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Swift as she pass'd, the flitting ghosts withdrew,
And the pale spectres trembled at her view:
To th' iron gates of Tænarus she flies,
There spreads her dusky pinions to the skies.
The day beheld, and, sickening at the sight,
Veil'd her fair glories in the shades of night.
Affrighted Atlas, on the distant shore,
Trembled, and shook the heavens and gods he bore.
Now from beneath Malea's airy height
Aloft she sprung, aud steer'd to Thebes her flight;
With eager speed the well-known journey took,
Nor here regrets the Hell she late forsook.
A hundred snakes her gloomy visage shade,
A hundred serpents guard her horrid head,
In her sunk eye-balls dreadful meteors glow:
Such rays from Phæbe's bloody circles fiow,
When, labouring with strong charms, she shoots
from high A fiery gleam, and reddens all the sky.. Blood stain'd her cheeks, and from her mouth there
Blue steaming poisons, and a length of fame.
From every blast of her contagious breath,
Famine and drought proceeds, and plagues aad
A robe obscene was o'er her shoulders thrown,
A dress by fates and furies worn alone.
She toss'd her meagre arms; her better hand
In waving circles whirl'd a funeral brand :
A serpent from her left was seen to rear
His flaming crest, and lash the yielding air.
But when the Fury took her stand on high,
Where vast Cithæron's top salutes the sky,
A hiss from all the snaky tire went round;
'The dreadful signal all the rocks rebound,
And through th' Achaian cities send the sound.
Ete, with high Parnassus, heard the voice;
Eurotas' banks remurmur'd to the noise;
Again Lucothoë shook at these alarms,
And press'd Palæmon closer in her arins.
Headlong from thence the glowing Fury springs,
And o'er the Theban palace spreads her wings,
Once more invades the guilty dome, and shrouds
Its bright pavilions in a veil of clouds.
Straight with the rage of all their race possessid,
Stung to the soul, the brothers start from rest,
And all their furies wake within their breast.
Their tortur'd minds repining envy tears,
And hate, engender'd by suspicious fears ;
And sacred thirst of sway; and all the ties
Of nature broke; and royal perjuries ;
And impotent desire to reign alone,
That scorns the dull reversion of a throne;
Each would the sweets of sovereign rule devour,
While discord waits upon divided power.
As stubborn steers by brawny plowmen broke,
And join'd reluctant to the galling yoke,
Alike disdain with servile necks to bear
Th' unwonted weight, or drag the crooked share,
But rend the reins, and bound a different way,
And all the furrows in confusion lay;
Such was the discord of the royal pair,
Whom fury drove precipitate to war.
In vain the chiefs contriv'd a specious way,
To govern Thebes by their alternate sway:
Unjust decree! while this enjoys the state,
That mourns in exile his unequal fate,
And the short monarch of a hasty year
Foresees with anguish his returning heir.
Thus did the league their impious arms restrain,
But scarce subsisted to the second reign.
Yet then po proud aspiring piles were rais'd,
No fretted roofs with polish'd metals blaz'd;
No labour'd columns in long order plac'd,
No Grecian stone the pompous arches grac'd;
No nightly bands in glittering armour wait
Before the sleepless tyrant's guarded gate;
No chargers then were wrought in burnish'd gold,
Nor silver vases took the forming mould;
Nor gems on bowls emboss'd were seen to shine,
Blaze on the brims, and sparkle in the wine-
Say, wretched rivals! what provokes your rage?
Say, to what end your impious arms engage?
Not all bright Phæbus views in early morn,
Or when his evening beams the west adorn,
When the south glows with his meridian ray,
And the cold north receives a fainter day;
For crimes like these, not all those realms suffice,
Were all those realms the guilty victor's prize!
But Fortune now (the lots of empire thrown)
Decrees to proud Eteocles the crown:
What joys, oh tyrant! swell'd thy soul that day,
When all were slaves thou couldst around survey,
Pleas'd to behold unbounded power thy own,
And singly fill a fear'd and envied throne !
