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From the Fifteenth Book of
OVID's METAMORPHOSE S.
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 bis acquaintance with that philofopher at Crotona, a town in Italy; from thence he makes a digression to the moral and natural philosopby of Pythagoras : on both which our author enlarges; and which are the most learned and þeautiful parts of the Metamorphofes.
King is sought to guide the growing state,
One able to support the public weight, And fill the throne where Romulus had sate. 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
Trembling he wak'd, and rose with anxious heart;
O Paw'r, who hast deserv'd in heav'n a throne
A custom was of old, and still remains, Which life or death by fuffrages ordains; White stones and black within an urn are cast, The first absolve, but fate is in the last. The judges to the common urn bequeath Their votes, and drop the fable signs of death;
The box receives all black; but pour'd from thence
pays, And cuts with prosp'rous gales th' Ionian feas: He leaves Tarentum, favor'd by the wind, And Thurine bays, and Temiles, behind ; Soft Sibaris, and all the capes that stand Along the shore, he makes in sight of land; Still doubling, and still coasting, till he found The mouth of Æfaris, and promis'd ground: Then faw.where, on the margin of the flood, The tomb that held the bones of Croton stood: Here, by the God's command, he built and wall’d The place predicted; and Crotona call’d: Thus fame, from time to time, delivers down The sure tradition of th' Italian town.
Here dwelt the man divine whom Samos bore, But now self-banish'd from his native shore, Because he hated tyrants, nor could bear The chains which none but servile souls will wear: He, tho from heav'n remote, to heav'n could move, With strength of mind, and tread th' abyss above;
And penetrate, with his interior light,
upper depths, which Nature hid from fight: And what he had observ'd, and learnt from thence, Lov'd in familiar language to dispense.
The crowd with silent admiration stand, And heard him, as they heard their God's com
While he discours’d of heav'n's mysterious laws,
He first the taste of flesh from tables drove,
bodies with a food profane: While corn and pulse by nature are bestow'd, And planted orchards bend their willing load; While labor’d gardens wholsom herbs produce, And teeming vines afford their gen’rous juice ;