Return'd the legates, and the message told, Th' Etolians' aid deny'd; without their help Wage the Rutilians now the ready war: And streams of blood from either army flow. Lo! Turnus comes, and greedy torches brings To fire the cover'd ships; the flames they fear Whom tempests spar'd. And now the fire consum'd The pitch, the wax, with all that flame could feed; Then, mounting up the lofty mast, assail'd The canvas; and the rowers' benches smok'd. This saw the sacred mother of the gods, And mindful that from Ida's lofty top The pines were hew'd, with clash of tinkling brass, And sounds of hollow box, fill'd all the air. Then borne through ether by her lions tam'd, She said; "Those flames with sacrilegious hand "Thou hurl'st in vain: I will them snatch away. "Ne'er will I calmly view the greedy fire "Aught of the forests, which are mine consume." Loud thunders rattled as the goddess spoke; And showery floods with hard rebounding hail, The thunder follow'd. In the troubled air The blustering brethren rag'd, and swell'd the main: The billows furious clash'd. The mother us'd One blast's exerted force; the cables burst, Which bound the Phrygian vessels to the shore; Them swiftly swept along, and in the deep Low plung'd them. Straight the rigid wood grows soft The timber turns to flesh; the crooked prows To heads are chang'd: the oars to floating legs, And toes; while what were ribs, as ribs remain; The keels, deep in the vessels sunk, become The spinal bones; in soft long tresses flows The cordage; into arms the sailyards change: The hue of all cerulean as before. And now the Naiaeds of the ocean sport With girlish play, amid those very waves Ere while so dreaded: sprung from rugged hills They love the gentle main; nor aught their birth Their bosoms irks. Yet mindful still what risks Themselves encounter'd on the raging main, Oft with assisting hand the high-tost bark They aid; save Greeks the hapless bark contains. Mindful of Iliuem's fall, they still detest The Argives; and with joyful looks behold The shatter'd fragments of Ulysses' ship: With joy behold the bark Alcinous gave Harden to rock, stone growing from the wood.
'Twas hop'd, the fleet transform'd to nymphs marine, The fierce Rutilians, struck with awe, might cease The war; but stubborn either side persists. Each have their gods, and each have godlike souls. Nor seek they now, so much the kingdom dower, Latinus' sceptre, or Lavinia! thee, As conquest: waging war through shame to cease. Venus at last beholds, brave Turnus slain, Her son's victorious arms; and Ardea falls, A mighty town when Turnus yet was safe: It cruel flames destroy'd; and every roof The smoking embers hid; up from the heap Of ruins, sprung a bird unknown before, And beat the ashes with its sounding wings: Its voice, its leanness, pallid hue, and all, Suit well a captur'd city; and the name Retaining still, with beating wings it wails.
Now had AEneaes' virtues, all the gods, Ev'n Juno, forc'd to cease their ancient hate. The young Iuelus' growing empire fixt On firm foundations, ripe was then for heaven The Cytherean prince. Venus besought That favor of the gods; round her sire's neck Her arms she clasp'd—"O, father!"—she exclaim'd— "Indulgent still, be more than ever kind: "Grant that a deity, though e'er so low, "AEneaes may become! who through my blood "Claims thee as grandsire; something let him gain. "Let it suffice, that he has once beheld "The dreary realm; and once already past "The Stygian stream."—The deities consent: Nor does the heavenly queen, her forehead stern Retain, consenting with a cheerful mien. Then spoke the sire. "Both, daughter, merit well "The boon celestial: what thou ask'st receive, "Since thou desir'st it, and since he deserves." He ceas'd. O'erjoy'd, she grateful thanks returns; And by yok'd turtles borne through yielding air, She seeks Laurentum's shore, where gently creep Numicius' waters 'midst a reedy shade Into the neighbouring main. She bids him cleanse All of AEneaes that to death was given; And bear him silent floating to the sea. The horned god, what Venus bade perform'd: All that AEneaes had of mortal mould He purg'd away, and wash'd him with his waves. His better part remain'd. Odours divine, O'er his lustrated limbs, the mother pour'd; And with ambrosia and sweet nectar touch'd His lips, and perfect is the new-made god: Whom Indiges, the Roman people call, Worship with altars, and in temples place.
Alba, and Latium then beneath the rule Of young Iuelus, call'd Ascanius, came. Him Sylvius follow'd. Then Latinus held The ancient sceptre, with his grandsire's name. Alba to fam'd Latinus was the next. Then Epitus; Capetus; Capys reign'd: Capys before Capetus. After these The realm was sway'd by Tiberinus; sunk Beneath the billows of the Tuscan stream, The waters took his name. His sons were two, Fierce Remulus, and Acrota; the first Pre-eminent in years, the thunder mock'd; And by the thunder dy'd. Of meeker mind His brother, to brave Aventinus left The throne; who bury'd 'neath the self-same hill Where once he reign'd, gave to the hill a name; And Procas now the Latian people rul'd.
Beneath this monarch fair Pomona liv'd, Than whom amongst the Hamadryad train None tended closer to her garden's care; None o'er the trees' young fruit more anxious watch'd; And thence her name. In rivers, she, and woods, Delighted not, for fields were all her joy; And branches bending with delicious loads. Nor grasps her hand a javelin, but a hook, With which she now luxurious boughs restrains, And prunes the stragglers, when too wide they spread: Now she divides the rind, and in the cleft Inserts a scion, and supporting juice Affords th' adopted stranger. Ne'er she bears That drought they feel, but oft with flowing streams Waters the crooked fibres of their roots: This all her love, this all her care, for man She heeded not. Yet of the lawless force Of rustics fearful, she her orchard round Well fenc'd, and every part from access barr'd, And fled from all mankind. What was there left Untry'd, by satyrs, by the wanton fawns, Or pine-crown'd Pan; Sylvanus, ever youth; Or him whose sickle frights nocturnal thieves To gain her? These Vertumnus all excell'd In passion; but not happier he than they. How oft a basket of ripe grain he bore, Clad like a hardy reaper, and in form A real reaper seem'd! Oft with new hay His temples bound, who turns the fresh cut grass He might be thought. Oft in his horny hand He bears a goad; then might you swear, that now The weary oxen he had just unyok'd. Arm'd with a pruning hook, he one appears Who lops the vines. When he the ladder lifts, Apples about to pluck he seems. His sword Shews him a soldier; and his trembling reed An angler. Thus a thousand shapes he tries, T' enjoy the pleasure of her beauteous sight. Now leaning on a staff, his temples clad In painted bonnet, he an ancient dame, With silver locks thin scatter'd o'er her head, Would seem; and in the well-trimm'd orchard walks; Admires the fruit—"But, O! how far beyond "Are these;"—he said, and kiss'd the lips he prais'd: No ancient dame such kisses e'er bestow'd. Then rested on the swelling turf, and view'd The branches bending with th' autumnal load.
An elm there stood right opposite, full spread With swelling grapes, which, with its social vine, He prais'd;—"Yet should that trunk there single stand"— Said he,—"without its vine, nought but the leaves "Desirable would seem. As well the vine "Which rests now safe upon its wedded elm, "If not so join'd, were prostrate on the ground. "Yet does the tree's example move not thee. "Thou fly'st from marriage; fly'st from nuptial joys; "Would they could charm thy soul. Not Helen e'er "Such crowds of wooers sought; not her who mov'd "The Lapithaean war; nor the bright queen "Of Ithacus, still 'gainst the coward brave, "As would pursue thee. Now, though all thou fly'st, "Thy suitors scorning, thousands seek thy hand, "Both demi-gods and gods, whoever dwell "Of deities on Alba's lofty hills. "Yet wisely would'st thou act, and happy wed, "Attend my aged counsel (thee I love "More than all these, and more than thou'dst believe) "Reject such vulgar offers, and select "Vertumnus for the consort of thy bed: "And for his worth accept of me as pledge. "For to himself not better is he known "Than me. No truant through the earth he roves; "These spots he dwells in, and in these alone, "Nor loves he, like thy wooer's greatest share, "Instant whate'er he sees. Thou his first flame "Shalt be, and be his last. He will devote "His every year to thee, and thee alone. "Add too his youth, and nature's bounteous gifts "Which decorate him; and that changed with ease, "He every form can take, and those the best "That thou may'st like, for all thou may'st command. "Are not your pleasures both the same? the fruits "Thou gatherest first, are they not given to him? "Who takes thy offerings with a grateful hand. "But now he seeks not fruits pluck'd from thy trees, "Nor herbs thy garden feeds with mellow juice, "Nor aught, save thee. Have pity on his flame: "Think 'tis himself that sues; think that he prays "Through me. O fear the vengeance of the gods! "Affronted Venus' unrelenting rage; "And fear Rhamnusia's still vindictive mind. "That these you more may dread, I will relate "(For age has much to me made known) a fact "Notorious through all Cyprus which may urge "Your soul more quickly to relent and love.
