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To Pheræ now, Diocleus' stately seat, (Of Alpheus' race) the weary youths retreat. His house affords the hospitable rite, And pleased they sleep(the blessing of the night). But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn, With rosy lustre purpled o'er the lawn, Again they mount, their journey to renew, And from the sounding portico they flew. Along the waving fields their way they hold, The fields receding as the chariot rolld: Then slowly sunk the ruddy globe of light, And o'er the shaded landscape rush'd the night.
THE CONFERENCE WITH MENELAUS. Telemachus, with Pisistratus, arriving at Sparta, is hospitably
received by Menelaus, to whom he relates the cause of his coming, and learns from him many particulars of what befell the Greeks since the destruction of Troy. He dwells more. at large upon the prophecies of Proteas to him in his return, from which be acquaints Telemachus, that Ulysses is detained in the island of Calypso.
In the mean time the suitors consult to destroy Telemachus in his voyage bome. Penelope is apprised of this, but comforted in a dream by Pallas, in the shape of ber sister Iphthima.
AND now proud Sparta with their wheels re
sounds, Sparta whose walls a range of hills surrounds : At the fair dome the rapid labour ends; Where sat Atrides midst his bridal friends, With double vows invoking Hymen's power, To bless his son's and daughter's nuptial hour.
That day, to great Achilles' son resign'd, Hermione, the fairest of her kind, Was sent to crown the long-protracted joy, Espoused before the fatal doom of Troy: With steeds and gilded cars, a gorgeous train Attend the nymph to Phthia's distant reign. Meanwhile at home, to Megapenthes' bed The virgin choir Alector's daughter led.
Brave Megapenthes, from a stolen amour
his handmaid bore :
wait, Resembling Venus in attractive state. While this gay friendly troop the king sur
round, With festival and mirth the roofs resound; A bard amid the joyous circle sings High airs, attemper'd to the vocal strings; Whilst, warbling to the varied strain, advance Two sprightly youths to form the bounding dance. 'Twas then, that issuing through the palace gate The splendid car rolld slow in regal state: On the bright eminence young Nestor shone, And fast beside him great Ulysses' son. Grave Eteoneus saw the pomp appear, And, speeding, thus address’d the royal ear• Two youths approach, whose semblant fea
tures prove Their blood devolving from the source of Jove. Is due reception deign’d, or must they. bend Their doubtful course to seek a distant friend ?'
• Insensate! (with a sigh the king replies) Too long; misjudging, have I thought thee wise: But sure relentless folly steels thy breast, Obdurate to reject the stranger guest; To those dear hospitable rites a foe, Which in my wanderings oft relieved my woe: Fed by the bounty of another's board, Till pitying Jove my native realm restored Straight be the coursers from the car released, Conduct the youths to grace the genial feast.'
The seneschal, rebuked, in haste withdrew; With equal haste a menial train pursue: Part led the coursers, from the car enlarged, Each to a crib with choicest grain surcharged; Part in a portico, profusely graced With rich magnificence, the chariot placed; Then to the dome the friendly pair invite, Who eye the dazzling roofs with vast delight, Resplendent as the blaze of summer noon, Or the pale radiance of the midnight moon. From room to room their eager view they bend; Thence to the bath, a beauteous pile, descend : Where a bright damsel train attends the guests With liquid odours, and embroider'd vests. Refresh'd, they wait them to the bower of state, Where circled with his peers Atrides sat: Throned next the king, a fair attendant brings The purest product of the crystal springs; High on a massy vase of silver mould, The burnish'd laver flames with solid gold: In solid gold the purple vintage flows, And on the board a second banquet rose. When thus the king with hospitable port
Accept this welcome to the Spartan court;
Ceasing, benevolent he straight assigns
Sufficed, soft whispering thus to Nestor's son, His head reclined, young Ithacus begun
• View'st thou unmoved, 0 ever honour'd most! These prodigies of art, and wondrous cost? Above, beneath, around the palace shines The sunless treasure of exhausted mines : The spoils of elephants the roofs inlay, And studded amber darts a golden ray: Such, and not nobler, in the realms above My wonder dictates is the dome of Jove.'
The monarch took the word, and grave replied • Presumptuous are the vaunts, and vain the pride Of man who dares in pomp with Jove contest, Unchanged, immortal, and supremely bless’d! With all my affluence when my woes are weigh’d, Envy will own, the purchase dearly paid. For eight slow-circling years by tempest toss'd, From Cyprus to the fair Phænician coast, (Sidon my capital) I stretch'd my toil Through regions fatten’d with the flows of Nile. Next Ethiopia's utmost bound explore, And the parch'd borders of the’Arabian shore: Then warp my voyage on the southern gales, O’er the warm Libyan wave to spread my sails; That happy clime! where each revolving year The teeming ewes a triple offspring bear, And two fair crescents of translucent horn The brows of all their young increase adorn; The shepherd swains with sure abundance bless'd, On the fat flock and rural dainties feast; Nor want of herbage makes the dairy fail, But every season fills the foaming pail. Whilst heaping unwish'd wealth, I distant roam, The best of brothers, at his natal home,