell'd by force that Athos might o'erturn, Or Pindus, from their roots; and plunge in sea. Down in the lowest depths, the weight and blow Bury'd the vessel; with her most the crew Sunk in the raging gulf: some met their fate, Ne'er to return to air: some floated still; To splinter'd fragments of the bark they clung. Ceyx himself, grasp'd only in that hand A shatter'd plank, which once a sceptre held; And AEoelus and Phosphor' call'd in vain: But chiefly from his lips was, as he swam, Alcyoene resounded; that lov'd name Remember'd constant, and repeated most. He prays the billows may his body bear To meet her eyes; and prays her friendly hands His burial may perform. While thus he swims, Alcyoene he names, whene'er the waves To gasp for breath permit him; and beneath The billows, tries Alcyoene to sound. Lo! a black towering arch of waters broke Midst of the surges; in the boiling foam Involv'd, o'erwhelm'd he sunk. That mournful night Was Phosphor' dark, impalpable to view: And since stern fate to heaven his post fast bound, He veil'd in densest clouds his grieving face.
Meantime Alcyoene her height of woe Unknown, counts each sad night, and now with haste The garments he should wear prepares; and now Those to adorn herself when him she meets; Cherishing emptiest hopes of his return. Devoutest offerings to the heavenly powers She bore; but incense far before the rest On Juno's altar burn'd; and oft she pray'd For him who was not. For his safety pray'd; For his return; and that his love might still Without a rival hers remain: the last Of all her ardent prayers indulgence found. But longer bore the goddess not to hear Such vain petitions for the dead; these hands Polluted, from her altars to remove, To Iris thus she spoke:—"O, faithful maid! "Most trusty messenger, with speed repair "To Somnus' drowsy hall; him bid to send "A vision form'd in lifeless Ceyx' shape "To tell Alcyoene her woes' extent." She ended: in her various-teinted robe Attir'd, and spreading o'er the spacious heaven Her sweeping arch, Iris the dwelling sought The goddess order'd. Hid beneath a steep Near the Cimmerians, in a deep dug cave, Form'd in a hollow mountain, stands the hall And secret dwelling of inactive sleep; Where Phoebus rising, or in mid-day height, Or setting-radiance, ne'er can dart his beams. Clouds with dim darkness mingled, from the ground Exhale, and twilight makes a doubtful day. The watchful bird, with crested head, ne'er calls Aurora with his song; no wakeful dog, Nor goose more wakeful, e'er the silence breaks; No savage beasts, no pastur'd flocks, no boughs Shook by the breeze; no brawl of human voice There sounds: but death-like silence reigns around. Yet from the rock's foundation, gently flows A stream of Lethe's water, whose dull waves In gentle murmuring o'er the pebbles purl, Tempting to slumber. At the cavern door The fruitful poppy, and ten thousand plants, From which moist night the drowsy juices drains, Then scatters o'er the shady earth, grew thick. Round all the house no gate was seen, which, turn'd On the dry hinge should creak; no centry strict The threshold to protect. But in the midst The lofty bed of ebon form'd, was plac'd. Black were the feathers; all the coverings black, And stretch'd at length the god was seen; his limbs With lassitude relax'd. Around him throng'd In every part, vain dreams, in various forms, In number more than what the harvest bears Of bearded grains; the woods of verdant leaves; Or shore of yellow sands. Here came the nymph; Th' opposing dreams push'd sideways with her hands, And through the sacred mansion from her robe Scatter'd refulgent light. With pain the god, His eyelids weigh'd with slothful torpor, rais'd; But at each effort down they sunk again: And on his breast his nodding chin still smote. At length he rous'd him from his drowsy state; And, on his elbow resting, ask'd the nymph, For well he knew her, why she thither came. Then she—"O Somnus! peaceful rest of all! "Somnus! most placid of immortal powers; "Calm of the soul; whom care for ever flies; "Who soothest bosoms, with diurnal toil "Fatigu'd; and renovat'st for toil again; "Dispatch a vision to Trachinia's town, "(By great Alcides founded,) in the form "Its hapless monarch bore: let it display "The lively image of her husband's wreck, "To sad Alcyoene. This Juno bids."— Iris, her message thus deliver'd, turn'd: For more the soporific mist, which rose Around, she bore not; soon as sleep she felt Stealing upon her limbs, abrupt she fled, Mounting the bow by which she glided down.
The drowsy sire, from 'midst a thousand sons, Calls Morpheus forth, an artful god, who well All shapes can feign. None copies else so close The bidden gait, the features, and the mode Of converse; vesture too the same he wears, And language such as most they wont to speak. Mankind alone he imitates. To seem Fierce beasts, and birds, and long-extended snakes Another claims: this Icelos the gods Have nam'd; by mortals as Photebor known. A third is Phantasus of different skill; His change is happiest when he earth becomes, Or rocks, or waves, or trees, or substance aught That animation lacks. These shew their forms By night to mighty heroes and to kings; The rest before th' ignobler crowd perform. All these the ancient Somnus pass'd, and chose Morpheus alone from all his brethren crowd, The deed Thaumantian Iris bade, to do; Then, weigh'd with slumber, dropp'd again his head, And shrunk once more within the sable couch.
