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The First Book of Homer's Ilias
349 The last Parting of Hector and Andromache, from the Eixth Book of the Iliad
HE fame of this, perhaps thro' Crete had Aown;
But Crete had newer wonders of her
In Iphis chang’d; for near the Gnoffian bounds,
(As loud report the miracle resounds)
At Phæftus dwelt a man of honest blood,
But meanly born, and not so rich as good;
Efteem'd and lov'd by all the neighbourhood:
Who to his wife, before the time aflign’d
For child-birth came, thus bluntly spoke his mind.
If heaven, said Lygdus, will vouchsafe to hear,
I have but two petitions to prefer;
Short pains for thee, for me a son and heir.
Girls cost as many throes in bringing forth;
Beside, when born, the tits are little worth;
Weak puling things, unable to sustain
Their ihare of labour, and their bread to gain.
If, therefore, thou a creature fhalt produce,
Of so great charges, and so little use,
(Bear witness, heaven, with what reluctancy)
Her hapless innocence I doom to die.
He said, and tears the common grief display,
Of him who bad, and her who must obey.
Yet Telethusa ftill perfists, to find Fit arguments to move a father's mind; T'extend his wishes to a larger scope, And in one vessel not confine his hope. VOL. IV.
Lygdus continues hard: her time drew near,
And the her heavy load could scarcely bear;
When flumbring, in the latter shades of night,
Before th’approaches of returning light,
She saw, or thought she saw, before her bed,
A glorious train, and Isis at their head:
moony horns were on her forehead placid,
And yellow fheaves her shining temples grac'd:
A mitre, for a crown, she wore on high;
The dog, and dappled bull were waiting by;
Ofiris, fought along the banks of Nile;
The filert God; the sacred Crocodile ;
And, laft, a long procession moving on,
With timbrels, that assist the lab’ring moon.
Her slumbers seem'd dispell’d, and, broad awake,
She heard a voice, that thus distinctly spake.
My votary, thy babe. from death defend,
Nor fear to save whate'er the Gods will send.
Delude with ant thy husband's dire decree:
When danger calls, repose thy trust on me;
And know thou hast not ferv'd a thankless Deity.
This promise made, with night the Goddess fled:
With joy the woman wakes, and leaves her bed ;
Devoutly lifts her spotless hands on high,
And prays the powers their gift to ratify.
Now grinding pains proceed to bearing throes,
Till its own weight the burden did disclose.
'Twas of the beauteous kind, and brought to light
With secrecy, to thun the father's fight.
Th’indulgent mother did her care employ,
And pass’d it on her husband for a boy.
The nurse was conscious of the fact alone;
The father paid his vows as for a fon;
And calld him Iphis, by a common name,
Which either sex with equal right may claim.
Iphis his grandfire was ; the wife was pleas’d,
Of half the fraud by Fortune's favour eas'd :
The doubtful name was us'd without deceit,
And truth was cover'd with a pious cheat.
The habit shew'd a boy, the beauteous face
With manly fierceness mingled female grace.
Now thirteen years of age were swiftly run,
When the fond father thought the time drew on
Of settling in the world his only fon.
Ianthe was his choice; so wondrous fair,
Her form alone with Iphis cou'd compare ;
A neighbour's daughter of his own degree,
And not more bless’d with Fortune's goods than he.
They foon espous'd: for they with ease were join'd,
Who were before contracted in the mind.
the same, their inclinations too;
And bred together in one fchool they grew.
Thus, fatally dispos'd to mutual fires,
They felt, before they knew, the sanie desires.
Equal their flame, unequal was their care;
One lov'd with hope, one languish'd in despair.
The maid accus'd the ling'ring days alone :
For whom she thought a inan, she thought her own.
But Iphis bends beneath a greater grief;
As fiercely burns, but hopes for no relief.
E’en her despair adds fuel to her fire';
A maid with madness does a maid defire.
And, scarce refraining tears, Alas, faid she,
What issue of my love remains for me!
How wild a passion works within my breast!
With what prodigious flames am I posseít !
Could I the care of Providence delerve,
Heaven must destroy me, if it would preserve.
And that's my fate, or sure it would have fent
Some usual evil for my punishment:
Not this unkindly curse ; to rage and burn,
Where Nature shews no prospect of return.
Nor cows for cows consume with fruitless fire ;
Nor mares, when hot, their fellow-mares desire :
The father of the fold supplies his ewes ;
The ftag through secret woods his hind pursues ;
And birds for mates the males of their own species
Her females nature guards from female flame,
And joins two sexes to preserve the game :
Wou'd I were nothing, or not what I am!
Crete, fam'd for monsters, wanted of her store,
Till my new love produc'd one monster more.
The daughter of the sun a bull desir'd,
And yet e’en then a male a female fir’d:
Her paflion was extravagantly new :
But mine is much the madder of the two.
To things impossible she was not bent,
But found the means to.compass her intent.
To cheat his eyes she took a diff'rent shape ;
Yet ftill she gain’d a lover, and a leap.
Shou'd all the wit of all the world conspire,
Should Dædalus aslift my wild desire,
What art can make me able to enjoy,
Or what can change Ianthe to a boy?
Extinguish then thy passion, hopeless maid,
And recollect thy reason for thy aid.
Know what thou art, and love as maidens ought,
And drive these golden wishes from thy thought.
Thou canst not hope thy fond desires to gain ;
Where hope is wanting, wishes are in vain.
And yet no guards against our joys conspire ;
No jealous husband hinders our desire;
My parents are propitious to my with,
And she herself consenting to the bliss.