Brotherly rage and th' altern reign
Fought out with hatefulness profane
And guilty Thebes thus to unwind
Pierian fire befalls the mind.
Whence bid ye go, O Goddesses?
Sing I the rise of this dread race,
Sidonian rapes, harsh Agenor's hest
Or Cadmus searching seas on quest?
Long back the line: the farmer's yields
Of hidden Mars in faithless fields,
From point to point unfoldingly
To follow out and inwardly,
The song that Tyrian mountains made
To citywalls as Amphion bade,
The malice Bacchus homewards meant,
Harsh Juno's work, for whom was bent
The bow of Athamas' , or why
The mother never feared to die
But leapt with Palaemon would be
To great Ionian waves of sea.
Yet here and now the weal and woe
Of Cadmus I will fain forgo,
Oedipus' troubled house shall be
To this my song the boundary.
Italian signs not yet I aim
Nor of the North's triumphant fame,
How Rhine in yoke was twice begot,
Twice Istor to the laws was brought,
The Dacians thrown from the height
Of conjuration down unlight,
Jove saved from wars in growing youth,
And thou, a treat to Latian truth,
That drawst the doings of thy sire,
That e'er to have is Rome's desire.
Though every star above be found
More narrowly confined and bound,
The shining portion of the heaven
Apart from Boreas and the Seven
And open lightning edges thee,
Or Phoebus himself heavenly
The firefoot horses' reiner fair
His radiant arc press on thine hair,
Or Jupiter an equal share
Of the great pole for thee prepare,
Yet stay content with human-keep
O power of earth and waters deep!
And as thou mayst within thy might
Give constellations to the height.
Sometime unweaker I will wax
Pierian-fired to sing thy facts!
Now I hold out the chelys' charms
Only to sing Aonian arms,
The deadly staff to tyrants twain
And furies death might not restrain,
The flames rebellious reaching higher
With discord of the funeral pyre,
Of kingly corpses lacking tombs
And cities alternating dooms,
Whenas the Dirce's cerulean flood
Should rubify with Lernaean blood,
And Thetis awed at Ismenos
That thinning oft through dryland flows,
Coming along the riverbed
With unkind clutter of the dead.
Whom first, O Clio, clearly show
Of heroes now wilt thou bestow?
Tydeus in ire unwieldy left?
The laureled prophet's sudden cleft?
Fell Hippomedon's slaughterforce
Driving the hostile rivercourse,
Urges, and due is to deplore
The violent Arcadian's war
And in another horror hung
Capaneus' story to be sung.
Now dolven were deserving eyes
With impious hand to penalize
And damnate shame forletting sight
Was drowned within eternal night.
Oedipus thus had holden breath
Of life, below a longsome death,
Indulgent in a blind retreat
And inmost dwellings of his seat
Impervious unto heaven's rays
Keeping with care his private place.
But the harsh mind's own daylight brings
The ceasless circling of its wings
And in the bosom now belongs
The Furies' wreaking of his wrongs.
He lifted orbs bereft of light,
Of life the raw and wretched wite,
To-heaven-wards and hands blooddrowned
Beating upon the idle ground,
He thus resounded through the air
With sorry steven in a prayer:
"O Gods, that govern guilty souls
Tartarus also strict with tolls,
And thou, O Styx, that I besee
Greyish with grounddepths shadowy
And Tisiphone muchclept by me,
Nod at my prayer's perversity.
If ever I was earning well,
When from my mother's womb I fell,
Thou favouredst me within thy barm,
And healedst my feet throughstung with harm;
If Cirrah-lake I yode unto
Betwixt the ridge with summits two
Whenas my life might be content
Beside untrue Polybus spent,
Where Phocian narrow's three ways thring
Lifewrestled with the longyeared king,
And carved his trembling face in ire
While I was searching for my sire;
By thee foreshowing I o'ercame
The cruel Sphinx's riddlegame;
If in sweet furies I was led
Into my mother's sorry bed,
Unholy nights unseldomly
I bore, and bairns begot for thee,
As well thou wost, I wished my wite,
Wreaking with fingers cutting right,
My eyes whereof I be bereft
Upon my wretched mother left.
Hear out, if worthy be my prayer
To raging, that thyself might bear.
My sons nor help to guide in grief
Nor with their words would lend relief,
Those, on whichever bed I bore,
Lo, overmoody! O for sore!
And with my death, the kingdom own,
My blindhood scorn and hate my groan.
Funereal too am I to these?
Idle the sire of gods besees?
Come now, my right revenger be.
Web their whole line in penalty.
Don thou the horebeshitten crown
By my own bloody nails brought down.
Stirred by a father's wish and pain
Go in between the brothers twain
And by swordiron up and under
Let bonds of kindred burst asunder.
Give, O Tartarean abyss' queen
The crime I covet to have seen.
Nor will the younglings' spirits two
Be tardy followers thereto.
Come thou that worthy art alone,
My weds shall unto thee be known. "
Therewith, the cruel Diva stirred,
Turned her grim cheer and harked his word.
Beside Cocytus' flood unfair,
By chance, she sate with loosened hair
That with its snakes had let down slide
And lick at large the sulpherous tide.
Swifter than levinfire of Jove,
Swifter than falling stars above,
Anon, she leapt with no delay,
Left the trist bank and took her way.
The people fled, inane and shady,
And feared the course of their own lady.
She went through shade and shadowwong
Throughglidden by a ghostly throng
To where irremeable sate
The threshold of Taenarus' gate.
The day then felt her coming near,
The night againstwards gan t'appear
With pitchy welkin overpight
And vexed the shining steeds with fright.
Far Atlas shook with axles great
And loosened heaven's dubious weight.
