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Some called the evils which Diana wrought,
Too great, and disproportioned to the fault:
Others, again, esteemed Actæon's woes
Fit for a virgin goddess to impose.
The hearers into different parts divide,
And reasons are produced on either side.

Juno alone, of all that heard the news, Nor would condemn the goddess, nor excuse: She heeded not the justice of the deed, But joyed to see the race of Cadmus bleed; For still she kept Europa in her mind, And, for her sake, detested all her kind. Besides, to aggravate her hate, she heard How Semele, to Jove's embrace preferred, Was now grown big with an immortal load, And carried in her womb a future god. Thus terribly incensed, the goddess broke To sudden fury, and abruptly spoke.

66 Are my reproaches of so small a force ? 'Tis time I then pursue another course: It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die, If I'm indeed the mistress of the sky; If rightly styled among the powers above The wife and sister of the thundering Jove, (And none can sure a sister's right deny,) It is decreed the guilty wretch shall die. She boasts an honour I can hardly claim; Pregnant, she rises to a mother's name; While proud and vain she triumphs in her Jove, And shows the glorious tokens of his love: But if I'm still the mistress of the skies, By her own lover the fond beauty dies." This said, descending in a yellow cloud, Before the gates of Semele she stood.

Old Beroe's decrepit shape she wears, Her wrinkled visage, and her hoary hairs; Whilst in her trembling gait she totters on, And learns to tattle in the nurse's tone. The goddess, thus disguised in age, beguiled With pleasing stories her false foster-child. Much did she talk of love, and when she came To mention to the nymph her lover's name,

Fetching a sigh, and holding down her head,
"Tis well," says she, "if all be true that's said;
But trust me, child, I'm much inclined to fear
Some counterfeit in this your Jupiter.
Many an honest, well-designing maid,
Has been by these pretended gods betrayed.
But if he be indeed the thundering Jove,
Bid him, when next he courts the rites of love,
Descend triumphant from the ethereal sky,
In all the pomp of his divinity;
Encompassed round by those celestial charms,
With which he fills the immortal Juno's arms."

The unwary nymph, insnared with what she said, Desired of Jove, when next he sought her bed, To grant a certain gift which she would choose; "Fear not," replied the god, "that I'll refuse Whate'er you ask: may Styx confirm my voice, Choose what you will, and you shall have your choice."

Then," says the nymph, "when next you seek my arms, May you descend in those celestial charms, With which your Juno's bosom you inflame, And fill with transport heaven's immortal dame." The god surprised, would fain have stopped her voice: But he had sworn, and she had made her choice.


To keep his promise he ascends, and shrouds
His awful brow in whirlwinds and in clouds;
Whilst all around, in terrible array,
His thunders rattle, and his lightnings play.
And yet, the dazzling lustre to abate,
He set not out in all his pomp and state,
Clad in the mildest lightning of the skies,
And armed with thunder of the smallest size:
Not those huge bolts, by which the giants slain,
Lay overthrown on the Phlegrean plain.
'Twas of a lesser mould, and lighter weight;
They call it thunder of a second-rate.
For the rough Cyclops, who by Jove's command
Tempered the bolt, and turned it to his hand,
Worked up less flame and fury in its make,
And quenched it sooner in the standing lake.
Thus dreadfully adorned, with horror bright,

The illustrious god, descending from his height,
Came rushing on her in a storm of light.

The mortal dame, too feeble to engage
The lightning's flashes and the thunder's rage,
Consumed amidst the glories she desired,
And in the terrible embrace expired.

But, to preserve his offspring from the tomb,
Jove took him smoking from the blasted womb;
And, if on ancient tales we may rely,
Enclosed the abortive infant in his thigh.
Here, when the babe had all his time fulfilled,
Ino first took him for her foster-child;
Then the Niseans, in their dark abode,
Nursed secretly with milk the thriving god.


'Twas now, while these transactions past on earth, And Bacchus thus procured a second birth, When Jove disposed to lay aside the weight Of public empire and the cares of state; As to his queen in nectar bowls he quaffed, "In troth," says he, and as he spoke he laughed, "The sense of pleasure in the male is far More dull and dead than what you females share." Juno the truth of what was said denied; Tiresias therefore must the cause decide; For he the pleasure of each sex had tried.

It happened once, within a shady wood,
Two twisted snakes he in conjunction viewed ;
When with his staff their slimy folds he broke,
And lost his manhood at the fatal stroke.
But, after seven revolving years, he viewed
The self-same serpents in the self-same wood;
"And if," says he, "such virtue in you lie,
That he who dares your slimy folds untie
Must change his kind, a second stroke I'll try."
Again he struck the snakes, and stood again
New-sexed, and straight recovered into man.
Him therefore both the deities create
The sovereign umpire in their grand debate;
And he declared for Jove; when Juno, fired
More than so trivial an affair required,

Deprived him, in her fury, of his sight,
And left him groping round in sudden night.
But Jove (for so it is in heaven decreed,
That no one god repeal another's deed)
Irradiates all his soul with inward light,
And with the prophet's art relieves the want of sight.


Famed far and near for knowing things to come, From him the inquiring nations sought their doom; The fair Liriope his answers tried, And first the unerring prophet justified; This nymph the god Cephisus had abused, With all his winding waters circumfused, And on the Nereid got a lovely boy, Whom the soft maids ev'n then beheld with joy. The tender dame, solicitous to know Whether her child should reach old age or no, Consults the sage Tiresias, who replies, "If e'er he knows himself, he surely dies." Long lived the dubious mother in suspense, Till time unriddled all the prophet's sense.

Narcissus now his sixteenth year began, Just turned of boy and on the verge of man; Many a friend the blooming youth caressed, Many a love-sick maid her flame confessed: Such was his pride, in vain the friend caressed, The love-sick maid in vain her flame confessed.

Once, in the woods, as he pursued the chase, The babbling Echo had descried his face; She, who in others' words her silence breaks, Nor speaks herself but when another speaks. Echo was then a maid, of speech bereft, Of wonted speech; for though her voice was left, Juno a curse did on her tongue impose, To sport with every sentence in the close. Full often when the goddess might have caught Jove and her rivals in the very fault, This nymph with subtle stories would delay Her coming, till the lovers slipped away. The goddess found out the deceit in time, And then she cried, "That tongue, for this thy crime,


Which could so many subtle tales produce,
Shall be hereafter but of little use."
Hence 'tis she prattles in a fainter tone,
With mimic sounds, and accents not her own.
This love-sick virgin, overjoyed to find
The boy alone, still followed him behind;
When, glowing warmly at her near approach,
As sulphur blazes at the taper's touch,
She longed her hidden passion to reveal,
And tell her pains, but had not words to tell:
She can't begin, but waits for the rebound,
To catch his voice, and to return the sound.

The nymph, when nothing could Narcissus move,1
Still dashed with blushes for her slighted love,
Lived in the shady covert of the woods,
In solitary caves and dark abodes;
Where pining wandered the rejected fair,
Till harassed out, and worn away with care,
The sounding skeleton, of blood bereft,
Besides her bones and voice had nothing left.
Her bones are petrified, her voice is found
In vaults, where still it doubles every sound.


Thus did the nymphs in vain caress the boy,
He still was lovely, but he still was coy;
When one fair virgin of the slighted train
Thus prayed the gods, provoked by his disdain,
"Oh may
he love like me, and love like me in vain!"
Rhamnusia pitied the neglected fair,
And with just vengeance answered to her prayer.
There stands a fountain in a darksome wood,
Nor stained with falling leaves nor rising mud;
Untroubled by the breath of winds it rests,
Unsullied by the touch of men or beasts:
High bowers of shady trees above it grow,
And rising grass and cheerful greens below.

1 When nothing could Narcissus move.] One would think, from the expression, that the means taken by Echo to move Narcissus had been specified; and so they are in the original. The truth is, fourteen lines are here omitted, not without good reason; but the inartificial connexion betrays the omission.

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