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The lance pursu'd the voice without delay;
Nor did the whizzing weapon miss the way,
But piere'd his cuirass, with such fury fent;
And fign’d his bosom with a purple dint.
At this the seed of Neptune; Goddess-born,
For ornament, not use, these arms are worn ;
This helm, and heavy buckler, I can spare,
As only decorations of the war:
So Mars is arm’d for glory, not for need.
'Tis somewhat more from Neptune to proceed,
Than from a daughter of the sea to spring :
Thy fire is mortal; mine is Ocean's king.
Secure of death, I should contemn thy dart,
Tho' naked, and impassable depart:
He said, and threw: the trembling weapon pafs'd
Thro' nine bull-hides, each under other plac'd,
On his broad fhield, and stuck within the last,
Achilles wrench'd it out; and sent again
The hostile gift : the hostile gift was vain.
He try'd a third, a tough well-chosen spear ;
Th’invioiable body stood fincere,
Tho' Cygnus then did no defence provide,
But scornful offer'd his unfhielded side.
Not otherwise th' impatient hero far'd,
Than as a bull encompass’d with a guard,
Amid the circus roars: provok'd from far
By fight of scarlet, and a fanguine war :
They quit their ground; his bended horns elude:
In vain pursuing, and in vain pursu'd.
Before to farther fight he would advance,
He stood considering, and survey'd his lance.
Doubts if he wielded not a wooden (pear
Without a point: he look'd, the point was there.
This is my hand, and this my launce, he said,
By which so many thousand foes are dead.
O whither is their usual virtue fed !
I had it once; and the Lyrnellian wall,
And Tenedos, confess'd it in their fall.
Thy streams, Caicus, rolld a crimson flood;
And Thebes ran red with her own natives blood.
Twice Telephus employ'd their piercing steel,
To wound him first, and afterward to heal.
The vigour of this arm was never vain:
And that my wonted prowess I retain,
Witness these heaps of slaughter on the plain.
He said, and, doubtful of his former deeds,
To some new trial of his force proceeds.
He chose Menætes from among the rest;
At him he lanc'd his spear, and pierc'd his breast :
On the hard earth the Lycian knock'd his head,
And lay supine; and forth the spirit fled.
Then thus the hero; Neither can I blame
The hand, or javelin ; both are still the same.
The same I will employ against this foe;
And with but with the same success to throw.
So spoke the chief; and while he spoke he threw;
The weapon with unerring fury flew ;
At his left shoulder aim'd: nor entrance found ;
But back, as from a rock, with swift rebound
Harmless return'd : a bloody mark appear’d,
Which with false joy the flatter'd hero chear'd.
Wound there was none; the blood that was in view,
The lance before from flain Menætes drew.
Headlong he leaps from off his lofty car,
And in close fight on foot renews the war.
Raging with high disdain, repeats his blows;
Nor Thield nor armor can their force oppofe ;
Huge cantlets of his buckler strew the ground,
And no defence in his bor'd arms is found.
But on his flesh no wound or blood is seen ;
The sword itself is blunted on the skin.
This vain attempt the chief no longer bears ;
But round his hollow temples and his ears
His buckler beats : the son of Neptune, ftunn'd
With these repeated buffets, quits his ground;
A fickly sweat succeeds, and shades of night;
Inverted nature swims before his sight:
Th’infulting victor preffes on the more,
And treads the steps the vanquish'd trod before,
Nor reft, nor respite gives. A stone there lay
Behind his trembling foe, and stopp'd his way :
Achilles took th' advantage which he found,
O’er-turn’d, and push'd him backward on the ground.
His buckler held him under, while he press’d,
With both his knees above, his panting breast.
Unlac'd his helm : about his chin the twist
He try'd ; and foon the strangled foul dismiss'd.
eager haste he went to strip the dead ;
The vanquish'd body from his arms was fed.
His sea-god fire, t' immortalize his fame,
Had turn'd it to the bird that bears his name.
