Verse > John Dryden > Poems
John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
The First Book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses
OF 1 Bodies chang’d to various Forms I sing:
Ye Gods, from whom these Miracles did spring,
Inspire my Numbers with Cœlestial heat;
Till I my long laborious Work compleat;
And add perpetual Tenour to my Rhimes,        5
Deduc’d from Nature’s Birth, to Cæsar’s Times.
  Before the Seas, and this Terrestrial Ball,
And Heav’ns high Canopy, that covers all,
One was the Face of Nature, if a Face;
Rather a rude and indigested Mass:        10
A lifeless Lump, unfashion’d, and unfram’d;
Of jarring Seeds; and justly Chaos nam’d.
No Sun was lighted up the World to view;
No Moon did yet her blunted Horns renew:
Nor yet was Earth suspended in the Skye;        15
Nor, pois’d, did on her own Foundations lye:
Nor Seas about the Shoars their Arms had thrown;
But Earth and Air and Water were in one.
Thus Air was void of Light, and Earth unstable,
And Waters dark Abyss unnavigable.        20
No certain Form on any was imprest;
All were confus’d, and each disturb’d the rest.
For hot and cold were in one Body fixt,
And soft with hard, and light with heavy mixt.
  But God, or Nature, while they thus contend,        25
To these intestine Discords put an end.
Then Earth from Air, and Seas from Earth were driv’n,
And grosser Air sunk from Æthereal Heav’n.
Thus disembroil’d, they take their proper place;
The next of Kin contiguously embrace;        30
And Foes are sunder’d by a larger space.
The force of Fire ascended first on high,
And took its dwelling in the vaulted Skie:
Then Air succeeds, in lightness next to Fire:
Whose Atoms from unactive Earth retire.        35
Earth sinks beneath, and draws a numerous throng
Of pondrous, thick, unweildy Seeds along.
About her Coasts, unruly Waters roar,
And, rising on a Ridge, insult the Shoar.
Thus when the God, what ever God was he,        40
Had form’d the whole, and made the parts agree,
That no unequal portions might be found,
He moulded Earth into a spacious round:
Then with a Breath, he gave the Winds to blow;
And bad the congregated Waters flow.        45
He adds the running Springs, and standing Lakes;
And bounding Banks for winding Rivers makes.
Some part, in Earth are swallow’d up, the most
In ample Oceans, disimbogu’d, are lost.
He shades the Woods, the Vallies he restrains        50
With Rocky Mountains, and extends the Plains.
  And as five Zones th’ Æthereal Regions bind,
Five Correspondent, are to Earth assign’d:
The Sun, with Rays directly darting down,
Fires all beneath, and fries the middle Zone:        55
The two beneath the distant Poles complain
Of endless Winter, and perpetual Rain.
Betwixt th’ extreams, two happier Climates hold
The Temper that partakes of Hot and Cold.
The Fields of liquid Air, inclosing all,        60
Surround the Compass of this Earthly Ball:
The lighter parts lie next the Fires above;
The grosser near the watry Surface move:
Thick Clouds are spread, and Storms engender there,
And Thunders Voice, which wretched Mortals fear,        65
And Winds that on their Wings cold Winter bear.
Nor were those blustring Brethren left at large,
On Seas and Shoars their fury to discharge:
Bound as they are, and circumscrib’d in place,
They rend the World, resistless, where they pass;        70
And mighty Marks of Mischief leave behind;
Such is the Rage of their tempestuous kind.
First Eurus to the rising Morn is sent,
(The Regions of the balmy Continent;)
And Eastern Realms, where early Persians run,        75
To greet the blest appearance of the Sun.
Westward, the wanton Zephyr wings his Flight;
Pleas’d with the Remnants of departing light:
Fierce Boreas with his Off-spring issues forth,
T’ invade the frozen Waggon of the North.        80
While frowning Auster seeks the Southern Sphere,
And rots with endless Rain, th’ unwholesom year.
  High o’re the Clouds, and empty Realms of wind,
The God a clearer space for Heav’n design’d;
Where Fields of Light, and Liquid Æther flow,        85
Purg’d from the pondrous dregs of Earth below.
  Scarce had the Pow’r distinguish’d these, when streight
The Stars, no longer overlaid with weight,
Exert their Heads from underneath the Mass,
And upward shoot, and kindle as they pass        90
And with diffusive Light, adorn their Heav’nly place.
Then, every void of Nature to supply,
With Forms of Gods he fills the vacant Skie:
New Herds of Beasts he sends the Plains to share;
New Colonies of Birds, to people Air;        95
And to their Oozy Beds the finny Fish repair.
A Creature of a more Exalted Kind
Was wanting yet, and then was Man design’d:
Conscious of Thought, of more capacious Breast,
For Empire form’d, and fit to rule the rest:        100
Whether with particles of Heav’nly Fire
The God of Nature did his Soul Inspire;
Or Earth, but new divided from the Skie,
And, pliant, still, retain’d th’ Æthereal Energy:
Which Wise Prometheus temper’d into paste,        105
And mixt with living Streams, the Godlike Image cast.
Thus, while the mute Creation downward bend
Their Sight, and to their Earthy 2 Mother tend,
Man looks aloft; and with erected Eyes
Beholds his own Hereditary Skies.        110
From such rude Principles our Form began,
And Earth was Metamorphos’d into Man.
The Golden Age.
  The Golden Age was first; when Man yet New,
No Rule but uncorrupted Reason knew;
And, with a Native bent, did Good pursue.        115
Un-forc’d by Punishment, un-aw’d by fear,
His words were simple, and his Soul sincere:
Needless was written Law, where none opprest;
The Law of Man was written in his Breast:
No suppliant Crowds before the Judge appear’d:        120
No Court Erected yet, nor Cause was hear’d;
But all was safe, for Conscience was their Guard.
The Mountain Trees in distant prospect please,
E’re yet the Pine descended to the Seas;
E’re Sails were spread, new Oceans to explore;        125
And happy Mortals, unconcern’d for more,
Confin’d their Wishes to their native Shoar.
No Walls were yet; nor Fence, nor Moat nor Mownd; 3
Nor Drum was heard, nor Trumpets angry Sound:
Nor Swords were forg’d; but, void of Care and Crime,        130
The soft Creation slept away their time.
The teeming Earth, yet guiltless of the Plough,
And unprovok’d, did fruitful Stores allow:
Content with Food, which Nature freely bred,
On Wildings, and on Strawberries they fed;        135
Cornels and Bramble-berries gave the rest,
And falling Acorns furnisht out a Feast.
The Flow’rs un-sown, in Fields and Meadows reign’d,
And Western Winds immortal Spring maintain’d.
