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Nor yet attempt to stretch thy bolder wing,
And mighty Cæsar's conqu'ring eagles sing;
How twice he tam'd proud Ister's rapid flood,


While Dacian mountains stream'd with barb'rous


Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll,
And stretch'd his empire to the frozen pole,
Or long before, with early valour strove,
In youthful arms t' assert the cause of Jove.
And thou, great heir of all thy father's fame,
Encrease of glory to the Latian name,


Oh! bless thy Rome with an eternal reign,

Nor let desiring worlds entreat in vain.


What tho' the stars contract their heav'nly space,

And croud their shining ranks to yield thee place;
Tho' all the skies, ambitious of thy sway,
Conspire to court thee from our world away;
Tho' Phoebus longs to mix his rays with thine,
And in thy glories more serenely shine;
Tho' Jove himself no less content would be


Το part his throne and share his heav'n with thee


Yet stay, great Cæsar! and vouchsafe to reign
O'er the wide earth, and o'er the watry main;
Resign to Jove his empire of the skies,

And people heav'n with Roman deities.

The time will come, when a diviner flame
Shall warm my breast to sing of Cæsar's fame :
Meanwhile permit, that my preluding muse
In Theban wars an humbler theme may chuse:


50 Of

Of furious hate surviving death, she sings,
A fatal throne to two contending Kings,
And fun'ral flames that, parting wide in air,
Express the discord of the souls they bear:

Of towns dispeopled, and the wand'ring ghosts


Of Kings unbury'd in the wasted coasts;

When Dirce's fountain blush'd with Grecian blood, And Thetis, near Ismenos' swelling flood,

With dread beheld the rolling surges sweep,
In heaps, his slaughter'd sons into the deep.

What hero, Clio! wilt thou first relate ?
The rage of Tydeus, or the Prophet's fate?
Or how, with hills of slain on ev'ry side,
Hippomedon repell'd the hostile tide?

Or how the youth with ev'ry grace adorn'd,
Untimely fell, to be for ever mourn'd?
Then to fierce Capaneus thy verse extend,
And sing with horror his prodigious end.
Now wretched Edipus, depriv'd of sight,
Led a long death in everlasting night;

But while he dwells where not a cheerful ray
Can pierce the darkness, and abhors the day;
The clear reflecting mind presents his sin
In frightful views, and makes it day within;
Returning thoughts in endless circles roll,
And thousand furies haunt his guilty soul,
The wretch then lifted up to th' unpitying skies
Those empty orbs from whence he tore his eyes,

VER. 65. Or how the youth] Parthenopaus.






Whose wounds, yet fresh, with bloody hands he strook, While from his breast these dreadful accents broke. 80

Ye Gods! that o'er the gloomy regions reign, Where guilty spirits feel eternal pain;

Thou, sable Styx! whose livid streams are roll'd Through dreary coasts, which I tho' blind behold: Tisiphone, that oft' hast heard my pray'r,

Assist, if

dipus deserve thy care!

If you receiv'd me from Jocasta's womb,
And nurs❜d the hope of mischiefs yet to come:
If leaving Polybus, I took my way,


To Cyrrha's temple on that fatal day,


When by the son the trembling father dy'd,

Where the three roads the Phocian fields divide :

If I the Sphynx's riddles durst explain,

Taught by thyself to win the promis'd reign:

If wretched I, by baleful furies led,

With monstrous mixture stain'd my mother's bed,
For hell and thee begot an impious brood,
And with full lust those horrid joys renew'd;
Then self-condemn'd to shades of endless night,
Forc'd from these orbs the bleeding balls of sight;
Oh hear! and aid the vengeance I require,
If worthy thee, and what thou might'st inspire.
My sons their old, unhappy sire despise,
Spoil'd of his kingdom, and depriv'd of eyes;
Guideless I wander, unregarded mourn,
While these exalt their sceptres o'er my urn;





These sons, ye Gods! who with flagitious pride
Insult my darkness, and my groans deride.
Art thou a father, unregarding Jove!

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And sleeps thy thunder in the realms above?
Thou Fury, then, some lasting curse entail,
Which o'er their children's children shall prevail:
Place on their heads that crown distain'd with gore,
Which these dire hands from my slain father tore;
Go! and a parent's heavy curses bear;

Break all the bonds of nature, and prepare
Their kindred souls to mutual hate and war.
Give them to dare, what I might wish to see
Blind as I am, some glorious villany!



Soon shalt thou find, if thou but arm their hands,
Their ready guilt preventing thy commands:
Could'st thou some great, proportion'd mischief frame,
They'd prove the father from whose loins they came.

The Fury heard, while on Cocytus' brink
Her snakes unty'd, sulphureous waters drink;
But at the summons roll'd her eyes around,


And snatch'd the starting serpents from the ground.

Not half so swiftly shoots along the air

The gliding lightning, or descending star.

Through crouds of airy shades she wing'd her flight,

And dark dominions of the silent night;


Swift as she pass'd the flitting ghosts withdrew,

And the pale spectres trembled at her view:
To th' iron gates of Tenarus she flies,

There spreads her dusky pinions to the skies.



The day beheld, and sick’ning at the sight,

Veil'd her fair glories in the shades of night.
Affrighted Atlas, on the distant shore,

Trembled, and shook the heav'ns and gods he bore. Now from beneath Malea's airy height 140

Aloft she sprung, and steer'd to Thebes her flight;
With eager speed the well-known journey took,
Nor here regrets the hell she late forsook.
A hundred snakes her gloomy visage shade,
A hundred serpents guard her horrid head,
In her sunk eye-balls dreadful meteors glow:
Such rays from Phoebe's bloody circle flow,


When lab'ring with strong charms, she shoots from high

A fiery gleam, and reddens all the sky.

Blood stain'd her cheeks, and from her mouth there


Blue steaming poisons, and a length of flame.

From ev'ry blast of her contagious breath


Famine and drought proceed, and plagues, and death. A robe obscene was o'er her shoulders thrown,

A dress by fates and furies worn alone.
She toss'd her meagre arms; her better hand


In waving circles whirl'd a fun'ral brand:

A serpent from her left was seen to rear

His flaming crest, and lash the yielding air.

But when the Fury took her stand on high, 160

Where vast Citharon's top salutes the sky,

A hiss

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