y curtains, rolling from the floor,
are upward drawn until the scene is shown,—
it seems as if the figures rise to view:
first we behold their faces, then we see
their bodies, and their forms by slow degrees
appear before us on the painted cloth.
Cadmus, affrighted by this host, prepared
to arm for his defence; but one of those
from earth created cried; “Arm not! Away
from civil wars!” And with his trenchant sword
he smote an earth-born brother, hand to hand;
even as the vanquished so the victorhed as they smote
the earth (their blood-stained mother) with their breasts:
and only five of all the troop remained;
of whom Echion, by Minerva warned,
called on his brothers to give up the fight,
and cast his arms away in pledge of faith.—
when Cadmus, exiled from Sidonia's gates,
builded the city by Apollo named,
these five were trusted comrades in his toil.
Now Thebes is founded, who can deem thy days
unhappy in shine exile, Cadmus? Thou,
the son-in-law of Mars and Venus; thou,
s Niobe had so defamed.
Latona, furious when she heard the speech,
flew swiftly to the utmost peak of Cynthus,
and spoke to her two children in these words:
“Behold your mother, proud of having borne
such glorious children! I will yield
prestige before no goddess—save alone
immortal Juno! I have been debased,
and driven for all ages from my own—
my altars, unto me devoted long,
and so must languish through eternity,
unless by you sustained. Nor is this all;.
That daughter of Tantalus, bold Niobe,
has added curses to her evil deeds,
and with a tongue as wicked as her sire's,
has raised her base-born children over mine.
Has even called me childless! A sad fate
more surely should be hers! Oh, I entreat”—
But Phoebus answered her, “No more complaint
is necessary, for it only serves
to hinder the swift sequel of her doom.”
And with the same words Phoebe answered her.
And having spoken, they descended through
the shielding shadows of surrounding clouds,
and hovered on the citadel of C