« FöregåendeFortsätt »
In streams, my boy, and rivers, take thy chance;
There swims," said he, "thy whole inheritance.
"Long did I live on this poor legacy;
Till tired with rocks, and my own native sky,
To arts of navigation I inclined,
Observed the turns and changes of the wind:
Learned the fit havens, and began to note
The stormy Hyades, the rainy Goat,
The bright Täygete, and the shining bears,
With all the sailor's catalogue of stars.
"Once, as by chance for Delos I designed,
My vessel, driven by a strong gust of wind,
Moored in a Chian creek; ashore I went,
And all the following night in Chios spent.
When morning rose, I sent my mates to bring
Supplies of water from a neighbouring spring,
Whilst I the motion of the winds explored;
Then summoned in my crew, and went aboard.
Opheltes heard my summons, and with joy
Brought to the shore a soft and lovely boy,
With more than female sweetness in his look,
Whom straggling in the neighbouring fields he took.
With fumes of wine the little captive glows,
And nods with sleep, and staggers as he goes.
I viewed him nicely, and began to trace Each heavenly feature, each immortal grace, And saw divinity in all his face.
'I know not who,' said I, 'this god should be;
But that he is a god I plainly see:
And thou, whoe'er thou art, excuse the force
These men have used; and, oh! befriend our course!'
'Pray not for us,' the nimble Dictys cried,
Dictys, that could the main-top-mast bestride,
And down the ropes with active vigour slide.
To the same purpose old Epopeus spoke,
Who overlooked the oars, and timed the stroke;
The same the pilot, and the same the rest;
Such impious avarice their souls possest.
'Nay, heaven forbid that I should bear away
Within my vessel so divine a prey,'
Said I; and stood to hinder their intent:
When Lycabas, a wretch for murder sent
From Tuscany, to suffer banishment,
With his clenched fist had struck me overboard,
Had not my hands, in falling, grasped a cord.
"His base confederates the fact approve;
When Bacchus (for 'twas he) began to move,
Waked by the noise and clamours which they raised;
And shook his drowsy limbs, and round him gazed:
'What means this noise?' he cries; am I betrayed?
Ah! whither, whither must I be conveyed?'
'Fear not,' said Proreus,' child, but tell us where
You wish to land, and trust our friendly care.'
"To Naxos then direct your course,' said he;
'Naxos a hospitable port shall be
To each of you, a joyful home to me.'
By every god that rules the sea or sky,
The perjured villains promise to comply,
And bid me hasten so unmoor the ship.
With eager joy I launch into the deep;
And, heedless of the fraud, for Naxos stand:
They whisper oft, and beckon with the hand,
And give me signs, all anxious for their prey,
To tack about, and steer another way.
'Then let some other to my post succeed,'
Said I, 'I'm guiltless of so foul a deed.'
'What,' says Ethalion, 'must the ship's whole crew
Follow your humour, and depend on you ? '
And straight himself he seated at the prore,
And tacked about, and sought another shore.
"The beauteous youth now found himself betrayed, And from the deck the rising waves surveyed, And seemed to weep, and as he wept he said; 'And do you thus my easy faith beguile? Thus do you bear me to my native isle ? Will such a multitude of men employ Their strength against a weak, defenceless boy?' "In vain did I the god-like youth deplore, The more I begged, they thwarted me the more. And now by all the gods in heaven that hear This solemn oath, by Bacchus' self, I swear, The mighty miracle that did ensue, Although it seems beyond belief, is true.
The vessel, fixed and rooted in the flood,
Unmoved by all the beating billows stood.
In vain the mariners would plough the main
With sails unfurled, and strike their oars in vain ;
Around their oars a twining ivy cleaves,
And climbs the mast and hides the cords in leaves:
The sails are covered with a cheerful green,
And berries in the fruitful canvass seen.
Amidst the waves a sudden forest rears
Its verdant head, and a new spring appears.
"The god we now behold with opened eyes;
A herd of spotted panthers round him lies
In glaring forms; the grapy clusters spread
On his fair brows, and dangle on his head.
And whilst he frowns, and brandishes his spear,
My mates, surprised with madness or with fear,
Leaped overboard; first perjured Madon found
Rough scales and fins his stiffening sides surround;
'Ah! what,' cries one, 'has thus transformed thy look?'
