תמונות בעמוד

A form enormous ! far unlike the race
Of human birth, in stature, or in face;
As some lone mountain's monstrous growth he

Crown'd with rough thickets, and a nodding wood.
I left my vessel at the point of land,
And close to guard it, gave our crew command:
With only twelve, the boldest and the best,
I seek the’adventure, and forsake the rest.
Then took a goatskin fill’d with precious wine,
The gift of Maron of Evantheus' line
(The priest of Phoebus at the' Ismarian shrine).
In sacred shade his honour'd mansion stood
Amidst Apollo's consecrated wood: (save,
Him, and his house, Heaven moved


mind to And costly presents in return he gave; Seven golden talents to perfection wrought, A silver bowl that held a copious draught, And twelve large vessels of unmingled wine, Mellifluous, undecaying, and divine ! Which now some ages from his race conc

nceal’d, The hoary sire in gratitude reveal'd : Such was the wine; to quench whose fervent steam, Scarce twenty measures from the living stream To cool one cup sufficed: the goblet crown'd Breathed aromatic fragrancies around. Of this an ample vase we heaved aboard, And brought another with provisions stored. My soul foreboded I should find the bower Of some fell monster, fierce with barbarous power, Some rustic wretch,who lived in Heaven's despite, Contemning laws, and trampling on the right. The cave we found, but vacant all within (His flock the giant tended on the green);

But round the grot we gaze; and all we view,
In order ranged, our admiration drew:
The bending shelves with loads of cheeses press'd,
The folded flocks each separate from the rest
(The larger here, and there the lesser lambs,
The new-fallen young here bleating for their dams;
The kid distinguish'd from the lambkin lies):
The cavern echoes with responsive cries.
Capacious chargers all around were laid,
Full pails, and vessels of the milking trade.
With fresh provisions hence our fleet to store
My friends advise me, and to quit the shore;
Or drive a flock of sheep and goats away,
Consult our safety, and put off to sea.
Their wholesome counsel rashly I declined,
Curious to view the man of monstrous kind,
And try what social rites a savage lends :
Dire rites, alas! and fatal to my friends!

• Then first a fire we kindle, and prepare For his return with sacrifice and

prayer. The loaden shelves afford us full repast; We sit expecting. Lo! he comes at last. Near half a forest on his back he bore, And cast the ponderous burden at the door. It thunder'd as it fell. We trembled then, And sought the deep recesses of the den. Now driven before him, through the arching rock, Came tumbling, heaps on heaps, the' unnumber'd

flock; Big-udder'd ewes, and goats of female kind (The males were penn’d in outward courts behind). Then, heaved on high, a rock's enormous weight To the cave's mouth he rolld, and closed the gate

(Scarce twenty four-wheel'd cars, compact and

strong, The massy load could bear, or roll along). He next betakes him to his evening cares, And, sitting down, to milk his flock prepares; Of half their udders eases first the dams, Then to the mother's teat submits the lambs. Half the white stream to hardening cheese he

press'd, And high in wicker baskets heap'd : the rest, Reserved in bowls, supplied the nightly feast. His labour done, he fired the pile that gave A sudden blaze, and lighted all the cave. We stand discover'd by the rising fires; Askance the giant glares, and thus inquires

“What are ye, guests? on what adventure, say, Thus far ye wander through the watery way? Pirates, perhaps, who seek through seas unknown The lives of others, and expose your own ?” • His voice like thunder through the cavern

sounds : My bold companions thrilling fear confounds, Appalld at sight of more than mortal man! At length, with heart recover'd, I began : From Troy's famed fields, sad wanderers

o'er the main, Behold the relics of the Grecian train ! Through various seas, by various perils toss'd, , And forced by storms, unwilling, on your coast; Far from our destined course, and native land, Such was our fate, and such high Jove's command! Nor what we are befits us to disclaim, Atrides' friends in arms a mighty name),

Who taught proud Troy and all her sons to bow;
Victors of late, but humble suppliants now!
Low at thy knee thy succour we implore;
Respect us, human, and relieve us, poor.
At least some hospitable gift bestow;
'Tis what the happy to the' unhappy owe:
'Tis what the gods require: those gods revere,

poor and stranger are their constant care ; To Jove their cause and their revenge belongs, He wanders with them, and he feels their wrongs.”

“ Fools that ye are! (the savage thus replies, His inward fury blazing at his eyes) Or strangers, distant far from our abodes, To bid me reverence or regard the gods. Know then we Cyclops are a race above Those air-bred people,

and their goat-nursed Jove: And learn, our power proceeds with thee and thine, Not as he wills, but as ourselves incline. But answer, the good ship that brought ye o’er, Where lies she anchor’d? near or off the shore ?

« Thus he. His meditated fraud I find (Versed in the turns of various humankind), And, cautious, thus" Against a dreadful rock, Fast by your shore the gallant vessel broke: Scarce with these few I scaped; of all my train, Whom angry Neptune whelm'd beneath the main; The scatter'd wreck the winds blew back again.”

• He answer'd with his deed. His bloody hand, Snatch'd two, unhappy! of my martial band, And dash'd like dogs against the stony floor : The pavement swims with brains and mingled gore. Torn limb from limb, he spreads his horrid feast, And fierce devours it like a mountain beast;

He sucks the marrow, and the blood he drains,
Nor entrails, flesh, nor solid bone remains.
We see the death from which we cannot move,
And humbled groan beneath the hand of Jove.
His ample maw with human carnage fill’d,
A milky deluge next the giant swillid;
Then stretch'd in length o'er half the cavern'd rock,
Lay senseless, and supine, amidst the flock.
To seize the time, and with a sudden wound
To fix the slumbering monster to the ground,
My soul impels me, and in act I stand
To draw the sword; but wisdom held


hand. A deed so rash had finish'd all our fate; No mortal forces from the lofty gate Could roll the rock. In hopeless grief we lay, And sigh, expecting the return of day.

• Now did the rosy-finger’d morn arise,
And shed her sacred light along the skies.
He wakes, he lights the fire, he milks the dams,
And to the mother's teat submits the lambs.
The task thus finish'd of his morning hours,
Two more he snatches, murders, and devours.
Then, pleased and whistling, drives his flock

Removes the rocky mountain from the door,
And shuts again : with equal ease disposed,
As a light quiver's lid is oped and closed.
His giant voice the echoing region fills :
His flocks, obedient, spread o'er all the hills.

· Thus left behind, e'en in the last despair, I thought, devised, and Pallas heard my prayer. Revenge, and doubt, and caution work'd my

breast; But this of many counsels seem'd the best :

« הקודםהמשך »