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THE FIRST BOOK
Earth sinks beneath, and draws a numerous throng
About her coasts unruly waters roar,
And, rising on a ridge, insult the shore.
Ye gods, from whence these miracles did Had form’d the whole, and made the parts agree,
He moulded earth into a spacious round: And add perpetual tenour to my rhymes,
Then, with a breath, he gave the winds to blow; Deduc'd from Nature's birth, to Cæsar's times. And bade the congregated waters flow.
Before the seas, and this terrestrial ball, He adds the running springs, and standing lakes, And Heaven's high canopy, that covers all,
And bounding banks for winding rivers makes. One was the face of nature, if a face;
Some part in earth are swallow'd up, the most
In ample oceans, disembogued, are lost.
And as five zones th' etherial regions bind,
Five, correspondent, are to earth assign'd : Nor yet was Earth suspended in the sky;
The Sun with rays, directly darting down, Nor, pois'd, did on her own foundations lie: Fires all beneath, and fries the middle zone Nor seas about the shores their arms had thrown; The two beneath the distant poles complain But earth, and air, and water, were in one. Of endless winter, and perpetual rain. Thus air was void of light, and earth unstable, Betwixt th’extremes, two happier climates bold And water's dark ábyss unnavigable.
The temper that partakes of hot and cold,
The fields of liquid air, enclosing all,
The lighter parts lie next the fires above;
But God, or Nature, while they thus contend, Thick clouds are spread, and storms engender
fear, Thus disembroil'd, they take their proper place; And winds that on their wings cold winter bear. The next of kin contiguously embrace;
Nor were those blustering brethren left at large, And foes are sunder'd by a larger space.
On seas and shores their fury to discharge: The force of fire ascended first on high,
Bound as they are, and circumscrib'd in place And took its dwelling in the vaulted sky. They rend the world, resistless, where they pass; Then air succeeds, in lightness next to fire;
And mighty marks of mischief leave behind, Wbose atoms from unactive earth retire. Such is the rage of their tempestuous kind,
First Eurus to the rising morn is sent,
The flowers unsown in fields and meadows (The regions of the balmy continent)
reign'd; And eastern realms, where early Persians run, And western winds immortal Spring maintain'd. To greet the blest appearance of the Sun.
In following years the bearded corn ensu'd Westward the wanton Zephyr wings his flight, From earth unask'd, nor was that earth renewid. Pleas'd with the remnants of departing light : From veins of vallies milk and nectar broke; Fierce Boreas with his offspring issues forth, And honey, sweating through the pores of oak. T'invade the frozen waggon of the North. While frowning Auster seeks the southern sphere,
THE SILVER AGE. And rots, with endless rain, th’unwholesome year.
High o'er the clouds, and empty realms of wird, But when good Saturn, banish'd from above, The God a clearer space for Heaven design d ; Was driven to Hell, the world was under Jove. Where fields of light and liquid ether flow, Succeeding times a silver age behold, Purg'd from the ponderous dregs of earth below. Excelling brass, but more excell'd by gold. Scarce had the power distinguish'd these, when Then Summer, Autumn, Winter, did appear; straight
And Spring was but a season of the year. The stars, no longer overlaid with weight,
The Sun his annual course obliquely made, Exert their heads from underneath the mass, Good days contracted, and enlarg'd the bad. And upward shoot, and kindle as they pass,
Then air with sultry heats began to glow, And with diffusive light adorn the heavenly place. The wings of winds were clogg'dwith ice and snow; Then, every void of nature to supply,
And shivering mortals, into houses driven, With forms of gods he fills the vacant sky: Sought shelter from th' inclemency of Heaven. New herds of beasts he sends, the plains to share; Those houses, then, were caves, or homely sheds, New colonies of birds, to people air ;
With twining oziers fenc'd, and moss their beds. And to their oozy beds the finny fish repair. Then ploughs, for seed, the fruitful furrows broke, A creature of a more exalted kind
And oxen labour'd first beneath the yoke.
THE BRAZEN AGE.
To this next came in course the brazen age, The God of nature did his soul inspire;
A warlike offspring, prompt to bloody rage,
Not impious yet
THE IRON AGE.
-Hard steel succeeded then; Thus, while the mute creation downward bend And stubborn as the metal were the men. Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend, Truth, Modesty, and Shame, the world forsook: Man looks aloft, and with erected eyes
Fraud, Avarice, and force, their places took. Beholds his own hereditary skies.
Then sails were spread to every wind that blew; From such rude principles our form began, Raw were the sailors, and the depths were new: And earth was metamorphos'd into man.
Trees rudely hollow'd, did the waves sustain,
Ere ships in triumph plough'd the watery plain. THE GOLDEN AGE.
