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« Stay, silly bird, th' ill-natur'd task refuse,
6 Nor be the bearer of unwelcome news.
• Be warn'd by my example : you discern
“ What now I am, and what I was shall learn.

My foolish honesty was all my crime ; “ Then hear my story. Once upon a time, “ The two-thap'd Eriethonius had his birth “ (Without a mother) from the teeming 'earth; 5 Minerva nurs'd him, and the infant laid “ Wirhin a chelt, of twining ofiers made. « The daughters of king Cecrops undertook «? To guard the chest, commanded not to look « On what was hid within. I ftood to see “ The charge obey'd, perch'd on a neighbouring tice. “ The fifters Pandrofos and Hersè keep « The strict command ; Aglauros needs would peep, “ And saw the monstrous infant in a fright, « And call'd her sisters to the hideous fight :

“ A boy's soft shape did to the waist prevail, .“ But the boy ended in a dragon's tail.

« I told the stern Minerva all that país'd,
“ But, for my pains, discarded and disgracid,
«-The frowning goddess drove me from her light,
“ And for her favourite chose the bird of night.
“ Be then no tell-tale; for I think my wrong

Enough to teach a bird to hold her tongue.

“ But you, perhaps, may think I was remov'd, “ As never by the heavenly maid belor'd; “ But I was lov’d; ask Pallas if I lie; « Thougha Pallas hate me now, he won't deny ;


« For



« For I, whom in a feather'd fhape you view, “ Was once a maid (by heaven the story 's true) A blooming maid, and a king's daughter too. « A croud of lovers own'd my beauty's charms; My beauty was the cause of all my harms; “ Neptune, as on his shores I went to rove, " Observ'd me in my walks, and fell in love. He made his courtship, he confess’d his pain, 6. And offer'd force when all his arts were yain ; « Swift he pursued: I ran along the strand, « Till, spent and weary'd on the sinking sand, « I shriek'd aloud, with cries I fillid the air « To gods and men; nor god nor man was there : “ A virgin goddess heard a virgin's prayer. “ For, as my arms I lifted to the skies, " I saw black feathers from my fingers rise ; “ I strove to fling my garment on the ground; “ My garment turn'd to plumes, and girt me round. “ My hands to beat my naked bosom try; « Nor naked bosom now nor hands had I, “ Lightly I tript, nor weary as before « Sunk in the sand, but skimm’d along the shore; « Till, rising on my wings, I was prefer'd “ To be the chaste Minerva's virgin bird: « Prefer'd in vain! I now am in disgrace: “ Ny&timene the owl enjoys my place.

« On her incestuous life I need not dwell “ (In Lesbos still the horrid tale they tell); “ And of her dire amours you must have heard, “ For which she now does penar.ce in a bird,

" That

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« That, conscious of her shame, avoids the light,
“ And loves the gloomy covering of the night;
• The birds, where'er the flutters, scare away
“ The hooting wretch, and drive her from the day."

The raven, urg'd by such impertinence,
Grew passionate, it seems, and took offence,
And curft the harmless daw; the daw withdrew :
The raven to her injur'd patron flew,
And found him out, and told the fatal truth
Of false Coronis and the favour'd youth.

The god was wroth; the colour left his look,
The wreath his head, the harp his hand forsook ;
His filver bow and feather'd shafts he took,
And lodg’d an arrow in the tender breast,
That had so often to his been prett.
Down fell the wounded nymph, and fadly groand,
And pull’d his arrow reeking from the wound;
And, weltering in her blocd, thus faintly cry’d,
" Ah cruel god! though I have justly dy'd,
" What has, alas ! my unborn infant done,
“ That he should fall, and two expire in one ?"
This said, in agonies she fetch'd her breath.

The god dissolves in pity at her death;
He hates the bird that made her falsehood known,
And hates himself for what himself had done;
The feather'd shaft, that sent her to the fates,
And his own hand, that sent the shaft, he hates.
Fain would he heal the wound, and ease her pain,
And tries the compass of his art in vain.
Soon as he saw the lovely nymph expire,
The pile made ready, and the kindling fire,



With fighs and groans her obsequies he kept,
And, if a god could weep, the god had wept.
Her corpfe he kiss'd, and heavenly incenfe brought,
And solemniz'd the death himself had wrought.

But, left his offspring should her fate partake,
Spite of th' immortal mixture in his make,
He ript her womb, and set the child at large,

him to the centaur Chiron's charge :
Then in his fury black'd the raven o'er,
And bid him prate in his white plumes no more.

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OCYRRHÖE TRANSFORM'D' TO A MARE. OLD Chiron took the babe with secret joy, Proud of the charge of the celestial boy, His daughter too, whom on the fandy shore, The nymph Chariclo to the centaur bore, With hair dishevel'd on her shoulders, came To see the child, Ocyrrhöe was her name; She knew her father's art, and could rehearse The depths of prophecy in sounding verse. Once, as the sacred infant she survey'd, The god was kindled in the raving maid, And thus she utter'd her prophetic tale ; Hail, great physician of the world, all hail; “ Hail, mighty infant, who in years to come “ Shall heal the nations, and defraud the tomb; “ Swift be thy growth! thy triumphs unconfin'd! " Make kingdoms thicker, and increase mankind. “ Thy daring art shall animate the dead, " And draw the thunder on thy guilty head :

« Theni

" Then shalt thou die ; but from the dark abode
« Rise up victorious, and be twice a god,
“ And thou, my fire, not destin'd by thy birth
“ To turn to dust, and mix with common earth,
“ How wilt thou tofs, and rave, and long to die,
“ And quit thy claim to immortality;
" When thou shalt feel, inrag'd with inward pains,
66 The Hydra's venom rankling in thy veins ?
“ The gods in pity shall contract thy date ;
« And give thée over to the power of fate."

Thus, entering into destiny, the maid The secrets of offended Jove betray'd : More had the still to fay; but now appears Oppress’d with sobs and sighs, and drown'd in tears. “ My voice, says she, is gone, my language fails; “ Through every limb my kindred shape prevails į " Why did the god this fatal gift impart, And with prophetic raptures swell my heart ? " What new desires are these? I long to pace “ O'er flowery meadows, and to feed on grass ; « I hasten to a brute, a maid no more; « But why, alas! am I transform'd all o’er ? “ My fire does half a human shape retain,

And in his upper parts preserves the man."

Her tongue no more distinct complaints affords,
But in fhrill accents and mis-shapen words
- Pours forth such hideous wailings, as declare

The human form confounded in the mare :
Till by degrees, accomplish'd in the beast,
She neigh'd outright, and all the steed expreft.


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