He flies through darkness on unrustling wings, And short the space, ere in Trachinia's town He lights; and from his shoulders lays aside His pinions; when he Ceyx' form assumes. In Ceyx' ghastly shape pallid he stood, Despoil'd of garments, at the widow'd bed Of the sad queen: soak'd was his beard, and streams Seem'd from his heavy dripping locks to flow. Then leaning o'er the couch, while gushing tears O'erspread his cheeks, he thus his wife bespoke;— "Know'st thou thy Ceyx, wretched, wretched wife? "Or are my features chang'd by death? Again "View me, and here behold thy husband's shade, "Instead of husband: all thy pious prayers "For me, Alcyoene, were vain. I'm lost! "No more false hopes encourage, me to see. "The showery southwind, on th' AEgean main, "Seiz'd on our vessel, and with mighty blast "Shiver'd it wide in fragments; and the waves "Rush'd in my throat as loud thy name I call'd; "But call'd in vain. No doubtful author brings "To thee these tidings; no vague rumor this, "In person I relate it. Shipwreck'd I, "My fate to thee detail. Rise, and assist! "Pour forth thy tears; in sable garments clothe; "Nor send my ghost to wander undeplor'd, "In shady Tartarus." Thus Morpheus spoke; And in such accents, that the queen, deceiv'd, Believ'd her husband spoke. Adown his cheeks Seem'd real tears to flow; and even his hand With Ceyx' motion mov'd. Deeply she groan'd, Ev'n in her sleep, and rais'd her longing arms To clasp his body; empty air she clasp'd: Exclaiming;—"stay; O whither dost thou fly? "Together let us hence!"—Rous'd with the noise, And spectre of her spouse; sleep fled her eyes, And round she cast her gaze for that to seek Which she but now beheld. Wak'd by her voice, Her slaves approach'd with lights; but when in vain She search'd for what she lack'd, her face she struck; Rent from her breasts her garments; beat her breasts Themselves: nor stay'd her twisted hair to loose, But tore the bands away; then to her nurse Anxious the subject of her grief to learn— "Alcyoene,"—she cries—"is now no more! "She with her Ceyx in one moment fell. "Hence with your soothing words; shipwreck'd he dy'd. "I saw; I knew him; as he fled me, stretch'd "My arms to hold the fugitive.—Ah! no! "The shadow fled, 'twas but his ghost; but shade "My husband mere resembling ne'er was form'd. "Yet had he not his wonted looks, nor shone "In former brightness his beloved face. "I saw him, hapless stand with pallid cheek, "Naked, with tresses dropping still. Lo! here "Wretched he stood, just on the spot I point:"— Then anxious try'd his footmarks there to trace.— "This did my mind foreboding fear; I pray'd "When me thou fled'st, the winds thou would'st not trust: "But since to sure destruction forth thou went'st, "Would that by me companion'd thou had'st gone. "With thee my bliss had been;—with thee to go. "Unwasted then one moment of the space "For life allow'd; not ev'n in death disjoin'd. "But now I perish, and upon the waves, "Though absent, float; the main me overwhelms, "Though from the main far distant. Mental storms "To me more cruel were than ocean's waves, "Should I but longer seek to spin out life, "And combat such deep grief? I will not strive "Nor wretched thee desert; but now, though late, "Now will I join thee; and the funeral verse "Shall us unite; not in the self-same urn, "Yet in the self-same tomb; bones join'd with bones, "Allow'd not, yet shall name with name be seen."— The rest by grief was chok'd, and sounding blows Each sentence interrupted; while deep groans Burst from her raving bosom. Morning shone, And forth she issu'd to the shore, and sought In grief the spot, where last his face she view'd Departing. "Here,"—she said,—"as slow he went, "As slow he loos'd his cables; on this beach "The parting kiss he gave." While her mind's eye Retraces every circumstance, she looks, And something sees far floating on the waves, Not much unlike a man: dubious at first What it may be, she views it: nearer now The billows drive it; and though distant still, Plain to the eye a body was descry'd. Whose body, witless, still a shipwreck'd wretch With boding omen mov'd her; and in tears She wail'd him as a stranger in these plaints.— "Unhappy wretch! whoe'er thou art; and she "Thy wife, if wife thou had'st"—but now the surge More near the body bore. The more she views Nearer the corps; the more her senses fly. And now close driven to shore it floats, and now Well she discern'd it was, it was—her spouse! "'Tis he!"—she loudly shriek'd, and tore her face, Her hair, her garments. Then her trembling arms To Ceyx stretching; "Dearest husband!"—cry'd. "Art thou restor'd thus to my wretched breast?"
High-rais'd by art, adjoining to the beach A mole was form'd, which broke the primal strength Of ocean's fury, and the fierce waves tir'd. Hither she sprung, and, wond'rous that she could! She flew; the light air winnowing with her wings New-sprung; a mournful bird she skimm'd along The water's surface. As she flies, her beak Slender and small, a creaking noise sends forth, Of mournful sound, and full of sad complaint. Soon as the silent bloodless corse she reach'd, Around his dear-lov'd limbs her wings she clasp'd, And gave cold kisses with her horny bill. If Ceyx felt them, or his head was rais'd To meet her by the waves, th' unlearned doubt. But sure he felt them. Both at length, the gods Commisserating, chang'd to feather'd birds. The same their love remains, and subject still To the same fates; and in the plumag'd pair The nuptial bond is sacred; join'd in one Parents they soon become; and Halcyon sits Sev'n peaceful days 'mid winter's keenest rule Upon her floating nest. Safe then the main: For AEoelus with watchful care the winds Guards, and prevents their egress; and the seas Smooths for the offspring, with a grandsire's care.
These, as they skimm'd the surface of the main, An ancient sire beheld, and prais'd their love: Constant in death: his neighbour or himself Also repeats;—the bird which there you see, Brushing the ocean with his slender legs, (And shews a corm'rant with his spacious maw) A monarch's offspring was; would you descend Through the long series, 'till to him you reach; Ilus; Assaracus; and Ganymede, Borne up to heaven by Jove, supply'd the stock From whence he sprung; Laoemedon the old; And Priam doom'd to end his days with Troy. Hector his brother; but in spring of youth He felt this strange adventure, he perchance As Hector's might have left a towering name: Though from old Dymas' daughter Hector sprung. Fair Alixirrhoe, so fame reports, Daughter of two-horn'd Granicus, brought forth, By stealth, AEsacus 'neath thick Ida's shade. Wall'd cities he detested; and remote From glittering palaces, secluded hills Inhabited, and unambitious plains; And scarce at Troy's assemblies e'er was seen. Yet had he not a clownish heart, nor breast To love impregnable. By chance he saw Cebrenus' daughter, fair Hesperie—oft By him through every shady wood pursu'd— As on her father's banks her tresses, spread Adown her back, in Phoebus' rays she dry'd. The nymph, discover'd, fled. So rapid flies Th' affrighted stag to 'scape the tawny Wolf; Or duck, stream-loving, from the hawk, when caught, Far from her wonted lakes. The Trojan youth Quick follows, swift through hope; she swift through fear. Lo! in the herbage hid, her flying foot With crooked fang a serpent bit, and pour'd O'er all her limbs the poison: with her flight Her life was stopp'd. Frantic, he clasps her form Now lifeless, and exclaims—"how grieve I now, "That e'er I thee pursu'd; not this I fear'd! "How mean my conquest, bought at such a price! "Both, hapless nymph! in thy destruction join'd: "I gave the cause, the serpent but the wound. "I guiltier far than he, unless my death "Shall thine avenge."—He said, and in the main, From an high rock, by hoarsely-roaring waves Deep-worn beneath, prepar'd to plunge. Receiv'd By pitying Tethys softly in his fall, She clothes him, as he swims the main, with wings; And death, so much desir'd, denies him still. The lover, furious at th' unwelcome gift Of life upon him forc'd, and his pent soul, Bent on escaping from its hated seat Confin'd, soon as the new-shot plumes he felt Spring from his shoulders, up he flew, and plunged Again his body in the depths below: His feathers broke his fall. AEsacus rav'd, And deeply div'd; with headlong fury still, And endless perseverance death he sought. Love keeps him meagre still; from joint to joint His legs still longer grow; his outstretch'd neck Is long; and distant far his head is plac'd. He loves the ocean, and the name he bears, From constant diving, seems correctly giv'n.
