« הקודםהמשך »
O'er the wide plain there rose a shady wood
Of aged trees; in its dark bosom stood
A bushy thicket, pathless and unworn,
O'er-run with brambles, and perplex'd with thorn:
Amidft the brake a hollow den was found,
With rocks and shelving arches vaulted round.
Deep in the dreary den, conceald from day,
Sacred to Mars, a mighty dragon lay,
Bloated with poison to a monstrous fize ;
Fire broke in flashes when he glanc'd his eyes:
His tow'ring creft was glorious to behold,
His shoulders and his sides were scald with gold;
Three tongues he brandish'd when he charg'd his foes :
His teeth stood jaggy in three dreadful rows.
The Tyrians in the den for water sought,
And with their urns explord the hollow vault:
From side to side their empty urns rebound,
And rouse the deepy serpent with the found.
Straight he bestirs him, and is seen to rise ;
And now with dreadful hissings fills the skies,
And darts his forky tongues, and rolls his glaring eyes.
The Tyrians drop their vefsels in the fright,
All palé and trembling at the hideous sight.
Spire above spire upreard in air he stood,
And gazing round him, over-look'd the wood:
Then floating on the ground, in circles rolld;
Then leap'd upon them in a mighty fold.
Of such a bulk, and such a monstrous size,
The serpent in the polar circle lies,
That stretches over half the northern skies.
In vain the Tyrians on their arms rely,
In vain attempt to fight, in vain to fly:
All their endeavours and their hopes are vain ;
Some die entangled in the winding train ;
Some are devour'd; or feel a loathsom death,
Swoln up with blasts of peftilential breath.
And now the scorching sun was mounted high,
In all its lustre, to the noon-day sky ;
When, anxious for his friends, and fillid with cares,
To search the woods th’impatient chief prepares.
Á lion's hide around his loins he wore,
The well-pois'd javelin to the field he bore
Inur’d to blood; the far-destroying dart,
And, the best weapon, an undaunted heart.
Soon as the youth approach'd the fatal place,
He saw his servants breathless on the grass ;
The scaly foe amid their corps he view'd,
Basking at ease, and feasting on their blood.
“ Such friends, he cries, deserv'd a longer date :
“ But Cadmus will revenge, or share their fate.”
Then heav'd a stone, and rising to the throw,
He sent it in a whirlwind at the foe:
A tower, assaulted by so rude a stroke,
With all its lofty battlements had shook ;
But nothing here th' unwieldy rock avails,
Rebounding harmless from the plaited scales,
That, firmly join'd, preserv'd him from a wound,
With native armour crusted i around.
With more success the dart unerring flew,
Which at his back the raging warrior threw ;
Amid the plaited scales it took its course,
And in the spinal marrow spent its force.
The monster hiss'd aloud, and rag'd in vain,
And writh'd his body to and fro with pain ;
And bit the spear, and wrench'd the wood away:
The point ftill buried in the marrow lay.
And now his rage, increasing with his pain,
and beats in
Churn'd in his teeth the foamy venom rose,
Whilft from his mouth a blast of vapours flows,
Such as th' infernal Stygian waters cait ;
The plants around him wither in the blast.
Now in a maze of rings he lies enrolld,
Now all unravel'd, and without a fold ;
Now, like a torrent, with a mighty force
Bears down the forest in his boift'rous course.
Cadmus gave back, and on the lion's spoil
Sustain'd the shock, then forc'd him to recoil ;
The pointed jav'lin warded off his rage :
Mad with his pains, and furious to engage,
The serpent champs the steel, and bites the spear,
'Till blood and venom all the point besmear.
But still the hurt he yet receiv'd was slight;
For, whilst the champion with redoubled might
Strikes home the jav'lin, his retiring foe
Shrinks from the wound, and disappoints the blow.
The dauntless hero ftill pursues his stroke,
And presses forward, 'till a knotty oak
Retards his foe, and stops him in the rear;
Full in his throat he plung'd the fatal spear,
That in th' extended neck a passage found,
And pierc'd the folid timber through the wound.
Fix'd to the reeling trunk, with many a stroke
of his huge tail, he lash'd the sturdy oak;
'Till spent with toil, and labouring hard for breath,
He now lay twisting in the pangs of death.
Cadmus beheld him wallow in a flood
Of swimming poison, intermix'd with blood;
When suddenly a speech was heard from high,
(The speech was heard, nor was the speaker nigh)
“Why dost thou thus with secret pleasure see,
“ Insulting man! what thou thyself shalt be?"
Astonish'd at the voice, he stood amaz'd,
And all around with inward horror gaz’d:
When Pallas swift descending from the skies,
Pallas, the guardian of the bold and wise,
Bids him plow up the field, and scatter round
The dragon's teeth o'er all the furrow'd ground;
Then tells the youth how to his wondring eyes
Embattled armies from the field should rise.
He lows the teeth at Pallas's command,
And flings the future people from his hand.
The clods grow warm, and crumble where he fows:
And now the pointed spears advance in rows;
Now nodding plumes appear, and shining crefts,
Now the broad shoulders and the rising breasts :
O’er all the field the breathing harvest swarms,
A growing hoft, a crop of men and arms.
So through the parting stage a figure rears
Its body up, and limb by limb appears
By just degrees ; ’till all the man arise,
And in his full proportion strikes the eyes.
Cadmus surpris'd, and startled at the fight
Of his new foes, prepar'd himself for fight:
When one cry'd out, “ Forbear, fond man, forbear
“ To mingle in a blind promiscuous war.”
This, faid, he itruck his brother to the ground,
Himself exp ring by another's wound;