Resurging forth from Malea's dell
To-Thebes-ward took a way known well,
For swiftlier nany path she foor
Nor liked her own Tartarus more.
Hund nadders' shade her face o'erspread,
The turmoil of her gruesome head.
Within her eyeorbs' sunken pits
A ferreous shining deeply sits,
As Phoebus' work, through welkins led,
Atracian art supplies with red.
With venom and with sweaty hore
Her hide is stretched and swells e'er more.
Forth from her mouth fullswart and dire,
Comes longsome thirst, a steam of fire,
Disease and hunger, from that breath,
And people's universal death.
Adown her back and shoulders cast
A horrid pall is holden fast,
Whose nodes cerulean come around
Amidst her breast, together bound.
Atropos thilk attire, thereto,
Eke queen Proserpine make new.
Then, both her hands shake up with ire:
This, blazes with a funeral fire,
That, with a living watersnake
Swinges the air and makes it shake.
Where most with peak abruptly high,
Cithaeron runs into the sky,
Behold, she stood, with verdant hair,
And twins wild hisses through the air,
A sign to lands and life around
Whence all Achaean shores resound,
Wherewith Pelopian kingdoms lide,
With din and echoe wandering wide,
Parnassus in midheaven heard,
And rough Eurotus further stirred,
Oete moved dubious to its sides,
And Isthmos scarce withstood twin tides.
Palaemon's mother, then, in sooth,
From curvy dolphin hent her youth
Wandering from reins, her son most dear,
Pressed to her breast and held him near.
Thence, to the Cadmean rooftop's height
The headlong Goddess took her flight,
And there anon, so as her list,
She set the house in wonely mist.
Soon, sudden stirrings, up and under,
Clapped through the brothers' breasts like thunder,
And furor hent the hearts of kin,
And envy sick at other's win,
Hatefathering fear and kingdomlust,
And broken bonds of brothertrust,
Ambition loathing second grace
Wishing alone the foremost place,
And discord such with all its pains
As e'er accompanies partnered reigns.
As through a rough and savage flock
Indeed, in laborous yoke to lock,
A farmer will and holds in mind
To have two chosen bullocks bind,
That, with steep necks unready yet
Not bent in knotful arms and set,
Indignant, draw a diverse course,
But loose the chains with even force,
And thus in many sundry way
Confound the furrows as they stray:
Not otherwise, hot discord grew
Twixt the indomite brothers two.
Of altern year, they laid by law,
One duke in banishment should draw.
An oath malignant thus bestow
And bid their fortune overgo,
That, whom, by headlong right were rex,
That other heir should ever vex.
This was the bond the brothers bore,
And sole delayment of a war,
That nould, in truth, between the twain
Perdure unto a second reign.
Not then were fulvous ceilings seen
With metal crass, as one might ween;
Not with Greek mounts aloft and tall
Was shining forth the propped-up hall,
Holding enough the clients' heap;
Nor spears guard o'er the kings sore sleep;
Nor set in many altern stow
No watchmen groaning as they go;
Nor care a winecup gemmed to hold
Nor with the food to sully gold;
But naked power armed the twain
To fight about a richless reign!
And while they both ambiguate
And twixt themselves raise much debate,
Of which the squalid acrework
Should turn and till of narrow Dirce
Or o'er the Tyrian exile's throne
Unlofty, be with boast upblown,
Farewell to justice' bonds that bind!
Those humanly or heavenkind,
With goodness giving up its breath,
Farewell to worth of life and death!
Wherewards, alas, do ye aspire
Miserable ones, to stretch your ire?
What if by such a crime, the goal
Were paths and limits of the pole
Whereof the sun with rosey tinge
Emitting from the eastern hinge
Or setting at th' Iberian gate
Beholds the heavenly estate;
Or lands most distant and unneigh
He touches with his sidelong ray,
By Boreas frorn, or warming there
With fire and dewy Notus' air.
Not if both Tyre's and Phrygia's gold
Were heaped as one for one to wold!
The dreadful steads so as they sate
And tow'rs accursed sufficed in hate,
Purchased with savage rage and heat:
The price of Oedipus's seat.
Now Polynices right to throne
The drawings of the lots postpone.
What then, indeed, was that to be
O cruel one, that day for thee,
When sole alone in hollow hall
Thou sawst thy pow'r and servants all
But ne'er a wight within that stead,
With equal heed held up his head?
Murm'ring in th' Echion folk begins
And mute dissent about the prince,
And as their wont within their love
A venturer is set above.
Some lowly churl arose theremong
Whose mood was most in making wrong
With venomed words, nor would he e'er
With willing neck such leaders bear:
"This the sour fates have hither brought
This to Ogygian land, the lot?
This often those that ought be feared
To change and change how things are steered,
And doubtful necks together lock
Beneath an alternating yoke?
The fates of folk they turn together
And handle fortune as a feather.
In turn, fore'er, I ought to lout
To exilelords, in days of doubt?
Of heav'n and earth, thou sower highest
To friends is this the mind thou guyest?
Is yet on Thebes the omen old
Sith Cadmus bidden forth and bold
Upon Carpathian billows worden
Sought the Sidonian bull's sweet burden
As exile through Hyantean plains
Came on a kingdom, in his pains,
Sew in the gaping, fruitful earth
Brotherly strife and much unmirth,
An omen founding there at once
Forever unto future sons?
Lo, with his consort now away
See how his pride has no delay
And harsher and erectly now
He threats, arising 'neath his brow!
What threats he carries in his face!
What overmood and lack of grace!
Will this a private life e'er share?
Yet that was mildmood to our pray'r
More friendly in his speech was he
And patient of equality.
