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From the Fifteenth Book of OVID'S METAMORPHOSES.
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 occafion, Ovid, following the opinion of fome authors, makes Numa the fcholar of Pythagoras; and to have begun his acquaintance with that philofopher at Crotona, a town in Italy; from thence he makes a digreffion to the moral and natural philofophy of Pythagoras: on both which our author enlarges; and which are the most learned and beautiful parts of the Metamorphofes.
King is fought to guide the growing state, One able to fupport the public weight, And fill the throne where Romulus had fate. Renown, which oft befpeaks the public voice, Had recommended Numa to their choice: A peaceful, pious prince; who, not content To know the Sabine rites, his ftudy 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 fenior of the place replies,
(Well read, and curious of antiquities)
'Tis faid, Alcides hither took his way
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 gueft;
While he repair'd his weary limbs with rest.
The hero, thence departing, bless'd the place ;
And here, he faid, in Time's revolving race,
A rifing town fhall take its name from thee;
Revolving Time fulfill'd the prophecy :
For Myfcelos, the justeft man on earth,
Alemon's fon, 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 foil, and make abode
Where Æfaris rolls down his rapid flood;
He faid; and fleep forfook him, and the God.
Trembling he wak'd, and rofe with anxious heart';
His country laws forbad him to depart:
What should he do? "Twas death to go away;
And the God menac'd if he dar'd to stay :
All day he doubted, and when night came on,
Sleep, and the fame forewarning dream, begun :
Once more the God stood threatning o'er his head;
With added curfes if he disobey'd.
Twice warn'd, he study'd flight; but would convey,
At once, his perfon and his wealth away:
Thus while he linger'd, his defign was heard;
A fpeedy procefs form'd, and death declar'd.
Witness there needed none of his offence,
Against himself the wretch was evidence:
Condemn'd, and deftitute of human aid,
To him, for whom he fuffer'd, thus he pray'd.
O Pow'r, who haft deferv'd in heav'n a throne
Not giv'n, but by thy labors made thy own,
Pity thy fuppliant, and protect his caufe,
Whom thou haft made obnoxious to the laws.
A cuftom was of old, and ftill remains,
Which life or death by fuffrages ordains;
White ftones and black within an urn are caft,
The firft abfolve, but fate is in the last.
The judges to the common urn bequeath
Their votes, and drop the fable figns of death;
The box receives all black; but pour'd from thence The ftones came candid forth, the hue of in
Thus Alimonides his fafety won,
Preferv'd from death by Alcumena's fon :
Then to his kinfman God his vows he pays,
And cuts with profp'rous gales th' Ionian feas:
He leaves Tarentum, favor'd by the wind,
And Thurine bays, and Temifes, behind;
Soft Sibaris, and all the capes that stand
Along the shore, he makes in fight of land;
Still doubling, and still coafting, 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 flood:
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 fure tradition of th' Italian town.
Here dwelt the man divine whom Samos bore, But now felf-banish'd from his native fhore, Because he hated tyrants, nor could bear The chains which none but fervile fouls will wear: He, tho from heav'n remote, to heav'n could move, With ftrength of mind, and tread th' abyss above;
And penetrate, with his interior light,
Those upper depths, which Nature hid from fight:
And what he had obferv'd, and learnt from thence,
Lov'd in familiar language to difpenfe.
The crowd with filent admiration ftand, And heard him, as they heard their God's command;
While he difcours'd of heav'n's myfterious laws,
The world's original, and nature's caufe;
And what was God, and why the fleecy fnows
In filence fell, and rattling winds arofe;
What shook the stedfast earth, and whence begun
The dance of planets round the radiant fun;
If thunder was the voice of angry Jove,
Or clouds, with nitre pregnant, burst above:
Of these, and things beyond the common reach,
Hefpoke, and charm'd his audience with his fpeech.
He firft the taste of flesh from tables drove,
And argu'd well, if arguments could move.
O mortals! from your fellows blood abftain,
Nor taint your bodies with a food profane:
While corn and pulfe by nature are bestow'd,
And planted orchards bend their willing load;
While labor'd gardens wholfom herbs produce,
And teeming vines afford their gen'rous juice;