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From hence Tarentum's bay appears in view, For Hercules renown'd, if fame be true. Just opposite, Lacinian Juno stands; Caulonian tow'rs, and Scylacaean strands, For shipwrecks fear'd. Mount Aetna thence we spy, Known by the smoky flames which cloud the sky. Far off we hear the waves with surly sound Invade the rocks, the rocks their groans rebound. The billows break upon the sounding strand, And roll the rising tide, impure with sand. Then thus Anchises, in experience old: ‘'T is that Charybdis which the seer foretold, And those the promis'd rocks! Bear off to sea!’ With haste the frighted mariners obey. First Palinurus to the larboard veer'd; Then all the fleet by his example steer'd. To heav'n aloft on ridgy waves we ride, Then down to hell descend, when they divide; And thrice our galleys knock'd the stony ground, And thrice the hollow rocks return'd the sound, And thrice we saw the stars, that stood with dews around. The flagging winds forsook us, with the sun; And, wearied, on
The port capacious, and secure from wind, Is to the foot of thund'ring Aetna join'd. By turns a pitchy cloud she rolls on high; By turns hot embers from her entrails fly, And flakes of mounting flames, that lick the sky. Oft from her bowels massy rocks are thrown, And, shiver'd by the force, come piecemeal down. Oft liquid lakes of burning sulphur flow, Fed from the fiery springs that boil below. Enceladus, they say, transfix'd by Jove, With blasted limbs came tumbling from above; And, where he fell, th' avenging father drew This flaming hill, and on his body threw. As often as he turns his weary sides, He shakes the solid isle, and smoke the heavens hides. In shady woods we pass the tedious night, Where bellowing sounds and groans our souls affright, Of which no cause is offer'd to the sight; For not one star was kindled in the sky, Nor could the moon her borrow'd light supply; For misty clouds involv'd the firmament, The stars were muffled, and the moon was pent.
Now when the Night her middle race had rode, And his first slumber had refresh'd the god—/L> The time when early housewives leave the bed; When living embers on the hearth they spread, Supply the lamp, and call the maids to rise—/L> With yawning mouths, and with half-open'd eyes, They ply the distaff by the winking light, And to their daily labor add the night: Thus frugally they earn their children's bread, And uncorrupted keep the nuptial bed—/L> Not less concern'd, nor at a later hour, Rose from his downy couch the forging pow'r. Sacred to Vulcan's name, an isle there lay, Betwixt Sicilia's coasts and Lipare, Rais'd high on smoking rocks; and, deep below, In hollow caves the fires of Aetna glow. The Cyclops here their heavy hammers deal; Loud strokes, and hissings of tormented steel, Are heard around; the boiling waters roar, And smoky flames thro' fuming tunnels soar. Hither the Father of the Fire, by night, Thro' the brown air precipitates his fl