What wonder? He was not alone,
But we a throng, vile to the bone
Are prompt and e'er ourselves prepare
For any ruler whatsoe'er
As hence by frigid Boreas,
By Eurus eke nubiferous,
Sails be outdrawn and ships abroad
Amidst wild fortune bend and nod,
Alas, indeed, the bitter fate
This worthless theed must tolerate
That much uncertainty besets
While this one rules and that one threats."
And then by Jove's command and call
A moot was made in heaven's hall,
The chosen gods anon to meet
Within the inner pole's retreat:
From whence all things in spaces e'en
Abodes of east and west are seen,
And field and flood spread out each way
Beneath the wholeness of the day.
Then he came in right heav'nly tall
With stillmood face, but stirring all,
And sat within his starry throne.
The heavendwellers not anon
Sat down until the sire's command
By token of his tranquil hand.
Soon wand'ring semigods in crowds
And streams akin to highest clouds,
And winds with voices hushed in fear
Filled the gold halls and came to hear.
Mixed arches of the gods are seen
Atrembling with majestic sheen,
Columns more radiant ne'er to wane
And flow'ring posts with light arcane.
When after bidden quiethood
And th' awing orb in stillness stood,
Then Jove aloft no more delayed
But now such sacred words conveyed
As have a grave and changeless weight
And voice full followed by each fate:
"Now I complain the wrongs of lands,
The mortal mind and how it stands
Unquenchable, to say in sum,
Not yet by Furies overcome.
Shall I draw out forever then
In penalties for nocent men?
I tire of sending forth my ire
With coruscating levinfire.
The Cyclops' arms, in busy pain,
Long now fatigued grow weak and wane,
And at Aeolian anvils now
The weakened blazes downward bow.
E'en I had borne to run at wide
The steeds freed from their wrongful guide
Heav'n with wand'ring wheels combust
And earth to foul with Phaeton's dust.
But naught was gained, nor gained by thee,
My brother, when thou madest the sea
Widely with mighty spear in hand
To thring upon forbidden land,
In vain, an overwhelming flood.
Though I am auctor of their blood,
Now I descend to do as due
In punishing these houses two:
This branch from Persean Argos torn,
That from Aonian Thebes upborn.
A mind imposed remains in all:
Who may by Cadmus not recall
The slaughter, nor of Furies tell
The strife, stirred from the depths of hell,
The mother in her ill delights,
And in the woods her savage flights,
And silent judgements of each god?
Scarce light, scarce night is breadth so broad
That I may numerate therein
The impious manners of the kin.
This impious heir in appetite,
This Oedipus, against all right,
In his own father's bed and room,
Sought incest at his mother's womb,
Monster! Returned to his own source
Where his own life began its course.
Howe'er, he gave us lasting pay,
When he cast out his light of day,
Nor on our ether further feeds.
But his own sons, look at their deeds,
Full cruelly were there to meet
His falling eyes with trampling feet.
Now, now old man, thy pray'rs are good
And worthy stands thy blindlihood,
Worthy enough to hope for me,
Jove, to avenger, now for thee.
New arms I think, intend new pains,
To throw upon the guilty reigns,
The total race, the rotten fruit,
To exstirpate right from the root.
My seeds of war this manner draw
Adrastus as a sire-in-law,
And nuptials sinister to dight.
This other too shall win its wite:
For from my bosomthoughts arcane
The memories nor leave nor wane
Of trueless Tantalus, not least,
And th' outrage of the cruel feast."
Th'allmighty father thus was heard.
But Juno wounded with each word
And smitten with a sudden smart,
Feeding it in her fiery heart,
To speak her part anon upsprings
And throws her thoughts about these things:
"Me, O most just of gods, therefore,
Biddest thou me to wage in war?
Thou knowst that e'er Cyclopean towers
With men and means my aid empowers
Those and the scepters far of fame
Of great Phoroneus's name.
The Pharian heifer's guard, howe'er,
With sleep and death thou wrongedest there.
And coloured in an aureus hue
Thou gost in wellwalled towers too.
I pardon counterfeit affairs,
But hate that city, hark my cares,
To which thou gost confessed of face
With tokens of our loveships' grace
Aleading thunder through the heaven
And also turnest mine own levin.
For wrongs, let Thebes atonement do.
Why makest Argos foe thereto?
But come, if such a quarr'l consume
Our inmost and our sacred room,
Exscind, erase, with weapons bold
Both Samos and Mycenae old
And level Sparta to the ground.
Why anywhere in lands yet found
Or here or there with festive blood
Has th'altar of thy consort stood?
Why warmly, radiantly increased
With gathered fragrance of the east?
Better the votive fumes upflow
From Mareotic Coptos' stow
And brazen-sonant Nile aloud
With flowings of a mournful crowd.
If mankin must abuy full sore
The fern misdeeds of men before,
And this belated sentiment
Within thy mood is fully meant,
To judge the generations ere,
What is enough, in time and care,
Far back the lands to void of rages
And finally emend the ages?
Gin then from grounds that whencewards from
O'ergliding far and wide is come
Alpheus with wandering wave to shove
Foll'wing the fleeing of his love.
Arcadians here on curseful land
Made unto thee a temple stand,
Yet not a shame? there overmore
Oenomaus' axletree of war
And steeds 'neath Getic Haemus stall
Stabled more worthy each and all.
Still, cut from suiters' remnants there,
Unburied faces stiffly stare.
Thy temple here stands gracefully,
But nocent Ida pleases thee
And Crete with lies upon her breath
Proclaiming falsely thine own death.
Wherefore should any envy stand
That I stand by Tantalean land?
Ward off the battlestrife and din
And have mildheartness on thy kin!