Then land-marks limited to each his right :
For all before was common as the light. The golden age was first; when man, yet new, Nor was the ground alone requird to bear No rule but uncorrupted reason knew;
Her annual income to the crooked share; And, with a native bent, did good pursue.
But greedy mortals, rummaging her store, Unforc'd by punishment, unaw'd by fear, Digg'd from her entrails first the precious ore, His words were simple, and his soul sincere: Which next to Hell the prudent God had laid, Needless was written-law, where none opprest; And that alluring ill to sight display'd: The law of man was written in his breast : Thus cursed steel, and more accursed gold, No suppliant crowds before the judge appeard ; Gave Mischief birth, and made that mischief bold: No court erected yet, nor cause was heard; Aud double death did wretched man invade, But all was safe, for conscience was their guard. By stcel assaulted, and by gold betray'd. The mountain-trees in distant prospect please, Now (brandish'd weapons glittering in their hands) Ere yet the pine descended to the seas;
Mankind is broken loose from moral bands;
The son-in-law pursues the father's life:
Faith Alies, and Piety in exile mourns;
THE GIANTS WAR.
Nor were the gods themselves more safe above; And falling acorns furnish'd out a feast:
Against beleagur'd Heaven the giants more.
Hills pil'd on hills, on mountains mountains lie, Nor v/as their care, O Cæsar, less esteem'd
By thee, than that of Heaven for Jove was deen d: Till Jove, no longer patient, took his time
Who with his hand, and voice, did first restrain Tavenge with thunder their audacious crime: Their murmurs, then resum'd his speech again. Red lightning play'd along the firmament, The gods to silence were compos'd, and sate And their demolish'd works to pieces rent.
With reverence due to his superior state. Sing'd with the flames, and with the bolts transfix'd, “ Cancel your pious cares; already he With native earth their blood the monsters mix'd, Has paid his debt to justice, and to me. The blood, indued with animating heat,
Yet what his crimes, and what my judgments were', Did in th' impregnate earth new sons beget : Remains for me thus briefly to declare. They,like the seed from which they sprung,accurst, The clamours of this vile degenerate age, Against the gods immortal hatred nurst:
The cries of orphans, and th’oppressor's rage, An impious, arrogant, and cruel brood;
Had reach'd the stars; 'I will descend,' said I, Expressing their original from blood.
In hope to prove this loud complaint a lie.' Which when the king of gods beheld from high Disguis'd in human shape, I travellid round (Withal revolving in his memory,
The world, and more than what I heard, I found. What he himself had found on Earth of late,
O'er Mænalus I took my steepy way, Lycaon's guilt, and his inhuman treat)
By caverns infamous for beasts of prey : He sigh'd, nor longer with his pity strove; Then cross'd Cyllene, and the piny shade, But kindied to a wrath becoming Jove;
More infamous by curst Lycaon made: Then call'd a general council of the gods;
Dark night had covered Heaven and Earth, before Who, summon'd, issue from their blest abodes, I enter'd his unhospitable door. And fill th' assembly with a shining train.
Just at my entrance, I display'd the sign A way there is, in Heaven's expanded plain, That somewhat was approaching of divine. Which, when the skies are clear, is seen below, The prostrate people pray; the tyrant grins; And mortals by the name of milky know.
And, adding prophanation to his sins, The ground-work is of stars; through which the I'll try,' said he, and if a god appear,
To prove his deity shall cost bim dear.'' [pares, Lies open to the thunderer's abode.
'Twas late; the graceless wretch my death preThe gods of greater nations dwell around,
When I should soundly sleep, opprest with cares:
But first he had resolv'd to taste my power:
Some legates sent from the Molossian state,
And lays the mangled morsels in a dish: Then shook his head, that shook the firmament: Some part he roasts; then serves it up so drest, Air, Earth, and Seas, obey'd th' almighty nod; And bids me welcome to this human feast. And, with a general fear, confess'd the God. Mor'd with disdain, the table I o'erturn'd; At length with indignation, thus he broke And with avenging flames the palace burn'd. His awful silence, and the powers bespoke: The tyrant, in a fright, for shelter gains
"I was not more concern'd in that debate The neighbouring fields,and scours along the plains. Of empire, when our universal state
Howling he fled, and fain he would have spoke, Was put to bazard, and the giant race
But human voice his brutal tongue forsook, Our captive skies were ready to embrace;
About his lips the gather'd foam he churns, For, though the foe was fierce, the seeds of all And, breathing slaughter, still with rage he burns, Rebellion sprung from one original :
But on the bleating flock his fury turns. Now, wheresoever ambient waters glide,
His mantle, now his hide, with rugged hairs All are corrupt, and all must be destroy'd.