"Iphis of humble origin beheld "The noble Anaxarete—the blood "Of ancient Teucer: he beheld, and felt "Love burn through all his frame; he struggled long "By reason to o'ercome the flame, in vain. "He came a humble suppliant to her gate. "To her old nurse, he now his hapless love "Confess'd, and pray'd her by her nurseling's hopes, "She would not be severe. Now he assails "All her attendants with his flattering speech, "And anxious begs of each to intercede. "Oft, grav'n on tablets, were his amorous words "Borne to her. Oft against her door he hung "Garlands, wet dropping with the dew of tears. "Plac'd on the threshold hard his tender side, "Venting reproaches on the cruel bar. "But she more deaf than surges which arise "With setting stars; and harder than the steel "Numician fires have temper'd; or the rock "Still living in its bed, spurn'd him, and laugh'd: "And cruel, added lofty words to deeds "Unmerciful, and robb'd him ev'n of hope. "Impatient Iphis, now no longer bore "The pangs of endless grief, but at her gate "Thus utter'd his last 'plaints—Thou hast o'ercome "O Anaxarete! for never more "Will I molest thy quiet. Now prepare "Glad triumphs; Paean call; and bind thy brows "With laurel bright, for thou victorious art, "And joyfully I die. O heart of steel! "Enjoy thy bliss. Now will I force thy praise "In something;—somehow find a way to please, "And thee constrain to grant I have desert. "Yet still remember, that my love for thee "Leaves me not but with life! at once I lose "A double light. But fame shall not announce "To thee my death, for I myself will come. "Lest thou should'st doubt, thou shalt thyself behold "My death, and on my lifeless body glut "Thy cruel eyes. But, O ye gods above! "If mortal deeds ye view, remember me: "No more my tongue can dare to ask, than this, "That distant ages may my fortune know; "Grant fame to him, whom ye of life deprive.— "He spoke, and to the porch so oft adorn'd "With flowing chaplets, rais'd his humid eyes, "And stretch'd his pallid arms; then to the post, "The cord with noose well-fitted, fastening, cry'd:— "Nymph, pitiless and cruel! pleas'd the best "With garlands such as these!—Then in the cord, "His head inserted; tow'rd the maid still turn'd, "As, hapless load! with strangled throat he hung. "Struck by his dangling feet, the portals seem'd "A sound to give, which mighty seem'd to mourn; "And open thrown, the horrid deed display'd: "Loudly the servants shriek, and vainly bear "His breathless body to his mother's dome. "(Defunct his sire) She clasp'd him to her breast, "Embrac'd his clay-cold limbs; and all she said "That wretched parents say; and all she did "That hapless mothers do: then through the town "The melancholy funeral pomp she led, "The lurid members following, on a bier "For burning. In the road the dwelling stood "Through which the sad procession took its way, "And sound of lamentation struck the ears "Of Anaxarete, whom now the power "Of vengeance follow'd. Mov'd, she now exclaim'd— "I will this melancholy prospect view.— "And to the open casement mounted high. "Scarce had she Iphis on the bier beheld, "When harden'd grew her eyes; a pallid hue "O'erspread her body as the warm blood fled. "Her feet to move for flight she try'd, her feet "Stuck fast; her face she try'd to turn away; "She could not turn it; and by small degrees "The stony hardness of her breast was spread "O'er all her limbs. Believe not that I feign, "For Salamis the figure of the nymph "Still keeps; and there a temple is high rear'd "Where Venus, the beholder, they adore. "Mindful of this, O dearest nymph! lay by "That cold disdain, and join thee to a spouse. "So may no vernal frosts thy budding fruits "Destroy, nor sweeping storms despoil thy flowers." When this the god, to various shapes in vain Transform'd, had utter'd; he assum'd again The youth, and flung the garb of age aside: And so appear'd, as seems the radiant sun, Freed from opposing clouds, and darting bright His glory round. Force he prepar'd, but force He needed not. The nymph his beauty mov'd, And straight her bosom felt a mutual flame.
Th' Ausonian realm Amulius' force unjust Commanded next; and ancient Numitor By his young grandsons the lost realm regain'd. The city's walls on Pales' feast were laid. Now Tatius and the Sabine sires wage war Against it; and the fortress' gate unclos'd, Tarpeia, well-deserving of her fate, Breathes out her soul beneath a pile of shields. Thence Cures' sons, each sound of voice repress'd, Silent as wolves, steal on them drown'd in sleep, And gain the gates, which Ilia's son had clos'd With massive bars. But Juno one threw ope, Nor creak'd the portal on its turning hinge. Venus alone the fastening of the gate Withdrawn, perceiv'd, and had it clos'd again, Save that the acts a deity performs, No deity can e'er undo. A spot Near Janus' temple, cool with flowing streams, Ausonia's Naiaeds own'd; and aid from these She sought. Nor could the nymphs deny a boon So just; and instant all their rills and floods Burst forth. But still to Janus' open gate The way was passable, nor could the waves Oppose their way. They to the fruitful springs Apply blue sulphur, and the hollow caves Fire with bitumen; to the lowest depth They forceful penetrate, both this, and that. And streams that late might vie with Alpine cold, To flames themselves, not now in heat would yield. The porches of the deity two-fac'd Smok'd with the fiery sprinkling; and the gate, Op'd to the hardy Sabine troops in vain, Was by the new-sprung fountain guarded, 'till The sons of Mars had girt them in their arms. Soon Romulus attack'd them, and Rome's soil Was strew'd with Sabine bodies and her own: And impious weapons mingled blood of sires With blood of sons-in-law; yet so it pleas'd, War settled into peace, nor rag'd the steel To ultimate destruction; in the realm Tatius as equal sovereign was receiv'd.
Tatius deceas'd, thou, Romulus, dispens'd, To the joint nations, equitable laws. When Mars, his helmet thrown aside, the sire Of gods and men, in words like these, address'd.— "O parent! (since the Roman realm has gain'd "A strong and wide foundation, nor should look "To one protector only) lo! the time "To grant the favor, promis'd me so long, "To thy deserving grandson. Snatch'd from earth "Let him in heaven he plac'd. Time was, long since, "In a full council of the gods thou said'st, "Well I remember, well my mindful breast "The tender words remark'd; a son of mine "By thee should in the azure sky be plac'd: "Now be the fulness of thy words complete." Th' Omnipotent consented; with black clouds Darken'd the air; and frighten'd all the town With flaming thunders. When the martial god Perceiv'd this fiat of the promis'd change, Propp'd on his spear he fearless mounts the steeds, Press'd by the bloody yoke; loud sounds the lash, And prone the air he cleaves, lights on the top Of shady Palatine. There Ilia's son Delivering regal laws to Romans round, He saw, and swept him thence: his mortal limbs Waste in the empty air, as balls of lead Hurl'd from a sling, melt in the midmost sky: More fair his face appears, and worthy more Of the high shrines: such now appears the form Of great Quirinus, clad in purple robe.
