תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Heavens! would a soft, inglorious, dastard train An absent hero's nuptial joys profane! So with her young, amid the woodland shades, A timorous hind the lion's court invades, Leaves in the fatal lair the tender fawns, Climbs the green cliff, or feeds the flowery lawns: Mean time return’d, with dire remorseless sway The monarch savage rends the trembling prey. With equal fury, and with equal fame, Ulysses soon shall reassert his claim. O Jove, supreme, whom gods and men revere! And thou, to whom 'tis given to gild the sphere! With power congenial join’d, propitious aid The chief adopted by the martial maid! Such to our wish the warrior soon restore, As when contending on the Lesbian shore His prowess Philomelides confess’d, And loud acclaiming Greeks the victor bless'd : Then soon the’ invaders of his bed and throne, Their love presumptuous shall with life atone. With patient ear, O royal youth, attend The storied labours of thy father's friend : Fruitful of deeds, the copious tale is long, But truth severe shall dictate to my tongue: Learn what I heard the seaborn seer relate, Whose eye can pierce the dark recess of Fate.

Long on the Egyptian coast by calms confined, Heaven to my fleet refused a prosperous wind : No vows had we preferr’d, nor victim slain ! For this the gods each favouring gale restrain : Jealous, to see their high behests obey'd ; Severe, if men the eternal rites evade. High o'er a gulfy sea, the Pharian isle Fronts the deep roar of disemboguing Nile :

6

Her distance from the shore, the course begun
At dawn, and ending with the setting sun,
A galley measures; when the stiffer gales
Rise on the poop, and fully stretch the sails.
There, anchor'd vessels safe in harbour lie,
While limpid springs the failing cask supply.

· And now the twentieth sun, descending laves
His glowing axle in the western waves;
Still with expanded sails we court in vain
Propitious winds to waft us o'er the main :
And the pale mariner at once deplores
His drooping vigour, and exhausted stores.
When lo! a bright cerulean form appears,
The fair Eidothea! to dispel my fears ;
Proteus her sire divine. With pity press’d,
Me sole the daughter of the deep address'd;
What time, with hunger pined, my absent mates
Roam the wild isle in search of rural cates,
Bait the barb'd steel, and from the fishy flood
Appease the’ afflictive fierce desire of food.

* Whoe'er thou art (the azure goddess cries) Thy conduct ill deserves the praise of wise: Is death thy choice, or misery thy boast, That here inglorious on a barren coast Thy brave associates droop, a meagre train, With famine pale, and ask thy care in vain ?

• Struck with the kind reproach, I straight re“ Whate'er thy title in thy native sky, (plyA goddess sure! for more than mortal grace Speaks thee descendant of etherial rące: Deem not, that here of choice my fleet remains; Some heavenly power averse my stay constrains: 0, piteous of my fate, vouchsafe to show (For what's sequester'd from celestial view ?)

[ocr errors]

What power becalms the' innavigable seas? What guilt provokes him, and what vows ap

e

! • I ceased; when affable the goddess cried“ Observe, and in the truths I speak confide: The'oraculous seer frequents the Pharian coast, From whose high bed my birth divine I boast; Proteus, a name tremendous o'er the main, The delegate of Neptune's watery reign. Watch with insidious care his known abode; There fast in chains constrain the various god: Who bound, obedient to superior force, Unerring will prescribe your destined course. If studious of your realms, you then demand Their state, since last you left your natal land; Instant the god obsequious will disclose Bright tracks of glory, or a cloud of woes.”

She ceased, and suppliant thus I made reply— “ O goddess! on thy aid my hopes rely; Dictate, propitious, to my duteous ear What arts can captivate the changeful seer: For perilous the’ essay, unheard the toil, To elude the prescience of a god by guile,”

· Thus to the goddess mild my suit I end. Then she" Obedient to my rule, attend : When through the zone of heaven the mounted sun Hath journey'd half, and half remains to run; The seer, while zephyrs curl the swelling deep, Basks on the breezy shore, in grateful sleep, His oozy limbs. Emerging from the wave, The Phocæ swift surround his rocky cave, Frequent and full; the consecrated train Of her”, whose azure trident awes the main :

Amphitrite.

[ocr errors]

2

There wallowing warm, the’enormous herd exhales
An oily steam, and taints the noontide gales.
To that recess, commodious for surprise,
When purple light shall next suffuse the skies,
With me repair; and from thy warrior band
Three chosen chiefs of dauntless soul command:
Let their auxiliar force befriend the toil,
For strong the god, and perfected in guile.
Stretch'd on the shelly shore, he first surveys
The flouncing herd ascending from the seas;
Their number summ’d, reposed in sleep profound
The scaly charge their guardian god surround:
So with his battening flocks the careful swain
Abides, pavilion'd on the grassy plain.
With powers united, obstinately bold,
Invade him, couch'd amid the scaly fold.
Instant he wears, elusive of the rape,
The mimic force of every savage shape :
Or glides with liquid lapse a murmuring stream,
Or wrapp'd in flame, he glows at every limb.
Yet still retentive, with redoubled might
Through each vain passive form constrain his

flight.
But when, his native shape resumed, he stands
Patient of conquest, and your cause demands;
The cause that urged the bold attempt declare,
And sooth the vanquish'd with a victor's prayer.
The bands relax’d, implore the seer to say
What godhead interdicts the watery way?
Who straight propitious, in prophetic strain
Will teach
you

the' unmeasured main." She ceased, and bounding from the shelfy shore, Round the descending nymph the waves redound

ing roar.

to repass

6

High wrapp'd in wonder of the future deed, With joy impetuous to the port I speed: The wants of nature with repast suffice, Till night with grateful shade involved the skies, And shed ambrosial dews. Fast by the deep, Along the tented shore, in balmy sleep, Our cares were lost. When o’er the eastern lawn, In saffron robes the daughter of the dawn Advanced her rosy steps; before the bay, Due ritual honours to the gods I pay; Then seek the place the seaborn nymph assign'd, With three associates of undaunted mind. Arrived, to form along the’ appointed strand For each a bed, she scoops the hilly sand: Then from her azure car the finny spoils Of four vast Phocæ takes, to veil her wiles : Beneath the finny spoils extended prone, Hard toil! the prophet's piercing eye to shun; New from the corse, the scaly frauds diffuse Unsavoury stench of oil, and brackish ooze: But the bright seamaid's gentle power implored, With nectar'd drops the sickening sense restored.

« Thus till the sun had travell’d half the skies Ambush'd we lie, and wait the bold emprise: When thronging quick to bask in open air, The flocks of ocean to the strand repair; Couch'd on the sunny sand, the monsters sleep: Then Proteus, mounting from the hoary deep, Surveys his charge, unknowing of deceit (In order told, we make the sum complete): Pleased with the false review, secure he lies, And leaden slumbers press his drooping eyes. Rushing impetuous forth, we straight prepare A furious onset with the sound of war,

« הקודםהמשך »