Cleaves to his back; a famish'd face he bears; Let me this holy protestation make:
His arms descend, his shoulders siuk away, By Hell and Hell's inviolable lake,
To multiply his legs for chase of prey.
He grows a wolf, bis hoariness remains,
His jaws retain the grin and violence of his face.
All are alike involv'd in ill, and all
Thus ended he; the greater gods assent,
And mourn as much as heavenly spirits can,
They ask, when those were lost of human birth, AU anxious for their earthly thunderer:
What he would do with all his waste of Earth? VOL 1X.
If his dispeopled world he would resign
Now seas and earth were in confusion lost; To beasts, a mute, and more ignoble line? A world of waters, and without a coast. Neglected altars must no longer smoke,
One climbs a cliff; one in his boat is borne, If none were left to worship and invoke.
And ploughs above, where late he sow'd his corp. To whom the father of the gods reply'd:
Others o'er chimney tops and turrets row, “ Lay that unnecessary fear aside:
And drop their anchors on the meads below: Mine be the care new people to provide.
Or, downward driven, they bruise the tender vine; I will from wondrous principles ordain
Or, toss'd aloft, are knock'd against a pine. A race unlike the first, and try my skill again." And where of late the kids had cropp'd the grass,
Already had he tossèd the flaming brand, The monsters of the deep now take their place. And roll'd the thunder in his spacious hand; Insulting Nereids on the cities ride, Preparing to discharge on seas and land:
And wandering -dolphins o'er the palace glide. But stopt, for fear, thus violently driven,
On leaves, and masts of mighty oaks, they brouze; The sparks should catch bis axle-tree of Heaven. And their broad fins entangle in the boughs. Remembering, in the Fates, a time, when fire The frighted wolf now swims among the sheep; Should to the battlements of Heaven aspire, The yellow lion wanders in the deep: And all his blazing worlds above should burn, His rapid force no longer helps the boar: And all th' inferior globe to cinders turn.
The stag swims faster than he ran before. His dire artillery thus dismiss'd, he bent
The fowls, long beating on their wings in vain, His thoughts to some securer punishment : Despair of land, and drop into the main. Concludes to pour a watery deluge down;
Now hills and vales no more distinction know,
The small remainder dies for want of food.
The bound of fruitful fields, while fields they were, From his divided beard two streanis he pours;
But then a field of waters did appear: His head and rheumy eyes distil in showers. Parnassus is its name; whose forky rise With rain his robe and heavy mantle flow, Mounts through the clouds, and meets the lofty And lazy mists are lowering on his brow:
skies. Still as he swept along, with his clench'd fist, High on the summit of this dubious cliff, He squeez'd the clouds; th’ imprison'd clouds Deucalion wafting moord his little skiff. resist:
He with his wife were only left behind The skies, from pole to pole, with peals resound; of perish'd man; they two were human-kind. And showers enlarg'd come pouring on the ground. The mountain-nymphs and Themis they adore, Then, clad in colours of a various die,
And from her oracles relief implore.
The most upright of mortal men was he;
But two, the best of either sex, surviv'd,
Serenely, while he blows, the vapours driven The watery tyrant calls his brooks and foods, Discover Heaven to Earth, and Earth to Heaven. Who roll from mossy caves, their moist abodes, The billows fall, while Neptune lays his mace And with perpetual urns his palace fill:
On the rough sea, and smooths its furrow'd face. To whom in brief he thus imparts his will: Already Triton, at his call, appears
“Smallexhortation needs; your powers employ: | Above the waves: a Tyrian robe he wears; And this bad world (so Jove requires) destroy.
And in his hand a crooked trumpet bears. Let loose the reins to all your watery store: The sovereign bids him peaceful sounds inspire, Bear down the dams, and open every door.” And give the waves the signal to retire. The floods, by nature enemies to land,
His writhen shell be takes, whose narrow vent And proudly swelling with their new command, Grows by degrees into a large extent;
(sound, Remove the living stones that stopp'd their way, Then gives it breath; the blast, with doubling And, gushing from their source, augment the sea. Rups the wide circuit of the word around. Then, with his mace, their monarch struck the The Sun first heard it, in his early east, ground:
And met the ratting echos in the west. With inward trembling Earth receiv'd the wound; The waters, listening to the trumpet's roar, And rising streams a ready passage found. Obey the summons, and forsake the shore. Th’expanded waters gather ou the plain,
A thin circumference of land appears; They float the fields, and overtop the grain: And Earth, but not at once, her visage rears, Then, rushing onwards, with a sweepy sway, And peeps upon the seas from upper grounds: Bear flocks, and folds, and labouring hinds away. The streams, but just contain’d within their bounds, Nor safe theirdwellings were; for, sapp'd by floods, By slow degrees into their channels crawl; Their houses fell upon their household gods. And Earth increases as the waters fall. The solid piles, too strongly built to fall,
In longer time the tops of trees appear, High o'er their beads bchold a watery wall. Which mud on their dishonour'd branches bear.