But the vile vulgar, ever discontent, Their growing fears in secret murmurs vent; Still prone to change, though still the slaves of
And sure the monarch whom they have, to hate;
New lords they madly make, then tamely bear,
And softly curse the tyrants whom they fear.
And one of those who groan beneath the sway
Of kings impos'd, and grudgingly obey
(Whom envy to the great and vulgar spite
With scandal arm'd, th’ ignoble mind's delight),
Exclaim'd-O Thebes! for thee what fates remain!
What woes attend this inauspicious reign!
Must we, alas! our doubtful necks prepare,
Each haughty master's yoke by turns to bear,
And still to change whom chang'd we still must
These now control a wretched people's fate,
These can divide, and these reverse the state :
Ev'n fortune rules no more:--O servile land,
Where exil'd tyrants still by turns command !
Thou sire of gods and men, imperial Jove !
Is this th' eteraal doom decreed above ?
On thy own offspring hast thou fix'd this fate,
From the first birth of our unhappy state;
When banish'a Cadmus, wandering o'er the main,
For lost Europa search'd the world in vain,
And, fated in Bæotian fields to found
A rising empire ou a foreign ground,
First rais'd our walls on that ill-omen'd plain,
Where earth-born brothers were by brothers slain?
What lofty looks th' unrival'd monarch bears !
How all the tyrant in his face
What sullen fury clouds his scornful brow!
Gods! how his eyes with threat'ning ardour glow!
Can this imperious lord forget to reiza,
Quit all his state, descend, and serve again?
Yet who, before, more popularly how'd,
Who more propitious to the suppliant crowd?
Patient of right, familiar in the throne ?
What wonder then? he was uot then alone.
O wretched we, a vile submissive train,
Fortune's tame fools, and slaves in every reign!
*As when two winds with rival force conteud,
This way and that, the wavering sails they bend,
While freezing Boreas and black Eurus blow,
Now here, now there, the reeling vessel throw:
Thus on each side, alas ! our lottering state
Feels all the fury of resistless fate;
And doubtful still, and still distracted stands,
While that prince threatens, and while this com-
munds.' And now th' almighty father of the gods Convenes a council in the blest abodes: Far in the bright recesses of the skies, High o'er the rolling heavens, a mansion lies, Whence, far below, the gods at once survey The realms of rising and declining day, (sea. And all th' extended space of earth, and air, and Full in the midst, and on a starry throne, The majesty of Heaven superior shone ; Serepe be look'd, and gave an awful nod, And all the trembling spheres confessid the god.
At Jove's assent, the deities around
In solemn state the consistory crown'da
Next a long order of inferior powers
Ascend from bills, and plains, and shady bowers;
Those from whose urns the rolling rivers flow;
And those that give the wandering winds to blow:
Here all their rage, and ev'n their murmurs cease,
And sacred silence reigns, and universal peace.
A shining synod of majestic gods
Gilds with new lustre the divine abodes;
Heaven seems improv'd with a superior ray,
And the bright arch reflects a double day.
The monarch then his solemn silence broke,
The still creation listen'd while he spoke;
Each sacred accent bears eternal weight,
And each irrevocable word is fate.
• How long shall man the wrath of Heaven defy,
And force unwilling vengeance from the sky!
Oh race confederate into crimes, that
Triumphant o'er th' eluded rage of Jove!
This weary arm can scarce the bolt sustain,
And unregarded thunder rolls in vain :
Th’ o'erlabour'd Cyclop from his task retires ;
Th'Æolian forge exhausted of its fires.
For this I suffer'd Phæbus' steeds to stray,
And the mad ruler to misguide the day,
When the wide earth to heaps of ashes turn'd,
And Heaven itself the wandering chariot burn'd.
For this, my brother of the watery reign
Releas’d the iinpetuous sluices of the main :
But fames consum'd, and billows rag'd in vain.
Two races now, ally'd to Jove, offend :
To punish these, see Jove himself descend.
The Theban kings their line from Cadmus trace,
From godlike Perseus those of Argive race.
Unhappy Cadmus' fate who does not know,
And the long series of succeeding woe?
How oft the furies, from the deeps of night,
Arose, and mix'd with men in mortal fight: