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Try thou the strength of Cæneus : at the word
He thruft ; and in his Moulder plung'd the sword.
Then writh'd his hand; and as he drove it down,
Deep in his breast, made many wounds in one.
The Centaurs faw, inrag'd, th'unhop'd success;
And rushing on, in crowds, together press;
At him, and him alone, their darts they threw :
Repuls'd they from his fated body flew.
Amaz'd they stood; till Monychus began,
O shame, a nation conquer'd by a man!
A woman-man; yet more a man is he,
Than all our race; and what he was,' are we.
Now, what awail our nerves ? th' united force,
Of two the strongest creatures, man and horse :
Nor goddess-born, nor of Ixion's feed
We seem ; (a lover built for Juno's bed ;)
Mafter'd by this half man. Whole mountains throw
With woods at once, and bury him below.
This only way remains. Nor need we doubt
To choak the soul within, tho' not to force it out.
Heap weights, instead of wounds : he canc'd to see
Where southern storms had rooted up a tree;
This, rais’d from earth, against the foe he threw ;
Th' example shewn, his fellow-brutes pursue.
With forest-loads the warrior they invade; ?
Othrys and Pelion soon were void of shade ;
And spreading groves were naked mountains made.
Press’d with the burden, Cæneus pants for breath ;
And on his shoulders bears the wooden death.
To heave th' intolerable weight he tries;
At length it rose above his mouth and eyes ;
Yet till he heaves : and struggling with despair,
Shakes all afide, and gains a gulp of air:
A short relief, which but prolongs his pain ;
He faints by fits; and then respires again :
At last, the burden only nods above,
As when an earthquake stirs th’Idæan grove.
Doubtful his death; he suffocated seem'd
To moft; but otherwise our Mopsus deem’d.
Who said he saw a yellow bird arise
From out the pile, and cleave the liquid skies :
I saw it too: with golden feathers bright,
Nor e'er before beheld so strange a fight.
Whom Mopfus viewing, as it foar’d around
Our troop, and heard the pinions rattling sound,
All hail, he cry'd, thy country's grace and love;
Once first of men below, now first of birds above.
Its author to the story gave belief ;
For us, our courage was increas'd by grief:
Alham’d to see a single man, pursu'd
With odds, to sink beneath a multitude :
We push'd the foe, and forc'd to shameful fight;
Part fell; and part escap'd by favour of the night.
This tale, by Nestor told, did much displease
Tlepolemus, the feed of Hercules :
For, often he had heard his father fay,
That he himself was present at the fray;
And more than shar'd the glories of the day.
Old Chronicle, he said, among the rest,
You might have nam’d Alcides at the leaft:
Is he not worth your praise? The Pylian prince
Sigh’d ere he spoke; then made this proud defence.
My former woes, in long oblivion drown’d,
I would have loft; but you renew the wound:
Better to pass him o’er, than to relate
The cause I have your mighty sire to hate.
His fame has filld the world, and reach'd the sky;
(Which, oh, I wish, with truth, I could deny!
We praise not Hector ; tho' his name, we know,
great in arms ; 'tis hard to praise a foe.
He, your great father, leveil'd to the ground
Messenia's tow'rs : nor better fortune found
Elis, and Pylas; that a neigh'bring state,
And this my own; both guiltless of their fate.
To pass the rest, twelve, wanting one, he flew į
My brethren, who their birth from Neleus drew.
All youths of early promise, had they liv'd;
By him they perish’d: I alone surviv'd.
The rest were easy conquest : but the fate
Of Periclymenos is wond'rous to relate,
To him our common grandsire of the main
Had giv’n to change his form, and chang’d, resumë,again:
Vary'd at pleasure, ev'ry shape he try'd;
And in all beasts Alcides ftill defyd :
Vanquish'd on earth, at length he foar'd above;
Chang'd to the bird, that bears the bolt of Jove :
The new dissembled eagle, now endu'd
With peak and pounces, Hercules pursu'd,
And cuff’d his manly cheeks, and tore his face ;
Then, safe retir'd, and tour'd in empty space.
