« AnteriorContinuar »
The fappy parts, and next resembling juice,
Were turn'd to moisture, for the body's uie:
Supplying humours, blood, and nourishment:
The reft, too folid to receive a bent,
Converts to bones; and what was once a vein,
Its former name and nature did retain.
By help of power divine, in little space,
What the man threw affum'd a manly face;
And what the wife, renew'd the female race.
Hence we derive our nature, born to bear
Laborious life, and harden'd into care.
The reft of animals, from teeming earth
Produc'd, in various forms receiv'd their birth.
The native moisture, in its clofe retreat,
Digefted by the fun's ætherial heat,
As in a kindly womb, began to breed :
Then fwell'd, and quicken'd by the vital feed.
And fome in lefs, and fome in longer space,
Were ripen'd into form, and took a feveral face.
Thus when the Nile from Pharian fields is fled,
And feeks with ebbing tides his ancient bed,
The fat manure with heavenly fire is warm'd ;
And crufted creatures, as in wombs, are form'd:
Thefe, when they turn the glebe, the peasants find:
Some rude, and yet unfinish'd in their kind :
Short of their limbs, a lame imperfect birth;
One half alive, and one of lifeless earth.
For heat and moisture when in bodies join'd,
The temper that refults from either kind
Conception makes; and fighting, till they mix,
Their mingled atoms in each other fix.
Thus nature's hand the genial bed prepares
With friendly difcord, and with fruitful wars.
From hence the furface of the ground with mud
And flime befmear'd (the fæces of the flood)
Receiv'd the rays of heaven; and, fucking in
The feeds of heat, new creatures did begin :
Some were of several forts produc'd before;
But of new monfters earth created more.
Unwillingly, but yet he brought to light
Thee, Python too, the wondering world to fright,
And the new nations, with fo dire a fight.
So monftrous was his bulk, fo large a space
Did his vast body and long train embrace :
Whom Ficebus basking on a bank espy'd,
Ere now the God his arrows had not try'd,
But on the trembling deer, or mountain-goat;
At this new quarry he prepares to shoot.
Though every shaft took place, he spent the store
Of his full quiver; and 'twas long before
Th' expiring ferpent wallow'd in his gore.
Then, to preferve the fame of fuch a deed,
For Python flain, he Pythian games decreed,
Where noble youths for mastership should strive,
To quoit, to run, and fteeds and chariots drive.
The prize was fame, in witnefs of renown,
An oaken garland did the victor crown.
The laurel was not yet for triumphs born;
But every green alike by Phoebus worn
Did, with promifcuous grace, his flowing locks adorn.
The TRANSFORMATION of DAPHNE into a LAUREL.
The firft and faireft of his loves was the
Whom not blind fortune, but the dire decree
Of angry Cupid forc'd him to desire :
Daphne her name, and Peneus was her fire."
Swell'd with the pride that new success attends,
He fees the ftripling, while his bow he bends,
And thus infults him: Thou lafcivious boy,
Are arms like thefe for chiidren to employ ?
Know, fuch atchievements are my proper claim;
Due to my vigour and unerring aim:
Refiftless are my fhafts; and Python late,
In fuch a feather'd death, has found his fate.
Take up thy torch, and lay my weapons by;
With that the feeble fouls of lovers fry.
To whom the fon of Venus thus reply'd:
Phoebus, thy fhafts are sure on all befide;
But mine on Phoebus: mine the fame shall be
Of all thy conquefts, when I conquer thee.
He faid, and foaring fwiftly wing'd his flight;
Nor ftopt but on Parnaffus' airy height.
Two different fhafts he from his quiver draws;
One to repel defire, and one to cause.
One fhaft is pointed with refulgent gold,
To bribe the love, and make the lover bold:
One blunt, and tipt with lead, whose base allay
Provokes difdain, and drives defire away.
The blunted bolt against the nymph he drest:
But with the fharp transfix'd Apollo's breast.
Th'enamour'd Deity pursues the chace;
The fcornful damfel fhuns his loath'd embrace:
In hunting beafts of prey her youth employs;
And Phoebe rivals in her rural joys.
With naked neck fhe goes, and shoulders bare,
And with a fillet binds her flowing hair.
By many fuitors fought, the mocks their pains,
And ftill her vow'd virginity maintains.
Impatient of a yoke, the name of bride
She fhuns, and hates the joys he never try'd.
On wilds and wood fhe fixes her defire:
Nor knows what youth and kindly love inspire.
Her father chides her oft: Thou ow'ft, fays he,
A husband to thyfelf, a fon to me.
She, like a crime, abhors the nuptial bed :
She glows with blushes, and the hangs her head.
Then, cafting round his neck her tender arms,
Soothes him with blandifhments and filial charms:
Give me, my lord, fhe faid, to live, and die,
A fpotlefs maid, without the marriage-tie.
'Tis but a small request; I beg no more
Than what Diana's father gave before.
The good old fire was soften'd to consent;
But faid, her wish would prove her punishment:
For fo much youth, and fo much beauty join'd,
Oppos'd the state, which her defires design'd.
The God of light, afpiring to her bed,
Hopes what he feeks, with flattering fancies fed;
And is by his own oracles milled.
And as in empty fields the stubble burns,
Or nightly travellers, when day returns,
Their useless torches on dry hedges throw,
That catch the flames, and kindle all the row;
So burns the God, confuming in defire,
And feeding in his breast the fruitless fire:
Her well-turn'd neck he view'd (her neck was bare)
And on her fhoulders her difhevel'd hair:
Oh, were it comb'd, said he, with what a grace
Would every waving curl become her face!
He view'd her eyes, like heavenly lamps that fhone!
He view'd her lips, too fweet to view alone,
Her taper fingers, and her panting breast ;
He praises all he fees, and for the rest
Believes the beauties yet unfeen are best.
Swift as the wind, the damfel fled away,
Nor did for thefe alluring speeches stay :
Stay, nymph, he cry'd, I follow, not a foe:
Thus from the Lion trips the trembling Doe;
Thus from the Wolf the frighten'd Lamb removes,
And from purfuing Falcons fearful Doves;
Thou fhunn'ft a God, and fhunn'ft a God, that loves.
Ah, left fome thorn fhould pierce thy tender foot,
Or thou should't fall in flying my pursuit !
To sharp uneven ways thy fteps decline;
Abate thy speed, and I will bate of mine.
Yet think from whom thou doft fo rafhly fly;
Nor bafely born, nor fhepherd's fwain am I.
Perhaps thou know'ft not my fuperior state;
And from that ignorance proceeds thy hate.