Obrázky na stránke

And whilst the might of glorious Vulcan And every wish to put such morsels


Wrapt the great pile with glare and roaring sound, Hermes dragged forth two heifers, lowing loud,

Close to the fire-such might was in the



And on the earth upon their backs he threw

And every trace of the fresh butchery And cooking, the God soon made disappear,

The panting beasts, and rolled them As if it all had vanished through the o'er and o'er,

And bored their lives out. Without more ado

He cut up fat and flesh, and down The before

The fire, on spits of wood he placed the two,

Toasting their flesh and ribs, and all the gore

Pursed in the bowels; and while this was done

He stretched their hides over a craggy


[blocks in formation]


Down his most sacred throat, he did repress;

But soon within the lofty portalled stall He placed the fat and flesh and bones and all.


He burned the hoofs and horns and head and hair,

insatiate fire devoured them hungrily ;

And when he saw that everything was clear,


quenched the coals and trampled the black dust,

And in the stream his bloody sandals tossed.



All night he worked in the serene moonshine

But when the light of day was spread abroad


sought his natal mountain-peaks divine.

On his long wandering, neither man Had met him, since he killed Apollo's nor god


Nor house-dog had barked at him on his road;

Now he obliquely through the keyhole past,

Like a thin mist, or an autumnal blast.

For the sweet savour of the roasted meat


Tempted him though immortal. Right through the temple of the spacious



He checked his haughty will and did He went with soft light feet-as if not eat, his tread Though what it cost him words can Fell not on earth; no sound their falling scarce express,


Then to his cradle he crept quick, and spread

Which whilst the sacred stars round
Heaven are rolled

Will profit you and me--nor shall our

Lay playing with the covering of the Be as you counsel, without gifts or food, To spend our lives in this obscure abode.


The swaddling-clothes about him; and the knave

[blocks in formation]


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Ethereal born arose out of the flood
Of flowing Ocean, bearing light to

"As if I were like other babes as old,
And understood nothing of what is


And cared at all to hear my mother scold.

Apollo past toward the sacred wood, Which from the inmost depths of its green glen

I in my subtle brain a scheme have Echoes the voice of Neptune, -and there



On the same spot in green Onchestus Thus much alone I certainly can say, then I tilled these vines till the decline of day,

That same old animal, the vine-dresser, Who was employed hedging his vineyard there.


And then I thought I saw, but dare not speak


With certainty of such a wondrous

Latona's glorious Son began
:--" I pray
Tell, ancient hedger of Onchestus

A child, who could not have been born
a week,

Whether a drove of kine has past this way,

Those fair-horned cattle closely following,

All heifers with crooked horns? for And in his hand he held a polished stick : they have been

Stolen from the herd in high Pieria,

And, as on purpose, he walked wavering

Where a black bull was fed apart, between Two woody mountains in a neighbouring glen,

From one side to the other of the road, And with his face opposed the steps he trod."


And four fierce dogs watched there, Apollo hearing this, past quickly onNo winged omen could have shown more clear

unanimous as men.


"And what is strange, the author of this That the deceiver was his father's son. So the God wraps a purple atmosphere Around his shoulders, and like fire is gone


Has stolen the fatted heifers every

To famous Pylos, seeking his kine

found their track and his, yet
hardly cold,
cried--"What wonder do mine
eyes behold!


But the four dogs and the black bull are left:

Stolen they were last night at set of


Of their soft beds and their sweet food


Now tell me, man born ere the world

Have you seen any one pass with the

To whom the man of overhanging brows:



My friend, it would require no common skill

Justly to speak of everything I see: On various purposes of good or ill Many pass by my vineyard,—and to



'Tis difficult to know the invisible Thoughts, which in all those many minds may be :



[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Why come you here to ask me what is

Whatever things cows are, I do not know,


With the wild oxen which it seems For I have only heard the name.". you miss ? This said,

I have not seen them, nor from any one Have heard a word of the whole business;

He winked as fast as could be, and his brow

Was wrinkled, and a whistle loud gave he,

If you should promise an immense reward,

Like one who hears some strange absurdity.

I could not tell more than you now have heard.


"An ox-stealer should be both tall and strong,

You cunning little rascal, you will bore

And I am but a little new-born thing, Who, yet at least, can think of nothing |

Many a rich man's house, and your array Of thieves will lay their siege before his door,

wrong::My business is to suck, and sleep, and fling The cradle-clothes about me all day long,

Silent as night, in night; and many a


In the wild glens rough shepherds will deplore

Or half asleep, hear my sweet mother sing,

That you or yours, having an appetite, And to be washed in water clean and Met with their cattle, comrade of the



And hushed and kissed and kept secure from harm.

[blocks in formation]


Apollo gently smiled and said :-" Ay,


That I stole not your cows, and that
I know
Of no one else, who might, or could,
or did.-


"And this among the Gods shall be your gift,

To be considered as the lord of those

Who swindle, house-break, sheep-steal, and shop-lift ;

But now if you would not your last sleep doze;


out!"-Thus saying, Phoebus did uplift

The subtle infant in his swaddling clothes,

And in his arms, according to his wont, A scheme devised the illustrious Argiphont.


And sneezed and shuddered-Phoebus on the grass

Him threw, and whilst all that he had designed

He did perform-eager although to pass,

« PredošláPokračovať »