His spouse him wept as lost, when heaven's high queen Bade Iris on her sweeping bow descend, And thus her orders to Hersilia speak:— "O matron! glory of the Latian land; "Pride of the Sabine race; most worthy spouse "Of such an hero once; spouse worthy now "Of god Quirinus, cease thy tears: if wish "To see thy husband warms thee, led by me, "To yonder grove upon Quirinus' hill "Which flourishes, and overshades the fane "Of Rome's great monarch, haste."—Iris obeys; Upon her painted bow to earth slides down, And hails Hersilia in the bidden words. Her eyes scarce lifting, she with blushing face Replies—"O goddess! whom thou art, to me "Unknown; that thou a goddess art is plain. "Lead me, O lead! shew me my spouse's face: "Which if fate grant I may once more behold, "Heaven I'll allow I've seen." Nor waits she more, But with Thaumantian Iris, to the hill Of Romulus proceeds. There, shot from heaven, A star tow'rd earth descended; from its rays Bright flam'd Hersilia's hair, and with the star Mounted aloft. Rome's founder's well-known arms Receive her. Now her former name is chang'd, As chang'd her body: known as Ora, now, A goddess, with her great Quirinus join'd.
*The Fifteenth Book.*
Numa's journey to Crotona. The Pythagorean philosophy of transmigration of the soul, and relation of various transformations. Death of Numa, and grief of Egeria. Story of Hippolytus. Change of Egeria to a fountain. Cippus. Visit of Esculapius to Rome, in the form of a snake. Assassination and apotheoesis of Julius Caesar. Praise of Augustus. Prophetic conclusion.
THE *Fifteenth Book* OF THE METAMORPHOSES OF OVID.
Meantime they seek who may the mighty load Sustain; who may succeed so great a king. Fame, harbinger of truth, the realm decreed To noble Numa. Not content to know The laws and customs of the Sabine race, His mind capacious grasp'd a larger field. He sought for nature's laws. Fir'd by this wish, His country left, he journey'd to the town Of him, who erst was great Alcides' host: And as he sought to learn what founder first These Grecian walls rear'd on Italia's shore, Thus an old 'habitant, well vers'd in tales Of yore, reply'd.—"Jove's son, rich in the herds "Iberia bred, his prosperous journey bent "By ocean unto fair Lacinia's shores: "Enter'd himself the hospitable roof "Of mighty Croto, while his cattle' stray'd "Amid the tender grass; and his long toil "Reliev'd by rest. Departing, thus he spoke— "Here in thy grandson's age a town shall rise.— "And true the promis'd words; for Myscelos, "Argive Alemon's son, dear to the gods, "Beyond all mortals of that time, now liv'd. "The club-arm'd god, as press'd with heavy sleep, "He lay, hung o'er him, and directed thus.— "Haste leave thy native land;—where distant flows "The rocky stream of AEsaris, go seek.— "And threaten'd much if disobedient found: "Then disappear'd the god and sleep at once. "Alemon's son arose; with silent care "Revolv'd the new-seen vision in his soul, "And undetermin'd waver'd long his mind. "The god commands,—the laws forbid to go: "Death is the punishment to him decreed "Who would his country quit. Now glorious Sol "Had in the ocean hid his glittering face, "And densest night shew'd her star-studded head; "Again the god was seen to come; again "Admonish, and with threats more stern demand "Obedience. Terror-struck he now prepar'd "His property and household gods to move "To this new seat. Quick through the city flies "The rumor; as a slighter of the laws "Is he denounc'd. The trial ends at once; "Th' acknowledg'd crime without a witness prov'd. "The wretched culprit lifts his eyes and hands "To heaven, exclaiming;—Thou whose toils twice six "Have given thee claim to glory, lend thy aid; "Thou art the cause that I offence have given.— "Sentence in old, by stones of white and black "Was shewn: by these th' accus'd was clear'd, by those "Condemn'd. Thus is the heavy doom now pass'd, "And in the fatal urn each flings a stone "Of sable hue. Inverted then to count "The pebbles, lo! their color all is chang'd "From black to white; and thus, the doom revers'd, "Alemon's son by Hercules is freed. "Thanks to Alcmena's son, his kinsman, given, "He o'er th' Ionian sea with favoring winds "Sail'd, and Tarentum, Sparta's city, pass'd, "And Sybaris, Neaethus Salentine, "The gulph of Thurium, and Japygia's fields, "With Temeses; which shores at distance seen "By him, were scarcely pass'd, when he beheld "The mouth of AEsaris, the destin'd flood: "And thence not far a lofty heap of earth, "Where Croto's hallow'd bones were safe inhum'd. "There he as bidden rais'd the walls, which took "From the high sepulchre their lasting name. "Plain then the city's origin appears "By fame, thus built upon Italia's shores."
Here dwelt a sage whom Samos claim'd by birth, But Samos and its masters he had fled; A willing exile from tyrannic rule. Though from celestial regions far remov'd His mind to heaven could soar; with mental eyes He things explor'd which to the human ken Nature deny'd. When all with watchful care Was learnt in secret, to the listening crowd He public spoke. Told to their wondering ears The primal origin of this great world; The cause of things; what nature is; what god; Whence snow; and whence tremendous thunder springs,— From Jove, or from the rattling of rent clouds; What shakes earth's pillars; by what law the stars Wander; and what besides lies hid from man. And first that animals should heap the board For food, he strict forbade; and first in words Thus eloquent, but unbeliev'd he spoke.
"Cease, mortals, cease your bodies to pollute "With food unhallow'd: plentiful is grain; "The apples bend the branches with their load; "The vines bear swelling heaps of clustering grapes; "Bland herbs you have; and such as heat require "To mollify for use. Nor do you lack "The milky fluid, or the honey sweet, "Fragrant of thyme. The lavish earth supplies "Mild aliments, her riches and affords "Dainties, with nought of slaughter or of blood. "Their hunger beasts alone with flesh allay, "And beasts not all; the generous steed, the flock, "The herd, on grass subsist. But lions grim, "Armenian tigers, bears, and wolves, delight "In bloody feasts. How impious to behold "Bowels in bowels bury'd! greedy limbs "Fatten on limbs digested, and prolong'd "One's animation by another's death. "In vain the earth, benignant mother, gives "Her copious stores, if nought can thee delight, "Save with a savage tooth this living food "To chew, and Cyclopean feasts renew. "Can'st thou not cloy the appetite's keen rage, "Deprav'd desire! unless another die? "That early age, to which we give the name "Of golden, happy was in mellow fruits, "And plants, by earth produc'd; nor e'er did gore "The mouth defile. In safety through the air "Fowls way'd their feathers: fearless through the fields "Wander'd the hare: nor, on the barb'd hook hung "By his credulity, was snar'd the fish. "Fraud was not, none suspicious of deceit; "And all was fill'd with harmony and peace. "But soon some wretch (whatever wretch was he) "Such food disliking, in his greedy maw "Bury'd what animation once possess'd. "He led the way to wickedness. And first "The weapon smok'd with blood of ravenous beasts: "And there it should have stay'd. Just is the plea "To take their lives that follow us for prey; "But not devour them when destroy'd. From thence "Wide spread the horrid practice, and the sow, "Doom'd the first victim, is decreed to die, "For digging up with crooked snout the seed; "And blasting all the prospect of the year. "The goat had gnaw'd the vine;—the culprit bled "On Bacchus' altars to appease his ire. "These two their fate deserv'd. But how, O sheep! "Ye harmless flocks, have ye this merited, "Form'd to receive protection from mankind? "Who in your swelling dugs bland liquors bear, "Who give your fleecy coverings, garments soft "For us to form; and more in life than death "Assist our wants. What has the ox deserved? "A simple harmless beast, and born for toil, "Of guile and fraud devoid? Forgetful man! "And undeserving of the harvest's boon, "Who could, the crooked joke just from his neck "Remov'd, his faithful tiller sacrifice; "Smite with the axe that neck with labor worn, "With which so oft he had the soil renew'd; "Which had so many crops on him bestow'd. "Nor is this all, the savage deed perform'd, "They implicate the heavenly gods themselves, "Pretend th' almighty deities delight "To see the slaughter of laborious steers. "Spotless must be the victim; in his form "Perfection: (fatal thus too much to please!) "With gold and fillets gay, the beast is led "Before the altar, hears the unknown prayers, "And sees the meal, the product of his toil, "Betwixt his horns full in his forehead flung: "Then struck, he stains the weapon with his blood, "The weapon in reflecting waves beneath "Haply beheld before. Next they inspect "His torn-out living entrails, and from thence "Learn what the bosoms of the gods intend. "Whence, man, such passion for forbidden food? "How dar'st thou, mortal man! in flesh indulge? "O! I conjure you, do it not; my words "Deep in your minds revolve, when to your mouth "The mangled members of the ox you raise, "Know, and reflect, your laborer you devour.