In following Years, the bearded Corn ensu’d        140
From Earth unask’d, nor was that Earth renew’d.
From Veins of Vallies, Milk and Nectar broke;
And Honey sweating through the pores of Oak.
The Silver Age.
  But when Good Saturne, banish’d from above,
Was driv’n to Hell, the World was under Jove.        145
Succeeding times a Silver Age behold,
Excelling Brass, but more excell’d by Gold.
Then Summer, Autumn, Winter did appear;
And Spring was but a Season of the Year.
The Sun his Annual course obliquely made,        150
Good days contracted, and enlarg’d the bad.
Then Air with sultry Heats began to glow,
The Wings of Winds were clogg’d with Ice and Snow;
And shivering Mortals, into Houses driven,
Sought shelter from th’ inclemency of Heav’n.        155
Those Houses, then, were Caves, or homely Sheds,
With twining Oziers fenc’d; and Moss their Beds.
Then Ploughs, for Seed, the fruitful Furrows broke,
And Oxen labour’d first beneath the Yoke.
The Brazen Age.
  To this next came in course the Brazen Age:
A Warlike Offspring prompt to Bloody Rage,
Not Impious yet ———
The Iron Age.
  ——— Hard Steel succeeded then;
And stubborn as the Mettal, were the Men.
Truth, Modesty, and Shame, the World forsook:        165
Fraud, Avarice, and Force, their places took.
Then Sails were spread, to every Wind that blew;
Raw were the Sailors, and the Depths were new:
Trees rudely hollow’d, did the Waves sustain;
E’re Ships in Triumph plough’d the watry Plain.        170
  Then Land-marks limited to each his right:
For all before was common, as the light.
Nor was the Ground alone requir’d to bear
Her annual Income to the crooked share;
But greedy Mortals, rummaging her Store,        175
Digg’d from her Entrails first the precious Oar;
Which next to Hell the prudent Gods had laid;
And that alluring ill to sight displaid.
Thus cursed Steel, and more accursed Gold,
Gave Mischief Birth, and made that Mischief bold: 4        180
And double death did wretched Man invade,
By Steel assaulted, and by Gold betray’d.
Now, (brandish’d Weapons glitt’ring in their Hands)
Mankind is broken loose from moral Bands;
No Rights of Hospitality remain:        185
The Guest by him who harbour’d him, is slain:
The Son in Law pursues the Father’s life;
The Wife her Husband murders, he the Wife.
The Step-dame Poyson for the Son prepares;
The Son inquires into his Father’s years.        190
Faith flies, and Piety in Exile mourns;
And Justice, here opprest, to Heav’n returns.
The Gyants War.
  Nor were the Gods themselves more safe above;
Against beleagur’d Heav’n, the Gyants move.
Hills piled on Hills, on Mountains, Mountains lie,        195
To make their mad approaches to the Skie.
Till Jove, no longer patient, took his time
T’ avenge with Thunder their audacious Crime:
Red Light’ning play’d along the Firmament,
And their demolish’t Works to pieces rent.        200
Sing’d with the Flames, and with the Bolts transfixt,
With Native Earth their Blood the Monsters mixt;
The Blood, indu’d with animating Heat,
Did in th’ impregnant 5 Earth, new Sons beget:
They, like the Seed from which they sprung, accurst,        205
Against the Gods Immortal Hatred nurst:
An Impious, Arrogant, and Cruel Brood;
Expressing their Original from Blood.
Which when the King of Gods beheld from high
(Withal revolving in his Memory,        210
What he himself had found on Earth of late,
Lycaon’s Guilt, and his Inhuman Treate)
He sigh’d; nor longer with his Pity strove;
But kindled to a Wrath becoming Jove;
Then, call’d a General Council of the Gods;        215
Who Summon’d, Issue from their Blest Abodes,
And fill th’ Assembly, with a shining Train.
A way there is, in Heavens expanded Plain,
Which when the Skies are clear, is seen below,
And Mortals, by the Name of Milky, know.        220
The Ground-work is of Stars; through which the Road
Lyes open to the Thunderer’s Abode.
The Gods of greater Nations dwell around,
And on the Right and Left the Palace bound;
The Commons where they can, the Nobler sort,        225
With Winding-doors wide open, front the Court.
This Place, as far as Earth with Heav’n may vie,
I dare to call the Loovre of the Skie.
When all were plac’d, in Seats distinctly known,
And he, their Father, had assum’d the Throne,        230
Upon his Iv’ry Sceptre first he leant,
Then shook his Head, that shook the Firmament:
Air, Earth, and Seas, obey’d th’Almighty nod;
And with a gen’ral fear, confess’d the God.
At length, with Indignation, thus he broke        235
His awful Silence, and the Pow’rs bespoke.
  I was not more concern’d in that Debate
Of Empire, when our Universal State
Was put to hazard, and the Giant Race
Our Captive Skies were ready to imbrace:        240
For tho’ the Foe was fierce, the Seeds of all
Rebellion, sprung from one Original;
Now wheresoever ambient waters glide,
All are corrupt, and all must be destroy’d.
Let me this Holy Protestation make,        245
By Hell, and Hell’s inviolable Lake,
I try’d whatever in the God-Head lay;
But gangreen’d Members must be lopt away,
Before the Nobler Parts are tainted to decay.
There dwells below, a race of Demi-Gods,        250
Of Nymphs in Waters, and of Fawns in Woods;
Who, tho not worthy yet, in Heav’n to live,
Let ’em, at least, enjoy that Earth we give.
Can these be thought securely lodg’d below,
When I my self, who no Superior know,        255
I, who have Heav’n and Earth at my command,
Have been attempted by Lycaon’s Hand?
  At this a Murmur thro’ the Synod went,
And with one Voice they vote his Punishment.
Thus, when Conspiring Traytors dar’d to doom        260
The fall of Cæsar, and in him of Rome,
The Nations trembled, with a pious Fear;
All anxious for their Earthly Thunderer:
Nor was their care, O Cæsar! less esteem’d
By thee, than that of Heav’n for Jove was deem’d;        265
Who with his Hand and Voice, did first restrain
Their Murmurs, then resum’d his Speech again.
The Gods to Silence were compos’d, and sate
With Reverence, due to his Superior State.
  Cancel your pious Cares; already he        270
Has paid his Debt to Justice, and to me.
Yet what his Crimes, and what my Judgments were,
Remains for me thus briefly to declare.
The Clamours of this vile degenerate Age,
The Cries of Orphans, and th’ Oppressor’s Rage,        275
Had reach’d the Stars; I will descend, said I,
In hope to prove this loud Complaint a Lye.