To thee are kingdoms many one
Impiously seen beneath the sun
That better might with patience stir
And nocent sons-in-law endure."
Juno had made an end by there,
Comingling both reproach and pray'r.
But Jove replied with words not grave,
Though stern was th'import that he gave:
"Indeed, I did not think to find
In thee consent nor favouring mind,
By what toward thine Argos be,
Though right my judgement and decree.
Had they the means, Dion indeed,
And Bacchus much for Thebes would plead,
But reverence for my mightidom
Forbids, and holds them back therefrom.
For by horrendous tides below
My brother's Stygian streams' dark flow
I swear an oath, forever wary,
That from these words I shall not vary.
So tarry not, with wings away,
Outrun the winds that thee convey,
Cyllenian son! through liquid air,
Unto thine uncle's shady lair,
And landed there this saying say:
Now to the upper airs and day,
Let senior Laius fare anon,
Whose deathblow came from his own son,
That, not Lethe's further banks shall get
By Erebus's law as yet,
To bear my mandments and commit
Unto his dreadful grandson's wit:
His brother now an exile made
Grown hardy with Argolic aid,
To keep at distance from his hall,
And as he wish deny him all
Full impiously the rightful gain
And altern honour of the reign.
Hence anger's causes come indeed,
And all the rest as I shall lead"
Atlantiades thither stirred
Most buxom to his father's word
Now in all haste his sandals brings
And binds them ready with their wings,
His hair he covers after that
And tempers tungles with his hat.
Then in his dexter took his wand
With which to break sweet slumber's bond
Or suade its sway againwards back,
With which to reach Tartarus black
And wonted to reanimate
Spirits out of their bloodless state.
Downwards he leapt and tingling there
Was taken on the tenuous air.
Nor tarried he, sublime aheight
Pulling thro voids his rapid flight,
And where he went upon his wings
He marked the clouds with mighty rings.
Meanwhile, from native boundaries
Exiled and stealthy slank abroad
And o'er Aonia's wastelands trod.
Full sorely now he thinks all through,
The kingdom owed to him and due,
And the long year complains and pines
As heaven stands with tarried signs.
In mind o'errolled and overrun
By day and night his care is one:
If ever he shall see brought down
His brother nethered from the crown
And hold the honour and delight
To rule o'er Thebes with all his might.
An age would give as pledge and pay
To see the light of such a day.
He moans the time is idle spent,
But soon again is hotly hent
By princely pride and inspiration
And catches an imagination
That now, his brother down and doffed
He nims the throne and sits aloft.
Such anxious hope his mind employs
And longsome pray'rs consume his joys.
Away he purposes to bow
Toward Inachian cities now,
And by the Danaan acres go,
And swart Mycenae's sun-reft stow,
And bear his road with fearless pride,
Whether Erinys fore him guide
Or Force of way as may befall,
Or Atropos unbending call.
He leaves th' Ogygian lands and bounds
Of howlful airs and furious sounds,
And hills that reek with dewy rud
Thickened and drenched from Bacchic blood.
Thence where Cithaeron softly hields
Sitting stretched out toward the fields
And leans its weary mount at last
Towards the wave, his pace is past.
Hence clomben pathways scopulose
Sciron's infamous cliffs set close,
Eke Scylla's fields and rural stead
Under the purple leader led,
And also Corinth mild and kind,
Well on his way, he leaves behind,
And hears the rivages both twain
Double with sound amidst the plain.
And now, for Phoebus' work was ended,
Titanis being soon ascended
With dewy wain, o'er earth now still,
Thins out the air and casts a chill.
Now beasts and flyers take to rest,
Now Sleep creeps in each greedy breast,
Referring sweet oblivion's air
Unto this laborate life of care.
No welkins punic to the sight
Promised the come again of light,
Nor twilight long with shortened shade
With Phoebus mirrored back was made:
More dense by lands the night o'er rolls,
Reached by no ray and veils the poles.
Now stern Aeolus' cloisters sound,
Those walls that keep the winds fast bound,
And stricken threat with voices hoarse
The coming of a stormy course.
The roaring winds each other swinge,
And force the axis from its hinge,
While every for himself will fight
Gripping the sky in greedy flight.
But Auster augments most the night
Rolling black volumes through the height
And pours down showers fierce and fell
That bitter Boreas hardens well
Presolidating with cold air
Soon frorn to hailstones here and there.
Nor is there not outbroken levin
With trembling glister through the heaven,
And ether gnidden with its ire
Asundered forth with sudden fire.
Now Nemea waxes water-swenched
And now Arcadia's peaks are drenched
Conterm'nous with Taenarum's woods.
Inachus flows with mighty floods
And eke Erasinus at once
With frorey waves arising runs.
Whilom full dusty trodden grounds
Now streams stretch out and leave their bounds.
Lerna with flood spumes from below
With ancient venom in her flow.
Each grove is torn, old branches cast,
To-rent and stolen by the blast.
And by no suns beholden ere
So thick, so umbrose everywhere
Lycaeus' shrouded summerstead
Lies open now and nakeded.
But he amazed and having wondered
At fugient rocks from ridges sundered
And frightful hearing cloudborn rills
Outthringing from the heighty hills
And pastor's house and cattle's sty
Reft by the whirlwind raging by,
Not out of wit nor with delay,
Albe uncertain of the way,
With silence through the dusky airs
Draws his vast course and further fares.
And everywhence and everywhence
Fear of his brother frets his sense.
So as a sailor sorrowly
Caught on the waves of wintry sea
To whom wards neither Wagon slow
Nor Luna with her friendly glow,
Beshining them with reaching rays
Leads out and luminates the ways,
In middle tumult there he be
In wanhope twixt the sky and sea
And either now from deadly rock
Submerged in waves, awaits the shock
Or sharp and foamy cliffedge now
Be run into his hoven prow,
So had the Cadmean hero hied
Through forestshadows thick and wide,
With his vast shield, with steps increased,
Dared through the stalls of many beast
And further with a forward breast
Broke through the shrubs and bravely pressed.
Fear's grievious force befalls his heart
And smiting gives a goading smart,
Til from Inachian homes in sight
With conquored darkness came a light
The which Larissean heights let go
Pouring on walls devex below.
Inspired with hope he thither hies,
Hence on his left a temple lies:
High Prosymna's Junonian fane,
Rightwards, signed with Herculean stain
Lernaean water blackly flows,
And in the opened gate he goes.
And finally beholding there
The vestibules most roy'l and fair
Soon having weary limbs outthrown
Stiffened by storm, berained, and blown,
Against th'uncouth halldoors prest,
Invites thin sleep to a rough rest.
There, King Adrastus, not with strife,
Mid in the limit of his life,
Verging to senium in his eld,
Gubernance o'er the people held,
Rich in his kin and raught his line
On either side to Jove divine.
Though lacking of the better sex,
Females were flowering to the rex:
Two daughters' pledge of love, indeed,
Gave him supportance in his need.
Phoebus to him a ferly told
Deadly, and soon to truth unrolled,
By fatal guidance forth to draw,
Each to be loved as son-in-law,
That both a bristlebearing boar
And fulvous lion stood in store!
Revolving this amidst his mind,
The sire might not the sooth unwind
And Amphiaraus thou mightst not
Unlock the lore, unknit the knot,
That art of future things well wise
While th'auctor Phoebus such denies.
But in his heart, set like a curse,
The parent's care grows worse and worse.
But lo! relinquishing anon
By fatal cause, old Calydon,
For brotherblood, for horror steers,
And drives him forth with guilty fears,
Th'Olenian one, that Tydeus hight,
Beneath the sleepy depth of night
Treading upon a selfsame path
Through selfsame winds' and showers' wrath
With rime upon his ridge to bear,
Berained by storm his face and hair,
In the ilk shelter now ingoes
Wherein the other held repose,
That earlier comer come before
That stretched out on the frigid floor.
Then here by fortune it became
Grippen were both with bloody grame:
Not tholing other either wight
Neath fellowed rooves to fend off night.
Now alternating words they say
And with their threats a while delay,
Until their sermons well were thrown
And ire thereof enough was known,
Soon shoulders bare, and now upright,
They dare there have a naked fight.
Now Polynices steps more steep
Longer his limbs not low to creep,
And in his eld, as it appears,
Tender and integer of years.
But Tydeus nothing less to find
Well bears himself with might and mind
And through his limbs and body small
A greater virtue reigns o'er all.
Now thickened blows they thicken more
On faces and on temples sore,
Like Riphaean hailstones, or as darts,
And kneeling knock the nether parts.
Not otherwise, as years shall run,
To Pisaean Jove the thund'ring one
The festive lustrum comes again,
Where dust grows hot with sweat of men:
Hence is the gathering's uproar heard,
Whereby the younglings well are stirred,
And mothers, though excluded there,
Expect the prize they wish to bear.
In likewise both hot hate conveys
Inflamed to fight, but not for praise.
Fingerteeth deeply scrutinize
Peircing the face and turning eyes.
Perhaps, for ire, such was it led,
Soon both their swords had nakeded,
Girt at their sides, and better too
By hostile arms to be run through
And by your brother mourned, in truth,
Hadst thou then lain, O Theban youth,
If not the king in muchel wonder
At wontless clamour up and under
From heavy breasts each strident groan,
Through darkness, steered his steps anon,
In whom the sober oldhood prest
In such deteriorated rest.
Whenas he went, straight as a line,
With numerous torches shedding shine,
Having done off the locks as then,
On the front threshold, sees the men,
A sorry sight to say, a dread,
Faces totorn and cheeks bebled:
"What is the cause of such a rage
Ye foreign comers young of age?
No citizen of mine would dare
Such harshness at his hands to bear.
Whence this implacable delight
By which the tranquil still of night
Ye break with harsh resounding hate?
Is day too small, and it such grief
To suffer but a while's relief
Of peace and sleep in mind to come?
But tell, whence are ye sprungen from
Witherwards do ye bear your way,
And what your quarrel be, do say.
Not low nor humble may ye be
Such anger shows that openly,
For e'en through bloodshed, clarified
Great signs bespeak a race of pride."
This scarce was said, when mixed with din,
With sidelong look, they both begin:
"O Argives' aldermildest king!
What need is words anent this thing?
Thou seest thyself how it is led,
Our sorry faces all bebled."
These words with all the rest confound
Lost in their voices' bitter sound.
Then Tydeus risen gan to tell
In order how this thing befell:
"Coveting comfort for my days
Some solace for my sorry case,
Leaving monstriferous Calydon
And all its wealth, I went anon,
And from the Acheloian wolds.
Lo in thy bounds such night enfolds
And covers me with such a gloom,
Who was this to forbid me room?
Or be it only for the claim
That he the earlier hither came?
Bimembered Centaurs share a stow,
They say, and Cyclops even so
Underneath Aetna sibsomely.
In rabid monsters one may see
E'en there internal laws are sown
And sacred justice of their own.
But not so much for us is found
To share with grith one lodging ground!
But why complain? For thou today
Glad with my spoils shalt fare away
Whoe'er thou art, or know me such,
If grief blunt not my blood too much,
Of mighty Oeneus' stirp indeed,
And traced to Mars, no rotten seed"
"Nor lack I of my kindredfolk,
Nor animus" the other spoke.