"And now the god inspires my tongue, my tongue "Shall follow what th' inspiring god directs, "My truths I will disclose, display all heaven, "And oracles of mind divine reveal. "I sing of mighty things, by none before "Investigated; what has long lain hid. "It glads me through the lofty heavens to go; "To sail amid the clouds, the sluggish earth "Left far below; and on the shoulders mount "Of mighty Atlas; thence from far look down, "On wandering souls of reasoning aid depriv'd, "Shivering and trembling at the thoughts of death. "I thus exhort, and scenes of fate unfold.
"O race! whom terror of cold death affrights, "Why fear ye Styx? why darkness? why vain names, "The dreams of poets? why in fancy'd worlds "Severe atonements? Whether slow disease, "Or on the pile the body flames consume, "Think not that any suffering it can feel. "The soul from death is free, and one seat left, "Another habitation finds and lives. "Well I remember I was Pantheus' son, "Euphorbus, in the fatal war of Troy, "Whose breast the young Atrides' massive spear "Transpierc'd in fight. I lately knew the shield "My left arm bore, in Juno's temple hung, "In Abantean Argos. All is chang'd, "But nothing dies. The spirit roams about "From that to this, from this to that again; "And enters vacant bodies at its will. "Now from a beast's to human frame it goes, "Now from the man it passes to a beast; "And never perishes. As yielding wax "Is with new figures printed, nor remains "Long in one form, nor holds its pristine shape; "And yet is still the same: so do I teach, "The soul the same, though vary'd are its seats. "Hence, lest thy belly's keen desire o'ercome "All piety, (and prophet-like I speak) "Forbear by impious slaughter to disturb "The souls of kindred friends; and let not blood "With blood be fed. Now on the boundless sea "Since I am borne, and to the breeze have loos'd "My swelling sail, this more:—Nought that the world "Contains, is in appearance still the same "All moving alters; changeable is form'd "Each image. And with constant motion flows "Ev'n time itself, just like a passing stream; "For nor the river, nor the flying hour "Can be detain'd. As wave by wave impell'd, "The foremost prest by that behind; itself "Urging its predecessor; so time flies, "And so is follow'd, ever seeming new. "For what has been, is lost; what is, no more "Shall be, and every moment is renew'd. "You see the night emerge to glorious day, "And the bright sun in shady darkness sink. "Nor shews the sky one hue when nature all "Worn out, in midnight quiet rests; and when "Bright Lucifer dismounts his snowy steed: "Varying again when fair Aurora comes "Of light fore-runner, and the world, to Sol "About to yield, dyes deep. The orbed god, "When from earth's margin rising, in the morn "Blushing appears, and blushing seems at eve "Descending to the main, but at heaven's height "Shines in white splendor; there th' ethereal air "Is purest, earth's contagion distant far. "Nor can nocturnal Phoebe always shew "Her form the same, nor equal: less to-day, "If waxing, than to-morrow she'll appear; "If waning, greater. Note you not the year "In four succeeding seasons passing on? "A lively image of our mortal life. "Tender and milky, like young infancy "Is the new spring: then gaily shine the plants, "Tumid with juice, but helpless; and delight "With hope the planter: blooming all appears, "And smiles in varied flowers the feeding earth; "But delicate and pow'rless are the leaves. "Robuster now the year, to spring succeeds "The summer, and a sturdy youth becomes: "No age is stronger, none more fertile yields "Its stores, and none with heat more fervid glows. "Next autumn follows, all the fire of youth "Allay'd, mature in mildness, just between "Old age and youth a medium temper holds; "Some silvery tresses o'er his temples strew'd. "Then aged winter, frightful object! comes "With tottering step, and bald appears his head; "Or snowy white the few remaining hairs. "Our bodies too themselves submit to change "Without remission. Nor what we have been, "Nor what we are, to-morrow shall we be. "The day has been when we were but as seed, "And in his mother's womb the future man "Dwelt. Nature with her aiding power appear'd, "Bade that the embryo bury'd deep within "The pregnant mother, should not rack her more: "And from its dwelling to the free drawn air "Produc'd it. To the day the infant brought, "Lies sinewless; then quadruped he crawls "In beast-like guise; then trembling, by degrees "He stands erect, but with a leg unfirm, "His knees assisting with some strong support. "Now is he strong and swift, and youth's brisk stage "Quick passes; then, the flower of years o'ergone, "He slides down gradual to descending age: "This undermines, demolishes the strength "Of former years. And ancient Milo weeps, "When he beholds those aged feeble arms "Hang dangling by his side, once like the limbs "Of Hercules; so muscular, so large. "And Helen weeps when in her glass she views "Her aged wrinkles, wondering to herself "Why she was ravish'd twice. Consuming time! "And envious age! all substance ye destroy; "All things your teeth decay; and you consume "By gradual progress, but by certain death. "These also, which the elements we call, "Their varying changes know: lo! I explain "Their regular vicissitudes,—attend.
