Page images
PDF
EPUB

Hung imminent, that with impervious gloom
Oppos'd itself to Cynthia's silver ray,
And shaded all beneath. But now the sun
With orient beams had chas'd the dewy night
From earth and heav'n; all nature stood disclos’d :
When looking on the neighb'ring woods we saw
The ghastly visage of a man unknown,
An uncouth feature, meagre, pale, and wild ;
Affliction's foul and terrible dismay
Sat in his looks, his face impair'd and worn
With marks of famine, speaking sore distress;
His locks were tangled, and his shaggy beard
Matted with filth; in all things else a Greek.

He first advanc'd in haste ; but when he saw
Trojans and Trojan arms, in mid career
Stopt short, he back recoil'd as one surpris'd :
But soon recovering speed, he ran, he flew
Precipitant, and thus with piteous cries
Our ears assail'd : “By heav'n's eternal fires,
By ev'ry god that sits enthron’d on high,
By this good light, relieve a wretch forlorn,
And bear me hence to any distant shore,
So I may shun this savage race accurst.
'Tis true I fought among the Greeks that late
With sword and fire o'erturn'd Neptunian Troy,
And laid the labour of the Gods in dust;
For which, if so the sad offence deserves,
Plung’d in the deep, for ever let me lie
Whelm'd under seas ; if death must be my doom,
Let man inflict it, and I die well pleas’d.'

He ended here, and now profuse of tears In suppliant mood fell prostrate at our feet; We bade him speak from whence, and what he was, And how by stress of fortune sunk thus low; Anchises too, with friendly aspect mild,

Gave him his hand, sure pledge of amity :
When thus encourag'd, he began his tale.

"I am one,' says he, of poor descent, my name
Is Achæmenides, my country Greece,
Ulysses' sad compeer, who, whilst he fled
The raging Cyclops, left me here behind
Disconsolate, forlorn; within the cave
He left me, giant Polypheme's dark cave ;
A dungeon wide and horrible, the walls
On all sides furr'd with mouldy damps, and hung
With clots of ropy gore, and human limbs,
His dire repast : himself of mighty size,
Hoarse in his voice, and in his visage grim,
Intractable, that riots on the flesh
Of mortal men, and swills the vital blood.
Him did I see snatch up with horrid grasp
Two sprawling Greeks, in either hand, a man;
I saw him when with huge tempestuous sway
He dash'd and broke them on the grundsel edge ;
The pavement swam in blood, the walls around
Were spatter'd o'er with brains. He lapt the blood,
And chew'd the tender flesh still warm with life,
That swell’d and heav'd itself amidst his teeth
As sensible of pain. Not less mean while
Our chief incens'd, and studious of revenge,
Plots his destruction, which he thus effects :
The giant, gorg'd with flesh, and wine, and blood,
Lay stretch'd at length and snoring in his den,
Belching raw gobbets from his maw, o'er-charg'd
With purple wine and crudled gore confus'd; ;
We gather'd round, and to his single eye,
The single eye that in his forehead glar'd
Like a full moon, or a broad burnish'd shield,
A forky staff we dext’rously apply'd,
Which, in the spacious socket turning round,

Scoop'd out the big round jelly from its orb.
But let me not thus interpose delays :
Fly, mortals, fly this curst, detested race :
A hundred of the same stupendous size,
A hundred Cyclops live among the hills,
Gigantic brotherhood, that stalk along
With horrid strides o'er the high mountains' tops,
Enormous in their gait; I oft have heard
Their voice and tread, oft seen them as they pass'd,
Skulking and scow'ring down, half dead with fear.
Thrice has the moon wash'd all her orb in light,
Thrice travell’d o'er, in her obscure sojourn,
The realms of night inglorious, since I've liv'd
Amidst these woods, gleaning from thorns and shrubs
A wretched sustenance. As thus he spoke,
We saw descending from a neighb'ring hill
Blind Polypheme ; by weary steps and slow
The groping giant with a trunk of pine
Explor'd his way; around, his woolly flocks
Attended grazing; to the well-known shore
He bent his course, and on the margin stood,
A hideous monster, terrible, deformd !
Full in the midst of his high front there gap'd
The spacious hollow where his eye-ball rollid,
A ghastly orifice; he rins'd the wound,
And wash'd away the strings and clotted blood
That cak'd within; then stalking through the deep
He fords the ocean, while the topmost wave
Scarce reaches up his middle side ; we stood
Amaz'd be sure, a sudden horror chill
Ran through each nerve, and thrill’d in ev'ry vein,
Till using all the force of winds and oars
We sped away ; he heard us in our course,
And with his out-stretch'd arms around him grop'd,

But finding nought within his reach, he rais'd
Such hideous shouts that all the ocean shook.
Ev'n Italy, through many a league remote,
In distant echoes answer'd: Ætna roar'd,
Through all its ininost winding caverns, roard.

Rous'd with the sound, the mighty family
Of one-ey'd brothers hasten to the shore,
And gather round the bellowing Polypheme,
A dire assembly: we with eager haste
Work ev'ry one, and from afar behold
A host of giants covering all the shore.

So stands a forest tall of mountain oaks. Advanc'd to mighty growth : the traveller Hears from the humble valley where he rides. The hollow murmurs of the winds that blow Amidst the boughs, and at a distance sees The shady tops of trees unnumber'd rise, A stately prospect, waving in the clouds.

THE

CAMPAIGN,

A POEM;

TO

HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH.

-Rheni pacator et Istri.
Omnis in hoc uno variis discordia cessit
Ordinibus; lætatur equés, plauditque senator,
Votaque patricio certant plebeia favori.

CLAUD. DE. LAUD. STILIC.

Esse aliquam in terris gentem quæ suâ impensâ, suo labore ac periculo

bella gerat pro libertate aliorum. Nec hoc finitimis, aut propinqua vicinitatis hominibus, aut terris continenti junctis præstet. Maria trajiciat : ne quod toto orbe terrarum injustum imperium sit, et ubique jus, fas, lex, potentissima sint.

Liv. Hist., lib. 33.

« PreviousContinue »