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What hero, Clio! wilt thou first relate ?
The

rage of Tydeus, or the prophet's fate?
Or how, with hills of slain on every side,
Hippomedon repelld the hostile tide ?
Or how the youth, with every grace adorn'd,
Untimely fell, to be for ever mourn'd ?
Then to fierce Capaneus thy verse extend,
And sing with horror his prodigious end.

Now wretched Edipus, deprived of sight,
Led a long death in everlasting night;
But while he dwells where not a cheerful ray
Can pierce the darkness, and abhors the day;
The clear reflecting mind presents his sin
In frightful views, and makes it day within ;
Returning thoughts in endless circles roll,
And thousand furies haunt his guilty soul;
The wretch then lifted to the unpitying skies,
Thosc empty orbs from whence he tore his eyes,
Whose wounds, yet fresh, with bloody hand he strook
While from his breast these dreadful accents broke :

Ye gods! that o'er the gloomy regions reign, Where guilty spirits feel eternal pain ; Thou, sable Styx! whose livid streams are rollid Through dreary coasts, which I, though blind, behold Tisiphone, that oft hast heard my prayer, Assist, if Edipus deserve thy care! If you received me from Jocasta's womb, And nursed the hope of mischiefs yet to come: If, leaving Polybus, I took my way To Cyrrha's temple, on that fatal day, When by the son the trembling father died, Where the three roads the Phocian fields divide : If I the Sphinx's riddles durst explain, Taught by thyself to win the promised reign; If wretched I, by baleful Furies led, With monstrous mixture stain'd my mother's bed, For hell and thee begot an impious brood, And with full lust those horrid joys renew'd;

Then self-condemn'd to shades of endless night.
Forced from these orbs the bleeding balls of sight;
O hear, and aid the vengeance I require,
If worthy thee, and what thou might'st inspire ;
My sons their old unhappy sire despise,
Spoil'd of his kingdom, and deprived of eyes;
Guideless I wander, unregarded mourn,
While these exalt their sceptres o'er my urn;
These sons, ye gods! who, with flagitious pride,
Insult my darkness, and my groans deride.
Art thou a father, unregarding Jove!
And

eps thunder in the realms above ?
Thou Fury, then, some lasting curse entail,
Which o'er their children's children shall prevail :
Place on their heads that crown distain'd with gore,
Which these dire hands from my slain father tore;
Go, and a parent's heavy curses bear;
Break all the bonds of nature, and prepare
Their kindred souls to mutual hate and war.
Give them to dare, what I might wish to see,
Blind as I am, some glorious villany!
Soon shalt thou find, if thou but arm their hands,
Their ready guilt preventing thy commands :
Couldst thou some great, proportion'd mischief

frame, They'd prove the father from whose loins they came.'

The Fury heard, while on Cocytus' brink Her snakes, untied, sulphureous waters drink; But at the summons roll’d her eyes around, And snatch'd the starting serpents from the ground. Not half so swiftly shoots along the air, The gliding lightning, or descending star, Through crowds of airy shades she wing'd her flight And dark dominions of the silent night; Swift as she pass'd the flitting ghosts withdrew And the pale spectres trembled at her view : To the iron gates of Tænarus she flies, There spreads her dusky pinions to the skies.

The day beheld, and, sickening at the sight,
Veil'd her fair glories in the shades of night.
Affrighted Atlas, on the distant shore,
Trembled, and shook the heavens and gods hs

bore.
Now from beneath Malea's airy height
Aloft she sprung, and steer'd to Thebes her flights
With eager speed the well-known journey took,
Nor here regrets the hell she late forsook.
A hundred snakes her gloomy visage shade,
A hunared serpents guard her horrid head;
In her sunk eye-balls dreadful meteors glow;
Such rays from Phæbe's bloody circles flow,
When labouring with strong charms, she shoots

from high, A fiery gleam, and reddens all the sky. Blood stain'd her cheeks, and from her mouth there

came

Blue streaming poisons, and a length of flame.
From every blast of her contagious breath,
Famine and drought proceed, and plagues and death
A robe obscene was o'er her shoulders thrown,
A dress by Fates and Furies worn alone.
She toss'd her meagre arms: her better hand
In waving circles whirl'd a funeral brand :
A serpent from her left was seen to rear
His flaming crest, and lash the yielding air.