"Four elements th' eternal world contains; "Two, earth and water, which their ponderous weight "Sinks low; and two, the air and purer fire, "Void of dense gravity, soar up on high, "Free, unconfin'd. Though distant far in space, "Yet from these four are all things form'd, and all "To them resolve again. The earth dissolv'd "Melts into liquid dew; more subtile grown "It passes to the breezes and the air; "And air again, when in its thinest form, "Depriv'd of weight, springs to the fires on high. "Thence retrogade they come, inverting all "This order: fire is thicken'd to dense air; "Air into water; water to hard earth; "Nor aught retains its form. Nature, of things "Renewer, figures from old figures makes. "Nought that the world contains (doubt not my truth) "E'er perishes, but changes; and receives "An alter'd shape. What to be born we call, "Is to begin in different guise to seem "Than what we were; and what we call to die, "Is but to cease to wear our wonted form. "Though haply some part hither may be mov'd, "Some thither, still the aggregate's the same. "Nor can I think that aught can long endure "Unalter'd. Soon the primal ages came "From gold to iron. Quite transform'd is oft "The state of places. I have seen what once "Was earth most solid, chang'd to fluid waves. "Land have I seen from ocean form'd; and shells "Marine, lie scatter'd distant from all shore: "Old anchors bury'd in the mountain tops. "The rush of waters hollow vallies forms "Where once were plains; and level lie the hills "Beneath the deluge: dry the marshy ground "With barren sand becomes; and what was parch'd "Is soak'd, a marshy fen. Here nature opes "New fountains; there she closes up the old. "Rivers have bursted forth, when earthquakes shook "The globe; some chok'd have disappear'd below. "Thus Lycus, swallow'd by the yawning earth, "Bursts far from thence again, another stream: "The mighty Erasinus, now absorb'd, "Now flows, to Argive fields again restor'd. "And Myssus, they relate, who both his stream "And banks disliking, as Caicus now "'Twixt others flows. With Amenane who rolls "O'er sands Sicilian, flowing oft, and oft "With clos'd-up fountains dry. Anigros, once "Sweet to the thirsty, now his waters pours "Untouch'd by lips, since (save we must deny "To poets faith) the double-body'd race "There bath'd the wounds Alcides' arrows gave. "And is not Hypanis, the flood that springs "From Scythia's hills, once sweet, with bitter salts "Now tainted? By the waves begirt were once "Antissa, Pharos, and Phoenician Tyre; "And not a spot an island now remains. "The ancient clowns, Leucadia to the land "Saw join'd; now surges beat around its base; "And Zancle, they relate, was once conjoin'd "To Italy, 'till ocean burst his bounds, "And rent the land, and girt it with his waves. "For Helice or Buris should you seek, "Achaian towns, o'erwhelm'd beneath the waves "You'll find them: boatmen oft are wont to shew "The tottering cities, and their walls immers'd. "Near Pitthean Troezen is a lofty hill "By trees unshaded; now indeed an hill "But once a level plain. Wond'rous to tell "The wind's resistless force, in caverns deep "Inclos'd, for exit somewhere as it strain'd, "And struggled long in vain, a freer range "Of air to sweep; when all the prison round "Was found no fissure pervious to the blast, "It swell'd the high-rais'd ground: just so the breath "Puffs out the bladder, or the horn'd goat's skin. "The tumor still remains, and now appears, "Grown hard by lapse of time, a lofty hill. "Though numbers to my mind occur, or seen "Or heard, but few beside I will relate. "Do not streams too receive and lose new powers? "Thy fountain, horned Ammon, at mid-day "Is icy cold, but hot at morn and eve. "The waters of Athamanis, are said, "Sprinkled on wood, when Luna's lessening orb "Shines in the heavens, to warm it into flame. "A river have the Cicones, which turns "To marble what it touches: whoso drinks "Instant his inwards harden into stone. "Cathis and Sybaris, which border near "Our pastures, make the hair resemble gold. "More wond'rous still, waters there are, with power "The mind to change as well as change the limbs. "Who has not heard of Salmacis obscene? "And Ethiopa's lake, which whoso drinks "Or furious raves, or sinks in sleep profound? "Whoe'er his thirst at the Clitorian fount "Quenches, he loathes all wine: abstemious, joys "To drink pure water: whether power the waves "Possess to thwart the heating vinous juice, "Or, as the natives tell, with herbs and charms "When the mad Praetides Melampus cur'd, "He in the stream the mental medicine flung; "And hate of wine the fountain still retains. "Lyncestius' river flows with different power; "Of this who swallows but the smallest draught "Staggers, as charg'd with plenteous cups of wine. "A dangerous place Arcadia holds (of yore "Call'd Pheneos) for its waters' two-fold force: "Dreaded by night: for drank by night they harm, "But guiltless of all mischief drank by day. "Thus lakes and rivers now these powers possess; "Now those. Time was Ortygia on the waves "Floated, now firm she rests. Argo, first ship "Dreaded the isles Cyanean scatter'd round "And clashing oft amid the roaring waves; "Which rest unmov'd now, and the winds despise. "Nor Etna whose sulphureous furnace flames "Will always burn; time was it burn'd not yet: "For let earth be an animated mass, "Which lives, and breathing holes in various parts "Exhaling flame, possesses, she may change, "Each time she moves, those passages of air; "These caverns close, and others open throw. "Or whether wind, confin'd in those deep caves, "Hurls rocks on rocks, and what the seeds of fire "Contain; and flames from the concussion burst; "The winds appeas'd, cold will the caves be left. "Or if the flame be by bitumen caught, "Or by pale sulphur, fiercely will it burn "To the last particle; but when the earth "Fuel and oily nutriment no more "The flame shall give; a tedious length of years "Its force exhausting, and its nutriment "By nature's tooth consum'd, the famish'd flames "Will this desert, deserted by their food. "Fame says, the men who in Pallene live, "A northern clime, when nine times in the lake "Tritonian plung'd, in plumage light are clad. "This scarce can I believe. They also tell "That Scythia's females, sprinkling on their limbs "Rank poisons, such like transformation gain. "Yet when well-try'd experience us instructs, "Faith may be given. Do we not bodies see "Decaying slow with moisture and with heat, "To animalcules chang'd? Nay, go, inter "A chosen slaughter'd steer, (well known the fact, "And much in use;) lo! from the putrid paunch "Swarms of the flower-collecting bee will rise, "Which rove the meadows as their parent rov'd: "And urge their toil and labor still in hope. "The warlike courser, prostrate on the ground, "Becomes the source whence angry hornets rise. "Cut from the sea-shore crab his crooked claws, "And place the rest in earth, a scorpion thence, "Will come, and threaten with his hooked tail. "The meadow worms too, which with silky threads "(Well noted is the fact,) are wont to weave "The foliage, change the figures which they wear, "Like the gay butterfly of funeral fame. "The life-producing seeds of grass-green frogs "Mud holds; and forms them first devoid of feet, "Then gives them legs for swimming well contriv'd; "And, apt that they for lengthen'd leaps may suit, "Behind these far surpass the first in length. "The cub the bear brings forth, at its first birth "Is but a lump of barely living flesh: "Licking, the mother forms the limbs, and gives "As much of shape as she herself enjoys. "See we the young not of the honey'd bee, "Clos'd in the wax hexagonally shap'd, "First form'd a body limbless, gaining late "Their feet and wings? And who could e'er suppose, "Except the fact he knew, that Juno's bird "Which bears the starry tail; that Venus' doves; "The thunder-bearer of almighty Jove; "And all the race of birds, their being owe "To a small egg's still smaller central part? "There are, who think the human marrow chang'd, "A snake becomes, when putrid turns the spine "In a close sepulchre. These, each and all, "Their origin from other things derive. "One bird there is, which from herself alone "Springs, and regenerates without foreign aid: "Assyrians call her Phoenix. Not on grain, "Nor herbs she lives, but on strong frankincense, "And rich amomums' juice: when she has pass'd "Five ages of her life, with her broad bill "And talons, she upon the ilex' boughs, "Or on the summit of the trembling palm, "A nest constructs: on this she cassia strews, "Spikes of sweet-smelling nard, the dark brown myrrh, "And cinnamon well bruis'd: then lays herself "Above, and on the odorous pile expires. "Then, they report, an infant Phoenix springs "From the parental corse, to which is given "Five ages too, to live. When years afford "Due strength to lift, and bear the ponderous load, "She lightens of the weighty nest the boughs; "With pious duty her own cradle takes, "And parent's sepulchre; then, having gain'd "Hyperion's city through the yielding air, "Before the sacred portal lays it down. "If of stupendous wonder aught ye find "In this, hyaenas must your wonder move; "Alternate changing, females now they bear; "And annual alter unto males again: "That reptile too, which feeds on wind and air; "And what it touches, straight its hue assumes. "India by cluster-bearing Bacchus gain'd, "Lynxes upon the conquering god bestow'd: "And, (so they tell) whate'er their bladders void, "Concretes to gems, and hardens in the air. "Thus too, the coral hardens to a stone; "A plant so flexible beneath the waves. "Day would desert us; Phoebus' panting steeds "Would in the mighty deep be plung'd, ere I "Could finish, should I every substance tell "Chang'd to new form. This we perceive, that time "All turns. These nations mighty strength attain: "Those sink in power. Thus Troy in wealth and strength "Was mighty; and for ten long years could shed "Her blood in torrents. Low she lies, and shews "Her ancient ruins, and her numerous tombs "For all her riches. Sparta once was great; "And fam'd Mycene once in power was strong; "With Athens; and the town Amphion rais'd. "Now a mean spot is Sparta; low now lies "Lofty Mycene; what of Thebes remains, "The town of OEdipus, except his tale? "What of Pandion's Athens, but the name? "And now begins the fame of Dardan Rome "To rise; the waves of Tiber from the hills "Of Appenine descending, bathe her walls: "Plac'd on a huge foundation shall she fix "Her empire's base. By increase shall she change; "And shall hereafter of the mighty world "Be head. This prophets, they assert, have said, "And fate-predicting oracles. Myself "Remember Helenus, old Priam's son, "Address'd AEneas, when the Trojan towers "Were tottering, weeping,—and of future fate "Doubtful, in words like these—O goddess born! "If the prognostics of my soul I read "Rightly, Troy ne'er, while thou art safe, will fall. "Flames and the sword shall ope to thee a path "Thou shalt depart, and with thyself convey "An Iliuem, till a foreign land thou find'st; "A land more friendly both to thee and Troy. "Now, to the Phrygians' offspring due, I see "A city rais'd; such former ages ne'er "Beheld; such is not; such will never be. "Thousands of worthies in a length of years, "Its power shall spread; but lord of all the globe "Shall he, descended of Iuelus, reign; "Who, when by earth awhile enjoy'd, shall gain— "A seat celestial; and the heavens shall be "The bound of his career.—Well does my mind "Retain, that Helenus in such like words "Address'd the chief who bore his country's gods. "Joy'd I behold my kindred walls increase; "And Grecia's conquest happy prove for Troy. "But lest too wide I wander, and my steeds "Forget the goal; know, heaven, and all beneath; "Earth, and all earth's contents their shapes must change. "Let us then, members of the world (not form'd "Of body only, but with winged souls "Which to the bodies of wild beasts may pass, "Or dwell within the breasts of grazing herds) "Permit those forms which may the souls contain "Of parents, brethren, or of those once join'd "To us by other bonds, certain of men, "To rest secure and safe from savage wounds; "Nor load our bowels at Thyestes' board. "Soon, by ill custom warp'd, does he prepare "To bathe his impious hands in human gore, "Who severs with his knife the lowing throat "Of the young calf, and turns a deafen'd ear "To all its cries: or who the kid can slay, "Moaning in plaintive tone like children's cries: "Or who the fowl he fed before, can eat. "What more is wanting, that may now complete "The measure of iniquity? From thence "Where the next step? Then let thine oxen plough, "And let their death be due alone to age. "Let from dread Boreas' piercing cold the sheep "Defend thee with her wool. Let the full goat "Present her udder to thy hand to press. "Throw far thy nets, thy nooses, and thy snares, "And all thy treacherous skill; nor with lim'd twig "Deceive the bird; nor with strong toils the deer; "Nor hide the barbed hook with treacherous bait. "If animals annoy ye, them destroy: "But slay them only. From the taste of flesh "Free be your mouths, while food more fit ye eat."
His breast with these, and such like doctrines fill'd, Numa, 'tis said, back to his country came; And held, unsought for, the supreme command O'er Latium's realm. Blest with the nymph his spouse, And by the muses guided, all the rites Of sacrifice he taught: the people train'd, Fond of fierce war, to arts of gentle peace. When late he finish'd reign at once, and life, The Latian females, nobles, commons, all In streaming tears, bewail'd their Numa dead. His consort Rome deserted, and lay hid In the deep forests of Aricia's vale; And with her wailings and her mournful sighs, The rites impeded in Diana's fane. How oft the nymphs who dwelt in lakes and groves, Kind admonitions gave her not to mourn, And sooth'd her with consolatory words! How oft the son of Theseus weeping, said; "Cease thus to grieve, nor think your fate alone "Is hard. Look round awhile on others' woes; "More mild your own you'll bear. Would that not mine "Were such as might assuage your woe; but mine, "When heard, to calm your grief may something yield.
"Haply report has sounded in your ears "Of one Hippolytus the fate, destroy'd "Through his most impious step-dame's treacherous fraud, "And sire's credulity. With much surprize "You'll hear,—nay scarcely will you trust my words, "But he am I! Pasiphae's daughter me "Accus'd, that I with vain endeavour try'd "To violate my parent's nuptial couch: "Me feigning guilty of the crime she wish'd; "On me th' offence retorting, or through fear "I might accuse, or rage at her repulse. "My sire, me guiltless from the city drove, "And curs'd me going with most hostile prayers. "To Pitthean Traezen I my exil'd flight "Directed: and now drove along the shore "Of Corinth's sea; when ocean sudden heav'd; "A mighty heap of waters bent appear'd, "Like an huge hill, and increase seem'd to gain; "Then roaring loud was at its summit cleft. "Thence, from the bursting waves a horned bull "Rush'd forth, breast-high uprearing in the air; "Spouting the waves through his capacious mouth "And nostrils. Terror seiz'd my comrades' breasts: "Fill'd with the thoughts of exile, mine alone "Unmov'd remain'd. While my impatient steeds, "Turn'd to the main their heads; with ears erect "Affrighted stood; then by the beast appall'd, "Rush'd rapid with the car o'er lofty rocks. "With a vain hand I strive to gird the curb, "Besmear'd with foaming whiteness; bending back "With all my might I pull the pliant reins. "Nor had my horses' furious madness mock'd "My strength, save that the fast-revolving wheel "A tree opposing struck, and shatter'd: wide "The fragments flew. I from the car was thrown, "Entangled in the harness: plain to view "Were seen my living bowels dragg'd along; "My sinews twisted round the stump; my limbs "Part swept away, and part entangled left: "Loud crash'd my fractur'd bones; my weary'd soul "At length exhal'd; my body nought retain'd "That could be known, one all-continued wound. "Can you, O nymph! or dare you, now compare "Your woe with mine? Since then I have beheld "The realm of darkness, and my mangled limbs "Bath'd in the waves of Phlegethon. Nor life "Had been restor'd, but through the forceful help, "Of medicine that Apollo's offspring gave. "From him Paeonian aid when I had gain'd "By plants of power, though much in Pluto's spite, "Cynthia me cover'd with her densest clouds: "And lest my sight their hatred should increase, "That safe I might remain, and without risk "Be seen, she gave to my appearance age, "Nor left me features to be known again: "And long deliberated, whether Crete "Or Delos, for my dwelling she would chuse. "But, Crete and Delos both abandon'd, here "She plac'd me, and my name she bade renounce "Which still reminded me of my wild steeds; "Saying—O thou, Hippolytus who wast! "Be Virbius now! Thenceforth within these groves "I dwell,—a minor deity, I tend "My heavenly mistress, and increase her train."
But foreign griefs possess'd not power to chase Egeria's woe; who at a mountain's foot Thrown prostrate, melted in a flood of tears; 'Till Phoebus' sister by her sorrow mov'd, Transform'd her body to a cooling fount; And her limbs melted to still-during streams.
The miracle the wondering nymphs beheld; Nor stood the son of Amazonia's queen With less surprize than on the bosom seiz'd Of the Tyrrhenian ploughman, when he view'd The fate-foretelling clod, amidst the fields. At first spontaneous and untouch'd it mov'd; Then took a human figure; shook off earth, And op'd its new-form'd prophesying mouth: Tages the natives call'd him, who first taught Th' Etruscan race the future to explain: Or Romulus, when he his spear beheld Stuck on Palatium's hill, and sudden sprout: By a new root, not by its steely point, Fixt fast: no more a weapon, but a tree, With pliant branches, which afford a shade Unlook'd for to the wondering people round: Or Cippus, when he in the flowing stream Beheld his new-form'd horns (for them he saw) But thought th' appearance false; and what he view'd, Oft rais'd his fingers to his head to touch: No more his eyes distrusting, then he stood, (As victor from a conquer'd foe he came,) And raising up to heaven his hands and eyes, "Ye gods!" he said, "whatever this portends, "If happy, to my country, to the state, "Be it;—if ominous of ill, to me." And then with odorous fires the gods ador'd, On grassy altars of the green sward form'd; And from the goblets pour'd the wine; and search'd, The panting entrails of the slaughter'd sheep, For what was meant. Th' Etruscan seer beheld That mighty revolutions they foretold; But yet obscurely: till his piercing eye He from the entrails turn'd to Cippus' horns. Then cry'd;—"Save thee, O king! for lo! the place "For thee, O Cippus! and thy horns, the towers "Of Latium will obey. Thou only haste; "Delay not, but within the open gates "Enter; so fate commands. In them receiv'd "King wilt thou be; in safety wilt enjoy "An ever-during kingdom." Back he drew His feet, and from the city's walls he turn'd Sternly his looks; exclaiming; "far, ye gods! "O, far avert these omens! Better I "An exile roam for life, than monarch rule "The Capitol." Then he assembled straight The reverend senate, and the people round: But first with peaceful laurel veil'd his horns: Then on a mound, there by the soldiers rais'd, He stood; and pray'd in ancient mode to heaven. "Lo! here," he cry'd, "is one, whom save ye drive "Far from your city, will your monarch be; "By marks, but not by name I him describe: "Two horns his forehead bears. He is the man, "Once in the town receiv'd, the augur tells, "With servile laws will rule ye. Nay, he might "Your open gates have enter'd, but myself "Oppos'd him; though more near to me is none. "Expel him, Romans! from your city far; "Or, if he merit them, with massive chains "Load him: or rid yourself at once of fear "By the proud tyrant's death." Such murmurs sound 'Mid lofty pines, when Eurus whistles fierce; Such is the roaring of the ocean waves Rolling far distant, as the crowd sent forth: Till from amidst the all-confounding noise One spoke more loud, and—"which is he?" exclaim'd. Then all the brows they search'd, the horns to find. Cippus again address'd them. "What you seek "Behold!" and from his head the garland tore, Spite of their efforts, and his forehead shew'd, With double horns distinguish'd. All their eyes Depress'd, and sighs from every bosom burst: Unwillingly, (incredible!) they view That head so bright with merit. Then, no more Bearing that honors due he should not gain, They bind his temples with a festal crown. Thee, Cippus! since within the walls forbid To enter, now the senators present A grateful gift; a tract of land so large As with a plough, by two yok'd oxen drawn, Thou canst from morn till close of day surround. The horns, the type of this stupendous fact, Long shall remain on brazen pillars grav'd.
Ye muses, patrons of the poet's song, Explain (for all complete your knowledge, age Most distant ne'er deceives you) why the isle In Tiber's bosom, by his billows wash'd, The rites of Esculapius introduc'd Into the town of Romulus! A plague Of direst form infected Latium's air, And the pale bloodless bodies wasted thin Squalid in poison. When the numerous deaths Prov'd every effort of mankind was vain, And vain the art of medicine, they beseech Celestial aid, and unto Delphos go, Apollo's oracle, 'mid place of earth; Pray him to help their miserable state With health-affording words; and end at once The dreadful pest which scourg'd their mighty town. The fane, the laurel, and the quiver, slung Upon his shoulder, shook; and this reply The tripod from its secret depth return'd; Thrilling their fear-struck bosoms: "What you seek, "O Romans! here, you should have nearer sought: "And nearer now ev'n seek it. Phoebus' aid "Your woe can lessen not; but Phoebus' son "Can help ye: therefore with good omens go, "And call my offspring to afford relief." Soon as the prudent senators receiv'd The god's commands, with diligence they seek What city's walls Apollo's son contain; Depute a band, whom favoring breezes waft To Epidaurus' shores. Soon as their keels Touch'd on the strand, they to th' assembled crowd Of Grecian elders haste; and earnest beg To grant their deity, to check the rage Of death amongst the hapless Latian race, By his mere presence. So unerring fate Had said. Divided is the council's voice: Some would the aid besought, be granted; some, And many, these oppose; refuse to send To foreign lands their patron, and their god. While dubious they deliberated, eve Chas'd the remains of light, and the earth's shade Threw darkness round; when, lo! the helping god Appear'd in sleep before the Roman's bed To stand, in form like what his temples grace. His left hand bore a rugged staff; his right Strok'd down the hairs of his expanded beard; As thus with words of import mild he spoke; "Fear not, for I will come; my temple leave. "View but this snake which with his circling folds "My staff entwines; remark him, that again "You well may know him; chang'd to such a form "Will I be; but more huge I will appear; "Mighty in bulk as heavenly beings ought." The vision ceas'd, and vanish'd with the words: And with the god fled sleep; and cheerful light Follow'd the flight of Somnus. Now the morn Had chas'd the starry fires; the Grecian chiefs, Still dubious, in the splendid temple meet Of the intreated deity, and pray That some celestial sign he should display, To prove which country for his seat he chose. Scarce had they ended, when the shining god Fore-running hisses sent; and as a snake With lofty crest appear'd: at his approach His statue, altars, portals, gilded roofs, And marble pavement shook. He rear'd his chest Sublime amid the temple; and around Darted his eyes, which shone with living fire. Trembled the fear-struck crowd. The sacred priest, His hair encircled with a snowy band, Straight knew him; and, "the God! the God!" exclaim'd: "All present, him with hearts and tongues adore! "O glorious deity! may thou, thus seen, "Propitious be; thy worshippers protect, "Who keep thy rites." All present to the god Adoring bend, and all his words repeat; And Rome's embassadors with fervor join In mind and voice. To these the god consents, And his crest moving, certain signs affords: Thrice hissing, thrice he shakes his forked tongue, Then down the shining steps he glides, his head Retorted; as he thence departs he views His ancient altars, and a last salute, His wonted seat, his long-own'd temple, gives. Thence rolls he huge along the ground bestrew'd With scatter'd flowers, in curving folds entwin'd; And through the city's centre takes his way, To where the bending mole the port defends. Here rested he; and to dismiss appear'd His followers, and the kind attending crowd, With gracious looks; then in th' Ausonian ship He plac'd his length. A deity's huge weight The ship confess'd; the keel beneath the load Bent. Glad AEneaes' offspring felt, and loos'd (A bull first sacrific'd upon the shore,) The cables which their crowded galley bound. Light airs impell'd the vessel. High aloft The god appear'd; upon the curving poop Rested his neck, and view'd the azure waves. By zephyrs wafted o'er th' Ioenian sea, They reach'd Italia when the sixth time rose Aurora. Pass'd Scylacea, and the fane Of Juno, on Lacinia's noted shore; Japygia left, and shunn'd Amphissia's rocks With larboard oars; and, coasting on the right, Ceraunia, and Romechium pass'd, and pass'd Narycia and Caulonia; they, (the risks Of sea, and of Pelorus' narrow straits Surmounted) pass th' AEolian monarch's isles; Metallic Themesis; Leucasia's land; And warm and rosy Paestus. Thence they coast Along Capraea; and Minerva's cape; And pass Surrentum, rich in generous wine, The town of Hercules; Parthenope, Built for soft ease; with Stabia; and from thence Pass the Cumaean Sybil's sacred dome. Hence by Linternum, with the mastich rich; And boiling fountains are they borne; and past Vulturnus sucking sand within the gulf; And Sinuessa, fill'd with milk-white doves: Marshy Minturnae; with Cajeta, rais'd By him she nurs'd; Antiphates' abode; Trachas, by fens encompass'd; Circe's land; And Antium's solid shore. Here when the crew Had with toe flying vessel reach'd, (for now Rough was the main) the god his folds untwines, Glides on in frequent coils, and spires immense; Entering a temple of his sire that stood Close by the yellow beach. The ocean calm'd, The Epidaurian god his father's fane Now leaves; a deity to him close join'd Thus hospitable found: the sandy shore Ploughs in a furrow with his rattling scales: Then, in the steersman confident, he rests On the high poop his head, till they approach Lavinium's city, and her sacred seat, And Tiber's mouth. The people rush in heaps, And crowds of matrons and of fathers rush, Confus'dly hither; even the vestal maids Who guard the sacred fire: and all salute The god with joyful clamor. Then where'er The rapid vessel cleaves th' opposing stream, The incense crackles on the banks, and rais'd Are lines of altars, thick on either shore; The smoke perfumes the air; the victims bleed In heaps, and warm the sacrificial knife. The Roman city now, the world's great head, They enter'd, up erect the serpent rose; From the mast's loftiest summit tower'd his neck, And round he look'd to chuse a fit abode. The waves circumfluent in two equal streams Divide; the isle has thence its name, the arms On either side are stretch'd, land in the midst. Hither the AEsculapian snake himself Betook, departing from the Latian ship; Resum'd his form celestial, and their griefs Dispersing, came health-bearer to the land.
A foreign power he in our temples stands, But Caesar, in his native town a god Is worshipp'd. In the forum, and the field Fam'd equal: yet not his well-finish'd wars, His triumphs, nor the deeds in peace perform'd So justly chang'd him to an heavenly shape, A blazing star, as did the son he left. For no atchievement Caesar e'er perform'd Can with the boast to be Augustus' sire Compare. Far greater this than to subdue The sea-girt Britons:—his victorious fleets To seven-mouth'd Nile to lead;—to bring the realms Cinyphian Juba rul'd, 'neath Rome's control, Rebel Numidia; and, puff'd high in pride With Mithridates' glory, Pontus' land; Rich triumphs to have gain'd, and triumphs more To merit, as a man so great produce; To whose presiding care, O bounteous gods! Mankind ye gave, and them completely blest. And lest he seem from mortal seed to spring His sire must mount to heaven, in form a god. This the bright mother of AEneaes saw, And for the priest beheld a mournful fate Prepar'd, and moving saw the arms conspir'd. She trembled, and to every god she met Address'd her: "Lo! what deep and potent plots "Against me they prepare. See, with what art "His life is sought, who sole to me is left "Of my Iuelus. Why must I alone "Be harrass'd still with never-ceasing cares? "Whom now Tydides' Calydonian spear "Wounds; now the walls of ill-protected Troy "Lie prostrate. Who my darling son behold "Driv'n to long wanderings; on the ocean toss'd; "Entering the silent mansions of the dead; "Waging fierce war with Turnus; or, if truth "I speak, with Juno rather. Yet why now "Record I former sufferings in my sons? "Terror prevents all memory of the past; "See, where at me their impious swords they point! "O, I conjure you! stay them; and prevent "The horrid deed; lest, spilt the high-priest's blood, "The fires of Vesta be for ever dark." With words like these did troubled Venus move Each power of heaven, in vain; yet all were touch'd, And, though the stern decrees of rigid fate To break unable, tokens plain they gave, That some immense calamity was nigh. They tell, that clashing arms 'mid the black clouds, And dreadful horns and trumpets in the heavens Sounded, to warn us of the impious deed. Full of solicitude the earth beheld The pale wan image of sad Phoebus' face. Torches were often seen 'mid heaven to glare; And from the clouds oft gory drops were shed. Blue Lucifer a dusky hue o'ercast; And Luna's car was sprinkled o'er with blood. Th' infernal owl in numerous places shriek'd, A direful omen! In a thousand fanes The ivory statues wept; the sacred groves Re-echo'd all with songs and threatening sounds. No victim seem'd appeasing; tumults vast Approaching shew'd the entrails; and appear'd The liver always with a wounded head. Around the domes, and temples of the gods Loud howl'd the midnight dogs; the silent shades Flitted along; and tremblings shook the town. Yet could not these forebodings of the heavens Crush the conspiracy, or ward his fate; And in the temple were the weapons drawn: For, but the senate-house, no spot could please The vile assassins for the bloody deed. Then Cytherea smote her lovely breast In anguish; and beneath an heavenly cloud Sought to conceal him: such a cloud as once From furious Menelaues Paris sav'd; And snatch'd AEneaes from Tydides' sword. Then thus her sire: "O daughter! hast thou power "Th' immutable decrees of fate to change? "To thee 'tis granted to inspect the dome "Of the three sisters; there thou wilt behold "Th' eternal tablets of events engrav'd "On steel and brass, a work of mighty toil. "Safe, they nor fear the clashing of the sky, "Nor rage of thunder, nor of ruin aught. "There wilt thou written find thy offspring's fate "On ever-during adamant. Myself "Have read it, and record it in my mind; "And lest thou should'st be to the future blind, "I will relate it. He for whom thou toil'st, "O Cytherea! has his time fulfill'd; "The sum of years which to the earth he ow'd. "That he a deity in heaven may rise, "And be in temples worshipp'd is thy care, "And his successor's; who his name will take, "And on his shoulders bear the wide world's rule; "On him impos'd. He, of his murder'd sire "Valiant avenger, shall in all his wars "Our favoring influence feel. Mutina's walls, "By him besieg'd, in conquest shall confess "His power, and sue for peace. Pharsalia, him "Shall feel; and, drench'd in Macedonian blood "Again, Philippi. On Sicilia's seas "His mighty name shall conquer. Egypt's queen, "Falsely relying on the nuptial bond "With Rome's triumvir, falls: all vain her threats, "That Tiber should subservient bend to Nile. "Why should I speak to thee of barbarous hordes, "Nations which dwell at either seas' extreme? "Whatever habitable earth contains "Will to his empire bend. Ocean will own "His sway. Peace on th'extended earth bestow'd, "To civil studies will his breast be turn'd; "And laws most equitable will he frame. "By his example curb licentious souls; "And, stretching forward to a future age "His anxious care, which their sons' sons may feel, "His offspring, nurtur'd in a pious womb, "At once his name and station will assume. "Nor shall he touch th' ethereal seats, nor join "His kindred stars till full like him in years. "Meantime his soul, snatch'd from the mangled corse, "Form to a brilliant star, a god divine: "That Julius from his lofty seat may still "Our forum, and our Capitol behold." Scarcely the sire had ceas'd, when Venus, bright, But unperceiv'd by all, stood in the midst Of Rome's assembled senate; from the breast Of her lov'd Caesar took the recent soul, Nor let it waste in air. Up to the stars She bore it. Rapid as she swept along, She saw it shine with light, she saw it burn; Then from her bosom spring above the moon: Lofty it flies, it shines a glittering star, Dragging a flaming tail's stupendous length. Viewing the glorious actions of his son, Candid he grants them mightier than his own, And thus surpast rejoices. Let him frown, If to his parent's deeds we his prefer; Yet fame quite free will such commands despise, Give him unwish'd-for precedence; and here, And here alone he'll disobedience find. So Atreus yielded to the mighty fame Of Agamemnon; Theseus so surpass'd AEgeus; and Achilles Peleus so. Nay more, examples nearer to themselves If I should use, Saturn submits to Jove. Jove rules th' ethereal sky, the triform world; And all the earth beneath Augustus lies: Each is the sire and ruler of his realm.
O, I implore, ye gods! who did attend AEneaes,—who made fire and sword retreat! Ye native deities of Latium's soil! Quirinus, founder of the walls of Rome! Mars, of Quirinus never-conquer'd, sire! Vesta, held sacred midst the Caesars' gods! Domestic Phoebus, with chaste Vesta plac'd! And Jove, who guards the high Tarpeiaen walls! With all whom pious poets may invoke; Slow may that day arrive, and older far Than what our age may see, when to the clouds His glorious head shall mount, quitting this globe He rules so well, and our beseeching prayers Bending with condescending ear to grant.
Now is my work complete, which not Jove's ire, Nor flame, nor steel, nor gnawing tooth of age, Shall e'er destroy. Come when it will, that day Which nothing, save my mortal frame, can touch. Which ends the being of a dubious life, My better part unperishing shall mount Above the loftiest stars. Eternal still Shall be my name. Where'er Rome's power extends O'er conquer'd earth, my verses shall be read; And, if the presages by poets given Be true, to endless years my fame shall live.
Hayden, Printer, Brydges Street, Covent Garden.