Straight his own mouth grew wider as he spoke;
And now himself he views with like surprise.
Still at his oar the industrious Libys plies;
But, as he plies, each busy arm shrinks in,
And by degrees is fashioned to a fin.
Another, as he catches at a cord,
Misses his arms, and, tumbling overboard,
With his broad fins and forky tail he laves
The rising surge, and flounces in the waves.
Thus all my crew transformed around the ship,
Or dive below, or on the surface leap,
And spout the waves, and wanton in the deep.
Full nineteen sailors did the ship convey,
A shoal of nineteen dolphins round her play.
I only in my proper shape appear,
Speechless with wonder, and half dead with fear,
Till Bacchus kindly bid me fear no more.
With him I landed on the Chian shore,
And him shall ever gratefully adore."
"This forging slave," says Pentheus, "would prevail
O'er our just fury by a far-fetched tale:
Go, let him feel the whips, the swords, the fire,
And in the tortures of the rack expire."
The officious servants hurry him away,
And the poor captive in a dungeon lay.
But, whilst the whips and tortures are prepared,
The gates fly open, of themselves unbarred;
At liberty the unfettered captive stands,
And flings the loosened shackles from his hands.
THE DEATH OF PENTHEUS.
But Pentheus, grown more furious than before, Resolved to send his messengers no more, But went himself to the distracted throng, Where high Citharon echoed with their song. And as the fiery war-horse paws the ground, And snorts and trembles at the trumpet's sound; Transported thus he heard the frantic rout, And raved and maddened at the distant shout.
A spacious circuit on the hill there stood,
Level and wide, and skirted round with wood;
Here the rash Pentheus, with unhallowed eyes,
The howling dames and mystic orgies spies.
His mother sternly viewed him where he stood,
And kindled into madness as she viewed:
Her leafy javelin at her son she cast,
And cries, "The boar that lays our country waste!
The boar, my sisters! aim the fatal dart,
And strike the brindled monster to the heart.'
Pentheus astonished heard the dismal sound, And sees the yelling matrons gathering round: He sees, and weeps at his approaching fate, And begs for mercy, and repents too late. "Help, help! my aunt Autonöe," he cried; "Remember how your own Actæon died." Deaf to his cries, the frantic matron crops One stretched-out arm, the other Ino lops. In vain does Pentheus to his mother sue, And the raw bleeding stumps presents to view: His mother howled; and heedless of his prayer, Her trembling hand she twisted in his hair, "And this," she cried, "shall be Agave's share." When from the neck his struggling head she tore, And in her hands the ghastly visage bore,
With pleasure all the hideous trunk survey;
Then pulled and tore the mangled limbs away,
As starting in the pangs of death it lay.
Soon as the wood its leafy honours casts,
Blown off and scattered by autumnal blasts,
With such a sudden death lay Pentheus slain,
And in a thousand pieces strowed the plain.
By so distinguishing a judgment awed,
The Thebans tremble, and confess the god.
THE STORY OF
SALMACIS AND HERMAPHRODITUS.'
How Salmacis, with weak enfeebling streams
Softens the body, and unnerves the limbs,
And what the secret cause, shall here be shown;
The cause is secret, but the effect is known.
The Naïads nurst an infant heretofore,
That Cytherea once to Hermes bore:
From both the illustrious authors of his race
The child was named; nor was it hard to trace
Both the bright parents through the infant's face.
When fifteen years, in Ida's cool retreat,
The boy had told, he left his native seat,
And sought fresh fountains in a foreign soil;
The pleasure lessened the attending toil.
With eager steps the Lycian fields he crost,
And fields that border on the Lycian coast;
' Mr. Addison was very young when he made these translations.-Still, one a little wonders how his virgin muse," nescia quid sit amor,” (as Ovid says of Hermaphroditus,) could be drawn in to attempt this subject: -but the charms of the poetry prevailed. He very properly omits, or softens, the most obnoxious passages of his original; and, after all, seems half-ashamed of what he had done, as we may conclude from his writing no notes on this story, which being told in Ovid's best manner, must have suggested to him many fine ones,