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Fierce from his arm the’ enormous load he flings; Sonorous through the shaded air it sings: Couch'd to the earth, tempestuous as it flies, The crowd gaze upward while it cleaves the skies. Beyond all marks, with many a giddy round Down rushing, it upturns a hill of ground.
That instant Pallas, bursting from a cloud, Fix'd a distinguish'd mark, and cried aloud
• E’en he who sightless wants a visual ray, May by his touch alone award the day: Thy signal throw transcends the utmost bound Of every champion by a length of ground: Securely bid the strongest of the train Arise to throw: the strongest throws in vain.'
She spoke; and momentary mounts the sky: The friendly voice Ulysses hears with joy; Then thus aloud, elate with decent pride * Rise, ye Phracians, try your force (he cried); If with this throw the strongest caster vie, Still, further still, 1 bid the discus fly. Stand forth, ye champions,who the gauntlet wield, Or you,
the swiftest racers of the field! Stand forth,ye wrestlers,who these pastimes grace! I wield the gauntlet, and I run the race. In such heroic games I yield to none, Or yield to brave Laodamas alone: Shall I with brave Laodamas contend? A friend is sacred, and I style him friend. Ungenerous were the man, and base of heart, Who takes the kind, and pays the’ungrateful part: Chiefly the man, in foreign realms confined, Base to his friend, to his own interest blind : All, all your heroes I this day defy; Give me a man, that we our might may try.
Expert in every art, I boast the skill
fail, When storms and hunger both at once assail.'
Abash'd, the numbers hear the godlike man, Till great Alcinoüs mildly thus began— [tongue
Well hast thou spoke, and well thy generous With decent pride refutes a public wrong: Warm are thy words, but warm without offence; Fear only fools, secure in men of sense: Thy worth is known. Then hear our country's And bear to heroes our heroic fame; [claim, In distant realms our glorious deeds display; Repeat them frequent in the genial day; (end, When bless’d with ease thy woes and wanderings Teach them thy consort, bid thy sons attend; How loved of Jove he crown'd our sires with praise, How we, their offspring, dignify our race.
· Let other realms the deathful gauntlet wield, Or boast the glories of the’ athletic field; We in the course unrival'd speed display, Or through cerulean billows plough the way; To dress, to dance, to sing, our sole delight, The feast or bath by day, and love by night: Rise then, ye skill'd in measures; let him bear Your fame to men that breathe a distant air, And faithful say, to you the powers belong To race, to sail, to dance, to chant the song. But, herald, to the palace swift repair, And the soft lyre to grace our pastimes bear.'
Swift at the word, obedient to the king, The herald flies the tuneful lyre to bring. Up rose nine seniors, chosen to survey The future games, the judges of the day: With instant care they mark a spacious round, And level for the dance the’allotted ground: The herald bears the lyre: intent to play, The bard advancing meditates the lay: Skill'd in the dance, tall youths, a blooming band, Graceful before the heavenly minstrel stand; Light-bounding from the earth, at once they rise, Their feet half viewless quiver in the skies: Ulysses gazed, astonish'd to survey The glancing splendours as their sandals play. Mean time the bard, alternate to the strings, The loves of Mars and Cytherea sings; How the stern god, enamour'd with her charms, Clasp'd the gay panting goddess in his arms, By bribes seduced: and how the Sun, whose
eye Views the broad heavens, disclosed the lawless
joy. Stung to the soul, indignant through the skies To his black forge vindictive Vulcan flies:
Arrived, his sinewy arms incessant place
base, A wondrous net he labours, to betray The wanton lovers, as entwined they lay; Indissolubly strong! Then instant bears To his immortal dome the finish'd snares. Above, below, around, with art dispread, The sure enclosure folds the genial bed; Whose texture e'en the search of gods deceives, Thin as the filmy threads the spider weaves. Then, as withdrawing from the starry bowers, He feigns a journey to the Lemnian shores, His favourite isle! Observant Mars descries His wish'd recess, and to the goddess flies; He glows, he burns : the fair-hair'd
of love Descends smooth-gliding from the courts of Jove. Gay blooming in full charms: her hand he press'd With eager joy, and with a sigh address’d:
Come, my beloved! and taste the soft delights: Come, to repose the genial bed invites: Thy absent spouse, neglectful of thy charms, Prefers his barbarous Sintians to thy arms!'
Then, nothing loath, the’ enamour'd fair he led, And sunk transported on the conscious bed. Down rush'd the toils, inwrapping as they lay The careless lovers in their wanton play: In vain they strive, the' entangling snares deny (Inextricably firm) the power to fly. Warn’d by the god who sheds the golden day, Stern Vulcan homeward treads the starry way: Arrived, he sees, he grieves, with rage he burns; Full horrible he roars, his voice all heaven returns.
• O Jove (he cried), O all ye powers above, See the lewd dalliance of the
Me, awkward me, she scorns, and yields her
charms To that fair letcher, the strong god of arms. If I am lame, that stain my natal hour By Fate imposed; such me my parent bore: Why was I born? See how the wanton lies! O sight tormenting to a husband's eyes ! But yet, I trust, this once e'en Mars would fly His fair one's arms—he thinks her, once, too nigh. But there remain, ye guilty, in my power, Till Jove refunds his shameless daughter's dower. Too dear I prized a fair enchanting face: Beauty unchaste is beauty in disgrace.'
Meanwhile the gods the dome of Vulcan throng, Apollo comes, and Neptune comes along, With these gay Hermes trod the starry plain; But modesty withheld the goddess-train. All Heaven beholds, imprison:d as they lie, And unextinguish'd laughter shakes the sky. Then mutual, thus they spoke-Behold on
wrong Swift vengeance waits; and art subdues the strong! Dwells there a god on all the Olympian brow More swift than Mars, and more than Vulcan slow? Yet Vulcan conquers, and the god of arms Must pay the penalty for lawless charms.'
Thus serious they: but he who gilds the skies, The gay Apollo, thus to Hermes cries— "Wouldst thou enchain'd like Mars, Hermes, lie, And bear the shame like Mars, to share the joy?'
0 envied shame! (the smiling youth rejoin'd) Add thrice the chains, and thrice more firmly bind; Gaze, all ye gods, and, every goddess, gaze, Yet eager would I bless the sweet disgrace.'