*The Twelfth Book.*
Rape of Helen. Expedition of the Greeks against Troy. House of Fame. The Trojan war. Combat of Achilles and Cygnus. The latter slain and transformed to a swan. Story of Caeneus. Fight of the Lapithae and Centaurs. Change of Caeneus to a bird. Contest of Hercules with Periclymenos. Death of Achilles. Dispute for his arms.
THE *Twelfth Book* OF THE METAMORPHOSES OF OVID.
Priam the sire, much mourn'd, to him unknown That still his son, on pinions borne, surviv'd: While Hector and his brethren round the tomb, A name alone possessing, empty rites Perform'd. Save Paris, from the solemn scene None absent were; he with the ravish'd wife Brought to his shores a long protracted war. Quick was he follow'd by confederate ships Ten hundred, and the whole Pelasgian race. Nor had their vengeance borne so long delay, But adverse raging tempests made the main Impassable; and on Boeotia's shores, In Aulis' port th' impatient vessels bound.
Here, while the Greeks the rites of Jove prepare, Their country's custom, as the altar blaz'd, They saw an azure serpent writhe around A plane, which near the altar rear'd its boughs. Its lofty summit held a nest; within Eight callow birds were lodg'd; on these he seiz'd, And seiz'd the mother, who, with trembling wings, Hover'd around her loss, all burying deep Within his greedy maw. All stare with dread. But Thestor's son, prophetic truths who still Beheld, exclaim'd—"Rejoice! O Greeks, rejoice! "Conquest is ours, and lofty Troy must fall. "But great our toil, and tedious our delay." Then shew'd the birds a nine years' war foretold. The snake, entwining 'mid the virid boughs, Hard stone becomes, but keeps his serpent's form.
But still th' Aoenian waves in violent swell Were lash'd by Neptune, nor their vessels bore; And many deem'd that Troy he wish'd to spare, Whose walls his labor rais'd. Not so the son Of Thestor thought: neither he knew hot so, Nor what he knew conceal'd:—a victim dire The virgin-goddess claim'd; a virgin's blood! When o'er affection public weal prevail'd, The king o'ercame the father; and before The altar Iphigenia stood, prepar'd Her spotless blood to shed, as tears gush'd forth Even from the sacrificial 'tendants. Then "Was Dian' mov'd, and threw before their sight A cloud opaque, and (so tradition tells) The maid Thycenian to an hind was chang'd, Amid the priests, the pious crowd and all Who deprecating heard her doom. This done, Dian' by such a sacrifice appeas'd As Dian' best became; and sooth'd her ire, The angry aspect of the seas was smooth'd; And all the thousand vessels felt the breeze Abaft, and bore the long impatient crowd To Phrygia's shores. A spot there lies, whose seat Midst of created space, 'twixt earth, and sea, And heavenly regions, on the confines rests Of the three-sever'd world; whence are beheld All objects and all actions though remote, And every sound by tending ears is heard. Here Fame resides; and in the loftiest towers Her dwelling chuses; and some thousand ways, And thousand portals to the dwelling makes: No portal clos'd with gates. By day, by night, Open they stand; of sounding brass all form'd; All echoing sound; all back the voice rebound: And all reit'rate every word they hear. No rest within, no silence there is found, Yet clamor is not, but a murmur low; Such as the billows wont to make when heard From far, or such as distant thunder sends, When Jove the dark clouds rends and drives aloof. Crowds fill the halls: the trifling vulgar come And issue forth. Ten thousand rumors vague With truth commingled to and fro are heard. Words in confusion fly. Amid the throng These preach their words to vacant air, and those To others tales narrate; the measure still Of every fiction in narration grows; And every author adds to what he hears. Here lives credulity; and here abides Rash error; transports vain; astonied fear; Sedition sudden; and, uncertain whence, Dark whisperings. Fame herself sits high aloft, And views what deeds in heaven, and earth, and sea Are done, and searches all creation round. The news she spreads, that now the Grecian barks Approach with valiant force; nor did the foe Unlook'd-for threat the realm. All Troy impedes Their landing, and the shores defends. Thou first, Protesilaues! by great Hector's spear Unluckily wast slain. The war begun, Their valiant souls, ere yet they Hector knew, Dear cost the Greeks. Nor small the blood which flow'd From Phrygia's sons, by Grecia's valor spill'd.
