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Rubbing, and cogitating some new
sleight.

Out of the field my cattle yester-even,
By the low shore on which the loud
sea laughed,
No eagle could have seen him as he lay
He right down to the river-ford had Hid in his cavern from the peering day.

driven;

And mere astonishment would make you daft

To see the double kind of footsteps

LXI

"I taxed him with the fact, when he averred

strange

Most solemnly that he did neither see

He has impressed wherever he did range. Nor even had in any manner heard

LVIII

Of my lost cows, whatever things cows be;

"The cattle's track on the black dust, Nor could he tell, though offered a full well

Is evident, as if they went towards The place from which they came—that asphodel

Meadow, in which I feed my many
herds,-

His steps were most incomprehensible—
I know not how I can describe in

LXII

words

Those tracks he could have gone along "Great Father, you know clearly beforethe sands

Neither upon his feet nor on his hands;

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reward,

Not even who could tell of them to me."

LX

"I found that in the dark he quietly
Had sacrificed some cows, and before
light
Had thrown the ashes all dispersedly
About the road-then, still as gloomy
night,

Had crept into his cradle, either eye

So speaking, Phoebus sate; and Hermes
then
Addressed the Supreme Lord of Gods
and Men:-

hand

That all which I shall say to you is
sooth;

I am a most veracious person, and
Totally unacquainted with untruth.
At sunrise, Phoebus came, but with no
band

Of Gods to bear him witness, in great
wrath,

To my abode, seeking his heifers there, And saying that I must show him where they are,

LXIII

"" 'Or he would hurl me down the dark
abyss.

I know that every Apollonian limb
Is clothed with speed and might and

manliness,

As a green bank with flowers-but unlike him

I was born yesterday, and you may guess

He well knew this when he indulged the whim

Of bullying a poor little new-born thing

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LXX

LXXIII

He might as well have bound the oxen And how to the Immortals every one wild; A portion was assigned of all that is; The withy bands, though starkly in- But chief Mnemosyne did Maia's son Clothe in the light of his loud melodies ;

terknit,

And as each God was born or had begun He in their order due and fit degrees Phoebus perceived himself again be- Sung of his birth and being-and did guiled,

move

Fell at the feet of the immortal child,

Loosened by some device of his quick wit.

And stared-while Hermes sought Apollo to unutterable love.

some hole or pit, Looking askance and winking fast as

thought,

Where he might hide himself and not be caught.

"You heifer-stealing schemer, well do you

LXXI

Sudden he changed his plan, and with Deserve that fifty oxen should requite strange skill

Such minstrelsies as I have heard

even now.

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

LXXII

Within the heart of great Apollohe

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

LXXIV

These words were winged with his swift delight:

Of his deep song, illustrating the birth
Of the bright Gods, and the dark desert
Earth:

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,

LXXV

"Or whether mortal taught or God inspired

The power of unpremeditated song? Many divinest sounds have I admired,

The Olympian Gods and mortal men among;

But such a strain of wondrous, strange,

untired,

And soul-awakening music, sweet and
strong,

Yet did I never hear except from thee,
Offspring of May, impostor Mercury!

LXXVI

"What Muse, what skill, what unimagined use,

What exercise of subtlest art, has given Thy songs such power?-for those who hear may choose

From three, the choicest of the gifts I would be gentle with thee; thou canst of Heaven,

reach

Delight, and love, and sleep,- sweet sleep, whose dews

Are sweeter than the balmy tears of Is highest in heaven among the sons of

even:

Jove,

And I, who speak this praise, am that Who loves thee in the fulness of his Apollo

love.

Whom the Olympian Muses ever follow:

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All things in thy wise spirit, and thy sill

LXXIX

To whom thus Mercury with prudent
speech :-
"Wisely hast thou inquirèd of my
skill:

I envy thee no thing I know to teach
Even this day:-for both in word and
will

LXXX

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