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OVID'S METAMORPHOSES.

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III.

THE STORY OF CADMUS.

,

He sent his son to search on every coast;
And sternly bid him to his arms restore
The darling maid, or see his face no more.
But live an exile in a foreign clime;
Thus was the father pious to a crime.

The restless youth fearch'd all the world around;
But how can Jove in his amours be found ?
When, tir'd at length with unsuccessful toil,
To Thun his angry fire and native soil,' .
He goes a suppliant to the Delphic dome;
There asks the God what new-appointed home
Should end his wanderings, and his toils relieve.
The Delphic oracles this answer give :

“ Behold among the fields a lonely cow, « Unworn with yokes, unbroken to the plough; “ Mark well the place where first she lays her down, “ There measure ont thy walls, and build thy town, 56 And from thy guide Boeotia call the land, " In which the destin'd walls and town shall stand.”

No sooner had he left the dark abode,
Big with the promise of the Delphic God,
When in the fields the fatal cow he view'd,
Nor gall’d with yokes, nor worn with servitude ;
Her gently at a distance he pursued;

And,

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And, as he walk'd aloof, in silence pray'd
To the great power whose counsels he obey'd.
Her way through flowery Panope she took,
And now, Cephisus, crofs'd thy silver brook;
When to the heavens her spacious front she raisid,
And bellow'd thrice, then backward turning gaz'd
On those nd, till on the destin'd place
She stoop'd, and couch'd amid the rising grass.

Cadmus salutes the soil, and gladly hails
The new-found mountains, and the nameless. vales,
And thanks the Gods, and turns about his eye
To see his new dominions round him lie;
Then sends his servants to a neighbouring grove
For living streams, a sacrifice to Jove.
O'er the wide plain there rose a shady wood
Of aged trees; in its dark bosom stood
A bushy thicket, pathless and unworn,
O’er-run with brambles, and perplex'd with thorn :
Amidst the brake a hollow den was found,
With rocks and shelving arches vaulted round.

Deep in the dreary den, conceal'd from day,
Sacred to Mars, a mighty dragon lay,
Bloated with poison to a monstrous size ;
Fire broke in flashes when he glanc'd his eyes :
His towering crest was glorious to behold,
His shoulders and his sides were scal'd with gold;
Three tongues he brandish'd when he charg'd his foes i
His teeth stood jaggy in three dreadful rows.
The Tyrians in the den for water sought,
And with their urns explor'd the hollow vault:
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From side to side their empty urns rebound,
And rouse the sleepy serpent with the sound,
Straight he bestirs him, and is seen to rise ;
And now with dreadful hislings fills the skies,
And darts his forky tongue, and rolls his glaring eyes.
The Tyrians drop their vessels in the fright,
All pale and trembling at the hideous fight.
Spire above spire uprear'd in air he stood,
And, gazing round him, over-look'd the wood:
Then floating on the ground, in circles rollid;
Then leap'd upon them in a mighty fold.
Of such a bulk, and such a monstrous size,
The serpent in the polar circle lies,
That stretches over half the northern skies,
In vain the Tyrians on their arms rely,
In vain attempt to fight, in vain to fly :
All their endeavours and their hopes are vain ;
Some die entangled in the winding train;
Some are devour'd; or feel a loathsome death,
Swoln

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with blasts of pestilential breath. And now the scorching fun was mounted high, In all its lustre, to the noon-day sky; When, anxious. for his friends, and fillid with cares, To search the woods th' impatient chief prepares. A lion's hide around his loins he wore, The well-poisid javelin to the field he bore Inurd to blood; the far-destroying dart, And, the best weapon, an undaunted heart, Soon as the youth approach'd the fatal place, He saw his servants breathless on the grass ; The scaly foe amid their corpse he view'd, Balking at ease, and feasting in their blood,

*** Such friends, he cries, deserv'd a longer date :
“ But Cadmus will revenge, or share their fate."
Then heav'd a stone, and, rising to the throw,
He sent it in a whirlwind at the foe :
A tower, assaulted by so rude a stroke,
With all its lofty battlements had shook ;
But nothing here th' unwieldy rock avails,
Rebounding harmless from the plaited scales,
That, firmly join’d, preserv’d him from a wound,
With native armout crusted all around.
With more success the dart unerring flew,
Which at his back the raging warrior threw';
- Amid the plaited fcales it took its course,
And in the spinal marrow spent its force.
The monster hiss'd alond, and rag'd in vain,
And writh'd his body to and fro with pain ;
And bit the spear, and wrench'd the wood away :
The point still buried in the marrow lay.
And now his rage, inereafing with his pain,
Reddens his eyes, and beats in every vein ;
Churn’d in his teeth the foamy venom rose,

Whilst from his mouth a blast of vapours flows,
Such as th' infernal Stygian waters cart":
The plants around him wither in the blast.
Now in a maze of rings he lies enroll’d,
Now all unravel'd, and without a foid ;
Now, like a torrent, witli a mighty force
Bears down the forest in his boisterous course,
Cadmus gave back, and on the lion's spoil
Sustain'd the shock, then fore'd hin to recoil;

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The pointed javelin warded off his rage :
Mad with his pains, and furious to engage,
The serpent champs the steel, and bites the spear,
Till blood and venom all the point befmear.
But still the hurt he yet receiv'd was slight;
For, whilst the champion with redoubled might
Strikes home the javelin, his retiring foe
Shrinks from the wound, and disappoints the blow.

The dauntless hero still pursues his stroke,
And presses forward, till a knotty oak
Retards his foe, and stops him in the rear ;
Full in his throat he plung’d the fatal spear,
That in th' extended neck a passage found,
And pierc'd the solid timber through the wound.
Fix'd to the reeling trunk, with many a stroke
Of his huge tail, he lash'd the sturdy oak;
Till, spent with toil, and labouring hard for breath,
He now lay twisting in the pangs of death.

Cadmus beheld him wallow in a flood
Of swimming poison, intermix'd with blood;
When suddenly a speech was heard from high,
(The fpeech was heard, nor was, the speaker nigh)
“ Why dost thou thus with secret pleasure fee,
• Insulting man! what thou thyself shalt be?"
Astonish'd at the voice, he stood amaz'd,
And all around with inward horror gaz’d:
When Pallas swift descending from the skies,
Pallas, the guardian of the bold and wife,
Bids him plow up the field, and scatter round
The dragon's teeth o'er all the furrow'd ground;

Then

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