Now blush'd Sigaeum's shores with spouting blood, Where Cygnus, Neptune's offspring, gave to death Whole crowds. Achilles in his chariot stood, And with his forceful Pelian spear o'erthrew Thick ranks of Trojans; and as through the fights Cygnus or Hector to engage he sought, Cygnus he met: delay'd was Hector's fate To the tenth year. Then to his white-neck'd steeds, Press'd by the yoke, with cheering shouts he spoke; And full against the foe his chariot drove. His quivering lance well-pois'd he shook, and call'd, "Whoe'er thou art, O youth! this comfort learn "In death, that by Achilles' arm thou dy'st." Thus far Pelides; and his massive spear Close follow'd on his words. With truth it fled; Yet did the steely point, unerring hurl'd, Fall harmless: with a deaden'd point his breast Was struck. Then he;—"O goddess-born! (for fame "Thy race to me has long before made known) "Why wonder'st thou that I unwounded stand?" (For wondering stood Pelides.) "Not this helm, "Which thou behold'st, gay with the courser's mane. "Nor the curv'd buckler by my arm sustain'd, "For aid are worn. For comely grace alone "They deck me. Thus is Mars himself adorn'd. "Thrown every guard far from my limbs, my limbs "Unwounded would remain. Sure I may boast! "Sprung not from Nereus' daughter, but from him "Who rules o'er Nereus; o'er his daughter rules; "And all th' extent of ocean." Cygnus spoke: And at Pelides launch'd his spear to pierce His orbed shield; its brazen front it pierc'd, And nine bull-hides beneath; stay'd at the tenth, The warrior shook it forth; with strenuous arm The quivering weapon hostile back return'd: Cygnus again unwounded felt the blow. Nor felt his naked bosom, to the force Of the third weapon vauntingly expos'd, Aught harm'd. Less fiercely in the Circus wide Rages the bull not, when the scarlet vests To urge his fury fixt, with furious horn To gore attempting, finds elusion still, The unhurt limbs invading. Seeks he now If fall'n the metal from his weapon's point: Fast to the wood the metal still appears; And cries he;—"Weak is then my hand? and spent "On one, is all the strength I once could boast? "For surely strength that arm could boast, which erst "Lyrnessus' wall o'erthrew, and when with gore "It Tenedos, and Thebes made stream; or when "Caycus purple flow'd, stain'd with their blood "Who on its banks had dwelt; and when twice prov'd "By Telephus, the virtue of my spear. "This nervous arm has here too shewn its force "In hills of slain by me up-heap'd; these shores "Attest it." Speaking so, his spear he sent Against Menoetes 'mid the Lycian crowd, As doubting faintly deeds perform'd before: And pierc'd at once his corslet and his breast. From the hot smoking wound as forth he drew The dart,—as with his dying head was struck The solid ground, he spoke:—"This is the hand, "And this the spear which conquest knew before: "This will I 'gainst him use. May it, when sent, "The same success attend."—Ere ceas'd his words Cygnus again with aim he sought, nor swerv'd His ashen weapon whence he aim'd, but rung, Unshrunk from, on the shoulder: thence repell'd, As from a wall or rugged rock it fell: Yet where the blow was felt, did Cygnus seem With blood distain'd. Achilles' joy was vain, For wound was not. Menoetes' blood was there. Then furious from his lofty car he sprung, And close at hand his braving foe assail'd With glittering falchion; by the falchion broke, The helm and shield he saw, but the keen edge His stubborn body blunted. More the son Of Peleus bore not, but the warrior's face With furious buffets from his shield, unclaspt First from his arm, he smote, and with his hilt Heavy his temples; and with headstrong rage Bore on him: nor to his astounded soul Respite allow'd. Dread through his bosom spread; Before his eyes swam darkness: when amidst The plain, a stone his retrogressive feet Oppos'd. Pelides, with his mightiest strength, Struck Cygnus against it, and to earth Hard forc'd him, thrown supine. Pent with his shield, And nervous knees upon his bosom prest Tight, he the lacing of the helmet drew, Which 'neath his chin was ty'd; close press'd his throat, His breathing passage and his life at once Destroy'd he. When his conquer'd foe to spoil Of all his arms he went, the arms he found Vacant. The ocean-god had to a bird Of snowy plumage chang'd his offspring's form: A bird which still the name of Cygnus bears.
Here stay'd the toil, here did the battle gain Of numerous days a respite, either power Resting on arms unhostile. Then, while guards, Watchful, the Trojan walls protective kept; And sentries equal wakeful o'er the trench Form'd by the Argives watch'd, a feast was held, Where Cygnus' victor, stout Achilles, gave An heifer ribbon-bound to Athen's maid. The sever'd flesh was on the altar plac'd, Whose smoking fragrance, grateful to the gods, High to th' ethereal regions mounted. Part, Their due, th' official sacrificers took; To swell the feast the rest was given. Outstretch'd On couches, laid the noble guests, and fill'd With the drest meat their hunger; and with wine At once their thirst and all their cares assuag'd. No lyre them sooth'd; no sound of vocal song; Nor long extended boxen pipe with holes Multiferous pierc'd: but all night long, discourse Protracted; valiant deeds alone the theme. Alike the valiant acts their foes perform'd, And those their own they speak. Much they enjoy To tell by turns what hazards they o'ercame; And what they oft successless try'd. What else Could e'er Achilles' speech employ? What else By great Achilles could with joy be heard? Chief in the converse, was the conquest late O'er Cygnus gain'd, the topic. Strange to all Seem'd it; the youth, from every weapon safe By wound unconquerable, and with skin Blunting the keenest steel. Wonder the Greeks, And wonders ev'n Pelides: when in words Like these, old Nestor hail'd them. "Cygnus, proof "'Gainst steel,—unpierceable by furious blows "Your age alone has known. These eyes have seen "Perrhaebian Caeneus bear ten thousand strokes "Unhurt. He, fam'd for warlike actions, dwelt "On Othrys, and more strange those warlike deeds, "Since female was he born." The wondering crowd, Mov'd with the novel prodigy, beseech (Their spokesman was Achilles) that the tale Nestor would give them. "Eloquent old man! "Of all our age most prudent, tell, for all "The same desire prevails o'er, who was he, "This Caeneus? why was chang'd his sex? what wars "Of fierce encounter made him known to thee? "And if by any conquer'd, tell the name."
