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His mother sternly view'd him where he stood,
And kindled into madness as she view'd:
Her leafy jav'lin at her son she cast,
And cries, "the boar that lays our country waste!
"The boar, my sisters! aim the fatal dart,
"And strike the brindled monster to the heart."
Pentheus astonish'd heard the dismal sound, And sees the yelling matrons gathering round; He sees, and weeps at his approaching fate, And begs for mercy, and repents too late. "Help, help! my aunt Autoniie," he cried; "Remember how your own Action died," Deaf to his cries, the frantic matron crops One stretch'd-out arm, the other Ino lops. In vain does Pentheus to his mother sue, And the raw bleeding stumps presents to view: His mother howl'd; and heedless of his pray'r, Her trembling hand she twisted in his hair, "And this," she cried, " shall be Agave's share." When from the neck his struggling head she tore, And in her hands the ghastly visage bore, With pleasure all the hideous trunk survey; Then pull'd and tore the mangled limbs away, As starting in the pangs of death it lay. Soon as the wood its leafy honours casts, Blown off and scatter'd by autumnal blasts, With such a sudden death lay Pentheus slain, And in a thousand pieces strow'd the plain.
By so distinguishing a judgment aw'd, The Thebans tremble, and confess the god.
THE STORY OF SALMACIS, AND HERMA-
HOW Salmacis, with weak enfeebling streams
The Naiads nurs'd an infant heretofore,
* Mr. Addison was very young when he made these translations.—Still, one a little wonders how his virgin muse, "nescia quid sit amor" (as Ovid says of Hermaphrodites), could be drawn in to attempt this subject:—but the charms of the poetry prevailed. He very properly omits, or softens, the most obnoxious passages of his original; and, after all, seems half ashamed of what he had done, as we may conclude from his writing no notes on this story, which, being told in Ovid's best manner, must have suggested to him many fine ones.
VOL. I. P
When fifteen years, in Ida's cool retreat,
The boy had told, he left his native seat,
And sought fresh fountains in a foreign soil:
The pleasure lessen'd the attending toil.
With eager steps the Lycian fields he crost,
And fields that border on the Lycian coast;
A river here he view'd so lovely bright,
It show'd the bottom in a fairer light,
Nor kept a sand conceal'd from human sight.
The stream produc'd nor slimy ooze, nor weeds,
Nor miry rushes, nor the spiky reeds;
But dealt enriching moisture all around,
The fruitful banks with cheerful verdure crown'd,
And kept the spring eternal on the ground.
A nymph presides, nor practis'd in the chace,
Nor skilful at the bow, nor at the race;
Of all the blue-ey'd daughters of the main,
The only stranger to Diana's train:
Her sisters often, as 'tis said, would cry,
"Fie, Salmacis, what always idle! fie,
"Or take thy quiver, or thy arrows seize,
"And mix the toils of hunting with thy ease."
Nor quiver she nor arrows e'er would seize,
Nor mix the toils of hunting with her ease.
But oft would bathe her in the crystal tide,
Oft with a comb her dewy locks divide;
Now in the limpid streams she view'd her face,
And dress'd her image in the floating glass:
On beds of leaves she now repos'd her limbs,
Now gather'd flowers that grew about her streams
And then by chance was gathering, as she stood
To view the boy, and long'd for what she view'd.
Fain would she meet the youth with hasty feet, She fain would meet him, but refus'd to meet Before her looks were set with nicest care, And well deserv'd to be reputed fair. "Bright youth," she cries, " whom all thy features prove "A god, and, if a god, the god of love; "But if a mortal, blest thy nurse's breast, "Blest are thy parents, and thy sisters blest: "But, oh! how blest! how more than blest thy bride, * Allied in bliss, if any yet allied. "If so, let mine the stol'n enjoyments be: "If not, behold a willing bride in me."
The boy knew nought of love, and touch'd with shame, He strove, and blush'd, but still the blush became; In rising blushes still fresh beauties rose; The sunny side of fruit such blushes shows, And such the moon, when all her silver white Turns in eclipses to-a ruddy light. The nymph still begs, if not a nobler bliss, A cold salute at least, a sister's kiss: And now prepares to take the lovely boy Between her arms. He, innocently coy, Replies, "or leave me to myself alone, "You rude uncivil nymph, or I'll be gone." "Fair stranger then," says she, "it shall be so;" And, for she fear'd his threats, she feign'd to go; But hid within a covert's neighbouring green, She kept him still in sight, herself unseen. The boy now fancies all the danger o'er, And innocently sports about the shore, Playful and wanton to the stream he trips, And dips his foot, and shivers as he dips.
The coolness pleas'd him, and with eager haste
Now all undress'd upon the banks he stood,
The restless boy still obstinately strove