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Now all undreft the fhining goddess stood,
When young Acteon, wilder'd in the wood,
To the cool grot by his hard fate betray'd,
The fountains fill'd with naked nymphs furvey'd.
The frighted virgins fhriek'd at the surprize
(The forest echo'd with their piercing cries).
Then in a huddle round their goddess prest:
She, proudly eminent above the rest,
With blushes glow'd; such blushes as adorn
The ruddy welkin, or the purple morn :
And though the crowding nymphs her body hide,
Half backward fhrunk, and view'd him from aside.
Surpriz'd, at first she would have fnatch'd her bow,
But fees the circling waters round her flow;
Thefe in the hollow of her hand she took,
And dash'd them in his face, while thus fhe fpoke : "Tell, if thou canft, the wondrous fight disclos'd; "A goddess naked to thy view expos'd."
This faid, the man begun to disappear
By flow degrees, and ended in a deer.
A rifing horn on either brow he wears,
And ftretches out his neck, and pricks his ears;
Rough is his fkin, with fudden hairs o'er-grown,
His bofom pants with fears before unknown.
Transform'd at length, he flies away in haste,
And wonders why he flies away fso fast.
But as by chance, within a neighbouring brook,
He saw his branching horns and alter'd look,
Wretched Acteon! in a doleful tone
He try'd to speak, but only gave a groan;
And as he wept, within the watery glass
He saw the big round drops, with filent pace,
Run trickling down a favage hairy face.
What should he do? Or feek his old abodes,
Or herd among the deer, and fculk in woods?
Here shame diffuades him, there his fear prevails,
And each by turns his aking heart affails.
As he thus ponders, he behind him spies
His opening hounds, and now he hears their cries :
A generous pack, or to maintain the chace,
Or fnuff the vapour from the fcented grass.
He bounded off with fear, and swiftly ran O'er craggy mountains, and the flowery plain; Through brakes and thickets forc'd his way, and flew Through many a ring, where once he did purfue. In vain he oft endeavour'd to proclaim
His new misfortune, and to tell his name;
Nor voice nor words the brutal tongue fupplies;
From thouting, men, and horns, and dogs, he flies,
Deafen'd and stunn'd with their promifcuous cries.
When now the fleetest of the pack, that prest
Close at his heels, and sprung before the rest,
Had faften'd on him, ftraight another pair
Hung on his wounded haunch, and held him there,
Till all the pack came up, and every hound
Tore the fad huntsman groveling on the ground,
Who now appear'd but one continued wound.
With dropping tears his bitter fate he moans,
And fills the mountain with his dying groans.
His fervants with a piteous look he spies,
And turns about his fupplicating eyes.
His fervants, ignorant of what had chanc'd,
With eager hafte and joyful fhouts advanc'd,
And call'd their Lord A&tæon to the game;
He fhook his head in anfwer to the name;
He heard, but wish'd he had indeed been gone,
Or only to have stood a looker-on.
But, to his grief, he finds himself too near,
And feels his ravenous dogs with fury tear
Their wretched master panting in a deer.
THE BIRTH OF BACCHUS.
ACTÆON's fufferings, and Diana's
Did all the thoughts of men and gods engage;
Some call'd the evils, which Diana wrought,
Too great, and difproportion'd to the fault;
Others again efteem'd Acteon's woes
Fit for a virgin-goddess to impofe.
The hearers into different parts divide,
And reafons are produc'd on either fide.
Juno alone, of all that heard the news,
Nor would condemn the goddefs, nor excufe:
She heeded not the juftice of the deed,
But joy'd to fee the race of Cadmus bleed;
For ftill fhe kept Europa in her mind,
And, for her fake, detefted all her kind.
Befides, to aggravate her hate, fhe heard
How Semele, to Jove's embrace preferr'd,
Was now grown big with an immortal load,
And carry'd in her womb a future God.
Thus terribly incens'd, the goddess broke
To fudden fury, and abruptly fpoke :
“Are my reproaches of so small a force? "'Tis time I then purfue another course:
It is decreed the guilty wretch fhall die, "If I'm indeed the miftrefs of the sky; "If rightly ftyl'd among the powers above "The wife and fifter of the thundering Jove
(And none can fure a fifter's right deny); "It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die. "She boafts an honour I can hardly claim; "Pregnant fhe rifes to a mother's name; "While proud and vain fhe triumphs in her Jove, "And shows the glorious tokens of his love: "But if I'm ftill the miftrefs of the kies, "By her own lover the fond beauty dies." This faid, defcending in a yellow cloud," Before the gates of Semele fhe ftood.
Her wrinkled vifage, and her hoary hairs;
Whilst in her trembling gait she totters on,
And learns to tattle in the nurfe's tone.
The goddess, thus difguis'd in age, beguil'd
With pleafing ftories her false foster-child.
Much did the talk of love, and when the came-
To mention to the nymph her lover's name,
Fetching a figh, and holding down her head,
"'Tis well, fays fhe, if all be true that 's faid.
"But trust me, child, I'm much inclin'd to fear'
"Some counterfeit in this your Jupiter.
"Many an honeft well-defigning maid
"Has been by these pretended gods betray'd.
"But if he be indeed the thundering Jove,
"Bid him, when next he courts the rites of love,
"Descend triumphant from th' ethereal sky,
"In all the pomp of his divinity;
"Encompass'd round by those celestial charms,
"With which he fills th' immortal Juno's arms.'
Th' unwary nymph, enfnar'd with what she said,
Defir'd of Jove, when next he fought her bed,
To grant a certain gift which she would choose;
"Fear not, replied the God, that I'll refuse
"Whate'er you ask may Styx confirm my voice,
"Choose what you will, and you shall have your choice..
"Then, fays the nymph, when next you feek my arms
"May you defcend in those celestial charms
"With which your Juno's bofom you inflame,
"And fill with transport heaven's immortal dame.",
The God furpriz'd would fain have stopp'd her voice:
But he had fworn, and she had made her choice.
*To keep his promife, he afcends, and shrouds
His awful brow in whirlwinds and in clouds ;
Whilft all around, in terrible
His thunders rattle, and his lightnings play.
And yet, the dazzling luftre to abate,
He fet not out in all his pomp and state,
Clad in the mildeft lightning of the skies;
And arm'd with thunder of the fmalleft fize:
Not thofe huge bolts, by which the giants flain
Lay overthrown on the Phlegrean plain.
Twas of a leffer mold, and lighter weight;
They call it thunder of a second rate,