Then thus the senior: "Though decrepid age "Weighs heavy on me, and the deeds beheld "In prime of youth, in numbers 'scape my mind; "Yet than those facts, 'mid all of peace and war, "Nought on my bosom made a deeper print. "Yet may extended age of all beheld "Part of the numerous acts and objects seen "Relate,—I twice one hundred years have pass'd; "Now in the third I breathe. Caenis, a nymph "Sprung from Elateus, fam'd was all around "For brightest beauty; fairest of the maids "Who Thessaly adorn; theme of vain hopes "To crowds of wooers through the neighbouring towns; "And ev'n through thine, Achilles; for the land "Thou claim'st produc'd her. Nay, her nuptial couch, "Peleus perchance had sought, save that the rites "Already with thy mother were compleat, "Or were in promise ready. Nuptial couch "She never press'd, for on the lonely shore "Strolling, so fame declares, the vigorous clasp "Of Ocean's god she felt. The charms possest "Of his new object, Neptune said—whate'er "Thou wishest, chuse, secure of no repulse.— "This too does fame report, that Caenis cry'd— "Wrongs such as mine no trivial gift deserve, "That ne'er such shame again I suffer, grant "I woman be no longer; that will all "Favors comprize.—Her closing words betray'd "A graver sound; manly appear'd her voice: "And masculine it was. Deep ocean's god "Acceded to her wish, and granted, more, "That wounds should never harm her, nor by steel "Should she e'er fall. Joy'd at the gift, the god "Atracia's hero leaves—employs his age "In studies warlike; and among the fields, "Where fertilizing Peneus wanders, roams.
"Now bold Ixion's son had gain'd the hand "Of Hippodamia; and the fierce-soul'd crowd "Cloud-born, had bidden to attend the boards, "In order rang'd within a cavern's mouth, "By trees thick-shaded. All the princes round "Of Thessaly attended: I, myself "Amongst them went. Loud rung the regal feast "With the mixt concourse; all most joyful sung "O Hymen! Ioe Hymen! and each hall "Blaz'd bright with fires. The virgin then approach'd "Pre-excellent in fairness, with a band "Of matrons and unwedded nymphs begirt. "Most blest, we all exclaim'd, in such a spouse "Must be Pirithoues—but such boding hopes "Well nigh deceiv'd us. For when drunken lust "O'er thee, Eurytus! govern'd, of the blood "Of savage Centaurs, far most savage, fir'd "Whether by wine, or by the virgin's charms "Thou saw'st, thy breast. Instant, the board o'erturn'd, "Routed the guests convivial, and the bride "Caught by her locks, was forceful dragg'd away. "Eurytus Hippodamia seiz'd; the rest "Grasp'd such as pleas'd them, or whoe'er they met. "It show'd the image of a captur'd town.
"With female shrieks the place resounded; swift "We start, and Theseus foremost thus exclaims:— "What frenzy, O Eurytus! thee impels "Pirithoues thus to wrong me still in life! "Ign'rant that two thou wound'st in one?—Nor vain "The chief magnanimous his threat'nings spoke: "Th' aggressors back repell'd; and, while they rag'd, "The ravish'd bride recover'd. Nought he said, "Nor could such acts defence by words allow; "But with rude inconsiderate hands he press'd "Full on her champion's face; his valiant breast "Assaulting. Near by chance a cup there stood, "Of mould antique, and rough with rising forms: "Mighty it was, but Theseus, mightier still, "Seiz'd it, and full against his hostile face "It dash'd; he vomits forth, with clots of gore, "His brains, and wine; these issuing from the wound; "That from his mouth; and on the soaking sand "Supine he sprawls. With rage the two-form'd race "Burn for their brother's slaughter; all with voice "United, eager call—to arms! to arms! "Wine gave them courage, and the primal fight "Was goblets, fragile casks, and hollow jars, "Dash'd on: once instruments to feasts alone "Pertaining; now for slaughter us'd and blood.
"First Amycus, of Ophion son, not fear'd "To rob the sacred chambers of their spoils; "And from its cord suspensive, tore away, "As from the roof it hung, a glittering lamp; "And hurl'd it, lofty-pois'd, full in the front "Of Lapithaean Celadon. So falls "On the white neck the victim bull presents, "The sacrificial axe, and all his bones "Were shatter'd left; one all confounded wound. "His eyes sprang forth; his palate bones displac'd, "His nose driv'n back within his palate falls. "Him Belates Pellaean with a foot "Torn from a maple table, on the ground "Stretch'd prone; his chin forc'd downward on his breast; "And sputtering teeth, with blackest gore commixt, "Sent by a second blow to Stygia's shades.
"As next he stood, and with tremendous brow "The flaming altar view'd, Gryneus exclaim'd— "Why use we this not? and the ponderous load "With all its fires he seiz'd, and 'mid the crowd "Of Lapithaeans flung: two low it press'd; "Broteas and bold Orion. From her sphere "Orion's mother Mycale, by charms "The moon to drag to earth has oft been known.
"Loud cry'd Exodius:—Were but weapons found "That death impunity would boast not. Horns "An ancient stag once brandish'd, on a pine "Hung lofty, serv'd for arms; the forky branch "Hurl'd in his face deep dug out either eye. "Part to the horns adhere; part flowing down "His beard, thence hang in ropes of clotted gore. "Lo! Rhaetus snatches from the altar's height "A burning torch of size immense, and through "Charaxus' dexter temple, with bright hair "Shaded, he drives it. Like the arid corn "Caught by the rapid flame, the tresses burn; "And the scorch'd blood the wound sent forth, a sound "Of horrid crackling gave. Oft whizzes steel "So, drawn forth glowing from the fire, with tongs "Bent, and in cooling waters frequent plung'd; "And crackling sounds, immers'd in tepid waves. "The wounded hero from his tresses shook "The greedy flames, and in his arms upheav'd, "Tom from the earth, a mighty threshold stone, "A waggon's burthen; but the ponderous load "Forbade his strength to hurl it on the foe: "And on Cometes, who beside him stood, "Dropp'd the huge bulk. Nor Rhaetus then his joy "Disguis'd, exclaiming:—Such may be the aid "That all your friends receive!—Then with his brand "Half burnt, his blows redoubling, burst the skull "With the strong force; and on the pulpy brain "By frequent strokes the bones beat down. From thence "Victor, Evagrus, Corythus, he met "And Dryas. Corythus o'erthrown, whose cheeks "The first down shaded; loud Evagrus cry'd:— "What glory thine, thus a weak boy to slay?— "No more to utter Rhaetus gave, but fierce "Plung'd the red-flaming weapon in his mouth, "Thus speaking; and deep forc'd it down his throat. "Thee also, furious Dryas! with the brand, "Whirl'd round and round his head, he next assails. "But thee the same sad fortune not befel: "Him, proud triumphing from increas'd success "In blood, thou piercest with an harden'd stake, "Where the neck meets the shoulder. Rhaetus groan'd: "And from the hard bone scarce the wood could draw; "As drench'd in blood his own, by flight he scap'd. "With him fled Lycabas; and Orneus fled; "Thaumas; Pisenor; Medon, who was struck "'Neath the right shoulder; Mermeros, who late "In rapid race all else surpass'd, but now "Mov'd halting with his wound; Abas, of boars "The spoiler; Pholus, and Melaneus too; "With Astylos the seer, who from the war "Dissuaded, but in vain, his brethren crowd. "Nay more, to Nessus, fearing wounds, he cry'd— "Fly not!—thou'lt for Alcides' bow be sav'd.
