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THE

THEBAIS OF STATIUS.

BOOK THE FIRST.

F

RATERNAL rage, the guilty Thebes alarms, Th' alternate reign deftroy'd by impious arms, Demand our fongs; a facred fury fires My ravish'd breast, and all the Muse inspires. O Goddess, fay, fhall I deduce my rhymes From the dire nation in its early times, Europa's rape, Agenor's ftern decree, And Cadmus fearching round the spacious fea? How with the ferpent's teeth he fow'd the foil, And reap'd an iron harvest of his toil? Or how from joining ftones the city sprung, While to his harp divine Amphion fung?

P. STATII THEBAIDOS.

LIBRE PRIMUS.

F

RATERNAS acies, alternaque regna profanis Decertata odiis, fontefque evolvere Thebas, Pierius menti calor incidit. Unde jubetis Ire, Deæ gentifne canam primordia diræ ? Sidonios raptus, et inexorabile pactum Legis Agenorea? fcrutantemque æquora Cadmum? Longa retro feries, trepidum fi Martis operti Agricolam infandis condentem prælia fulcis Expediam, penitufque fequar quo carmine muris Jufferit Amphion Tyrios accedere montes:

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Or

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Or fhall I Juno's hate to Thebes refound,
Whofe fatal rage th' unhappy monarch found?
The fire against the fon his arrows drew,
O'er the wide fields the furious mother flew,
And while her arms a fecond hope contain,
Sprung from the rocks and plung'd into the main.
But wave whate'er to Cadmus may belong,
And fix, O Mufe! the barrier of thy fong
At Oedipus----from his disasters trace
The long confufions of his guilty race:
Nor yet attempt to ftretch 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

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blood;

Twice taught the Rhine beneath his laws to roll,
And ftretch'd his empire to the frozen pole,
Or long before, with early valour ftrove,
In youthful arms t' affert the cause of Jove.

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Unde graves iræ cognata in monia Baccho;
Quod fævæ Junonis opus; cui fumpferit arcum
Infelix Athamas, cur non expaverit ingens
Ionium, focio cafura Palæmone mater.
Atque adeo jam nunc gemitus, et profpera Cadmi
Præteriiffe finam: limes mihi carminis efto
Oedipodæ confufa domus: quando Itala nondum
Signa, nec Arctoos aufim sperare triumphos,
Bifque jugo Rhenum, bis adactum legibus Iftrum,
Et conjurato dejectos vertice Dacos:

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Aut defenfa prius vix pubefcentibus annis
Bella Jovis. Tuque o Latiæ decus addite famæ,
Quem nova maturi fubeuntem exorfa parentis

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And thou, great heir of all thy father's fame,
Increase of glory to the Latian name!
Oh blefs thy Rome with an eternal reign,
Nor let defiring worlds entreat in vain.
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What tho' the ftars contract their heav'nly fpace,
And crowd their fhining ranks to yield thee place;
Though all the fkies, ambitious of thy fway,
Confpire to court thee from our world away;
Though Phoebus longs to mix his rays with thine,
And in thy glories more ferenely shine; 40
Though Jove himself no less content would be,
To part his throne and share his heav'n with thee:
Yet ftay, great Caefar! and vouchfafe to reign
O'er the wide earth, and o'er the wat❜ry main;
Refign to Jove his empire of the skies,
And people Heav'n with Roman deities.

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The time will come, when a diviner flame
Shall warm my breast to fing of Cæfar's fame:
Mean while permit, that my preluding Muse
In Theban wars an humbler theme
may chufe:

: 50

Æternum fibi Roma cupit: licet arctior omnes
Limes agat ftellas, et te plaga lucida cœli
Pleiadum, Boreæque, et hiulci fulminis expers 35
Sollicitet; licet ignipedum frenator equorum
Ipfe tuis alte radiantem crinibus arcum
Imprimat, aut magni cedat tibi Jupiter æqua
Parte poli; maneas hominum contentus habenis,
Undarum terræque potens, et fidera dones.

Tempus erit, cum Pierio tua fortior œftro
Facta canam: nunc tendo chelyn; fatis arma referre
Aonia, et geminis fceptrum exitiale tyrannis,
Nec furiis poft fata modum, flammafque rebelles
Of

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Of furious hate furviving death, the fings, A fatal throne to two contending kings, And fun'ral flames, that parting wide in air Express the difcord of the fouls they bear: Of towns difpeopled, and the wand'ring ghosts Of kings unbury'd in the wafted coafts; When Dirce's fountain blush'd with Grecian blood, And Thetis, near Ifmenos' fwelling flood, With dread beheld the rolling furges sweep, In heaps, his slaughter'd fons into the deep. What hero, Clio! wilt thou first relate? The rage of Tydeus, or the Prophet's fate? Or how with hills of flain on ev'ry fide, Hippomedon repell'd the hoftile tide? Or how the youth with ev'ry grace adorn'd, 65 Untimely fell, to be for ever mourn'd? Then to fierce Capaneus thy verse extend, And fing with horror his prodigious end.

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Seditione rogi, tumulifque carentia regum
Funera, et egeftas alternis mortibus urbes;
Cærula cum rubuit Lernæo fanguine Dirce,
Et Thetis arentes affuetum ftringere ripas,
Horruit ingenti venientem Ifmenon acervo.

Quem prius heroum, Clio, dabis? immodicum iræ
Tydea? laurigeri fubitos an vatis hiatus?
Urget et hoftilem propellens cædibus amnem
Turbidus Hippomedon, plorandaque bella protervi
Arcados, atque alio Capaneus horrore canendus. 65
Impia jam merita fcrutatus lumina dextra
Merferat æterna damnatum nocte pudorem

NOTES.
Ver. 65. Or how the youth] Parthenopaus.

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Now

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Now wretched Oedipus, deprived of fight,
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 prefents his fin
In frightful views, and makes it day within;
Returning thoughts in endless circles roll,
And thoufand furies haunt his guilty foul,
The wretch then lifted to th' unpitying skies
Thofe empty orbs from whence he tore his eyes,
Whofe wounds, yet fresh, with bloody hands he
ftrook,

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75

While from his breast these dreadful accents broke.
Ye gods! that o'er the gloomy regions reign, 81
Where guilty fpirits feel eternal pain;
Thou, fable Styx! whofe livid ftreams are roll'd
Thro' dreary coafts, which I, tho' blind, behold;
Tifiphone, that oft haft heard ray pray'r, 85
Aflift, if Oedipus deferve thy care!

Oedipodes, longaque animam fub morte tenebat.
Illum indulgentem tenebris, imæque receffu.
Sedis, inafpectos cœlo radiifque penates
Servantem, tamen affiduis circumvolat alis
Sæva dies animi, fcelerumque in pectore diræ. 75
Tunc vacuos orbes, crudum ac miferabile vitæ
Supplicium, oftentat cœlo, manibufque cruentis
Pulfat inane folum, fævaque ita voce precatur: 80
Di fontes animas, auguftaque Tartara pœnis
Qui regitis, tuque umbrifero Styx livida fundo,
Quam video, multumque mihi confueta vocari
Annue Tifiphone, perverfaque vota fecunda; 85
Si bene quid merui, fi me de matre cadentem

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