But with a mind forefeeling fates
To name his father hesitates.
Then mildheart king Adrastus quoth:
"But come desist from threats, ye both,
That night brought forth or bravery
Or wrath so unexpectedly,
And ending, leaving off this all,
Succeed into my palace hall.
Now join right hands and each take part
In equal pledges of the heart.
Not are these deeds befallen vain
Howe'er they fell betwixt you twain,
Not lacking will of gods above.
Perhaps this ire foreerrands love
That after all ye fain may find
This memory made in your mind."
Nor voiced he vainly fates to be.
They say through fight fidelity
Woke after wounds, and so great fared
As Theseus bore in danger shared
With rash Pirithous, friends ifere.
Or with Pylades standing near
Distressed Orestes turned his path
To shun Megaera's rabid wrath.
As waters foughten with a blast
Reside and settle back at last
But of those winds a lingering breath
In laxate sails prolongs its death,
Likewise the heroes hearsome yode
And undercame the king's abode.
Here, first, he leisures to behold
The men's attire and weapons bold:
On this one's back a lion flain
Shows up with coarse and shaggy mane,
Like that in species and in hue
In early eld and yearyoung days,
In the Teumasian forestspace,
Before he fought the monstercat
Of Cleonae, did on him that.
On Tydeus dreadful plunder sate
Labouring o'er his shoulders great,
Bristles and backbent tooth thereon,
An honour come of Calydon.
The old man dizzies with surprise
At such an omen in his eyes,
Recalling Phoebus well in mind
The oracle, the thing divined,
And uttered warning that he gave
Delivered through his voiceful cave.
His face is frorn in sight thereof,
His limbs throughthrilled with awe enough.
He sensed that by an urge divine
The twain were led, and this the sign,
That augur Phoebus' misty saws
Foresaid to be his sons-in-laws,
In words misleading and unclear
Under the tokens of wild deer.
So thence, toward the starry skies
His arms outstretch and words arise:
"Lo Night! whose fathom overfolds
Labors of welkins and of wolds
Transmitting through expanses far
The lapse of every fiery star,
Indulgent to repair the mind,
Til next, to wankle wights of Kind,
Titan with sheen, with nimble rise
Beshines them and their earthy sties.
To me in perplex errors cast
Kind one, thou sendest sooth at last
And weavings out of ancient fate
Openly showst to extricate:
Further my work and hear my vow
And certify thine omens now.
Through all the measures of the year
This house shall e'er thyself revere.
To thee black flocks, picked for their necks,
O Diva, shall be thy respects,
And Vulcan's fires be eating through
The lustral tharms, milkdrenched anew.
Hail to the tripods' truth of old!
Hail to dark caves where it is told!
O Fortune! wilt thou see this now,
I understand the gods, somehow!"
The old man having spoken then
Conjoining hands with both the men
Leading them thus within his walls,
Proceeded to the inner halls.
Yet on gray altars blazes burned
But much to sleepy ash are turned,
And holy offerings given there
Extend lukewarmth into the air.
The hearth with rites to burn he bade
And recent feasts again be made.
His ministers with haste had stirred
All earnest to obey his word.
With various tumult all around
The stricken hallways now resound.
Some then equipped the couches there
With purple delicate and fair
And tapestries that sound with gold
Brought in, hung highly to behold.
Some waxed the table smooth and bright
Some strove against the dark of night
Busy and workful, taking pains
To stretch the golden lanternchains.
These work to roast, with spits, with heat,
The beasts of slaughters' bloodless meat,
And these to gather into leaps,
Subdued on rock, high Ceres' heaps.
His house with fervid buxom work
Makes King Adrastus warmly smirk.
And now the king on cushions shone
Ascended on his ivory throne.
The youths apart recline nearby
Having their watered wounds made dry.
Each looks in other's fightbruised face
Sharing thereof forgiving grace.
The longyeared king commanded here
The nurse Acaste to come near,
The nurse and guardian holden true
A helper for his daughters two
To watch their modesty enough
And keep it clean for righteous love,
And murmurs words into her ears
Nor does she tarry as she hears.
Then, soon, stepped forth the maidens twain
Issuing from their bour arcane
With wonderous faces, one might ween
Like armisonant Pallas seen
And quiverbearing Dion, lo,
Minus the terror, both were so.
And shame came o'er the maidens then
To see the faces of the men.
Pallor and rubor e'enly drew
And overhwelmed their cheeks' right hue.
Their eyes, filled with astonishment,
Back to their sacred father bent.
After the tables' course was done
With hunger vanquished well and gone
Then Iasonides' thanes were sent
To fetch his wonted ornament
A perfect bowl, to bring anon,
With signs and shining gold thereon,
The which Danaus used to hold
And whilom too Phoroneus old
Giving their offerings poured thereof,
Libations to the gods above.
Graven in that were figures holden:
Here, seen with wings a youth all golden
And from the corven neck to bear
The Gorgon's head with snakes for hair,
And even now, with no delay,
To wandering airs, he leaps away:
Her heavy eyes she almost lifts,
Her languid face she almost shifts,
And even so, one might behold,
Grows pale within the living gold.
And here the Phrygian hunter caught
On fulvous wings is upwards brought,
Arising higher in the height
Gargara sinking in his sight
And far recedes the land of Troy,
His comrads stand bereft of joy
And hounds in vain tire out with sound
Chasing his shadow on the ground,
With sonant mouths, with din enough
Barking at clouds of heav'n above.
This pouring with the flowing wine,
He calls in order gods divine
The heavendwellers, as is best,
And Phebus calls before the rest.
To Phebus' altar each and all
Comrad and servant, raise a call
In pudic leaves about them bound,
For whom the festive day is found,
And with rich incense high and low
The fumey altars' blazes glow.
The king then quoth "Maybe, O knights,
Ye wonder at these sacred rites,
What they may be, what they are for,
And why we honour Phoebus more.
'Tis not blind faith that moves us so.
Whilom in great distress and woe
The Argive people sought release
And set these rites to pay for peace.
Advert to me your heart and mind
And let my words the tale unwind.
When deus Phoebus' mighty blow
Laid the cerulean monster low,
With all its sinuous volumes round,
Python, the offspring of the ground,
With swarty circles sevenfold
Surrounding Delphos in its hold
That with its squams had overthrust
And gnidden yeary oaks to dust,
With threecleft tongue outstretched ahead,
By the Castalian fountains' stead,
With venom, and with all its shape,
Was seen to long for food and gape.
He felled it thus with arrows shot,
The which he spent on wounds well wrought,
And left it scarce at length, unwound
Over Cirrhaean soil and ground:
Over one hundred acres spread!
Thence, new atonements for the dead
The god then sought, and hither yode
To our Crotopus' poor abode.
Here was a daughter, yearyoung she,
Waxing toward maturity
Wonderly beautiful and sheen,
Keeping the house, a maiden clean.
Fortunate were that virgin fair
Had she ne'er met the Delian there,
Phoebus and all th' intrigues he bore
Nor carried on occult amour.
By Nemea's flowing rivercourse
She felt the god, o'ercome by force.
When twice times five fullfaced in sight,
Cynthia in cycles showed by night,
The maiden kindled life to light
Latona's grandson heavenbright.
But fearing punishment and ire
If such were learned by her own sire,
For he would give no grace thereof,
To forced wedlock and violent love,
She chooses acres free from roads
With fenced enclosures, sheeps' abodes,
And to a mountainwandering one,
A guard of flocks, entrusts her son,
Beseeching wholly in her need
For him to care and keep and feed.
O child, the cradle thou wert in
Befit not thee of so great kin,
With grassen bolsters there bestowed,
Within the oakenthatched abode.
But closed amidst Arbutus' rind
The limbs yet warmth and comfort find.
A hollow fistula is played
By which sweet slumber soon is made,
The ground in common holden there
The weary flocks are glad to share.
The cruel fates forbid howe'er
E'en that as home, that humble lair,
For while one day, on grass he lies,
Mouthopened, breathing in the skies,
A rage of hounds upon him draws
And tears and feeds with bloody jaws.
When news thereof the mother hears
It shocks like thunder in her ears.
Father and shame fall out of mind
And former fear is left behind.
At once she wanes in all her wits
And fills the house with hideous fits.
And bearing forth a naked breast
Runs to her sire to be confessed.
Nor is he moved, nor is he mild
But horror! bids that his own child,
Yearning herself her final breath,
Be made to suffer dusky death.
Late mindful of thy love affair,
O Phoebus, thou wilt now prepare
A solace for her death and woe,
A monster birthed from hell below,
E'en from the Furies' filthy room,
'Neath lowest Acheron in gloom.
This has a maiden's face and breasts.
Atop her head, a snake ne'er rests,
Twixt iron brows, arising there,
Whose strident hisses fill the air.
Then, this dire plague, by night befalls,
And slides in chambers, slinks in halls,
Foully from bosoms' depths to rip
The recent offspring nurses grip,
And thus with bite and bloody flow
Much fattens on our country's woe.
Coroebus excellent of arms
And great of mind, bore not such harms.
With alderstrongest youths he came
Ready to hazard life for fame.
Having destroyed a new abode
By a gates' byway, now she yode
And at her side were corpses twain
Of little ones but newly slain,
Hooked hands yet tearing vital parts
And nails warmed in their tender hearts.
Against her Coroebus came strong
Surrounded by his manly throng,
And dalve his iron deeply prest,
His broadsword in her rigid breast.
With gleaming edge that inmost felt
The depths wherein her spirit dwelt,
At length he sent her overthrown
Returned to nether Jove to own.
'Twas joy to go and see right nigh
Livid in death the monster's eye,
And from her womb the pus outpour
And squalid breasts all crass with gore,
By which so many victims died.
Th' Inachian youths are stupified.
Now after tears great joys prevail
And now remembering, all grow pale.
And with hard sticks dead limbs totear
A vain relief for grief they bear,
On her sharp molars further wreak
And kick them out of either cheek:
Their might may not explete their anger.
Flying around with nocturn clangor
Ye birds, unfed, eschewed her sight,
E'en rabid hounds were filled with fright,
And trepid there, the wolves, they say,
Gaped with dry mouths and turned away.
Now with his slain aveng'ress' fate
The Delian's ire is doubled great,
Embittered at the youthful men,
And on twopeak Parnassus, then,
Sitting atop its shady height,
With curvy bow, with bitter spite,
He lets pestiferous arrows fly.
Feilds and Cyclopean houses high
Beneath the weather of the god
Are cast in stormclouds far and broad.
Sweet life to bitter ends is led
Death's sword cuts through the sisters' thread,
And bears the city, caught in woe,
Swift to the manes' depths below.
Whenas our leader asks the cause
What evil fire from ether draws,
And why alone is seen t' appear
Sirius reigning all the year,
Paean, the selfsame god decrees
As sacrafices to appease,
To the gored monster they should go,
Those that with slaughter laid her low.
O blest of mind about to earn
A lasting day as ages turn!
Not wretched thou, not wont to hide
Thy weapons or thy pious pride,
Nor run away, fear on thy breath,
Eschewing what seems certain death.