A truce succeeds the labors of this day,
And arms suspended with a long delay.
While Trojan walls are kept with watch and ward;
The Greeks before their trenches mount the guard ;
The feast approach’d; when to the blue-ey'd maid
His vows for Cygnus flain the victor paid,
And a white heifer on her altar laid.
The reeking entrails on the fire they threw;
And to the Gods the grateful odour flew :
Heay’n had its part in sacrifice : the rest
Was broil'd and roasted for the future feast,
The chief invited guests were set around :
And hunger first assuag'd, the howls were crown'd,
Which in deep draughts their cares and laborsdrown'd.
The mellow harp did not their ears employ:
And mute was all the warlike symphony;
Discourse, the food of fouls, was their delight,
And pleasing chat prolong'd the summer's night.
The subject, deeds of arms ; and valour shown,
Or on the Trojan side, or on their own.
Of dangers undertaken, fame atchiev'd,
They talk'd by turns; the talk by turns reliev'd.
What things but these could fierce Achilles tell,
Or what could fierce Achilles hear so well ?
The last great act perform'd, of Cygnus slain,
Did most the martial audience entertain :
Wond'ring to find a body, free by fate
From steel, and which could ev'n that steel rebate :
Amaz'd, their admiration they renew ;
And scarce Pelides could believe it true.
Then Neftor, thus; What once this age has known,
In fated Cygnus, and in him alone,
eyes have seen in Cæneus long before,
Whose body not a thousand swords could bore.,
Cæneus, in courage, and in strength, excell'd,
And still his Othrys' with his fame is fill'd:
But what did most his martial deeds adorn,
(Tho' since he chang'd his fex) a woman born.
A novelty so strange, and full of fate,
His list’ning audience ask'd him to relate.
Achilles thus commends their conimon fute ;
O father, first for prudence in repute,
Tell, with that eloquence, so much thy own,
What thou halt heard, or what of Cæneus known :
What was he, whence his change of fex begun,
What trophies, join'd in wars with thee, he won ?
Who conquer'd him, and in what fatal ftrife
The youth, without a wound, could lose his life?
Neleides then ; Tho'tardy age and time,
Have shrunk my finews, and decay'd my prime ;
Tho' much I have forgotten of my store,
Yet not exhausted, I remember mere.
Of all that arms atchiev'd, or peace design’d, 'That action still is fresher in
Than ought beside. If reverend age can give
To faith a fan&tion, in my third I live.
'Twas in my second cent’ry, I survey'd
Young Cænis, then a fair Thessalian maid :
Cænis the bright was born to high command ;
A princess, and a native of thy land,
Divine Achilles : every tongue proclaim’d
Her beauty, and her eyes all hearts inflam'd.
Peleus, thy fire, perhaps had fought her bed,
Among the rest ; but he had either led
Thy mother then, or was by promise ty’d;
But she to him, and all, alike her love deny’d.
It was her fortune once, to take her way
Along the sandy margin of the sea :
The power of Ocean view'd her as she pass’d,
And, lov'd as soon as seen, by force embrac’d.
So fame reports. Her virgin treasure seiz'd,
And his new joys the ravisher fo pleas'd,
That thus, transported, to the nymph he cry'd;
Ak what thou wilt, no pray's shall be deny’d.
This also fame relates : the haughty fair,
Who not the rape ev'n of a God could bear,
This answer, proud, return'd: To mighty wrongs
A mighty recompence, of right, belongs.
Give me no more to suffer such a shame;
But change the woman, for a better name ;
One gift for all : she said ; and while she spoke,
A ftern, majestic, manly tone she took.
A man she was : and as the Godhead swore,
To Cæneus turn'd, who Cænis was before.
To this the lover adds, without request : No force of steel should violate his breaft. Glad of the gift, the new-made warrior goes ; And arms among the Greeks, and longs for equal foes. VOL. IV.