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EDIPUS 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 last to reign fingly, each a year by turns, and the first lot is obtain❜d by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the Gods, declares his refolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives also, by means of a marriage betwixt Polynices and one of the daughters of Adraftus King of Argos. Juno opposes, 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 these strangers by whom the hides of thofe beafts were worn, and who arriv'd at the time when he kept an annual feast in honour of that God. The rife of this folemnity he relates to his guests, the loves of Phoebus and Pfamathe, and the ftory of Chorobus. He enquires, and is made acquainted with their defcent 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. Butfinding the Verfion better than be 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 dirae? Sidonios raptus, et inexorabile pactum
Legis Agenoreae? fcrutantemque aequora Cadmum ?
Longa retro feries, trepidum fi Martis operti
Expediam, penitufque fequar quo carmine muris
Raternal Rage the guilty Thebes alarms,
FR Th' alternate reign destroy'd by impious arms,
Demand our fong; a facred fury fires
My ravish'd breast, and all the Muse inspires.
And Cadmus searching round the fpacious fea?
Or how from joining ftones the city sprung,
cognata in moenia Baccho,
graves irae cognata
Quod faevae Junonis opus: cui fumpferit arcum Infelix Athamas, cur non expaverit ingens Ionium, focio cafura Palaemone mater.
Atque adeo jam nunc gemitus, et profperà Cadmi Praeteriiffe finam: limes mihi carminis efto
Oedipodae confufa domus : quando Itala nondum
Aut defenfa prius vix pubefcentibus annis
Or fhall I Juno's hate to Thebes refound,
Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll,
In youthful arms t'affert the cause of Jove.
Oh bless thy Rome with an eternal reign,
And croud their shining ranks to yield thee place;