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The glorious lamp of heav’n, the radiant sun,
Is Nature's eye; and she's content with one.
Add, that my father sways your seas, and I,
Like you, am of the watry family.
I make you his, in making you my own ;
You I adore, and kneel to you alone :
Jove, with his fabled thunder, I despise,
And only fear the lightning of your eyes.
Frown not, fair nymph; yet I could bear to be
Disdain'd, if others were disdain'd with me.
But to repulse the Cyclops, and prefer
The love of Acis, heav'ns! I cannot bear.
But let the stripling please himself; nay more,
tho that's the thing I most abhor;
The boy shall find, if e'er we cope
These giant limbs endu'd with giant might.
His living bowels from his belly torn,
And scatter'd limbs, shall on the flood be born,
Thy flood, ungrateful nymph; and fate shall find
That way for thee and Acis to be join'd.
For oh! I burn with love, and thy disdain
Augments at once my passion, and my pain.
Translated Ætna flames within my heart,
And thou, inhuman, wilt not ease my smart.
Lamenting thus in vain, he rose, and strode With furious paces to the neighb'ring wood : Restless his feet, distracted was his walk; Mad were his motions, and confus'd his talk. Mad as the vanquish'd bull, when forc'd to yield His lovely mistress, and forsake the field.
Thus far unseen I saw: when, fatal chance His looks directing, with a sudden glance, Acis and I were to his fight betray'd ; Wherë, nought suspecting, we securely play'd. From his wide mouth a bellowing cry he cast; I see, I fee, but this shall be your last. A roar so loud made Ætna to rebound; And all the Cyclops labour'd in the found. Affrighted with his monstrous voice, I fed, And in the neighb'ring ocean plung'd my head. Poor Acis turn'd his back, and, Help, he cry'd, Help, Galatea, help, my parent Gods, And take me dying to your deep abodes. The Cyclops follow'd ; but he sent before A rib, which from the living rock he tore: Though but an angle reach'd him of the stone, The mighty fragment was enough alone, To crush all Acis ; 'twas too late to fave, But what the fates allow'd to give, I gave:
That Acis to his lineage should return;
And rowl, among the river Gods, his urn.
Straight issu'd from the stone a stream of blood;
Which lost the purple, mingling with the flood.
Then like a troubled torrent it appear’d :
The torrent too, in little space, was clear'd.
The stone was cleft, and thro the yawning chink
New reeds arose, on the new river's brink,
The rock, from out its hollow womb, disclos'd
A sound like water in its course oppos’d:
When (wond'rous to behold) full in the flood,
Up starts a youth, and navel-high he stood.
Horns from his temples rise; and either horn
Thick wreaths of reeds (his native growth) adorn.
Were not his stature taller than before,
His bulk augmented, and his beauty more,
His colour blue, for Acis he might pass:
And Acis chang’d into a stream he was.
But, mine no more, he rowls along the plains
With rapid motion, and his name retains.
From the Fifteenth Book of
The fourteenth book concludes with the death and deification of Romulus: the fifteenth begins with the election of Numa to the crown of Rome. On this occasion, Ovid, following the opinion of some authors, makes Numa the scholar of Pythagoras ; and to have begun his acquaintance with that philosopher at Crotona, a town in Italy; from thence Þe makes a digreffion to the moral and natural philosophy of Pythagoras : on both which our author enlarges; and which are the most learned and beautiful parts of the Metamorphoses,
One able to support the public weight, And fill the throne where Romulus had fate. Renown, which oft bespeaks the public voice, Had recommended Numa to their choice : A peaceful, pious prince; who, not content To know the Sabine rites, his study bent
To cultivate his mind : to learn the laws
Of nature, and explore their hidden cause.
Urg'd by this care, his country he forsook,
And to Crotona thence his journey took.
Arriv'd, he first enquir'd the founder's name
Of this new colony; and whence he came.
Then thus a senior of the place replies,
(Well read, and curious of antiquities)
'Tis said, Alcides hither took his
From Spain, and drove along his conquer'd prey;
Then, leaving in the fields his grazing cows,
He fought himself some hospitable house:
Good Croton entertain'd his godlike guest;
While he repair’d his weary limbs with rest.
The hero, thence departing, bless'd the place;
And here, he said, in Time’s revolving race,
A rising town shall take its name from thee;
Revolving Time fulfill’d the prophecy :
For Myscelos, the justest man on earth,
Alemon's son, at Argos had his birth :
Him Hercules, arm'd with his club of oak,
O'ershadow'd in a dream, and thus bespoke ;
Go, leave thy native soil, and make abode
Where Æsaris rolls down his rapid flood
He said; and sleep forsook him, and the God.