"Euronymus, nor Lycidas, their fate, "Areos, nor Imbreos fled; whom face to face "Confronting, Dryas' hand smote down. Thou too, "Crenaeus! felt thy death in front, though turn'd "For flight thy feet; for looking back thou caught'st "Betwixt thine eyes the massy steel; where joins "The nose's basement to the forehead bones.
"With endless draughts of stupefactive wine "Aphidas lay, 'mid all the raging noise "Unrous'd; and grasping in his languid hand "A ready-mingled bowl: stretch'd was he seen, "On a rough bear-skin, brought from Ossa's hill. "Him from afar, as Phorbas saw, no arms "Dreading, he fix'd his fingers in the thongs, "And said—with Stygian waters mixt, thy wine "Now drink;—and instant round his javelin twin'd "The youth: for as supinely stietch'd he lay "The ash-form'd javelin through his throat was driv'n. "No sense of death he felt; his dark brown gore "Flow'd in full stream upon the couch, and flow'd "In his grasp'd goblet. I, Petraeus saw, "An acorn-loaded oak from earth to rend "Endeavoring; which while compass'd with both arms "He strains, now this way, now the other, shook "Appear'd the tottering tree. Pirithous' dart "Driv'n through the ribs, Petraeus' straining breast "Nail'd to the rigid wood. Pirithous' arm "Lycus o'erthrew; and 'neath Pirithous' force "Fell Chromis,—so they tell. But less of fame "The conqueror gain'd from these, than from the death "Of Helops, and of Dictys. Helops felt "The dart through both his temples; swift it whizz'd "His right ear enter'd, shewing at his left. "But Dictys, from a dangerous mountain's brow "As flying, trembling from Ixion's son "Close following, he descended, headlong down "He tumbled; with his ponderous fall he broke "A mighty ash; within his riven side "The stumps his bowels tore. Aphareus fierce, "Came on for vengeance; and a massive rock, "Torn from the hill, upheav'd to throw—to throw "Attempted. Theseus with an oaken club "Prevented, and his mighty elbow broke: "Nor now his leisure suits, nor cares he now "A foe disabled to dispatch to hell: "But on Biamor's lofty back he springs, "Unwont to bear, except himself, before: "Press'd with his knees his ribs, and grasping firm, "With his left hand his locks, he bruis'd his face, "His frowning forehead, and his harden'd skull, "With the rough club. With the same club he lays "Nidymnus prostrate; and Lycotas, skill'd "To fling the javelin; Hippasus, whose beard "Immense, his breast o'ershaded; Ripheus sprung "From lofty woods; and Tereus wont to drag "Home furious bears still living, on the hills "Thessalian, caught. Nor longer in the fight "Raging with such success, Demoleon bore "Theseus to see, but from a crowded wood, "With giant efforts strove a pine to rend, "Of ancient growth, up by the roots, but foil'd "He flung the broken fragment 'mid the foe. "Warn'd by Minerva, from the flying wood "Theseus withdrew; so would he we believe. "Yet harmless fell the tree not; from the breast "And shoulder of great Crantor, was the neck "Sever'd. The faithful follower of thy sire "Was he, Achilles. Him, Amyntor, king "Of all Dolopia, in the warlike strife "O'ercome, as pledge of peace and faithful words "Gave to AEaecides. Him mangled so "With cruel wound, Peleus far distant saw; "And thus exclaim'd,—O, Crantor! dearest youth! "Thy funeral obsequies behold.—He said, "And hurl'd his ashen spear with vigorous arm, "And with a spirit not less vigorous, forth, "Full on Demoleon: tearing through the fence "Of his strong chest, it quiver'd in the bones. "The pointless wood his hand dragg'd out; the wood "With difficulty dragg'd he: in his lungs "Deep was the steel retain'd. To his fierce soul "Fresh vigor gave the smart. Hurt as he was "He rear'd against the foe, and with his hoofs "Trampled thy sire. He, with his helm and shield, "Wards off the sounding blows; his shoulders guards; "Holds his protended steel, and his foe's chest "Full 'twixt the shoulders; one strong blow transpierc'd. "Yet had he slain by distant darts before "Both Hylis and Phlegraeus; and in fight "More close, had Clanis and Hipponous fall'n. "To these must Dorilas be added, he "A wolf skin round his forehead wore; and, bent, "A double wound presenting, o'er his brows "He bore the weapons of a savage bull; "With streaming gore deep blushing. Loud I cry'd, "While courage gave me strength—see how my steel "Thy horns surpasses—and my dart I flung. "My dart to 'scape unable, o'er his brow "To ward the blow, his hand he held; his hand "Was to his forehead nail'd. Loud shouts were heard, "And Peleus at him, wounded thus, rush'd on, "(He nearer stood) and with a furious blow "Mid belly plac'd, dispatch'd him. High he sprung "On earth his entrails dragging;—as they dragg'd "Madly he trampled;—what he trampled tore: "These round his legs entwining, down he falls; "And with an empty'd body sinks to death.
