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EDÍPUS King of Thebes having by mistake flain his father Laius, and marry'd his mother Jocafta; put out his own eyes, and refign'd the realm to his fons, Eteocles and Polynices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the fury Tifiphone, to fow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at laft to reign fingly, each a year by turns, and the firft lot is obtained by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the Gods, declares his refolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives alfo, by means of a marriage betwixt Polynices and one of the daughters of Adraftus King of Argos. Juno oppofes, but to no effect, and Mercury is fent on a meffage to the fhades, to the ghoft of Laius, who is to appear to Eteocles, and provoke him to break the agreement. Polynices in the mean time departs from Thebes by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives at Argos; where he meets with Tydeus, who had fled from Calydon, having kill'd his brother. Adraftus entertains them, having receiv'd an oracle from Apollo that his daughters fhould be marry'd to a Boar and a Lion, which he understands to be meant of thefe ftrangers by whom the hides of those beasts were worn, and who arrived at the time when he kept an annual feaft in honour of that God. The rife of this folemnity he relates to his guests, the loves of Phoebus and Pfamathe, and the story of Choroebus. He enquires, and is made acquainted with their descent and quality: The facrifice is renew'd, and the book concludes with a Hymn to Apollo.
The Tranflator hopes he needs not apologize for his choice of this piece, which was made almoft in his Childhood. But finding the Verfion better than he expected, he gave it fome Correction a few years afterwards.
Raternas acies, alternaque regna profanis
Decertata odiis, fontefque evolvere Thebas, Pierius menti calor incidit. Unde jubetis Ire, Deae? gentifne canam primordia diraę? Sidonios raptus, et inexorabile pactum Legis Agenoreae? fcrutantemque aequora Cadmum?
Longa retro feries, trepidum fi Martis operti Agricolam infandis condentem praelia fulcis 10 Expediam, penitufque fequar quo carmine muris Jufferit Amphion Tyrios accedere montes :
THEBA I S.
FRaternal rage, the guilty Thebes' Alarms,
Th'alternate reign deftroy'd by impious arms,
Demand our fong; a facred fury fires
My ravish'd breast, and all the Muse inspires.
Europa's rape, Agenor's ftern decree,
And Cadmus searching round the spacious fea?
Or how from joining ftones the city sprung,
Unde graves irae cognata in moenia Baccho, Quod faevae Junonis opus; cui fumpferit arcum Infelix Athamas, cur non expaverit ingens Ionium, focio cafura Palaemone mater.
Atque adeo jam nunc gemitus, et profpera Cadmi
Bella Jovis. Tuque o Latiae decus addite famae,
Or fhall I Juno's hate to Thebes refound,
But wave whate'er to Cadmus may belong, And fix, O Muse! the barrier of thy song At Oedipus---from his difafters trace The long confufions of his guilty race: Nor yet attempt to stretch thy bolder wing, And mighty Cæfar's conqu'ring eagles fing; How twice he tam'd proud Ifter's rapid flood, 25 While Dacian mountains ftream'd with barb'rous
Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll,
In youthful arms t'affert the cause of Jove. 30
O bless thy Rome with an eternal reign,