Disguis’d in Humane Shape, I Travell’d round
The World, and more than what I hear’d I found.
O’re Mænalus I took my steepy way,        280
By Caverns infamous for Beasts of Prey.
Then cross’d Cyllenè, and the piny shade,
More infamous by Curst Lycaon made:
Dark Night had cover’d Heaven and Earth, before
I enter’d his Unhospitable Door.        285
Just at my entrance, I display’d the Sign
That somewhat was approaching of Divine.
The prostrate People pray: the Tyrant grins,
And, adding Prophanation to his Sins,
I’ll try, said he, and if a God appear,        290
To prove his Deity, shall cost him dear.
’Twas late; the Graceless Wretch my Death prepares,
When I shou’d soundly Sleep, opprest with Cares:
This dire Experiment he chose, to prove
If I were Mortal, or undoubted Jove;        295
But first he had resolv’d to taste my Pow’r:
Not long before, but in a luckless hour
Some Legates sent from the Molossian State,
Were on a peaceful Errant 6 come to Treat:
Of these he Murders one, he boils the Flesh,        300
And lays the mangl’d Morsels in a Dish:
Some part he Roasts; then serves it up, so drest,
And bids me welcome to this Humane Feast.
Mov’d with Disdain, the Table I o’re-turn’d;
And with avenging Flames, the Palace burn’d.        305
The Tyrant in a fright, for shelter, gains
The Neighb’ring Fields, and scours along the Plains.
Howling he fled, and fain he would have spoke,
But Humane Voice his Brutal Tongue forsook.
About his lips, the gather’d Foam he churns,        310
And breathing slaughters, 7 still with Rage he burns,
But on the bleating Flock his Fury turns.
His Mantle, now his Hide, with rugged hairs
Cleaves to his back; a famish’d face he bears;
His arms descend, his shoulders sink away,        315
To multiply his legs for chace of Prey.
He grows a Wolf, his hoariness remains,
And the same rage in other Members reigns.
His eyes still sparkle in a narr’wer space,
His jaws retain the grin, and violence of his face.        320
  This was a single ruine, but not one
Deserves so just a punishment alone.
Mankind’s a Monster, and th’ Ungodly times,
Confed’rate into guilt, are sworn to Crimes.
All are alike involv’d in ill, and all        325
Must by the same relentless Fury fall.
  Thus ended he; the greater Gods assent,
By Clamours urging his severe intent;
The less fill up the cry for punishment.
Yet still with pity they remember Man;        330
And mourn as much as Heav’nly Spirits can.
They ask, when those were lost of humane Birth,
What he wou’d do with all this waste of Earth:
If his dispeopl’d World he would resign
To Beasts, a mute, and more ignoble Line;        335
Neglected Altars must no longer smoke,
If none were left to worship and invoke.
To whom the Father of the Gods reply’d:
Lay that unnecessary fear aside:
Mine be the care, new People to provide.        340
I will from wondrous Principles ordain
A Race unlike the first, and try my skill again.
  Already had he toss’d the flaming Brand,
And roll’d the Thunder in his spatious hand;
Preparing to discharge on Seas and Land:        345
But stopp’d, for fear thus violently driv’n,
The Sparks should catch his Axle-tree of Heav’n.
Remembring, in the Fates, a time when Fire
Shou’d to the Battlements of Heav’n aspire,
And all his blazing Worlds above shou’d burn,        350
And all th’ inferiour Globe to Cinders turn.
His dire Artill’ry thus dismist, he bent
His thoughts to some securer Punishment:
Concludes to pour a Watry Deluge down;
And what he durst not burn, resolves to drown.        355
  The Northern breath, that freezes Floods, he binds;
With all the race of Cloud-dispelling Winds
The South he loos’d, who Night and Horror brings;
And Foggs are shaken from his flaggy Wings.
From his divided Beard, two Streams he pours;        360
His head and rhumy eyes distil in showers.
With Rain his Robe and heavy Mantle flow:
And lazy mists are lowring on his brow.
Still as he swept along, with his clench’t fist,
He squeez’d the Clouds; th’ imprison’d Clouds resist:        365
The Skies, from Pole to Pole, with peals resound:
And show’rs inlarg’d come pouring on the ground.
Then, clad in Colours of a various dye,
Junonian Iris breeds a new supply
To feed the Clouds: Impetuous Rain descend;        370
The bearded Corn beneath the Burden bends;
Defrauded Clowns deplore their perish’d grain;
And the long labours of the Year are vain.
  Nor from his Patrimonial Heav’n alone
Is Jove content to pour his Vengeance down:        375
Aid from his Brother of the Seas he craves,
To help him with Auxiliary Waves.
The watry Tyrant calls his Brooks and Floods,
Who rowl from mossie Caves (their moist abodes;)
And with perpetual Urns his Palace fill:        380
To whom in brief, he thus imparts his Will.
  Small exhortation needs; your Pow’rs employ:
And this bad World, so Jove requires, destroy.
Let loose the Reins to all your watry Store:
Bear down the Damms, and open every door,        385
  The Floods, by Nature Enemies to Land,
And proudly swelling with their new Command,
Remove the living Stones, that stopt their way,
And gushing from their Source, augment the Sea.
Then, with his Mace, their Monarch struck the Ground:        390
With inward trembling, Earth receiv’d the Wound;
And rising streams a ready passage found.
Th’ expanded Waters gather on the Plain,
They flote the Fields, and over-top the Grain;
Then rushing onwards, with a sweepy sway,        395
Bear Flocks, and Folds, and lab’ring Hinds away.
Nor safe their Dwellings were; for, sap’d by Floods,
Their Houses fell upon their Household Gods.
The solid Piles, too strongly built to fall,
High o’re their Heads, behold a watry Wall:        400
Now Seas and Earth were in confusion lost;
A World of Waters, and without a Coast.
  One climbs a Cliff; one in his Boat is born,
And Ploughs above, where late he sow’d his Corn.
Others o’re Chimney tops and Turrets row,        405
And drop their Anchors on the Meads below:
Or downward driv’n, they bruise the tender Vine,
Or tost aloft, are knock’t against a Pine.
And where of late the Kids had cropt the Grass,
The Monsters of the deep now take their place        410
Insulting Nereids on the Cities ride,
And wondring Dolphins o’re the Palace glide.
On leaves and masts of mighty Oaks they brouze.
And their broad Finns entangle in the Boughs.
The frighted Wolf now swims amongst the Sheep;        415
The yellow Lyon wanders in the deep:
His rapid force no longer helps the Boar:
The Stag swims faster, than he ran before.