"Nor could thy beauty, Cyllarus, avail "Aught in the contest! if to forms like thine "Beauty we grant. His beard to sprout began, "His beard of golden hue; golden the locks "That down his neck, and o'er his shoulders flow'd. "Cheerful his face; his shoulders, neck, and arms, "Approach'd the models which the artists praise. "Thus all that man resembled. Nor fell short "The horse's portion: beauteous for a beast. "A neck and head supply'd, a steed were form'd, "Of Castor worthy: so was for the seat "Fitted his back; so full outstood his chest: "His coat all blacker than the darkest pitch; "Save his white legs, and ample flowing tail. "Crowds of his race him lov'd; but one alone, "Hylonome, could charm him; fairest nymph "Of all the two-form'd race that roam'd the groves. "She sole enraptur'd Cyllarus, with words "Of blandishment; beloved, and her love "For him confessing. Grace in all her limbs "And dress, for him was studied; smooth her hair "For him was comb'd; with rosemary now bound; "Now with the violet; with fresh roses now; "And oft the snow-white lily wore she; twice "Daily she bath'd her features in the stream, "That from Pagasis' woody summit falls; "Twice daily in the current lav'd her limbs. "Nor cloth'd she e'er her shoulders, or her side, "Save with the chosen spoils of beasts which best "Her form became. Most equal was their love: "As one they o'er the mountains stray'd; as one "The caves they sought; and both together then "The Lapithaean roof had enter'd; both "Now wag'd the furious war. By whom unknown, "From the left side a javelin came, and pierc'd "Thee deep, O Cyllarus! 'neath where thy chest "Joins to thy neck. Drawn from the small-form'd wound, "The weapon,—with the mangled heart, the limbs "Grew rigid all. Hylonome supports "His dying body, and her aiding hand "Presses against the wound; leans face to face, "And tries his fleeting life awhile to stay. "When fled she saw it, with laments which noise "Drown'd ere my ears they reach'd, full on the dart "Which through him stuck she fell; and clasp'd in death "Her dear-lov'd husband's form. Before my eyes "Still stands Phaeoecomes, whom, closely-join'd, "Six lions' hides protected; man and horse "Equal the covering shar'd. Phonoleus' son "Fierce on the skull he smote, with stump immense, "Huge as four oxen might with labor move. "Crush'd was the rounding broadness of the head; "And the soft brain gush'd forth at both his ears; "His mouth, his hollow nostrils, and his eyes. "So through the straining oaken twigs appears, "Coagulated milk: so liquid flows "Through the fine sieve, by supercumbent weights "Prest down, the thick curd at the small-form'd holes. "Deep in his lowest flank the foe I pierc'd, "As from our fallen friend the arms to strip "Prepar'd, he stoop'd. Thy father saw the deed. "Chthonius too fell beneath my sword, and fell "Teleboas. Chthonius bore a forky bough; "A javelin arm'd the other; with its steel "He pierc'd me. Lo! the mark the wound has left:— "Still the old scar appears. Then was the time "They should have sent me to the siege of Troy: "Then had I power great Hector's arm to stay; "To check, if not to conquer. Hector then "Was born not, or a boy. Now age me robs "Of all my force. Why should I say how fell "Two-form'd Pyretus, by the strength o'erthrown "Of Periphantes? Why of Amphyx tell, "Who in Oeclus' hostile front deep sunk, "(Oeclus centaur-born) a pointless spear? "Macareus, Erigdupus, (near the hill "Of Pelethronus born, against his chest "Full-bearing,) prostrate laid. Nor should I pass, "How I the spear beheld, by Nessus' hands "Launch'd forth, and bury'd in Cymelus' groin. "Nor think you Mopsus, Amphyx' son, excell'd "Alone to teach the future. By the dart "Of Mopsus, fell Odites double-form'd. "To speak in vain he strove, for tongue to chin, "And chin to throat were by the javelin nail'd.
"Caeneus ere this had five to death dispatch'd "Bromius, Antimachus with hatchet arm'd; "Pyracmon, Stiphelus, and Helimus. "What wounds them slew I know not; well their names, "And numbers I remember. Latreus big "In body and in limbs, sprung forth adorn'd "In the gay arms Halesus once had own'd; "Halesus of Thessalia by him slain: "'Twixt strong virility and age his years, "Still strong virility his arm could boast; "Gray hairs his temples sprinkled. Lofty seen "In helm and shield, and Macedonian spear, "Proudly between the adverse ranks he rode; "And clash'd his arms, and circling scower'd along. "These boasting words to the resounding air "Brave issuing—Caenis, shall I bear thee so? "Still will I think thee Caenis;—female still "By me thou'lt be consider'd. 'Bates it nought "Thy valor, when thy origin thy soul "Reflects on? When thy mind allows to own "What deed the grant obtained? What price was paid "To gain the false resemblance of a man? "What thou was born, remember: mark as well "Who has embrac'd thee. Go, the distaff take, "And carding basket. With thy fingers twirl "The flax, and martial contests leave to men. "The spear which Caeneus hurl'd, deep in his side "Bare as he cours'd, expos'd the blow to meet, "Pierc'd him when boasting thus, just where the man "Join'd the four-footed form. With smart he rag'd, "And to the Phyllian warrior's face his spear "Presented. Back the spear rebounded: so "Bound the hard hailstones from the roof; so leap "The paltry pebbles on the hollow drum. "Now hand to hand he rushes to engage, "And in his harden'd sides attempts to plunge "His weapon deep. Pervious his weapon finds "No spot. Then cry'd he,—still thou shalt not 'scape: "Though blunted is my point my edge shall slay;— "And aim'd a blow oblique, to ope his side, "While round his flank was grasp'd his forceful arm. "Sounded the stroke as marble struck would sound; "The shiver'd steel rebounding from his neck. "His limbs unwounded, to the wondering foe "Thus long expos'd, loud Caeneus call'd;—Now try "Our arms thy limbs to pierce!—Up to the hilt "His deadly weapon 'twixt his shoulders plung'd; "Then thrust and dug with blows unseeing 'mid "His entrails deep; thus forming wounds on wounds.
"Now all the furious crowd of double forms "Rush raging round him; all their weapons hurl; "And all assail with blows this single foe. "Blunted their weapons fall, and Caeneus stands "Unpierc'd, unbleeding, from ten thousand strokes: "Astonish'd at the miracle they gaze; "But Monychus exclaims;—What blasting shame "A race o'erthrown by one; that one a man, "But dubious. Grant him man, our coward deeds "Prove us but what he has been. What avail "Our giant limbs? What boots our double strength; "Strength of created forms the mightiest two, "In us conjoin'd? A goddess-mother we "Assur'dly should not boast; nor boast for sire "Ixion, whose great daring soul him mov'd "To clasp the lofty Juno in his arms. "Now vanquish'd by a foe half-male. Him whelm "With trees, with rocks: whole mountains heap'd on high, "Whole falling forests, let that stubborn soul "Crush out. The woods upon his throat shall press, "And weight for wounds shall serve.—The centaur spoke, "Seizing a tree which lay by chance uptorn "By raging Auster; on his valiant foe "The bulk he hurl'd. All in like efforts join'd: "And quickly Othrys of his woods was stript: "Nor Pelion shade retain'd. Caeneus opprest "Beneath the pile immense—the woody load,— "Hot pants, and with his forceful shoulders bears, "To heave th' unwieldy weight: but soon the heap "Reaches his face, and then o'ertops his head: "Nor breath is left his spirit can inhale. "Now faint he sinks, and struggles now in vain "To lift his head to air, and from him heave "The heap'd-up forests: then the pile but shakes, "As shakes the lofty Ida you behold, "When by an earthquake stirr'd. Doubtful his end. "His body, by the sylvan load down prest, "Some thought that shadowy Tartarus receiv'd. "But Mopsus this deny'd, who spy'd a bird "From 'mid the pile ascend, and mount the skies "On yellow pinions. I the bird beheld, "Then first, then last. As wide on buoyant wing "Our force surveying, Mopsus saw him fly, "And rustling round with mighty noise, his eyes "And soul close mark'd him, and he loud exclaim'd,— "Hail, Caeneus! of the Lapithaean race "The glory! once of men the first, and now "Bird of thy kind unique!—The seer's belief "Made credible the fact. Grief spurr'd our rage. "Nor bore we calmly that a single youth "By hosts of foes should fall. Nor ceas'd our swords "In gore to rage 'till most to death were given: "The rest by favoring darkness say'd in flight."
While thus the Pylian sage, the wars narrates Wag'd by the Lapithaean race, and foe Centaurs half-human; his splenetic ire Tlepolemus could hide not, when he found Alcides' deeds past o'er; but angry spoke.— "Old sire, astonish'd, I perceive the praise "The deeds of Hercules demand, has 'scap'd "Your mind. My father has been wont to tell "Whom, he of cloud-begotten race o'erthrew: "Oft have I heard him." Nestor sad reply'd; "Why force me thus my miseries to recal "To recollection; freshening up the woes "Long years have blunted; and confess the hate "I bear thy sire for injuries receiv'd. "He, (O, ye gods!) has deeds atchiev'd which far "All faith surpass; and has the wide world fill'd "With his high fame. Would I could this deny! "For praise we e'er Deiphobus? or praise "Give we Polydamas, or Hector's self? "Who can a foe applaud? This sire of thine "Messenia's walls laid prostrate, and destroy'd "Elis and Pylos, unoffending towns; "Rushing with fire and sword in our abode. "To pass the rest who 'neath his fury fell,— "Twice six of Neleus' sons were we beheld; "Twice six save me beneath Alcides' arm, "There dy'd. With ease were conquer'd all but one; "Strange was of Periclymenos the death; "Whom Neptune, founder of our line, had given, "What form he will'd to take; that form thrown off. "His own again resume. When vainly chang'd "To multifarious shapes; he to the bird "Most dear to heaven's high sovereign, whose curv'd claws "The thunders bear, himself transform'd; the strength "That bird possesses, using, with bow'd wings, "His crooked beak and talons pounc'd his face. "'Gainst him Tyrinthius his unerring bow "Bent, and as high amid the clouds he tower'd, "And poising hung, pierc'd where his side and wing "Just met: nor deep the hurt; the sinew torn "Still him disabled, and deny'd the power "To move his wing, or strength to urge his flight. "To earth he fell; his pinions unendow'd "With power to gather air: and the light dart "Fixt superficial in the wing, his fall "Deep in his body pierc'd; out his left side, "Close by his throat the pointed mischief stood.
"Now, valiant leader of the Rhodian fleet, "Judge what from me the great Alcides' deeds "Of blazonry can claim? Yet the revenge "I give my brethren, is on his brave acts "Silent to rest: to thee still firm ally'd "In friendship." Thus his eloquent discourse The son of Neleus ended, and the gift Of Bacchus, oft repeated, circled round To the old senior's words; then from the board They rose, and night's remainder gave to sleep.
But now the deity, whose trident rules The ocean waters, with a father's grief Mourns for his offspring to a bird transform'd. Savage 'gainst fierce Achilles, he pursues His well-remember'd ire with hostile rage. And now the war near twice ten years had seen, When long-hair'd Phoebus, thus the god address'd; "O power! to me most dear, of all the sons "My brother boasts! whose hands with mine uprear'd "In vain the walls of Troy! griev'st thou not now "Those towers beholding as they ruin'd fall? "Griev'st thou not now such thousands to behold "Slain, those high towers attempting to defend? "Griev'st thou not (more I need not speak) to think "Of Hector's body round his own Troy dragg'd, "When still the fierce Achilles, ev'n than war "More ruthless, of our works destroyer, lives? "Would it to me were given—my trident's power, "Well know I, he should prove; but since deny'd "To rush, and hand to hand this foe engage, "Slay him with unsuspected secret dart." The Delian god consented, and at once His uncle's vengeance and his own indulg'd. Veil'd in a cloud amid the Ilian host He darts, and 'mid a slaughter'd crowd beholds Where Paris, on plebeian foes his shafts Unerring hurls: to him confess'd, the god Exclaims;—"Why wast'st thou in ignoble blood "Thy weapons? If thy friends employ thy care, "Turn on Pelides every dart, revenge "Thy murder'd brothers."—Phoebus spoke, and shew'd Where with his steel Achilles ranks on ranks Of Troy o'erthrew. On him the bow he turns; To him he guides the sure, the deadly dart.