Coroebus stood and faced him plain
On the threshold of Cyrrah's fane,
And thus he sounds his heart entire
And asperates his sacred ire:
"Thymbraean, to thy temple here,
I come not sent nor bent in fear,
But piety has guided me
And concious virtue unto thee.
For I am he, O Phoebus, know
That laid thy mortal monster low,
That with dark cloud, with hindered day,
With pitchy filth, cast every way
Throughout the heaven's evil height
Thou seekest out with cruel might.
If monsters feirce and causing fear
To gods supernal be so dear,
And less a loss, below the sky,
To all the world, if humans die,
If heav'n has such inclemency,
Why should all Argives pay the fee?
'Tis I alone, O god most great,
I, that belong to such a fate.
Or are these more thine heart's delight,
Desolate houses in thy sight,
And hopeless cultors thy desire
And every acre lit on fire?
But why with words should I delay
Thy weapon and thine hand this way?
Mothers await and through the airs
Sound out for me the final prayers.
This is enough: I earned it so
That naught of mercy thou shouldst show.
Come then, bring forth thy quiver now
And stretch thy great resounding bow
And finally smite down this mark,
A noble soul, to death most dark.
But as I die, yet lingering here,
Dispel the cloud and make things clear.
Remove that pallid mass that stands
Thick o'er Inachian Argos' lands."
So equal fortune as it runs
E'en yet respects deserving ones.
Then ardent Letoides awed
For reverence overcame the god.
He grants the honour of his life,
However trist, and ends the strife.
The evil cloud flees from the height,
As thou heard out, wouldst leave, O knight,
Phoebus in great amazement there,
And o'er the temple's threshold fare.
Thence be these solemn feasts unrolled
That sacred rituals e'er uphold,
And honour new with gifts divine
Thus placates Phoebus holy shrine.
What progenies are ye by chance
That o'er these holy altars glance?
Though, if the clamour earlier made
Was rightly to mine ear conveyed
Soothly, they heard e'en that this one
Is Calydonian Oeneus' son,
O'er Parthaonian's house to reign.
But thou, the other of you twain,
That comest unto Argos' land
Reveal, that we may understand,
Thine own origin, stirp and stock,
While time allows for varied talk."
Th' Ismenian hero, with unmirth,
Turning his face toward the earth,
Then tacitely and cornerwise
To injured Tydeus took his eyes.
Thus for a while was nothing heard,
But finally his words upstirred:
"Not o'er these rites of gods divine
Should I be asked about my line,
Whence be my kin, what native stow
Or how mine ancient bloodties flow.
Uneath is that to be confest
Among these rituals clean and blest.
But if thy cares so urgent be
To learn of all my misery,
Cadmus is th'origin, indeed,
Of all my fathers and their seed,
Mavortian Thebes our native earth,
And from Jocasta's womb, my birth."
Adrastus stirred with friendlihood.
Indeed, he knew and understood:
"Wherefore conceal the known and couth?
We know" the monarch said "the truth,
Not from Mycenae turned away,
Does fame upon her journey stray.
About the kingdom and the madness,
About the shameful eyes and sadness,
E'en he that shakes neath Arctic suns,
Or drinks from Ganges, knows at once,
Or he that sails into the west
While darkness deepens on each crest,
Or whom with its uncertain shores
Syrtes confuses from their course.
No more lament, nor numerate
Thy fathers' woes with grief so great.
Piety in my blood as well,
Has erred in much, as I may tell.
Nor fathers' faults that be to blame
Fasten the sons to do the same.
Thou now look well and favour win
And earn restorance for thy kin.
But now the frosty guide in care,
That leads the hyperborean bear,
With pole and heaven backward bent,
Is seen to wane and grow forspent.
Pour over hearths the sparkling wine
And chant thine orisons divine
And Letoides, o'er and o'er
The savior of thy sires implore.
O father Phoebus, though it be,
Patara's bushes busy thee
And Lycia's ridges rich with snow,
Or amour urges thee to go
And in Castalia's pudic dew
Thy golden locks immerse anew,
Or Thymbraean, thou keepest Troy,
E'en where thou whilom wouldst employ,
As fame reports, thy thankless shoulders
And willing bear the Phrygian boulders.
Or casting shadows far and wide
Over the Aegean waters' tide
Latonian Cynthus pleases thee
Away from Delos midst the sea.
Thine are the darts and bending bow
Afar against the savage foe.
Thine heav'nly parents blest thy cheer
And made thy cheeks eternally sheer.
Learned thou foreknowst in thy skill
The Parcae's cruel hands and will.
The fate in store o'er and above,
And what is pleasing to high Jove,
Which year brings death, and in which folk
War shall break out with many stroke.
What change the flight of comets brings
For sceptres and the pow'r of kings.
Thou tamest well the Phrygian's heart
To learn the cithern's strings and art.
Thou honouring well thy mother's worth
Tityos, the offspring of the earth,
Extendest with thy mighty hand
Straight out upon the Stygian sand.
Thee, the green Python, full of awe,
And thee, the Theban mother saw,
With quiver conquor gloriously.
For an avenger unto thee
Severe Megaera, endlessly
Opresses Phlegyas, kept unfree,
Starving amidst the hollow rocks,
That lying there, the while he mocks,
And edges him with feasts profane,
Mixed sickness makes his hunger wane.
Be present and have memory
Of all our hospitality,
Lend the Junonian fields thy love
Favourable from the heights above.
Whether it be most meet and due
As th' Achaemenian kindred's thew
To call thee Titan roseus,
Osirus the frugiferous,
Or Mithras, in the Persean hollow
Twisting the horns that loathe to follow."