The Fowls, long beating on their Wings in vain,
Despair of Land, and drop into the Main.        420
Now Hills and Vales no more distinction know,
And levell’d Nature lies oppress’d below.
The most of Mortals perish in the Flood:
The small remainder dies for want of Food.
A Mountain of stupendous height there stands        425
Betwixt th’ Athenian and Bœotian Lands,
The bound of fruitful Fields, while Fields they were,
But then a Field of Waters did appear:
Parnassus is its name; whose forky rise
Mounts through the Clouds, and mates the lofty Skies.        430
High on the Summet of this dubious Cliff,
Deucalion wafting, moor’d his little Skiff.
He with his Wife were only left behind
Of perish’d Man; they two were Humane Kind.
The Mountain Nymphs and Themis they adore,        435
And from her Oracles relief implore.
The most upright of Mortal Men was he;
The most sincere and holy Woman, she.
  When Jupiter, surveying Earth from high,
Beheld it in a Lake of Water lie,        440
That, where so many Millions lately liv’d,
But two, the best of either Sex, surviv’d,
He loos’d the Northern Wind; fierce Boreas flies
To puff away the Clouds, and purge the Skies:
Serenely, while he blows, the Vapours, driven,        445
Discover Heav’n to Earth, and Earth to Heaven.
The Billows fall, while Neptune lays his Mace
On the rough Sea, 8 and smooths its furrow’d face,
Already Triton, at his call appears
Above the Waves; a Tyrian Robe he wears;        450
And in his Hand a crooked Trumpet bears.
The Soveraign bids him peaceful Sounds inspire,
And give the Waves the signal to retire.
His writhen Shell he takes; whose narrow vent
Grows by degrees into a large extent;        455
Then gives it breath; the blast, with doubling sound,
Runs the wide Circuit of the World around.
The Sun first heard it, in his early East,
And met the rattling Eccho’s in the West.
The Waters, listning to the Trumpets roar,        460
Obey the Summons, and forsake the Shoar.
  A thin Circumference of Land appears;
And Earth, but not at once, her visage rears,
And peeps upon the Seas from upper Grounds:
The Streams, but just contain’d within their bounds.        465
By slow degrees into their Channels crawl
And Earth increases as the Waters fall.
In longer time the tops of Trees appear,
Which Mud on their dishonour’d Branches bear.
  At length the World was all restor’d to view,        470
But desolate, and of a sickly hue:
Nature beheld her self, and stood aghast,
A dismal Desart, and a silent Waste.
Which when Deucalion, with a piteous Look,
Beheld, he wept, and thus to Pyrrha spoke:        475
Oh Wife, oh Sister, oh oh all thy kind
The best and only Creature left behind,
By Kindred, Love, and now by Dangers joyn’d;
Of Multitudes, who breath’d the common Air,
We two remain; a Species in a pair;        480
The rest the Seas have swallow’d; nor have we
Ev’n of this wretched life a certainty.
The Clouds are still above; and, while I speak,
A second Deluge o’re our Heads may break.
Shou’d I be snatch’d from hence, and thou remain,        485
Without relief, or Partner of thy pain,
How cou’d’st thou such a wretched Life sustain?
Shou’d I be left, and thou be lost, the Sea,
That bury’d her I lov’d, shou’d bury me.
Oh cou’d our Father his old Arts inspire,        490
And make me Heir of his informing Fire,
That so I might abolisht Man retrieve,
And perisht People in new Souls might live.
But Heav’n is pleas’d, nor ought we to complain,
That we, th’ Examples of Mankind remain.        495
He said: the careful couple joyn their Tears,
And then invoke the Gods, with pious Prayers.
Thus, in Devotion having eas’d their grief,
From Sacred Oracles they seek relief:
And to Cephysus Brook their way pursue:        500
The Stream was troubl’d, but the Foord they knew.
With living Waters in the Fountain bred,
They sprinkle first, their Garments, and their Head,
Then took the way which to the Temple led.
The Roofs were all defil’d with Moss and Mire,        505
The Desart Altars void of Solemn Fire.
Before the Gradual, prostrate they ador’d,
The Pavement kiss’d, and thus the Saint implor’d.
  O Righteous Themis, if the Pow’rs above
By Pray’rs are bent to pity, and to love;        510
If humane Miseries can move their mind;
If yet they can forgive, and yet be kind;
Tell how we may restore, by second birth,
Mankind, and People desolated Earth.
Then thus the gracious Goddess, nodding, said;        515
Depart, and with your Vestments veil your head:
And stooping lowly down, with loosn’d Zones,
Throw each behind your backs, your mighty Mother’s bones.
Amaz’d the pair; and mute with wonder, stand,
Till Pyrrha first refus’d the dire command.        520
Forbid it Heav’n, said she, that I shou’d tear
Those Holy Reliques from the Sepulchre:
They ponder’d the mysterious Words again,
For some new sence; and long they sought in vain.
At length Deucalion clear’d his cloudy brow,        525
And said; The dark Ænigma will allow
A meaning, which, if well I understand,
From Sacriledge will free the Gods Command:
This Earth our mighty Mother is, the Stones
In her capacious Body, are her Bones.        530
These we must cast behind: with hope and fear,
The Woman did the new solution hear:
The Man diffides in his own Augury,
And doubts the Gods; yet both resolve to try.
Descending from the Mount, they first unbind:        535
Their Vests, and veil’d, they cast the Stones behind:
The Stones (a Miracle to Mortal View,
But long Tradition makes it pass for true)
Did first the Rigour of their Kind expell,
And suppl’d into softness as they fell;        540
Then swell’d, and swelling, by degrees grew warm;
And took the Rudiments of Humane Form;
Imperfect shapes: in Marble such are seen,
When the rude Chizzel does the Man begin;
While yet the roughness of the Stone remains,        545
Without the rising Muscles, and the Veins.
The sappy parts, and next resembling juice,
Were turn’d to Moisture, for the Bodies use:
Supplying humours, blood, and nourishment:
The rest, (too solid to receive a bent;)        550
Converts to bones; and what was once a vein,
Its former Name and Nature did retain.
By help of Pow’r Divine, in little space,
What the Man threw, assum’d a Manly face;
And what the Wife, renew’d the Female Race.        555
Hence we derive our Nature, born to bear
Laborious life; and harden’d into care.
  The rest of Animals, from teeming Earth
Produc’d, in various Forms receiv’d their birth.
The native moisture, in its close retreat,        560
Digested by the Sun’s Æthereal heat,
As in a kindly Womb, began to breed:
Then swell’d and quicken’d by the vital seed.
