Neither the other chiding nor yet chidden:

And Mercury with innocence and truth
To lead the way, and show where he had hidden
The mighty heifers.-Hermes, nothing loth,
Obeyed the Ægis-bearer's will-for he
Is able to persuade all easily.

These lovely children of Heaven's highest Lord
Hastened to Pylos and the pastures wide
And lofty stalls by the Alphean ford,

Where wealth in the mute night is multiplied With silent growth. Whilst Hermes drove the herd

Out of the stony cavern, Phoebus spied The hides of those the little babe had slain, Stretched on the precipice above the plain.

"How was it possible," then Phœbus said,

"That you, a little child, born yesterday, A thing on mother's milk and kisses fed,

Could two prodigious heifers ever flay? E'en I myself may well hereafter dre id

Your prowess, offspring of Cyllenian May, When you grow strong and tall.”—He spoke, and bound Stiff withy bands the infant's wrists around.

He might as well have bound the oxen wild;

The withy bands, though starkly interknit, Fell at the feet of the immortal child,

Loosened by some device of his quick wit. Phoebus perceived himself again beguiled,

And stared-while Hermes sought some hole or pit, Looking askance and winking fast as thought, Where he might hide himself, and not be caught.

Sudden he changed his plan, and with strange ski!!
Subdued the strong Latonian, by the might
Of winning music, to his mightier will;

His left hand held the lyre, and in his right The plectrum struck the chords-unconquerable Up from beneath his hand in circling flight The gathering music rose-and sweet as Love The penetrating notes did live and move

Within the heart of great Apollo-he

Listened with all his soul, and laughed for pleasure. Close to his side stood harping fearlessly

The unabashed boy; and to the measure
Of the sweet lyre, there followed loud and free
His joyous voice; for he unlocked the treasure
Of his deep song, illustrating the birth
Of the bright Gods and the dark desert Earth:

And how to the Immortals every one

A portion was assigned of all that is; But chief Mnemosyne did Maia's son

Clothe in the light of his loud melodies; And, as each God was born or had begun, He in their order due and fit degrees Sung of his birth and being-and did move Apollo to unutterable love.

These words were winged with his swift delight: "You heifer-stealing schemer, well do you Deserve that fifty oxen should requite

Such minstrelsies as I have heard even now. Comrade of feasts, little contriving wight,

One of your secrets I would gladly know, Whether the glorious power you now show forth Was folded up within you at your birth,


[ocr errors]

"What Muse, what skill, what imaginer E What exercise of subtlest art, has gra

Thy songs such power?-for those who bear meg TIMIS
From three, the choicest of the gifts of Heaven.
Delight, and love, and sleep,-sweet sierp, wise devs
Are sweeter than the balmy tears of even:—
And I, who speak this praise, am that Apa
Whom the Olympian Muses ever follow :

"And their delight is dance, and the blithe noise Of song and overflowing poesy;

And sweet, even as desire, the liquid voice

Of pipes, that fills the clear air thrillingly;
But never did my inmost soul rejoice

In this dear work of youthful revelry,
As now I wonder at thee, son of Jove;
Thy harpings and thy song are soft as love.

Now since thou hast, although so very small, Science of arts so glorious, thus I swear, And let this cornel javelin, keen and tall,

Witness between us what I promise here,That I will lead thee to the Olympian Hal¦,

IIonoured and nighty, with thy mother dear

And many glorious gifts in joy will give thee,
And even at the end will ne'er deceive thee."

To whom thus Mercury with prudent speech :-
"Wisely hast thou inquired of my skill :
I envy thee no thing I know to teach

Even this day :-for both in word and will
I would be gentle with thee; thou canst reach
All things in thy wise spirit, and thy sill
Is highest in heaven among the sons of Jore,
Who loves thee in the fulness of his love.

"The Counsellor Supreme has given to thee
Divinest gifts, out of the amplitude
Of his profuse exhaustless treasury;

By thee, 'tis said, the depths are understood
Of his far voice; by thee the mystery

Of all oracular fates,—and the dread mood
Of the diviner is breathed up, even I—
A child-perceive thy might and majesty-

“Thou canst seek out and compass all that wit

Can find or teach;-yet since thou wilt, come, take The lyre-be mine the glory giving it—

Strike the sweet chords, and sing aloud, and wake Thy joyous pleasure out of many a fit

Of tranced sound-and with fleet fingers make
Thy liquid-voiced comrade talk with thee,—
It can talk measured music eloquently.

"Then bear it boldly to the revel loud,

Love-wakening dance, or feast of solemn state,
A joy by night or day-for those endowed
With art and wisdom who interrogate

"And I will give thee as a good-will token
The beautiful wand of wealth and happiness ;
A perfect three-leaved rod of gold unbroken,
Whose magic will thy footsteps ever bless;
And whatsoever by Jove's voice is spoken

Of earthly or divine from its recess,
It like a loving soul to thee will speak,
And more than this do thou forbear to seek.

"For, dearest child, the divinations high

Which thou requirest, 'tis unlawful ever That thou, or any other deity,

Should understand-and vain were the endeavour; For they are hidden in Jove's mind, and I,

In trust of them, have sworn that I would never Betray the counsels of Jove's inmost will To any God-the oath was terrible.

"Then, golden-wanded brother, ask me not

To speak the fates by Jupiter designed; But be it mine to tell their various lot

To the unnumbered tribes of human kind.
Let good to these and ill to those be wrought
As I dispense-but he, who comes consigned
By voice and wings of perfect augury
To my great shrine, shall find avail in me.

Tim will I not deceive, but will assist;
ut he who comes relying on such birds
atter vainly, who would strain and twist
purpose of the Gods with idle words,

ms their knowledge light, he shall have mist d-whilst I among my other hoards

« ForrigeFortsett »