Alcides bore not long his flying foe :
But bending his inevitable bow,
Reach'd him in air, suspended as he ftood;
And in his pinion fix'd the feather'd wood.
Light was the wound; but in the finew hung
The point; and his disabled wing unftrung.
He wheel'd in air, and stretch'd his vans in vain;
His vans no longer could his flight fuftain :
For while one gather'd wind, one unsupply'd
Hung drooping down; nor pois'd his other side.
He fell: the shaft that slightly was impress’d,
Now from his heavy fall with weight increas'd;
Drove thro' his neck, allant'; he spurns the ground;
And the soul issues thro' the weazon's wound.
Now, brave commander of the Rhodian feas,
What praise is due from me to Hercules ?
Silence is all the vengeance I decree
For my slain brothers; but 'tis peace with thee.
Thus with a flowing tongue old Nestor spoke :
Then, to full bowls each other they provoke :
At length with weariness and wine oppress’d,
They rise from table, and withdraw to rest.
The fire of Cygnus, monarch of the main,
Mean time, laments his son in battle flain :
And vows the victor's death, nor vows in vain.
For nine long years the smother'd pain he bore;
(Achilles was not ripe for fate before :)
Then when he saw the promis’d hour was near,
He thus bespoke the God, that guides the year.
Immortal offspring of my brother Jove;
My brightest nephew, and whom beft I love,
Whose hands were join’d with mine, to raise the wall
Of tott'ring Troy, now nodding to her fall.
Doft thou not mourn our pow'r employ'd in vain ;
And the defenders of our city slain ?
To pass the rest, could noble Hector lie
Unpity'd, drag'd around his native Troy?
And yet the murd'rer lives : himself by far
A greater plague, than all the wasteful war :
He lives ; the proud Pelides lives, to boast
Our town destroy’d, our common labour loft!
O, could I meet him! But I with too late,
To prove my trident is not in his fate.
But let him try (for that's allow'd) thy dart,
And pieree his only penetrable part.
Apollo bows to the superior throne;
And to his uncle's anger adds his own.
Then in a cloud involv’d, he takes his flight,
Where Greeks and Trojans mix'd in mortal fight ;
And found out Paris, lurking where he food,
And stain'd his arrows with Plebeian blocd:
Phoebus to him alone the God confess'd,
Then to the recreant knight he thus address’d.
Dost thou not blush, to spend thy shafts in vain
On a degenerate and ignoble train?
If fame, or better vengeance, be thy care,
There aim : and, with one arrow, end the war.
He said ; and Mew'd from far the blazing shield
And sword, which but Achilles none could wield;
And how he mov'da God, and mow'd the standing field.
The Deity himself directs aright
Th’invenom'd shaft; and wings the fatal flight.
Thus fell the foremost of the Grecian name ;
And he, the base adult'rer, boasts the fame.
A spectacle to glad the Trojan train ;
And please old Priam, after Hector flain.
If by a female hand he had foreseen
He was to die, his with had rather been
The lance and double axe of the fair warrior
And now, the terror of the Trojan field,
The Grecian honour, ornament, and shield,
High on a pile, th' unconquer'd chief is plac'd:
The God, that arm'd him first, confum'd at last.
Of all the mighty man, the small remains
A little urn, and scarcely fill'd, contains.
in Homer, ftill Achilles lives; And, equal to himself, himself survives.
His buckler owns its former lord ; and brings
New cause of strife betwixt contending kings ;
Who worthiest, after him, his sword to wield,
Or wear his armour, or sustain his shield.
Ev'n Diomede sat mute, with down-caft eyes ;
Conscious of wanted worth to win the prize :
Nor Menelaus presum'd these arms to claim,
Nor he the king of men, a greater name.
Two rivals only rose : Laertes' son,
And the vast buik of Ajax Telamon.
The king, who cherish'd each, with equal love,
And from himself all envy
remove, Left both to be determin’d by the laws; And to the Grecian chiefs transferr'd the cause.