And some in less, and some in longer space,
Were ripen’d into form, and took a several face.        565
Thus when the Nile from Pharian Fields is fled,
And seeks, with Ebbing Tides, his ancient Bed,
The fat Manure with Heav’nly Fire is warm’d;
And crusted Creatures, as in Wombs are form’d:
These, when they turn the Glebe, the Peasants find:        570
Some rude, and yet unfinish’d in their Kind:
Short of their Limbs, a lame imperfect Birth;
One half alive; and one of lifeless Earth.
  For heat and moisture, when in Bodies joyn’d,
The temper that results from either Kind,        575
Conception makes; and fighting, till they mix,
Their mingl’d Atoms in each other fix.
Thus Nature’s hand the Genial Bed prepares
With Friendly Discord, and with fruitful Wars.
  From hence the surface of the Ground with Mud        580
And Slime besmear’d (the fæces of the Flood),
Receiv’d the Rays of Heav’n; and sucking in
The Seeds of Heat, new Creatures did begin:
Some were of sev’ral sorts produc’d before;
But of new Monsters, Earth created more.        585
  Unwillingly, but yet she brought to light
Thee, Python too, the wondring World to fright,
And the new Nations, with so dire a Sight.
So monstrous was his Bulk, so large a space
Did his vast Body, and long Train embrace:        590
Whom Phœbus basking on a Bank espy’d,
E’re now the God his Arrows had not try’d
But on the trembling Deer, or Mountain Goat;
At this new Quarry he prepares to shoot.
Though every Shaft took place, he spent the Store        595
Of his full Quiver; and’ twas long before
Th’ expiring Serpent wallow’d in his Gore.
Then, to preserve the Fame of such a deed,
For Python slain, he Pythian Games decreed,
Where Noble Youths for Mastership shou’d strive,        600
To Quoit, to Run, and Steeds and Chariots drive.
The Prize was Fame: In witness of Renown,
An Oaken Garland did the Victor crown.
The Lawrel was not yet for Triumphs born,
But every Green, alike by Phæbus worn,        605
Did with promiscuous Grace, his flowing Locks adorn.
The Transformation of Daphne
into a Lawrel.
  The first and fairest of his Loves was she,
Whom not blind Fortune, but the dire decree
Of angry Cupid forc’d him to desire:
Daphne her name, and Peneus was her Sire,        610
Swell’d with the Pride, that new Success attends,
He sees the Stripling, while his Bow he bends,
And thus insults him: Thou 9 lascivious Boy,
Are Arms like these, for Children to employ?
Know, such atchivements are my proper claim:        615
Due to my vigour and unerring aim:
Resistless are my Shafts, and Python late,
In such a feather’d Death, has found his fate.
Take up thy Torch, (and lay my Weapons by;)
With that the feeble Souls of Lovers fry.        620
To whom the Son of Venus thus reply’d:
Phæbus, thy Shafts are sure on all beside;
But mine on Phœbus, mine the Fame shall be
Of all thy Conquests, when I conquer thee.
  He said, and soaring swiftly wing’d his flight;        625
Nor stopt but on Parnassus airy height.
Two diff’rent Shafts he from his Quiver draws;
One to repel Desire, and one to cause.
One Shaft is pointed with refulgent Gold,
To bribe the Love, and make the Lover bold:        630
One blunt, and tipt with Lead, whose base Allay
Provokes disdain, and drives desire away.
The blunted bolt against the Nymph he drest:
But with the sharp, transfixt Apollo’s Breast.
  Th’ enamour’d Deity pursues the Chace;        635
The scornful Damsel shuns his loath’d Embrace;
In hunting Beasts of Prey her Youth employs;
And Phœbe Rivals in her rural Joys.
With naked Neck she goes, and Shoulders bare,
And with a Fillet binds her flowing Hair.        640
By many Suitors sought, she mocks their pains,
And still her vow’d Virginity maintains.
Impatient of a Yoke, the name of Bride
She shuns, and hates the Joys she never try’d.
On Wilds and Woods she fixes her desire:        645
Nor knows what Youth and kindly Love inspire.
Her Father chides her oft: Thou 10 ow’st, says he,
A Husband to thy self, a Son to me.
She, like a Crime, abhors the Nuptial Bed:
She glows with blushes, and she hangs her head.        650
Then, casting round his Neck her tender Arms,
Sooths him with blandishments, and filial Charms:
Give me, my Lord, she said, to live and die
A spotless Maid, without the Marriage tye.
’Tis but a small request; I beg no more        655
Than what Diana’s Father gave before.
The good old Sire was softn’d to consent;
But said her Wish wou’d prove her Punishment:
For so much Youth, and so much Beauty joyn’d,
Oppos’d the State, which her desires design’d.        660
  The God of light, aspiring to her Bed,
Hopes what he seeks, with flattering Fancies fed:
And is, by his own Oracles mis-led.
And as in empty Fields, the Stubble burns,
Or nightly Travellers, when day returns,        665
Their useless Torches on dry Hedges throw,
That catch the Flames, and kindle all the row;
So burns the God, consuming in desire,
And feeding in his Breast a fruitless Fire:
Her well-turn’d Neck he view’d (her Neck was bare)        670
And on her Shoulders her dishevel’d Hair:
Oh were it comb’d, said he, with what a grace
Wou’d every waving Curl become her Face!
He view’d her eyes, like Heavenly Lamps that shone;
He view’d her Lips, too sweet to view alone,        675
Her taper Fingers, and her panting Breast;
He praises all he sees, and for the rest,
Believes the Beauties yet unseen are best:
Swift as the Wind, the Damsel fled away,
Nor did for these alluring Speeches stay:        680
Stay, Nymph, he cry’d, I follow not a Foe:
Thus from the Lyon trips the trembling Doe:
Thus from the Wolf the frightn’d Lamb removes,
And, from pursuing Faulcons, fearful Doves;
Thou shunn’st a God, and shunn’st a God that loves.        685
Ah lest some thorn shou’d pierce thy tender foot,
Or thou shou’d’st fall in flying my pursuit!
To sharp uneven ways thy steps decline;
Abate thy speed, and I will bate of mine.
Yet think from whom thou dost so rashly fly;        690
Nor basely born, nor Shepherd’s Swain am I.
Perhaps thou know’st not my Superior State;
And from that ignorance proceeds thy hate.
Me Claros, Delphos, Tenedos obey,
These Hands the Patareian Scepter sway.        695
The King of Gods begot me: What shall be,
Or is, or ever was, in Fate, I see.
Mine is th’ invention of the charming Lyre;
Sweet notes, and Heav’nly numbers I inspire.
Sure is my Bow, unerring is my Dart;        700
But ah more deadly his, who pierc’d my Heart.
