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The foes fubdued, our troops are marching homeward, The war extinguish'd and the enemy flain,

That wrought fuch bitter troubles to our Thebans. 45
Their town was storm'd and taken by the strength.
And valour of our men, but chief of all

By the command and conduct of Amphitryon,
My master, who has fince diftributed

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The booty, lands, and corn among the foldiery,
And firmly fix'd king Creon on his throne.
He has fent me home before him to acquaint
His lady with the news,-with what command
And conduct he difcharg'd his public trust.
Now let me ftudy how to frame my story.-
What if I tell her lies ?-I act in character:
For when the armies fought with all their might,
With all my might I ran away. However,
I'll make pretence that I was in the action,
And speak from hearsay.--Well-but in what terms, 60

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Ver. 60.] Sofia here enters upon the narrative he intended to make, when he came before Alcmena; and proceeds to give a particular and minute detail of every tranfaction. The folemnity of his introduction, Soon as we were arrived, &c. and several parts of his defcription, which feem affectedly grand, appear indeed to carry an air of ridicule with them; though I must confefs, that for purity and concifenefs of expreffion, exquifite painting, and even elevated diction without bombaft or burlesque, this narrative might not perhaps have appeared outrèe or misbecoming even in a Livy or a Lucan. For this reason, I suppose, Moliere has but flightly touched upon it, and Dryden has entirely paffed it over. The Frenchman has, however, (and Dryden after him) fubftituted a circumftance, which adds life to the representațion; that is, in making Sofia fet down his lanthorn, and, addreffing it as Alcmena, carry on a imaginary converfation between them.

What

What method it were beft to tell my story,
First let me here confider with myself.—

(After paufing) I'll begin thus." Soon as we were arriv'd,

And touch'd the earth at landing, ftrait Amphitryon Picks out the chiefs among the chieftains,fends them 65 Upon an embaffy, commanding them

To tell the Teleboans this his mind.

"If without force or war they'd willingly "Deliver up the plunderers and their plunder, "If they'd restore what they had carried off, "His army forthwith he would homeward lead; "The Greeks fhould quit their country, left to them

"In

peace and quiet but if other-minded,

They flighted his demands, he'd then attack

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"Their town with all his force."-When his ambaffadors

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Had told this to the Telelcans, they Stout-hearted, proud of their own ftrength, relying On their own prowess, roughly chid our delegates. Their answer was, "they could defend themselves "And theirs by war, and counsell'd us to lead "Our army back with speed from off their borders." This anfwer brought by our ambaffadors,

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Amphitryon draws his troops from their encampments,

V. 64. And touch'd the earth at landing.] Terram tetigimus. It may be proper to observe, on account of the equivoque, in my translation, that it was a ceremony among the ancients, to touch the earth, of which fee more in a Note on a paffage in the Moftellaria of our Author, Act II. Scene II.

I cannot help taking notice, that there is a fine apostrophe to the Earth in Shakespeare's Richard II. on his landing in England.

The Teleboans theirs from out the town,

;

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Clad in bright arms and when on either hand
The armies had march'd up with all their force,
The ranks were form'd; we drew up in array
Our men according to our rule and practice;
The enemy on their part did the fame.
Both generals then advanc'd before the ranks
In the mid fpace, and there conferr'd together;
It was agreed, which ever should be vanquish'd
In the engagement, fhould furrender up
Their city, lands, gods, houses, and themselves.
This done, the trumpets clang on either side:
Earth echoes; fhouts arife; the generals make
Their pray'r to Jove, and here and ev'ry where
Their troops encourage each man lays about him
Toth' utmost of his ftrength; the faulchions fmite;
The lances fhiver; and the welkin bellows
With th' uproar of the foldiers: from their breaths
And pantings rifes a thick cloud: they fall
Opprefs'd with wounds and violence. At length,
According to our wifh, our troops prevail :
Faft fall the foe: we prefs upon them : thus,
Fierce in our strength, we conquer'd. Not a man
Yet fled, or started from his post, but each

:

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Fought and maintain'd his ground: they'd fooner lofe
Their lives than quit their station: each that falls,
Falls where he ftood, and keeps his rank in death. 115
Amphitryon, fecing this, orders the horfe

To charge upon the right: they quick obeying,
With outcries and brisk onset rush upon them,
And tear and trample on the impious foe.

MERC.

MERC. He has not utter'd yet a single word, 120 That is not true; for I myself was prefent, So was my father, when they fought this battle. Soc. The foe betook themselves to flight, which added

New spirit to our men: the Teleboans

Had, as thay fled, their bodies fill'd with darts,
Amphitryon's felf with his own hand cut off
King Pterelas's head, The fight continued
From morn to evening: I the more remember it,
Because I went that day without a dinner.
Night interpos'd at length, and broke it off.

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Next day the magiftrates, all drown'd in tears,
Came to us from the city to our camp;
With cover'd hands intreat us to forgive
Their trespass, and furrender up themselves,
Their city, children, with all things divine
And human, to the Thebans, all to be
In their poffeffion and at their disposal.
Laftly,, my lord Amphitryon was prefented

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V. 126.] How fhall we reconcile this, and feveral preceding paffages, to any thing that bears the leaft resemblance of humour or ridicule? The account of the Teleboans having their bodies ftuck full of darts in their flight, is natural and picturesque. Fletcher, in his Two Noble Kinfmen, has the very fame thought improved.

No more now muft we halloo, no more shake
Our pointed javelins, while the angry boar
Flies, like a Parthian quiver, from our rages,
Stuck with our well-fteel'd darts.

V. 133. With cover'd hands.] Velatis manibus. Agreeably to the ceremony used on these occafions.

With the gold cup King Pterelas us'd to drink from,

In token of his valour ?"-Thus I'll tell

My story to my lady. I'll proceed now T'obey my master's orders, for which purpose -I'll take me home.

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MERC. Ah, ha he's coming hither: I'll meet him then. I must not let him enter Within the doors to day but fince I bear His femblance, I'm refolv'd to play him off. As I've affum'd his form and garb, 'twere fit I fhould resemble too his deeds and manners : I must be fly,-a cunning knave,—and fight him With his own weapons, drive him from the door 150 By villainous craft.-But, how now, what's the matter? He's ftaring at the fky.-I'll watch his motions.

Sos. As I have faith in any thing, as fure

As I know any thing, I think and know,

That Night this night went drunk to bed: for fee! 155
The seven stars are motionless, the moon

Has ftir'd not, fince fhe rofe; nor is Orion,
The evening-ftar, or Pleiades yet fet :

The figns stand stock ftill; and the night don't budge
A jot for day.

MERC. Good Night, as you've begun, 160

V. 143] Here concludes Sofia's long, and (as it should feem) mal-à-propos, narration. With the fears about him, which he expreffes at the beginning of the Scene, one might naturally imagine he would be in a hurry to get home, and not have loitered in the street to make a rehearsal of his fet fpeech. But the critics have admired the addrefs of our author, in thus contriving to inform the audience of particulars, which otherwife they would not have known with fo much propriety.

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