At length the world was all restor'd to view, Did first the rigour of their kind expel, But desolate, and of a sickly hue:
And suppled into softness as they fell: Nature beheld herself, and stood aghast,
Then swell'd, and, swelling, by degrees grew warm A dismal desert, and a silent waste.
And took the rudiments of human form; Which when Deucalion, with a piteous look, Imperfect shapes, in marble such are seen, Beheld, he wept, and thus to Pyrrha spoke :
When the rude chisel does the man begin ; “ Oh wife, oh sister, oh of all thy kind
While yet the roughness of the stone remains, The best and only creature left behind,
Without the rising inuscles and the veins. By kindred, love, and now by dangers join'd; The sappy parts, and next resembling juice, Of multitudes, who breath'd the common air, Were turn'ů to moisture, for the body's use, We two remain ; a species in a pair:
Supplying humours, blood, and nourishment: The rest the seas have swallow'd; nor have we The rest, too solid to receive a bent, Er'n of this wretched life a certainty.
Converts to bones; and what was once a vein, The clouds are still above; and, while I speak, Its former name and nature did retain. A second deluge o'er our heads may break.
By help of power divine, in little space, Should I be spatch'd from hence, and thou remain, What the man threw assum'd a manly face; Without relief, or partner of thy pain,
And what the wife, renew'd the female race. How could'st thou such a wretchei life sustain? Hence we derive our nature, born to bear Should I be left, and thou be lost, the sea,
Laborious life, and harden'd into care. That bury'd her I lov'd, should bury me.
The rest of animals, from teeming Earth Oh could our father his old arts inspire,
Produc'd, in various forms receiv'd their birth. And make me heir of his informing fire,
The native moisture, in its close retreat, That so I might abolish'd man retrieve,
Digested by the Sun's etherial heat, And perish'd people in new souls might live! As in a kindly womb, began to breed : But Heaven is pleas'd, nor ought we to complain, Then swelld, and quicken'd by the vital seed. That we, th' examples of mankind, remain.” And some in less, and some in longer space, He said : the careful couple join their tears, Were ripen'd into form, and took a severai face. And then invoke the gods with pious prayers. Thus when the Nile from Pharian fields is fled, Thus in devotion having eas'd their griet,
And seeks with ebbing tides his ancient bed, From sacred oracles they seek relief:
The fat manure with heavenly fire is warın'd;
For heat and moisture when in bodies join'd, Before the gradual prostrate they ador'd,
The temper that results from either kind
Orighteous Themis, if the powers above Their mingled atoms in each other fix.
Thus Nature's hand the genial bed prepares
With friendly discord, and with fruitful wars. If yet they can forgive, and yet be kind;
From hence the surface of the ground with mud Tell bow we may restore, by second birth,
And sliine besmeard (the feces of the flood) Mankind, and people desolated Earth.”
Receiv'd the rays of Heaven; and, sucking in Then thus the gracious goddess, nodding, said; The seeds of heat, new creatures did begin: “ Depart, and with your vestments veil your head: Some were of several sorts produc'd before; And stooping lowly down, with loosen'd zones, But of new monsters Earth created more, Throw each behind your backs your mighty mo Unwillingly, but yet she brought to light ther's bones.”
Thee, Python too, the wondering world to fright, Amaz'd the pair, and mute with wonder, stand, And the new nations, with so dire a sight. Till Pyrrha first refus’d the dire command. So monstrous was his bulk, so large a space “Forbid it Heaven,” said she, “ that I should tear Did his vast body and long train embrace: Those holy relics from the sepulchre."
Whom Phoebus basking on a bank espy'd, They ponder'd the mysterious words again, Ere now the god his arrows had not try'd, Por some new sense; and long they sought in vain. But on the trembling deer, or mountain-goat; At length Deucalion cleard his cloudy brow, At this new quarry he prepares to shoot. And said, “ The dark enigma will allow
Though every shaft took place, he spent the store A meaning; which if well I understand,
Of his full quiver; and 'twas long before From sacrilege will free the god's command; Th’expiring serpent wallow'd in bis gore. This Earth our mighty mother is, the stones Then, to preserve the fame of such a deed, In her capacious body are her bones:
For Python slain, he Pythian games decreed, These we must cast bebind.” With hope, and fear, Where noble youths for mastership should strive, The woman did the new solution hear :
To quoit, to run, and steeds and chariots drive. The man diffides in his own augury,
The prize was fame, in witness of renown,
Did, with promiscuous grace, his flowing locks But long tradition makes it pass for true)