The husband threatened to destroy his wife,
and she her husband: horrid step dames mixed
the deadly henbane: eager sons inquired
their fathers, ages. Piety was slain:
and last of all the virgin deity,
Astraea vanished from the blood-stained earth.
And lest ethereal heights should long remain
less troubled than the earth, the throne of Heaven
was threatened by the Giants; and they piled
mountain on mountain to the lofty stars.
But Jove, omnipotent, shot thunderbolts
through Mount Olympus, and he overturned
from Ossa huge, enormous Pelion.
And while these dreadful bodies lay overwhelmed
in their tremendous bulk, (so fame reports)
the Earth was reeking with the copious blood
of her gigantic sons; and thus replete
with moisture she infused the steaming gore
with life renewed. So that a monument
of such ferocious stock should be retained,
she made that offspring in the shape of man;
but this new race alike despised the Gods,
and by the greed of savage slaughter proved
d Oeta are burning; and the far-famed Ida
and all her cooling rills are dry and burning,
and virgin Helicon, and Hoemos—later
Oeagrius called—and Aetna with tremendous,
redoubled flames, and double-peaked Parnassus,
Sicilian Eryx, Cynthus—Othrys, pine-clad,
and Rhodope, deprived his snowy mantle,
and Dindyma and Mycale and Mimas,
and Mount Cithaeron, famed for sacred rites:
and Scythia, though a land of frost, is burning,
and Caucasus,—and Ossa burns with Pindus,—
and greater than those two Olympus burns—
the lofty Alps, the cloud-topped Apennines.
And Phaethon, as he inhaled the air,
burning and scorching as a furnace blast,
and saw destruction on the flaming world,
and his great chariot wreathed in quenchless fires,
was suddenly unable to endure the heat,
the smoke and cinders, and he swooned away.—
if he had known the way, those winged steeds
would rush as wild unguided.—
then the skin
of Ethiopians took a swarthy hue,
the hot blood tingling to the surface: then
the heat d
ck, it seemed that each
caress was his; and so his fire increased.
He even wished he were her father; though,
if it were so, his passion would no less
be impious.—Overcome at last by these
entreaties, her kind father gave consent.
Greatly she joyed and thanked him for her own
misfortune. She imagined a success,
instead of all the sorrow that would come.
The day declining, little of his toil
remained for Phoebus. Now his flaming steeds
were beating with their hoofs the downward slope
of high Olympus; and the regal feast
was set before the guests, and flashing wine
was poured in golden vessels, and the feast
went merrily, until the satisfied
assembly sought in gentle sleep their rest.
Not so, the love-hot Tereus, king of Thrace,
who, sleepless, imaged in his doting mind
the form of Philomela, recalled the shape
of her fair hands, and in his memory
reviewed her movements. And his flaming heart
pictured her beauties yet unseen.—He fed
his frenzy on itself, and could not sleep.
er, but even more
to me, for he alone had won my love.
Eight birthdays having passed a second time,
his tender cheeks were marked with softest down.
“While I pursued him with a constant love,
the Cyclops followed me as constantly.
And, should you ask me, I could not declare
whether my hatred of him, or my love
of Acis was the stronger.—They were equal.
“O gentle Venus! what power equals yours!
That savage, dreaded by the forest trees,
feared by the stranger who beholds his face
contemner of Olympus and the gods,
now he can feel what love is. He is filled
with passion for me. He burns hot for me,
forgetful of his cattle and his caves.
“Now, Polyphemus, wretched Cyclops, you
are careful of appearance, and you try
the art of pleasing. You have even combed
your stiffened hair with rakes: it pleases you
to trim your shaggy beard with sickles, while
you gaze at your fierce features in a pool
so earnest to compose them. Love of flesh,
ferocity and your keen thirst for blood
have ceased. The