Med’cine is mine, what Herbs and Simples grow
In Fields and Forrests, all their Pow’rs I know;
And am the great Physician call’d, below.
Alas that Fields and Forrests can afford        705
No Remedies to heal their Love-sick Lord!
To cure the pains of Love, no Plant avails;
And his own Physick the Physician fails.
  She heard not half; so furiously she flies,
And on her Ear th’ imperfect accent dies.        710
Fear gave her Wings; and as she fled, the wind
Increasing spread her flowing Hair behind;
And left her Legs and Thighs expos’d to view;
Which made the God more eager to pursue.
The God was young, and was too hotly bent        715
To lose his time in empty Compliment:
But led by Love, and fir’d with 11 such a sight,
Impetuously pursu’d his near delight.
  As when th’ impatient Greyhound slipt from far,
Bounds o’re the Glebe, to course the fearful Hare,        720
She in her speed does all her safety lay;
And he with double speed pursues the Prey;
O’re-runs her at the sitting turn, and licks
His Chaps in vain, and blows upon the Flix,
She scapes, and for the neighb’ring Covert strives,        725
And gaining shelter, doubts if yet she lives:
If little things with great we may compare,
Such was the God, and such the flying Fair:
She urg’d by fear, her feet did swiftly move,
But he more swiftly, who was urg’d by Love.        730
He gathers ground upon her in the chace:
Now breaths upon her Hair, with nearer pace;
And just is fast’ning on the wish’d Embrace.
The Nymph grew pale, and in a mortal fright,
Spent with the Labour of so long a Flight;        735
And now despairing, cast a mournful look,
Upon the Streams of her Paternal Brook:
Oh help, she cry’d, in this extreamest need,
If Water Gods are Deities indeed:
Gape, Earth and this unhappy Wretch intomb:        740
Or change my form whence all my sorrows come.
Scarce had she finish’d, when her Feet she found
Benumm’d with cold, and fasten’d to the Ground:
A filmy rind about her Body grows,
Her Hair to Leaves, her Arms extend to Boughs:        745
The Nymph is all into a Lawrel gone,
The smoothness of her Skin remains alone.
Yet Phœbus loves her still, and, casting round
Her Bole, his Arms, some little warmth he found.
The Tree still panted in the unfinish’d part,        750
Not wholly vegetive, and heav’d her Heart.
He fix’d his Lips upon the trembling Rind;
It swerv’d aside, and his Embrace declin’d.
To whom the God: Because thou canst not be
My Mistress, I espouse thee for my Tree:        755
Be thou the prize of Honour and Renown;
The deathless Poet, and the Poem crown.
Thou shalt the Roman Festivals adorn,
And, after Poets, be by Victors worn.
Thou shalt returning Cæsar’s Triumph grace;        760
When Pomps shall in a long Procession pass:
Wreath’d on the Posts 12 before his Palace wait;
And be the sacred Guardian of the Gate:
Secure from Thunder, and unharm’d by Jove,
Unfading as th’ immortal Pow’rs above:        765
And as the Locks of Phœbus are unshorn,
So shall perpetual green thy Boughs adorn.
The grateful Tree was pleas’d with what he sed,
And shook the shady Honours of her Head.
The Transformation of Io into
a Heyfar.
  An ancient Forrest in Thessalia grows;
Which Tempe’s pleasing 13 Valley does inclose:
Through this the rapid Peneus takes his course;
From Pindus rowling with impetuous force:
Mists from the Rivers mighty fall arise;
And deadly damps inclose the cloudy Skies:        775
Perpetual Fogs are hanging o’re the Wood;
And sounds of Waters deaf the Neighbourhood.
Deep, in a Rocky Cave, he makes abode:
(A Mansion proper for a mourning God.)
Here he gives Audience; issuing out Decrees        780
To Rivers, his dependant Deities.
On this occasion hither they resort,
To pay their homage, and to make their Court.
All doubtful, whether to congratulate
His Daughter’s Honour, or lament her Fate.        785
Sperchæus, crown’d with Poplar, first appears;
Then old Apidanus came crown’d with years:
Enipeus turbulent, Amphrisos tame;
And Æas, last with lagging Waters, came.
Then, of his Kindred Brooks a numerous throng        790
Condole his Loss, and bring their Urns along.
Not one was wanting of the watry Train,
That fill’d his Flood, or mingl’d with the Main:
But Inachus, who, in his Cave, alone,
Wept not another’s losses, but his own.        795
For his dear Io, whether stray’d, or dead,
To him uncertain, doubtful Tears he shed.
He sought her through the World, but sought in vain;
And, no where finding, rather fear’d her slain.
  Her, just returning from her Father’s Brook,        800
Jove had beheld, with a desiring look;
And, Oh fair Daughter of the Flood, he sed,
Worthy alone of Jove’s Imperial Bed,
Happy, whoever shall those Charms possess;
The King of Gods, nor is thy Lover less,        805
Invites thee to yon cooler Shades; to shun
The scorching Rays of the Meridian Sun.
Nor shalt thou tempt the dangers of the Grove
Alone, without a Guide; thy Guide is Jove.
No puny Pow’r, but he whose high Command        810
Is unconfin’d, who rules the Sea and Land;
And tempers Thunder in his awful hand.
Oh fly not; (for she fled from his Embrace,) 14
O’er Lerna’s Pastures he pursu’d the Chace,
Along the Shades of the Lyrnæan 15 Plain;        815
At length the God, who never asks in vain,
Involv’d with Vapours, imitating Night,
Both Air and Earth; and then suppress’d her flight,
And mingling force with Love, enjoy’d the full delight.
Mean time the Jealous Juno, from on high.        820
Survey’d the fruitful Fields of Arcady;
And wonder’d that the mist shou’d over-run
The face of Day-light, and obscure the Sun.
No Nat’ral cause she found, from Brooks, or Bogs,
Or marshy Lowlands, to produce the Fogs:        825
Then round the Skies she sought for Jupiter;
Her faithless Husband; but no Jove was there.
Suspecting now the worst, Or 16 I, she said,
Am much mistaken, or am much betray’d.
With fury she precipitates her flight,        830
Dispels the shadows of dissembled Night,
And to the day restores his native light.
Th’ Almighty Leacher, careful to prevent
The consequence, foreseeing her descent
Transforms his Mistress in a trice; and now        835
In Io’s place appears a lovely Cow.
So slick her skin, so faultless was her make,
Ev’n Juno did unwilling pleasure take
To see so fair a Rival of her Love;
And what she was, and whence, enquir’d of Jove:        840
Of what fair Herd, and from what Pedigree?
