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CANACE TO MACAREUS,
Macareus and Canace, son and daughter to Æolus,
god of the IVinds, loved each other incestuously : Canace was delivered of a fon, and committed him to her nurse, to be secretly conveyed away. The infant crying out, by that means was discovered to Æolus, who, inraged at the wickedness of his children, commanded the babe to be exposed to wild beasts on the mountains : and withal, sent a sword to Canace, with this message, That her crimes would instruct her how to use it. IVith this sword she slew herself: but before she died, she writ the following letter to her brother Macareus, who had taken fanctuary in the temple of Apollo.
IF streaming blood my fatal letter stain, ,
O! were he present, that his eyes and hands Might see, and urge, the death which he com
mands! Than all the raging winds more dreadful, he, Unmov'd, without a tear, my wounds would
fee. Jove justly plac'd him on a stormy throne, His people's temper is so like his own. The North and South, and each contending
blast, Are underneath his wide dominion cast : Those he can rule ; but his tempestuous mind Is, like bis airy kingdom, unconfin’d. Ab! what avail my kindred gods above, That in their number I can reckon Jove ! What help will all my heav'nly friends afford, When to my breast I lift the pointed sword ? 20 That hour, which join'd us, came before its
time : In death we had been one without a crime. Why did thy flames beyond a brother's move ? Why lov'd I thee with more than fister's love ? For I lov'd too; and, knowing not my
wound, A secret pleasure in thy kiffes found: My cheeks no longer did their color boast, My food grew loathsome, and my firength I
Still ere I spoke, a sigh would stop my tongue ; Short were my numbers, and my nights were
long. I knew not from my love these griefs did grow, Yet was, alas, the thing I did not know. My wily nurse, by long experience, found, And first discoverd to my soul its wound. "Tis love, faid she; and then my down-cast
eyes, And guilty dumbness, witness’d my surprize. Forc'd at the last, my shameful pain I tell : And, oh, what follow'd we both know too well! " When half denying, more than half content, 6. Embraces warm’d me to a full consent, “ Then with tumultuous joys my heart did beat, “ And guilt, that made them anxious, made
them great." But now my swelling womb heav'd up my breast, And rising weight my linking limbs opprest. What herbs, what plants, did not my nurse
produce, To make abortion by their pow’rful juice ? What med'cines try'd we not, to thee unknown? Our first crime common ; this was mine alone. But the strong child, secure in his dark cell, With nature's vigor did our arts repel. And now the pale-fac'd empress of the night Nine times had fill'd her orb with borrow'd
Not knowing 'twas my labor, I complain
creas'd, Which with her hand the conscious nurse fup
press’d. To that unhappy fortune was I come, Pain urg'd my clamors, but fear kept me dumb. With inward struggling I restrain'd my cries, And drunk the tears that trickled from my
eyes. Death was in fight, Lucina And even my dying had my guilt betray’d. Thou cam’st, and in thy count'nance fate de.
spair ; Rent were thy garments all, and torn thy
hair: Yet feigning comfort, which thou couldst not
give, (Prest in thy arms, and whisp’ring me to live :) For both our fakes, (faidst thou) preserve thy
gave no aid ;
Live, my dear lifter, and
dearer wife. Rais'd by that name,
pangs I strove; Such pow'r have words, when spoke by those
70 The babe, as if he heard what thou hadft sworn, With hafty joy sprung forward to be born.
What helps it to have weather'd out one storm?
fear. He rulh'd upon me, and divulg’d my stain; 95 Scarce from my murder could his hands refrain. I only answer'd him with silent tears ; They flow'd: my tongue was frozen up
with fears. His little grand-child he commands away, To mountain wolves and ev'ry bird of prey. 100