But when the Fury took her stand on high,
Where vast Cithæron's top salutes the sky
A hiss from all the snaky tire went round;
The dreadful signal all the rocks rebound,
And through the Achaian cities send the sound.
Ete, with high Parnassus, heard the voice ;
Eurotus' banks remurmur'd to the noise ;
Again Leucothoe shook at these alarms,
And press'd Palæmon closer in her arms.
Headlong from thence the glowing Fury springs
And o'er the Theban palace spreads her wings,

Once more invades the guilty dome, and shrouds
Its bright pavilions in a veil of clouds
Straight with the rage of all their race possess'd,
Stung to the soul, the brothers start from rest,
And all their furies wake within their breast.
Their tortured minds repining envy tears,
And hate engender'd by suspicious fears ;
And sacred thirst of sway; and all the ties
Of nature broke; and royal perjuries ;
And impotent desire to reign alone,
That scorns the dull reversion of a throne;
Each would the sweets of sovereign rule devour,
While discord waits upon divided power.

As stubborn steers by brawny plowmen broke,
And join'd reluctant to the galling yoke,
Alike disdain with servile necks to bear.
The unwonted weight, or drag the crooked share,
But rend the reins, and bound a different way,
And all the furrows in confusion lay;
Such was the discord of the royal pair,
Whom fury drove precipitate to war,
In vain the chiefs contrived a specious way,
To govern Thebes by their alternate sway:
Unjust decree! while this enjoys the state,
That mourns in exile his unequal fate,
And the short monarch of a hasty year
Foresees with anguish his returning heir
Thus did the league their impious arms restrain,
But scarce subsisted to the second reign.

Yet then no proud aspiring piles were raised, No fretted roof with polish'd metals blazed ; No labour'd columns in long order placed, No Grecian stone the pompous arches grac’d; No nightly bands in glittering armour wait Before the sleepless tyrant's guarded gate; No chargers then were wrought in burnish'd gold Nor silver vascs took the forming mould ; Nor gems on bowls emboss'd were seen to shino Blaze on the brims, and sparkle in the wine.

a

Say, wretched rivals! what provokes your rage ?
Say, to what end your impious arms engage ?
Not all bright Phæbus views in early morn,
Or when his evening beams the west adorn,
When the south glows with his meridian ray,
And the cold norih receives a fainter day;
For crimes like these, not all those realms suffice,
Were all those realms the guilty victor's prize!

But Fortune now (the lots of empire thrown)
Decrees to proud Eteocles the crown:
What joys, oh tyrant! swell’d thy soul that day,
When all were slaves thou couldst around survey,
Pleased to behold unbounded power thy own,
And singly fill a fear'd and envied throne !

But the vile vulgar, ever discontent,
Their growing fears in secret murmurs vent;
Still prone to change, though still the slaves of state
And sure the monarch whom they have, to hate :
New lords they madly make, then tamely bear,
And softly curse the tyrants whom they fear.
And one of those who groan beneath the sway
Of kings imposed, and grudgingly obey,
(Whom envy to the great, and vulgar spite
With scandal arm’d, the ignoble mind's delight,)
Exclaim'd-'0 Thebes ! for thee what fates remaini
What woes attend this inauspicious reign!
Must we, alas! our doubtful necks prepare,
Each haughty master's yoke by turns to bear,
And still to change whom changed we still musi

fear?
These now control a wretched people's fate,
These can divide, and these reverse the state:
E'en fortune rules no more:-0 servile land,
Where exil'd tyrants still by turns command.
Thou sire of gods and men, imperial Jove!
Is this the eternal doom decreed above?
On thy own offspring hast thou fix'd this fate,
From the first birth of our unhappy state;

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