The God, half caught, was forc’d upon a lye;
And said she sprung from Earth; she took the word,
And begg’d the beauteous Heyfar of her Lord.
What should he do? ’twas equal shame to Jove        845
Or to relinquish, or betray his Love:
Yet to refuse so slight a Gift, wou’d be
But more t’ increase his Consort’s Jealousie:
Thus fear, and love, by turns his heart assail’d;
And stronger love had sure at length prevail’d,        850
But some faint hope remain’d, his jealous Queen
Had not the Mistress through the Heyfar seen.
The cautions Goddess, of her Gift possest,
Yet harbour’d anxious thoughts within her breast;
As she who knew the falshood of her Jove,        855
And justly fear’d some new relapse of Love
Which to prevent, and to secure her care,
To trusty Argus she commits the Fair.
  The head of Argus (as with Stars the Skies)
Was compass’d round, and wore an hundred eyes.        860
But two by turns their Lids in Slumber steep;
The rest on duty still their station keep;
Nor cou’d the total Constellation sleep.
Thus, ever present, to his eyes and mind,
His Charge was still before him, th’ behind.        865
In Fields he suffer’d her to feed by Day,
But when the setting Sun to Night gave way,
The Captive Cow he summon’d with a call,
And drove her back, and ty’d her to the Stall.
On Leaves of Trees and bitter Herbs she fed,        870
Heav’n was her Canopy, bare Earth her Bed;
So hardly lodg’d: and to digest her Food,
She drank from troubl’d Streams, defil’d with Mud.
Her woeful Story fain she wou’d have told,
With Hands upheld, but had no Hands to hold.        875
Her Head to her ungentle Keeper bow’d,
She strove to speak; she spoke not, but she low’d:
Affrighted with the Noise, she look’d around,
And seem’d t’ inquire the Author of the sound.
  Once on the Banks where often she had play’d,        880
(Her Father’s Banks) she came, and there survey’d
Her alter’d Visage, and her branching head;
And, starting, from her self she wou’d have fled.
Her fellow Nymphs, familiar to her eyes,
Beheld, but knew her not in this disguise.        885
Ev’n Inachus himself was ignorant;
And in his Daughter did his Daughter want.
She follow’d where her Fellows went, as she
Were still a Partner of the Company:
They stroke her Neck; the gentle Heyfar stands,        890
And her Neck offers to their stroking Hands.
Her Father gave her Grass; the Grass she took;
And lick’d his Palms, and cast a piteous look;
And in the language of her eyes, she spoke.
She wou’d have told her name, and ask’t relief,        895
But wanting words, in tears she tells her grief.
Which, with her foot she makes him understand;
And prints the name of Io in the Sand.
  Ah wretched me! her mournful Father cry’d;
She, with a sigh, to wretched me reply’d:        900
About her Milk-white neck his arms he threw;
And wept, and then these tender words ensue.
And art thou she, whom I have sought around
The World, and have at length so sadly found?
So found is worse than lost: with mutual words        905
Thou answer’st not, no voice thy tongue affords:
But sighs are deeply drawn from out thy breast;
And speech deny’d, by lowing is express’d.
Unknowing I, prepar’d thy Bridal Bed;
With empty Hopes of happy Issue fed.        910
But now the Husband of a Herd must be
Thy Mate, and bell’wing Sons thy Progeny.
Oh, were I mortal, Death might bring relief!
But now my God-head but extends my grief;
Prolongs my Woes, of which no end I see,        915
And makes me curse my Immortality.
More had he said, but fearful of her stay,
The Starry Guardian drove his Charge away,
To some fresh Pasture; on a hilly height
He sate himself, and kept her still in sight.        920
The Eyes of Argus transform’d into
a Peacock’s Train.
  Now Jove no longer cou’d her suff’rings bear:
But call’d in haste his airy Messenger,
The son of Maya, with severe decree
To kill the Keeper, and to set her free.
With all his Harness soon the God was sped;        925
His flying Hat was fastned on his Head;
Wings on his Heels were hung, and in his Hand
He holds the Virtue of the Snaky Wand.
The liquid Air his moving Pinions wound,
And, in the moment, shoot him on the ground.        930
Before he came in sight, the crafty God
His Wings dismiss’d, but still retain’d his Rod:
That Sleep-procuring Wand wise Hermes took,
But made it seem to sight, a Shepherd’s Hook.
With this he did a Herd of Goats controul;        935
Which by the way he met, and slily stole.
Clad like a Country Swain, he Pip’d, and Sung;
And playing drove his jolly Troop along.
  With pleasure, Argus the Musician heeds;
But wonders much at those new vocal Reeds.        940
And, Whosoe’re thou art, my Friend, said he,
Up hither drive thy Goats, and play by me:
This Hill has browz for them, and shade for thee.
The God, who was with ease induc’d to climb,
Began Discourse to pass away the time;        945
And still, betwixt, his Tuneful Pipe he plyes;
And watch’d his Hour, to close the Keeper’s Eyes.
With much ado, he partly kept awake;
Not suff’ring all his Eyes repose to take:
And ask’d the Stranger, who did Reeds invent,        950
And whence began so rare an Instrument?
The Transformation of Syrinx
into Reeds.
  Then Hermes thus; A 17 Nymph of late there was,
Whose Heav’nly form her Fellows did surpass.
The Pride and Joy of Fair Arcadia’s plains;
Belov’d by Deities, Ador’d by Swains:        955
Syrinx her Name, by Sylvans oft pursu’d,
As oft she did the Lustful Gods delude:
The Rural, and the Woodland Pow’rs disdain’d;
With Cynthia Hunted, and her Rites maintain’d;
Like Phœbe clad, even Phœbe’s self she seems,        960
So Tall, so Streight, such well-proportion’d Limbs:
The nicest Eye did no distinction know,
But that the Goddess bore a Golden Bow:
Distinguish’d thus, the sight she cheated too.
Descending from Lycæus, Pan admires        965
The Matchless Nymph, and burns with new Desires.
A Crown of Pine upon his Head he wore;
And thus began her pity to implore.
But e’re he thus began, she took her flight
So swift, she was already out of sight.        970
Nor staid to hear the Courtship of the God;
But bent her course to Ladon’s gentle Flood:
There by the River stopt, and, tyr’d before,
Relief from water Nymphs her Pray’rs implore.
  Now while the Lustful God, with speedy pace,        975
Just thought to strain her in a strict Embrace,
He fills his Arms with Reeds, new rising on the place.
And while he sighs his ill-success to find,
The tender Canes were shaken by the wind;
And breath’d a mournful Air, unhear’d before;        980
That much surprizing Pan, yet pleas’d him more.
Admiring this new Musick, Thou, 18 he sed,
Who can’st not be the Partner of my Bed,
At least shalt be the Consort of my Mind;
And often, often, to my Lips be joyn’d.        985
He form’d the Reeds, proportion’d as they are:
Unequal in their length, and wax’d with Care,
They still retain the Name of his Ungrateful Fair.
  While Hermes pip’d, and sung, and told his tale,
The Keeper’s winking Eyes began to fail,        990
And drowsie slumber on the lids to creep;
Till all the Watchman was, at length, asleep.
Then soon the God his Voice and Song supprest;
And with his pow’rful Rod confirm’d his rest:
Without delay his crooked Faulchion drew,        995
And at one fatal stroak the Keeper slew.
Down from the Rock, fell the dissever’d head,
Opening its Eyes in Death, and falling bled;
And mark’d the passage with a crimson trail:
Thus Argus lies in pieces, cold and pale;        1000
And all his hundred Eyes, with all their light,
Are clos’d at once in one perpetual night.
These Juno takes, that they no more may fail,
And spreads them in her Peacock’s gaudy tail.
  Impatient to revenge her injur’d Bed,        1005
She wreaks her Anger on her Rival’s head;
With furies frights her from her Native Home,
And drives her gadding, round the World to roam:
Nor ceas’d her madness and her flight, before
She touch’d the limits of the Pharian Shore.        1010
At length, arriving on the Banks of Nile,
Weary’d with length of ways, and worn with toil,
She laid her down: and, leaning on her Knees,
Invok’d the Cause of all her Miseries:
And cast her languishing regards above,        1015
For help from Heav’n, and her ungrateful Jove.
She sigh’d, she wept, she low’d; ’twas all she cou’d;
And with Unkindness seem’d to tax the God.
Last, with an humble Pray’r, she begg’d Repose,
Or Death at least to finish all her Woes.        1020
Jove heard her Vows, and with a flatt’ring look,
In her behalf, to jealous Juno spoke.
He cast his Arms about her Neck, and sed:
Dame, rest secure; no more thy Nuptial Bed
This Nymph shall violate; by Styx I swear,        1025
And every Oath that binds the Thunderer.
The Goddess was appeas’d: and at the word
Was Io to her former shape restor’d.
The rugged Hair began to fall away;
The Sweetness of her Eyes did only stay,        1030
Tho’ not so large; her crooked Horns decrease;
The wideness of her Jaws and Nostrils cease:
Her Hoofs to Hands return, in little space:
The five long taper Fingers take their place;
And nothing of the Heyfar now is seen,        1035
Beside the native whiteness of the 19 Skin.
Erected on her Feet she walks again,
And Two the duty of the Four sustain.
She tries her Tongue, her silence softly breaks,
And fears her former lowings when she speaks:        1040
A Goddess now through all th’ Egyptian State;
And serv’d by Priests, who in white Linnen wait.
  Her son was Epaphus, at length believ’d
The Son of Jove, and as a God receiv’d:
With Sacrifice ador’d, and publick Pray’rs,        1045
He common Temples with his Mother shares.
Equal in years, and Rival in Renown
With Epaphus, the youthful Phaeton,
Like Honour claims, and boasts his Sire the Sun.
His haughty Looks, and his assuming Air        1050
The Son of Isis cou’d no longer bear:
Thou tak’st thy Mother’s Word too far, said he,
And hast usurp’d thy boasted Pedigree.
Go base Pretender to a borrow’d Name.
Thus tax’d, he blush’d with anger, and with shame;        1055
But shame repress’d his Rage: the daunted Youth
Soon seeks his Mother, and inquires the truth:
Mother, said he, this Infamy was thrown
By Epaphus on you, and me your Son.
He spoke in publick, told it to my face;        1060
Nor durst I vindicate the dire disgrace:
Ev’n I, the bold, the sensible of wrong,
Restrain’d by Shame, was forc’d to hold my Tongue.
To hear an open Slander is a Curse:
But not to find an Answer, is a worse.        1065
If I am Heav’n-begot, assert your Son
By some sure Sign; and make my Father known,
To right my Honour, and redeem your own.
He said, and saying cast his arms about
Her Neck, and begg’d her to resolve the Doubt.        1070
  ’Tis hard to judge if Climenè were mov’d
More by his Pray’r, whom she so dearly lov’d,
Or more with fury fir’d, to find her Name
Traduc’d, and made the sport of common Fame.
She stretch’d her Arms to Heav’n, and fix’d her Eyes        1075
On that fair Planet, that adorns the Skies;
Now by those Beams, said she, whose holy Fires
Consume my Breast, and kindle my desires;
By him who sees us both, and chears our sight,
By him the publick Minister of light,        1080
I swear that Sun begot thee: if I lye,
Let him his chearful Influence deny:
Let him no more this perjur’d Creature see;
And shine on all the World, but only me:
If still you doubt your Mother’s Innocence,        1085
His Eastern Mansion is not far from hence;
With little pains you to his Levè go,
And from himself your Parentage may know.
With joy th’ ambitious Youth his Mother heard,
And eager, for the Journey soon prepar’d.        1090
He longs the World beneath him to survey;
To guide the Chariot; and to give the day:
From Meroë’s burning Sands he bends his course,
Nor less in India feels his Father’s force;
His Travel urging, till he came in sight,        1095
And saw the Palace by the Purple light.
Note 1. Text from the original of 1693. [back]
Note 2. Earthy] Most editors wrongly give Earthly. [back]
Note 3. No capitals in original. [back]
Note 4. No capitals in original. [back]
Note 5. impregnant] The editors wrongly give impregnate. [back]
Note 6. Errant] The editors print Errand. [back]
Note 7. slaughters] slaughter edd. [back]
Note 8. Sea] Seas 1693. [back]
Note 9. Thou] thou 1693. [back]
Note 10. Thou] thou 1693. [back]
Note 11. with] Some editors wrongly give by. [back]
Note 12. Posts] By an unscholarly error some editors give Post. [back]
Note 13. pleasing] The editors give pleasant. [back]
Note 14. 813–15 The editors go astray here. It is clear from Ovid that the edition of 1693 is right except for a printer’s comma after Pastures and a semicolon for a comma after Chace. The editors have been misled into a series of false stops and wrong connexions which destroy the sense of the passage. [back]
Note 15. Lyrnæan] The editors correct to Lyrcæan. [back]
Note 16. Or] or 1693. [back]
Note 17. A] a 1693. [back]
Note 18. Thou] thou 1693. [back]
Note 19. the] Most editors, with characteristic disregard for euphony, wrongly give her. [back]

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